Feb. 2nd, 2017

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The interesting thing about the Red Green character is that when Smith and Smith retooled their show as the Smith and Smith Comedy Mill, they'd added two actors to their cast: a woman named Mag Ruffman who was associated with a comedy troupe called The Frantics (who add something of their own to the concept that I'm about to get to) and Peter Keleghan (the 'g' is silent) who was on Seinfeld once. The reason he becomes important is that one of the characters he portrayed was a scout leader named Akela Gord. Unlike the more reasonable and sane Akela Bob Smith portrayed, Gord seems have to been rather obsessive about scouting while lacking social skills, a social life and actual knowledge of the wilderness. When Steve came up with the idea of basing a show around Red, it didn't take make effort to turn loony scoutmaster Gord into pathetic nutcase Ranger Gord. Just as Bob had to walk on eggshells around his Gord, the men at the Lodge were at pains not to tell him that he'd been replaced by an electronic sensor years ago.

The reason that the Frantics become rather important is that one of them came up with a character Smith thought would have made a great comic foil for Red: Bill From Bala. Bill was an older fellow who loved to talk at great length about every damned thing he found interesting and really didn't seem to notice or care that he was driving everyone around him bonkers chatting about nothing. The reason he's called Bill From BALA is that sooner or later, every conversation got turned into him trying to get his victim to agree that he MUST be familiar with his hometown of Bala, Ontario....which he was probably run out of by the Chamber Of Commerce for making it sound like the dullest place on Earth. What seems to have been intended was that Red would TRY to start the show with a comically warped story about the bizarre goings-on at the Lodge only to have Bill interrupt him. The interesting thing is that a search for talent for the rep company had Smith encounter a much better comic foil when he saw Patrick McKenna's take on the geeky kids who always wound up in the AV club. More on that tomorrow when I explain a bit about the format.


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