We all know how horribly wrong Hollywood usually gets New Orleans. K-Ville, anyone? The Big Easy? And then we get Treme, with its nearly obsessive attention to detail, that says to me, “we will get New Orleans right or die trying, goddammit.” Apparently, in 1987, there was another show that got it right. It was called Frank’s Place. CBS aired 22 episodes and then unceremoniously cancelled it. I would feel guilty for having not watched it, but I was nine. So, I give myself a pass.
From what I have read, it seems that Frank’s Place was ahead of it’s time. It was shot with one camera on film, had no laugh track, and was a drama/comedy. It sounds much more akin to today’s high quality, thinking person’s television, than the eighties sitcoms it was competing with. Speaking of sitcoms, it starred Tim Reid of WKRP in Cincinnati fame.
His character on Frank’s Place is the son of a New Orleans restauranteur who returns to run the family restaurant after a career as a professor in Boston. Reid also plays a judge on Treme. (He had a very satisfying scene on last night’s episode). Reid was also one of the producers of Frank’s Place.
Tonight, Reid and the creators of Treme (one of whom owns the masters of Frank’s Place) are screening a couple of episodes at NOCCA. This will be the first time anyone has seen this show since it has its first run in 1987. (Hopefully it has aged well.) I believe the purpose of this fundraiser is to get this show on to DVD. Heck, I’m curious. $20. 6:30.