Harry Morgan, RIP
"Harry [Morgan] was very much like Colonel Potter" of MASH , writes Ken Levine. "He raised horses, and in fact, in the


Ken Levine, TV Comedy Writer and Mariners Announcer, Gives a Final Salute to Col. Potter

Harry Morgan, RIP
"Harry [Morgan] was very much like Colonel Potter" of MASH, writes Ken Levine. "He raised horses, and in fact, in the final episode when he says goodbye to Sophie, that really was one of Harry's horses. The picture on Potter's desk was of Harry's real wife, Eileen. And the only difference in personalities between Harry and Sherman is that Harry held his liquor better."

Levine, the veteran Emmy-winning TVcomedy writer of MASH, Cheers, Frazier, and The Simpsons, among others, recalls on his blog how he and others admired Morgan, who appeared in over 100 movies and perhaps 10,000 TV shows (including Dragnet) and who died Wednesday at age 96.

He could read a scene once, have it completely memorized, and perform it perfectly take after take. And then compliment a callow 26 year-old writer who wrote it and couldn't believe the great Harry Morgan was even in the same room, much less reading his words.

Levine, who will be back this spring doing select games as a member of the Seattle Mariners' announcing team ("I've requested all the games that Felix Hernandez starts"), also got Gary (Radar O'Reilly) Burghoff to chip in a few Morgan memories: "The last thing our wonderful Harry said to me (about a year ago) was, 'I have always thought of the MASH cast as brothers... Oh,...and one sister.'"

Adds Levine: "That he died on the Day of Infamy [December 7] feels somehow right. Colonel Potter symbolized the best of the American soldier -- dedication, sacrifice, compassion, and dignity. In lieu of tears I give you a salute."

BTW, while you're at Levine's blog, check out his take on script notes - the suggestions he receives on how to write a particular scene. It resonates for any writer who must suffer editors. He begins:

Getting notes is rarely fun. But as all TV and screenwriters know, it's part of the gig. And more often than not, the notes are coming from authority figures who have no creative instincts or are just clueless in general. Again, not all executives fit into this category. Some are terrific and their input results in a much better script. But for the most part, you're getting notes from people out of their league. And it's not that they're not bright or wonderful people; they're just not qualified for this task. It's as if I had to give notes on choreography. "Do we like her when she kicks in that direction?" "I feel there's too much hopping." Seriously, what the fuck do I know?

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