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Thread: Marty Crane RIP

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    Marty Crane RIP

    From the Guardian



    John Mahoney: Frasier's 'cranky' dad was the stove at the heart of the show


    Marty Crane’s bluff exterior concealed a sensitivity that leaked out at unexpected moments and was made all the more affecting by the actor’s extraordinarily nuanced performance





    I can’t shake the image of Eddie the dog looking up at an empty, flea-bitten orange-and-green recliner chair, a metal-framed walking stick leaning against one armrest. Martin “Marty” Crane is gone; never again will we see the sparkle of mischief in his eye as he prepared another wind-up to gently puncture the balloon of his eldest son’s pomposity. I know Frasier ended in 2004, but the finality of the actor who played my favourite character leaving the stage makes my heart heavy all the same.

    “Ask for the fine art fraud-detection squad,” he deadpans in one episode, when Frasier calls the police to report a forged painting and is met with helpless cackles on the other end of the phone. The former cop’s beer-drinking, sport-loving ways were always at odds with his erudite sons and their preference for sherry. A blue-collar dad to the starched collars of Niles and Frasier, he frequently knocked the wind out of their pretentious sails with his straightforward practicality and no-nonsense approach.

    But he wasn’t a one-note foil to their comic buffoonery. Marty’s bluff exterior concealed an ocean of love for his boys and his dog, Eddie, not to mention a sensitivity that often leaked out at unexpected moments. One of my favourite scenes features father and both sons sobbing together after a misunderstanding over a garish painting of a bull, gifted to Frasier by Marty. Frasier can’t tell him he hates it and, when he finally get up the courage, makes his father cry. He can’t stand causing such misery. Marty is mortified to have bought something his son doesn’t like and Niles just can’t stand other people crying.

    Mahoney’s extraordinarily nuanced performance continually provided clues as to how these vastly different men could have come from such unlikely loins.

    Marty is most often found reclining in the famous striped chair, completely at odds with the urbane decor of his son’s stylish Seattle apartment. The chair was designed in a time before taste and is stained with the grime of several decades’ sport-regarding and Eddie-scratching, his former haven from tough days on the city streets now a grimy oasis in strange surroundings. Frasier hates the chair, but tolerates it as a concession to the father he so clearly respects. The warmth of the father and sons’ relationship is the stove at the heart of the show, pumping out enough heat to fuel 11 years of delightful, deft comic entertainment.

    Mahoney first acted with his future screen son in an episode of Cheers. He shows up at Sam’s bar as a fast-talking ad man, hired to come up with a jingle for the Boston drinking den. In just a few minutes he pulls off a comic tour de force, firing out his lines like silver bullets and leaving the rest of the cast playing catchup.
    Your next box set: Frasier
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    Intensely private and preferring to devote himself to theatre work, Mahoney’s screen appearances were increasingly rare treats, but I will never forget him as Diane’s impenetrable dad in Say Anything, regarding John Cusack’s young suitor with quiet suspicion, yet betraying an overwhelming love for his daughter. He was so good at layered, buttoned-up dads.

    His voice is also unmistakeable in Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant. Playing a high-ranking army general, he saves the day and takes the time to listen to a little boy, Hogarth, when his small town is threatened by a megalomaniac government agent. No one did authority with heart better.

    Frasier writer Joe Keenan summed him up perfectly on Twitter as news of Mahoney’s death broke. “His Martin Crane was Frasier’s moral center; his cranky decency and bewildered love for his two improbable sons was hilarious one minute, heartbreaking the next, and you never caught him acting.”

    Peri Gilpin, who played Frasier’s radio producer, Roz, posted a picture of the actor singing at her wedding and urged fans to “raise a glass to John. Remember him well.” I will be cracking a can of Ballantine in his honour tonight.
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    It never jumped the shark - apart from maybe some of the Daphne family stuff they kept the quality up for most of the 260 episides run which is pretty amazing.

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    The drunk brother and family were very annoying..and some of the shows got too "twisted" I guess..when you knew what was going on but they didnt..Frazier and Niles hiring the caterer..All sleeping together at the ski lodge..still netflix this show regularly..

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    My favourite show , the early seasons the writing was so sharp and clever. Still very funny today , plays about breakfast time in the uk which means you waste an hour of your day if you accidentally catch it.
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    Am sure evh is one of the callers to the show.

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    No Ed but several other celebs..

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    From newspaper 1995...

    An impressive list of luminaries have signed on to NBC's "Frasier" in what's become the hottest bit part in Hollywood, including not just actors but also athletes, musicians, cartoonists and clothing designers.

    Problem callers have included actors Linda Hamilton, Joe Mantegna, Jeff Daniels, Carl Reiner, James Spader, Lily Tomlin, Macaulay Culkin, cartoonist Garry Trudeau, menswear designer Tommy Hilfiger and country-music star Reba McEntire. Even Super Bowl-bound 49ers quarterback Steve Young has provided his voice for an upcoming show.

    Unlike "The Simpsons" on Fox Television-where famous folk like Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor get their fair share of publicity before the show airs-"Frasier" producers prefer to stay mum about the celebs on the other end of the line. The voice-over actors are credited, but only at the end of the show when their names are listed with other cast members.

    "We tend to shy away from people whose voices are recognizable," said Jeff Greenberg, "Frasier's" casting director. "We tend not to like people who are known as voice-over spokespeople because you hear their voice on the radio all the time, and it takes the fun out of it."

    The virtual anonymity iAn impressive list of luminaries have signed on to NBC's "Frasier" in what's become the hottest bit part in Hollywood, including not just actors but also athletes, musicians, cartoonists and clothing designers.


    Problem callers have included actors Linda Hamilton, Joe Mantegna, Jeff Daniels, Carl Reiner, James Spader, Lily Tomlin, Macaulay Culkin, cartoonist Garry Trudeau, menswear designer Tommy Hilfiger and country-music star Reba McEntire. Even Super Bowl-bound 49ers quarterback Steve Young has provided his voice for an upcoming show.

    Unlike "The Simpsons" on Fox Television-where famous folk like Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor get their fair share of publicity before the show airs-"Frasier" producers prefer to stay mum about the celebs on the other end of the line. The voice-over actors are credited, but only at the end of the show when their names are listed with other cast members.

    "We tend to shy away from people whose voices are recognizable," said Jeff Greenberg, "Frasier's" casting director. "We tend not to like people who are known as voice-over spokespeople because you hear their voice on the radio all the time, and it takes the fun out of it."

    The virtual anonymity in the roles doesn't seem to dissuade actors from taking the bit parts-though it was rather difficult finding voices at first.

    Rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen was one of those celebrities who agreed to do the show early on as a favor to Grammer. Van Halen played a guy named Hank who couldn't hear Frasier because his radio was on too loud.

    "We're friends, and I said sure. It was as simple as that," Van Halen said.n the roles doesn't seem to dissuade actors from taking the bit parts-though it was rather difficult finding voices at first.

    Rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen was one of those celebrities who agreed to do the show early on as a favor to Grammer. Van Halen played a guy named Hank who couldn't hear Frasier because his radio was on too loud.

    "We're friends, and I said sure. It was as simple as that," Van Halen said.

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    The "twisted"episodes are some of the best , its the only show that can do that type of old fashioned farce and then hit you with philosophy jokes or other high brow gags I had to google to get

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    Did you ever wonder about some of the English accents?

    When it started it was pretty much pre internet, later on I was doing internet searches of the actors playing Daphne and her family because I thought they were Americans.

    Looking back it was maybe just incongruous.

    I really didn't like her mother or brother.

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    Yeah the brother and mother weren't great. And am not a fan of that "southern" Lancashire accent
    The whole thing had diminishing returns once Niles got the gal. But even a poor Frasier was better than most sitcoms.

    When you watch it now the thing that stands out for me is that the dad was a bit of a grump the first season compared to getting lots of the laughs after that. By the middle seasons he is getting some of the best lines.

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    The brother was played by Anthony La Paglia, Aussie actor. Shithouse accent.
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