On The Jazz
On The Jazz Newsletter: Volume 2 Issue N°1

Date: 1st October 1995
Author: Nicole Pellegrini
Download: otjv02i01.zip

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The totally unofficial A-Team electronic mail newsletter
***** Now in it's second year of publication!! *****

Submission address: [email protected]

Administrivia: Nicole Pellegrini

Please use the following addresses for subscribe/unsubscribe and back issue requests:
[email protected], [email protected]

The A-Team Homepage(s):
DATE: October 1, 1995

Greetings everyone!

As you may have noticed in this issue's header, this is a very special edition indeed! On October 9, 1994, the very first issue of the On the Jazz Newsletter was sent out to a very small group of subscribers, just about 20 people or so. Our current number of subscribers is over five times that! And I bet you used to think you were the only A-Team fan around - I know I did!

Well, I hope that a year from now we'll be celebrating our second anniversary of production. It's really been a lot of fun this past year putting out this newsletter and getting to know a lot of the subscribers here, whether just via e-mail or "in the flesh." As the Colonel would always say, "I love it when a plan comes together!"

Ok, enough for the celebrations. As always I'll start out with a few announcements/reminders...

If anyone from the P.S.U. area of Pennsylvania is planning on/ thinking about coming out for the A-Team Philly party next month (November 11) and can provide a ride for someone, email me and/ or Jaye at [email protected]. Remember, if you haven't RSVP'd with me yet about coming to the party, please do so soon so I know about how many people to except to show up.

Everyone with web access should check out Jasper's new and improved A-Team page at http://www.xs4all.nl/~jmm/a-team/ as it's really cool. The sound files are excellent! Graeme's A-Team picture page is gone, but this week I'll be adding the pictures that were there to my page, so if you haven't checked them out yet, you'll still have a chance to. (There's also a section on my page now that let's you join the Golfball Liberation Army!)

Valerie was the first in with the correct answer to last issue's trivia question:
>What was the name of the movie Face had "produced" in the
>beginning of the episode, and where did he really get it from?

Valerie responed:
>Face's movie was called _Wine for Breakfast_.
>He bought the script from some film students, dubbed it, then
>subtitled it in English. "Wine for Breakfast?" -Hannibal
>"That's just it. You give it a lousy title and tell everyone
>it doesn't translate well." -Face

Now here's a question you sci-fi fans out there should be able to answer no problem:
>Which A-Team episode featured a then-unknown actress who would
>go on to become one of the main female leads on "Babylon 5"?

One final message from me is regarding A-Team book #6,Operation Desert Sun. Someone on the group had been asking for a copy of it a while back, but I can't remember who! Well, I managed to land an extra copy of it just recently, so if that person (or anyone else) still needs it, just e-mail me.

Also, has anyone seen any sets of the A-Team trading cards anywhere? I've been trying to get my hands on a set for a while. I've seen the current listed value of the complete set at around $8.00...

This issue I'm going to begin transcribing the last of the A-Team TV Guide articles that I have a copy of, from the beginning of the fifth season of the show. Whether or not you liked the 5th season, this article reveals a lot about what was going on the set at the time and why the changes were made, good or bad. Hope you find it interesting reading if you haven't seen it before...

"Internal Scraps Abating, Kicked Around, 'The A-Team' Seeks Nielsen Revenge." (From the U.S. TV Guide, November 29, 1989)

Desperate to boost low ratings, the show's unloading the full Hollywood arsenal: better stunts, hot plots, market studies, new heroes.

By Rip Rense

It was hot and dry at the ranch, high in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu, Cal., when they went out to shoot an episode of 'The A-Team.' You know, the *new, improved A-Team*. The one bossed by the Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Anyway, it was hot and dry, all right - and weird. The spread reportedly was owned by a weapons dealer who commutes to work in a helicopter. It's ringed by those strange monolithic southern California rock formations that jut from the smooth, round hills like Mr. T's Mandinka haircut juts from his smooth, round head. Hereford cattle grazed, incongruously surrounded by llamas, ostriches, Arabian horses, Ankole Watusi cows and pink plastic flamingos.

Dirk Benedict was shooting a volleyball scene with several ladies in tiny bikinis. Robert Vaughn, fresh from his home in Connecticut, watched from a canvas chair while perusing the LA Times. George Peppard sat in another chair, perusing one of the bikinis. Dwight Schultz was nowhere to be seen. Mr. T was much in evidence.

"You need me in this scene?" he erupted, commanding the attention of all but the flamingos. Not for 10 minutes, somebody told him. T was wearing a yellow robe that said "I Pity the Fool" on the back, zebra-striped sunglasses, his trademark noose of gold chains, elastic bandages on his knees, and was chewing an unlit 8-inch cigar. (He has asthma.) Rings covered most of each finger.

"Well, that's good," T (as he is known) replied in a voice heard perhaps as far away as Miami, Fla., "because I got to go to my dressing room and" - at this point he used a rather earthy expression signifying his need to visit a men's room.

Somebody groaned. Many grimaced. Someone asked T if he had to announce *everthing* he does. T responded that people didn't have to listen to everything he said, then revised his announcement to include more polite language.

Buzzards circled overhead as T spoke and the *new, improved A-Team* was filmed, but this needn't have been taken as a bad omen. Sure, the show slipped to No. 31 in the ratings last season, after almost single-handedly reviving NBC in 1983. But T, once on the edge of being fired, is happy (and regular, apparently), and past conflicts among cast members and producers seem to have all been set aside in favor of hard work.

The work is a full-blown effort to restore 'The A-Team' to its former glory. All stops have been pulled out. No holds barred. Marketing studies. Audience polls. (They never consulted *me*, grumble grumble. -N.P.) Thousands of dollars spent on research. Two new cast members, better stunts, a major plot twist, a new premise, a new time slot (leading into 'Miami Vice' on Fridays.) If it all pays off, 'The A-Team' might indeed last long enough to fulfill all the suicide missions assigned by Gen. Hunt Stockwell (played by Vaughn), thus earning a full Presidential pardon for a murder they never commited. If it doesn't, well, maybe Mr. T could land a spot on Newhart.

"Hey!" thundered T. "Can't find no chair! They take your chair, you know you're through!"

Well, 'The A-Team' was nearly through last year. As the show's executive producer and co-creator, Stephen J. Cannell, put it, "Obviously we were looking at our last season." It was the writing, said Peppard and Benedict, the plot repetition. Granted, said Cannell, it *was* the writing - plus the fact that the show was up against ABC's 'Growing Pains' and 'Who's the Boss?', which clicked simultaneously. Indeed, the novelty of the first season (written by Cannell and co-creator Frank Lupo) gave way to caricature in the second and third, when Cannell's and Lupo's attentions were turned to other projects, like 'Riptide' and 'Hardcastle and McCormick.' Many regular viewers began to tune out Hannibal and Co. How many corner groceries, after all, could these guys save? (Actually, I never remember them saving *any* corner groceries... - N.P.) In the fourth season, Cannell and Lupo returned and wrote about half of the shows - but the damage, apparently, had been done.

And there were other, well-publicized problems. While filming last season's opening episode aboard a cruise ship, Mr. T, in the words of one source at the scene, became "a little screwy." It seems that the air conditioning was aggravating his asthma, passengers on the ship were aggravating him, and he was already aggravated over a personal family loss. He walked off the set (not on the water - he was actually flown), then telephoned Cannell with a list of demands. Cannell then, in his word, "fired" T, who in turn rescinded his demands and went back to the show. There were other, less spectacular incidents - all, Cannell said, "stuff that was going on that needed to get cleaned out and it *did*."

...to be continued.

That's about it for this issue, folks, see you again in two weeks!


Quote of the week:

"I never go to the bathroom."
         Hannibal in "Beast from the Belly of the Boeing"

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