David Bruce: The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Mishaps, Money

Mishaps

• Honor Blackman starred on The Avengers for a couple of years, then left the TV series in order to star as the character Pussy Galore in the James Bond movie Goldfinger. While she was on a promotional tour for the movie, she appeared on KGO-TV, where an interviewer told her, “I’ve covered topless bathing suits, bottomless bathing suits, and now I’ve got Pussy Galore!”

• Julia Child is my kind of cook — very good, but slightly frazzled. One day, while she was cooking on TV, some of the ingredients fell to the floor. She told her TV audience, “If this happens, just scoop it back. Remember, you are alone in the kitchen, and nobody can see you.”

Money

• Jack Paar and Ed Sullivan used to compete for the same guests. Mr. Sullivan paid anywhere from $5,000 to $7,500 for an appearance, while Mr. Paar’s Tonight Show could afford to pay only $320. In an attempt to keep performers from appearing with Mr. Paar, Mr. Sullivan announced that anyone who appeared on The Tonight Show would be paid only $320 for appearing on his show. Of course, many entertainers canceled their appearances on Mr. Paar’s show. However, one entertainer who remained loyal to Mr. Paar was comedian Joey Bishop, who joked on The Tonight Show, “I have one gripe. You told me Sullivan paid only $80. I thought this was the big money.”

• In November of 2007 Hollywood writers went on strike. Why? Ken Levine gave an answer in a column that he wrote for the Toronto Star. He pointed out that he had recently received a check from American Airlines, which had been showing episodes that he had written for Becker, Cheers, and M*A*S*H and that he had directed for Dharma & Greg, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Frasier. He estimates, based on number of years and on number of flights, that American Airlines has shown these episodes 10,000 times. So how much was Mr. Levine’s check for? Nineteen cents.

• In the early days of radio, singers often did not know how much to charge. Because they charged usually by the size of the audience at concerts — a smaller fee at smaller concert halls, and a larger fee at larger concert halls — they thought that they should charge a lot because of the vast size of the radio audience. Opera singer Harold Williams was once asked by Stanton Jefferies what he would charge for a radio broadcast. He said 100 guineas. Mr. Jefferies replied, “We had in mind seven guineas.” (Of course, the radio audience did not pay admission the way the audience at a concert hall would.)

• When Wah Ming Chang and Gene Warren decided to close their firm Project Unlimited, which had created special effects for such television series as Star Trek and such movies as The Time Machine, they advertised an auction of the models and costumes they had created. Bidding was fierce as sci-fi fans acquired memorabilia of their favorite shows, so Mr. Chang and Mr. Warren went to the back and dug through the trash bins to find worn-out puppets and other items that they had been about to throw out, but which collectors eagerly purchased.

• When she was a young woman, Oprah Winfrey entered a beauty contest that she did not expect to win. However, the judges found her answers to their questions original and interesting. For example, the final question asked of the three finalists was, “What would you do if you had one million dollars?” The first two finalists gave unoriginal, uninteresting answers — one would use the money to help her family, and the other would use it to help the poor. Ms. Winfrey’s answer was, “If I had a million dollars, I’d be a spending fool!” She won.

• Charles Correll and Freeman Gosden created and played the roles of Amos ’n’ Andy. Early in their career, they were asked to come to a meeting to discuss a radio program that they might star in. Mr. Correll and Mr. Gosden discussed how much to ask for their salary ahead of time, and they decided that they would be lucky to get $10 a week apiece. Therefore, when they were asked what salary they wanted — and then quickly were offered $125 a week — they sputtered, “Ten — ten — tentatively, yes.”

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy the Paperback

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Kindle

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Apple

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Barnes and Noble

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The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Smashwords: Many Formats, Including PDF

Music Recommendation: Maze — “Need Someone”

BRUCE’S RECOMMENDATION OF BANDCAMP MUSIC

Music: “Need Someone”

Album: THE SECOND COMING

Artist: Maze

Record Company: Aldora Britain Records

Record Company Location: Rothley, UK

Info:

“AB Records is an e-zine and record label that promotes the music and work of authentic independent or underground artists from all around the world. Originally established in 2013, they revamped themselves in 2018 with a brand new approach. Their first weekly compilation, aptly titled ‘THE SECOND COMING,’ was released in late 2019. They now also release original singles, EPs and charity projects.”

Price: £0.50 GBP for 10-track album

Genre: Rock. Pop. Various.

Links:

THE SECOND COMING

https://thealdorabritainrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-second-coming

Maze UK on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpCNpR8i-GvmHXoVHNbOgNQ

Aldora Britain Records on Bandcamp

https://thealdorabritainrecords.bandcamp.com

Aldora Britain Records on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/c/aldorabritainrecords/videos

MODS OF YOUR GENERATION on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl8YYy8iD8wG_fgegK2E2vw

David Bruce: The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Mishaps

Mishaps

• George Burns and Gracie Allen had years of experience performing in vaudeville before they started doing their radio show. This long experience came in handy when mishaps occurred on their show. One day, the lights in the studio went out, and no one could read the script. On another occasion, Gracie accidentally dropped her script, and the pages scattered everywhere. Both times, they ignored the script. George simply asked, “Gracie, how’s your brother?” — and Gracie started one of their well-memorized and very funny vaudeville routines.

• Archeologist Brian Rose lectured in 1996 at Ohio University, where he told this story about excavating the site of Troy in Turkey: At the site is a huge wooden horse that was built by the BBC for a documentary on the Trojan War. Today the horse is a tourist attraction, as people can go inside the horse and look out through shuttered windows. One day, members of Mr. Rose’s crew were inside the Trojan horse smoking with the shutters closed. This alarmed the Turkish security guards because they noticed smoke coming out of the horse’s nostrils.

• British broadcaster Magnus Magnusson once invited some archeologists to appear on his television program because they had discovered evidence that the headquarters of the Roman fleet in Britain (Classis Britannicus) had been located at Dover. The most important evidence they had found was a red slate marked with the Roman initials “C.B.” The archeologists brought the red slate with them and handed it to Mr. Magnusson, who promptly dropped it, breaking it in two, in between the initials.

• While working as a co-anchor at WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Maryland, Oprah Winfrey ran into problems when the assistant news director decided to change Ms. Winfrey’s appearance. Ms. Winfrey went to a beauty parlor and got a permanent, but it made all of her hair fall out. She was totally bald! Worse, she couldn’t find a wig that fit while her hair grew back, so she was forced to wear scarves. She said, “All my self-esteem was gone. My whole self-image. I cried constantly.

• Ralph Edwards used to surprise celebrities on his TV show, This is Your Life, in which he would bring on friends and family of the celebrity to reminisce about the celebrity’s life. Many celebrities — but not all — enjoyed this. Newsman Lowell Thomas was one who did not. On air, he referred to the proceedings as “a sinister conspiracy.” When Mr. Edwards said to him, “Lowell, I know you are going to enjoy tonight’s surprise,” an irritated Mr. Thomas replied, “I doubt it.”

• In one episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mary Tyler Moore (who played Laura Petrie) was required to make some eggs. The scene was supposed to last five minutes, but unfortunately the actors worked faster than that, and when the eggs were supposed to be done, they were runny. According to Ms. Moore, “It was quite a problem — what I really needed was a soup bowl! But Dick ate them, bless him, and only turned a little green.”

• The first episode of The Simpsons was supposed to air on Fox in the fall of 1989, but it was delayed because its executive producers — Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Sam Simon — discovered that the first episode contained several unauthorized tasteless jokes. (Apparently, authorized tasteless jokes are OK.) The Simpsonspremiered as a Christmas special in 1989, and the actual series started in January 1990.

• Tracey Ullman is a comedian who is known for her ability to create characters with her incredible acting talent and the aid of costumes, wigs, rubber masks, etc. While filming The Tracey Ullman Show for the Fox network, she changed characters so often that she once passed out in her dressing room from accidentally inhaling the chemicals used to remove her makeup.

• Kristen Bell, star of the TV series Veronica Mars, says that she once “fell madly in love” with Saturday Night Live star Amy Poehler because of her petiteness and sense of comedy. On a red carpet, she saw Ms. Poehler’s husband, actor Will Arnett, and told him, “I’m absolutely in love with your wife.” He replied, “I’m so glad you didn’t say me. That would have been awkward.”

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy the Paperback

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Kindle

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Apple

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Barnes and Noble

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Kobo

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Smashwords: Many Formats, Including PDF

Music Recommendation: The Beatpack — “Met Myself Coming Back”

BRUCE’S RECOMMENDATION OF BANDCAMP MUSIC

Music: “Met Myself Coming Back”

EP: BACK, BEHIND, AND IN FRONT EP

Artist: The Beatpack

Artist Location: London, England

Info:

“The Beatpack are London’s prime purveyors of brutal 60’s garage R’n’B.”

Back, Behind And In Front EP released on State Records 
Recorded in glorious Mono. 

Hugh Dellar – Vocal, Harp 
Simon Harvey – Electric\Acoustic Guitars, Vocal 
Adrian Smith – Electric\12-String Guitar, Vocal 
AJW Bourton – Bass, Organ, Autoharp, Vocal 
Charlie Gurney – Drums

Price: £1 (GBP) for track; £4 for four-track EP

Genre: Rhythm and Blues

Links:

BACK, BEHIND, AND IN FRONT EP

https://thebeatpack.bandcamp.com/album/back-behind-and-in-front-ep

The Beatpack on Bandcamp

https://thebeatpack.bandcamp.com

yes it is — Annette Rochelle Aben

What a glorious day Once you open your eyes Take time to realize You are so blessed Each of your needs is met Help everywhere you turn Books to read, stuff to learn Music playing Life’s an amazing gift To delight you daily Celebrate it gaily And be happy ©2021 Annette Rochelle Aben

yes it is — Annette Rochelle Aben

What a glorious day

Once you open your eyes

Take time to realize

You are so blessed

Each of your needs is met

Help everywhere you turn

Books to read, stuff to learn

Music playing

Life’s an amazing gift

To delight you daily

Celebrate it gaily

And be happy

©2021 Annette Rochelle Aben

David Bruce: The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Mishaps

Mishaps

• James Van Der Beek, star of TV’s Dawson’s Creek, got into acting partly through an accident. When he was 13 years old, he played organized football, but he suffered a concussion in a game. Instead of sitting on the bench the rest of the season, he decided to try acting in community theater and landed the role of bad boy Danny Zuko in Grease. That role increased his interest in acting, and soon he was heading to New York City to try to land roles. He did get a role in an acne-medicine commercial in which he would play the teenager with clear skin. Unfortunately, on the day the commercial was shot James had an outbreak of zits. Fortunately, he was able to keep the job — the zits were covered up with lots of makeup. Acting as a teenager had one other bad result for James: At Cheshire Academy, he had been elected vice president of his class, but he missed too many meetings because he was filming a movie titled Angus, and so he was impeached.

• Comedian Dave Thomas once starred in a television series titled The Dave Thomas Comedy Show. On the very first show, Mr. Thomas and guest Chevy Chase did a sketch about being afraid to fly, and they even wore ridiculous wigs with hair standing straight on end to show how scared of flying they were. On the night the TV show debuted, Mr. Thomas invited Mr. Chase and many other friends to his house, and they sat watching the program. Unfortunately, breaking news occurred as the fear-of-flying sketch unfolded. A real airplane crashed, and news of the crash — and film of staggering survivors — kept interrupting the show. For a while, the TV station alternated between showing horrible airplane wreckage and showing Mr. Thomas and Mr. Chase in ridiculous wigs joking about airplane disasters. Shortly afterward, the series was cancelled.

• Back in 1967, a TV commercial for Colt 45 Malt Liquor showed an impassive man named Billy Van seated at a table in a bullring as a matador fights a bull. The bull charged Mr. Van and the table, crashing him into a wall. In a close-up, Mr. Van dusts himself off impassively, sits down at the table impassively, and pours himself a glass of Colt 45 Malt Liquor — which makes him smile. The stunt with the bull was unplanned — the bull was supposed to ignore the man at the table and concentrate instead on the matador fighting him. Actually, the man at the table was not Mr. Van; it was another matador dressed as Mr. Van, who appeared only in the close-ups. The owner of the bullring told the TV film crew, “Don’t worry. If de matador dies, I get you another one.” Fortunately, the matador did not die.

• Carole Lombard once appeared in a radio program sponsored by International Silver. In addition to performing on the program, Ms. Lombard read a commercial endorsing the sponsor’s products. The commercial touted International Silver’s new pattern of silverware, Interlude, and Ms. Lombard had to read, “The bride who has Interlude on her dining room table will want Interlude in every room of the house.” However, during a dress rehearsal, a practical joker changed the wording of the commercial, so that Ms. Lombard found herself reading, “The bride who has Intercourse on her dining room table will want Intercourse in every room of the house.”

• Art Linkletter once pulled a stunt on his People are Funny TV program in which he rented a room at a hotel and had a young woman drop notes into the street reading, “Am being held by kidnappers in Room 617 … Help!” Sure enough, a sailor saw one of the notes and came rushing into the hotel, where he “rescued” the young woman, then appeared on Mr. Linkletter’s TV show. Unfortunately, several of the notes that the young woman dropped from her window fell to a ledge, where they stayed until a few days later, when they were blown into the street. Eventually, police officers rushed into room 617, searching for kidnappers and startling the paying guest.

• Arthur O’Connell once had the pleasure of conducting for Lily Pons — and of conducting a few selections without Ms. Pons. After Ms. Pons’ final song, the MC announced, “And now the Philadelphia Orchestra will play Beethoven’s Consecration of the House under the direction of Mr. O’Connell.” Unfortunately, a loud member of the audience yelled — with a voice clearly audible to Mr. O’Connell and the millions of people listening on the radio — “To h*ll with Mr. O’Connell; give us some more Lily Pons!” Ms. Pons was enough of a lady not to laugh — until she saw Mr. O’Connell laughing.

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy the Paperback

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Kindle

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Apple

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Barnes and Noble

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Kobo

The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy Smashwords: Many Formats, Including PDF

Music Recommendation: Viernes de Hongos [Mushroom Friday] — “Agente Naranja” [Agent Orange]

BRUCE’S RECOMMENDATION OF BANDCAMP MUSIC

Music: “Agente Naranja” [Agent Orange]

EP: THE RETURN OF THE CHAMPIÑONS

Artist: Viernes de Hongos [Mushroom Friday]

Artist Location: Mexico, Missouri

Info:

Banda de Instro Surf Rock y otras cosas.”

“Instro [Instrumental] Surf Rock band and other stuff.”

Price: $1 for track; $5 (UDS) for six-track EP

Genre: Surf. Instrumental.

Links:

THE RETURN OF THE CHAMPIÑONS

https://viernesdehongos.bandcamp.com/album/the-return-of-the-champi-ons

Viernes de Hongos  on Bandcamp

https://viernesdehongos.bandcamp.com

Viernes de Hongos on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/c/VIERNESDEHONGOS/videos?app=desktop&view=0&sort=dd&shelf_id=0