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Wild About

Winter 2001


The Newsletter for the One And Only Harry Anderson Fan Club

“Where Quality Is Not Just A Word, It’s A Noun”

GROWING UP WITH HARRY, DAVE, and HARRY In 1983, Harry Anderson was a street magician with over ten years’ experience under his belt. He had performed his comedy and magic routine on street corners in California, before college crowds in the Pacific Northwest, and for tourists in places like San Francisco and New Orleans. In addition, he had landed a role (albeit a non-speaking role) in Francis Ford Coppola’s film, The Escape Artist, as a magician named Harry Masters. On the small screen, he had done his comedy / magic routines on The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour, Steve Martin’s Twilight Theatre, and Saturday Night Live. In October 1982, he made the first of six appearances on Cheers as a con man named Harry “The Hat” Gittes. “The day following Harry’s amazing debut on Cheers,” his friend, Turk Pipkin, recalled in a 1999 article, “the sitcom pilot scripts came pouring into his house. Taking it upon myself to wade through them in search of something worthwhile, one day I pulled a script called Night Court out of the trash, read about 20 pages, and told Harry he’d better take a look at it.” The main character was a judge named Harry Stone. Harry was the youngest judge ever appointed to the Manhattan Criminal Court. He was a practical joker who performed magic tricks in between cases, wore tennis shoes and blue jeans beneath his black robe, made outrageous puns, and took a decidedly different approach to the criminal justice system. Harry agreed with his friend, Turk. This was a part that seemed to be MADE for him. In fact, when he went for the audition, he reportedly told series creator Reinhold

Weege, “I AM Harry Stone!” The pilot for Night Court was to be directed by James Burrows, part of the creative team behind Cheers. In spite of some initial misgivings about Harry Anderson’s youth and lack of experience in series television, Weege cast him as Harry Stone. Night Court premiered on January 4, 1984; the rest, as they say, is history. Night Court went on for 193 episodes and lasted nine seasons. When the final original episode aired on May 13, 1992, Judge Harry and his zany courtroom co-workers had become old friends to many of us. There was a comedic chemistry between the cast members and crew that worked so well and for so long. At times, it was hard to tell where Harry the Judge ended and Harry the Magician / Comedian / Actor began. Adding to his own mystique, Harry Anderson took a line from the pilot of Night Court and had the word, “FUN”, tattooed on his left bicept. He would later claim it had been there for over ten years, further proving his connection to his on-screen persona. All “fun” aside, the real-life Harry was given a lot of input into his character’s development. The real Harry’s admiration for jazz singer Mel Torme was incorporated into the character of Harry Stone. Mel was even a guest star in seven episodes and was mentioned in numerous others. Harry Anderson’s penchant for wide, painted ties and Borsallino fedoras was reflected in Harry Stone’s wardrobe. Harry’s friend, Turk Pipkin, appeared in small roles in a couple of episodes. Even Harry’s infant son,

Dashiell, appeared in one episode. Things in the judge’s chambers, such as a Harry Masters poster from The Escape Artist, a wooden labyrinth maze, and a stuffed armadillo named Clarence, came from the magician’s home. Lines in the show often came from Harry’s routines, such as his telling a gypsy con woman, “I try to keep an open mind, but not so open that my brains fall out.” Although Harry Anderson never won an Emmy for his work on Night Court, he was nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy Series no less than three times. While on Night Court, he also branched out into working behind the camera, writing four Night Court episodes and directing two. During the months when Night Court was not being filmed, Harry Continued on next page...

GROWING UP... (Continued) would dust off his comedy / magic act and take it on the road. He also wrote and appreared in specials, such as Hello, Sucker!, in 1985, and guest starred in several TV series. In 1990, he did the mini-series, It, based on a novel by Stephen King. He and Turk also wrote a book on con games and con men called Games You Can’t Lose. Harry had only expected to stay with Night Court for five years—long enough to get out of debt and to bank a sizeable savings. He continued to think of himself as primarily a magician and a comedian, rather than an actor. When the series ended, he was anxious to get back to the world of magic. He continued to accept occasional TV guest shots, but he vowed he would never do another TV series again. Enter Dave’s World! When Harry was doing his final episode of Cheers in 1993, his agent gave him a script for a pilot called Dave’s World . It was a comedy based on the life and writings of humor columnist Dave Barry. It was an offer that Harry, who was already a fan of the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, could not refuse. “How could I say no?” he told a TV Guide interviewer. “How do I sit at home and watch Tim Matheson play this part? I can’t do that.” Dave’s World debuted on September 20, 1993. In making the talk show circuit to promote the series, Harry was careful to explain that he was not actually playing Dave Barry on the show. He told Regis Philbin, “I play Fred Barron, the writer’s, IDEA of Dave Barry. I play the character that Dave Barry created of himself for his columns.” In the series, Dave Barry had a loving wife named Beth, two young sons, and a dog. Harry speculated that there must have been some mistake in designing the series, since the real Dave Barry had one son and two dogs, in addition to the wife named Beth. Harry went on to say that,

“This is the first time that a TV show has ever been done about someone who is alive—except maybe The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.!” Many fans saw similarities between Harry Stone and Dave Barry. In Dave, we had a glimpse of what Judge Harry might have been like if he had been allowed to marry and have a family. Fans of both shows recognized the wooden labyrinth game which somehow made its way from the judge’s chambers to the Barrys’ living room. The real Harry contributed several other items to the set, including the Wurlitzer jukebox in the living room and the barber chair and the antique pinball machine in Dave’s office. While there were similarities between the two characters, there were quite a few differences, as well—especially with regard to appearance. The judge’s hair was short for most of the run of Night Court. Dave’s hair was long and shaggy. Harry Stone only sported glasses for the last couple of years of Night Court. Dave Barry wore glasses for the entire run of the Dave’s World. Gone were Harry Stone’s painted ties and fedoras—in their place were Dave Barry’s bathrobe and pajamas or jeans and a tee shirt. Dave’s mannerisms and facial expressions were different from Harry’s, but (having met Harry Anderson now) I can see a lot of the real Harry in the way he chose to play both characters. In June of 2001, when we met, he told me he had been able to keep all of the ties and hats he wore on Night Court , as well as all of the tee shirts he wore on Dave’s World. “I did better for fashion on Night Court,” he laughed. Dave Barry was not a magician (the closest he came was when he pulled a coin from behind his younger son’s ear in one episode); however, there WAS a kind of magic in the interaction between the Barrys and their wacky friends. The tone of the show was warm and loving

without taking itself too seriously. Dave and Beth’s relationship was romantic as well as realistic. The kids found lots of reasons to roll their eyes at their fortysomething folks and their far-out friends, but there was never a sense that the kids were sarcastic or hateful or too cutesy. One line in a later episode even had the younger son referring to “that bald guy on Night Court ”! Writers, such as Tom Reeder and Tom Straw, both of whom had worked with Harry on Night Court , turned up in the credits of Dave’s World. Director Jim Drake also put his talents into the creative mix of both shows. In addition, many of the regulars from Night Court showed up as guest stars on Dave’s World , including John Larroquette, Markie Post, Marsha Warfield, Denice Kumagai, Eugene Roche and Will Utay. Some of Harry’s friends, such as Jay Johnson, Peter Scolari, and John Ritter, also turned up as occasional guest stars. Even Mel Torme was a guest star (or a guest VOICE--playing the part of God!) on Dave’s World. Harry’s wife, Leslie, also guest starred in one of the first season episodes. Occasionally, some of Harry Anderson’s catch phrases would be heard on Dave’s World (“IF that is your real name!”), but not as often as on Night Court . Harry continued to do guest starring roles and magic specials during the months of hiatus from Dave’s World. In 1996, many of his co-stars appeared with him in a magic show called Harry Anderson, The Tricks of His Trade. As with Night Court, Harry wrote some of the episodes of Dave’s World, four to be exact. My personal favorite was a moving episode called “Writing Wrongs”, in which Dave’s older son questions his father’s dubious lifestyle when he was in college (drugs, sex, minor brushes with the law). Dave tries to explain that the world was a very different place in the 60’s and 70’s. “You could make mistakes,” he tells his son, “and they weren’t so dangerous.” The son remains unconvinced and it prompts Continued on page 6...

The Critic’s Corner: Hi! It’s Ellen, and I’m reviewing the movie Harvey. I was lucky enough to get it from a video club over the internet. Otherwise, it’s virtually impossible to catch on reruns. It was recently rebroadcast November 1 st on the Hallmark channel. For future showings, check our web site. Ratings are based on 4 armadillos being the highest. Mary Chase wrote the Pulitzer Prizewinning comedy Harvey. The film featured Jimmy Stewart in the lead role in 1950. This 1996 production remake starring Harry Anderson as Elwood P. Dowd was a Hallmark Entertainment special aired on CBS in 1998 (2 years after it was filmed!).

By Ellen Kotzin

Wild About Harry

Here’s a quick summary of the story: Elwood is a mild-mannered but eccentric bachelor who keeps company with Harvey, a six-foot tall rabbit that only he can see. Elwood’s social-climbing sister, Veta, (Swoosie Kurtz) and her teenage daughter, Myrtle Mae, come to live with


him and fear his odd behavior will undermine their ambitions. When Elwood disrupts the ladies’ first afternoon tea party by introducing wealthy Aunt Ethel Chauvenet to Harvey, Veta sees that something must be done right away. She takes compliant Elwood to the Chumley Rest Home, leaving him in the car while she tells a Dr. Sanderson all about Elwood and Harvey. Sanderson concludes that Veta is the psychotic one and has her carted off to be committed. Meanwhile Elwood is treated with respect and dignity in light of his sister’s mental state. Leslie Nielsen plays Dr. Chumley, the head of the rest home. He finally figures out the mix-up and goes to find Elwood (and Harvey) at a local bar to get him to come back to take anti-psychotic injections which Veta wants. The Dr. thinks Elwood is very dangerous. I won’t give away the ending, but I’ll tell you what I thought of Harry’s performance: Harry shows poignancy and a real ability to act even though he says he is a “performer” first. Harry plays Elwood “romatically.” Why do I classify him as

romantic? Because he is very ladyfriendly, a pure gentleman to say the least. Also his character is always positive. He invites people to talk with him (anyone and everyone), have coffee or even dance with him. He is very ethereal, almost childlike. And that’s what makes the story so poignant -- We see a happy man (although believing in a 6 ft pooka), surrounded by unhappiness from all the “sane” folks. They want him to change, but Elwood is just happy how he is.Harry shows that he CAN act, although here is another character that very well be just like himself[ Rating: “My mother said to me, Elwood. In life, you can either be So smart or So pleasant. I recommend pleasant.” Harry has said that he most identified with Elwood P. Dowd out of all the characters he has played. What does this tell us bout Harry? He’s a man with a heart and always looking at the positive and joyful side of things. What a wonderful kind of person to be!

Christmas Parade when Harry was in Dave’s World.

Do You Believe in Magic?

The Authors...

The Needle-Through-The-Arm Trick by Lynn When you think of Harry Anderson, The Magician, two images usually come to mind: Harry eating Skippy, the hapless guinea pig, on live TV, and Harry shoving a needle through his arm. Mike Caveney in Wise Guy, his book about Harry, calls the Needle Through Arm Trick "a signature piece", "a trademark routine", "a modern-day classic". People who have witnessed Harry perform this trick over the past 30 years have used other words to describe it--many of which could never be repeated here! As far as anyone knows, the trick originated with a man named Bruce Spangler who was a clerk in Chuck Major's Camera and Novelty Shop in Denver, Colorado. Spangler even marketed the trick as "You Do Voo Doo" for a few years. In the early 1970's, a young street magician in San Francisco came across Spangler's new effect in a local magic shop. This young magician bought the effect, intending to give it to a friend as a gift. Lucky for us, the friend never received his gift--the young magician kept it for himself. I'll give you three guesses as to who this young street magician was (and the first two guesses don't count!). Over the years, Harry has changed and refined the routine, adding comic gags, snappy patter, and autobiographical insights into the nature of GEEKS; for, indeed, the Needle Through Arm Trick is a Geek Trick. It LOOKS real, but it is only an illusion. Yeah, right! Tell that to your stomach as it turns flip-flops when the "blood" begins to run down Harry's arm!

Okay, as a Harry fan and a fledgling magician, I decided to purchase a copy of the Needle Through Arm Trick myself. Quite often, you can find someone selling it on eBay, but you can also get one from the Magic Geek Shop in Santa Barbara, CA for $29.99. (Check out the Links page on Ellen's One and Only Harry Fan Site for the web address.) I opened the box to find a rather wickedlooking needle, something like an oldfashioned hat pin, along with three pages of instructions. The effect is fairly simple and Harry's instructions--which he calls "Needle Notes"--are as hilarious as they are helpful. ("Remember to shave your arm each performance evening. Eat right. Be nice to your mother.") The hardest part of the trick for me was in getting the fake blood (yes, it IS fake blood!) into the needle. Mike Caveney refers to a "secret solution" that is part of the trick. I won't tell you what the "secret solution" is, or exactly HOW one is able to safely jab this notorious needle through one's arm. (Hey! I'm a magician, and we magicians NEVER reveal our secrets! Besides, my knowing how this trick is done makes me feel--er-"hole-ier" than thou!) Suffice it to say that Harry's Needle Through Arm Trick is as much fun to perform as it is to watch.

Lynn the pin cushion !

How to Contact: Harry Anderson PO BOX 372 1000 Bourbon street New Orleans, LA 70116

The One and Only Harry Anderson Fan Club PO BOX 144 Clay, NY 13041 E-mail: Web Site:

Ellen P. Kotzin is web master of She has been interested in Harry since she was a teenager when Night Court began -- more than half her life! She eventually collected all of her Harry memorabilia and created The One and Only Harry Anderson Fan Site in June 2000. Ellen has seen Harry perform three times and met him at a performance in 1999. She resides in upstate New York.

Lynn Wilson is our web reporter and researcher. She enjoyed Night Court in the 1980's, but did not become smitten with Harry until June 2000, while watching Night Court reruns on A&E. She met Ellen on-line few months later and joined her merry band of Harry fans. Lynn has never seen Harry perform in person, but she did have the pleasure of meeting and interviewing him in June 2001. She lives in middle Tennessee.

HEY FANS! You could be HERE! Please e-mail Ellen at: if you’d like to contribute an article or do a critique!

Winter Calendar DECEMBER


1985 - “Peak Performer” article in Playboy 1987 - Ellen’s Puzzle appears in Harry Fan Club Newsletter; American Film article; Genii Magazine cover, article as “Magician of the Year”; Biography Magazine article 1 - 2 - First performer to appear in Harrah’s Showroom, New Orleans, 1999; World’s Funniest Outtakes IV broadcast, 1996; Fifth appearance on Cheers broadcast, 1987 7Variety review of The AbsentMinded Professor, 1988 8Fourth appearance on Cheers broadcast, 1983 11 - Third appearance on Saturday Night Live broadcast, 1982; Circus of the Stars Goes to Disneyland broadcast, 1994 28 - Live performance, Turning Stone Casino, Oneida, New York (“When Harry Met Ellen” — the idea for an online Fan Club and Web Site for Harry is born!); New Year’s Eve Telethon with Mel Torme for Maryland Public TV, 1987

318 20 22 25 25 27 -

Final draft of the foreword of Wise Guy written, 1993; Night Court premieres, 1984 TV Guide cover story, 1986 Tales From the Dark Side broadcast, 1985 TV Guide review of Dave’s World, 1994 Dashiell born, 1986 New York Times review of The Comedy and Magic Club 10th Anniversary Special, 1989 Second appearance on Cheers broadcast, 1983

FEBRUARY Note: Two of Harry’s earliest appearances on network TV occurred sometime in February 1982, when he appeared on Billy Crystal’s Comedy Hour and on Steve Martin’s Twilight Theatre. I don’t have dates for these shows (yet!), but they were soon followed by his first SNL. 9999-

TV Guide cover story, 1985 Harry finally hosts Saturday Night Live (his 7th appearance), 1985 Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, epsiode “Glory Daze” broadcast, 1992 Leslie files for divorce, 1998

New Orleans “Possible” fan trip schedule Here is a taste of what we might do when we visit New Orleans. Harry’s show has not been scheduled yet, but there is talk of him performing at Le Petit Theatre in the French Quarter. Stay tuned to our next issue for more news!

A “possible” itinerary of our fan trip to New Orleans! (we’re looking at the first week of June unless he only performs the show in April.) Sample Itinerary 9am Breakfast at Café du Monde: Meet and Greet with other Fans 10am The Big Deal Harry Tour by Lynn Noon Lunch at the Alpine 2pm Haunted History Tour 5pm Dinner at Irene’s

Le Petit Theatre

8pm Harry’s show (time/place?)

13 -

14 16 18 19 22 23 24 24 24 -

25 26 27 27 -

John Larroquette Show, episode “Cosmetic Perjury” broadcast, 1996 Harry decides to buy 612 Dumaine St. in New Orleans, 2000 Dog Tales broadcast, 1998 Disneyland’s 30 th Anniversary Celebration broadcast, 1985 Harry’s 4th appearance on Saturday Night Live broadcast, 1983 World’s Funniest Outtakes II broadcast, 1996 World’s Funniest Outtakes V broadcast, 1997 Harry’s 3 rd appearance on Cheers broadcast, 1983 Variety review of Disney’s Magic in the Magic Kingdom, 1988 Harry and Turk attend Book Signing in Austin, Texas for the new edition of Games You Can’t Lose, 2001 Harry’s 6th appearance on Saturday Night Live broadcast, 1984 America review of Dave’s World, 1994 Harry’s 1st appearance on Saturday Night Live broadcast, 1982 Harry hosts the Travel Channel’s Mardi Gras Parade broadcast, 2001

ANSWERS To Puzzle #1 from Fall 01 Newsletter: 1. Ashland 2. Bogart 3. Pendragon 4. Bubonic Players 5. Cannery Final Answer: Harry Stone There were no winners this time! But stay tuned for the Spring Newsletter when there will be a new contest!

Dave to tell Beth later that, at least, he and his son were able to figure out what the problem was. “It has something to do with growing up--he thinks that I should.” Harry was not nominated for any Emmys for his work in Dave’s World , but he should have been for this episode—as a writer AND as an actor. By the end of the third season of the series, the real Dave Barry and his wife were divorced. I don’t know whether this had any direct influence on the fate of the fictionalized Barrys (or, if having their lives made into a sitcom had any effect on the real Barrys’ marriage); however, the series would last only one more season. The final original episode of Dave’s World aired on June 20, 1997. There were 98 episodes in all. Both Dave’s World and Night Court had a Peter Pan-like quality to them, suggesting that we are ALL kids, like Dave Barry and Harry Stone and their friends. It doesn’t matter that our bodies grow old overnight or that our kids grow up while we are not looking; we are all still kids at heart—kids who like magic tricks and practical jokes, kids who want their

very own juke box or pinball machine, and who still have a place on their bookshelves and in their hearts for wooden mazes and stuffed armadillos. “I have one character,” Harry Anderson told TV Guide in 1985. “He happens to be a judge right now, but he’s the same guy I’ve always been playing. Any magician plays a role. I’m a performer, not an actor.” I hate to disagree with our Magic Man, but I would maintain that he IS an actor, and a very good one, too. His film credits over the years will testify to that. He is also a talented writer and director and a gifted comedian, to boot. Women still fall for his boyish good looks and men still wish they were wise guys, like Harry the Hat. But, more than this, he is a living example of how to grow older without growing old. Just look at Harry Stone or Dave Barry. -Lynn Wilson

You gotta get up pretty early in the morning, so why not go to bed now?

We’re very happy to report that Harry liked his Yellow Kid wanted poster that we got him for his birthday! Thanks to all fans who contributed!

Here’s Harry levitating his birthday gift on the streets of the French Quarter!

Fan Club Merchandise Order Form: T-Shirts: NOW AVAILABLE!!! T-shirts are 100% Cotton, with a design by Lynn Wilson (drawing/design from photograph) “Have You Seen This Man?” Each t-shirt is $8 plus $4 priority shipping. Sizes: M, L, XL (Special price only for fan club members)!

Trading Card #1 thru #4: Original series made by Ellen Kotzin, trading card of Harry. #1: Harry Anderson card, #2: Hello Sucker, #3 Night Court, #4 Dave’s World. Contains statistics, information, a photo, and is laminated. $3 each or $10 for the four! (includes shipping).

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Tee-shirt design

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Please send only money orders or checks payable to: Ellen Kotzin, P.O. Box 144, Clay NY 13041. Do NOT send cash. We’ll ship your order the same week as your payment is received!

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Harry Anderson Fan Club 2001 Winter  

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