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 Posted:   May 16, 2020 - 12:33 PM   
 By:   dragon53   (Member)


 Posted:   May 16, 2020 - 12:59 PM   
 By:   zooba   (Member)

Willard was unique and quite funny. He was wonderful in so much stuff, but I'll remember enjoying him mostly in the Christopher Guest Mockumentaries, especially WAITING FOR GUFFMAN. Earliest memories of him for me were on television in FERNWOOD TONIGHT and AMERICA TONIGHT with Martin Mull.

Thanks for so many laughs Sir!

My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues, especially Christopher Guest who I can imagine that they were great friends and mutual admirers.

Rest in Peace Fred Willard.

 Posted:   May 16, 2020 - 1:10 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)



 Posted:   May 16, 2020 - 1:16 PM   
 By:   Spinmeister   (Member)



Ditto. He was a helluva funny fellow.

 Posted:   May 16, 2020 - 1:39 PM   
 By:   KeV-McG   (Member)

I'll always remember him as Larry Crockett from the 79 TV classic Salem's Lot.

 Posted:   May 16, 2020 - 2:16 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Wow, totally forgot about Fernwood Tonight. Watched it all the time. LMAO. RIP.

 Posted:   May 17, 2020 - 1:34 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Fred Willard made his feature film debut in 1967 as a Coach in the exploitation film TEENAGE MOTHER. In the film, a new health teacher (Julie Ange) in a high school is nearly raped by drug-dealing students and is accused of showing pornography in her classes. Willard later reported that the audience at one screening of the film booed when his character interrupted the attempted sexual assault of the health teacher.

The film was made on an $88,000 budget supplied by Arrow Productions. Shooting took place in remote areas at least 150 miles from any Screen Actors Guild offices so that filmmaker Jerry Gross could employ non-union actors. After production ended, Gross’s Cinemation Industries bought back the picture from Arrow for $115,000, although Arrow retained distribution rights in Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The film went on to earn “net rentals” of more than $600,000 in the first 17 months of release, with additional profits expected from the 30% share of the U.S. market where it had not yet opened. By mid-Dec 1968, foreign sales had brought in another $75,000.

The advertising campaign was a deception, in that no one is actually pregnant in the film. Director Jerry Gross paid a hospital $50 for the graphic footage of a baby being born that's featured at the climax of the movie.

 Posted:   May 17, 2020 - 2:27 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

MODEL SHOP follows “George Matthews” (Gary Lockwood), a young man who is having a bittersweet affair with a French divorcée (Anouk Aimee) in Los Angeles. Fred Willard has a bit part as a gas station attendant in the film.

MODEL SHOP was director Jacques Demy's first English language film. The film was considered an indirect sequel to his 1960 release, LOLA, which also starred actress Anouk Aimee. Demy described his picture as “a European view of American youth and the feelings of alienation” experienced by young people around the world.

The American psychedelic rock band Spirit composed all of the music for the film's soundtrack. The original members of the band, Mark Andes, Randy California, Ed Cassidy, Jay Ferguson, and John Locke, appear on screen. No soundtrack album was released.

 Posted:   May 17, 2020 - 2:30 PM   
 By:   zooba   (Member)

 Posted:   May 17, 2020 - 3:37 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Fred Willard was a founding member of the improvisational comedy group Ace Trucking Company. Fellow members of Ace included Michael Mislove and Bill Saluga. They performed sketches on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson” over fifty times and appeared regularly on “This is Tom Jones.” The group also appeared in some feature films, one of which was the 1973 film about sexual freedom on campus, THE HARRAD EXPERIMENT.

The best-selling 1966 novel The Harrad Experiment, by Robert H. Rimmer, was all the rage on college campuses in the late 1960s and early 1970s, seeing as it a was about a fictional school called Harrad College where the students learn about sexuality and experiment with each other. As noted in reviews of the novel, coed dormitories, which did not exist in the first half of the twentieth century, had become more commonplace by the late 1960s. The novel was turned into a film starring Don Johnson, James Whitmore, and Tippi Hedren.

Directed by Ted Post, the film marked the only screenplay written by Ted Cassidy, who was best known for his portrayal of "Lurch" in the popular 1960s television show “The Addams Family.” The sequence with the Ace Trucking Company was shot at the Ice House Comedy Club in Pasadena, CA. Artie Butler’s score for the film was released on a Capitol LP, but has not been re-issued on CD.

 Posted:   May 17, 2020 - 3:43 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

THE HARRAD EXPERIMENT marked the feature film debuts of television actresses Laurie Walters and Victoria Thompson, who were the only cast members to reprise their roles in the film's 1974 sequel, HARRAD SUMMER. Other characters that reappeared in the sequel were played by different actors in the two films. And Fred Willard, who had appeared with Ace Trucking Company in the original film, showed up in the sequel in an unnamed bit part.

In the sequel, "Stanley" (Robert Reiser), "Harry" (Richard Doran), "Sheila" (Laurie Walters), and "Beth" (Victoria Thompson), four students from the 'free sex' Harrad College, spend the summer together to meet their families. Fred Willard plays the Mayor's son in Sheila's hometown, who asks her to go to Europe for Thanksgiving. The film was directed by Steven H. Stern. Patrick Williams' score was released on a Capitol Records LP, but has not had a CD re-issue.

In the welcome home scene, where "welcome" is purposely misspelled on the banner, the musician playing the Fender Rhodes is Doovid Barskin, at the time one of Capitol Records' A&R men. "We had to give him a part in the picture," producer Dennis F. Stevens quipped, "Otherwise he wouldn't release the soundtrack album.

 Posted:   May 17, 2020 - 3:55 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Burt Reynolds worked a second time with director Robert Aldrich in 1975's HUSTLE. Steve Shagan's story found a Los Angeles cop (Reynolds) investigating the suspicious circumstances of a girl's apparent suicide, at the instigation of her grieving father (Ben Johnson). Catherine Deneuve co-starred as a call girl. Fred Willard played a police interrogator in the film. Unlike the earlier Reynolds-Aldrich collaboration, THE LONGEST YARD, HUSTLE did not do well at the box office. Frank DeVol's score was released by Quartet in 2017.

 Posted:   May 18, 2020 - 12:56 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

CHESTY ANDERSON, U.S. NAVY was a fairly mainstream R-rated comedy thriller. When one of her friends goes missing, “Chesty” (Shari Eubank) and several fellow WAVEs go looking for her and end up in a world of Senatorial corruption and Mafia intimidation. In addition to actors such as Scatman Crothers and Betty Thomas, Fred Willard also appeared. Willard plays “Peter Linden,” the press representative for “Senator Dexter” (George Cooper). Willard gets seduced by Chesty. Ed Forsyth directed the 1976 release.

 Posted:   May 18, 2020 - 2:15 AM   
 By:   Disco Stu   (Member)

I can only remember him in the DVD-extras on the Superman film DVD-collection in which, for as far as I can remember now, he played the mayor of Metropolis. It was a slow burn but at first but he was the only good thing in that mockumentary, a bit like but even funnier than Sutekh in his "interview" on the "Pyramids of Mars" DVD-extras.


 Posted:   May 18, 2020 - 10:06 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

The 1976 action comedy SILVER STREAK was Gene Wilder’s first film with four-time co-star Richard Pryor. The film was directed by Arthur Hiller. Wilder loved his part of publisher “George Caldwell” because it allowed him to do scenes which were fitting of Errol Flynn doing action or Cary Grant being romantic. Fred Willard appears late in the film as the flustered “Jerry Jarvis.”

Henry Mancini's score for the film was released by Intrada in 2002. That partially mono release was replaced by a full stereo release in 2016.

 Posted:   May 18, 2020 - 11:46 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In 1977's FUN WITH DICK AND JANE, George Segal and Jane Fonda play a married couple who turn to robbery when they get into financial trouble. Fred Willard had a small role as "Bob”. Ted Kotcheff directed the comedy. Ernest Gold's score did not get a release

 Posted:   May 18, 2020 - 12:12 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

What would happen if a 9.7 magnitude earthquake were to strike the Los Angeles area? CRACKING UP looks at this scenario from the lighter side. The movie is comprised of individual skits of original material by the actors, spun around this hypothetical disaster. The film has no writing credit, but a card in the end credits reads: “The actors who appeared in this film were performing their own material.”

Fred Willard appears in the film as a member of The Ace Trucking Co., playing several characters. Rowby Goren and Chuck Staley directed the independent film.

Fred Willard in CRACKING UP

 Posted:   May 18, 2020 - 1:45 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Fred Willard’s first regular role on a television series came with “Sirota's Court”. The sitcom centered on “Matthew J. Sirota” (Michael Constantine), a night court judge in a large metropolitan city. Others cast members included court clerk “Maureen O'Connor” (Cynthia Harris), with whom Sirota had an on-again-off-again affair, public defender “Gail Goodman” (Kathleen Miller), District Attorney “Bud Nugent” (Fred Willard), attorney “Sawyer Dabney” (Ted Ross), and Bailiff “John Bellson” (Owen Bush).

NBC had started the 1976-77 season with a made-for-television movie slot, the NBC Movie of the Week, from 8:30 PM to 10 PM on Wednesday nights. But at mid-season, the network replaced the movie with a block of three sitcoms. “Sirota’s Court” fell in the middle of that block, between “The McLean Stevenson Show” (also debuting) and “The Practice,” a Danny Thomas sitcom starting its second season. Unfortunately, “Sirota’s Court” faced the same hard competition as did the movies—the #8 show, “Baretta,” on ABC, and the #12 show, “All In the Family,” on CBS. “Sirota’s Court” didn’t make a dent in the ratings of those shows, and after 9 of its initial 13-episode order had aired, the remaining episodes were shelved, and the show was not renewed for the upcoming Fall season.

Clockwise from center foreground: Fred Willard, Kathleen Miller, Owen Bush, Michael Constantine (“Judge Matthew Sirota”), Cynthia Harris, and Ted Ross in “Sirota’s Court”

 Posted:   May 18, 2020 - 2:22 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

“Fernwood 2 Night” (or “Fernwood Tonight”) was a comedic television program that was broadcast weeknights from July 1977 to September 1977. It was created by Norman Lear and produced by Alan Thicke as a spin-off from “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.” It was a parody talk show, hosted by “Barth Gimble” (Martin Mull) and sidekick/announcer “Jerry Hubbard” (Fred Willard), complete with a stage band, "Happy Kyne and the Mirthmakers" (featuring Frank DeVol as the dour "Happy" Kyne). Barth was purportedly the twin brother of Garth Gimble from “Mary Hartman.”

Like “Mary Hartman,” “Fernwood 2 Night” was set in the fictional small town of Fernwood, Ohio. The show satirized real talk shows as well as the sort of fare one might expect from locally produced, small-town, midwestern American television programming. Well-known actors usually appeared playing characters, or a contrivance had to be written for the celebrity to appear as themselves. (In one episode, Tom Waits's tour bus happened to break down in Fernwood.)

Norman Lear originally planned for all of the dialogue on the show to be improvised, since Martin Mull and Fred Willard were skilled improvisational comedians. But head writer Alan Thicke insisted that the show would be better scripted, with Mull and Willard improvising occasionally. Lear threatened to fire Thicke after the first week of shows but because of the audience's positive response, Lear relented.

Martin Mull and Fred Willard in “Fernwood 2 Night”

After one “season” (44 episodes) of “Fernwood”, the producers revamped the show for the Spring of 1978 as “America 2 Night”. In this second version, Barth and Jerry's show moved from Fernwood to Southern California (specifically, the fictional city of "Alta Coma, the unfinished furniture capital of the world!") and was broadcast nationally on the fictional UBS network (presumably a reference to the film NETWORK), whose slogan was "We put U before the BS". The change to a Southern California setting made it more plausible for real-life celebrities to appear on the program as themselves. This iteration of the show ran for 65 episodes through July 1978.

 Posted:   May 18, 2020 - 2:54 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In the future (the distant year of 1998), the United States of America is in crisis. The oil shortage has grown to epic proportions, leading to people living in their cars and bicycling to work. Cigarettes and meat have been outlawed, gold coins are needed to operate common household appliances, and the Western White House (located in a luxury apartment in California) has been forced by economic necessity to operate round-the-clock tours for vacationing Chinese citizens.

The economy is deep trouble; President “Chet Roosevelt” (John Ritter) has borrowed four billion dollars from Native American tennis shoe manufacturer “Sam Birdwater” (Chief Dan George), and Sam's foreclosing on the loan. When a media expert, “Eric McMerkhin” (Peter Riegert), is summoned for advice (since despite all hardships, Americans refuse to give up their televisions), he suggests a telethon--an AMERICATHON. It's a great idea, except the President's assistant “Vincent Vanderhoff” (Fred Willard) is in cahoots with the United Heb-Rab Republic, a sinister coalition of Israeli and Arab nationals who want to snap up America if the debt can't be paid. Vanderhoff ensures that the show is stocked with endless ventriloquists, and insists on “Monty Rushmore” (Harvey Korman), a washed-up, drug-addicted television personality as host. The star of the popular sitcom "Both Mother and Father," Monty is sure to self-destruct over the grueling 30-day-and-night telethon schedule.

Neal Israel directed this 1979 comedy. One track of Tom Scott’s score and a Harvey Korman dialogue track appeared along with seven songs on the Lorimar soundtrack LP. It has not been re-issued on CD.

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