Friday Questions

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  • Friday Questions

    Now that we’ve survived another debate, here are some Friday Questions.

    Bob Paris starts us off:


    There are a few examples where an actor appears on two series at the same time. In the case of Richard Deacon, he was on the Dick Van Dyke Show and Leave It To Beaver when their production overlapped for three seasons. Why would a producer cast an actor already working on a show and open themselves up to scheduling issues where the actor may be unavailable due to being needed on the other show?

    Certain actors are just in demand. I suppose Carl Reiner figured Richard Deacon was the perfect man for the role. And his part on LEAVE IT TO BEAVER was sporadic at best. Maybe they would use him three times a year. So he probably wasn’t under contract.

    My guess is he signed as a recurring regular on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW and Carl graciously worked around his schedule so Deacon could continue to appear a few times a season on LEAVE IT TO BEAVER.

    I may be wrong, but when Lisa Kudrow was first on FRIENDS, wasn’t she also on MAD ABOUT YOU?

    Today, if an actor is already on a show you can hire him in “second position.” That means if he’s not needed for the show he’s on, he can do the other thing. But if there’s a conflict, the original show is in “first position.”

    JS has another LEAVE IT TO BEAVER related question. What are the odds?

    How do you choose a director of photography - if that is even what the title is? My kid likes "Leave it to Beaver". We've been watching it on Peacock. The black and white photography is very good, especially for the time.

    It’s the show runner’s call, but usually he leaves it up to the line producer. Line producers assemble the crew. However, if the show runner has used a certain DP before or has been notably impressed by his work on other things he may make that call.

    This gives me a moment to send props to DP’s of multi-camera shows. On single-camera shows (shot like a movie) you can light for each angle and film the scene multiple times from multiple angles. On multi-camera shows, they’re little plays shot in front of a studio audience. So the set has to be lit only once and accommodate for actors moving all about. It’s tricky, but the good ones make the sets look rich while showing off the actors in the most flattering light. And they never get credit.

    From purplepenquin:

    Who picks the "clips" for a clip-show? Do the writers write a story & then search through old episodes for scenes that would fit in with it, or are they told to use specific clips & then the writers have to find a way to tie 'em all together?


    The show runner and writers generally select the clips, which, trust me, is a GIANT pain-in-the-ass. We did it for the MASH clip show and had to spend many long nights watching and selecting, and paring down clips — all coming after our regular ten hour work days.

    As for the format, that’s up to the individual show, and it’s a chicken vs egg thing. Some shows come up with a framework for the premise — someone gets out an old scrapbook, or it’s a going away party — and other times the clips are selected first and then they decide how they’re going to frame them.

    Here’s what I love about clip shows, though — residuals. We get royalties on every clip used from shows we wrote. Having written 40 CHEERS episodes, we made a bundle on that clip show. We did okay with MASH too.

    Clip shows will become a thing of the past as fewer series will go a hundred episodes. Streaming services are quite content with 30 total. That makes for a very short clip show.

    And finally, from Terry:

    On the M*A*S*H forum over on reddit, there was some discussion going on as to the color of Hawkeye's robe (hey, we're all bored and spending a lot more time at home these days - give us a break!) In one episode when he is making out his will, he leaves it to Charles because "Purple is the color of royalty." That thing looked anything but purple to me on screen. It always seemed to be more of a dark maroon or at most burgundy. Was that because of lighting, the film used, or what? Thanks, Ken!

    You can adjust the color and tint on your TV so no two sets may look exactly alike. Also, the network transmission. Back in the day when CBS fired aired MASH, there was a very slight red tint to the transmission. The show never looked as good as the 35 mm film that was sent to them. The DVD’s look better.

    But to answer your question, in person the robe was more of a burgundy color.

    What’s your Friday Question? And please VOTE.


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