GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Clarence Conly (Interview) excerpt

Amongst the 500 half-hour segments I created for my (Interview) television series over the years, one of my favorites was the Clarence Conly segment with Clarence being played by actor Alan Doshna. Most, if not all, of the masters of my movies and TV shows, had been 'lost at sea' but over time, some copies have surfaced and were provided to me by those who had taken part in the various projects. Recently, I was in contact with Alan who, thankfully, had retained his VHS copy of 'Clarence' and kindly made it available for me to convert the episode to a digital file. It has the look of an old VHS tape because that is what it is.

I started the Clarence Conly (Interview) segment as I did all the others maintaining the serious and thoughtful tone of a top-level interviewer like Keith Berwick or Charlie Rose. However, as 'Clarence' began recounting the story I had created for him, I found myself unable to maintain my composure and began laughing at what he was saying. I was out of control. As we proceeded along with the Q&A, I kept telling myself that I was ruining the segment but determined to carry on to the end. I figured that we could tape the show again when I had gotten the laughter out of my system. Thankfully, Alan stayed with me and didn't break character.

Afterwards, when I looked at the tape, I concluded that anyone would have found the answers hysterical and for the interviewer not to find it funny would have made the performance less real and the viewer was supposed to receive it as real right up until the final credits rolled. I left it as we taped it. Later, when David Permut called me after watching it, he was still laughing at the performance. He wanted to run with the project as a feature film. I suggested Marshall Brickman (Woody Allen's co-writer on Sleeper, Annie Hall and Manhattan) as a potential writer/director and David agreed.

I called Marshall's agent in Century City and asked simply, "Do you know who David Permut is?" He did, indeed, came the immediate response. I told him that David and I had a project that we would like to propose to Marshall Brickman as a writer/director. The result was that Marshall liked it so much he wrote a treatment on spec. More of this story can be seen here.

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