Monday, December 31, 2007

Schwartz on Reed:

Via Boing Boing lots of sites have linked to my post on Robert Reed. Some of them found this which recounts Sherwood Schwartz's take on Reed:

Sherwood Schwartz - who conceived of the series after reading a newspaper item about blended families, and quickly pounded out a script out of fear that someone else would come up with the idea of a comedy about two families merging into one (only to watch the development process take a whopping four years before the show made it to the air) - still shakes his head over some of Reed's complaints.

``He was such a stickler, he used to read with the script in one hand and the other he had in the Encyclopedia Britannica,'' Schwartz remembers. ``Every day of every week, he was a pain in the neck, and you can go a little further south of that. If something didn't ring the truth bell with him, he'd walk off the set and not tell you why.

``I would visit him in his dressing room and say, 'What's wrong?' and he'd say, 'If you don't know, I can't explain to you.' He would say, 'Did you see the last script?' Well, that was a direct insult - it was my script. He'd say, 'Do you know what scene we're doing now?' Again, a direct insult, I was the executive producer, I should sure as hell know what scene we're shooting.''

One time, Reed took offense to Mike entering the kitchen, seeing his wife and maid cooking up some strawberries for a baking contest, and uttering the line ``This smells like strawberry heaven.''

``It's not a joke, but it's a cute way to get into the scene,'' Schwartz says. ``And Robert says, 'It just so happens that strawberries, while cooking, have no odor.' Minutes and dollars are flying away while we're sitting there discussing this. I said, 'Can you say, ``This looks like strawberry heaven?'' Fifty thousand dollars later, I changed one word.''

Reed also balked when the script called for him to slip on some eggs that fell out of the refrigerator. ``Robert said, 'The truth of the matter is, contrary to popular belief, when your shoes hit eggs, they're sticky. You don't slide at all.' This one cost $150,000. I told him, let's rehearse the scene and get to your point later. So he opens the refrigerator, the eggs fall out, and he just by accident steps on them and falls on his ass. So I'm standing there, looking down at him, and he's wagging his finger in my face, saying, 'That doesn't prove a thing!' ''

Schwartz soon learned to do his homework before handing Reed a script. He contacted the Federal Communications Commission over an episode in which the Bradys install a pay phone in their house for the kids, knowing that Reed would declare such an act was illegal. Schwartz found his loophole - they were legal in Santa Monica - and toyed with Reed when the actor demanded to know where the Bradys lived.

Schwartz recalls, ``I told him, 'California.' He said, ``I know that - where in California?'' 'Oh, Southern California.' He said, ``I know that, too, given that we see all these palm trees. But where in Southern California?'' Schwartz hemmed and hawed for a while longer before telling Reed the Bradys lived in Santa Monica. ``I heard him yell, 'S---!' and slam the phone down. That was one of the best phone calls of my life. It wasn't very nice of me, but since he had caused me enough sleepless nights and caused Paramount enough money, I thought he deserved that.''

Reed stormed off the set of the last episode of the series and was summarily written out of it. Nonetheless, he returned for all the sundry Brady spinoffs, from variety shows to dramas.

``Years later, when we were doing 'The Brady Girls Get Married,' he was in a play in New York at that time and had another week to go, but he bought himself out of the show, flew himself out here and showed up, saying, 'No one is going to marry off my two oldest daughters but me,' '' Schwartz remembers.

1 comment:

BaldApe said...

"'The truth of the matter is, contrary to popular belief, when your shoes hit eggs, they're sticky. You don't slide at all.' This one cost $150,000. I told him, let's rehearse the scene and get to your point later. So he opens the refrigerator, the eggs fall out, and he just by accident steps on them and falls on his ass. So I'm standing there, looking down at him, and he's wagging his finger in my face, saying, 'That doesn't prove a thing!' ''"

He's a creationist, I take it. :-)