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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Honey, I Shrunk the Soundstage! Author and artist crafts an elaborate tribute to TV land

Guest Shot
By Charles Brogdon
Author, On the Set

"Sitcoms are dead!"

I hate this phrase. They are not dead to me and a ton of people in my generation who grew up with good ones. I always say they are very much alive to me but they just got a lot smaller. I have been building miniature sitcom sets since the early '90s and now have let the world look at them for the first time.

Some might say this is a strange hobby and ask, "How on earth did this come about?" Well, to me it's never been a strange hobby but just something I did in my spare time that I really loved. I went onto the Cheers soundstage as a youngster on vacation with my family in Hollywood and that did it.

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.

Everything I saw was familiar to a point but also brand new, and since I could not take photos, I burned everything into my brain and came home and reconstructed the whole thing. I wanted to build not only the set I saw on TV but really wanted to concentrate on all the "junk" that the TV viewer never gets to see. The lights, cables, cameras, microphone booms, script tables, back staircases, etc. Then I built another set of another show and so on and so on.

Classic television was a major part of my childhood and this book is years' worth of blood, sweat and tears neatly packaged for you to enjoy. It really was a labor of love looking high and low for materials to use since I built everything from scratch.

Nowadays I have moved on to other hobbies and interests but am always game to pop in a DVD of my favorite '70s or '80s sitcom to relax. As for building additional sets, I am enjoying my retirement but who knows? One day I might sail on the Love Boat or visit with Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda.

Come and dance on our floor, take a step that is new!

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