Monday, April 27, 2015

Eddie by Ken Osmond

Ken Osmond and Christopher J. Lynch. Eddie: The Life and Times of America's Preeminent Bad Boy. San Bernardino, Ca.:, 2014.

Ken Osmond's father worked at Universal Studios. Ken began taking drama classes at age 4. Dancing lessons were then added. He worked as an extra in movies. In 1952, his first role was a small port on "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet". He then had a role in the movie "Good Morning Miss Dove". This was following by more TV appearances, including an episode of "Corky" in 1957 which started Micky Lopez as Corky. He later, in 1957, won the role of Eddie Haskell on "Leave It to Beaver". It originally was meant for one episode He would up being in 97 of the show's 235 episodes.

"Leave It to Beaver" began with Monday table reads while led to script revisions. The scenes were blocked on Tuesdays. Child labor loads had a maximum of eight hours working per day including three hours of school.

"Leave It to Beaver" moved from Republic Studios to a better deal at Universal Studios.

After the show was cancelled, Osmond went into the helicopter rental business He then because a Los Angeles Police Officer. He was wounded when shot pursuing a suspect. He was also questioned by Internal Affairs asking if he was an adult film star. It turned out that porn star John Holmes was cleaning to have been Eddie Haskell. Osmond appeared in a few TV episodes.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

If You Build It…by Dwier Brown

Dwieer Brown. If You Build It…Ojai, Ca.: Elsie Jean Books, 2014.

The author, an actor, at one point in his career felt typecast as over 12 of his characters died over a five year period. This made him feel as if a part of him was dying. He asked God for one "meaningful" role, after which he would devote himself to helping others. He received his iconic role in the movie "Field of Dreams". He played Joe Kinsella, the deceased father who emerges in the field to play catch with his adult son.

The author recalls advice form his father His father taught him that working at something made one better. He realized he had never considered acting as something one worked on. He began working at his craft.

The "Field of Dreams" Executive Producer insured the corn filed as it was that important to the script. When drought hit, the insurance company paid for damming a creek for irrigating the corn field rather than their paying the $3 million insurance policy benefit. As a backup, 60,000 actual size silk corn stalks were offered. The irrigation project worked.

When Brown auditioned for the role, he read the script and realized his character wanted to find peace with his son and let his son know he loves him. He entered the audition telling himself "I am John Kinsella."

He learned in acting class that one has to become the character. He was taught "acting isn't lying; acting is telling the truth."

Brown's scene was filmed three times. There were 3,000 extras. Flashing high beams were used in the third take as there were fears the previous two takes were not working with background cars. The third take worked, which was good as the first two takes found the film was all blank.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Fine Romance by Candace Bergen

Candace Bergen. A Fine Romance. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015.

Bergen auditioned for the TV series"Murphy Brown". She writes her audition "tanked" as she didn't have a comedic background. Diane English, a showwriter- producer, insisted Bergen was the right person and Bergen was hired. Bergen writes "in television, writer-producers are king---queen, in this case."

Bergen fund performing in a sitcom that "I was in a state of shock. It was a complete out of body experience, a dramatic difference format: four cameras filmed before a live audience."

On "Murphy Brown", the writers often worked past midnight for the Monday table reads.The scripts were good and there was no improvisation, Bergen writes.

A running gag on the show was Bergen's character was so difficult she had a different secretary each week. Among those portraying her secretary were Sally Field, Paul Reubens, Michael Kramer, and Bette Midler.

Bergen won five Emmys, the most anyone ever won for the same role. She withdrew her name during the show's seventh season.

The show "Murphy Brown" engaged in cultural commentary. The show became part of the culture. Vice President Dan Quayle criticized "Murphy Brown" for depicting a single woman raising a child. This created a national discussion.

Bergen loved her work. In the 7th season, some of the other cast returned from time off complaining about returning to the grind yet Bergen enjoyed working. What did trouble her was her husband was ill, in failing health, and then died.

After "Murphy Brown" ended, Bergen had an interview show on Oxygen called "Exhale with CandaceBergen". It ran for two seasons.

Bergen was in movies, yet as Bergen writes, "demand for me never returned to the degree it has been with "Muphy". Bcause I had become a click: a middle aged actress marginalized in her career. Jobs dry up. Visibility is gone." She would then be cast on the TV series "Boston Legal" with James Spader. Spader, she writes, "is truly eccentric, initially a bit prickly, hyper focused and hyper intelligent."

So That Happened by Jon Cryer

Jon Cryer. So That Happened: A Memoir. New York, N.Y.: New American, 2015.

On the first day filming his first movie, the scene was supposed to be one of birds pooping on Cryer and other cast members. The director, Robert Altman was upset as the angle of the bird poop was appearing sideways, which was not realistic. Altman positioned himself and dropped fake bird poor on Cryer and other actors. Thus begun Cryer's film career.

Cryer first appeared on TV at age 4. His mother was in a commercial for Zestab vitamins where she was asked if she had children. Cyer and his sister were then added to the commercial.

Cryer studied acting under Dr. Jack Ramano, who was known for throwing chairs and once criticizing someone singing with "you sound like a fart in a balloon." Cryer stated Ramano was cruel "but it never came off as true cruelty---it was always inbred with the feeling that he wanted you to be better."

Cryer attended a summer program at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. There, June Kemp taught mask work, where a student wore a mask and then performed body motions to match the mask.

Cryer won a role understudying Matthew Broderick in the play "Brighton Beach Memoirs" as he looked like Broderick. He was then offered to understudy the lead in "Torch Song Trilogy" where he was fired the first day for not knowing his lines. He was given a second chance and later replaced the lead. He toured with the play where Robert Altman saw him for his movie "O.C. and Stiggs".

Altman liked improvisation. The movie was released three years after it was filmed.

Cryer dated Demi Moore. He learned she cheated on him and had a drug problem.

Cryer was cast in the movie "Pretty in Pink". The costume designed decided his character would wear nothing that matched, thus showing his clash of personalities. "Pretty in Pink" was originally  filmed with the female lead, portrayed by Molly Ringwald, being with Cryer's character. Test markerig felt the lead girl should should overcome social barriers and be with the wealthy guy at the movie's end. Cryer admits he was "mystified" by his character ending up with someone he had just met. Cryer learned that Molly Ringwald wanted Robert Downey Jr for his part Rinwald later stated she could see chemistry between herself an Downey but not with Cryer. Cryer wonders if Ringwald sabotaged him for the new ending.

The director picked Cryer to be in another John Hughes produced movie. Yet the director was fired and Cryer lost his part along with the director

Cryer was given a Paramount office to produce movies. In reality it was a way to keep an actor at a studio. None of their ideas were actually made. Cryer than got his own office. He produced a movie
"Adult Education" as the first of four movies of his that bombed in 1987.

Cryer was on a short-lived TV show "The Famous Teddy Z". Its cancellation left Cryer emotionally bruised.

Cryer found success in the move "Hot Shots". He worked with Charlie Sheen who spent evenings at clubs and strip clubs, yet this never affected his acting.

cryer auditioned for, but did not get, the role of Chandler on "Friends".

Cryer co-wrote, starred in, and produced  a notable independent film "Went to Coney Island…."

Cryer was in a movie "The Pompatous of Love". The financier never paid the Screen Actors Guild he small amount for residuals. The Guild seized the film and sold it for less than $10,000.

Cryer was facing financial ruin and his marriage was in trouble. He was then offered two roles, to be on "Battlestar Gallactica" and "Two and a Half Men". He felt the "Two and a Half Men" would work as he felt good vibes filming the pilot. Charlie Sheen was "a natural". The writers were funny. The show opened o great rations and held most of its original audience.

Charlie Sheens's ability to drink and party late at night and still act began fading away Sheen began criticizing the show. He demanded producer Chuck Lorre and others be fired. Lorrie fired him.

Hugh Grant was picked to be added to the cast. Grant changed his mind. Ashton Kuchner was added to the cast.

Sheen later apologized. He was using testosterone cream that made hm angry. Ironically, the demands Sheen made happened.