Idaho Free Press from Nampa, Idaho on February 21, 1976 · Page 44
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Idaho Free Press from Nampa, Idaho · Page 44

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Nampa, Idaho
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Saturday, February 21, 1976
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Page 44
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The Idaho Free Pressi The News-Tribune, Saturday, February 21,1976--B-22 Nicholl praises Lear creations Hy Joan llanauer LOS A N G E L E S ( U P I ) Wally Bunker was a right- handed pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles and the Kansas City Athletics, a fact which Ihrcw a whole television production company into confusion. That's because Wally Bunker also was the name of the leading character in one of its productions, a comedy titled "Wally's Castle." The production company was headed by Norman Lear, and the name of the show was changed to "All In The Family" when the lead character's name was changed to Archie. "How fortunate we were. Archie is so much better than Wally," said Don Nicholl, who with Michael Ross and Bernie \Ves( produced "All In The Family," "The Jeffersons" and now "The Dumplings." Nicholl no longer looks after "Family," now thai it's established as top- r a t e d program on network Iclevison, but he keeps his hand in on "Jeffersons" as well as his new baby. Nicholl was asked during an i n t e r v i e w just what a television producer does. "Go crazy, most of the lime," Nicholl said. " We set up the whole show. We create the series in the first place. We cast it, and write the first episode, then we supervise all the other scripts." He ami his fellow producers write the final draft of every script "in cooperation with the author -- 1 mean, we don't ride roughshod over him." They set up the taping dates, gel the studio organized, attend rehearsals Monday through Friday. The f i n a l lapings take place Friday in front of live audiences --two of them. Then the producers lake the pick of both tapings and piece them together for the best show -- and with a live audience instead of a laugh track. "Before a show goes on the ' air, when no one has ever heard of it, wo literally grab the audiences off the street," Nichnl! said. "When we first did ·All In The Family' literally the whole production crew were out in F a n n e r s ' M a r k e t here grabbing people and telling t h e m . 'Come in, we've got a great thing for you.' Once the show is on the air there's no problem." All the Norman Lear shows except the new "One Day At A Time" lake place in the New York City area and Nicholl was asked whether New York presented a particularly good site for situation comedy. He hesitated, then said: "There do seem to be more eccentrics in New York than anywhere else." How about Los Angeles for eccentrics? "Los Angeles has nuts. New York has eccentrics, but Los Angeles has nuts." He explained t h e difference by saying nuts were poor eccentrics. The regional accent makes a d i f f e r e n c e , also, he said, because N'ew York speech patterns fit comedy well. "There is something in the phrasing and the intonation (hat makes it easier to put a joke r h y t h m into a New York accent. The slower speech. Midwestern speech, for instance, slows down your comedy. It pro'jeov a different kind of comedy -- a more leisurely comedy. You haven't got the pace to get your one-liners across," Nicholl is an Englishman who began his career as a London newspaperman and drifted first into broadcasting, then across the Atlantic. He speaks in a soft, gentle voice very unlike most of the characters in Norman Lear productions, who tend to scream a lot. The producer believes that Norman Lear is heading now in a new direction. "The Dumplings' is a deliberate effort to do something different," he said. "In its own way it's a different form of satire. 11 isn't hard, raucous conflict. It isn't abrasive. It sort of makes its point by going u n d e r n e a t h , rather t h a n by hitting you on the head with a hammer. I think it will work." Nicholl obviously is high on his latest creation, which deals with the loving and o v e r w e i g h t couple who run a luncheonette in a m i d - M a n h a t t a n o f f i c e building. "In n New York luncheonette you meet New York," he said. "There's all the crazincss off the street and the craziness in the office building itself. You've got a nice compact little situation with its own liltle world. "That's only part of the show. The rest of the show is at the brownslone where the Dumplings live in the basement , with her neurotic sister on the lop floor and the middle two floors occupied by a city councilman who is their landlord." So far "The Dumplings" have run into no censorship problems with NBC, although the Lear outfit has a reputation for not a c c e p t i n g network meddling without a fight. "I think there are some d i f - ferences in approach between the networks from a censorship point of view." he said. "I think some networks are a little freer than others. 1 think the most free is CBS. and 1 think NBC and ABC are about (he same. NBC. though, isn't rigid. They are open lo discussion." Nicholl's first experience with American television taught him how easily networks scare. He did a political satire show called "Turn-On" back in 1968 when "Laugh-In" was big. "We don't talk about ·Turn- On'." he said. "It was a show that was ahead of its time -- too rough, really, for its time. II holds a record for lelevisinn -- il lasted exactly one night." Platt added HOLLYWOOD (UPI) - Howard Platt has been added to the cast of "The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday" starring Lee Marvin, Oliver Reed and Robert Culp. MacLaine tear HOLLYWOOD (UPI) - Shirley MacLaine will star in a new musical to tour in the United Slates and abroad, opening wilh a two-week stand at London's Palladium. MacAitbni project HOLLYWOOD (UPI) - Universal Studios will produce its Mel Blanc, the man with the limitless supply of voices, gets together with some of the characters he has helped speak during the Feb. 10 dress rehearsal for a new musical revue, "The Bugs Bunny Follies." NOTES Gottlieb debuts HOLLYWOOD (UPI) - Carl G o t t l i e b , co-aulhor of the "Jaws" screen play, will make his directorial debut with "My Country, "fis of Thee" for Cinema Seven. first , »y,,;'l .Shall, Return," a. ' MacAi-tHur epic. ' " l ; nilcl Press Inlei njUinial l r \ v i n (Towering i n f e r : "· Allen will produce i«n :ui. d r a m a t i c television pilots. "Th'- Time Travelers" ;unl ".Ie;m l.afilte." Darren McGavin and ,Su/anne 1'lcshelte will star in "Law and Order," a three-hour NLC-TV movie and projected new series. Ilcrschel Bernard! will star in "Newelf's Drugstore," a 30- minute sitcom pilot of NBC-TV. Raymond Burr, absent from television since "Ironside," will play a lawyer in "Mallory," a two-hour movie and series pilot. Chuck Connors, Gloria De Haven and Dan O'Herlihy guest star with Don Meredith who plays the title role in "Banjo Hacked," an NBC-TV pilot. Husband-wife team J o h n Mclntire and Jeanette Nolan willcostar in "Prisoner: Sheriff Joshua Cabc," a Iwo-hour ARC- TV movie pilot. Henry Fonda will host public television's Bicentennial series ."Decades.of Deoi.sion," five one-. hour dramas of itid KMiplution? .-...-......,. . . , , , , , . , , .,...?*«/.'. RICCAR welcomes you with Open Arms! Compare niccar's qualily construction and built-in precision with any leading machine. Then compare price. You'll welcome Riccar! RICCAR STARTING NAMPA SEWING VACUUM CENTER 122-121hA»». S.,N*MPA 466-0581- CALDWELL TRANSMISSION SERVICE 3815 Cleveland Cald. 459-0759 Transmissions should be serviced every 12,000 miles 11 your tranimisiion Dipping, jerking or maybe not tvtn ihifting at all? 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