I wasn't going to write about
Even though I had reported on him and reviewed much of his work over the years, as well as doing an interview with him during a party at his Malibu home one raucous night, I thought I'd leave it to others to do the appreciations.
But all I am seeing is "I Dream of Jeannie" and J.R. Ewing, and while that's obvious and fine, I thought there should be at least one voice mentioning the Hagman I remember.
The image of him I have in mind is not from
But Hagman did make his name in TV—and, let's face it, in two of the medium's more ridiculous series. And, he cultivated an image that went along with that—living on the beach and living it up all the time.
He really played that image to the hilt in the piece I did with him at the height of his
What doesn’t get said is that there is no harder work in the world than producing a series for American television. You work each day until you've got that week's entry in the can. From before dawn to way after closing time. If you do NOT deliver 22 or 26 or more weekly episodes for the producing studio every season on a killer schedule, you are out of the business -- they'll find a star who can work that schedule and deliver the goods. That's why there was so much amphetamine abuse in the good old days of network TV.
Today with cable, a stellar series like Showtime's
But back in the bad old days, when the networks ran the studios and the studios ran the stars, you did a mind blowing number of episodes—however many the network wanted, and the lead actor was all over the place, in most scenes, involved in all the drama.
We never saw that Larry Hagman—the guy who headed the lighter than light comedy "I Dream of Jeannie" or the original big soap opera, "Dallas," in the sweatshop that was TV production.