Interesting Things I Learned Watching The First Seinfeld DVD Box Set

1. There really is a Bob Saccamanno.  In the show, he’s Kramer’s friend.  In real life, he was writer Larry Charles’ buddy.  According to Charles, they had a falling out before the show became a massive hit.

2. There are two versions of the pilot.  The first one aired in prime time on July 5, 1989.  The second, exactly a year later.  The contents of both shows are exactly the same with two notable differences.  The original program was called The Seinfeld Chronicles and featured unrecognizable theme music.  The repeat changed the title to Seinfeld, as well as the look of the opening credits, and series composer Jonathan Wolff’s memorable theme replaced the original score.

3. In “The Robbery”, episode four of the first season, Jerry talks to a police officer about his missing stuff from his apartment.  The role of the cop was played by Bradford English who beat out Rick Rockwell for the role.  Over a decade later, Rockwell was the creepy “rich” bachelor who asked Darva Conger to marry him on the infamous Fox show, Who Wants To Marry A Multi-Millionaire?

4. Doris Roberts, who played Ray Romano’s interfering mother on Everybody Loves Raymond, was considered for the role of Jerry’s mother.

5. Tony Shalhoub tried out for the role of Kramer.  Many years later, Michael Richards was initially considered for the title role on Monk, a comedic crime series about a former San Francisco detective shattered by the unsolved murder of his newspaper reporter wife and who suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Richards would pass and Shalhoub would take his place.  Richards won three Emmys for playing Kramer and Shalhoub has so far won three of his own for playing Adrian Monk.

6. Three of the four remaining episodes of the first season were aired out of order.  Originally, “The Stake Out” aired second, followed by “The Robbery” and then, “Male Unbonding”.  This was done because Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character, Elaine, had a more prominent role in “The Stakeout”.  She only appears in one scene in “Male Unbonding”.  The DVD box set restores the proper order with “Male Unbonding” second, “The Stake Out” third and “The Robbery” fourth.

7. It took three auditions for Richards to land the role of Kramer.  Then-NBC President, the late Brandon Tartikoff, was in attendance for the last one.

8. Jason Alexander initially auditioned by videotape for the George Costanza role.  He did a Woody Allen impression not realizing that the character was based on co-creator Larry David.  Incidentally, David had small roles in two of Allen’s films, New York Stories and Radio Days.

9. In “The Seinfeld Chronicles”, the pilot episode, when George is informed that he’s been drinking regular coffee instead of decaf, Jerry is really laughing at his reaction.

10. Kevin Dunn, who played Jerry’s “self-involved”, obnoxious friend in “Male Unbonding”, is the brother of Saturday Night Live alumnus, Nora Dunn.  He originally auditioned for George.

11. Any time Kramer espouses “anti-authority” views, that’s the work of Larry Charles who happens to believe in those “alternate truths”.

12. The original idea for Seinfeld was a 90-minute special with one camera following Jerry around so the audience could see how he developed material for his stand-up act.  Jerry thought it was too long to be consistently funny so a 22-minute pilot was made instead.  Also, for the first three seasons, every show was a three-camera shoot.  From the fourth season on, it was a four-camera shoot.

13. Lawrence Tierney was cast as Elaine’s dad, a gruff Korean vet turned best-selling author.  He only appeared in one episode, season two’s “The Jacket”, because he scared the living shit out of everybody, except Jerry.  Jason Alexander tells a story on the DVD about the time a knife went missing from Jerry’s apartment set.  Everybody knew who stole it but only Jerry was brave enough to confront Tierney about it.  Caught red-handed, he told Jerry he was just going to play a practical joke pretending to be in the process of stabbing someone.  Larry David later quipped to director Tom Cherones, on more than one occasion, that he would bring Tierney back if he gave him any trouble.  Tierney is best known to modern audiences as the guy who gives the robbers in Reservoir Dogs all their colorful names (Mr. Brown, Mr. Pink, etc.).  He died in 2002.

14. Larry David worked with Jerry on the New York comedy club circuit in the 1970s.  He was recruited by ABC for their SNL knock-off, Fridays, where he worked with Michael Richards.  In the mid-80s, he was hired as a writer on SNL where he met Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  Jason Alexander was the only regular cast member he had never met before.  In fact, perhaps because of that very reason, he didn’t think he was right for George.  He has since revised that opinion.

15. The Seinfeld Chronicles eventually had to be changed to Seinfeld in order to avoid confusion with another show that was airing at the same time.  The Marshall Chronicles only lasted six episodes.

16. There was no bedroom set for Jerry’s apartment until the second season.  That’s why his bed is in his front room for one scene in “The Stake Out”.

17. We didn’t know Elaine was a book editor until season two, either.

18. Only one consistent element of Kramer’s character remained beyond the pilot.  His constant appearances in Jerry’s apartment, usually for the purpose of mooching.  His dog would mysteriously disappear, he would cease being an agoraphobic shut-in, his Reverend Jim mannerisms were dropped and his hairstyle would dramatically change.

19. In “The Robbery”, Jerry loses such items as his computer, his stereo and his TV.  The robbers must not have been paying attention because they forgot to steal the remote to his set and the cables to his stereo.  He never does get the items back.

20. On disc one of the box set, there are two errors in the Notes About Seinfeld feature.  In “Male Unbonding”, Andy Kaufman’s surname is misspelled with two “f”s.  Twice.  In a note displayed during “The Stake Out”, it is falsely claimed that John Cougar Mellencamp dropped the “Cougar” from his name in the mid-1980s.  He actually dropped it for his 1991 album, Whenever We Wanted.

(Special thanks to Rob Kerr.)

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, January 6, 2008
12:57 p.m.

CORRECTION:  The third line of number 18, which deals with Kramer, originally began with “He would never wear a bathrobe again…”.  Wrong.  The K-man does wear one beyond the first season, just not consistently.  My belated apologies for this mistake.  That original opening has now been dropped.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
3:08 a.m

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Published in: on January 6, 2008 at 12:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

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