Facts and tidbits from Perfect Strangers you may not have known . . . a new one every week!

Back to the previous Tell Me Something . . . page

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Bronson and Mark got along famously on the set of Perfect Strangers?  Bronson described Mark in one print interview this way: "He’s a big brother who can push my button.  He’s a devil."  He went on to explain that he and Mark would sometimes get so silly and playful, "There are times when I think the producers are going to send us to bed without supper."

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Perfect Strangers was a classic comedy that appealed to a wide variety of ages?  One example was a print article which stated that movie star Greer Garson was a fan of the show!  The piece explained that although Greer Garson, who was 80 at the time, was recuperating from heart bypass surgery, she had lunch with Bronson and Mark and swapped Hollywood stories with them!

Did you know . . .
. . .
that the theme song for Perfect Strangers was written by Jesse Frederick & Bennett Salvay?  In one print article, Frederick explained how he worked closely with the producers to create the iconic song.  "They said they wanted the theme song to sound contemporary but not too rock & roll.  They wanted something real positive.  They said, ‘It’s about winning.’"

Did you know . . .
. . . that people often thought Rebeca Arthur was actually like Mary Anne in real life?  In one print interview, when asked if the character of Mary Anne was like her at all, Rebeca explained, "We look a lot alike.  A lot of the characteristics about Mary Anne don’t make it onto the show, it gets cut.  A lot of people don’t realize that she is very bright, she just has a different view on things.  She seems silly, but she is smart.  I like to think I’m not an idiot."

Did you know . . .
. . . that the cast of Perfect Strangers really loved working with one another, even with their various idiosyncracies?  In one print interview, when asked how Bronson acted off camera, Rebeca answered, "He is sort of like a big kid, and he gets in trouble when he is so naughty.  We just can’t shut him up."

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Mark often had to convince reporters that he and Bronson really did get along well.  "It’s bad for the press, I know, but we hit it off from the start," Mark explained in one print article.  In that same piece, he explained the key to the show’s success.  "The secret of the series is simplicity - to create a problem and let the two characters solve it."

Did you know . . .
. . . that Bronson is gaining some attention with his narration of audio books?  But Mark is no stranger to this market himself.  Over the years, Mark has recorded a number of audio books, including The Player and Bright Lights, Big City, as well as the series of Arthur books for children.

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Mark Linn-Baker really enjoyed working on the made-for-TV movie Going to the Chapel?  According to one print article, Mark explained, " . . . I was working with a host of NBC stars, plus such pros as Cloris Leachman, Max Wright, Eileen Brennan and Dick Van Patten.  I think I was the only ABC actor there."

Did you know . . .
. . .
that at one point there were reports that Bronson was working on a new series with his then-girlfriend, Amy Heckerling, entitled Forever Young?  The pilot was to be filmed for NBC and produced by Bronson’s agency, Brillstein / Grey.  According to one print article, "The plot sounds a bit like ‘Big’ meets ‘Rip Van Winkle’ with Pinchot playing a man who wakes up after 20 years in a vegetative state.  What’s confusing is the movie by the same title starring Mel Gibson came out in 1991, but this show was apparently not based on that film, even though the plots are vaguely similar.

Did you know . . .
. . . that Mark Linn-Baker didn’t decide to focus on drama as a career until his last year of college?  As he explained on one of the college-promotion posters he did which appeared in high school hallways in the late 80's, "The most important thing I gained from college was the breadth of experience -- just learning about a lot of different things.  I think it’s important in a college education not to specialize right off the bat, but to spread yourself around and expose yourself to a lot of different subjects.  It wasn’t until my last year in college that I decided drama was what I wanted to do with my life."

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Bronson Pinchot has played a wide variety of characters over the years?  Oh po po, but of course!  But when asked in a print interview which character has been his favorite, he replied, "Oh, I don’t know.  Characters are like children.  If you say one’s your favorite, you hurt the other one’s feelings."

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Mark Linn-Baker was sad when Perfect Strangers ended, but at the same time he was happy to have more time to devote to the stage?  As he explained in one print interview, "I didn’t expect to do it forever.  I’m sorry to see the show go.  But I’m happy to get on with the rest of my life.  I’ll be producing original plays for my theater company in Vassar."

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Bronson was not the first choice for the lead role in The Trouble with Larry?  According to one print article, Bronson explained, "The role was originally conceived for Larry Hagman.  Seriously, they pitched it to him and he said, ‘No, thanks.’  But in honor of Larry, I guess, they kept the name."

Did you know . . .
. . . that Mark Linn-Baker did a series of public service announcement posters for high schools in the late 80's which outlined what upper class men should be thinking about when applying to college?  In one of these posters, Mark talking about financial aid and is quoted as saying, "I got financial aid the seven years I was in school, undergraduate and graduate.  It was awarded by the university.  My school had a program that worked out a financial package for you, which included a combination of loans, scholarships, and work-study jobs.  There was no way I could’ve gotten through without that help."

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Sam Anderson was born in North Dakota?  One print interview states that he ventured to New York when he turned 18 but decided the city was "just too terrifying."

Did you know . . .
. . . that Bronson is not particularly a "foodie?"  We’ve mentioned that in previous posts.  In that same 2001 print article, he also pointed how some of his friends "are such big food worshippers . . . I also have friends who collect wines.  Collect it?  How about uncork it, drink it and have a great conversation?"

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Mark Linn-Baker was one of the founders of the New York Stage and Film Company?  Of course you did if you read this section regularly.  But did you know the company puts on a workshop at Vassar College every summer to work on new plays?  As Mark explained in a print article from 1990, "We come up here to work without commercial pressure.  Because of the economics of production in New York, you can’t afford to produce something there that isn’t a hit.  If you’re dealing with a commercial production, the object isn’t art.  It’s coming up with something that will sell tickets."

Did you know . . .
. . .
that while Bronson is no stranger to culture, he is not what people now refer to as a "foodie."  As he explained in a 2001 print interview while doing the play Fully Committed, "I hate to give up my time, even a minute or two, to go sit and listen to someone impress me with their menu choices and then take 15 minutes to go get my soup.  I’d rather just go pick up take-out and bring it home.  I’d rather spend the time reading or thinking or chipping the paint off an antique door, or something like that."

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Mark Linn-Baker’s family roots were set firmly in the entertainment industry?  It’s true!  Mark grew up in Connecticut where his father was a radio copywriter.  As Mark explained in one print interview, "My folks were involved in the theater.  My mother was dancing in a college show and my father was directing.  They were always working in the theater when I was growing up."

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Bronson never thought about acting until he was a teenager?  But his talents on the stage were actually noticed some time before that.  As Bronson explained in one 2001 print article, "I was just a little guy and I did a pantomime in church about the changing of the seasons.  A woman, who had once been an actress, saw me and went to my mother and told her that ‘your son must act.’  Of course, my mother ignored her because she didn’t want me to become an actor.  I guess the woman was prophetic because somehow I ended up acting, and now here I am."

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Sam Anderson earned master’s degrees in American literature and creative writing at the University of North Dakota and the University of Wisconsin?  It’s true!  He was writing and teaching when he "stumbled" into heading a one-man drama department at Antelope Valley Junior College.  He later moved to Los Angeles with "the acting bug still in my blood."

Did you know . . .
. . . that while Ernie Sabella’s done a large amount of television and movie work, his first love is the stage?  As he explained in one print interview, all of the roles he plays tend to have "a comic twinge.  I tried playing a serious part once, but people laughed at me."

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Bronson Pinchot almost played the role of the Ben Jabituya in the movie Short Circuit?  Actually, Bronson was faced with taking the part in the movie or doing Perfect Strangers!  As Bronson explained in one print article, "At one point I had the choice of playing the goofy guy with the turban in ‘Short Circuit,’ later played by Fisher Stevens, or ‘Perfect Strangers.’  A real concerned friend of mine said, ‘Bronson, just be real careful you don’t become the young, male Clara Peller.’"  (The latter is a reference to the elderly woman who became famous for shouting, "Where’s the beef?!" in Wendy’s commercials during the 1980's.)

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Mark Linn-Baker not only performs on stage, as well as writing, producing and directing shows, but that at times he teaches acting as well?  As he explained in one print interview from the late 80's, "I enjoy it.  I taught a Shakespeare course this past summer.  It’s challenging and a great responsibility.  It’s hard."  When asked is it’s possible to teach comedy, Mark thought about the answer before responding, "You can teach technique, but basically in any kind of acting somebody’s got to have the base, the impulse.  Teaching acting is teaching someone how to feel that impulse, how to recognize that impulse and then how to translate it into a performance."

Did you know . . .
. . .
that some great moments were inevitably left on the cutting room floor?  One such bit sounds hilarious but didn’t make the final episode (and we’re not even sure which episode this was originally filmed for!)  As Bronson explained in a print interview, " . . . on a recent show, we said that each King of Mypos gets to pick his own national anthem, and the current king is a great Whitney Houston fan.  So the current Myposian anthem is ‘How Will I Know,’ and when I sang it with my hand on my heart with this incredibly patriotic look in my eye, it was really funny.  Unfortunately, it was cut out because there just wasn’t enough time for it."

Did you know . . .
. . . that the crafting of the series Perfect Strangers was a well thought-out act of creativity?  But of course you did . . . the results are obvious!  As Bronson explained in one print interview, "There are three goals to every ‘Perfect Strangers.’  The first is to show true warmth between these two people.  The second is that you have to have some kind of mental confrontation, where Larry can’t get through to me and I can’t get through to him, and the third is that we’ve got to have a great scene where we get a situation and we do a virtuousic turn with it.  If you have those three things, you have a perfect ‘Perfect Strangers.’"

Did you know . . .
. . .
that even though he starred in a hit television comedy for six-plus years (and countless projects on television, on stage and in film since), Bronson was never much for leading the glamorous celebrity life that so many stars aspire to.  As he explained in one print interview in 2001, "About 15 years ago, Robin Leach called asking me to come on ‘Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous,’ and I told him, ‘If I had a lifestyle I would, but I don’t like any of that fancy stuff . . . "

Did you know . . .
. . . that Bronson and Mark both were veterans of the stage and both continue to work on stage quite regularly.  As Perfect Strangers fans, you certainly knew that!  But did you know that Mark often said in print interviews that his favorite stage role was in a production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot produced by the American Repertory Theatre?  "It won the Boston Critics Circle Award in 1983 and I think it’s the best play written this century, so far," Mark explained.

Did you know . . .
. . . that
Rebeca Arthur attended the University of Maryland as a dance major, but later changed to a dance-theater major.  She displayed some of her lithe moves while doing a cheer in the episode See How They Run which we have added the outline for this week!

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Mark Linn-Baker and Belita Moreno had acted together before?  They both performed in the 1984 Manhattan Theatre Club’s production of The Miss Firecracker Contest.  Mark played Delmount Williams and Belita played Popeye Jackson!

Did you know . . .
. . .
that reporters were always disappointed to find out there were no major feuds on the set of the show.  When asked if they try to steal scenes from one another, Mark explained, "We work within the script.  Most of the improvisation is within the lines of the script.  And we don’t steal from each other; we feed each other."  Bronson added, "As an actor you don’t deliberately try to steal scenes."

Did you know . . .
. . .
that Mark once directed a six-minute film for the New York Stage and Film Company.  As he explained to a reporter, "I don’t like to describe it because in the time it takes to describe it you can see it.  I’ll say there are two men in an empty theater and no words are spoken."  Sadly we do not know the name of the film.

Did you know . . .
. . . that Melanie considers herself a character actress and is happy with that description?  As she explained in one print interview, "I have very realistic expectations, because I was raised in the business.  But I always knew I would act.  Being the daughter of the toilet-paper king of North America, who was also the nation’s leading drunk (as the drunk man on Bewitched) what chance did I have to do anything else?"

Did you know . . .
. . . that a lot of people considered the focus of the series to be about a young man helping his immigrant cousin assimilate to American ways?  But fans always recognized that this was only half the story.  Balki taught Larry just as many life lessons throughout the series.  As Mark explained in one print article, "The humor of the show is the two characters leading each other through life – the blind leading the blind."

Did you know . . .
. . . Melanie’s father was Mr. Whipple?  Of course you did, don’t be ridiculous.  But here’s an interesting fact . . . her mother was a dancer named Meg Brown who appeared on an episode of Dennis the Menace while she was pregnant with Melanie!  So technically Melanie had her television debut pre-nataly!

Did you know . . .
. . . that Bronson Pinchot grew up on the poor side of Pasadena, California?  Because of that, he was grateful for the opportunities afforded him as an actor.  As he explained in one print interview, "I grew up on welfare.  If you only have one shirt ‘til you’re twenty and somebody says they’ll put you in a TV series, you don’t care if you play a gay transvestite or anything!"

Did you know . . .
. . . that Rebeca Arthur once had the opportunity to become a Playboy Bunny?  Fortunately for television fans, she declined because, as she put it, "The hours were wrong."

Did you know . . .
. . . that Trishka the Bear, who was brought in to playing the menacing bear the guys and girls encounter on the Chronicle's camping trip, was attracted to the gum that Rebeca was chewing?  Rebeca explained that the bear kept nuzzling her hair because she could smell the gum.  Not only that, but as Paula A. Roth explained to TV Guide, "She was supposed to be menacing, but she adored Mark and all she wanted to do was hug him.  The director had a tough time getting the shot."

Did you know . . .
. . . that Bronson Pinchot was valedictorian of his high school class?  If you've read this feature regularly you most certainly do.  But did you know Mark Linn-Baker was tenth in his high school class?  Pretty impressive!  His name is listed as Mark L. Baker and his listing reads, "Mark . . . the other fourth of the Baker-Anzovin Clown Act . . . "I want go to New Jersey!, I want to go to New Jersey!, I want to go to New Jersey!, I want to go . . . "  Mark's quote beneath his name?  A tricky bit of philosophy in the phrase: "There are no aetheists in foxholes."

Did you know . . .
. . . that Bronson's appearance as a trapeze performer on Circus of the Stars has been used in recent visual jokes on both Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Daily Show?  It's true!  But the truth is it wasn't clear if Bronson would even make it through the ordeal!  As Circus of the Stars executive Bob Stivers said at the time, "He was the most uncoordinated person in the world.  He had terrible upper arm strength."  His catcher, Danny Castle, was quoted as saying, "Bronson gets the award for the most improved, that's for sure."  Bronson himself recalled, "For the first three weeks, almost, I would just shake on the way home -- you know, like when you've almost been in a car accident.  I thought about quitting a lot."  But fortunately he stuck with it and ended up saying he'd had a wonderful time doing the show.

Did you know . . .
. . . that both Bronson and Mark have had extensive careers on the stage as well as on the big screen and television?  But of course!  But did you know they actually appeared together on stage once?  According to a program for a production of Twelfth Night on Twelfth Night (when Shakespeare's Twelfth Night was performed on January 6, 1990) Bronson and Mark were both scheduled to appear in the show: Mark playing Feste and Bronson appearing as Sir Andrew Aguecheek.  They performed with an all-star cast including Ed Asner, Sally Field, Rue McClanahan and David Ogden Stiers.  This was presented by The Shakespeare Festival / L.A.  And among the additional sponsoring members was Perfect Strangers' director Joel Zwick!

Did you know . . .
. . . that while Bronson excelled in academics in high school he really wasn't involved in the social side of things.  As Bronson explained in one press interview: "I wasn't in sports or school politics and I didn't go to the dances.  Then at the awards ceremony I went up and got all the honours, and it was 'Who is this guy?'  I always knew I'd have some sort of triumph.  Even though I had repressed myself, I had confidence I could turn people's heads."

Did you know . . .
. . . that Balki's culture was inspired greatly by Bronson's trips to Greece?  But, of course, Balki wasn't based specifically on any one culture but rather on a mix of inspirations, including Bronson's upbringing.  The name "Balki," for instance, was inspired by a family incident in which he and his brothers and sister tried to come up with a name for the new family dog.  "I do that sort of thing," Bronson was quoted in one print interview, "I put in a lot of little funny words we made up when I was a kid, especially when I speak Myposian.  The inspiration for that is when people speak foreign languages around you and you literally can't figure out what they mean, but you sort of hear syllables."  As for the Greek influences, Bronson explained, "It's a funny thing because I think about Greece a lot when I do Balki, and yet, when I'm in Greece, if I get really silly or emotional or anything, my friends there look at me as though I'm crazy.  The superficial trappings of the character are inspired by certain aspects of Greek peasant life, but I have to say that the soul of the character isn't Greek, because all the Greeks I know are really very, very serious."

Did you know . . .
. . . that just about any time a celebrity steps out in public with another celebrity, rumors abound that they may be dating?  That's pretty standard in our celebrity-saturated media of today.  But sometimes this can go a bit too far, in particular when Bronson attended one of the People's Choice Awards shows with co-star Belita Moreno.  We don't know what questions the paparazzi may have asked, but somehow Bronson felt compelled to make it clear in one blurb printed in the press (which referred to Belita as his date . . . oh, and spelled her name Belitta to boot), "We're only friends."

Did you know . . .
. . . one of the most appealing aspects of Perfect Strangers for fans is the amount of physical comedy seen in the series?  But of course!  But it wasn't necessarily planned that way.  As Bronson explained in one print interview: "I think we are the only show on the air at the moment with classic physical comedy.  It's quite deliberate, and in our case, it was totally organic.  Nobody ever said when they first put the show together, 'Let's do an old-fashioned physical comedy.'  I mean, they came to me and said, 'We want to do a show about a guy who sees the world with fresh, innocent, loving eyes.'  We call them little ballets, when we do these extended physical things, and we actually use a lot of balletic terminology as a matter of fact, which is strange, because neither of us has ever danced.  We work these scenes out ourselves.  To get them the way we want takes hours of rehearsal over the course of a week."

Did you know . . .
. . . that as Balki, Bronson had to somehow get into the character of Balki each week?  As you might imagine, recreating an accent week after week while delivering rapid-fire dialogue could get tricky.  As Bronson explained in one print interview, "Sometimes I feel like I've got peanut butter in my mouth when we're rehearsing because I just can't get the words out; I sound like I'm all gummed up.  But once we've got the scene down and ready to go, I manage to slip right into it with no trouble."

Did you know . . .
. . . that Bronson Pinchot often resorted to watching videotapes in preparation for a role?  As he explained in a print interview once, "I buy tapes for research.  Like when Balki was hypnotized and woke up as Elvis, I bought a bunch of Elvis videos, mostly documentaries.  Or when I did a performance piece about manhood in the Thirties, I bought Clark Gable's Red Dust, Robert Taylor's Waterloo Bridge and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.'s The Thief of Bagdad."  When asked about videos he viewed for personal pleasure, Bronson replied, "Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Captains Courageous and Mary Poppins.  Oh yeah, and the entire Shirley Temple library; the packaging, the style, the tone, the pure fun -- they're like art-deco ice-cream sundaes, you know what I mean?"

Did you know . . .
. . . that Mark Linn-Baker's obvious love of comedy started back in his childhood?  It's true!  In one print article, Mark explained, "I think my family has a sense of humor.  I always enjoyed it in the theater and the great silent films.  Comedy is drama but with better timing."

Did you know . . .
. . . that there is an unsung hero lurking behind the most popular television series?  That person is the casting director, who is often instrumental in bringing talent to the eyes of the producers.  Such was the case when it came to casting a co-star for Bronson Pinchot on Perfect Strangers.  As reported in one print article, Lorimar Productions' resident casting director, Cami Patton, searched in her massive files for a "young male comedian."  Her dreamlist of actors included Mark Linn-Baker, but with an established film and theatrical career Mark was known for being reluctant about committing to a television series.  Patton's boss, Lorimar's senior vice-president of talent, Barbara Miller, thought it might be the right time to lure Mark to television.  Her instincts proved correct.  "At that point I was ready to do a series, depending on what it was and who was doing it," Mark explained.  Patton and the producers both sensed that in Mark they might have found an actor who not only possessed star quality but would mesh well with Bronson.  When Mark went to screen test with Bronson, they weren't disappointed.  "It was like they'd been doing it for years," Patton was quoted as saying.  Mark was offered the role the next day and thus one of the greatest comedic teams of the latter twentieth century was created. 

Did you know . . .
. . . that when Bronson Pinchot and Mark Linn-Baker started working on Perfect Strangers they found themselves in the spotlight as neither had truly experienced before?  But success has its downsides.  In one print article Bronson explained, "There are two major kinds of pressure areas -- one is not being able to enjoy a meal in a restaurant without someone you don't know coming up and treating you like a dog treats a fire hydrant.  The other is self-imposed to a considerable extent.  We [celebrities] are walking around a lot of the time thinking, 'Now that I'm here, how do I stay here?  How do I keep from becoming another statistic in terms of TV stars you never hear of after their show is canceled?'"  Later the article states that Bronson would find therapeutic relief by visiting Greek sheepherders who haven't heard of television, much less him.  It then says that Mark Linn-Baker enjoyed shopping for furniture in New York and was vaguely embarrassed to admit, "I've only been mobbed once in a store."

Did you know . . .
. . . that when Bronson Pinchot played the role of lawyer Dennis Kemper in the NBC series Sara, people naturally thought that he'd won the role because of his appearance in the film Beverly Hills Cop?  It was a natural assumption since Sara first aired on January 23, 1985 and Beverly Hills Cop had just come out the previous month, not to mention the fact that both Dennis and Serge happened to be gay characters.  But as Bronson explained to TV Guide in March 1985, "Most people think there's a connection, but this happened a month and a half before the movie came out."  His agent was a bit concerned about Bronson playing two somewhat similar roles back to back, but Bronson went on to explain, "[I] didn't have a choice.  I had no money, no place to live.  I said yes, instantly!"

Did you know . . .
. . . that Mark Linn-Baker was not an overnight success?  If you've seen many interviews with Mark, you'll know that is a particular term he loathed.  Mark would repeatedly try to explain to interviewers why the idea of an "overnight success" can be a fallacy.  In one print interview, he emphasized his previous work in theater this way: "There really is a theater world, and it is an extensive world.  When I walk into an audition, people know me as a theater person.  I'm not a TV person in New York.  I doubt that all but a few of the people I deal with have even seen the television show.  It's the television magazines that make it seem as if I materialized out of thin air just before 'My Favorite Year' and then began working on 'Perfect Strangers.'  They pick out what's relevant to their audience, and that usually means they just leave out the stage stuff."

Did you know . . .
. . . that most actors have stories about the worst jobs they've had while waiting to work regularly in their field of choice?  Well, of course you did.  It's a formative part of most actors' lives.  For Bronson, who touched upon the subject in one print interview, the worst job he'd ever had was collecting dried pine needles to scatter upon an outdoor stage of a Shakespearean theater in the Berkshires to prevent the actors from slipping on the rainsoaked stage.  "I still get a jolt of acquisitiveness when I see a fallen pine tree with handsful of luscious dried needles on it," Bronson was quoted as saying, "I feel like I should tuck them away for later."

Did you know . . .
. . . that while Bronson is known for doing accents, one of his most interesting stage adventures was doing a part in a Russian play called Zoya's Apartment.  While the part didn't call for a Russian accent, it did call for the actors to be directed by the original Russian director . . . who spoke no English!  Working through an interpreter was an interesting experience, as Bronson related in one print interview.  "The interpreter's interpretations are more on the impressionistic side.  The director reads a line in Russian, and the translator translates it for us.  For example, my character suggests going out for lobsters.  The next line asks whether there's enough time.  Then the interpreter translates my next line as, 'We have as much time as there is in a boxcar,' which I guess means we have oodles of time, but you can't say that in English -- it sounds silly."  When asked how rehearsals were going, Bronson said, "I'm laughing a lot and I'm worried a lot."

Did you know . . .
. . . that one of the most memorable things about the series was Bronson's unique accent for Balki?  But of course!  But as Bronson was quick to point out in one print interview, "The accent is just a device.  Over the long term, the show is about two people who are very different.  It's about who they are and what they are.  No one is going to tune into a show just to hear a funny accent."

Did you know . . .
. . . that when Mark Linn-Baker relocated to Los Angeles while doing Perfect Strangers (at least during the months the show was in production) his only concession to the California lifestyle was to buy a car.  A starring role on a network sitcom had to have changed his life significantly, but Mark played it down in one print article, stating, "The biggest change in my life . . . is that I never have to pay for a cup of coffee anymore.  Wherever I go, the coffee is free."

Did you know . . .
. . . that for a long time before he was famous people assumed Bronson was Bronson's last name.  "People always used to think Bronson was my last name," he explained in a print interview, "Like Charles Bronson, or like that TV show called Then Came Bronson.  I didn't mind, except it sounded so military -- everyone calling me by what they thought was my last name!  Actually, Pinchot didn't trouble me.  It just that Bronson has such a macho connotation, and it doesn't go with the roles I play.  Thank goodness I'm better known now, so that they say, 'Oh, yeah -- Bronson . . . '"

Did you know . . .
. . . that when ABC decided to move Perfect Strangers from Wednesday night to Friday night, it wasn't a decision which exactly thrilled the cast and crew of the series.  Mark Linn-Baker, in a print article from 1988, explained his opinion about the move this way: "It was a good move for the network, but I'm not so sure initially that it's going to be good for us.  It was kind of a left-handed compliment that the network thought we were strong enough to move us to another night.  We were their first winner on Wednesday night in a long time, and I guess they think we can build a new audience on Fridays.  But viewership is lower on Friday, and our weekly ranking is not really going to reflect the strength of our show.  Our numbers are going to drop, but I suppose the network knows what it's doing."  History proved Mark right, unfortunately, as Perfect Strangers weekly rating did drop significantly, even though it was a longtime lynchpin for the beloved TGIF lineup.

Did you know . . .
. . . that while Balki is an immigrant, Bronson was born in the U.S.?  Of course you did, etc.!  But what's interesting is how real immigrants used to react to Bronson when they'd meet him in person.  "This summer I was in New York Metropolitan Museum and a group of kids came up to me giggling and talking in a foreign language and asked me if I was Balki," Bronson related in an early print interview, "They told me they were new here, too, but found it real easy to make friends.  Another time, an old Greek man showed picture postcards to me.  They were of San Francisco and other parts of the U.S., and he told me that ever since he was a little boy his dream was to go to these places."

Did you know . . .
. . . that in the acting world there's an old saying, "Dying is easy . . . comedy is hard."  Even Peter O'Toole spoke this famous quote as Alan Swann in the film My Favorite Year.  But according to Mark Linn-Baker, the difference between comedy and drama isn't necessarily distinct.  In a 1986 print article, Mark explained it this way: "I have a strong sense of humor in my work.  That comes out in whatever I do.  I don't see things as comedy or drama.  The dramatic literature isn't that simple.  Many comedies have serious parts and tragedies have humor.  It's not a distinction you make in training.  You don't train differently for comedy.  You learn how to act.  You bring your own reality and technique to it."

Did you know . . .
. . . that in Hollywood it's common for many successful people to hire a personal assistant or publicist?  It becomes the only way they can keep up with the day-to-day hurricane of activity that comes with being popular.  But interestingly, Bronson didn't hire a personal assistant for quite some time (and when he did, he advertised for one openly in the Hollywood Reporter's classified ads!)  As he related in one print article, "I went a longer time than most people before I hired an assistant.  I was going crazy trying to do everything myself."  And the idea of hiring a publicist didn't occur to him until "I went to the Emmy's with Mark Linn-Baker, and his publicist was like 'Now this is your seat and the backstage bathrooms are over here.'  I was sitting there thinking, 'Nobody cares about whether I have a fall, have a heart attack, die or even know where the bathroom is.'"

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