Notes about the little-known sitcom, “Strangers,” to have been shot circa 1974-1978 for American network television.
The following casting and story conference took place on Twitter the evening of August 16, 2010. Participants were myself, @mcgee_gorgo, and @arthurwyatt. Transcript has been lightly edited and rearranged in descending chronological order.
Want geriatric sitcom. Bradbury, Heinlein: roomies. Asimov: wacky downstairs neighbor. Working title: “The Veldt.”
mcgee_gorgo: @mwhybark @arthurwyatt I see PK Dick in there as a Kramer figure.
mcgee_gorgo: @mwhybark @arthurwyatt [PKD bursts into room to applause] “Bob! You won’t believe it! My third eye opened and…” “Ah, not this again…”
arthurwyatt: @mwhybark Gold, Jerry, Gold!
PKD added to charlist. Forry Ackerman can be the Newman-enemy type. Also, Bob = Oscar, Ray = Felix.
project name changed: “The Veldt” too obscure. “Strangers” eventual title after rejection of “Bob’s Freehold”
arthurwyatt: @mwhybark @mcgee_gorgo Heinlein and Bradbury create a TV show. Harlan Ellison shows up, pissed off and claiming they’re ripping him off.
I love that Ellison episode. Little known fact: dude wrote it himself, took name off. “Eviscerated,” he claimed.
@arthurwyatt @mcgee_gorgo Asimov keeps coming by, talking about latest book. Sometimes seems to complete three books/episode. Bob hates it.
Ray continually copies childhood diary entries and submits as SF stories or novels. Often they fly. Bob hates it.
arthurwyatt: @mwhybark I’m seeing “Bob hates it” as a regular theme. Possible role for R Lee Emery?
NOICE. I’ll have my people call his people and he can yell at my people until they meet his standards. Yes x3 @ “Bob hates it.”
Maybe Woody Allen as Ray? or @hodgman in wrinkle-skin, liverspots a la Estelle.
who can forget the classic RobbiE the Robot guest shot? Where bot mistaken for RobbiT the Robot, knock off?
and of course the beloved David Bowie Xmas. “O Little Moonbase Alpha,” “Golem Golem Golem, I made you out of clay”
Then there was the time that Roy Orbison dropped by and swapped glasses with Ray. Oh, boy, did Bob hate that. Both Roy and Ray are all blind, and & then PKD is all Roy/Ray/who?
Newhart could actually do either Bob or Ray, come to think of it. So could the actual comedians Bob and Ray, for that matter.
arthurwyatt: @mwhybark hideous casting choice would be Robin Williams. Well, always really.
That one where Asimov thinks he’s gotta lose the sideburns for a gig, and Bob is F YEAH MARINE CUTZ but Ray pixie-fixes it? Bob hated that.
Oooh, lefthanded casting note: Robin Williams as Ray, Bill Shatner as Bob.
“Bob hates that” drinking game sweeps the nation. National ID card? “BOB HATES THAT”, drink. No draft? “BOB HATES THAT,” drink. etc etc
Hugh Hefner guestpisode, never rebroadcast. collectors’ prize, swapped on VHS for decades. When finally posted to YT, it proves pretty meh.
Final core casting in hand: R Lee Emery as Bob Heinlein, Woody Allen as Ray Bradbury. Still uncast: PKD, Asimov, Delany.
Bob surprised by visit from ex-wife, then other ex-wife, finally another. Farcical hiding, excuses to Ray, who doesn’t care. Bob hates it.
Ray gets ripped on May Day, dances, sings, summons hamadryad – turns out to be neighborhood masseuse! Happy endings. Bob likes it.
Asimov is conflicted about publishing in skin mag. Ray and Bob help him see porn is like puppies, kittens. Everyone troops off to Studio 54.
A, B plot experiment: Ray loses key, locked in laundry room. Bob meets cute new neighbor. Neighbor finds, saves Ray. Bob hates it!
Studio discussion of Monty Python promo shot crushed by production schedule conflicts.