Friday Questions

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  • Friday Questions

    On the anniversary of the day I was fired from KSEA radio in 1974 when they pulled the plug on the format and let the entire staff go, thus ending our promotion “Christmas the way it was meant to be” — here are Friday Questions.

    Frank Salerno gets it started.

    MASH is credited with the first on screen usage of “the smallest violin in the world”.

    I know it’s a silent film/melodrama reference.

    Whose idea was it to use?

    All mine. That was an expression often used in my family growing up.

    This is the world’s smallest violin and it’s playing just for you.”

    I don’t remember the script or circumstance but I do recall it was Hot Lips who had the line.

    Dave H has another MASH question.


    Ken, when did Mash start filming for a new season (July or August?) and what month did you wrap for the season? Sorry if this has been asked before. And I am saying sorry because I am Canadian. A TV report said it's a Canadian thing.

    We started filming right after the 4th of July and finished right before Christmas. 25 episodes. Each episode received one day of rehearsal and three days of shooting. After every three episodes there was a built-in “pick up” day to reshoot or get a scene not yet filmed. There were hiatus weeks every seven or eight episodes, but those shrunk if we needed more “pick up” days.

    In contrast, today half-hour single camera shows require five to six days to shoot. They’ll start in the summer and wrap in March… and do fewer than 25 episodes.
    In the case of MASH, it sure helped to have a fantastic cast, crew, and stable of top notch directors.

    Someone who calls himself Dr. Rosen Rosen turns to a CHEERS question.

    I just have to know more about the "Sinatra" line spoken amazingly by Al Rosen. Do you have any additional information about that line, who wrote it, was it scripted, was it scripted that he said it twice, where the writer's trying to find the right line for Al since he was background up until this point. I love this joke, performance, and the way the cast reacted to it so much that I just had to ask.

    I don’t know which writer came up with it. It was definitely scripted exactly as it aired. I believe season two. Al Rosen, who was a regular extra, just had a great look and voice.

    His official character name became “Man Who Said Sinatra.” David Isaacs and I first used him in a season three episode we wrote.

    Al Rosen was a very interesting guy. A former wrestler.

    And finally, from BG:

    I know reboots are kinda passé now, but if you and David Isaacs were offered the chance to head a revival of a past sitcom you worked on, which would it be?

    ALMOST PERFECT, the CBS show we did starring Nancy Travis. Then BIG WAVE DAVE’S.

    It might be hard to reboot MARY since the star, Mary Tyler Moore, is no longer with us. Or the co-star, James Farentino. (But happily, John Astin is still going strong. He’s 90, God bless him.)

    What’s your Friday Question. May this be “Christmas the way it ought to be.”



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