Saturday, May 7, 2011

I Remember "Leave It To Beaver"

I remember the old black and white television series, "Leave It To Beaver." I'll admit it wasn't a favorite of mine, but it was certainly memorable.
The kid's name was "Beaver." Who wouldn't remember that?
I remember his brother's name, Wally. His dad, Ward, and his hot mom, June(ok, she was hot then, in a Betty Crocker kind of way.)
I even remember their neighbor, Eddie Haskell. He was always flirting with their mom which, at the time I thought was weird, but today seems like he was just way ahead of his time.

I just read this interesting little blurb from writer-director Paul Feig. He's the guy who brought us "Freaks and Geeks" which was a pretty decent show and also, like Eddie Haskell, way ahead of its time. Feig goes on at length about how inspired the writing was for "Leave It To Beaver," what a great influence it was on him and his work in Hollywood. He credits the show for creating characters which seem wholly three dimensional instead of the cardboard cutouts we are so used to seeing on television today.
It was great to read Feig laud a show which has really taken a lot of abuse over the years for being overly simplistic. It just really irks me that not once did he mention the name of either of the guys who wrote the dialogue and scripts he was praising. They did HAVE names after all: Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher.
Connelly and Mosher created and wrote "Leave It To Beaver for six seasons, modelling the characters and the way in which they spoke and acted (which Feig credits for inspiring his work on "Freaks and Geeks") on their own children.
Would it have been so hard for Feig to do some research into who wrote the scripts he claims to cherish so much? Connelly and Mosher also wrote "The Munsters" and before their stint on television, "Amos and Andy."
As for that wonderful dialogue that Feig apparently thinks materialized out of thin air, Connelly reportedly followed his children around with a pen and paper, writing down their conversations in order to make the dialogue on "Leave It To Beaver" seem even more realistic.

As a writer I know what it is to work hard on a project. To conceive a project is difficult enough. Being original, fleshing out a story, plotting, creating characters, is hard work, usually with no reward in sight. Not many writers are working on commission. Most of us do what we do as a leap of faith. Maybe someone will read it, maybe it will make us money, but most likely, we're just entertaining ourselves and our inner psyche.
The least someone like Feig could do, when they are going to praise someone's written work, is find out the name of the person who wrote it.
Consider it a professional kindness. Or, as my six year old would say, "call it common sense."

No comments: