Every once in a
while as episode of a sitcom will come along that signifies a real turning point
in a series. Wedding episodes are high on this list. It was
wonderful to see Cousin Larry and Now-Cousin Jennifer share their wedding vows
at long last. Even more special was getting to see it in person . . . to
watch a tender moment such as this take place before your very eyes.
On a hot, muggy July 25th,
1991, an eager studio audience was shown to their seats at Columbia Studios in
Culver City. Little did many realize they were about to see a very special
episode being filmed. This was the second episode being filmed for the
year (the first being Larry's bachelor party).
Robert Lee warmed up the
audience as we waited for the curtain call. Pretty soon the cast was
introduced and the partitions were pulled away to reveal a car sitting on the
third set in darkness. A man with a branch practiced waving it in front of
the lights to create the effect of trees going past. Now semi-famous
clapboard dude, Sean, slated the scene and the filming began.
The first scene was actually
very short, lasting only until Larry yells at Balki to pull over. Scene B
began with the motorcycle cop approaching the car. They filmed these
scenes without any trouble, except when a light that was set up below the
dashboard to shine on them accidentally got knocked from its place and they had
to do it again. The cameras reset after the motorcycle cop walked away and
the audience cracked up when the cop picked up his bike's handlebars and carried
them away, not realizing this was to set up the joke of running over the man's
bike later on.
After the car scenes were
filmed, the crew moved to the jailhouse set. Mark and Bronson roughhoused
with each other just a little bit while waiting for the crew to get ready.
The first scene in the
jailhouse when Larry and Balki are talking on the phone started, and Mark began
to deliver a line but got it wrong. He stopped, saying "I'm sorry,
wrong line . . . but it was close!" The sound of Jennifer's voice
screaming over the receiver was added later. And one thing cut from the
final episode was a segment where the cousins are talking about how doves were
supposed to be released at the wedding but Balki sort of doubted they had lasted
in the trunk of the car that long.
The line-up scene was filmed
on a set that was actually constructed in front of the newspaper basement
set! It took one take and several pick-ups to get the scene finished but
went off without a hitch for the most part.
Scene E began with Sean
announcing "Euthanasia One" to mark the scene. Bronson eyed him
warily and asked "Is that a hint?" They began filming, resetting
after Mary Anne announces Jennifer was right behind her. As they moved the
camera, Mark continued to bob around, looking for Jennifer in an exaggerated
manner which had the audience laughing.
The scene was filmed with the
jail cell intact but then the bars of the cell facing the audience were taken
away on wheels to film the scene again and get shots of the characters as if the
camera were inside the cell (when you watch the episode again, try to notice the
different shots "inside" and "outside" the cell. It's
fascinating to see how the editor can get the television audience involved with
the characters by using the different shots).
When they began refilming it
was really funny to see Balki and Mary Anne hugging through the bars when one
side of the cell was completely open. When Larry is groping for Jennifer,
Bronson and Rebeca were standing in position where the wall used to be, hugging
each other as if the bars were still there. At one point the boom
microphone's shadow was slightly in the scene but the problem was taken care of
and the scene was finished.
While different shots were
being set up, the characters of the detective and Mrs. Marshall taped their
voice overs for the line-up scene.
A few more pick ups of
previous scenes were taken, including background people's reactions to the
action and closer shots of the guys in the line-up.
Finally, it was time!
Sean slated the scene "Hallucination One" and the wedding began.
The entire scene was filmed straight through the first time, which was nice for
the audience to get into the mood of the story. They did reshoot it
afterward and there was a mix-up with the ring and bouquet Rebeca was
carrying. Apparently she didn't have them in the same position and noticed
before the scene got too far along!
The scene at the end of the
show when they run out of the jailhouse was not filmed in front of the audience
or shown on the monitors. It was a special surprise ending to a wonderful
After the filming the
audience was allowed to ask questions. One person asked if Bronson or Mark
had any movies coming up and so the guys talked about Blame It On the Bellboy
and Noises Off.
Someone asked how long the
cast would have been willing to starve before they made it to where they
were. Bronson answered by saying "Until I dropped dead."
Mark answered after that with "Until he dropped dead," indicating
Bronson. Melanie and Rebeca agreed they would have kept at it forever;
that acting is just something they all had to pursue.
Thank goodness they had the
perseverance to keep at it. And thank goodness Larry had perseverance when
it came to Jennifer, or this wonderful episode might never have happened.
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