Once in a great
while, maybe only once in a lifetime, you may attend a great event where you
know you are witnessing history in the making. For instance, you might be
lucky enough to actually be in the stadium when your favorite team plays in the
Superbowl or the World Series. Just when you think it can't get any
better, your team wins! Such special moments don't come along very often,
but when they do you feel fortunate to have been part of it. And that's
what happened one night when a studio audience in Culver City knew it was
watching the making of a classic!
22, 1987 was a brisk, chilly day in Culver City. The sidewalk alongside
the huge walls of the Lorimar studios on the Washington Blvd. side were lined
with anxious people waiting to see the filming of a television show.
Eagerly waiting at the end of a long line we chatted with the people around
us. The night was just beginning to fall as we were taken inside and
was just before Christmas, and the audience was filled to capacity. Since
production on the show started so much earlier in 1987 (to be prepared for a
possible strike) this would be the last show filmed for the season.
warm up comedian was in excellent form, getting us in the mood for a fun
evening. Finally the cast made their curtain calls, the apartment set was
exposed and the filming began.
first scene went very steadily, setting up the plot for the entire show.
Jennifer and Mary Anne have a flight to Paris, and Jennifer asks Larry if he
will call the plumber to confirm an appointment to come out and put a new shower
head on her shower. After the girls leave, Larry promptly calls and
cancels the appointment, informing the Pipe Dreams Plumbing people he will be
doing the job himself. And "No, you may not invite all your friends
over to watch!"
newspaper set was not used in this episode, but the third set was revealed and
we could see the girls' bathroom, intact. The second scene was filmed
here. And that's when things started to get a bit silly.
hooked the wrench to the pipe and went through his dangling routine, then
Bronson walked in and said, "Cousin, can I get you anything? A towel,
a . . . a towel? What am I talking about?" and promptly walked
out. (He was supposed to say "a tool" instead).
mistakes and forgotten lines seemed to plague this scene. They filmed it
once, then went through it again. It was during the second take that the
funniest moment happened.
and Bronson were repeating the scene. The audience was laughing as much
(if not more) than before. Suddenly there was a pause. It was
Bronson's line, and he seemed to have lost it. The set grew completely
silent. If Bronson could remember the line in a moment or two, he could
continue the scene and the editor would easily put it together. Mark stays
totally still, holding onto the wrench with both hands, looking at Bronson over
his shoulder. It's as if the entire crew and audience were trying to feed
Bronson his line telepathically. The tension was almost unbearable as
everyone silently rooted for him to get a hold of that next line!
moment grew far too long. Finally, very softly, Bronson started singing,
"We were sailing along . . . " Mark completely lost his
composure and burst out laughing. Director Joel Zwick yelled cut in
exasperation and walked onto the set to give the guys a friendly good talking
they resumed filming, the scene went smoothly. The part in which Larry
tells Balki, "I'll hold the wrench. You have the hammer. When I
nod my head you hit it!" got so much laughter from the audience it almost
threw the actors' timing off. The audience easily laughed at least twice
as long as was used in the final episode that aired!
you've ever attended a TV taping, you may have seen monitors hanging over the
audience so you could see what the cameras were taping and get closer to the
action. Since Perfect Strangers is done on film, there is no video signal
to monitor. But as a courtesy to the audience, monitors were installed and
an individual cameraman armed with a video camera fed a separate signal to them
so people sitting on the far side of the audience could see what was going on
when scenes were being filmed on a far-away set. (Nowadays the video
camera is mounted on Camera B, which usually covers the medium shots anyway).
a scene is very detailed or requires a lot of special effects, it is not filmed
in front of an audience. At this point in the show, the comedian explained
that the next scene was filmed the day before, and the editors had been busily
putting together a rough cut of it to show us. Bronson and Mark climbed
over the railing and sat on the steps in the audience to watch the scene, which
they hadn't seen themselves yet! The lights went down and the now-famous
shower scene was shown over the studio monitors.
to say, the audience went wild. The choreography of that scene, and the
expressions on Balki and Larry's faces just made it so classic! The
applause was deafening after the scene ended, and it was apparent from Bronson
and Mark's faces that they were very proud of what they saw. They returned
to the set for the filming of the last scene.
often than not, more is filmed than ever used in an episode. We hope to
share some of those lost jokes and scenes with you in this section. One
line cut from this episode happened when Balki and Larry were sitting in the
demolished bathroom before any water actually started spraying, and Balki asked
Larry if he thought the girls would notice their bathroom tile was blue instead
of green. Larry assured him they would not. This would explain Mary
Anne's line later in the show when she states "I could've sworn when we
left, our bathroom tile was green and now it's blue."
last scene in the apartment was filmed in front of the audience, and so we got
to watch Balki and Larry, along with Jennifer and Mary Anne, get doused with
water! It was the perfect ending to a perfect show!
the cast came out to answer questions, the guys were still very wet and in
robes, yet they enthusiastically answered many questions until it was time for
them to go. The show was considered to be so good that ABC first aired it
on March 4, 1988; the night Perfect Strangers made its big leap from
Wednesday to Friday night. It is often mentioned as a favorite episode by
both the fans and the people on the show. And it not only stands out as a
great Perfect Strangers episode, but one of the funniest sitcom episodes
ever. Pretty good for not knowing Bo-Diddley about plumbing, huh?
to Because They're Cousins report