Death behind the bar when cheers wasnt so cheerful

Death behind the bar when cheers wasnt so cheerful
Death behind the bar when cheers wasnt so cheerful
Official web site of THE LAUGH MAKERS: A Behind-the-Scenes Tribute to Bob Hope’s Incredible Gag Writers When “Cheers” Wasn’t So Cheerful By Robert L. Mills (Excerpted from “THE LAUGH MAKERS: A Behind-the-Scenes Tribute to Bob Hope’s Incredible Gag Writers” (c) copyright 2009 by Robert L. Mills and published by Bear Manor Media: .bearmanormedia.bizland.id370.html) During my seventeen years as a script writer for Bob Hope in the 70s and 80s, problems were bound to crop up now and again, but when they didn’t arise until after a show had been taped, this made them even more troublesome and costly. One year, we taped a Halloween special on which one of the guests was Cassandra Peterson, well-known as a Charles Addams-like character who called herself ” Elvira.” She appeared in a parody of the popular sitcom “Cheers” as a customer in the bar opposite Hope as the show’s bartender, Coach. In our sketch, Cassandra entered the bar, looked Hope up and down, and said, “Nice job. Who’s your undertaker?” As usual, the sketch was edited, sound-checked and transferred, along with the rest of the show to 3-inch tape that would be transmitted by satellite to New York, from whence the show would be broadcast. The Halloween special was scheduled to air on a Sunday night but on the previous Friday, Nick Callesandro, the actor who played “Coach” on Cheers, suffered a sudden heart attack at his home in Burbank and, despite all efforts by paramedics to revive him, was declared dead on his arrival at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Minutes after the grim news was broadcast, my phone rang. It was Hope with instructions to call the writers and have them begin working on a replacement line that could be dubbed onto the master tape. In the meantime, he said, he would notify Cassandra to meet us at Glen Glen Sound in Hollywood where the emergency looping session would take place. The line replacement line not only had to make sense in the context of the sketch, but it also had to match as closely as possible the actress’s lip movements. Experimenting with several possible possibilities, with Cassandra trying each one, we all settled on “Nice job. Did your makeup man quit?” The syllables matched perfectly and even on a large studio monitor, it was difficult to detect the dub. It was only a small change, but Hope had gone to the trouble and expense of fixing the line, knowing that failure to do so might make him appear crass and unfeeling to a television audience unaware that segments of so-called “live” shows are often taped well-in-advance. (On our specials, the monologue was taped as close to airtime as feasible.) The incedent was yet another example of how far Hope would go to produce the best show possible, meeting a standard that he had, years before, set for himself that he never lowered. (Do you have questions or comments regarding this article? Contact the author at: TheLaughMakersgmail.com) (Excerpted from “THE LAUGH MAKERS: A Behind-the-Scenes Tribute to Bob Hope’s Incredible Gag Writers” (c) copyright 2009 by Robert L. Mills and published by Bear Manor Media: .bearmanormedia.bizland.id370.html) To listen to a free MP3 audio version of this article read by the author, go to: .learnoutloud.com/Resources/Authors-and-Narrators/Robert-L.-Mills/15301
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