Annie’s Second Childhood

By Bruce Buschel Philadelphia, June 1977 Act I East Haddam. Connecticut: June, 1976 Scene 1: Auditions The scent is reminiscent of nothing. Though it is uniquely theatrical, few stagehands have ever had their nostrils filled with this odor that visits the legitimate...

Sellavision

By Bill Zehme Playboy, June 1987 Ralph Kramden, a bus driver from Brooklyn, was the father of TV home shopping. He called it Better Living Through Television and hatched a portentous scheme from which an unstoppable movement has followed. For $200, he had acquired...

The Chinese Gourmet Club

Here’s something fun. From Kenneth Tynan’s lavish 1977 New Yorker profile of Mel Brooks (available online only to New Yorker subscribers though you can also find it in Tynan’s wonderful collection, Profiles): After separating from his wife in 1960, Brooks had spent a...

Moon Over Hollywood

By Steve Oney Playboy, July 1995 A couple of hours before the sight of his naked, middle-aged fanny began filling television screens across America, Dennis Franz sat in his trailer on the Twentieth Century Fox lot in Los Angeles replaying a cassette of the soon-to-air...

Bochco

By John Schulian The Stacks Reader, April 4, 2018 There were unknowns piled atop unknowns when I began planning to give up my newspaper sports column and light out for Hollywood. Foremost among them was whether Steven Bochco would answer the letter I sent him. He was...

Is Everything Okay?

By Charles P. Pierce GQ, April 1994 The office park is blank and dead. Denver boomed and Denver busted and this is what’s left—a tiny knot of shuttered buildings strung like a browning Christmas wreath around a ruined hillside. Inside, the carpeting is scarred and...

The Horse Lovers

By Pat Jordan TV Guide, 1988 Prologue The movie is Bluegrass, a four-hour, CBS-TV mini-series. The actors are Cheryl Ladd, Brian Kerwin, Anthony Andrews, Mickey Rooney, and Wayne Rodgers. The setting is Lexington, Kentucky, Bluegrass Country, where thoroughbred...

Breaking the Wall

By Pat Jordan TV Guide (original draft), 1989 Studio Executive to Director of Stick: “You’ll have to re-shoot some scenes.”   Director to Executive: “I don’t have to re-shoot any thing. I’m Burt Reynolds.”   Executive to Director: “You used to be Burt Reynolds.”   It...