Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Memory

This is a shot of Harry Anderson, Peter Scolari, John Ritter and me.  It was taken on the set of a CBS Television special Harry, Turk and I wrote and produced called “Tricks of His Trade”. There was no way to know then that John and Harry would leave us so quickly after.   I have always loved this photo but now even more. 
Life goes on but not ever in the same way again. Thank God for memories.

Which reminds me of a story that happened just the other day. Sometimes things just happen in the course of going about your business. This is one of those cases where I got to take credit for a funny joke that I didn’t know was... a funny joke.  My friend Harry used to say, “Never assign brilliance to what can explained by  simple stupidity.”  But I have admitted too much already.

Sandi and I were walking the dogs, yes we have two dogs. We got a dog for our dog so she would have a pet.  Mostly Boo sees Izzy (the new dog) as an interloper not a friendly companion.  As we were walking past a pharmacy Sandi said, “I need to get something here.”  Since I was carrying my wallet and Sandi was not carrying hers, I was chosen to go inside and get what she needed as she stayed outside with the dogs.   She said she was out of “Previgen”, which should have been all the information I needed to make the purchase. However, after looking for time enough to find it I had not located the needed Previgen, so I asked a clerk.  She said that although it was not a prescription drug it was only available behind the prescription counter. 

There were two “window” counters where people were being helped. When it was my turn I stepped to the young lady pharmacist and said, “I need some Previgen.”  She repeated, “Previgen?” I said, “Yes, Previgen”.  She looked below the counter and on the shelves at her back, but did not seem to find it. 
“Previgen?” She repeated again.  I answered (again) with the same affirmative. “Yes, Previgen.”  There was more searching and more looking but no product yet.  Finally she said, “What is that for?”  

Well, I wasn’t sure. It was something that Sandi took and I had to think about it for a minute. As I recall my reply went something like this:
“Oh, uh, it’s for.. uh.. let me see...uh... it is for your... memory.... I think”.  The lady getting her prescription at the next window burst out laughing, when I realized how she heard it, rather than laugh at my own unintended joke, I took smug credit.  The girl behind the counter giggled and said, “Oh course, here it is, I think I might need to take it myself.”  

I paid for the Previgen, but in my mind I was taking a bow telling the audience to remember to tip the waitresses and that I would be here all week.
It was a comedic take on the philosophy of Magic by Harry Anderson.  It the unintended works to your advantage always take credit.  Chance is a difficult method to ever figure out. 
As you were,
Jay

Saturday, June 02, 2018

My Friend Robert Mandan

It was with great sadness that I heard  my friend Bob Mandan had passed away.  I don’t have the words to fully express yet another loss of a good friend, so I will just repost a birthday blog I wrote six years ago. Rest peacefully, Mandan.   


I repost this article I wrote about my friend from his birthday in 2012, preceded by this editors note written today.

There are friends, there are people you have worked with and then there is a person like Bob who is both. I recall so many fun times together when we roamed with a group of actor/publicists/writers called the "Terrible 10".  We got that name because we were a terrible table of ten if you were sitting next to us at a restaurant.  We laughed the entire time and were not quiet about it.  If you were looking for a quiet evening's meal we were not the table you wanted to sit close to.
Happy Birthday Mr. Mandan. I cherish your friendship.
Nothing has changed in the way I feel about you since I wrote the blog below.

It's GroundHog Day
On my top ten list of movies "GroundHog" day is near the top.   And here it is in real life, Groundhog day 2012.  But I think the Punxsutawney rodent gets too much attention today.  It is a special day for other reasons.

Robert Mandan, Bob Campbell, Jay Johnson, Jay Sandrich
Opening night of "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only"
It is also the birthday of my friend Robert Mandan: "Better Dressed!" 
Only a true SOAPY will get that reference, but it is how I know my friend Mandan. He is better known to some as Chester Tate on SOAP. 

Robert Mandan
I remember when I moved to Los Angeles I was with my  vacationing folks having dinner at the  Toulca Lake Marie Callendars. Although I didn't know his name at the time Robert Mandan was also waiting for a table.  Mandan is one of those actors I had seen in many staring roles. Bob was my first "celebrity siting" in my new home town.  Bob received the ultimate compliment my Father had for working actors when he whispered to me, "That guy has been in a gillion films." Indeed my friend has been in a "gillion" things. Take a look at his IMDB - Robert Mandan. That impressive list is only the film and television roles. There is an even more impressive list of stage productions that Bob has done, including an Ovation Award for "The CareTaker" and a critically acclaimed portrail of "King Lear", not to mention three Broadway shows. 
 I had no clue that soon I would be working with that "guy who has done a gillion films". We became friends almost immediately.  For a time we had the same personal manager, the same publicist and hung out with the same group of television actors.  We were known as the "terrible ten" because of fun we used to have at various Los Angeles restaurants. The members of the social group changed but Bob and I have remained friends all this time. 
Bob and his wife Sherry have been impromptu godparents to both my sons.  My oldest son will say, "How is Mandan?" even today.
Robert Mandan in "Barney Miller"
Chester Tate and Benson
Bob is an actors actor.  He never stops studying and learning how to better deliver his gift. He is funny and smart and yes, as piss elegant as Chester Tate sometimes. If you're lucky a working relationship turns into a real friendship in this town of huge openings and quiet closings. I am grateful to have friends like Bob and Sherry in my life. On a day like GroundHogs day when the talk is about the weather, I will be thinking about my friend Bob Mandan, certainly not a "fair weather friend".  
Note to Mandan: You are not getting older, like wine you are getting more valuable.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Mandan. We shall celebrate with a bottle of "HOOP DE HAH".

As you were,
Jay
Bob Mandan on "Three's a Crowd"
Bob Mandan on "Star Trek,The Next Generation"