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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bob Marley documentary off to solid start at box office



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 Photo: Bob Marley in 1976. Credit: AFP.
 From the LA Times Company Town. Click here for the latest industry news.

More than three decades after his death, Bob Marley continues to fascinate legions of fans, as evidenced by the solid debut of a documentary about the reggae musician at the box office this weekend.

"Marley," directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin MacDonald, played in 42 theaters this weekend and collected a respectable $260,000, according to an estimate from distributor Magnolia Pictures.
Because the Rastafarian singer embraced marijuana, Magnolia decided to open the film on April 20, an unofficial holiday when many often gather together to smoke. The film was also made available to screen for $6.99 via Facebook that day, and fans could also rent it on video-on-demand platforms. On Sunday, the documentary was the No. 6 top movie rental on iTunes, behind far more commercial films like "We Bought a Zoo" and "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Neal Block, Magnolia's head of distribution, said he was hopeful that strong word-of-mouth and positive reviews would help the film "transcend being considered only a music documentary."

Indeed, music documentaries have had mixed success at the box office in recent years. In 2011, "Beats, Rhymes & Life," about the group A Tribe Called Quest, started with a strong $111,982 in only four theaters but eventually grossed only a moderate $1.2 million. "Tupac: Resurrection," a documentary about the late rapper Tupac Shakur, had more commercial appeal in 2003, when it ended up collecting $7.7 million.

 From the LA Times Company Town. Click here for the latest industry news.
Firs published 4-22=2012

12 Angry Men


"12 Angry Men" was shot in real time in a crowded conference room, just as depicted n the film. the film is a great study in conflict, conflict management, interpersonal communication, bandwagon effect and many other communication concepts. The tension was real and the acting impossible to beat. Great actors doing great work! -Art Lynch

Art Lynch Resume / CV


Art Lynch, Ph.D.

536 Sixth Street, Boulder City, NV 89005

(702) 454-1067 • (702) 714-0740 • (702) 682-0469 cell
http://artlynch.org



 Overview

Accomplished communications field professional with combination of academic and field experience. Experience with multi-cultural student populations and blended hybrid web-assist instruction, concentrated and full term instructions, high school and college. Field experience includes broadcast and print journalism, media, marketing, advertising and public relations, film industry and theater work; also organizational development, leadership and volunteer supervision experience. Teaching includes communication, critical thinking, film, media, marketing, education, theater, acting and related fields.

Education

PhD.(ABD) Education            estimated 2012

Capella University, Minneapolis, MN

Specialization: Professional Studies in Adult Education
     Relevant courses: adult education instruction and philosophy, distance education instruction and administration, curriculum design, critical thinking, evaluation and assessment (60+ credit hours).

Post Masters Certificate in College Teaching                                                                           October, 2008
Capella University, Minneapolis, MN
      On-line and classroom teaching preparation, design and assessment program

           

M.A. Communications            June, 2000

University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Thesis: The Performers Alliance: Conflict and Change Within the Screen Actors Guild.
Honors: Phi Kappa Phi, Theta Kappa, Lambda Pi Eta
     Postgraduate courses in a variety of fields (67 credits total) including theater (37 credits), communication, public affairs, public administration, media, and marketing.

Post Graduate Courses in Theater and Public Affairs            2001 to 2003

University of Nevada. Las Vegas
      MFA program track, performance, education, dramaturgy and research

B.A. Speech / Theater / Mass Communications / SDC      June, 1977
University of Illinois at Chicago
    Program /Operations Manager WUIC, Chicago, reporter for Chicago Illini
    Recipient of Theater Honors and Production Awards, academic honors and awards
    Communications Honor Society, Sigma Chi Eta, NAHS, NFL, Key Club, Deans Honors
    Faculty included Dr. Harry Skornia, media and international broadcasting scholar.
    Guest faculty included R. Buckminster Fuller, Studs Terkel and others for SDC program




Academic Teaching Experience
Adjunct Instructor            1998 to present
University and Community College System of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV
•     Includes Full time equivalency, 6 to 21 credit hours per semester at College of Southern Nevada.
•     Communication adjunct instructor at Southern Nevada College.
•     Courses Taught: Speech, Communication, Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication
•     Teach regular semester and one month or 6 week long courses using blended environment including
      Blackboard. Web CT and Angel instruction to maximize student participation and teaching
      opportunities. Volunteer Communication Lab. Positive student and faculty evaluations.
•     Developed support and resource materials for online use to foster understanding of communication
      theory, models, public speaking including study reviews, links to primary resources and examples.
      Linked sections for larger study and resource “community.”
•    CSN 1998-2012, NSC 2013, Taught Contemporary Radio at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (2004).

Instructor                                                                                                                                   20011 to present
University of Phoenix, Las Vegas, NV
•    Teach various Liberal Arts as needed, including Film, Media, Critical Thinking, Communication

Part Time Instructor                                                                                                                        2009 to 2011
Everest College, Las Vegas, NV
•     Courses Taught: Speech, Communication, Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication
 •    Teach overflow sections, so only as needed, not every term.

Instructor                                                                                                                                   20012 to 2013
Carrington College, Las Vegas, NV
•     Courses Taught: Speech, Communication, Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication
 •    Medical students preferred instructor with medical background.

Instructor                                                                                                                                    2008 to 2009
Student to Teacher Enlistment Program, Las Vegas, NV
Undergraduate Program
Clark Country School District/ CSN / Nevada State College, Las Vegas, NV
•      STEP-UP At-Risk Student to Teacher Enlistment Project CCSD and CSN//NSC. Taught speech
       communications at several high schools in a supportive program designed to spark student interest in
       teaching career.   STEP UP is a collaborative effort of the college and school systems, which gives an
       opportunity for at risk students to attain a teaching degree with scholarships for tuition and supplies.
       A second goal of the program is to enrich the education experience at Clark County schools with a
       multi-ethnic teaching force that reflects the district’s diverse population



Other Teaching Experience
Arts Instructor                                              2008-current
Boulder City Parks and Recreation, Boulder City, NV   
•    Offering acting workshops for children and adults to community members.
•    Assisting with ongoing collaboration to develop living history, narrative theater with Boulder City
     schools, Bureau of Land Management and other community agencies.  Activities include research,
     writing, acting, teaching, and development of school curriculum.
                                                                                                            
Acting and Life Coach                                                                                                               2008-current
CastingCallEntertainment.com, Las Vegas, NV           
•    Coach acting and voice-over, children to adult.

Studio Casting, Las Vegas, NV                                                                                             1994 to 1998
•     Director of Education and Training
•     Established program from ground up including all acting and modeling courses and showcases.

Acting Instructor             1994 to 2008
Kim Flowers Talent Development Academy, John Robert Powers Intl. / Style Entertainment,
Las Vegas, NV
•    Taught audition, scene, improv, and industry knowledge, competition preparation for beginning to
      Elite students for film and commercial work. Coached working actors and business community.
•     Developed curriculum for commercial and acting for camera classes, requiring establishment of
      requirements and goals in stepped programs established for beginning, intermediate and advanced
      students. Crafted and implemented assessment for student advancement and faculty evaluations.


Acting Coach            1984 to current
•    Teach various private and group classes in theater, film, television, commercial, event, spokes-
     modeling, voice over, and character voice. Adapted to each student and group as needed.

Instructor             1984 to1987
Las Vegas Business College / Phillips College
Courses taught: Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Communications, English.



Related Professional Experience

Announcer, Producer, Host            2000 to present
Nevada Public Radio (KNPR/KCNV/network), Las Vegas, NV
•    On air / live hourly announcements during programs, responsible for programs and underwriter
     broadcast within scheduled timeframes, news, promotions, troubleshooting of engineering problems.

Advertising Agency / Communications Consultant             1990 to 2002
A Personal Vision / Creative Communications  (owner), Las Vegas, NV           
•     Provided advertising, marketing, public relations, creative directing, media planning and account
      supervision consulting to wide variety of clients.
•     Clients included Canyon Rent to Own, Hammargren for Lt. Governor (successful), retail and
       professional clients, entertainment industry.
•     Produced, directed, supervised and/or wrote commercials or videos, plus print, web and other
       advertising resulting in awards, response and image recognition for clients.
•     Member Better Business Bureau (maintained to current) and Chamber of Commerce.

Advertising Manager, Marketing Director            1984 to1991
Canyon Rent To Own           
•     Locations in Nevada, Hawaii, Utah, California, Florida, Guam, Massachusetts, and Arizona.
•     Developed successful marketing plans to expanded market recognition and share resulting in “Top of
      Mind” status in all markets. Produced award-winning advertising with direct response impact.

Broadcaster, Journalist, Talk Host, Consultant                                                                             1977 to 2000
•     Award winning reporter and correspondent in diverse markets.
•     Includes Group W Westinghouse Chicago (WIND), Intermountain Radio Network/ABC, UPI, AP,
      Nevada Public Radio, various stations (CA, WY, IL, NV), Chicago College Radio Network.


YEARS Experience

20 years            Broadcaster / Journalist (full and part time, Chicago, Wyo, CA and NV)
19 years            SAG and SAG-AFTRA National Board Director (part time)
14 years            Leading various volunteer organizations and coordinating volunteers
14 years            College instructor (adjunct, part time and full time equivalent)
14 years            Advertising and Marketing (full time)
Other            Actor, director, artistic or creative director, president, producer, writer, voice-over, script supervisor, Production Assistant in film, television, commercial production and theater. Durations vary. Skills are cumulative.





Screen Actors Guild (1994-2012) /

SAG-AFTRA (2012-current)

Elected Positions:
1995-current            National Board Director Screen Actors Guild, now SAG-AFTRA (member elected)
2009-2012       Regional Branch Division Executive Committee Member (by Division Board)
2001-2012            Co-Chair, National New Technologies Committee (by National Bd, Ntl. President)
2009-2012            Co-Chair, National Website Subcommittee (by Ntl. President, Com Chair)
2004-2008          Co-Chair, National Communications Committee (by National Bd. & Ntl. President)
2004-2009          Co-Chair, National Background Committee, Regional Branch Subcommittee
2001-2003       Chair, Standing Trial Board Committee, Nevada Branch (by Nevada SAG council)
1999-various            Chair Election Nominating Committee for Nevada (by Nevada SAG council)
1998-2011             National Communications Editorial Supervisory Committee (by RBC)
1997-2001             National Nominating Committee (by Regional Branch Conference)
1997-2001             8th National Vice President Nominating Committee (by RBC)
1995-1996             Nevada Branch President (by membership in Nevada)
1994-1995             Nevada Branch Vice President (by membership in Nevada)
1990-1995             Nevada Branch Council Member (by membership in Nevada)

SAG National Presidential Appointed Positions:
2011-2014            SAG Military Personnel and Families Support Task Force
2007-2009            New Media Task Force, co-chair (by Ntl. President, committee sunset 2009)
2006-current            Honors, Tributes and Awards Committee
2005-current            National Equal Ethnic Opportunity Task Force
2004-2006            National Spanish Language Media Task Force
2002-current            National Right-to-Work Presidential Task Force
            1999-current             Web Oversight and Steering Committee
            1999-current             Editorial Sub-Committee
1998-current             New Technologies Committee, (co-chair 2005-current)
            1998-current             Communications Steering Committee
            1998-2008            Merchandising and Marketing Sub-Committee
1995-current             Communications Committee (co-chair 2001-2004)
1999-2000             National Contract Adjustment Committee
1995-2002             National Conservatory Committee (co-chair 1998-2000)
1995-2002             Young Performers Committee
1995-1996            National Executive Search Task Force
1997-2000          Guild Government Review Committee
2002-2013            Various Indy Outreach, Low Budget, Documentary, Merchandise, New Member Orientation, Steering, Health Care Task Force, Dancers, Global Rule One, New Technology, various as member or alternate (as needed by Guild)

SAG Nevada Branch Appointments:
2000-2010            Chair, Legislative Committee and Political Affairs
Various             Chair of Standing Trial Board and Investigative Committees
1998-current             Communications Committee Chair
1996-2003          Wage and Working Conditions (Vice-Chair)
1992-current             Nevada Actor Newsletter Editor
Various            Nominating Committee Co-chair (except years up my seat up)
1993-2001             Chair and Director of SAG Nevada Conservatory Program
1994-1995          Executive Search Committee Chair


 

Communication industry experience
Extensive broadcast and print management, journalism, talk host, operations, news director, producer, talent, film and television (various). Employers include Group W, UPI, ABC/IMN networks and various stations or employers.  Worked with Eddie Schwarz, Clark Weber, Larry Lujack, Michael Neff, others.

Marketing including public relations and public affairs, including University of Illinois Medical Center (internship), A Personal Vision/ Creative Communication, Canyon RTO, theater events, various clients.

Various motion picture, television, on-line and theater production experience including: Hearst Entertainment, Ted Mikels /TVM Global (Script Supervisor), Creative Communication, UIC, Biograph.


Information and Entertainment Industry
Screen Actors Guild: National Board Director, 14 years + (see supplement in C/V)
Talent: Actor, Voice Artist, Singer, Writer, Producer, Director, Coordinator, various productions
Production: Creative Communications / A Personal Vision: commercial producer, director, and writer
Educator: Coach acting, voice, theatre, and film at Kim Flowers, JRP, Studio Casting, Casting Call.
Broadcaster: Producer, director, host for entertainment centered talk radio and news
Manager: Radio Operations, News, Programming, Theater Founder, Artistic Director, film/tv/commercial producer, director, writer, casting director, script supervisor. Volunteer coordination for SAG-AFTRA committees as chair, SAG Nevada Conservatory, various theater groups, WUIC radio

Professional Associations
National Communication Association
The American Communication Association 
National Forensic League 
Sigma Delta Chi /Society of Professional Journalists
Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (April 28, 2005)
Professional Audio Visual Communications Association, President 1986-93; VP 1985-86

Service Work

Board of Directors (working board) Dam Short Film Festival, 2008-current
Announcer and Host of Nevada Recreation and Park Services On-Site Institute, 2009
Founder and President of Us Company, Boomtown Players, Vintage Theater, others (various years)
National Board of Directors, Screen Actors Guild 1996-current, currently co-chair on New Technologies Committee and New Media Task Force, active in Communications, Young Performers, Right-to-work, Organizing, Web, and Background Performers (see Screen Actors Guild section) 
President, Nevada Branch of the Screen Actors Guild 1995-96; VP 1994-95, Council 1990-95
Founder / Director / Chair, Screen Actors Guild Nevada Conservatory 1994-2004
Editor, Nevada Actor 1990-2001       Editor, CDW News 1985-87      Editor, AdAGlance, 1991-94
Reader, Radio Reading Service for the Print Impaired, KNPR, 1993 to 2006
Board Member, Las Vegas Ad Club 1986-93, Publicist and/or Newsletter Editor 1986-1995
Chair of the National Tourism Awareness Week Logo Contest (NV/Chamber) 1992-93
Us Company Theater, 1972-1977, (cast included Dan “Homer Simpson” Castenelatta, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Dale Calandare, Sean & Trish Grennan, other international award winning talent),
Founder, President, Director or Producer volunteer theater projects, 1973-2006
Produced election coverage, UICC 10th Anniversary Concert and other events WUIC 1974-1977
Program & Operations Manager / Organized and Supervised volunteers at WUIC, Chicago 1974-1977
Professional Awards
APRO Awards (national) for Canyon Rental, 1995, 1996, 1997
Telly Awards (International and National) for Canyon Rental, 1995
Addy Awards of Excellence for Young People Inc. for TV under $2,000, 1993, YPI. for TV Campaign,
1993, Hammargren for Lt. Governor, Campaign 1994, 1995 Hammargren for Lt. Governor, TV under $2,000, 1994, 1995
IABC Award of Excellence for Ad A Glance Newsletter, GLVAF / Las Vegas Ad Club, 1990, 1992           
AP California Spot News Awards, 1983, 1984; AP California Small Market News Station of the Year, 1983, AP Instant News Award (national), 1981 / Special Event Coverage Award (regional), 1982
Wyoming Association of Broadcasters Station of the Year, 1979, News Station of the Year, 1979, 1981
Program of the Year, 1980, Special Event Coverage, 1981
Associated Press (Rocky Mountain and Wyoming), News Station of the Month (numerous), 1978-1981
              Station of the Year (Wyoming), 1979
United Press International (Rocky Mountain Region) Correspondent of the Year, 1979 Rocky Mountain
              Spot News Award, 1980
Inter Mountain Radio Network / ABC Station of the Year, 1979, Spot News Awards, 1979-1981
Chicago Broadcast Association Awards coverage of the 10th anniversary of UIC and election coverage. 
Who’s Why Among America’s Teachers 2005
Chancellor’s List, 2005 (among others)
Nevada’s Most Distinguished several years
Who’s Who and Equivalent 1973-current  (several categories)

Technical Skills
Experience with WebCT 4.1.5, Blackboard/Web CT CE 6.2, BlackBoard Learning Systems, Angel, Virtual College, MS Word, PowerPoint, MS and Mac, broadcast video and audio, technical theater.

Training as Script Supervisor, Dramaturge, Trainer, Continuity, Voice Artist, Actor, Singer




Current Professional / Academic References

KNPR/Nevada Public Radio, 1289 South Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89146
David Becker, Program Director, davebecker@knpr.org
Casting Call Entertainment, Sharry Flaherty, noreply@callbacknews.com, 702-369-0400
Boulder City Parks and Recreation, Patty Sullivan, psullivan@bcnv.org (702) 400-3254 / 294-0335
Kim Flowers International / JRP, Kim Flowers (702) 296-1042 / 872-2227
Nevada State College, Gen Sharp, Gwen.Sharp@nsc.edu, (702) 992-2645



Hank Greenspun School of Communications / Journalism and Public Relations, 
College of Fine and Performing Arts / Graduate College
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
4505 Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89154           

Richard J. Jensen, Prof. Emeritus, (505) 797-4530.
Dr. David Henry, Director, Greenspun School, dhenry@unlv.edu (702) 898-3030
Dr. Jeffrey Koep, Dean, Fine and Performing Arts, jkoep@unlv.edu (702) 895-4210

Community College of Southern Nevada,

3200 E. Cheyenne, North Las Vegas, NV 89030
Angela Holland, Lead Faculty, Angela.Holland@csn.edu (702) 651-5983
James McCoy, Communication Department Chair, James.McCoy@csn.edu. (702) 651-3550
Dr. Tim James, Communication Department past Chair, Tim.James@csn.edu, (702) 651-7571


Personal References

Hrair Messerlian, former SAG NV Executive, hrair_messerlian@sbcglobal.net (559) 433-6870 home
Tony Bonnici, VP / GM, Lotus Broadcasting, (702) 876-1460 / 433-5881
Don Brakeman, actor, donbrakeman@sbcglobal.net, (702) 493-7729
Sandy Lukasik, SAMMIE357@aol.com (630) 357-3767 home
Ray Spinka, teacher / actor / retired LA County Probation Officer, fspinka@yahoo.com, (909) 796-7436
Jim Austin, Broadcaster  (GM/OM/PD/SM), resqd1@bellsouth.net  (704) 947-3345 / 578-4465/ 578-5464

Lollo Sievert, actor / SAG / web designer / SAG Nevada, lollo@mrgwell.com


''Part of teaching is helping students learn how to tolerate ambiguity, consider possibilities, and ask questions that are unanswerable.''

- Sara Lawrence Lightfoot




A Lifetime Of Laughs: Johnathan Winters



Jonathan Winters' entertainment career began when his wife encouraged him to enter a local talent contest in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. He ended up winning the contest — along with a wrist watch and a job as a local radio DJ.
EnlargeStephen Shugerman/Getty Images
Jonathan Winters' entertainment career began when his wife encouraged him to enter a local talent contest in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. He ended up winning the contest — along with a wrist watch and a job as a local radio DJ.
The recent Smurfs movie has the distinction of casting one of America's most admired of comedians. He's Jonathan Winters and he gives voice to Papa Smurf in the new film, but he also voiced Grandpa Smurf in the 1980s TV cartoon series.
Winters has practiced comedy for over 60 years in just about every medium you can make people laugh in — on the radio, on television, in nightclubs, on recordings, in movies and even on telephone answering machines (ask your parents).
His album Crank Calls won him a Grammy in 1995 and he's won two Emmys for his sitcom appearances. In fact, Jonathan Winters is a favorite among many comics — so much so that in 1999 the Kennedy Center awarded him its second Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
The Birth Of A 'Wacky Genius'
Jonathan Winters says he doesn't tell jokes.
"I have always classified [myself] as an actor/comedian, a humorist," he says. "I started out as an artist and what I do is verbal paintings. I paint a picture. Hopefully you'll see the characters and what they're doing and what they're saying."
Take the proprietor of the Used Pet Shop, a character from Winters' 1960 comedy album The Wonderful World of Jonathan Winters. In the album, Winters introduces the proprietor in one of his patented rural voices — thick with the Ohio countryside — as an apocryphal uncle who offered customers a real deal.
"I can give you that kangaroo over there for 10-and-a-half," Winters has the uncle say. "Come all the way from Australia, as most of them do. I got him as far as Muncie but he fell off a flatcar and broke his tail. You know, most of them set back on their tails like this. But this one, you have to lean against something."
There's a sense of danger in the idea of slightly imperfect bargain animals, and that danger is present in many of Winters' routines. According to him, that's the way it should be.
"I am dangerous," he growls with pride.
Winters found a natural home on shows where the hosts were also drawn to danger — the danger of live comedy and improvisation. He often appeared on Steve Allen and Jack Paar's innovative programs in the in the 1950s and '60s.

Aladdinjaz
Jonathan Winters makes comedy out of a stick on Jack Paar's 1950s television show.
Source: YouTube
In one particularly famous appearance, Jack Paar hands Winters a stick about 3 feet long and tells him to make comedy. Winters looks at if for just an instant, then whips it out in front of him, making a casting reel sound — he was always gifted at sound effects. In a comfortable vacationer's voice, he says, "Well, that was a pretty good cast, wasn't it Bob? I think we're on to something."
Then, a look of alarm out into the distance. "I'm sorry, Margaret, try to swim in."
The studio audience roars, which must have given Winters a clue for the next stick bit — a lion tamer's whip complete, again, with sound effects. Then the stick becomes a teacher's pointer, a spear, a golf club and a dozen more props.
The quicksilver improvisations, countless characters and mercurial changes of mood and expression led people to dub Winters a "wacky genius."
The Roots Of Winters' Comedy
Winters says he often drew on his Ohio childhood for characters. He says he was often lonely and his parents either ignored him or belittled him, even after his success.
Still, he brought his mother — a radio professional herself — onto The Jack Paar Show, one of the biggest TV shows at the time, thinking she would get a kick out of it.
"Jack said, 'You got a hell of a talent here,'" Winters recalls. "'You must be very proud of him.' And my mother said, 'He's the biggest joke I ever wrote.'"
His emotionless retelling of the story makes it clear he didn't see it as good-natured teasing. He adds, "They were both insanely jealous of my career."
Winters' voice betrays a bitterness that has grown with the years — it's especially noticeable when you hear the way Winters has talked about his parents in previous interviews. But he always says he's "not a cry-baby," and he had the satisfaction of a happy marriage that lasted from 1948 until his wife's death in 2009.
A Mental Health Break
At the height of his success, in his early 30s, Jonathan Winters voluntarily committed himself to a private psychiatric hospital.
"At that time they didn't have a label for me. I said, 'What the devil, I know I'm not schizophrenic; I'm not catatonic," Winters remembers.
So he asked for a diagnosis. He repeats the doctor's answer in a coy tone: "It would only upset you." Winters replied, "I'll tell you what's upsetting me is the cost of this place."
Now he knows his diagnosis was bipolar disorder, but there were no effective medications for it back then. Winters says he declined the electroshock treatment that doctors said would erase some of the pain he was feeling.
"I need that pain — whatever it is — to call upon it from time to time, no matter how bad it was," he says.
He recalls joking pointedly with his doctor about keeping in touch with the demolition experts he'd served with in World War II.
"I have contact with them," he'd solemnly say.
The doctor, puzzled, would ask, "What's the story?"
"They would visit you," Winters would say, again solemnly.
"They would visit me?" The doctor would ask, still puzzled.
Then, the kicker: "Yeah, there'd be just the one visit."
It sounds like the kind of joke that might prolong your stay in an institution. Winters left the hospital after eight months.
Naturally, he used his breakdown in his comedy thereafter, recalling on his next comedy album that he "left the mother ship, and they caught me. That was a terrible thing. But I had fun, playing checkers all day and making rope-soled shoes, and everything. Crazy!"
Winters says the day he came home from the hospital, April 1, he got a call from producer/director Stanley Kramer offering him a role in the slapstick saga It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
Winters didn't think he was up to it, but he turned to his wife for advice before turning Kramer down. "Take it or you'll never work again," he recalls her saying. So, he did.
A Look At Winters' 'Playground'
Winters' best films are products of the 1960s. They include the dark satire The Loved One, in which he plays two venal twins; one runs a funeral home for people, the other runs one for pets and together they hit on a scheme to launch the departed into orbit.
So far, Winters has spent most of his career working in television. He had two of his own TV comedy and variety shows — one in the '60s and one in the '70s — and he frequently appeared in sitcoms.
Jonathan Winters' drawing "Fruit Stand" features his trademark eyes, coat hangers and fruit.
Copyright 2011 Jonathan Winters
Jonathan Winters' drawing "Fruit Stand" features his trademark eyes, coat hangers and fruit.
In Mork & Mindy in the 1980s, he famously played Robin Williams' extraterrestrial baby. Working together, the two became great friends. Williams' own manic style of rapid-fire improvisation seems to have been inspired by Winters, who says he was most influenced as a young comic by classic actor/comedians like Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers. When you hear and see Winters perform, however, it's always seemed as though he sprang wholly original from some alternate universe.
Winters continues to create recordings, comedy and otherwise. In a surprising departure, a recent one — A Very Special Time — features his readings of popular and often sentimental poetry and prose.
At 85, Winters says what gives him the most pleasure now is selling his colored-pencil drawings — surreal sketches that always include eyes and sometimes coat hangers, fruit or stylized creatures. But he's also written the script for a dramatic Western, in which he hopes to play a role, and he's working on his autobiography.
"I chose this title I think works," he says in a voice that has become a sepulchral rumble, but is still graced with expert timing. "It's me. And the title of the book, of the autobiography, is In Search of a Playground."

First posted 7/30/11