Sun Nov 25, 2012, 04:48 AM
n2doc (43,024 posts)
Cool Larry Hagman Story
By Mark Evanier
Here is my Larry Hagman story. Get comfy. This will take a while.
The year is 1980 and I am the Head Writer on Pink Lady, an infamous variety series that was forced by high-level corporate interests on All Concerned: Its producers, its staff, some of its stars, certain folks at NBC who didn't want to put it on...and on the American public, most of whom opt not to watch. Working on it presents every conceivable problem one can have making a variety show and a biggie is that guest stars do not wish to guest. Or at least, the ones you'd want for promotional purposes don't want to guest. Even before the show airs and anyone has any idea if it's good or bad, we cannot secure a guest star whose name means anything.
A man named Fred Silverman is running NBC that week, trying frantically but nobly to enrich the disastrous ratings levels he inherited upon his arrival. Mr. Silverman did not want to put Pink Lady on the air but was so ordered by those above him. Seeking to make the best of things, he adds his clout to our endless pursuit of guest stars. This means going after performers not on NBC shows since there are so few of those viewers will tune in to see. He sets his sights on Mr. Hagman, the star of Dallas over on CBS. Hagman is very popular, though not as popular as he'd be a few months later.
Silverman himself gets on the phone to try and arrange a Hagman guest shot on Pink Lady. Failing to navigate through a sea of agents, he decides to call the star directly. You can do that when you're Vice-President of Programming — I think that was his title — at NBC. Time is of the essence so he phones him on a Sunday. The following is the story as told to me by Mr. Hagman and if it isn't true, it oughta be.
Larry Hagman lives in a big house in Malibu where he observes certain rituals which some might call superstitions. One is that he does not speak on Sundays. He whistles. He can whistle in a manner that goes up in pitch at the end. That one means "yes." He can whistle in a manner that goes down in pitch at the end. That one means "no." He has a few others but those are the key ones — The whistle for "yes" and the whistle for "no." Those who know the star know all about this and Fred is well aware. He starts the call by saying, "Larry, I know you don't talk on Sundays but please listen to this..."
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Response to n2doc (Original post)
Thu Feb 7, 2013, 07:41 AM
tavalon (27,359 posts)
3. What a great story - I read the whole thing!
Damn, we lost a goodun', as they would say in Texas (yeah, I'm happy to say I'm from there. The key being I'm not there any more!).