Friday, October 12, 2007

Fun Things to Do When You Live in LA

It has been an incredibly busy two weeks around here.

First, I needed to get through the second "Creative Voices" program that Donna Accardo, head of the English Department at Pierce College and I have arranged at the school. We had Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, the writing team behind all three Pirates of the Caribbean films (as well as Shrek, The Mask of Zorro, Aladdin, Small Soldiers, and a few to many others to mention), as our speakers. When we had Harlan Ellison in the spring, we just let him go on stage in performance. For Ted and Terry, we had to work out a Q&A format, which actually went quite well. The school paper called it "well organized" and we've gotten many compliments from the president, veeps, and faculty and staff.

Ted and Terry, whom we've known since 1993, put together a great clip reel of scenes from their films, using the Pirates score behind it. The only dialogue is an exchange with Jack Sparrow ending with "but you have heard of me" which closed the 3-minute reel. I'm looking forward to seeing a second version of what they called a "vanity reel" which includes the sharp dialogue they've written.

Our next event will be early in the spring semester, when we will have novelist Larry Niven. I've asked Barbara Hambly to handle the Q&A for that.

After things finished on October 2, I spent the next week scrambling to get our taxes for 2006 done before the expiration of the extension. The paperwork got turned into our accountant on Wednesday, and we are now awaiting the bad news.

Last night, after much debate about whether we were too tired or simply did not have the enthusiasm to leave the house, we headed across the Valley to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences auditorium to see a program about television theme music.

We are so glad we did.

It was the best program we've ever seen there in the 10 or so years Len's been a member (beating out the night with the West Wing cast or any night a David Kelly show has been featured.) Octogenarians (or possibly nonogenarians) Earle Hagen (I Spy) and Vic Mizzy (The Addams Family) were both interviewed on stage and both of them were sharp and entertaining. Mike Post was interviewed along with Steve Bochco, with whom he has collaborated on many shows. John Schneider and Jean Louisa Kelly showed off their Broadway chops by singing a number of themes. Mr. Schneider did the Dukes of Hazzard theme and Ms. Kelly did a torch-song version of the Mickey Mouse Club theme, after which Schneider said "Walt Disney is no longer frozen."

The program was produced by Ray Colcord and Arthur Greenwald, and the interviews were conducted by Jon Burlingame who wrote TV's Greatest Hits. Mr. Colcord (who has a pretty interesting website, check it out) introduced the program and was so funny I was very sorry when he left the stage. Fortunately, everyone else was equally good. I guess it does help when when you get a writer (Mr. Greenwald) to write the show. Henry Mancini's daughter hosted most of the evening, with theme opening montage (Comedy, Action, Detective/Spy, Drama, Science Fiction) introductions by Maureen McCormick, Lindsay Wagner, Robert Vaughn, Stacy Keach, William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett.

Since Len knows virtually every TV theme song ever written, we had a great time singing along--which was encouraged, but probably annoyed our neighbors.

And while I'm hanging around today, a big Happy Birthday to the personification of Wolverine himself, Mr. Hugh Jackman. It would be really nice if Len did a cameo in that new film that's coming out. If Chris Claremont got one in X-3, it would be only right for Len to get one in Wolverine.

No comments: