Monday, October 16, 2006

Whatever Happened To...The Cast Of Fridays

I was 15, and just starting to feel grown-up enough to stay up late-night on weekends. We couldn't get cable in my hometown neighborhood (still can't, actually), so we had an outside antenna hooked up to a cool rotor dial.

Turn the dial a little to the left, a fuzzy PBS could be seen on channel 6. A two-thirds turn to the right? ABC, baby.

In full techno-color.

Most Friday nights in 1980 I spent watching
The Goodies on PBS, then Fridays on ABC.

Fridays lasted only two seasons, but I loved it. I thought the comedy sketch show was cooler than Saturday Night Live, in that it seemed edgier and a bit more willing to take risks. One of my favorite episodes was the night Andy Kaufman hosted. Kaufman, who was just brilliantly nuts, seemingly broke character during a sketch and got into a live brawl with Michael Richards. (Although it happened over 25 years ago, you can see it still thanks to the magic of youtube.)

Later it was announced that the bit was staged between Kaufman and Richards, but the supporting cast didn't know it was fake. They thought it was real, and they acted like it.

Kaufman was brilliant.

The cast of Fridays was also. It included an entire gaggle of folks who went on to even greater fame. Michael Richards, who did a great Battle Boy--the kid who tortured his Army men with a new evil torture each week--hit the jackpot as Kramer in Seinfeld. Larry David, the writer who developed Seinfeld, was a writer and cast member. Cast member Bruce Mahler, also a sometime-player on Seinfeld years later, honed his comedic
skills on Fridays before co-starring in the Police Academy movie series.

And then, there was Melanie Chartoff.

What a crush I had on Chartoff! She did the fake news, and I credit her with my long-held obsession with local female news anchors.


While Chartoff never became a household name, she has worked steadily in small film roles and as a guest star on TV. Including, oddly enough, Seinfeld.

Go figure.


Stanton said...

I concur with your views on Melanie Chartoff.

Do you remember "Jekyll and Hyde: Together Again", the cheesy horror spoof film that starred a lot of the Friday's folks? Some hilarious dialogue in that one.

Mark Blankfield's recurring pharmacist character ("I can handle it, I can handle it!") was hysterical.

The Film Geek said...

Yeah, Stanton. As I was writing this, I couldn't remember Blankfield's name. Thanks. He was one of my favorites. And I did see the flick when it came out in the early 80s.

Anonymous said...

Local female news anchors? Not you too!
One of these days I'll get around to a "local hotties" feature on my blog with some local anchors.

The Film Geek said...

I'll look forward to it, Joshua. Smart, attractive women telling me the news? Sigh...

Anne El-Habre said...

Melanie also does character voices. If you have little kids or even if you don't - I'm sure you've heard of Rugrats. She is the mom on that cartoon.