Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Stephen J. Cannell: Dyslexia
January 17, 2007 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Stephen J. Cannell has created/co-created over 40 TV shows, written over 450 TV scripts for shows like The Rockford Files and The A Team , and 12 mystery novels. What's the catch? He is dyslexic..
posted by CameraObscura (40 comments total)

 
Apparently you haven't heard. Dyslexia is a myth. (As a person whose has first-person experience with father and daughter that have it, I do not share the view of the Telegraph headline).
posted by spock at 10:41 AM on January 17, 2007


Dyslexia is not a Writer's Death Sentence. They just need editors for one more reason than do your non-dyslexic writers.
posted by spock at 10:42 AM on January 17, 2007


I believe John Irving is dyslexic.
posted by billysumday at 10:45 AM on January 17, 2007


Leslie Nielsen, who has been legally deaf since childhood, has served in the second World War as an air gunner for the Royal Canadian Air Force and has appeared in over 200 film and television productions.

Sonora Webster Carver, inspiration for the movie Wild Hearts Can't be Broken, was a professional stunt diver who performed with horses, despite being blinded during a performance gone awry.
posted by Smart Dalek at 10:48 AM on January 17, 2007


you think jann wenner drives a lexus?
wtd?
posted by Dizzy at 10:48 AM on January 17, 2007


Dyslexia? Come on. He should just apologize for The A-Team and get it over with.
posted by MikeMc at 10:49 AM on January 17, 2007


I used to love that scene he did at the end of the credits, where he would make the last few keystrokes, then pull the paper out of the typewriter with a flair, and toss it into the air....that was awesome.
posted by lobstah at 10:51 AM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Cannell is also a big supporter of independent film.
posted by drezdn at 10:56 AM on January 17, 2007


Dyslexia? Come on. He should just apologize for The A-Team and get it over with.

That one wasn't his fault. He meant to pitch "A Hat Meet", the story of four escaped convicts brought together by their love of haberdashery.
posted by cortex at 11:04 AM on January 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


I used to love that scene he did at the end of the credits, where he would make the last few keystrokes, then pull the paper out of the typewriter with a flair, and toss it into the air....that was awesome.

That's the first thing I thought of when I saw his name. I didn't know he was responsible for anything else besides that ill outro scene.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:05 AM on January 17, 2007


Lots of writers and artists have dyslexia. Dyslexia doesn't mean you can't write. It just means that certain aspects of it (for me, spelling) are more challenging than they are for other people. It's a condition that exists--like most conditions--on a continuum, from problematic to detrimental.
posted by wheat at 11:09 AM on January 17, 2007


Have you watched his shows or his recent films on Sci-Fi? Horrible.

His mystery novels appear to be nice reads, though. I enjoyed Vertical Coffin.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:29 AM on January 17, 2007


I used to love that scene he did at the end of the credits, where he would make the last few keystrokes, then pull the paper out of the typewriter with a flair, and toss it into the air...

My cousin and I worked up a version in which, after the sheet turned into an animated 'C', it began to spin and shrink until it disappeared and the little guitar flourish was replaced by the sound of a toilet flushing.

Comedy geniuses, we were.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:33 AM on January 17, 2007


Oh, okay. Well that explains Tenspeed & Brownshoe.
"Fast talking black hustler EL Early Leroy "Tenspeed" Turner hooks up with straight-arrow suburban professional Lionel "Brownshoe" Whitney (who just happens to have a black-belt in Karate and was an Olympic Games pistol shooting competitor) to form a mismatched buddy private detective team." BRILLIANT!
posted by miss lynnster at 11:37 AM on January 17, 2007


I met with the head of the school and he said: "She may not be up to what we're trying to accomplish." What he was really saying was that she didn't have the intelligence.

Well, neither do half of the children in the country.
posted by PhatLobley at 11:42 AM on January 17, 2007


I don't know what that nonsense at the top of my comment is. Sorry.
posted by PhatLobley at 11:42 AM on January 17, 2007


miss lynster: I always thought of Cannell as being the spiritual godfather of They Fight Crime!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:45 AM on January 17, 2007


"That one wasn't his fault. He meant to pitch "A Hat Meet", the story of four escaped convicts brought together by their love of haberdashery."

Nice.

"Oh, okay. Well that explains Tenspeed & Brownshoe."

I liked Tenspeed & Brownshoe. But then again I was only 12 years old when it aired.
posted by MikeMc at 11:54 AM on January 17, 2007


My favorite guy on The A-team was Cafe', whereas most people liked US Arabcab...
posted by Mister_A at 12:08 PM on January 17, 2007


Wiseguy was pretty watchable (Mmmm, Patti D'Arbanville). As for the rest, what a terrible assortment of cheese. I mean, Silk Stalkings alone should assure him an eternity filled with 72 virgins who won't put out.
posted by Sparx at 12:10 PM on January 17, 2007


He's dyslexic??

Oh. My. DOG.
posted by briank at 12:13 PM on January 17, 2007


Canell has appeared on two episodes of Closer to Truth, as part of a panel discussing creativity.
posted by unmake at 12:13 PM on January 17, 2007


Yeah, this isn't like a deaf musician or something, people who are dyslexic have no trouble thinking about words and language. And The A-Team is hardly a literary masterwork, although it was awsome.
posted by delmoi at 12:16 PM on January 17, 2007


The first person on here to diss The Rockford Files will feel my wrath.
posted by erskelyne at 12:28 PM on January 17, 2007


C:\FileForDorks
posted by Mister_A at 12:51 PM on January 17, 2007


Anybody seen Dirk Benedict on Celebrity Big Brother (UK) recently?
posted by John Shaft at 12:53 PM on January 17, 2007


Loved that logo thing of his from the early eighties.

I also like Shushie Lady from The Simpsons.
posted by aerotive at 1:03 PM on January 17, 2007


erskelyne:
gretchen corbett!
yummy!
posted by Dizzy at 1:05 PM on January 17, 2007


Oh wow, excellent use of the "msytery" tag.
posted by Mister_A at 1:08 PM on January 17, 2007


Tom Cruise is also dyslexic. Of course, once he becomes a clear, that should no longer be a problem.

*audience groans*
posted by deusdiabolus at 1:19 PM on January 17, 2007


erskelyne, it's Angel. Don't pay no attention to my other message. You're out of it. You're clean, no trouble at all. Just ignore the first message.
posted by hal9k at 1:30 PM on January 17, 2007


"The ultimate hack for a team of Valley programmers may turn out to be cracking the genetic code that makes them so good at what they do. Taking on that challenge will require extensive use of technology invented by two people who think in pictures: Bill Dreyer, who invented the first protein sequencer, and Carver Mead, the father of very large scale integrated circuits. As Dreyer explains, 'I think in three-dimensional Technicolor.' Neither Mead nor Dreyer is autistic, but there is a word for the way they think -- dyslexic. Like autism, dyslexia seems to move down genetic pathways. Dreyer has three daughters who think in Technicolor."

-- "The Geek Syndrome," Wired, 2001 [note: self-link]
posted by digaman at 1:30 PM on January 17, 2007


The best dialogue in the A-Team, from the pilot:

Amy: "What I don't understand is why you aren't all living in Switzerland where it's safe?"

Hannibal: "Because we're not Swiss, we're Americans."
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:33 PM on January 17, 2007


I love it when a nlap comes together.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:05 PM on January 17, 2007


And now you know... the rest of the story.
posted by JamesToast at 2:07 PM on January 17, 2007


Chuck Norris has been in over 20 Films. Chuck Norris’ hand is the only hand that can beat a Royal Flush. There is no such thing as global warming. Chuck Norris was cold, so he turned the sun up. Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.
posted by hpsell at 2:53 PM on January 17, 2007


I refuse to pretend that I didn't love Silk Stalkings with every fiber of my being.
posted by LiliaNic at 3:23 PM on January 17, 2007


What erskelyne said. Best show evar.

So cut on The A-Team and bad SF Channel movies all you want, but hands off The Rockford Files.

**Reaches to tap gun for emphasis, then remembers he left it buried in the coffee back in the trailer**
posted by Opposite George at 4:18 PM on January 17, 2007


Back in the late '90's he also did "Profit", a deliciously infectious show by future Joss Whedon collaborator David Greenwalt.
posted by vhsiv at 6:25 PM on January 17, 2007


Plenty of writers—who write much more intensive and/or serious work than Cannell's teleplays, to be sure—are dyslexic, or strongly suspected to have been so. An example from my own list of favorite writers is Samuel Delany, who has described many times in his essays what it was like to be an (undiagnosed, in the 60s and 70s) dyslexic young writer, and whose most popular novel, Dhalgren, might be seen as depicting the symptoms of dyslexic perception writ large onto a fictive urban landscape.

An interesting twist is that, for many, dyslexia might actually have given them an advantage in their writing process, by slowing them down, forcing them to question the act of putting words on the page, to stop taking language for granted—essentially making the writer consider carefully the formation of each word and each sentence.
posted by aught at 6:45 AM on January 18, 2007


« Older Mum with no arms...  |  Fight like a girl!... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments