Friday Questions

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  • Friday Questions

    As we enter the dog days of summer, here are this week’s Friday Questions.

    VHS Village (Formerly The Beta Barn) starts us off.

    What is the unwritten rule for how writers are expected to interact with the stars of a show or film? What I mean is, when you're meeting the actors for the first time, especially if they're big names, are writers supposed to act deferentially or can you be relaxed and direct? Did you have to say "Mr Danson" or could you call him Ted, for example. I can't speak for all writers certainly. But...

    I don’t consider them stars, I consider them colleagues. As such, I refer to them by their first names. I expect them to call me Mr. Levine though. (Just kidding. These days one has to make that disclaimer.)

    Seriously, though, my first staff job was on THE TONY RANDALL SHOW. And when introduced to him I called him Mr. Randall. He quickly said to call him Tony.

    DyHrdMET wonders:


    Are there any sitcoms (probably the shortest-lived ones) that you thought would have the basic premise and story arc told better as a play or a movie (wrap it up in about 90 minutes, or about 4 episodes of TV, and move on with your life) than being used as a sitcom?

    Okay, just my opinion…

    Practically every streaming series (comedy or drama) starts off with a great first season and then flails around after that. Off the top of my head: DEAD TO ME, KILLING EVE, RUSSIAN DOLL, HOMELAND, and you may disagree but BARRY. Although I enjoyed the second season of HACKS, it too could have stood alone after season one.

    So to answer your question: All of them.

    From Jonathan Weiss


    Ken, ​​I did a little reading up on Lorenzo Music - in addition to voicing Carlton the Doorman and Garfield, he was quite the writer/producer/creator (especially at MTM). Did you work with/alongside him at any point?​

    Sort of. He had a pilot for MTM that he would have starred in along with his wife, Henrietta. It was sort of a variety show with sketches of them at home with “their kids.” I put that in quotes because they hired adults to play the kids. I remember David L. Lander played one. Yes, it was weird.

    David Isaacs and I wrote back-up sketch material for the pilot. Had the show gone we would have gone on staff.

    This was at the height of MTM’s dominance. They had THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, THE BOB NEWHART SHOW, RHODA, PHYLLIS, DOC, PAUL SANDS: FRIENDS AND LOVERS. And for the finale of the pilot all of the cast members from all of these shows came out. Talk about an All-Star squad. Wow.

    Meanwhile, the pilot did not get picked up. So much for our first staff job.

    And finally, from 15-Seconds:

    You being a radio guy (among other things) did you ever have any dealings with Stan Freberg?

    Not professionally, but I met him several times. I was a HUGE fan, dating back to when he did voices on a local TV daily puppet show in Los Angeles called BEANIE & CECIL. So I was a fan since I was like four.

    Stan Freberg had one of the most creative minds of anyone in radio, television, advertising, comedy albums - you name it.

    One time when I was a sports intern at KMPC radio in Los Angeles, he came in to guest-host a show and I got to spend some time chatting with him. And circling back to the first question, now that I think about it, I referred to him as Mr. Freberg.

    What’s your Friday Question?




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