. . OR GET OFF THE POT
taken by Cousin Paula Wilshe)
exciting to get the chance to see your favorite television show filmed
live. It's even more of an event when you travel clear across the country
to get to Los Angeles to do so! Over the last two years several of our
P.S. I Love You! members have been able to attend a filming or two of Perfect
Strangers, and in this On the Scene . . . we thought we'd give you an idea of
what it was like for one of our members to do so!
January 24, 1992:
big day dawned bright, early, sunny and hot. It was still hard to believe
that just the day before Cousins Connie, Donna and I had flown all the way from
a very cold Pennsylvania and now stood in warm California! We indulged in
drinking coffee on the porch overlooking Santa Monica, just laying back and
soaking up the sunshine.
ten forty, Cousin Linda picked us up for a quick trip to (and tour of) San Dimas
(on the way we played a twenty-questions type game entitled "What Episode
Am I Thinking Of?" in which we had to guess, using "yes" and
"no" type questions, which P.S. episode someone had picked (this
game was taught to me originally by Cousins Cindy and Carol - Linda Kay) and
a stop by her apartment to pore over her Perfect Strangers collection. I
managed to take pictures of some of her rarer PS photos and posters, many of
which I would love to own myself!
we were on our way to Culver City! Linda had managed to track down about
the only box of PS trading cards (Laff cards) in Los Angeles and we stopped to
pick them up (turned out the store was right across the street from the
studios!). We then went to the Sony studios and parked in a large parking
structure near the entrance gate.
was a big help to have our names on the VIP list, and we were able to go right
in because Linda (who also runs the Bill & Ted fan club, which we are also
members of) had a fan club kit she hoped to be able to deliver to Keanu Reeves,
who just happened to be working on the film Dracula in the soundstages
next to Perfect Strangers! Imagine our surprise when we not only
got to see Keanu but, after finding out we were fan club members, he walked
right up to us and introduced himself! This even took Linda by surprise,
who explained our chance meeting with him was very lucky, seeing the movie was
only filming there for a few months!
in shock, we took our thumping hearts and shaking legs and waited against the Full
House soundstage for the pages to escort people into Soundstage 26. We
were still stunned from our chance meeting with Keanu but extremely excited
about getting to see the cousins. This would be the second filming for
Connie and I but it was Donna's first filming and we were all nervous!
turned out we were the first audience members inside and we were seated in the
center of the second row! Slowly the other groups and guests filled the
seats around us and a tape of showtunes played in the background.
Eventually Robert Lee arrived, carrying his leather backpack, and began warming
up the audience, which was much livelier than the audience had been at the
filming of Weekend at Ferdinand's earlier this season.
had sneaked a peek at one of the scripts to learn the episode would be . . .
Or Get Off the Pot written by Terry Hart. We made guesses as to what
the episode might be about, but we didn't have long to wait as Robert got ready
to introduce the stars! Rebeca was introduced first, followed by Melanie,
and then Bronson and Mark who came out holding hands, bowed to the audience and
then to each other before running off again. Just that quick glance at the
cast was thrilling and gave us a small prelude to the wonderful show ahead.
episode turned out to be a pivotal one about Balki's lack of commitment to Mary
Anne. There were so many different scenes with so many of the characters
playing off each other - first Balki and Larry, then Larry and Jennifer, Balki
and Larry, Balki and Jennifer, Larry and Jennifer, Jennifer and Larry with
Mary Anne and finally all of them together at the end.
and Mark were very relaxed at this filming, dancing around a lot and laughing
when lines were muffed. During one scene in the Appleton bedroom, Larry
eagerly asked Jennifer "Oh! Are we going to play bad boy and naughty
school marm again?" and Mark had to try so hard not to laugh out
loud! And during one of the more emotional scenes an audience member
laughed loudly and inappropriately. Bronson, who was supposed to be on the
verge of tears, held his pose for a long time, looked up in the direction the
laugh had come from with a shocked face, then very slowly dissolved into
audience was almost too lively, catcalling during some scenes. Robert had
to ask them to not catcall during second takes so they could decide later
whether or not to use them.
one point we could see Bronson and Mark behind the partitions doing some kind of
handclap, kneeslap thing. Since it wasn't in the show, we assumed this was
just a game they were playing with each other between takes. When Bronson
finished a long scene with Melanie, he walked offstage as Mark was walking on,
and Mark patted Bronson's shoulder as Bronson played with the front of Mark's
entire cast was so warm and affectionate with each other. Bronson and Mark
got along so well, and the girls were equally friendly. Just before the
first scene was filmed, Bronson kissed Rebeca on both cheeks.
they were preparing the next scene, Connie suddenly nudged my arm and pointed to
where Robert Lee was sitting, and I was surprised to see Bronson's brother,
Justin Pinchot, had walked to Robert from offstage and was sitting next to him
on the steps, talking! I was amazed at how much he looks like Bronson in
profile! After a few minutes he walked backstage again.
end of the show was very sad, leaving everyone somewhat confused and
concerned. Would this be the end of Balki and Mary Anne's
relationship? Somehow I knew they couldn't end everything so
abruptly. We'd just have to wait and see.
the rest of the audience left we were thrilled to be able to stay and watch them
film five I Love Saturday Night spots and three commercials announcing
the move to Saturday night. After a long day of work they were very tired,
but even after they almost called it a wrap they realized the spots would be
needed (since they would be on hiatus the next week) and so they forged
ahead. Filming commercials is not as easy as one might think; they had to
say all the lines with rhythm and still have it come out to an exact twenty
seconds. They practiced the lines without a teleprompter, which wasn't
working for some reason, and it was amazing to watch them learn the lines right
then and there and be able to remember them!
one point Bronson spread out across the couch and moaned, "I want to go
home . . . . " This was pretty much the sentiment of the entire
crew. Still they remained in good spirits, deliberately stealing each
other's lines and trying to make each other laugh. At one point Bronson
sat babbling in Mama's voice!
one of the commercials, Mark accidentally hit Bronson in the eye.
Immediately Mark put both arms around him and called for an ice pack, which was
delivered right away. Bronson held it on his eye between takes.
Once, when he put it down to film, Judy Pioli, the director, picked it up and
put it on her head.
Connie Garcia-Singer (who kept calling Bronson "Bronnie") announced it
was a wrap and Mark and Bronson leaned over and hugged each other before
everyone wandered off the set. Sadly, we bid the Sony studios goodbye and
headed over to SHIP's restaurant across the street for dinner with Linda before
going back to the hotel.
to Wild Turkey report