I was over at my Dads house and "Good Morning Vietnam" came on. We watched it and commented on it. My Dad remembers listening to "GOOOOOOD MOOORING VIETNAM" on his first tour as an MP when it was broadcast out of Saigon. He also talked about the private and public persona's of the people that came there to do shows. As always it is good to visit Dad.
When I got home I had a bit of free time and figured that I would do a bit of research on this show. It was filmed in Thailand and they have a lot of American equipment from that time it adds to the realism to the movie. Everybody has seen Robin Williams as Adrian Cronauer, but thereal Adrian is a different personality.
In the movie:
Good Morning, Vietnam is a 1987 American comedy-drama film set in Saigon during the Vietnam War, based on the career of Adrian Cronauer, a disc jockey on Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS), who proves hugely popular with the troops serving in South Vietnam, but infuriates his superiors with what they call his "irreverent tendency." The film was written by Mitch Markowitz and directed by Barry Levinson.
Most of Williams' humorous radio broadcasts were improvised. Williams was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The film is number 100 on "AFI's 100 Years…100 Laughs."
Military serviceCronauer co-wrote the original story for the film Good Morning, Vietnam, which was based on his experiences as a Saigon-based deejay during the Vietnam War, where he served from 1965 to 1966. His program was known as the "Dawn Busters
Adrian Cronauer is no Robin Williams. He knows Robin Williams; they're friendly. But he's no Robin Williams.
Cronauer, who keynotes this year's IWCE 2005, will be forever linked with the manic comic thanks to the brilliant riff Williams turned on Cronauer's military service memories in the movie “Good Morning Vietnam.”
“If I were half as funny as Robin Williams, I'd be out in Hollywood going na-noo, na-noo and making a million dollars,” said Cronauer in a mellifluous voice that immediately identifies him as a veteran of the radio booth. “Once people get to know me, they realize very quickly that I'm not Robin Williams, and it doesn't seem to bother them after that.”
Unlike Williams' disruptively manic disk jockey, Cronauer is a “lifelong card-carrying Republican” who took active roles in both the Dole and Bush/Cheney presidential campaigns. Another big difference between the two:while the movie's Cronauer character always seemed a hairline from full military establishment ostracization — or worse — the real-life Cronauer played within the bounds of the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) format.
“I was faced more with apathy than opposition,” recalled Cronauer, who developed his morning radio shtick listening to Rege Cordic's radio shows in Pittsburgh in the 1950s. “That meant I wasn't doing exactly what Robin Williams did. He did a lot of one-liners. Mine was more situational humor.”
Cronauer honed the morning gig at Iraklion Air Station, evolving a “calm, matter-of-fact ‘Good Morning Iraklion’” into the Howard Dean-like primal yell immortalized by the movie.
Cronauer's deadpan delivery hides a quiet sense of humor that will never be confused with Williams' mania. That sense of humor seeped through the material he compiled about his Vietnam experiences and drew the attention of the comic actor and his agent, Larry Brezner, who bought an option on a 1979 screenplay Cronauer wrote as a TV sitcom.
Before Brezner and Williams stepped in, rejection was a general rule for the project.
“I guess it was just a little too close in time; nobody believed you could do a comedy about Vietnam,” he said.
But Williams saw the potential.
“He read it and said, ‘Oh, disk jockey, [a] chance to do all my comic shtick,’” Cronauer said. “Every year they'd renew the option. About four years later, they called me up and said, ‘We've decided to throw away the original and start over again.’”
Cronauer went to Hollywood, spilling his guts about his experiences in Vietnam.
“It went through five different versions. I'd noodle some suggestions for additions and deletions and changes; a few of them they accepted; most of them they ignored,” he said.
The end product had audiences laughing, and Cronauer, sitting in a screening room watching it, amazed.
“‘Son of a gun,’” he recalled thinking, “‘they actually made a movie out of this thing.’”
Perhaps most important, the movie gave the disk-jockey-soon-to-turn-lawyer a bully pulpit for his job today as special assistant to the director of the Pentagon's POW/MIA Office. It's a job he took because of his political connections and his desire to help his fellow veterans and their families.
“When the [first term George W. Bush] administration came in, they asked if I wanted to join them. Their thinking was that I'm a high-profile veteran and well-known in the veterans' community,” he said.
He was mulling the offer when terrorists brought down the World Trade Center towers and got him thinking about rejoining the military. Instead, he says, he followed his wife's advice and entered public service.
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