Monday, March 27, 2006

TV Trifecta Game

This is kinda like the license game. At least we used the same incubator. This is a game that we came up with while driving in the car.


Background: OK, there are a few actors who can come back after a successful TV show and do a second successful show. TV icons like Andy Griffith, Raymond Burr, Bob Newhart, Robert Young, Dick Van Dyke, and Mary Tyler Moore all had two different, successful TV shows.

And then there are the rare people who have had 3 TV shows that have run a minimum of 2 seasons apiece. These people are not necessarily the best loved, but they are rare. Some are not household names, but most TV watchers know their faces.

Bea Benaderet
The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show 1950-58
The Flintstones 1960-66
Petticoat Junction 1963-68
Now, with Ms. Benaderet, I want her to be recognized for her contributions as a voice actress. She was in 2 successful live-action TV shows, as well as a busy voice actor for the Hanna Barbera shows. But, really, isn't it a lot easier to be a voice on a cartoon than a regular in a weekly live-action TV program? Maybe she shouldn't be on the list. I don't know. It's my silly game, so I guess I can decide what I want.

Allan Melvin
The Phil Slivers Show 1955-59
Gomer Pyle USMC 1965-69
Archie Bunker's Place 1979-83
One of the best known faces in TV. And a prolific voice actor with credits like Magilla Gorilla and Secret Squirrel. He's still alive, but he's since retired.

OK, my wife tells me he wasn't a regular on Gomer Pyle. "He wasn't like Sgt. Carter, appearing in every episode." If he wasn't a regular, then he can't be a TV Trifecta winner. Comments welcome.

Cartoon factoid: Mr. Melvin was the voice of Sgt. Snorkle in a series of Beetle Bailey cartoons. Here's a link with some stills.

Ken Berry
F Troop 1965-67
Mayberry RFD 1968-71
Mama's Family 1983-90
Who knew? I mean, everyone who watched the above shows and Love Boat and variety shows knows who Ken Berry is, but who would think that he had 3 series on TV? And he has a Web site as well.

Jane Curtin
Saturday Night Live 1975-80
Kate & Allie 1984-89
Third Rock From the Sun 1996-01
And Jane is trying for her 4th series this year!

Leonard Nimoy
Star Trek 1966-69
Mission:Impossible 1969-71
In Search Of ... 1976-82

William Shatner
Star Trek 1966-69
T.J. Hooker 1982-86
Boston Legal 2004 -
Shatner gets in the TV Trifecta club as of this year!

Lucille Ball
I Love Lucy 1951-57
The Lucy Show 1962-68
Here's Lucy 1968-74
Factoid: Ball's production company produced Star Trek & Mission Impossible.

Vivian Vance
I Love Lucy 1951-57
The Lucy Show 1962-65
Here's Lucy 1968-72
Viv seems to leave Lucy's last 2 shows a couple of years early.

Courtney Thorne-Smith
Melrose Place 1992-99
Ally McBeal 1997-00
According to Jim 2001 -
Who knew? I mean, she's gotta be good to keep working like this -- but are there a lot of fan clubs for Thorne-Smith?

June Lockhart
Lassie 1958-60
Lost in Space 1965-68
Petticoat Junction 1968-70
I'm not that familiar with Petticoat Junction, and I was surprised that she was been on it for 2 years!

Bill Bixby
My Favorite Martian 1963-66
The Courtship of Eddie's Father 1969-72
The Incredible Hulk 1978-82

Betty White
The Betty White Show 1954 & 1958
Mary Tyler Moore 1973-77
The Betty White Show 1977-78
Mama's Family 1983-85, 1986
The Golden Girls 1985-92
Who else had different versions of their own namesake TV show 20 years apart? And then there's that Life With Elizabeth, which may or may not have run more than one season beginning in 1952 or 1953 (depending on the source) and may or may not have run for 2 seasons. This was just released on DVD and I would think that anyone who has the DVD would have this information on it.

So, there you go. Some of the TV Trifecta people. What a waste of time! Play along and add more if you like.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mike Lynch College of Gag Cartoon Knowledge -- Rejection, Rejection, Rejection

A magazine cartoonist, like me, does his or her work on spec. When I draw a cartoon, I don't know if it will sell or not. All I know is that a certain percentage does, finally, sell.

Each week, I draw up some cartoons -- usually between 10 to 15 gag cartoons -- and then mail them out to a magazine. Then, the next week, I draw some more cartoons and mail them out to another magazine. And so on. That's the process. After a while, I have hundreds of cartoons in the mail, going to different markets. Some get accepted, most get rejected.

This is the story of one cartoon from one particular batch.

Most of the cartoons I draw go to The New Yorker first.

On March 25, 2003, I had a small batch -- 8 cartoons -- that I took up to the Conde Nast offices, where The New Yorker is. (I think one of the reasons for such a small batch was that I was doing charcoal and wash. I don't do that any more. Beautiful to look at, but too time consuming!) The cartoon editor looked at my batch and pulled half of the cartoons. One of the cartoons that was held that day was the cartoon I blogged about yesterday (see previous entry, below). When The New Yorker cartoon editor chooses the cartoons, he's doing an initial sort. He will do another sorting through later, and then the next day he will meet with the editor-in-chief to decide what to buy. It's hard to make it to through all these sessions.

The New Yorker did not buy any. So the cartoons, duly rejected my their first market, were mailed to other markets.


Okay, if each rejection is portrayed as a visual metaphor -- for instance, let's say representing each rejection as a dead Star Trek red shirt (from the original Star Trek episode "Obsession"), then the rejection sequence would look like this:

The cartoon's dead, Jim, the cartoon's dead,Jim, etc. (Until being resuscitated by WSJ, that is.)


The cartoon was mailed out and rejected over twenty times. Here is a list of the dates it was mailed out:

3/25/03 (Held, New Yorker)
8/2/05 (Sold, WSJ)


And I quickly put together a graphic of just half of the rejections:

Rejection is a big part of being a cartoonist

Persistence, persistence, persistence is what gets the cartoon sold.

I read somewhere that the average cartoonist lasts about 6 months in this business. Now I know why!