television

#television

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Tv Writers Avenge Post Critic Tom Shales
Like many critics, The Washington Post's Tom Shales was not without his enemies. Several television shows repaid bad reviews with personal insults. The O.C. once referred to a "patient downstairs named Tom Shales with a bad case of incontinence." And on another occasion, Shales recalled, Craig T. Nelson, at the end of an episode of The District, told his new puppy that he could piddle on some newspapers before adding, "It's just a Tom Shales review."
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Jerry Springer On The Violence On The Jerry Springer Show
Jerry Springer was once asked whether the violence on his talk show—whose episodes included "Klanfrontation!" in which hooded members of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) brawled with members of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League—was staged. Replied Springer, "It looks real to me!" [Springer was once called before the Chicago City Council to answer questions about the violence on the show. Among his answers? "I am not a member of the Communist Party."]
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Richard Allinson On The 1994 Heat Wave
The latter part of the 20th Century produced growing evidence for the supposed Greenhouse Effect, with each year seeming to produce new temperature records. Indeed a heat wave in 1994 caused considerable consternation. "It has been," BBC Radio's Richard Allinson was moved to declare, "one of the warmest 1994's this century!" [Could Allinson have been the BBC radio host who famously introduced a Yuletide classic with the following words? "We now will hear 'Deck Your Balls with Halls of Helly'... 'Deck Your Bells with Balls of Holly'... er... a Christmas selection!"]
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Why Merv Griffin got kicked off a TV show
One day in the early 1950s, Merv Griffin was dumped as a featured vocalist on Kate Smith's popular TV show. The problem? His last name, it seemed, was shared by one of the major competitors of the show's new sponsor, Esquire Shoe Polish.
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Brent Forrester: The Unpredictability Of Sitcom Humor
Early in his writing career, Brent Forrester undertook a careful study of sitcom humor, identifying the five fundamental "humor mechanisms" upon which jokes are based: wordplay (puns, for example), irony (a man attempts to plug a hole and makes it bigger), incongruous sacred/profane juxtapositions (a nun sits on the toilet with a machine gun), scale reversal (a giant baby), and the unintentional revelation of something negative (trying to look sophisticated, a man lights a cigar with a discount bowling coupon). The best jokes, Forrester discovered, combined three mechanisms at once. Armed with his new insights, Forrester landed a writing job with The Simpsons.  In one episode, the staff needed a gag in which the murderous Sideshow Bob was chasing Bart. ...
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Johnny Carson: How Could You? - Telling Jokes After Jfk's Assassination
Like the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, the Kennedy assassination in 1963 left professional comedians in a difficult spot. "I think we stayed off for close to a week," famed Tonight Show host Johnny Carson recalled. "What could you do? It just wasn't right. You've got to lay back in the weeds and wait till things cool down... "When we did go back though, I remember getting a note from this lady who wrote, 'How dare you? How could you go on the air?' So I replied to her on the air, 'Why are you watching? If you're so deep in grief, why are you watching televsion!?'" [When Kennedy was assassinated, it was not a federal felony to kill ...
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Why C. P. Scott Was Skeptical About Television
Manchester Guardian editor C. P. Scott once remarked that no good would ever come out of television. Why not? Because, Scott explained, the word 'television' is half Latin and half Greek! [The word derives from the Greek root "tele" (meaning far) and the "vision," the past participle of the Latin vidre (to see).]
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Penny Marshall And Rob Reiner - Magic Moment
"Almost thirty years ago now [in the early 1970s]," writes William Goldman in More Adventures in the Screen Trade, "two young actors were in their twenties. Their names were Penny Marshall and Rob Reiner and they were both on TV shows. Huge hit TV shows. (Think Seinield and Friends). Rob was Meathead on All in the Family, she Laverne in Laverne and Shirley. "They met. And the Gods smiled down. They fell in love. And got married. And were just so happy. But the home they were living in was not to their liking, nothing ever got finished, the place was a mess. "They went to New York to star in a TV movie Rob wrote, More Than Friends. They would be gone ...
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How Mister Ed Appeared To Talk
How did producers make Bamboo Harvester, the Palomino horse on the classic '60s sitcom Mister Ed, appear to talk on cue? Because he was so smart, they did not have to use peanut butter or electric shocks. "It was soft nylon under the lip," Alan Young, who played Wilbur Post on the show, once revealed, "and the horse would try to get rid of it on cue. Of course, after the first day of shooting, it was never much of a challenge to make him talk. As soon as my voice stopped, he would start moving his lips. Before long, we could hardly shut him up!"
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How SNL's Robin Schlein got "muff diver" past a censor
"One time Danny [Dan Aykroyd] sent me to the censor to try to get the word 'muff diver' approved," Saturday Night Live writer Robin Schlein recalls. "We had a substitute censor that week, so he thought he'd try his luck. They were always merciless to the substitute censors. I considered not doing it, but Audrey [associate producer Audrey Dickman] taught us it wasn't our job to say no, especially to the writers. So I waited until the censor was eating lunch in the control room. I opened my script in front of her and said, 'These are the new lines,' trying to be nonchalant. She scanned the pages and pointed to 'muff diver': 'What's that?' Since the scene took place ...