Community
6:00 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Mike Wood, KMUW Interim General Manager (And Typist) Retires – Again – Maybe

    

Wood was one of eight typists in a pool on the Fox back lot. They typed pages for “MASH” and other series being produced at Fox.
Credit Courtesy photo

He Worked on MASH

“It was fun to see the cast at the commissary at lunch time. And it was fun to stay on the sound stage and the see the woman who was the stand in for Hot Lips. She was probably thirty years older than the actress who played Hot Lips, and she didn’t look anything like her. But she had the same skin tone and same color hair, same height.”

“Somebody says ‘Oh you worked on MASH!’ Well I didn’t write it, I typed the scripts. I was there, and it was fun, but most people think, ‘Well you must’ve talked to Alan Alda every day!’ Well I don’t think so.”

Wood was an AFI Directing Intern (and occasional extra) in the ABC Circle film, “Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.”
Credit Courtesy photo

He Worked on the ABC Circle Film, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy

  “We were on location in Washington D.C. One of the shots was from a hotel looking down at the park in front of the White House. It was very well choreographed with lots of extras and period cars, taxis and so forth running in front of the White House. Those dailies were sent back to L.A .that night, then flown back out the next day. That’s when they found they had a piece of dirt in the camera and had scratched the film—so we had to do it all over again. This was before the luxury of video assist monitors.”

EXTRA!

“I got to be an extra in some of the shots. They were feeling sorry for me at this point—they knew I was bored. So, if you take a microscope, you can see me in the background of some of the crowd shots, and there’s my name in the credits as the American Film Institute intern. That’s my Hollywood claim to fame.”

An archive of over 600 video tapes have been amassed as part of the William Inge Theatre playwright interviews.
Credit Courtesy photo

He Brought Hollywood to WSU

“When I came back to Wichita State, one of the first things that I was asked to do was to help with a new recruitment film. There was new energy at Wichita State, and they were going to increase admissions, and what they had was probably five years old, so I was asked to produce something. And it was successful, I think, because I brought some of the film-making techniques from L.A.: I insisted that we get a track and do some moving shots and that we get a crane, even a light aircraft thing that we kind of flew under the radar and took some aerial pictures going across the University. All of that, together, just gave people a new perspective about the campus that they'd walked across every day. I saw some things that hadn't been seen and saw them in a filmic way.”

Neil Simon accepted the William Inge Distinguished Achievement in American Theatre award in 1997. Wood produced the multimedia tribute.
Credit Courtesy photo

He Made Neil Simon Cry

“Probably the most interesting and the biggest set we ever did (for the William Inge Theatre Festival) was for Neil Simon. The set designer made a type box big enough for the whole stage. It was 16 feet high and 30 some feet long. We filled every one of those boxes with something from one of Neil Simon’s plays. There were things from The Odd Couple and from Broadway Bound. In some of those boxes, instead of a prop, there were rear projection screens. They projected stills and playbills from the different films and movie versions of his plays. He was sitting in the audience (as all the Inge Festival honorees do) and they all tended to be fairly blown away when it came to that night, because they were coming to a little town in the middle of Kansas. Simon came up and stood at the podium, and he had tears in his eyes. He said this was greater than the Kennedy Center honors – he was so moved.”

He Retires

“My downside is I’ve never learned how to relax and play golf or go fishing. My friend Dennis has to drag me out to a fishing spot, and so he fishes, and I take pictures with my camera. But I’m not good at sitting still, unless it’s watching a film.”

“The great thing about this job is that I can go home, and I can tune in and hear all of you everyday, so it’s not leaving KMUW behind. I will be listening.”

This story originally aired on Morning Edition on June. 26, 2014.

 

Tags: