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David Poland

By David Poland

What ARE You Talking About, Willis Dear Boy?

He was an icon
Stuck twixt Fetchit and FUBU
A tear and a smile
ADD, 10p, from Fake Paramount…
We just secured remake rights to On The Right Track which will star a CGI Gary Coleman voiced by Billy West. See it in Imax 3-D next summer. about 4 hours ago via TweetDeck
As for our “On The Right Track” remake, just remember the Paramount movie making mantra: It’s only tasteless if it doesn’t turn a profit. about 4 hours ago via TweetDeck
Just signed Kenny Ortega 2 direct On The Right Track. Mr Ortega says “When it comes to making movies about dead black celebs, I’m the best!” about 4 hours ago via TweetDeck

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17 Responses to “What ARE You Talking About, Willis Dear Boy?”

  1. aris says:

    Man, the cast of that show sure went through their fair share of hardship…

  2. mutinyco says:

    And yesterday was Todd Bridges birthday…

  3. Wrecktum says:

    Hopefully he remembers to stay away from Gordon Jump in the great beyond.

  4. Mostly Lurking says:

    Nice. Gotta love the Mr. Horton reference.

  5. Glamourboy says:

    They might need to make some changes on Avenue Q.

  6. hcat says:

    Does this mean someone may finally release On the Right Track on dvd? I have been trying to get a peek at that movie for years.

  7. Hallick says:

    This is so fucking depressing. The arc of Gary Coleman’s existance from his peak in show business to this ignominious demise is basically everything that’s wrong with celebrity in decades-long slow motion speed.
    Besides the well known stuff he did, I still remember watching him guest-star on Buck Rodgers when I was growing up, and it was always a great episode because of him. He was so good in his prime that it’s literally sickening to see the punch iine his life became.

  8. Joe Leydon says:

    Hcat: You really don’t want to. Really. Trust me on this.

  9. Nicol D says:

    On a serious note…
    …I remember as a child loving Diff’ent Strokes and envying Gary Coleman and wishing I had his life. Little did I know. He brought me laughs…I hope he is in a better place.
    On a lighter note…
    In 81 when On the Right Track was released I remember it was playing at the same time as Stripes in my local theatre. Even through Track was PG in the States and Stripes R, in Ontario, both were Adult Entertainment, our equivalent of PG at the time. One Saturday we opted to see Coleman over Murray figuring we could catch Stripes later.
    In the ensuing week the ratings systems changed and Stripes got and Adult Accompaniement rating meaning we could not longer get in on our own.
    Had to wait years for my chance to see mud wrestling women again.
    One of the worst decisions of my childhood.

  10. tfresca says:

    How much you want to bet that somehow his wife gets implicated in his death in some way. She’s a big time drama queen. Now Gary’s a punchline but in the 80s nobody was as big as him. I think he may have actually had two cartoons based on himself/movie characters he played. I also remember his Buck Rogers episodes and he always killed.

  11. christian says:

    I watched ON THE RIGHT TRACK every single time it was on HBO. I can’t explain why. Coleman…

  12. Anyone here remember the NBC TV movie Playing With Fire? A classic. I wonder if Warners owns it and will release on their Warner Archives label.

  13. christian says:

    Of course, the saddest thing is that a network that made millions and millions off Coleman never bothered to reach out to help him at any point in his post-career. Crazy thought, I know.

  14. Chucky in Jersey says:

    More sad news, this time not unexpected: Dennis Hopper has died at age 74.
    @Jimmy: Warner Archives is part of Warner Bros. Records and AFAIK it doesn’t reissue movies.
    @christian: NBC didn’t produce “Diff’rent Strokes.” Sorry if I’m being coldhearted, but that’s the way the television industry is.

  15. christian says:

    Well yes, Chucky. You could apply that knowledge to the marketing of film too. Name-checking and all.

  16. jeffmcm says:

    Chucky, there’s a lot you don’t know.,default,sc.html

  17. I believe the Warner Archives acquired the catalog to Lorimar TV. That’s why they’ve had a bit of a surprise success with ’70s and ’89s made-for-TV movies. (The 2-disc Deliberate Stranger was a good seller.)
    Playing With Fire struck me as a Lorimar TV movie.
    Does that clarify things for you, Charles?
    I would also like to give a shout-out for 1982’s Jimmy The Kid.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon