• Often, fans want to make friends with celebrities. Before starring in his sitcom, stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld was at a car wash when a man who had seen his act came up to him and asked, “Could we be friends?” Mr. Seinfeld replied, “Well, that’s really the nicest thing you can ever ask someone, but I’m a little busy.”
• Ann B. Davis first became famous as “Schultzy” on The Bob Cummings Show, then she became famous to a new generation of fans as Alice on The Brady Bunch. A friend once introduced her young daughter to Ms. Davis by saying, “You remember Schultzy.” The young daughter indignantly replied, “That’s not Schultzy — that’s Alice!”
• On The Dick Van Dyke Show, Rob and Laura Petrie lived at 448 Bonnie Meadow Road in New Rochelle, New York. This was the real-life address of series creator Carl Reiner — except that he added an extra number to the address so that fans of the series wouldn’t stop by and knock on his door.
• Orson Welles was such a huge (pun definitely intended) fan of The Dick Van Dyke Show that he once broke off an interview with director Peter Bogdanovich when he realized that a re-run of his favorite sitcom was on TV.
• The father of Balanchine ballerina Allegra Kent once appeared on TV’s Gong Show. He dressed himself as an egg, and he recited some poetry he had written. He spoke eloquently, but every time he mentioned a rifle shot in his poetry, he cracked an egg over his head — this particular poem had lots of rifle shots. Eventually, he was gonged. Some people regarded it as a pitiful performance, but Ms. Kent was proud of her father for developing an offbeat act and for not being afraid to perform his act on TV.
• When comedian Morey Amsterdam appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, using his cello as a comic prop, his father — a professional cellist — telegraphed him: “YOUR CELLO IS OUT OF TUNE.”
• Many people’s favorite episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show is “It May Look Like a Walnut!” In this episode the Earth is invaded by aliens with no thumbs, an extra eye in the back of their head, and a taste for walnuts. Near the end of this episode, Rob Petrie opens a closet and Laura Petrie, played by Mary Tyler Moore, slides out on top of a huge pile of walnuts. Ms. Moore relates that the week the episode was being filmed, all the members of the cast were snacking on walnuts, which filled them with gas. As Ms. Moore slid down the pile of walnuts, she passed a little gas, but fortunately the sound was covered up by the laughter of the audience.
• On the TV series Goosebumps, a dedicated young actress named Kathryn Long played a role that required her to eat a sandwich in which a worm had been placed. Not knowing about the worm, the character takes a bite of the sandwich, chews it, and swallows it. Of course, the people behind the series wanted to use a fake worm for the scene, but being a dedicated young actress, Ms. Long said, “We need a real worm. I can’t really play the scene right unless we use a real worm.” So they used a real worm, and for the twelve takes it took to shoot the scene right, Ms. Long bit into a real worm, chewed it up, and swallowed it.
• As a teenager, Lucille Ball went to New York to try to get work as an actress and model. Frequently, after running out of money, she would have to come back home, but she kept going back to New York. One way that she survived was by finding “one-doughnut” men. In Lucy’s words: “This is a guy who sits at a counter and orders doughnuts and coffee. He drinks his coffee, eats one doughnut and puts down a nickel tip. I’d do a fast slide onto his stool, yell for a cup of coffee, pay for it with his nickel, and eat the other doughnut.”
• As a result of playing Laverne in the TV sitcom Laverne and Shirley (Cindy Williams played Shirley), Penny Marshall had many interesting experiences. One day, she got some cheesecake out of the refrigerator at home. When her husband asked where the cheesecake had come from, she was able to honestly reply, “A man in a bunny suit gave it to Cindy and me.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy