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Frank  Conniff

To your list I would add Woody Allen, and of course I agree with Preston Sturges and Billy Wilder (and his two great collaborators Charles Brackett and I.A.L. Diamond) and Howard Hawks certainly. And what do two of the three Hawks romantic comedies you mentioned have in common? "His Girl Friday" and "Twentieth Century" were both based on plays by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. And that leads me to think of the man who directed the original Broadway production of "The Front Page" (the source of "His Girl Friday," I don't have to tell you), and the person whom I've always considered to be the ultimate comedy father-figure, George S. Kaufman. He only wrote a few screenplays, but his theater work was highly influential not just on plays and musical comedy, but on movies, radio and television, even to this day I would argue. As a playwright working as a director, it's certain that he helped shape and influence "The Front Page," and "The Front Page" influenced just about every comedy that came after it. And if you read the trio of great comedies he wrote with Moss Hart, "Once In A Lifetime," "You Can't Take It With You," and "The Man Who Came To Dinner," you will find the DNA of everything we have come to know as Situation Comedy. (They also have strong romantic comedy elements as well.) Plus, by all accounts, Kaufman was a funny guy who was depressed most of the time, so I've emulated him in at least this one area, although I think I would prefer to have eumulated him in talent and accomplishment. Anyway, this is just my way of saying Happy Comedy Father's Day to the man James Thurber called "The gloomy dean of American humor," George S. Kaufman.

E.C. Henry

As an amateur screenwriter going to varrious conference events and through books I can remember hearing rave after rave about how good Shane Black is; Shane makes it "fun" for the reader. YET in those same conferences and books screenwriters are told not to write like Shane Black until you've "earned" it. So I consider Shane Black the "paradoxial dad" for the general screenwriting public.

William Goldmman fits the bill as a good screenwriter's dad, as do you, Billy, as several times in the past I have picked up your "Writing the Romantic Comedy" book just to see how I measured up. Where was my "cute meet?" What is my lead characters' "chemical equation?"

In the movies one of most memorible portrayals of a father you are ever going to see in your lifetime was the one given by Richard Jenkins in "North Country." In "North Country" Richard Jenkins plays the role of Hank Ames, lifetime union worker at the plant where his crusading daughter, Jossie Ames (played by the actress Charlize Theron) decides to work. There is a key scene, which makes the picture if you asked me, where the union roughnecks are wearing down Jossie at the podium and Hank steps out of his comfort zone to come to his daughter's rescue. I can still remember getting choked up, as I watched Hank carry his daughter in his arms, past his fellow union workers who vehimently hated Jossie.
When "North Country" came out the media made a big deal about how Chalize Theron dressed down for the role, BUT what they missed was the GREAT job Richard Jenkins did as her father.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA


Although it wasn't a comedy, Best Cinematic Father, hands down, goes to Gregory Peck's Atticus Finch in "To Kill A Mockingbird".


I would have to add Steve Martin to the list of writers who have had an impact on comedy.


No time to say much more than James L Brooks. Look up his imdb credits and you will be amazed! Aside from his amazing movies that we all know (Broadcast News, Terms of Endearment, As Good As It Gets), let us not forget he's been one of the creators for some of our most beloved tv shows: Mary Tyler Moore, Taxi, and The Simpsons.

So I nominate James L. Brooks as the filmmaker that has most inspired me, my Father's Day Mentor, the man who helped give us Homer Simpson.


Jean Renoir, Clint Eastwood.


Mernitman: As a favorite dad, I vote for Dick Mernit - even though, to my knowledge, he's never been in a movie. He's everything and more than you said he is.


Frank: Thanks so much for your affectionate tribute -- I share your love for Mr. Kaufman, and of course, for his collaborator Moss Hart. Woody Allen is one of my mentors, as well.

EC, William Goldman! Yes, yes, yes.

Binnie: Atticus towers.

MaryAn: Totally -- the thinking comedy-writer's icon.

tc: James L. Brooks is The Man.

Tiago: You're reminding me of that kid in PLATOON -- talk about being pulled in two directions! But both powerhouse influences, obviously. Now I'm fantasizing a mash-up of RULES OF THE GAME and UNFORGIVEN where they're hunting people instead of rabbits...

Barbara: Awwww. There is a movie in Dick and Dee, though, don't you think?


Albert Brooks, anyone?
Glad to see you're doing well, Billy!


Paul Dooley in Sixteen Candles.

"Mike is a dork." Had to be the most comforting line ever.


Just off the top of my head, without pausing to think, Lionel Barrymore in You Can't Take it With You comes to mind. Love that strangely reassuring gravelly voice. Think he must have played a bzillion takes on that role...

Laura Reyna

Just wanted to say Harold Ramis is one of my favorite writer/directors. Incredibly underratted. Doesn't get enough love from the masses.

One of my fav screen dads is Levon Helm in one of my favorite movies, COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER.

The scene where Pa Webb and young Lorreta go collecting coal always chokes me up.

He tries to convince her not to marry Moonie.

"Don't do it Lorettie. Don't throw all them young years away. You're my pride, girl. My shining pride."

"I can't help it, daddy. I love 'em."


ScribeLA: LOVE that Albert.

Brooke: Exact-a-mente.

Patty: Yes, Lionel was an Everydad in his day.

Laura: And as Olympia said to Cher in a similar situation, "Oh, that's too bad."

Frank Trane

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