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June 27, 2006



Please! You keep teasing us with Mary Tyler Moore horror stories, but you never actually tell them. Just give us one...and then some more

Paul Duca

I didn't think I would watch "My First Time"--those shows usually aren't my cup of tea--but I certainly will tune in to see the face attached to the voice. Thanks for the heads up.

Beth Ciotta

I can see why it took so long and so many drafts to write. So few words to pack such a huge punch. Thanks for sharing, Ken.

Tom Quigley

On another note -- Ken, the best reason I can think of why it took you and David two weeks to write that speech is that he and you must have walked around for those two weeks blindfolded. That speech is brilliant! How many of us "seeing" people (and I won't even say "people who have the advantage of sight" after reading that speech) would think about how the sightless would perceive their world and tune into the other senses they had so that something as basic as a rainstorm could make such an impression? Just out of curiosity, because I don't recall the episode right offhand (although I'm sure I have seen it at one time or another), was the time frame in the story between the onset of Hawkeye's blindness and that speech supposed to be a similar two-week period?

MaryAn Batchellor

"I’ve never spent a more conscious day in my life."What an amazing opportunity screenwriters have -- sewing oats of gold in a puddle of mud. Brilliant.Here's to making it a conscious day.

Mr. Hollywood

Ken, can't wait to hear your MTM stories! Interviewed her many years ago. She was one of the coldest, most distant people I had interviewed. Remember the character she played im "Ordinary People"? Not far from her in real life!

Tom Dougherty

I'm really glad you posted this little moment. It's one of my favorites from the Burns era. It reads really nicely, but Alan Alda sold the line well too. And let me add my voice to those begging for some MTM dirt. Just a little, please?


The 'blind sight' speech and Hawkeye's speech to B.J. in the fourth season episode when he's accidentally declared dead are probably my two favorite soliloquies by Alda during the run of the series. They're both serious, but they're not overbearing, as so much of the serious dialogue would become towards the end of M*A*S*H's run.Of course, I also like Hawkeye's speech in the nurse's tent when Bigelow is undressing from the same episode, though I wish he had waited a little longer before making the button reference. :)


love all these mash stories. I remember the series always aired at midnight, in my country, Singapore, and it was my last show of the night. I would tape it and then watch it again tomorrow and then again in the middle of the week until i could memorize the dialogue. It as a master class in writing comedy.Ken, how did the mash writers come up with character of winchester? it must have been hard to replace burns..or was it hard at all?


I love that episode; and that speech always gives me goosebumps. I laugh out loud every time he says it must be Burns who fell in the mud. Frank was a wacko, but he was a funny wacko!


I, too, must hear the MTM horror stories! What evil lurks behind that big toothy grin?But Ken, "Mary" may have been a disaster to work on, but it was a pretty good show - I remember it. Now, "Small Wonder" - that's a disaster. Not "Mary".

Hollywood blond

Things must have been really interesting with MTM. >..meow !

The Curmudgeon

Surely you're not going to say something bad about Mary Tyler Moore herself!My lower lip is already trembling, my eyes are watering... Oh, Roooooob!I mean, Oh, Kennnnnnnnn!

Paul Duca

Okay, I get to make the first comment about Ken on "My First Tme" --"the older brother Marvin Hamlisch doesn't talk about"...:)I'll also say that you and Nancy Plum are now probably neck and neck in the voice timbre stakes.I don't know...I saw the face of a mature, intelligent, articulate member of the creative community, generously sharing his perspective on someone at the beginning of their career--someone he felt had much potential even then. Am I terribly foolish in wanting to hear the sweet lovable voice of the man on the radio--the one that even in a three-decade old aircheck, never fails to put a smile on my face no matter how often I listen to it?I'm not dismissing any of your other wonderful accomplishments, Ken...but doesn't this prove the power and magic of radio? When Beaver Cleaver can reach across time and space and touch someone simply with the words he used and the way he used them?

Ken Levine

Thanks, Paul,I'll announce it more formally in the blog later in the week but this upcoming Monday and Tuesday I will be co-hosting the Stephanie Miller syndicated radio show with Elayne Boosler. 6-9 am on the west coast, 9-noon on the east.I miss being on the radio. I'm still a radio geek at heart.

Poodle Head


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    Ken Levine is an Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer. In a career that has spanned over 30 years Ken has worked on MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, THE SIMPSONS, WINGS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, BECKER, DHARMA & GREG, and has co-created his own series including ALMOST PERFECT starring Nancy Travis. He and his partner wrote the feature VOLUNTEERS. Ken has also been the radio/TV play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres.
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