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R.I.P. Reinhold Weege
December 7, 2012 11:05 PM   Subscribe

Reinhold Weege, creator of Night Court has passed away at 63. Weege got his start writing for sitcoms like Barney Miller, its spinoff Fish and M*A*S*H, but was most famous for Night Court the long-running Harry Anderson vehicle for NBC. (Night Court was not the only legal-related show he created, though - he also had the short-lived Park Place, set in a legal-aid clinic.) Due to the success with Night Court he was able to go into semi-retirement, but he was reported to be recently working on a new play.

According to IMDB, he owned Starry Night Productions, whose vanity card at the end of every episode of Night Court had the signature "CLACK!" sound.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me (55 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
DAN-DAN FIELDING.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 11:32 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by laconic skeuomorph at 11:35 PM on December 7, 2012


I liked Fish and MASH just fine, but I was always a bigger fan of the spinoff-spinoff, Bangers and MASH.
posted by StoicRomance at 11:43 PM on December 7, 2012


you know the first thing I remember about that show? how terrifically grimy the sets looked. I guess part of that was being in the 80s.
posted by ninjew at 11:45 PM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


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I am sorry for making fun of your name when I was 13, Reinhold Weege. Night Court was great.
posted by jewzilla at 11:45 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I'll shout when it reaches eleven!"

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posted by scrowdid at 1:04 AM on December 8, 2012


Oh man, we LOVED Night Court. Serious Harry Anderson crush.



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posted by louche mustachio at 1:18 AM on December 8, 2012


There was an episode of Night Court in which the guys expressed disbelief that someone was named Reinhold. Didn't know it was an in-joke!
posted by JHarris at 1:26 AM on December 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


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I have very fond memories of watching Night Court as a kid. I re-watched nearly the whole series a few years ago, and was shocked by a) How well it's withstood the test of time, b) The fact that there were several episodes I could quote from memory, and c) How much (mostly positive) influence it seems to have had on my current sexual identity.
posted by rhiannonstone at 1:26 AM on December 8, 2012


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posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:37 AM on December 8, 2012


I ran into Harry Anderson in the Bellevue Tower Records in the late 1980s. The man is tall. (I also ran into Brian Bosworth in the same store. That man is not tall, but was nearly as wide across the shoulders as he was tall, I swear.)
posted by maxwelton at 2:00 AM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, man. What a great show that was. I never missed an episode. I hope one of those "hey, people in your mid-forties, remember this show?" networks starts airing it, the way shows like Remington Steele and such are back on cable.

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posted by tzikeh at 4:20 AM on December 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


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(And add me to the bandwagon for Night Court reruns somewhere support)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:39 AM on December 8, 2012


Dang that's too young.

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posted by fleetmouse at 4:43 AM on December 8, 2012


What a late night college staple; how was it that Harry got his job, "I was home when the phone rang"... classic dryness; didn't know the 'Fish' connection.
posted by buzzman at 4:48 AM on December 8, 2012


I remember that Harry was super into Mel Torme and I had never heard of Mel Torme at all at that time. Honestly, not much since.
posted by josher71 at 5:03 AM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Night Court was simply one of the best sitcoms ever. Great cast and great characters all around. Hell, the series was worth it just for the episodes with Brent Spiner.
posted by azpenguin at 5:10 AM on December 8, 2012


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posted by Thorzdad at 5:16 AM on December 8, 2012


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I loved every character on the show. But Markie Post and her giant hairdo will always have a special spot in my heart.
posted by DigDoug at 5:20 AM on December 8, 2012


"hey, people in your mid-forties, remember this show?"

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Some of us are in our early 40s thank you!
posted by orme at 5:24 AM on December 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


It was Dan whose real name was revealed to be Reinhold.

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posted by evilcolonel at 5:44 AM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Some of us are in our early 40s thank you!

And thirties! Plenty of the jokes went whoosh right over my head, but plenty of 'em caught!

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posted by mochapickle at 6:03 AM on December 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


"REINHOLD??!?!"
posted by easement1 at 6:15 AM on December 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I was a kid and "Night Court" was on regular TV, the judge's Mel Torme fixation struck me as a senseless eccentricity.

When I became a man, I discovered that a Mel Torme fixation is simply a marker of good taste.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 6:20 AM on December 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


I ran into Harry Anderson in the Bellevue Tower Records in the late 1980s.

Did he give you your wallet back?

Wait... Wrong show.
posted by hal9k at 6:27 AM on December 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I remember rooting for Harry on the first run-through, as a kid, as I suppose naturally one was supposed to. I also remember thinking Christine was not all that pretty. (Mostly because of the hair.)

Coming back to it after many years, Harry gets a bit annoying at least every episode. Dan is the reason to keep watching. Larroquette must have just had an absolute ball all those years. And Christine was quite striking once you looked past the mullet.

I suppose I'm feeling much better now.
posted by adoarns at 6:31 AM on December 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Okay, so he's a little gamey."

"Sir, a herd of wildebeests mating across the Serengeti Plain is a little gamey. That dog stinks."

"Thank you, Mutual of Omaha."

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posted by middleclasstool at 7:17 AM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


That episode where Harry has a crush on a No Wave star and listens to her album and it is all breaking glass and screaming? That kind of blew my mind as a kid.
posted by idiopath at 7:18 AM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I find myself very saddened by the news of Weege's death. I have such GREAT memories of watching this show with my (now) late mother and sister when I was in my early teens. Night Court is one of those memory triggers that brings back a lot of happy memories of them.

As much as we liked Cheers, we REALLY loved Night Court. I was always impressed with its "The Little Show That Could" vibe, as it always seemed on the verge of cancellation throughout its run yet stayed on for years, even with some signifigant turnover in the cast (IIRC, Harry Anderson, Dan Larroquette & Richard Moll were the only ones who were there from the beginning to the end of the series).

Thanks, Mr. Weege.

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posted by KingEdRa at 7:21 AM on December 8, 2012


Night Court trivia! Ellen Foley, who played one of the defenders who wasn't Markie Post, is one of the lead vocals on the Clash's Hitsville U.K.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:49 AM on December 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


orme: ""hey, people in your mid-forties, remember this show?"

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Some of us are in our early 40s thank you!
"

Hey now, I'm 36 and I loved this show (my mom on the otherhand didn't want me watching it, but pfft on her!)
posted by symbioid at 8:06 AM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Night Court trivia! Ellen Foley, who played one of the defenders who wasn't Markie Post, is one of the lead vocals on the Clash's Hitsville U.K.

Ellen Foley was also the female vocalist on the studio version of Meat Loaf's Paradise By The Dashboard Light.
posted by KingEdRa at 8:11 AM on December 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


That episode where Harry has a crush on a No Wave star and listens to her album and it is all breaking glass and screaming?

"I Bite the Songs" if I remember correctly.
posted by LionIndex at 8:23 AM on December 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


A court... at night?!? I'm already laughing!

Thanks for all the great shows over the years; I watched the hell out of Night Court as a teen in the '80s.

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posted by porn in the woods at 8:26 AM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ellen Foley was also the female vocalist on the studio version of Meat Loaf's Paradise By The Dashboard Light.

Ellen Foley was also the girlfriend of Mick Jones in the early 80's. Her album Spirit of St. Louis features members of The Clash on (I think) every song and half of the writing credits are "Strummer/Jones." It's not bad and definitely worth a listen if you're looking for Clash-related material that you haven't heard yet.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:29 AM on December 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Night Court actors and music...

I've heard that Charles Robinson (Mac) was in the group Archie Bell and the Drells, but when looking now, Wikipedia has nothing on him as being in the group. There are some claims floating around, but nothing I see on a "reputable" site. I do see that he went to the same school as Archie Bell, so perhaps he was either in the band before it recorded anything and got big, or perhaps someone saw they went to the same school and just made an assumption? Anybody know anything about this?
posted by symbioid at 8:55 AM on December 8, 2012


Wasn't there an episode where an old vocal group showed up in the court and Mac used to be a member but left before they got big or something? Maybe that was an in-joke?
posted by wabbittwax at 9:15 AM on December 8, 2012


Yeah, Ellen Foley was my favorite. I can see why she didn't work out, but I thought she and Anderson had real chemistry. On the other hand, Markie Post was miles ahead of Karen Austin. I think Weege may have had trouble writing women, or maybe casting them, as other than a straight man.

symbiooid: there are a few things in Google News Archive, including him saying "I was the original Drell".
posted by dhartung at 9:22 AM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some Night Court Youtube clips I had to go looking for:

The theme which birthed an untold number of bass players

Markie Post

Some Ellen Foley

Michael Richards makes an appearance

Dan vs. Teri Hatcher

And here's some Brent spiner

The inevitable where are they now clip

Thanks for the laughs, Reinhold.
posted by MrVisible at 9:25 AM on December 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Wasn't there an episode where an old vocal group showed up in the court and Mac used to be a member but left before they got big or something? Maybe that was an in-joke?

"An old vaudeville theater that Harry and Bull both remember fondly is targeted for demolition; Bull takes the extreme route and shackles himself to the front doors, while Harry tries to organize a benefit concert with the theater's old performers. In doing so, it is revealed that Mac used to be one of the Starlites."

"In 1989, the Rivingtons appeared in an episode of L.A. Law as a doo-wop group, "The Sensations."[8] They were later featured in an 1990 episode of Night Court, "Razing Bull" as Mac's former group-mates "The Starlights.""
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:47 AM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Days in the courtroom
Aren't much fun
Come to the Night Court
Everyone
Your frown's on trial
Approach my smile
I sentence you to stay a while

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posted by MrBadExample at 10:07 AM on December 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


America's attitude toward the police and the justice system might be much better if there were umpteen spinoffs of Night Court and Barney Miller, rather than L&O and CSI.

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posted by oneswellfoop at 10:12 AM on December 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by BlahLaLa at 10:29 AM on December 8, 2012


I didn’t realize that Night Court was on that long, or that it started after Cheers. Memory is unreliable.
posted by bongo_x at 10:47 AM on December 8, 2012


Night Court was one of my favorites mainly for Dan "Rheinhold" Fielding. One the things I remember the most is John Astin's appearance on that show. I knew him best as Gomez Addams so it was great to see him in a contemporary show. Aside from a great regular cast, the guest stars were also awesome.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:13 AM on December 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thank you for posting those clips of Bob and June Wheeler, MrVisible. Didn't they eventually make them owners of the cafeteria or something?

Also, I couldn't find a clip of John Astin's character Buddy and his holiday traditions, but I'm feeling much better now.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:34 AM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


They bought the snack bar and charges hundreds of dollars for a candy bar to make their money back.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:24 PM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


bongo_x, hardly anyone watched the first season of Cheers, so it's not just your memory. It was very close to dead last in the ratings. It wasn't until its third season that Thursday night began to click for NBC and the "must-see TV" began, at least as a water-cooler concept.
posted by dhartung at 1:34 PM on December 8, 2012


Ah, early thirties here, and I watched every Night Court as a kid. Harry's magic tricks were a nice companion to my fascination with that, also.

Fun story time - while in college I had a lovely dinner with family friends in Los Angeles while spending the weekend at their house. During the dinner party, the guest seated next to me was none other than Ms. Markie Post. It took everything I had to not lead the conversation toward her time on Night Court.
posted by shinynewnick at 1:44 PM on December 8, 2012


Stick to polite dinner conversation. Comment on the franks and beans.
posted by hal9k at 2:41 PM on December 8, 2012


Also, I couldn't find a clip of John Astin's character Buddy and his holiday traditions, but I'm feeling much better now.

This is where I mention that I rode on a plane with Mr. Astin. I introduced myself to him and became immediately tongue-tied and flop-sweatty when he flashed the "I'm feeling much better now" smile at me. I think he was wearing that same toupee. And a purple suit.
posted by gjc at 2:55 PM on December 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by puckupdate at 5:14 PM on December 8, 2012


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posted by tribalspice at 5:57 PM on December 8, 2012


Watched so much night court as a kid. As a comedy concept, the set up was perfect. And they had so many good hooks for stories. I remember not liking Dan much cuz I was pretty young when it was on and I didn't get why he was so funny. Now, I have a working theory that both Jeff Winger and Pierce Hawthorne from Community are supposed to be different evolutions of Dan Fielding.

I loved that the show had fun with its creator's name.

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posted by dry white toast at 10:40 PM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah what a shame. I remember as a kid seeing Weege's name in the opening credits and being proud I got the in-joke regarding Dan Fielding's real name. I later had a similar experience with King of the Hill's Bill Dauterive and producer Jim Dauterive's name being in the opening credits.
posted by item at 2:08 PM on December 10, 2012


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