Masterpiece On The Chopper's Block
Citizen Kane Comes To Television
|Citizen Kane Makes L.A. Art House Landing in May, 1956|
First off, research for this piece was done primarily by writer/historian Russell Merritt, who generously shared with me his findings. We both were interested in movie afterlives on TV, especially notable ones like Citizen Kane. I waited on good visuals before doing this post, and so came ads for
Welcome as it may have been to free viewing, there were those who deplored surgery WOR performed on Citizen Kane. The New York Times' Jack Gould spoke for disaffected fans of Welles and his masterpiece. To Gould's mind, any viewing experience would be compromised by "the rules of TV advertising." While acknowledging the station's expansion from a customary ninety-minute slot to two hours for Kane, Gould condemned "a total of nine interruptions" during the film. Within these, the columnist estimated "roughly twenty advertisements for individual services, plus several more advertisements in behalf of WOR-TV's own schedule." Citizen Kane ran 119 minutes, so of course there would have to be cuts. What remained of Kane was free at least, thus a far larger NY audience seeing it on the "Million Dollar Movie" than had done so in paying situations. Citizen Kane would widen reach into other television markets.
Russell Merritt's new book, co-written by J.B. Kaufman, Silly Symphonies: A Companion To The Classic Cartoon Series, is coming soon, and available for pre-order now at Amazon. It is a second and expanded edition of an original that has been out of print for some time and is highly collectible.