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September 21, 2017:

FUNNY IS FUNNY

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, it’s always fascinating to catch up with a TV show you did decades later, as it was to catch up on The Young Lawyers. And last night, I saw my one and only episode of Angie, which was recently released on DVD is middling transfers, with most episodes being the cut syndicated versions. Thankfully my episode is one the only uncut ones. I was able to tape my episode in the early 80s on Betamax, but I haven’t seen it since then. As I wrote in my first memoir, I got the call to audition for it. I arrived, took one look at the sides and all five lines or so, turned around and walked out. I went to a phone booth and called Pat McQueeney, my manager, who told me to turn right around again and go back – she told me to actually read it this time rather than count lines. So, back I went and this time I read it and knew exactly why she’d insisted I return. It wasn’t about the lines at all, it was about the reactions and even on paper I knew that no one could do that kind of thing better than I. I was kind of over those kinds of parts and frankly I was kind of over even having to read for that kind of part at that point and the fact is I’d worked for a couple of the people involved before. But I girded my loins, went in, did my thing, and got booked right on the spot.

Doing the show was fun, because I knew Debralee Scott very well, and Nancy Lane I’d met during her A Chorus Line days. Donna Pescow and Robert Hays could not have been nicer or more charming, but really everyone was. I especially enjoyed Emory Bass, who David Wechter and I would later hire for one of video things. The one person I didn’t care for was the director, although he didn’t really do anything. We all came up with our own things – he never said two words to me during rehearsal. And since no one could keep a straight face when I did my thing, I knew it was working. Towards the end of rehearsals, the writers came down and watched a run-through and I have to tell you, they howled at both my scenes, but especially all the silent reaction comic stuff. Howled. Then we were going to do our final run for the writers again and the director came up to me and asked me to change a bit of business I was doing. What he was asking for wasn’t funny and was completely wrong and I knew it would ruin a huge laugh I was getting. He knew I wasn’t thrilled with the suggestion but he said, “Just try it for the run – if it doesn’t work you’ll put it back the way it was.” First of all, you don’t EVER mess around with funny that’s working. EVER. But, he was the director and so I did what he asked. And that moment bombed just as I knew it would. Everything else got exactly the same laughs. At the notes session, the writers turned on me and said, “Why would you change something that worked perfectly?” Before I could even answer, the director said, “I don’t know why he did that – please do what you were doing.” I was red-faced and wanted to kill the little weasel. Fortunately, the cast knew exactly what had gone down and that he’d asked me to change it up and both Donna and Robert informed the writers, who came to me and apologized for assuming I’d made the change on my own. And I went back to the original thing I did and at both tapings it got screams of laughter. The audience, as you can hear during the episode, went crazy for what was a very clever sequence.

Seeing it all these years later, I have to say it’s just really funny (the scene). It’s my favorite kind of comedy – all eye work and looks and timing without having to say anything. I didn’t even remember the tag scene, but that has a final image that made me laugh out loud – I don’t even remember doing it but the gal who was playing opposite me and I did a pratfall rather well. Maybe someone will put it up on the Tube of You and then I’ll be able to share it. The episode is called Mary Mary Marries.

Yesterday was not an unpleasant day. I was up early and on my way to LACC by 9:45. I arrived for my ten-thirty costume designer meeting. Each of the ladies presented me some sketches and ideas. Going in, I was pretty keen on one specific gal, but I also knew the director whose show is before mine also had this gal as her first choice. So I asked that designer point blank which show she had passion for, and even though she tried to say both, I could tell it was the other show. So, I went with my second choice – but based on what I was shown, she was the best person for this, I think. She had a real feel for the two leading characters and I liked her ideas very much. She’ll be assisted by the third gal – she’s very nice, too, but not a communicator, but she’ll be great to assist. So, that decision has been made.

Then I came right back to the Valley and went and had a patty melt and a side Caesar salad. Then I picked up some packages and came home. Once home, I worked on the Indiegogo campaign copy, revising more of it, and then entering it into the campaign, and then saving it. I’m hoping to see the video today and if it’s good, then we can launch on Friday, although it might be better to wait until Monday – the first two or three days of any campaign tell everyone how it’s going to go – we need to raise no less than a third of our goal in those first days – that sets the pace and tone and usually means you’ll reach the goal. The perks are going to be fun and I have to actually write the copy for those today. After that, I listened to some music of a composer I knew nothing about and whose music I’d never heard one single note of – Max Reger. I wanted to hear it because Claus Ogerman lists him as a major influence, along with Alexander Scriabin. Listening to the first pieces I didn’t see any similarity between Reger and Ogerman in any way. But suddenly came four tone poems and boy could you hear the influence – not in melody or intention, but in orchestration and color. I’m enjoying all of the music. I also got the second half of our next release, listened, it sounded great, and off it goes to mastering. We’ll announce that on Monday, I think, unless I’m feeling adventurous, in which case we’ll announce tomorrow. I then went back to the mail place and got my Freshly package. I came home and then I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched my episode of Angie, then two chapters of The Adventures of Captain Marvel on a new Blu-ray. This thing has gotten a pass from every reviewer, simply because the packaging mentions a 4K scan. So what? What if what you’re scanning is sub-par? All the 4K in the world isn’t going to change the source. I have no idea WHAT the source was or is, but it’s very erratic – way too dark at times, not very clean, and detail occasionally is wanting. I do love the serial so I’m happy to have it, but it’s not stellar.

Then I watched the new Blu and Ray of Love With the Proper Stranger, a movie I absolutely love (from the same company as the Captain Marvel serial). This film was never released on DVD – it had an open matte release on VHS and I think maybe on laserdisc. And it looked terrible in open matte, of course. This is another transfer that reviewers are not only giving a pass to but actually pretty much raving about it. The movie itself is great still – you just don’t see star power like Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen. You can’t show me any performance of, for example, Ryan Gosling, that has one iota of the charisma and star power, let alone the acting chops of Steve McQueen and the same goes for Natalie Wood – sorry, Jennifer Lawrence and all the various Emmas have none of that wattage. The supporting cast is wonderful, the writing is wonderful, and it still works like a charm. And the score by Elmer Bernstein (which Kritzerland issued) is fantastic. I wish I could do the dance the “reviewers” are doing but I cannot. These same people nitpick to death over how many bits something is but then inexplicably don’t even talk about the flaws of something like this because the packaging says “mastered in HD.” Well, dopey reviewers, EVERYTHING on Blu-ray is “mastered in HD.” That’s what Blu-ray is – high definition. So they just assume this is a brand new transfer. It may well be but it certainly isn’t off the camera negative and I’d guess it’s not even off a new internegative. There is plenty of detritus, there is detail but it never seems like it’s enough (that said, there are a lot of opticals), there is almost no grain at all that I could see, which renders everything kind of flat-looking – contrast is fine and it occasionally does look okay, but for me it’s not what it could be. And for some wacko reason, they left in a couple of the burned-in changeover cue marks in the upper right-hand corner – no one does that, that is just amateur. Yes, those burned in marks were part of the internegative – which is why I don’t think they struck a new one because had they struck a new one from the camera negative, the cue marks wouldn’t be there. I recommend the movie without reservation – and I’m thrilled it’s finally in its proper ratio – but it’s just a little disappointing that it isn’t better after all this time waiting.

Then I relaxed, ate the lowest calorie Freshly meal for my evening snack (470 calories) and listened to more Max Reger.

Today, I am going to visit Nick Redman but an hour earlier than usual, at ten-thirty. Since there’s no way the freeway won’t be absolutely horrendous, I’ll probably leave an hour in advance, maybe even a bit more than an hour. It’s a twenty-minute drive, but last time it took forty-five and that was not at rush hour. I’ll come right back to the Valley. This week is Freshly meals so I’ll hopefully pick up packages, then I’ll parse out my two Freshly meals o’ the day. I hope to see the Indiegogo video, too. And we may announce the new title.

Tomorrow I have a work session for the Kritzerland show, then a lunch with Marshall Harvey, then I may actually be able to relax. Not sure what the weekend will bring, but I hope not too much, as next week is our crazy busy Kritzerland rehearsal week. But all songs are chosen and it seems like it will be a fun show.

Let’s all put on our pointy party hats and our colored tights and pantaloons, let’s all break out the cheese slices and the ham chunks, let’s all dance the Hora and the Twist, for today is the birthday of our very own Dear Reader Laura.  So, let’s give a big haineshisway.com birthday cheer to our very own Dear Reader Laura.  On the count of three: One, two, three – A BIG HAINESHISWAY.COM BIRTHDAY CHEER TO OUR VERY OWN DEAR READER LAURA!!!

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a visit, hopefully pick up packages, eat, get everything ready to announce should we choose to do that, get the Indiegogo campaign ready, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films of Miss Natalie Wood and Mr. Steve McQueen? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy that I still found my Angie performance funny.

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