The first episode
of the new season is usually an exciting time for TV show fans. Many
questions abound: Has the show changed much? Will it still be as funny
this year? What will happen? The same questions cross the minds of
those seeing the first filming of the season, only at the filming you can get a
better idea as to what's really going on as far as the crew's attitude and
energy. It's great to see a group of people return for another year with
as much vitality and enthusiasm as before. Such was the case with the
first episode filmed (and aired) for the sixth season!
studio seemed much the same as last year as we entered the soundstage and were
shown to our seats. From what we could see around the partitions, there
hadn't been any changes in the sets (except for new prints on the walls of the
apartment). The third stage did contain some sets, but it didn't appear
they would be used this week. The first familiar face we saw after a long
summer hiatus was that of warm-up comedian Robert Lee, who proceeded to prepare
the audience with the same comedic flair we've come to enjoy each week. He
had to keep the energy going for a while, since the show was a little late
getting started. The cast finally made their curtain call at 7:30 and the
show was at last underway.
first scene filmed in the apartment went very well. Melanie Wilson broke
into laughter after Balki's line "Cousin Larry's right," and the
entire cast followed suit. It didn't take very long for them to recover
from this giggle fit, and they performed the entire scene straight
through. They did a few pick ups after that, but were finished pretty
quickly. One very funny thing happened when they were going to start
again, and Bronson couldn't remember if the stereo chair was supposed to be on
or off from the point where they were restarting. "Is the chair
on?" he asked director Rich Correll. "No, I just turned it
off," Mark replied, just to throw everyone off. It did!
the next scene, Balki started to describe a scene of a burglar breaking into
their apartment. He crosses to the window and says, "The window opens
. . . ," and he did indeed open the window, but it proceeded to fall shut
again. " . . . opens . . . and closes!" When they retook
the scene, they just left the window closed.
the scene was filmed, Bronson munched down some grapes as the set people tried
to fix the window. It came time to film the golf bag being pulled up in
the air by the Myposian trap. The first time they took the shot, the men
in the rafters in charge of pulling up the bag must have had a rush of
adrenaline, because the bag just shot straight up into the rafters and
disappeared! The look of shock on Bronson's face was priceless! What
must have been especially concerning for Mark was the fact that he was due to be
pulled up next! But the audience just laughed themselves sick over the
amazing, rocketing golf bag! The second time they pulled the golf bag up
it was fine.
studio audience caught a blooper in the making as the scene came to
conclusion. The cousins left the apartment after the golf bag
demonstration, leaving the golf bag dangling. When they came back in the
next scene, the apartment had been robbed and the trap was reset. Had the
robbers reset the trap? The editors got around this problem by cutting the
former scene short and not showing them leave the apartment. However, to
do so, they had to cut a cute sight gag. As the cousins are about to
leave, Larry is going to open the closet to get their jackets, and Balki stops
him, then opens the door and warns him to duck. As they duck, a boxing
glove pops out of the closet just above their heads!
short part was cut when the cousins walk into the apartment and see it's been
robbed. They both dash to their rooms and then come back. Larry
complains about several stolen items, but Balki comments that the robbers didn't
seem to touch anything in his room. During the filming of this, Mark came
racing out of the bedroom and his foot slipped on some of the loose papers lying
on the floor and he careened into and over the couch!
was wearing a harness under his clothes that came down through his pants
leg. He was attached to the rope to be pulled upwards into the trap.
The first time they filmed it, the men in the rafters (with the golf bag
apparently still on their minds) pulled him up too slowly. They had to
reshoot it, and the second time they pulled him up very fast, but he ended up
being too high for the scene to work. The third time was the charm, and
they could finally let Mark down.
was a break as the vault-like door was placed on the set and the control panel
was placed on the wall. The next scene went very smoothly with few
mistakes. During a break, Bronson looked up to the audience and asked
"Are you as hot as I am?" The audience overwhelmingly replied
"Yes!" Bronson exclaimed, "God Almighty, don't we have air
conditioning in here?" During the next take, the man playing the
security installer messed up part of his speech, and Bronson jokingly stared at
was a very long break as the set was filled with a thick fog made out of a
vegetable oil substance. It filled the entire apartment, then started
spreading up into the audience stands. It looked like we were all sitting
in a fogbank! Robert continued to entertain us as we patiently waited for
the fog to dissipate enough to shoot through but still have enough in the air to
make the lasers show up.
fog finally dissipated to the right level and the cast and crew returned.
Several men were positioned around the apartment with mirrors to reflect the
laser beams in the right direction as they swept across the apartment. The
scene was filmed a few times with surprisingly few mistakes. But when Mark
went to throw the toaster against the window, the reinforced glass that was to
make it bounce off didn't prevent the window from getting cracked. They
had to replace the window before starting again. Before the chair was
thrown through, the reinforced glass was taken off. The only other problem
to come up after that was a bad film magazine in one of the cameras that needed
to be replaced.
toaster being thrown through the window was reshot later with another person
doing the tossing. The last scene of the show was filmed without any
trouble, and by 10:50 they were finished.
is their custom, the cast came out to answer questions from the audience.
One person asked Mark if he really liked Peter Pan peanut butter. Mark
explained that when you are a struggling actor with little food budget you do
tend to eat a lot of peanut butter, and yes, he did eat it. A little kid
asked the cast if they were anything like their characters. The classic
answer came from Rebeca Arthur, who replied (a la Mary Anne) "I don't
know. I look like her!"
was a great start to what look like a great season!
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