Friday Questions

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  • Friday Questions


    Friday Questions for your social distancing pleasure.


    Unknown starts us off (please leave your NAME):

    OK, FQ, why is it I can see Gilligan Island, the Monkees, Dick Van Dyke, but not the Occasional Wife , "He & She" and "Love on a Rooftop"?

    I guess the question breaks down to, is the rights to He & She too expensive? Or in big turmoil that you can't approach it?

    The biggest factor is that there are only a limited number of episodes for these short-lived series. Generally, you like to have at least 100 episodes before something can go into syndication.

    I'm sure in some cases the rights are an issue - the production company has been bought by someone then taken over by someone else, etc. But that's rarely the reason. A bigger factor is that these series have faded into the mist of time. So unless you've got a good memory and are of a certain age, there's very little demand for OCCASIONAL WIFE.

    Sometimes one of the nostalgia channels will run old forgotten series, but that's just random. One airs the old JOEY BISHOP SHOWS and my question is: Good God WHY?

    And speaking of OCCASIONAL WIFE, Jim has a question.

    Vin Scully narrated 'Occasional Wife'. He would have spoken your words ("...PLEASE stay on script, Mr. Scully...-).

    Who most honored you by doing that, per your own list? One name, please.

    Okay, this is going to surprise you because you know I've been blessed to have written for many sensational actors.

    But if I had to pick one name it would be a non-actor.

    I had a reading of one of my screenplays in New York one time for an audience of about 50 people. And to read the stage directions I was able to get the great Dan Ingram of WABC radio.

    Dan, as many of you know, was my favorite DJ in all the world. I idolized him. He also had a fantastic voice and did hundreds of national TV and radio ads.

    So for me, hearing Dan Ingram, read my words was practically surreal.

    Needless to say, he did a truly great job. The organizers of the event said they had never heard stage direction read so well (and they staged these readings every week for years). Big Dan was the man!

    Mike Bloodworth wonders:


    In your current plays, have you taken old ideas or plots that for whatever reason didn't make it into a show and adapted them for the stage?

    Rarely, but it has happened. I once took a basic idea from a screenplay of mine and adapted a stage version, but didn't use a single line of dialogue from the screenplay and changed the characters, setting, and tone completely.

    My laughs come out of character and attitude and not "jokes- per se, so I rarely, if ever, just recycle jokes.

    Jerry Belson, a GREAT comedy writer, worked punch-up on CHEERS and pitched a joke one day in the room. The Charles Brothers weren't sold and Jerry said, "Hey, it got a big laugh on THE ODD COUPLE.- (Jerry had written and co-created the TV version.) Les Charles asked him why he would pitch a joke from another show, and Jerry said: "Hey, what's gone before is good too.-

    And finally, from Don R:

    I'm stuck in the house, watching Antenna TV, and I just saw a "Becker" you directed. Friday question: when directing a show in front of a live audience that's always switching sets between the diner, Becker's office and his apartment, do you shoot all the scenes needed in the one set, then move on to the next set and shoot all the scenes there, etc. Or, so not confuse the audience, do you move from set to set and shoot in chronological order?

    We go in chronological order so the audience can follow the story. Cameras move back and forth from set to set and the actors change wardrobe if need be between scenes. It's very much like watching a play.

    There are also times we'll need to pre-shoot scenes. When that occurs we have a hastily edited version ready to show the audience and we play it on monitors in the spot in the show where the scene will appear.

    And thanks for watching BECKER.

    What's your Friday Question?
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