Tuesday, February 9, 2016
all our little joys relate
I find myself wondering about things sometimes --
I wonder --
~~ Is our money safe in the banks since the Glass Steagall Act was repealed?
~~ Why did so many core characters leave the popular TV show M*A*S*H?
~~ Is octopus the same as a squid?
Seriously, think about the situation-comedy MASH, 1973 - 1983.
There are shows that have quality writing, production, and acting, but little popular success.
And there are shows with high popular success but uneven or low quality.
MASH had the quality and the popular audience. You cannot ask for more than that if you're working in TV, I think -- that's it, the whole package.
And yet if you look at it, while that show had basically seven main characters -- of those seven, four of them quit long before the series ended, two of those after only three years!
Here's the rundown:
Alan Alda, ("Hawkeye Pierce") stayed through whole series.
Loretta Swit ("Hotlips Houlihan") stayed through whole series.
William Christopher ("Father Mulcahy") stayed through whole series.
Wayne Rogers ("Trapper John McIntyre") - quit after 3 seasons.
McLean Stevenson ("Henry Blake") - quit after 3 seasons.
Larry Linville ("Frank Burns") - quit after 5 seasons.
Gary Burghoff ("Walter 'Radar' O'Reilly") - quit after 8th season.
Guys! Gentlemen! You want to work in a fun business and get paid to act and have job security etc., even if you were on a bad show, it seems ill-advised to quit after only a few years -- you're quitting your security! How are you going to live? Plus -- you're not on a bad show, you're on a good show! For heaven's sake, what more do you want? Are you crazy?
(Someone should write me a theme song, for when I give advice:
"What-More-Do-You-Want-Are-You-Crazy?" arranged to the tune of "If My Friends Could See Me Now." Or maybe "Proud Mary.")
________________________ A couple of arguments could be made, that these people were not TOTALLY insane to quit a hit show. Radar (Gary Burghoff) stayed 8 seasons, and that was considered a long time back then for a sitcom to be on, and still is, I suppose. Shows went five years, many times.
And we could use that argument for Larry Linville (Frank) too -- sitcoms go five seasons; he worked five seasons; he thought he'd go do something else.
And -- in the current age of what some say is Thoroughgoing Mindless Greed in some areas of the economy -- the fact that these actors walked away from the paycheck is maybe admirable. And it's their life, they can do what they want.
But Trapper John
-- when you read their reasons for leaving the show after three seasons, it's pretty lightweight, short-term thinking...they each, apparently, resented "playing second fiddle" to Hawkeye (Alan Alda).
That is just silly, on so many levels. First, there were no fiddles in MASH...no, seriously -- these actors, I think, were just looking at it all wrong. To be part of a show like that may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Regardless of your own Talent. It's the way the business is.
There aren't dozens of other quality, intellectually-honest shows out there just waiting for you to star in them (Me, Number One, not that pesky Alan Alda!...lol).
If you're on a show that's good, and successful, that is what they call "lightning in a bottle." Leaving that show -- well, it's the same mentality as Don McLean not playing "American Pie" in concert in the 70s! LOL -- it's the same thing! Ego run-amuck. (Narcissists, much?)
("I'll outshine that ol' Alan Alda!"
"I'll teach that number one hit song [that I wrote & recorded] a lesson, darn it! I just won't play it, so there!")
Oohhh - kaay...
Such activities seem, to the observer, like "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" ...
I must get this through my head:
There are people in world who do not know when they are fortunate. And they will futz-it-up.
On a thought-level, I accept this.
On a feeling-level, I don't "get it" and so I fight against it.
(No! No they can't be that crazy!
Yes they can!
It's not possible!
Yes it is!)
I got to thinking about this subject because got to thinking about Alan Alda because I saw on DVD Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993).