Steve Eighinger

Thoughts on Seinfeld, Rocketman and the quake

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jul. 9, 2019 12:01 am

A few thoughts on this warm summer day:

We're celebrating the 30-year anniversary this month of the debut of what many consider -- myself included -- the finest TV comedy in history: "Seinfeld."

I would guess very few remember that Julia Louis-Dreyfus was not an original member of the cast. "Elaine" was added for the second episode when the powers-to-be felt there needed to be a female voice included among the principal cast of characters.

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, who authored "Seinfeldia: How the Show About Nothing Changed Everything," says Elaine's presence deeply affected how the program developed.

"Well, if you watch the pilot, a number of things are pretty off, but you can surely see the difference in energy between that and when Elaine joins (the cast)," Armstrong told Yahoo Entertainment. "As someone who watched the show as a young girl the first time through, I'm certain I and many other girls/women would not have been into it without her. She's my favorite character on the show, and not just because she's female ... she (went on to become) one of the greatest female characters in TV history."

I can't argue with any of those thoughts. It's almost impossible to imagine the show without Elaine. The nine-year, 180-episode run was -- and remains -- a legendary cornerstone of modern-day network programming.

Twice during its run, "Seinfeld" was No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings, and on four other occasions it was No. 2. The show ended in 1998, but it still highly popular in syndication.

Final thought: I found another note of interest about this show that I had forgotten until researching this particular column. Michael Richards' "Kramer" character was originally known as "Kessler." The addition of Elaine and the name switch to "Kramer" were arguably the two most important decisions tied to the ongoing success the program enjoys to this day.

Have you seen "Rocketman," the biographic film about Elton John? I have plans to watch it later this week after having heard glowing reviews from friends who have. Most accounts I have read feel the film is worthy of an Oscar nomination.

I'm especially interested in seeing Welsh actor Taron Egerton, who portrays Elton and may receive an Oscar nomination himself.

One of the strangest moments I've ever encountered watching television occurred last Friday. I was taking in the Padres-Dodgers baseball game from Los Angeles when about halfway through the contest there seemed to be quite a bit of movement on the screen.

Dodgers play-by-play man Joe Davis said, "I think we may be having an earthquake."

Following about a five-second pause, Davis and colorman Orel Hershiser confirmed, "Yes, we are definitely having an earthquake."

About this time fans started leaving the upper deck, but remarkably, the game was never halted. So very, very strange.

The 7.1 quake, whose epicenter was about 120 miles from Los Angeles, was one of only 12 in California since 1857 to register 7.0 or higher.

Presumably, no sporting events were halted during any of the 11 previous 7.0-plus quakes.