Friday, September 11, 2009

THROUGH EARLY MORNING FOG I SEE VISIONS OF THE THINGS TO BE, REDUX: Famed comedy writer, screenwriter and playwright Larry Gelbart has died. He was 81. Gelbart, who led a varied and storied career, is of course best known for somewhat successfully adapting Robert Altman's M*A*S*H for TV. Quoted in his obit, Gelbart had this to say about the TV's show's unique tone:
"The thing that most appealed to me about 'MASH' was not even the movie. It was the theme song ['Suicide is Painless' written by Johnny Mandel and Mike Altman], the movie music, which was written in a very minor key and appealed to me emotionally. And I know that I pegged all that comedy to that sound."

Among Gelbart's other credits were the screenplay to Tootsie, the book for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and numerous jokes as a staff writer on Caesar's Hour Your Show of Shows alongside Mel Brooks and Neil Simon.

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