AuthorsDen.com   Join (Free!) | Login  

     Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
   Services MarketPlace (Free to post!)
Where Authors and Readers come together!

SIGNED BOOKS    AUTHORS    eBOOKS new!     BOOKS    STORIES    ARTICLES    POETRY    BLOGS    NEWS    EVENTS    VIDEOS    GOLD    SUCCESS    TESTIMONIALS

Featured Authors:  Martyn Kinsella-Jones, iJ.J. Snow, iOwen Thomas, iAlfred Schwab, iJames Becher, iKevin Weeks, iGracie McKeever, i

  Home > Biography > Books Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

Marley Brant

· Become a Fan
· Contact me
· Books
· News
· 8 Titles
· 1 Reviews
· Add to My Library
· Share with Friends!
·
Member Since: May, 2006

Marley Brant, click here to update your pages on AuthorsDen.




Featured Book
The Devil's Path
by Richard Turner

A Long Hidden Secret. An Unseen Enemy. A Dangerous Quest for the Truth...  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members


Featured Book
Deedee Divine's Totally Skewed Guide to Life
by Diana Estill

From holiday hazards to riffs on road trips and the decline in our nation's GNP ("Gross Needless Products"), humorist Diana Estill sets loose her alter ego Deedee to shar..  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members




Category: 

Biography

Publisher:  Billboard Books Type: 
Pages: 

288

Copyright:  Oct 30, 2006
Non-Fiction

See larger image

NOW AVAILABLE!!! A behind-the-scenes look at Paramount Television sitcoms "Happy Days", "Laverne & Shirley", "Mork & Mindy", "Taxi", "Bosom Buddies", "Cheers" "Family Ties" and many others.

Barnes & Noble.com
Happier Days

In the ten years that Happy Days would reign as one of the leading shows in television, Paramount Television produced a solid package of comedy series written by some of the best and brightest the industry would ever know: Lowell Ganz, Bob Brunner, Ed. Weinberger, Les and Glen Charles, Gary David Goldberg, Michael Leeson, Dale McRaven, Stan Daniels, Brian Levant, Earl Pomerantz, David Angell, and hundreds more who would keep America connected and laughing out loud. The producers who were selected by Paramount to serve as the foundations of the shows were extremely adept at employing top-notch directors and writers and at casting little-known actors with a flair for capturing their audience and creating characters with whom America would love to spend time. These were men and women who understood television and knew comedic appeal: Garry Marshall, Tom Miller, Eddie Milkis, Bob Boyett, Gary David Goldberg, David Davis, Mark Rothman, Bruce Johnson, Leonora Thuna, and a dozen other resourceful wunderkinds. The directors came from such television classics as The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, The Odd Couple, and included the incredible talents of Jerry Paris, Jim Burrows, Howard Storm, Joel Wick, Jeff Chambers, and Garry Marshall.

And the actors. The actors came from film, television, stage, comedy clubs, and out of the blue: Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Robin Williams, Penny Marshall, Danny DeVito, Andy Kaufman, Pam Dawber, Tom Hanks, Ted Danson, Donna Pescow, Kelsey Grammer, Michael J. Fox, Michael Gross, and on and on - actors who may have been known only slightly – if at all - when they were cast but whose opportunities through their association with Paramount Television productions would create a place for them to detonate their talent and become household names.

      


Excerpt

Nineteen seventy-four was quite a year for the United States. The war in Vietnam was nearing an end, Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency and Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the SLA. World politics impacted the country through events such as Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in China, the ending of the previous year’s oil embargo by OPEC, and the successful testing of an atomic device in India. Contributions in entertainment were significant through Hank Aaron hitting his 715th home run, publication of Stephen King’s first novel, “Carrie”, “The Godfather Part II” being awarded Best Picture at the Academy Awards and the first issue of People Magazine. As society attempted to forge ahead into a year of unpredictability and change, a group of creative television forces determined to cast a glance back to the relative calm and safety of the fifties. Happy Days, a half-hour show based in that era and sweeter than apple pie, arrived on the scene to take the country by storm and provide America with an extended family every bit as lovable and involving as that of Lucy and Desi, Samantha and Darrin, Laura and Rob, Pa Cartwright and his boys, and Andy and Opie. Happy Days’ Cunningham family, in fact, even had Opie. Well, it had Ron Howard, the actor who portrayed Opie on the popular Andy Griffith Show. Happy Days provided its audience with a comfortable, familiar locality on Tuesday nights. Who said you can’t go home again?

During the years 1974 to 1984, the movie lot at Paramount in Hollywood was the place to be. Paramount Pictures was producing films such as “Chinatown”, “Day of the Locus”, “The Godfather Part II”, “Saturday Night Fever”, and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. The television area of the lot was active with the dramatic shows Star Trek, Petrocelli, Paper Moon, and Little House on the Prairie, as well as an abundance of made-for-television movies and mini-series such as “Shogun.” Then there were the sitcoms: Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, Taxi, Angie, Bosom Buddies, Family Ties, Cheers, and a dozen or so other shorter-lived series. Creative talent was drawn to Paramount like chocoholics to a brownie.

In the ten years that Happy Days would reign as one of the leading shows in television, Paramount Television produced a solid package of comedy series written by some of the best and brightest the industry would ever know: Lowell Ganz, Bob Brunner, Ed. Weinberger, Les and Glen Charles, Gary David Goldberg, Michael Leeson, Dale McRaven, Stan Daniels, Brian Levant, Earl Pomerantz, David Angell, and hundreds more who would keep America connected and laughing out loud. The producers who were selected by Paramount to serve as the foundations of the shows were extremely adept at employing top-notch directors and writers and at casting little-known actors with a flair for capturing their audience and creating characters with whom America would love to spend time. These were men and women who understood television and knew comedic appeal: Garry Marshall, Tom Miller, Eddie Milkis, Bob Boyett, Gary David Goldberg, David Davis, Mark Rothman, Bruce Johnson, Leonora Thuna, and a dozen other resourceful wunderkinds. The directors came from such television classics as The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, The Odd Couple, and included the incredible talents of Jerry Paris, Jim Burrows, Howard Storm, Joel Wick, Jeff Chambers, and Garry Marshall.

And the actors. The actors came from film, television, stage, comedy clubs, and out of the blue: Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Robin Williams, Penny Marshall, Danny DeVito, Andy Kaufman, Pam Dawber, Tom Hanks, Ted Danson, Donna Pescow, Kelsey Grammer, Michael J. Fox, Michael Gross, and on and on - actors who may have been known only slightly – if at all - when they were cast but whose opportunities through their association with Paramount Television productions would create a place for them to detonate their talent and become household names.

Some of the actors involved in the Paramount sitcoms, like Robin Williams and Tom Hanks, would go on to become superstars, appearing in television only as guest stars as their film careers skyrocketed. Others, like Tony Danza, Kelsey Grammer, Ted Danson, Scott Baio, and Kirstie Alley, would remain in television as the singular stars of their own series. Corey Feldman, Henry Winkler, Michael McKean, Christopher Lloyd, and Michael J. Fox would all experience success in both film and television. Ron Howard, James Brooks, Penny Marshall, and Danny DeVito became renowned film directors. Jim Burrows, a regular on the Paramount lot, would become the television director who holds the track record for the most pilots that developed into series. The talent of the Paramount sitcom players knew no bounds. Most would remember fondly that the time they were associated with a Paramount Television series was a magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The Paramount sitcoms were filmed before studio audiences, allowing the fans of the shows to come on the lot and share the fun. It wasn’t unusual for visitors to the set of Mork & Mindy to see Robin Williams delight and astonish with his improvisation and employment of a variety of personalities and countless voices. Taxi’s Andy Kaufman was another loose cannon to observe. “Try to ignore him,” Jim Burrows once said to me. “Even though you can’t.” Henry Winkler, who through his character, Fonzie, became one of television’s biggest stars, always took time to meet his fans and sign autographs after a taping. Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari would often visit other of the Paramount television stages, dressed as women for their roles in Bosom Buddies. The interaction between the dozens of actors and other creative talent on the lot was remarkable.

But not everything at Paramount Television was entertaining. The fights between Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams on the Laverne & Shirley set were common knowledge on the lot. Scott Baio, a teen idol through his Happy Days character, Chachi Arcola, received a death threat. Shelley Long had a serious problem with the character Dr. Frasier Crane. David Landers faced a battle with multiple sclerosis. The bridges that Andy Kaufman burned along the path of his rise to stardom were innumerable as he pulled out all of the stops to make himself as obnoxious – and noticed - as possible. Drugs happened and Robin Williams was at the head of the line. Egos flared sometimes out of control as many actors were exposed for the first time to the naturally competitive nature involved with the television business. The networks that aired the shows created tension and heartbreak as they shifted the series on their programming schedules and caused more than one of the hit series to finally collapse under the weight of their constant tinkering. As the popularity of the Paramount sitcoms and the stars they created rose, so too did the unpredictability and problems.

The legendary guest stars drawn to appear on the shows also became a part of the story. Cameos, bit parts, and memorable appearances were written for the likes of Tom Selleck, Martin Mull, Carol Kane, Pat O’Brien, Danny Thomas, Crispin Glover, Amy Irving, David Letterman, Tate Donovan, Hank Azaria, Andy Griffith, Johnny Carson, and even Danny DeVito’s mother, Julia. Robin Williams was fascinated by Jonathan Winters, who became a cast member on Mork & Mindy by playing the couple’s son, Mearth. I once heard Robin commenting that Winters was “so talented, it’s fucking scary.” In light of Winters’s previous bouts with mental illness, perhaps it was, but Winters together with Williams was pure magic. Raquel Welch appeared as a delicious alien guest star on that show but didn’t check her diva behavior at the Paramount gate. During the course of her guest-starring stint she suggested outlandish changes to the script and once, discovering that I was a studio publicist, threw me out of her trailer. Carol Kane’s appearance as Latka Gravais’s girlfriend, Simka, on Taxi brought an excited merriment to the set through her unique comedic ability and the hilarious new language she and Kaufman created. The friends of the stars, some of them legendary entertainers themselves, would periodically drop in to watch the tapings. It was a fact that with such a wide and diverse group of extremely talented actors, anything could happen on the Paramount lot. It was, simply put, an exciting time.

The sitcoms produced at Paramount Television during those golden years 1974 to 1984 were a springboard for sophisticated comedy and successful entertainment careers. It was a unique environment that culminated in programming that set the standard by which sitcoms would be judged for years to come. I was blessed to be a small part of the excitement in my role as assistant to Paramount Television’s Vice President of Publicity, Dick Winters. I savor my days and nights on the various sets and my interactions with the amazingly creative people who brought these series into our homes. From 1974 through 1984 the comedy productions of Paramount Television truly were lightning in a bottle.




Want to review or comment on this book?
Click here to login!


Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!





Featured Book
The Winning Edge Lessons From Billy Henderson
by Aubrey Hammack

The book is about the life of legendary Coach Billy Henderson from Macon, Georgia. He is a former standout for the University of Georgia in football and baseball as well..  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members


Featured Book
Damned Grounds
by Terry Vinson

Craving a good, creepy scarefest that cuts straight to the the terrifying bone, so to speak? DAMNED GROUNDS is a masterpiece of unrelenting terror covering six deca..  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members




Authors alphabetically: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us


Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen
© AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.