10 Fun Facts About The King of Queens

CBS
CBS

From September 21, 1998 to May 14, 2007, Kevin James played Everyman Doug Heffernan, an International Parcel Service (IPS) delivery driver living in, you guessed it, Queens, New York. For nine seasons, the CBS sitcom was a hit, especially because of Doug’s bickering dynamics with wife Carrie (Leah Remini), his cousin Danny (played by James’s older brother, Gary Valentine), and his live-in father-in-law, Arthur Spooner (Jerry Stiller).

In 1996, Kevin James made his first appearance on Everybody Loves Raymond as a character named Kevin. "When I created The King of Queens in 1997, it wasn’t even for CBS, it was for NBC," co-creator Michael J. Weithorn tells Mental Floss. "David Litt and I created the character of Doug for that pilot. NBC passed on the pilot, then CBS picked it up." A couple of months after The King of Queens debuted, James reappeared on Raymond, this time as Doug Heffernan. And, in a bit of symmetry, between 1998 and 2005 Ray Romano played Ray Barone on four episodes of The King of Queens. For the 10th anniversary of the show’s finale, here are 10 fun facts about the sitcom.

1. THE STUDIO DIDN’T WANT DOUG AND CARRIE TO HAVE KIDS.

    David Bickel, one of the show’s executive producers, told Futon Critic that Sony didn’t like the idea of them having kids. “The studio felt that if you have a big thing happen to the Heffernan family then it kind of dates the old shows as 'pre-baby' and the new shows as 'post-baby' and it kind of hurts syndication a little bit,” he said. “And for us, the thing was always Jerry Stiller is the baby.” During the series finale, Doug and Carrie finally have kids—they fly to China to adopt a girl, and then Carrie finds out she’s pregnant.

    2. PATTON OSWALT STOOD MOTIONLESS ONSCREEN FOR ALMOST THREE MINUTES.

      During the almost three-minute opening of the April 10, 2006, episode, Patton Oswalt’s character, Spence Olchin, can be seen standing motionless in the Heffernans’ living room while everyone else moves around, talks, and celebrates Doug’s 40th birthday. Spence neither moves nor speaks for the duration of the sequence, even when the camera cuts back and forth from the living room to the kitchen. In 2011 Oswalt explained the reason for his bizarre behavior to Jimmy Fallon: “I’ve never worked with a stonier crew than The King of Queens’ writers and producers,” he said. Apparently the writers asked him to stand there just to see how weird it’d look, and to see if anybody would notice.

      3. VICTOR WILLIAMS THINKS PEOPLE LIKED THE SHOW’S “SIMPLICITY.”

        Victor Williams played Doug’s co-worker and friend Deacon Palmer. “It’s the simplicity of regular folks that people respond to—and in such an overwhelming way, it was kind of surprising to me initially,” Williams told Today in 2007. “But then it made sense. There’s a sort of honesty in that simplicity that I’ve really enjoyed and I’m really going to miss."

        4. CARRIE HAD ANOTHER DAD BEFORE JERRY STILLER SIGNED ON.

          Bickel described the show’s pilot as a “hybrid” because actor Jack Carter played Arthur, but when Stiller became available for the role, he replaced Carter. “What they did was when they decided to do it with Jerry, they reshot just the first few scenes with him,” Bickel said. “So I'd be watching the show [with Jerry onscreen] and it was like, ‘Oh, this is great’ and all of a sudden Jack Carter would appear and it was like, ‘What's happening here?’

          “Years later I was in Costco and who’s there buying batteries yelling at his wife but Jack Carter. And I’m thinking our lives would have really would have been so different—both of ours—by this one event.”

          5. KEVIN JAMES THOUGHT HIS UNIFORM WAS TOO SNUG.

            Talking to TV Guide, Kevin James revealed that when he gained weight his IPS uniform hurt his body. “The shorts were tight and they'd cut into my hips,” he said. “I'd feel like writing scenes around it, like, ‘Oh, I don't need a uniform.’ They’d be like, ‘But you’re at work!’ And I’d be like, ‘Whatever. I show up without it!’”

            6. SCIENTOLOGY AFFECTED REMINI’S WORK ON THE SOW.

              In a much publicized move, Remini left the Church of Scientology in 2013, and filmed a docuseries about her traumatizing experiences called Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which aired on A&E in November 2016. Remini told The Hollywood Reporter the church wanted her to recruit James, her fellow actors, and crew members. “It’s always, ‘Why are you not getting Kevin James in? You’re not setting a good example. You’re not getting the director in.’ There was always pressure to make a Scientologist out of the people you were working with,” she said. She also said the church objected to a joke the show did about Katie Holmes, who was then a part of the church, too.

              7. JERRY STILLER FELT ARTHUR WAS A “NOODGE.”

                In an interview with Emmy TV Legends, Stiller said he created Arthur’s characterizations from his costars. “You live off the people you’re working with,” he said. “I took it from the other actors and how they treated me in terms of the character, and I found out I was a noodge, a person who was a pain in the neck, a bunion on their life. And I carried it out to the best of my ability.”

                Stiller thinks that Carrie and Doug would’ve murdered him if they could. “He rules his daughter and son-in-law by virtue of the fact he’s alive,” Stiller said. “You don’t want to kill him off, but if you would you could. He’s a meshuggah. You don’t exactly know what his background is, whether he’s a union man or a capitalist. Week to week, he just floats. That’s my estimation of who I am.”

                8. JAMES AND REMINI ARGUED IN REAL LIFE, TOO.

                  While appearing on Oprah, Remini admitted that she and James fought on set, because they cared about each other. “There were times Kevin and I would argue about something stupid, and we had to kiss but we’d make no eye contact,” she said. “But that’s because we loved each other. If you don’t care about somebody, you don’t even bother to fight with them. When you tell somebody to go f’ themselves, and they don’t turn around and fight with you, then you know there’s a problem."

                  9. LOU FERRIGNO FINALLY GOT TO SPEAK.

                    On the show, the former Incredible Hulk plays a version of himself as the Heffernan’s next door neighbor. Ferrigno said the producers saw him in a movie called The Godson and cast him. “I did the one episode and it was so well-received they said, 'We want to give you a recurring role,'” Ferrigno said. He ended up appearing in 18 episodes, beginning in 2000. He liked the opportunity to tackle comedy—and to finally speak dialogue instead of just grunting.

                    “I knew at the time I was typecast,” Ferrigno said about his Hulk character. “They said, ‘Maybe Lou Ferrigno can’t speak.’ So I changed all that. I went to the theater and then eventually I did The King of Queens.”

                    10.  JAMES AND REMINI RECENTLY REUNITED ON KEVIN CAN WAIT.

                      Kevin Can Wait, another CBS Kevin James-starring sitcom, debuted during the fall 2016 season. This time, instead of playing a delivery man, James plays a retired cop. During the May 2017 season finale, Leah Remini appeared as Vanessa, the former police partner of James's character. In the two-part episode, “Sting of Queens,” they go undercover and pretend to be a married couple.

                      “They’re literally Doug and Carrie, as cops,” Remini told USA Today. James didn’t want her role to be meta. “We’re not going, ‘Hey, can you Carrie this for me? I really Doug myself out of a hole this time, didn’t I?’” he also said to USA Today. “It’s a weird thing to bring someone in. I chose to not make her Carrie or say he was having a dream. I just wanted to make it realistic and not break that fourth wall.”

                      James told the New York Post that the reunion was like old times. “I felt like it was 10 years earlier; it felt so similar to those days [on The King of Queens]. It’s like we never stopped and just picked up where we left off.”

                      Disney+ Users Are Already Facing Technical Problems

                      Pedro Pascal in The Mandalorian (2019).
                      Pedro Pascal in The Mandalorian (2019).
                      © 2019 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved

                      It seems that the highly anticipated Disney+ release did not go as smoothly as the company had hoped. Variety reports that the streaming service launched this morning, only to find its IT department being flooded with phone calls, tweets, and emails from angry users complaining of malfunctions.

                      Many customers took to social media to vent their frustration that they either couldn’t login into their account or couldn’t watch certain content.

                      The service did offer an explanation for all the technical issues via Twitter, posting, “The consumer demand for Disney+ has exceeded our high expectations. We are working to quickly resolve the current user issue. We appreciate your patience.”

                      Too bad a little Disney magic couldn’t help them with these tech glitches.

                      [h/t Variety]

                      8 Surprising Facts About James Stewart

                      Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
                      Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

                      For a good portion of the 20th century, actor James Maitland “Jimmy” Stewart (1908-1997) was one of Hollywood’s most popular leading men. Stewart, who was often called upon to embody characters who exhibited a strong moral center, won acclaim for films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Vertigo (1958), and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). In all, he made more than 80 movies. Take a look at some things you might not know about Stewart’s personal and professional lives.

                      1. Jimmy Stewart had a degree in architecture.

                      Acting was not James Stewart’s only area of expertise. Growing up in Indiana, Pennsylvania, where his father owned a hardware store, Stewart had an artistic bent with an interest in music and earned his way into his father’s alma mater, Princeton University. There, he received a degree in architecture in 1932. But pursuing that career seemed tenuous, as the country was in the midst of the Great Depression. Instead, Stewart decided to follow his interest in acting, joining a theater group in Falmouth, Massachusetts after graduating and rooming with fellow aspiring actor Henry Fonda. After a brief turn on Broadway, he landed a contract with MGM for motion picture work. His film debut, as a cub reporter in The Murder Man, was released in 1935.

                      2. Jimmy Stewart gorged himself on food so he could serve the country in World War II.

                      Colonel James Stewart leaves Southampton on board the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth, bound for home in 1945.
                      Express/Getty Images

                      Stewart was already established in Hollywood when the United States began preparing to enter World War II. After the draft was introduced in 1940, Stewart received notice that he was number 310 out of a pool of 900,000 annual citizens selected for service. The problem? Stewart was six foot, three inches and a trim 138 pounds—five pounds under the minimum weight for enlistment. So he went home, ate everything he could, and came back to weigh in again. It worked, and Stewart joined the Army Air Corps, later known as the Air Force.

                      3. Jimmy Stewart demanded to see combat in the war.

                      Thanks to his interest in aviation, Stewart was already a pilot when he went to war; he received additional flight training but wound up being sidelined for two years stateside even though he kept insisting he be sent overseas to fight. (He filmed a recruitment short film, Winning Your Wings, in 1942, which was screened in theaters in the hopes it could drive enlistment.) Finally, in November 1943, he was dispatched to England, where he participated in more than 20 combat missions over Germany. His accomplishments earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf clusters, among other honors, making him the most decorated actor to participate in the conflict. After the war ended, he returned to a welcome reception in his hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania, where his father had decorated the courthouse to recognize his son’s service. His next major film role was It’s a Wonderful Life.

                      4. Jimmy Stewart kept his Oscar in a very unusual place.

                      After winning an Academy Award for The Philadelphia Story in 1940, Stewart heard from his father, Alex Stewart. “I hear you won some kind of award,” he told his son. “What was it, a plaque or something?” The elder Stewart suggested he bring it back home to display in the hardware store. The actor did as suggested, and the Oscar remained there for 25 years.

                      5. Jimmy Stewart starred in two television shows.

                      Actor James Stewart is pictured in uniform
                      Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

                      After a long career in film through the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, Stewart turned to television. In 1971, he played a college anthropology professor in The Jimmy Stewart Show. The series failed to find an audience, however, so was short-lived. He tried again with Hawkins in 1973, playing a defense lawyer, but that show was also canceled. (Stewart also performed in commercials, including spots for Firestone tires and Campbell’s Soup.)

                      6. Jimmy Stewart hated one version of It’s a Wonderful Life.

                      While Stewart had just as much affection for It’s a Wonderful Life as audiences, one alternate version of the film annoyed him. In 1987, he sent a letter to Congress protesting the practice of colorizing It's a Wonderful Life and other films on the premise that it violated what directors like Frank Capra had intended. He described the tinted version as “a bath of Easter egg dye.” Putting a character named Violet in violet-colored costumes, he wrote, was “the kind of obvious visual pun that Frank Capra never would have considered.” Stewart later lobbied against the practice in person.

                      7. Jimmy Stewart published a book of poetry.

                      In 1989, Stewart authored Jimmy Stewart and His Poems, a slim volume collecting several of the actor’s verses. Stewart also included anecdotes about how each one was composed. His best known might be “Beau,” about his late dog, which Stewart read to Johnny Carson during a Tonight Show appearance in 1981. By the end, both Stewart and Carson were teary-eyed.

                      8. Jimmy Stewart has a statue in his hometown.

                      For Stewart’s 75th birthday in 1983, his hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania honored him with a 9-foot-tall bronze statue. Unfortunately, the statue wasn’t totally ready in time for Stewart’s visit, so they presented him with the fiberglass version instead. The bronze statue currently stands in front of the county courthouse, while the fiberglass version was moved into the nearby Jimmy Stewart Museum.

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