Via Forgotten Hits: The name James Frawley may not be immediately familiar to the casual television viewer … but odds are each and every one of you out there (and nearly everyone else all over the country, for that matter, who grew up watching television in the ’60’s, ’70’s and ’80’s) are familiar with his work.
I first became aware of him thanks to the television series “The Monkees,” where you regularly saw his name in the opening and end credits … Frawley directed 28 of that program’s 58 total episodes. (He even won an Emmy for one of those episodes, “Royal Flush,” in 1967.)
Future projects allowed him to inject a little bit of humor into even the most serious of dramas. Besides 36 acting credits of his own, Frawley has nearly one hundred IMDB directing credits … and, as such, you could find his name associated with popular television programs like “That Girl,” “Magnum P.I.,” “Scarecrows And Mrs. King,” “Cagney And Lacey,” “Columbo” (six episodes), “The Father Dowling Mysteries” (ten episodes), “Law And Order” (five episodes), “Melrose Place,” “Pickett Fences,” “Chicago Hope,” “Judging Amy” (fifteen episodes!) and “Grey’s Anatomy.” He also directed the very first Muppets movie.
Although Jim may have passed away this past Tuesday (January 22nd), his fine catalog of work will live on long behind him.
“Probably unbeknownst to many, Jim Frawley was profoundly instrumental in crafting what was to become the Emmy award winning show, The Monkees.
He not only coached us in the art of improvisation but brought to the party a brilliant sense of humor, a dazzling intellect, and the patience of a saint when it came to dealing with the completely off the wall antics of the improvisational, spontaneous monster that they had created… “They” being, Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, and, Jim Frawley.
And, believe me, at times we were, indeed, literally bouncing off the walls.
I remember moments when they had to shut down the set because the spur-of-the-moment monster that they had created was about to go ballistic.
I liken it to a fission reaction… If you keep the lid on too tight, the fire goes out. If you take the lid off, it burns a hole through the center of the earth.
To the credit of the producers, the writers, and largely to Jim Frawley, they somehow managed to sustain the reaction, control it, contain it, and use it to create a show that I feel blessed to be a part of and through the hard work of many, lives on to this day.”
Los Angeles, California