21. In The Secretary and The Scofflaw, during a couple of New York street scenes you’ll notice a Kal’s Signs sign posted on a building in the background. That’s a tribute to Jerry’s dad, Kal, who ran a sign business during the comedian’s childhood.
22. Despite the show’s reliance on real stories there are some notable fictional elements in season six. For the record, there are no Mackinaw peaches that are only ripe for two weeks, no Breulein tennis rackets that transform amateurs into professionals, there’s no hot-tempered baseball player named Steve Gandason, no big band artist named Stan Herman, no swing songs called Honeysuckle Jump or Next Stop, Pottersville and no organization called Able Mentally Challenged Adults (AMCA).
23. Olympia Dukakis’ brother, Apollo, plays Estelle Costanza’s laser eye surgeon in The Fusilli Jerry. Todd Bridges’ brother, J.D., is the paramedic who wheels the injured Jimmy out of the mens’ locker room in The Jimmy. Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ half-sister, Lauren Bowles, is the waitress who appears to be giving George the finger twice in The Pledge Drive. (She also pops up in The Race and The Big Salad.) And Edward Albert, the son of Green Acres star, Eddie Albert, came very close to playing J. Peterman.
24. In The Face Painter, for the first time in four seasons, George says “I love you” to a girlfriend, a zookeeper named Siena. Unfortunately, she doesn’t acknowledge his declaration which leaves him deflated. After Kramer learns from her boss that she doesn’t have great hearing in one of her ears, George goes for take two but learns that one, Siena heard him the first time and two, she doesn’t reciprocate. In a revealing deleted scene, after telling her “I love you” for the second time she actually says it back. So stunned by this, he then proposes marriage. She accepts. As they embrace, he suddenly starts looking worried. One wonders how season seven would’ve turned out if this had made it into the episode, the second-to-last of season six.
25. The Understudy is the only season six episode not to feature any stand-up routines. One was actually recorded but cut because the show was about ten minutes too long. Jerry does a funny riff on the absurdity of believing everything you see in a live play. It’s included in a collection of stand-up outtakes.
26. Buddy Rich was a notoriously hot-headed big band drummer who often yelled at his musicians while on their tour bus. Someone in the group made secret recordings of these now infamous rants which eventually circulated among greatly amused comedians like Jerry Seinfeld who memorized his verbal venom by heart. Three lines from these tapes were thrown into three different Seinfeld episodes. The first is mentioned here. (It’s number nine.) The second pops up in The Understudy when Frank Costanza tells Elaine in the coffee shop that the father of his ex-girlfriend (a woman he met in Korea) didn’t like him very much. Roughly translating from Korean, he says, “This guy…this isn’t my kind of guy.” (I’ll save the third for later.)
27. In The Diplomat’s Club, Jerry becomes distracted by an airplane pilot at a comedy show in Ithaca, New York after his very annoying assistant mentions that he’s sitting in the audience. The extra who played the pilot was actually a delivery man for Sparkletts water who arrived at the Seinfeld office one day to learn that he had the perfect look for the character. After his two non-speaking scenes in the episode, he actually quit his job to become an actor. It must not have gone very well because his name is not mentioned.
28. In The Chaperone, during the talent portion of the Miss America pagent there’s a quick shot of the audience. Pay close attention to the white-haired man who claps once and briefly fixes his hair. That’s the late Merv Griffin. Also, Regis Philbin is the voice you hear emceeing the competition.
29. In The Face Painter, Elaine, her mechanic boyfriend, David Puddy, Jerry and Kramer go see game one of the New York Rangers/New Jersey Devils playoff series in Madison Square Garden. Look closely behind Puddy and you’ll see the real Kenny Kramer, Larry David’s old neighbour, with his long hair in a ponytail wearing a blue Rangers jersey cheering for the home team.
30. In The Race, we learn that Jerry ran a footrace in high school that made him something of a legend, even though he got away with a false start. For years, in order to preserve this proud myth, whenever asked to run again, his response was always the same: “I choose not to run.”. This is an homage to former American President Calvin Coolidge who said pretty much the same thing (“I do not choose to run.”) when asked by reporters if he was planning on running for re-election in 1928.
31. When George walks into Monk’s with his new hair piece in The Scofflaw he immediately spots a beautiful woman sitting alone and asks her, “How’s your life? Alright?”. This was something the real Jerry Seinfeld heard Keith Richards say once which he added to the rewrite of the script. Also in that episode, Kramer gets into a misunderstanding with a cop who thought he was calling him a “pig”. (The hipster doofus was really yelling at a passing motorist who was littering on the street.) In a later scene, when he explains himself the cop is suddenly sporting an eye patch that is never explained. That’s because the explanation – he has a sty – was cut for time.
32. Jerry Stiller has a unique ability to consistently crack up two members of the main cast. In the last scene of The Doorman, Frank Costanza climbs into bed with his son, George, and then offers him some Kasha. Jason Alexander kept cracking up at that point in the scene. It took a dozen takes to get the shot. In a pivotal scene of The Fusilli Jerry, Frank enters Jerry’s apartment looking for Kramer. (He’s upset with him because he believes he “stopped short” with Estelle.) Elaine is there, as well. Julia Louis-Dreyfus had a very difficult time getting through various parts of this long scene without laughing, especially when the corkscrew pasta gets stuck up his ass. (Several bloopers are shown and she even laughs during the audio commentary.) If you look closely during the episode she is clenching her fists very tightly which finally, over numerous takes, allowed her to persevere without spoiling the scene.
33. In The Understudy, after Bette Midler (actually a stunt double contrary to Jason Alexander’s assertion) gets pushed off home plate by a charging George during a key moment in the softball game, Kramer holds her very close and starts to sing her big hit, The Wind Beneath My Wings. During the location shoot, Michael Richards couldn’t remember how to sing the song’s melody correctly so he had to dub it in later during a looping session. Cher, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett and Julie Andrews were other possible celebrity choices for the episode.
34. In The Diplomat’s Club, George is determined to find some black friends to ease the tension between himself and his Yankees colleague, Mr. Morgan. He bothers the family that incredibly allowed him to watch Breakfast At Tiffany’s with him in The Couch. He rents another Audrey Hepburn movie hoping they can “bond” some more. The movie is My Fair Lady which was mentioned in the script but not used.
35. The show had an inconsisent policy on accidental sneezes. There’s an odd moment in The Label Maker where George and Jerry are walking down the street. Out of nowhere, the slow-witted bald man suddenly sneezes. This was a mistake that was curiously left in because it was perceived to be a natural moment that didn’t detract from the scene. However, Jason Alexander also sneezed in The Race during the scene where George Steinbrenner confronts him about possibly stealing Yankee athletic equipment. Larry David, who voiced Steinbrenner, actually blessed him which Jason thanked him for. But then Larry told him, in character, that maybe they should do the scene over again. The final version of the scene that ended up in the episode doesn’t feature the sneezing or the ad-libbed exchange.
36. In The Race, George lies about being deflowered by his high school homeroom teacher, Miss Stafford. Jerry Seinfeld had a crush on a real Miss Stafford but she taught first grade and he was 6 at the time. Mr. Bevilaqua, another high school instructor who ran both of Jerry’s controversial foot races, was the name of another of Jerry’s real-life teachers. Coincidentally, Claude Earl Jones, the actor who played him, used to teach in high school himself.
37. In The Doorman, Kramer develops a male bra prototype he calls The Bro after seeing George’s father with his shirt off. When he pitches the idea to a receptive Frank, the elder Costanza dislikes the name (“too ethnic”) and counters with The Mansiere. Their bickering over what to call this rather ingenious idea was inspired by a real-life argument between Larry David and the episode’s writers who wisely decided to put it in the show when they couldn’t agree on what to call the male undergarment. The male bra storyline came from a series of Ann Landers columns that co-writer Tom Gammill read as a kid that featured women complaining about their husbands’ breasts.
38. In the sixth season, as the show reached its 100th episode, NBC executives shared the original test results for The Seinfeld Chronicles pilot with the supporting cast for the first time. The reviews from test audiences in late October 1989 were less than encouraging. They thought George was a “loser” and a “wimp”, that Jerry’s everyday life was “boring” and his character “powerless”, “dense” and “naive” and that Kessler (Kramer’s original name), although sometimes “mildly amusing”, was also underwhelming. They found the storylines a distraction from the stand-up segments which was the only part those familiar with Jerry’s brand of comedy liked. Their overall view of the performance of that first show: “weak”.
39. Comedian/writer Carol Leifer plays Wendie Malick’s receptionist in The Kiss Hello. In the scene where George is signing a check to pay for his appointment Leifer claims he wrote obscene messages to her during every take.
40. In The Doodle, Jerry has to call an exterminator to get rid of some fleas that have somehow burrowed their way into his couch and on his body. He later determines that Newman had been sneaking in his apartment to eat Chunkies. (He leaves the wrappers in between the cushions. Classy.) Jerry eventually confronts him. In a deleted scene, we learn how Newman acquired the fleas. While doing his mail route he had a run-in with a bulldog named Buford who was loaded with them. That’s the same dog that Kramer unleashes on the mailman after he eats his last Mackinaw peach.
(Special thanks to Rob Kerr.)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, February 27, 2013