by G. Jack Urso
|Backstage at Studio 8H (left to right), Patrick McMahon, Andy Breckman (Puberty Fairy),|
and Sherry Coben, summer 1979 (image courtesy Sherry Coben).
Ae13U: Sherry, you noted that this was your first job out of college? How did you get it?
Sherry Coben: It wasn’t
my first job out of college. It was my first WRITING job. While going to
Swarthmore, I had started working in the art department of Philadelphia’s KYW
TV Art Department, doing graphics, sets, illustration and animation for all
their local programming and for The Mike
Douglas Show. After four years working full time there and writing spec
material and creating musical theater in my off hours, I moved to NYC. A few
years later, I was recommended to the Harts as a potential animator by Penny
Price, a producer friend from The Douglas
Show. I really wanted to break in as a writer so took the opportunity to
deliver a huge stack of scripts to the Harts’ apartment, a few blocks from my
own. On the strength of my unsolicited spec material, they hired me to be one
of the staff writers on the show. This little bit of serendipity is the kind of
luck that rarely happens to anyone.
|Bruce and Carol Hart.|
|The Hot Hero Sandwich sign in an undated photo in the Hart’s home office, where it remained until their passing (Bruce in 2008 and Carol in 2018).|
Sherry Coben: Patrick had worked on Sooner or Later with the Harts just before HHS, and they asked him to do the job. Networks don’t assign anyone. They might have lists of acceptable people, but they tend to trust the showrunners in such decisions.
End Part I