FRI, SAT, SUN, May 7, 8, 9

LAFFS From The PAST  (From our issue dated May 9, 2000)

NRA vice president Kayne Robinson predicted that his group of pistol promoters "will have unbelievably friendly relations with the White House" if Bush wins in November.  Prompting Charlton Heston to immediately order a child safety lock for Kayne's mouth.

Regis Philbin has partnered with Phillips-Van Heusen to produce a new line of clothing for men.   He'll share sweatshop workers with Kathie Lee on an alternate day rotation arrangement.

Ringo Starr kicks off the sixth All Star Band tour May 12, ending in Milwaukee in July.
Initial ticket sales indicate that they'll play to "Walker Room Only" crowds.

Real estate agents in Philadelphia are suing to remove a city ban on "For Sale" signs in residential neighborhoods.   Philadelphians have always been touchy about signs. They still ban signs that say "Warning! Sidewalks Liable to Roll Up at 9 PM.

Pilots of the Air Force's B-2 Spirit bombers took turns napping on lawn chairs they purchased at Wal-Mart for $8.88 during 30-hour flights over Kosovo.   Not to mention the $4.99 badminton nets they set up on the wing.

Until next time, I leave you with the immortal words of Marcel Marceau's doctor who told him, "Bad news. According to our tests you have sign language Tourette's Syndrome."


Excerpted From THE LAUGH MAKERS   (page 262)

Captain Blight

Each morning, Gene and I worked while trying not to notice the beach where halter tops appeared to be illegal. But we did manage to put the finishing touches on comedy bits for Jonathan as an American tourist, a Tahitian politician and a French chef as well as our “Mutiny on the Bounty” sketch. The plan was to tape the sketch aboard an exact replica of the legendary schooner that had been built by director Dino de Laurentis for his movie version of the epic tale. Actually, it was the Bounty from the waterline up and a luxurious yacht below with plush lounges, guest compartments, a huge kitchen and a spa.

Now we headed to the Bounty which was anchored in a lagoon on the opposite side of the island. Our richly costumed period sketch would feature Hope as the cruel, crew-beating Captain Bligh; Howard as the ship’s doctor; Susan Aiken as his nurse; Morgan Brittany as the prim, school marm passenger; John Denver as the young, Wahini-smitten Fletcher Christian and Jonathan Winters as his tribal chief, soon-to-be father-in-law.  Even under ideal studio conditions, accommodating such a large cast on the small screen is a tall order for any director, and Walter, one of the best, had his hands full with this one.

While the ship had been ideal for de Laurentis who had the time to set up multiple camera shots, it was soon apparent that it wasn’t big enough to do our sketch on. People were a lot smaller in the eighteenth century, and everything was about three quarter scale. In many of the scenes, members of the cast were sardined on her decks tighter than Cuban boat people. They looked like they were performing in a telephone booth. So much for exact replicas.  Walter tried setup after setup, attempting to create the illusion of size and depth. As a result, the taping ran longer than scheduled, and the entire company was supposed to depart that evening. A few crew members were sent back to our hotel-on-stilts to pack for those who had to remain to get the sketch, such as it was, in the can.

Finally, at about four in the afternoon, Walter yelled “Cut! That’s a wrap!” The cameras, lighting and sound paraphernalia were stowed into dockside trucks in record time. Electronic equipment hadn’t disappeared that fast since the L.A. riots. Everyone raced to the waiting busses which would convey us to the harbor where the swiftest picket boat on the island was standing by.  We arrived at the airport in Papeete with only minutes to spare, but as it turned out, our plane was grounded in New Zealand with mechanical problems and wouldn’t arrive until the next day.

At this point, Howard Keel entered panic mode. He was due on the set of Dallas in less than forty-eight hours to film some key scenes. If he was delayed in Tahiti, it would cost the producers — and him after the lawsuit — hundreds of thousands of dollars.  A smiling Quantas representative assured him that the plane would arrive in the morning as promised. We were given our hotel assignments — a night’s free lodging for our inconvenience. They also threw in a phone call, so we could notify our next-of-kin of the delay. “Swell,” responded a tired, hungry and Bounty-weary Jonathan. “I’ll call my brother. He’s dead.”  Our patched-up 747 arrived on schedule, and Howard made it to Culver City in a limo he had waiting with only minutes to spare. He told me later he filmed the first scene with sand in his shoes.     (Next week:  Stockholm)

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Compiled from Bob's newsletter "Funnyside Up" published in 2000. This is a yuck and chuckle-filled stroll down memory lane to a time before the Bush administration had inflicted its damage -- a time before the search for WMDs and Osama bin Laden. See what we were laughing at back then, who was in the news and who had yet to enter rehab -- which NFL stars had yet to do time in the Gray Bar Hotel.