Stay Tuned (1992)

PG | 88 mins | Fantasy, Comedy | 14 August 1992

Director:

Peter Hyams

Producer:

James G. Robinson

Cinematographer:

Peter Hyams

Editor:

Peter E. Berger

Production Designer:

Philip Harrison

Production Companies:

Morgan Creek Productions , Warner Bros. Pictures , ST Productions
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HISTORY

According to articles in the 24 Apr 1990 DV and the 8 May 1990 LAT, the script was written on “spec” by two advertising copywriters, Jim Jennewein and Tom S. Parker. The duo wrote the screenplay over a nine-month period, with “creative consulting assistance” from copywriter Richard Siegel, who received story credit. Seeking agency representation, the team approached the Bauer Benedek agency. Agents Cynthia Shelton and Risa Gertner signed the writers on a Thursday afternoon, sent the script out to potential buyers on Friday morning, and signed a deal with Morgan Creek Productions on Friday evening, reportedly for $750,000. Jennewein and Parker quit their advertising jobs over the weekend, with plans to devote themselves to screenwriting. Stay Tuned marked the feature film debut of both writers.
       The film is a satire about television, and an article in the 17 Aug 1992 HR noted that the filmmakers chose to cast two well-known television actors in the lead roles. John Ritter was best known for starring in the ABC television series, Three’s Company (15 Mar 1977 – 18 Sep 1984), and Pam Dawber had starred in the ABC series Mork & Mindy (14 Sep 1978 – 10 Jun 1982) and the CBS series My Sister Sam (6 Oct 1986 – 12 Apr 1988). The 16 Jun 1992 DV reported that the female musical rap act Salt-N-Pepa made their feature film debut in Stay Tuned, performing a “rock video parody.” Credited in the cast as “Salt-N-Pepa,” the individual performers are Cheryl James (“Salt”), Sandra Denton ... More Less

According to articles in the 24 Apr 1990 DV and the 8 May 1990 LAT, the script was written on “spec” by two advertising copywriters, Jim Jennewein and Tom S. Parker. The duo wrote the screenplay over a nine-month period, with “creative consulting assistance” from copywriter Richard Siegel, who received story credit. Seeking agency representation, the team approached the Bauer Benedek agency. Agents Cynthia Shelton and Risa Gertner signed the writers on a Thursday afternoon, sent the script out to potential buyers on Friday morning, and signed a deal with Morgan Creek Productions on Friday evening, reportedly for $750,000. Jennewein and Parker quit their advertising jobs over the weekend, with plans to devote themselves to screenwriting. Stay Tuned marked the feature film debut of both writers.
       The film is a satire about television, and an article in the 17 Aug 1992 HR noted that the filmmakers chose to cast two well-known television actors in the lead roles. John Ritter was best known for starring in the ABC television series, Three’s Company (15 Mar 1977 – 18 Sep 1984), and Pam Dawber had starred in the ABC series Mork & Mindy (14 Sep 1978 – 10 Jun 1982) and the CBS series My Sister Sam (6 Oct 1986 – 12 Apr 1988). The 16 Jun 1992 DV reported that the female musical rap act Salt-N-Pepa made their feature film debut in Stay Tuned, performing a “rock video parody.” Credited in the cast as “Salt-N-Pepa,” the individual performers are Cheryl James (“Salt”), Sandra Denton (“Pepa”) and Deidra Roper (“DJ Spinderella”).
       A production brief in the 15 Oct 1991 HR announced principal photography began that day in Vancouver, Canada, where most of the movie was shot on Bridge Studios sound stages. A house in the Richmond suburb of Vancouver was used for the front exterior of the “Knables’” home. Production notes in AMPAS library files reported that the scene of a “Western showdown” was filmed on location in Tucson, AZ, and that an antique train was shipped in from northern California. The 29 Jun 1992 HR stated the film’s budget was “midrange,” estimating it to be between $15 million to $20 million.
       An item in the 30 Jul 1991 DV reported that Warner Bros. would distribute the film domestically and Morgan Creek would handle foreign distribution. The 29 Jun 1992 HR stated the film would open 14 Aug 1992 on 1,600 screens.
       The 24 Aug 1992 Var review reported that the film was not trade-screened and had a “weak opening.” Reviews were tepid, although most singled out the six-minute animated segment for praise. The Var review noted that former Warner Bros.’ “Looney Tunes” animator Chuck Jones was “masterful” and the animation had “grace and depth.”
       End credits include the following statements: “This film was made at various locations in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and Tucson, Arizona”; “The Producers would like to thank for their help and cooperation in the making of this film: Proton Corporation, The City of Vancouver, Grass Valley Group, Resort Municipality of Whistler, Tektronics, Inc., Parks Board of Whistler, Cast and Crew Payroll, Inc., The Film Commission of Tucson, Televector Disc, Old Tucson Company, The Catalyst Group, The Bridge Studios of Vancouver, Rainier Brewing Company, Athena International, Canstar Sports Group Inc., William F. White, Ltd. – Vancouver, Hair Club for Men, Ltd., United States Fencing Association, NBA Properties, Inc., Albert G. Ruben & Company, Inc., The Seattle Supersonics, Chemical Bank, The Portland Trailblazers, Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland, GT Bicycles, Signet Bank, The British Columbia Film Commission”; and “Sincere appreciation to the Motion Picture Studio Production Technicians, I.A.T.S.E. Local 891, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Apr 1990
p. 1, 22.
Daily Variety
30 Jul 1991.
---
Daily Variety
16 Jun 1992
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 1992
p. 5, 16.
Los Angeles Times
8 May 1990
p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
17 Aug 1992
Calendar, p. 7.
New York Times
15 Aug 1992
p. 14.
Variety
24 Aug 1992
p. 63.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
James G. Robinson Presents
A Morgan Creek Production
A Peter Hyams Film
Distributed by Warner Bros., A Time Warner Company
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir, 2d unit
3d asst dir
Asst dir trainee
Asst dir trainee
2d asst dir, Tucson crew
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
24 frame video displays by
Video Image
Video Image
Video Image
Video Image
Video Image
Video Image
Video Image
Key grip
Key grip
Dolly grip
Rigging grip
Leadman setup
Gaffer
Rigging gaffer
Rigging gaffer
Best boy
Best boy
Still photog
Still photog
Main title photog by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept draftsman
FILM EDITORS
Post prod supv
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed, Canada
Post prod runner
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
On set dresser
Set buyer
Set buyer
Set buyer
Prop master
Prop master
Asst prop master
Prop buyer
Const coord
Const coord
Head painter
Head painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Asst cost des
Cost supv
Cost supv
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus ed
Score mixed by
Orch
Contractor
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Boom op
Playback op
Supv sd ed
ADR supv
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Foley rec
Foley artist
Foley artist
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff coord
Spec eff 1st asst
Spec eff 1st asst
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff asst
Head machinist
Spec eff 2d asst
Electronics supv
Animatronics tech
Machinist
Harness maker
Visual eff by
Dir of visual eff photog
Visual eff supv
Visual eff prod
Art dir
Art dir
Computer graphics team supv
Computer graphics team supv
Computer graphics team supv
Visual eff coord
Main title seq des by
Addl opticals and titles by
MAKEUP
Head makeup artist
Makeup artist
Prosthetics
Spec makeup des and application
Spec makeup des and application
Head hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Cart driver
Fencing coach
Scr supv
Scr supv
Prod coord
Prod coord, Los Angeles
Prod coord trainee
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst to Mr. Robinson
Asst to Mr. Barber
Prod assoc to Mr. Schmidt
Asst to Mr. Hyams, Vancouver
Asst to Mr. Hyams, Los Angeles
Asst to Mr. Ritter
Morgan Creek admin
Prod runner
Spec pub consultant
Unit pub
Prod comptroller
Prod accountant
Accounting supv
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Post prod accountant
Casting assoc
Casting dir, Vancouver
Casting dir, Toronto
Extras casting
Transportation coord
Co-capt
Exec driver
Craft service
Wolf trainer
Wolf trainer
Wolf trainer
Wolf trainer
Wolf trainer
Wolf trainer
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Catering by
Travel
Loc mgr, Tucson crew
Helicopter pilot, Tucson crew
Locomotive by, Tucson crew
Completion guaranty provided by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord, 2d unit
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Roy fencing double
Spike fencing double
ANIMATION
Anim supv and mice characters des by
Anim co-supv/Storyboards
Anim
Art dir/Layout
Backgrounds
Asst anim
Asst anim
Supv eff anim
Prod mgr
Prod coord
Ink and paint supv
Asst supv
Paint lab supv
Mark-up supv
Anim checker
Anim checker
Cel cleaner
Asst prod mgr
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
SONGS
“Start Me Up,” performed by Salt-N-Pepa, courtesy of Next Plateau Records
“Taste,” performed by Auto & Cherokee, courtesy of Morgan Creek Records
“Bad Bad Bad,” performed by Kool Moe Dee, courtesy of Zomba Music Recording Corp.
+
SONGS
“Start Me Up,” performed by Salt-N-Pepa, courtesy of Next Plateau Records
“Taste,” performed by Auto & Cherokee, courtesy of Morgan Creek Records
“Bad Bad Bad,” performed by Kool Moe Dee, courtesy of Zomba Music Recording Corp.
“The Mic Stalker,” performed by Dr. Ice, courtesy of Zomba Music Recording Corp.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
14 August 1992
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 14 August 1992
Production Date:
began 15 October 1991
Copyright Claimant:
Morgan Creek Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 October 1992
Copyright Number:
PA585903
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral recording Dolby Stereo SR™ in selected theatres
Color
Eastman Film Stocks
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
88
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31942
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Murray and Sarah Seidenbaum are watching television when a salesman named “Spike” arrives with a special television offer. Upon accepting, the Seidenbaums disappear. Roy Knable, a plumbing supplies salesman, watches television constantly. His addiction frustrates his wife, Helen, an advertising executive who believes Roy is jealous of her success. When their children, Darryl and Diane, leave to spend the night with friends, Darryl admits they want to help by giving their parents a romantic evening alone. However, when Helen tries to talk to Roy, he cannot divert his attention from the television. Furious, she throws Roy’s fencing trophy at the television, destroying it, and leaves. Roy places a smaller television on top of the smashed console. Spike arrives and offers Roy “the ultimate satellite television package,” including a satellite dish, special remote control, a new television set, 666 channels, and, best of all, a free trial. Roy signs the contract, and Spike sets up a satellite dish in the backyard. As Spike departs, the road opens up and he descends into hell. Helen returns home and screams upon seeing the new television set-up. Ignoring Roy’s excitement, she packs her things. Roy watches strange programs as he studies the new remote control. When the picture fills with static, he goes to the backyard to adjust the dish. Helen tapes a note to the refrigerator for their kids and steps outside to inform Roy she is leaving. The satellite dish turns toward them, sucking the couple inside. Roy and Helen are stunned to find themselves participating in a “Hell Vision” television game show, You Can’t Win. In the Hell Vision broadcast control office, an executive named Crowley introduces Pierce, ... +


Murray and Sarah Seidenbaum are watching television when a salesman named “Spike” arrives with a special television offer. Upon accepting, the Seidenbaums disappear. Roy Knable, a plumbing supplies salesman, watches television constantly. His addiction frustrates his wife, Helen, an advertising executive who believes Roy is jealous of her success. When their children, Darryl and Diane, leave to spend the night with friends, Darryl admits they want to help by giving their parents a romantic evening alone. However, when Helen tries to talk to Roy, he cannot divert his attention from the television. Furious, she throws Roy’s fencing trophy at the television, destroying it, and leaves. Roy places a smaller television on top of the smashed console. Spike arrives and offers Roy “the ultimate satellite television package,” including a satellite dish, special remote control, a new television set, 666 channels, and, best of all, a free trial. Roy signs the contract, and Spike sets up a satellite dish in the backyard. As Spike departs, the road opens up and he descends into hell. Helen returns home and screams upon seeing the new television set-up. Ignoring Roy’s excitement, she packs her things. Roy watches strange programs as he studies the new remote control. When the picture fills with static, he goes to the backyard to adjust the dish. Helen tapes a note to the refrigerator for their kids and steps outside to inform Roy she is leaving. The satellite dish turns toward them, sucking the couple inside. Roy and Helen are stunned to find themselves participating in a “Hell Vision” television game show, You Can’t Win. In the Hell Vision broadcast control office, an executive named Crowley introduces Pierce, the new intern, to Spike. One screen televises the Seidenbaums’ adventures in Tokyo as Sarah Seidenbaum is killed by a monstrous lizard. Spike explains to Pierce that Hell Vision turned “soul acquisition” into entertainment for the Devil. The participants must die within twenty-four hours or be set free. Crowley explains that the time limit is part of their treaty with the “other side.” On another monitor, Roy and Helen Knable are dangled above a pit, but Helen answers the question correctly, and they survive the game show. Pierce wonders how long participants usually last, but Spike insists it does not matter because they always end up in Hell. When Crowley reminds him that one person survived, Spike becomes angry and banishes Crowley to “field work.” Roy and Helen are pushed through a static-filled doorway into a no-holds-barred wrestling show. Surprisingly winning the match, they are sent through a portal into another show, Northern Overexposure. They discover Crowley digging through the snow for a conduit to another show, but as he finds the static-filled portal, wolves surround them and the trio race to a nearby shack for shelter. Meanwhile, Darryl and Diane return home, see the new equipment, and find their mother’s note on the refrigerator. Assuming their parents went on a vacation, Diane invites her friends over for a party. Darryl inspects the new satellite dish and finds his mother’s broken watch on the ground. The dish activates, creating a strong wind that sucks Darryl’s bike inside and forces him to grab a porch post for safety. When Darryl goes into the house, he turns on their new television and sees his bicycle on the show, Meet the Mansons. He attempts to tell his sister what happened, but she does not believe him. In the cabin, Crowley explains the situation to the Knables. Roy declares he will get them out, but Helen doubts him. Believing the wolves have gone, Crowley steps outside and is attacked. Crowley tells the Knables not to worry about him because he is already dead, but warns them to save themselves. Frantic, they push the cabin through the snow to the conduit and jump in just before the wolves break through. Roy and Helen enter a cartoon show as animated mice being chased by a deadly robotic cat. They survive a series of misadventures before Helen notices a conduit in a mouse door. She flies through, but the cat bolts the door shut before Roy can escape. Using cartoon logic, Roy mails a letter to the ACME company, and a robotic dog immediately arrives to attack the cat. Roy escapes to the television show, Dwayne’s Underworld, flees again, and finds himself as a private investigator in a black and white film. In the Hell Vision control room, almost every participant has been possessed, and Pierce suggests Spike take a break and leave him in charge. Meanwhile, as Darryl locates the show in which his parents are trapped, he hears his sister and her friends in the backyard. When they ignore his warnings that the dish will activate, he chases them away with a water hose. Diane is furious, until Darryl shows her Roy and Helen on the television set. To help them, Darryl assembles his own satellite equipment, while Diane keeps track of their parents. Helen, dressed as a femme fatale, meets Murray at Club Seidenbaum. Murray enjoys his power in this television world, and reveals that he brought his remote control to change the channel when the situation gets difficult. Roy joins them as Murray’s competitor arrives and shoots Murray. With his dying breath, he tells Roy and Helen to use his remote while they still have a chance. Roy kills the attacker and changes channels, but the remote is destroyed when he and Helen land in Off With His Head, a French revolution drama in which Roy is the “Marquis de Knable,” disguised as a woman. Crowley appears and tells them they need to survive only another two hours. They run to a restaurant, where soldiers flirt with the two “women” and discover Roy is a man. Meanwhile, Darryl attempts to connect his equipment to the dish, but it requires more power, so he plugs an extension cord into a neighbor’s electricity, but barely escapes from an angry Rottweiler guard dog. As Roy is led to the guillotine, Darryl calls to his parents through his microphone, and orders the soldiers to release Roy. As Darryl’s equipment explodes, Roy’s twenty-four-hour contract ends, freeing him. Spike is furious until an account executive tells him only Roy, not Helen, signed the contract. Spike orders Roy’s discharge, but detains Helen because he is certain Roy will return to rescue her. He takes Helen to a Western show, and ties her to a wagon loaded with dynamite sitting on railroad tracks. Back home, Roy orders his kids to stay inside, then grabs his remote control and dives back into the dish. Spike shoots Roy in the Western world, but the remote stops the bullet. The two men fight as they travel through television worlds, and Roy’s remote is destroyed when he lands in medieval times. During a fight for Spike’s remote, both men dive after it and find themselves in a Salt-N-Pepa music video. Roy reaches the remote first, and presses a button to “cancel” Spike, who disappears. Roy rushes to the Western show to save Helen, but Spike’s remote is deactivated and will not work. As the train barrels toward them, Roy turns off the remote and the couple flies through the satellite dish and back home. The neighbor’s Rottweiler bursts through the fence, but it gets sucked into the dish and disappears. In the medieval world, Spike is stuck on a chandelier as the vicious Rottweiler arrives. Crowley cuts the chandelier chain, dropping Spike into the dog’s path. Pierce takes Spike’s position at Hell Vision. The Knables are happily reunited, and Roy quits his job to open the Knable Fencing Academy. He rarely watches television again. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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