Friday Questions

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  • Friday Questions

    Some Friday Questions to kick off your weekend.

    Xmastime goes first.

    Ken are you a big fan of Neil Simon? When I was a kid I practically memorized "The Star-Spangled Girl; 30 years later when I finally watched the film it was quite a disappointment. Have you had an experience where on paper your script was cracking, but somehow didn't really work onscreen after it was filmed?

    In fairness to Neil Simon, the movie was completely rewritten. Very little of Simon’s play is in the movie, which yes, is terrible. Plus, if I'm not mistaken, wasn't it a TV movie? So the production values are cheesy too. As for me, yes, there have been times I’ve seen shows I’ve written fall flat due to lousy directing and acting. Or, maybe the script just wasn’t that crackling to begin with. Nah, it was the director.

    From Gladys Peters:

    How come network TV dramas always get at least a one-hour time slot instead of 30 minutes?

    Gladys, this was not always the case. In the ‘50s and ‘60s there were a number of half-hour dramas. Usually police shows. PETER GUNN was a personal favorite. I believe the original DRAGNET was a half-hour as well.

    Warner Brothers had a bunch of half-hour dramas on ABC. 77 SUNSET STRIP, HAWAIIAN EYE, BOURBON STREET BEAT. (Okay, if you check out the plots you’ll see they’re all the same show.)

    There were also a lot of half-hour westerns. GUNSMOKE started out as a half-hour. My favorite western, BAT MASTERSON was only thirty minutes.
    I'm sure you guys can come up with other examples.

    Eventually it just evolved that dramas were an hour and sitcoms were a half-hour. Personally, I don't think you need an hour to tell a lot of these dramatic stories. There's a lot of padding.

    DougG. wonders:

    When you and David (Isaacs) wrote the "Adventures in Paradise" episode of FRASIER, was it always planned to be two episodes or did that just happen as part of the writing process?

    More often than not, two-parters start out as one-parters with just too much story. But in the case of “Adventures in Paradise” we knew when originally plotting it that it was going to be a two-parter.

    We had such a great cliff-hanger -- when Frasier steps out onto the balcony of this very remote resort only to find Lilith on the next balcony. You don’t get much better than that.

    Then we constructed the two parts to fit that. Part one was the courtship with Jobeth Williams and part two the aftermath of Lilith and the news that she was remarrying. Each was a pretty full story.

    David and I have done a number of two-parters from various shows. I think “Adventures in Paradise” is my favorite — especially part two.

    And finally, from Bob Paris:

    Ken: Imagine that you are a rookie on the Dodgers ten years ago. You get your first major league hit and for a souvenir you can have only one of these two options: 1) the game ball, or 2) a copy of the broadcast where Vin Scully calls your at-bat. Which would you choose?

    That’s an easy one. The Vin Scully call. Anyone can get their first game ball, but having Vin Scully call it — that’s special. It’s like having a Hirschfeld caricature of yourself.

    I hope you’re vaxed by now. And if not, what the hell are you waiting for? It’s either freedom or Darwinism. Choose freedom. What’s your Friday Question?



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