S2E47: The Name Game

The How NOT To Make A Movie Podcast
The How NOT To Make A Movie Podcast
S2E47: The Name Game

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Run for your lives! The world is over-run with Alan Katz’s – and Allan Katz’s and Allen Katz’s! That’s what it feels like anyway (to the Alan Katz who hosts this podcast and writes these posts!).

In this episode of The How NOT To Make A Movie Podcast, Alan Katz finally has a conversation he’s waited almost 40 years to have – with Allan Katz – the person he always thought of as “the other Allan Katz”.

Turns out, Alan Katz (this podcast’s co-host) is actually the “other Alan”.

Sharing a name with other people is hardly rare. It sucks nonetheless because it can create all kinds of chaos and confusion. Sharing a name can cost you work and cause really embarrassing situations.

It can make you nuts, frankly.

Other Alan, Allan & Allen’s

Alan has always had to share his space with other people with the same name. He went to Camp Skylemar sleepaway camp in Maine for six years – and, for four of them, he shared a cabin with a kid named Allan Katz. That Allan Katz was a twin. His brother Howie Katz also was in the cabin.

One of Alan’s school friends, Kenny Katz? His dad, “Allen Katz”, owned a bunch of fast food restaurants when they were all kids.

When Alan Katz arrived in LA in 1985, he bumped into the (unfortunate for him) fact that another guy with the same name – Allan Katz – had set up shop in television long before and made quite a name for himself. Studio execs mistook Alan for Allan on numerous occasions. In fact, on more than one occasion, Alan received Allan’s residual checks. They were damned impressive.

Alan sent them all back to the Writers’ Guild of course.

Allan Katz, Meet Allan Katz

In SAG (the Screen Actor’s Guild), no two people can have the same name. It turns out? Before Allan Katz went to join SAG, there already was an Allan Katz – so Allan (the one we’re talking about – see how confusing it can get?) couldn’t use his own name (when he made the comedy feature film “Big Man On Campus” – originally entitled “The Hunchback Of UCLA”). Instead, he got approval for – and went by – “Starring Allan Katz”.

Along the way, Allan (the one who got to Hollywood first), will talk about being an ad writer in Chicago (where he created the hugely successful ad campaign for the SCREAMING YELLOW ZONKERS brand of snack food. GEORGE SCHLATTER – a big TV producer about to launch “Laugh-In” saw Allan’s work on the Zonkers ad, and invited him to join Laugh-In’s writing staff (as its youngest member). Bonus cool fact: there was also a young, Canadian writer on that staff named LORNE MICHAELS. He went on to create a little franchise called “Saturday Night Live”.

Allan Katz: Quite The Resume

From there, Allan went on to write episodes for some of the most iconic shows on American TV: “All In The Family”. “Sanford & Son”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and MASH. In time, Allan would go on to write and produce “Rhoda”,, “The Cher Show”, “Roseanne” and “Blossom”.

Quite the resume, yes?

There are great stories to go along with every bit of it.

In the end, through perseverance, luck and a pinch of talent, Alan found his way onto the Show Biz Mountain. But, he’s always wanted to have a chat with “the other Allan Katz” so as to compare notes.

What’s it been like being that Allan Katz instead? It all becomes clear as we play The Name Game.

For the record? Gil Adler has had to deal with at least one other “Gil Adler”. They had lunch together once…

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