Here hey are:
Todd A. starts us off:
Both Cheers and Wings went through a couple cast shakeups.Wings alone added Tony Shaloub, Farrah Forke & Amy Yasbek, while losing Thomas Haden Church. Have you ever had any less than favorable reactions from original cast members when a new castmember is added? Conversely, how do cast members react when a colleague gets another opportunity and bails, potentially jeopardizing the harmony of a tight ensemble?
I’ve been very lucky. When there have been cast changes on shows I’ve worked on – like MASH, CHEERS, BECKER, and WINGS -- the casts have embraced the new actors. They recognized that new blood can often re-energize a show and add a few more years to the life of the series. They also happened to be lovely people.
But there are plenty of cases where a cast will feel threatened by new members. And then life on the set is hell for everybody.
There are also actors who count the number of lines they have in a script. By the way, if we catch an actor on one of our shows doing that, the next week he will see that the number of lines he has is zero.
When a castmember leaves an existing hit, I’ve seen their fellow actors react in one of three ways -- 1) happy for him that he got this opportunity, 2) resentment either due to jealousy or just the added uncertainty of what impact his departure will have on the future of the show and him, and 3) bafflement, or as I’d like to call it “the McLean Stevenson Syndrome.”
Along those lines, Basil Kiva wonders:
How close was Cheers in renewing for a 12th Season and do you think that all shows should die a natural death at seasons 10-11 if they make it that far (except for animated shows like Family Guy, Simpsons and South Park)
CHEERS would have easily been renewed had Ted Danson wanted to come back. I think we could have gotten one or maybe two more years out of the show, but it was getting harder and harder to come up with stories. And the actors were understandably losing interest. So, all things considered, it was time.
I can’t speak for all shows but yeah, usually ten is the expiration date.
You mention Elizabeth Montgomery a lot. Why do you have such a thing for Elizabeth Montgomery?
Here is a possible topic for a future blog: Funniest Novel (You may have covered this topic before, but it may be time for a rehash).
CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES by John Kennedy Toole. It’s a comic wonder. I’m teaching a course on comedy at USC starting next week and that book is on my required reading list.
The saga of the book's history is quite remarkable. It was written in the early ‘60s by a young man in his 20’s. He shopped the manuscript around for a number of years, kept getting jerked around by editors, and eventually, out of despair killed himself.
A number of years later his mother happened to meet author Walker Percy and asked if he’d read her son’s unpublished manuscript. He agreed and was horrified to see a giant box of smudged pages arrive at his office. It’s quite a big book.
He dutifully started reading and was shocked to discover that it not only was good, it was GREAT.
He got it published and the book became a national best-seller and won a Pulitzer Prize.
CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES is so good I try to re-read it every few years.
There have been numerous attempts to make it into a movie but so far no one has been able to crack it. So much of the book is the attitude of the main character and how he misinterprets everything around him and it’s hard to adapt that. I’ve read several screenplay attempts and they all fall flat. They follow the story and even contain a lot of the actual dialogue but they can’t really capture the spirit and essence of the book. Not that I could either.
What’s your question? Leave it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.