[UPDATE: relax, Mellonville. Turns out this story was a false alarm and that the documentary is still going to happen — eventually. Read the updated story here; below is what the scare was all about on Wednesday of this week — B.B.]
Seems that Count Floyd’s coffin lid has come down hard on that long-delayed SCTV reunion documentary from director Martin Scorsese.
A Facebook posting credited to original cast member Joe Flaherty, circulating on Twitter, suggests that ex-Second City boss/SCTV producer Andrew Alexander has been told the deal was off.
The news, if true, is hugely disappointing if not shocking. Something certainly has seemed to be amiss for quite a while.
There has been no indication as to why the plug was pulled. The message attributed to Flaherty read that the reasons given “confirmed what Dave had told me a few days ago. To say I’m deflated would be an understatement.”
Dave would most likely be be Dave Thomas, another SCTV original who joined Flaherty, along with Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin and Rick Moranis on stage at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre on May 13, 2018 — almost exactly three years ago — for a joyous celebration of the late ’70s, early ’80s Canadian comedy series.
Certainly, with the unprecidented sweep by Levy and O’Hara’s CBC comedy Schitt’s Creek at the Emmys and every other TV award show, SCTV would seem to have plenty of currency. Why then the full stop to a doc, especially given that stage full of talent already in the can? The Toronto reunion was directed by Scorsese and technically produced by Toronto’s Insight Productions.
Speculation has centred on the following theories:
- Music rights to the original series sketches would have to be renegotiated if used in a new documentary — and that would send costs soaring. Ditties from everyone from Elton John to Perry Como to Liberace were performed and parodied on the series — sometimes by Lola Heatherton (O’Hara) or the Five Neat Guys.
- Scorsese has moved on to other projects. That’s certainly true, as the 78-year-old director cements his legacy as Hollywood’s top director. Among his current projects is “Killers of the Flower Moon” starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Robert De Niro.
- Andrew Alexander’s recent downfall and resignation from Second City amid racial discrimination allegations has cooled Netflix’s ardor for the project. As with Monty Python, SCTV has not aged well in terms of representations by people of colour.
- With ownership of Second City in play, other organizational hurdles have emerged.
None of this speculation has been confirmed; please check back here for updates. In the meantime, an on-line petition to “Release the Afternoon With SCTV Special” has already been started. CTV was originally the Canadian broadcast partner on the Netflix venture. I was there for that unforgetable Elgin Theatre performance, and can’t imagine it not being shared with SCTV fans.