UP THE NEWS
One advantage of
shooting a television sitcom in front of an audience is being able to
immediately tell what works and what doesn't. If a joke isn't funny the
audience won't react and the awkward silence is more than adequate at getting
this point across. On the other hand, when something is working the
laughter is greatly encouraging and can even push the actors farther than they
might have gone otherwise. When a show is well-scripted and incorporates
physical comedy there can be no doubt that the audience will react the way the
producers and writers hope they will. And the night is magic . . . .
seemed strange to be at the studios on a Saturday. The weekend is a very
unusual time for programs other than game shows to be filming. But because
Bronson had been suffering from an ear infection that week, the show had been
postponed and would be filmed on March 10th, 1990 instead of during the week.
quickly, the actors were introduced and prepared for the first scene.
Bronson, seated at Balki's worktable, proceeded to pull out a pitch pipe to cue
his first note and the filming began with the wonderful and now classic Put
On Your Sunday Clothes musical segment. The entire scene, including
the dance number, was done in one take!
second scene took place on the Uncle Shaggy set. During one take Bronson
entered, then turned to the director and asked, "Was that right to come
in?" "Yes!" the director confirmed. Realizing the
shot was ruined, Bronson smiled at the camera with a friendly, "Hi
entire scene was filmed once with the audience reacting a little
sluggishly. The ten minute film magazines ran out during this time as
well. But during the second take things picked up, the pace went a lot
smoother and the audience reacted much better. The original Frenchie and
Hot Dog were put through their acrobatic routine one more time to film Balki and
Larry's reaction shots.
audience was fully involved in the story by the third scene. When Uncle
Shaggy entered the boys' apartment to tell them he'd been fired, the cameras
moved to reset and the audience reacted with a heartfelt, "Oooooooooohhh!!!",
to which Bronson and Mark looked up into the stands as if to say "What in
the heck . . . ?" As the scene continued to shoot, Mark flubbed his
one line by saying "They can't put you in jail for that!"
Bronson was quick to correct him. "No, they can't fire you
because of that." "I knew that," Mark replied jokingly.
was a slight change in the scene where the cousins try to talk with the Uncle
Shaggy Show's producer. The first time they did it, Bronson went through
the routine of "Uncle Shaggy is more than just the floppy ears, the tail,
etc. . . . " and indicated the ears and tail as if they were on
himself. When they retook the scene they had changed it so Bronson
indicated the ears and tail on the producer and it worked out to be much funnier
that way. They used the second take in the final show.
insane acrobatics Mark and Bronson performed on The Uncle Shaggy Show were
retaken several times, to the point that the boys had to be getting terribly
tired, but the audience went absolutely crazy over their jumping around and take
after take the laughter stayed just as strong! The part where they jump
over the couch was filmed several times and the best take by far (the one they
eventually used) was when they leapt over the couch and Mark proceeded to slide
off the couch onto the floor on his face (something which only happened that one
time). One time Mark flew over the couch and just landed on his face on
the couch and when they went to pick up the scene from that spot the director
asked "Mark? Aren't you still on your face?" Mark just
gave him an unbelieving expression then slowly and methodically lied back down
on the couch, awkwardly, on his face, much to the amusement of the audience who
felt sorry for him having to lie back down that way! The audience really
strongly booed the woman playing the part of the producer when she insisted the
kids would get over Uncle Shaggy being fired and every time she walked off
camera to the booing and hissing she would look into the audience with a shrug,
as if to say "I can't help it! That's just my part!" After
the Frenchie and Hot Dog antics by Balki and Larry were filmed they took time to
get a few pick ups of the Uncle Shaggy director and producer before moving on.
last short scene with Uncle Shaggy in the apartment was filmed straight through
without much mishap. One thing cut from the final show was at the end of
the scene Balki and Larry put on the dog noses and howl. However if you
watch the final credits of the show they included a still from that edited
into the audience bleachers to do answers and questions, they responded to one
man's question of "Where's Jennifer?" with "Waiting at your
house!" They mentioned they had once briefly met each other during
the auditions for Risky Business and Bronson explained that he'd been
suffering from an inner ear infection. Taking that into consideration it's
amazing how much energy they spent on this episode but it sure shows in the
final product which is probably why the show is enjoyed so much by the fans!
to Call Me Indestructible filming