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Sunday, December 04, 2016

When Movies On TV Went Bottoms Up

It Needed a Stiff Drink To Get Through 85 Minutes That
Channel 8 Allotted to The Lost Weekend in 1966

More Memories Of Television as Butcher Stall

Me at Age 12 After WGHP Chopped My Classic
I used to non-stop whine where it came to movies being abused by TV. Extreme instance: Channel 8 in High Point ran The Lost Weekend one evening from 6:00 to 7:25, wedged between the Bowery Boys and weather preceding ABC news. This was 1966, before "Let's Movie" meant showing them complete and uninterrupted. The Lost Weekend got 8's flit-gun treatment via Milland binge shortened by thirty minutes at least. Mine was righteous rage as only a twelve-year-old could express, choice of words in written complaint to include "butchery" and "senseless chopping," epithets scrawled with Bic pen on Blue Horse paper. Ch. 8 reply was lesson in tact a wiser head might have profited by. Broadcasters were cautious with complaints, any of which might CC to the FCC, thus soft pencil applied to reply of viewer mail.

Academy Awards Were No Protection Against Shears of Syndication

Channel 8 patiently explained that movies must often be "carefully edited" for telecast, time limit and "sponsor messages" inescapable facts of programming life. What they knew but didn't express was that films were filler, nothing more nor less. Anyone who'd demand The Lost Weekend intact had to be a crank or a child. It was twenty years since the thing won "Best Picture," and who knew or cared from that? The Lost Weekend was accompany to supper dishes cleared, dog/cats let in/out, the gamut of household necessity to quell focus on flicks that bridged afternoon with primetime. Mere heads of lettuce to chop, they'd make a ninety-minute salad with remnant tossed out. Question we purists must finally ask: Were they so wrong?


Most television then was white noise. Many a household left sets running all day, as had been case with radio. Lots listened more than watched, screens on as backdrop to conversation or a phonograph playing. Attention paid was little, I suspect. Too many distractions around the house, if not the room. And how does one concentrate on a movie broken up by non-stop ads? Sensible folk wanted the story shortened, as who in a busy family had two hours or more for focus on narrative off a tiny box (25" regarded a big screen then). I don't think people noticed movies being cut. They were too well schooled at catching drift of a story even where it was gutted of first or middle sections. It was like walking into a theatre part ways into the show. You'd need but moments to understand everything that happened to that point. What movies were on television was a souvenir of what they had once been at cinemas. Those who'd remember The Lost Weekend would be satisfied by morsels caught before Junior flipped over to The Jetsons.


To "showcase" an old movie was to risk losing restless viewers. Having lights on in a room meant they'd be up and down constantly. Others of the household were in/out of the viewing space, phones jangling, adjourn to the kitchen for prep of snacks or TV-tray ... how would even a reverently presented Lost Weekend compete with that? Station directors understood such reality. They knew that movies weren't meant to be fully consumed and understood on the tube, unless maybe it was event of a Bridge On the River Kwai or The Robe unveiling for first broadcast time. Families might clear schedule for these, as in plan ahead, get grass mowed, then settle in for the haul. Mid-sixties forward became burial ground for B/W oldies now that color sets were getting into record number of homes. Choice for purists was simple: Take The Lost Weekend and ones like it on their terms, or don't watch. We had to stop worrying and love cut movies.


Of course, I kept writing letters. Management surely dreaded my scrawl on envelopes, knowing they'd have to answer what points I raised. My error was assuming everyone else felt as I did. Fact was, integrity of classic film was nobody's priority, at least in NC markets with late shows an only venue where features might be seen complete. It took cable and then satellite to rehab the backlogs. A service like AMC and later TCM had luxury of time and no need to amend vaulties. A generation that came up in the 80/90's saw classics way different from those that bore scar of editor knives. I've long thought there were, and are, far more serious buffs than in blighted era gone before. Attendance at TCM's Festival bears it out, and look at all of blogs, Twitters, and Facebooking these fans do, plus books they continue to write. Imagine if TCM, or any network, did a chop-job on The Lost Weekend today. On-line fury would deafen us all. We had our Good Old Days with classic movies, but again I say, these are the Better New Days.

43 Comments:

Blogger Reg Hartt said...

Reading this post I realized what I should have already known. Television killed the movies not only by offering stiff competition in the home but also and more importantly by devaluing and trivializing the whole experience of watching a motion picture. Habits ingrained from home viewing pass over into the cinema hence people talk in motion picture theaters as they do in their living rooms. Those are fantastic stills you have chosen for this post. Milland really looks like Hell.

5:22 AM  
Blogger Tommie Hicks Jr said...

Another concept that thankfully is not a part of modern cinema, tv, and video viewing sensibilities are jump cuts. Not only were movies edited mucho for tv, many times the print that the station received had jump cuts, sometimes dozens. Sometimes a few frames were missing, sometimes large parts of scenes. Most had been spliced by part time teenage workers at the television station. It was evident that many of these television splicers did not worry how many frames they saved in a splice. as long as the print went back to the distributor without breaks, who cares how many frames it takes to splice it. I remember noticing as a kid that the soundtrack cut two seconds after the picture cut. I also discerned that when you see the circles flash on the top corner of the frame it was commercial time.
I have several chewed prints in my 16mm collection that reminded me of this phenomenon and now-a-days I am dealing with decomposing splices. Splice tapes are no longer manufactured and the ones you get on eBay are sometimes decades old and more that half do not have adhesive on them anymore. I'm going to have to go back to glue. When VHS arrived I rejoiced in seeing films with no jump cuts, later realizing that VHS technology was not advanced enough to depict celluloid film quality.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Mike Cline said...

A friend, then living in southern California, once told me of the time a local LA station ran SINGIN' IN THE RAIN one Sunday afternoon, eliminating the classic footage of Kelly performing the title song.

Gobs of protest phone calls to the station (pity the poor switchboard girl who had been saddled with weekend work) prompted the station manager to be called off the golf course, put on his best suit and go live on camera apologizing and in an offer to appease his irate viewers, ran the movie again in prime time that same night WITHOUT commercials.

Today, all angry callers would get would be voice mail.

10:02 AM  
Blogger rnigma said...

Oh, boy, did I have to suffer through many a chopped-up-to-a-fare-thee-well film. Not only that, dealing with all the splices, scratches, and "cue dots."
I recall my 10-year-old self grousing about the hatchet job King World did on the Our Gang/Little Rascals shorts. I even wrote a letter to the local station that ran them. The station did respond, sending me a glossy photo of the gang (from the short "Where the Wind Blows").

My only memory of watching"The Lost Weekend" in my youth was laughing at the scene with the puppet bat and the puppet mouse. And finally understanding the gag from that Warner cartoon where the Milland caricature paid for his drink with his typewriter, and got several tiny typewriters in change.

12:20 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Tommie, I remember having any number of 16mm TV prints where virtually all the dissolves had been cut out for the insertion of commercials, which created dreadful jump cuts, with often clipped dialogue, throughout. And how about those cue marks? So many otherwise lovely prints (many in IB Technicolor) were simply riddled with them.

12:22 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

That great Milland gag is from the cartoon, "Bacall To Arms," which I used to run at college. Trouble was, no one got the "Lost Weekend" reference.

12:27 PM  
Blogger radiotelefonia said...

My favorite memory of a movie being cut for commercials is the ending of the Warner Bros. cartoon MY FAVORITE DUCK, simply because it happened too many times.

When the film "breaks" near the ending, it was quite common for TV technicians to start to play the commercials.

More than any other kind of movies, cartoons were used as the fillers of many kid's show that were rather lousy. In fact, the only reason why people saw them were the cartoons.

There were the movie marathons of the weekend in which titles were simply used because it was cheaper and easier to constantly schedule, repeating them every two weeks at a different time slot. If they were edited, nobody complained... the movies reappeared later with other editing chops.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Donald Benson said...

The puzzlers for me were the Three Stooges shorts. Not so much for local station hacking, but for all those shorts where they recycled whole sequences from earlier films. One short started out with the plot of Laurel and Hardy's "The Fixer-Uppers", then had them joining the army to escape the jealous husband -- who turned out to be their sergeant. A later short had them as inventors, trying to win a government contract. When they failed, they were drafted ... into the second half of the previous short.

Just plain annoying were the fake Laurel and Hardy shorts, obviously and maddeningly culled from longer films that never seemed to run on my local stations. There were often scenes teasing at what you were missing. Likewise the longish Gumby shorts, split into semi-freestanding halves for local syndication -- leaving one with the strange feeling they were two different versions of the same short.

This may have been as late as the 70s, but i recall a local station running a spot for that night's run of "No Time for Sergeants". The commercial consisted of a scene where draftee Andy Griffith was being tested by future costar Don Knotts. Guess what scene was not included in the broadcast. Also recall sitting up for "Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" on the CBS late show. They simply cut the entire Russian ballet sequence, jumping from a remnant of the opening scene to the delivery of the girl.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Dave K said...

What goes around, comes around. Most folks looking for old B&W features today will see them uncut on cable or streaming services. But if you're a fan of vintage television series on outlets like MeTV, Antenna TV or Decades TV, you'll note episodes trimmed discretely to accommodate contemporary sponsor demands... a lot fewer commercials per hour circa 1960!

3:21 PM  
Blogger rnigma said...

@Donald: You could only be referring to the Infamous Regal Television cut-downs of the Laurel & Hardy features - I recall seeing what was the first 15-20 minutes of "Saps at Sea," retitled "Where To Now?" by Regal; they remained on that "Where To Now?" title for the two minutes or so that the "Saps" theme music played.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Robert Fiore said...

In the days before the VCR I used to lament how all the movies that were not notable enough to make it to repertory houses would never again be seen uninterrupted or uncut. Whole volumes could be written on the cutting-I-mean-gutting of cartoons as content restrictions became ever more prissy. I remember one, I think maybe it was a Sylvester, where a character runs to a medicine cabinet, there's a sudden cut and the character floats away with a dreamy look on his face, presumably because he took a handful of tranquilizers in the missing shot. Cartoons were the one thing you thought you could expect to see at full length.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

The first time I saw "The Cocoanuts" on TV, the "why-a-duck" scene was missing Chico's line, "That's the Jewish neighborhood," in response to Groucho's line about the levees.
Not long afterwards, the same station cut the entire "I'm Against It" number from "Horse Feathers."

And, as Donald Benson mentioned, don't get me started on those fake Laurel & Hardy shorts. The 3 Stooges "prison" short always bothered me, too. In the newer section. Curly was clearly thinner and ill, but looked totally different in the other part -- and they didn't have anything to do with each other.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

I was around 12 when I began regularly hitting local stations with complaints about edited movies. That was because I'd gotten a copy of Leonard Maltin's "TV Movies" book for my birthday, which gave the running time for each feature film it listed, and armed with that and a stopwatch, I was able to gather confirmation that this movie or that movie was missing x number of minutes. Oh, I knew it happened. One of our local stations ran its daily movie in a 90 minute time slot, so I knew a lot of what they ran wasn't complete, by a long shot. I just liked having proof of it. Several years later I had a TV station's program manager tell me he hated that book because it made movie run times easily accessible to people who could then complain that, according to Maltin, their favorite film was missing 14 minutes the last time it aired, whereas before, that information wasn't readily available to the public.

Most outrageous film butchering I remember was on a local station that aired the old Warner Bros. cartoons in a half-hour block weekday afternoons. They squeezed four cartoons into a half-hour, and did so by chopping each cartoon down to only five minutes. The way they did it was this: say they had a cartoon that ran 7 minutes and 30 seconds. It needed to lose 2 1/2 minutes to get the running time down to five minutes. They would let the opening titles run by, uncut, then after the fade to black after the titles, they would remove the first 2 1/2 minutes of the cartoon itself. (Or however much time they needed to cut to get each film down to five minutes.) Needless to say, it was impossible to watch these things and have much idea what was going on. Apparently they figured kids wouldn't notice as long as it moved.

9:50 PM  
Blogger RTWhite said...

Nihil novi sub sole...:According to my DirecTV guide, AMC will show "You Natzy Spy" this Tuesday morning. It is scheduled to run from 9:00-9:05. But AMC's heyday was, what, 15 years ago?

11:00 AM  
Blogger Michael J. Hayde said...

It's likely TV butchery is partly responsible for a myth that still tarnishes George Reeves' legacy. Jack "Jimmy Olsen" Larson was at the premiere of FROM HERE TO ETERNITY at the Hollywood Pantages, where several patrons whispered "Look, it's Superman!" when Reeves first turned up on screen. Not really a surprise; at that time the Los Angeles station was running SUPERMAN at 8:30 pm on Monday evenings, where it regularly led the ratings for that time slot. So, yeah, a lot of grownups were watching.

Anyway, Larson next saw the film some twenty years later on a TV airing one Saturday afternoon. And it sure seemed to him that Reeves' role was much smaller than he'd remembered, and he assumed immediate post-premiere editing took "Superman" out of the film. Then he told this story to author Gary Grossman (while also mistaking the premiere for a preview screening), who published it in his 1975 book SUPERMAN: SERIAL TO CEREAL.

It's probable Reeves' role had been diminished during Larson's second viewing, but it's the station's shears, rather than Columbia's, that would have been responsible. Reeves' role as seen in the uncut film is identical to the final shooting script.

1:45 PM  
Blogger kenneth Von Gunden said...

Hmmmm. What do you people mean, EXACTLY, when you mention "cue dots"? I trained as a projectionist and the dot in the upper right corner of the picture was the cue for the projectionist to start the handover or second projector. At the appearance of a second dot in the upper right corner of the image [five seconds or so later], the man in the booth changed over from projector one to projector two to play the next 20-minute reel. Then he took the film from projector one, rewound it, and placed the next reel on and cued it up. And so on throughout the film.

3:48 PM  
Blogger kenneth Von Gunden said...

Once the studio realized the that the unwanted "Look it's Superman!" reaction would be one every audience would make, Reeves' role was radically cut back. Hence, his full role probably IS in the final shooting script, just not in the prints sent to theaters.

3:51 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

While theatrical cues were useful and necessary to denote a reel change coming up, the cue marks I was thinking about were ugly and plentiful punch holes or scratch marks that local station editors used to identify break points throughout 16mm syndicated prints. It seemed each station that got these defaced them further with homegrown cues. Result was prints that every ten minutes looked as though they were raining donuts, or snowballs.

4:57 PM  
Blogger coolcatdaddy said...

A friend who is a little older than me recalls seeing uninterrupted and apparently uncut foreign films, like "Seven Samurai" and "8 1/2" on NET and PBS in the late 60s and early 70s.

I think the only uncut, uninterrupted showing of a theatrical film on a commercial tv station I can recall is the day that John Wayne passed away - WBTV in Charlotte screened "The Cowboys", uncut and without commercials, that evening.

With some local late night showings, you would get the films with minimal interruptions at least.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

There were, apparently, non-invasive methods by which television stations could add cues to films. At one point in the mid-late 1970s, I noticed that the film prints used by one of our local stations were no longer marred by their donut cue mark that had always been placed about halfway down the frame, on the right side. Some older prints still bore cue marks from previous use, but the local station added none. New prints they ran were refreshingly free of cue marks. I have no idea what the system was they used, but it was apparently not widely adopted. Most stations continued to punch and scratch cues into their prints until they all switched to video in the 1980s.

When I was actively collecting 16mm, I remember making a couple of attempts to put together a single print that was as cue mark-free and splice-free as possible by using the best sections of two different TV prints. It didn't work, though. The difference in black levels and contrast between the two prints was too varied.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Barry Rivadue said...

The most sacrilegious TV edit I ever witnessed years ago was some local station showing 2001. It switched to a commercial at the point of the famous jump cut from the tossed animal bone to space vehicle.

7:50 PM  
Blogger rnigma said...

@Kenneth: That's what I meant, as reflected in John's post. I wasn't referring to the subtle cue dots on the original theatrical prints (perhaps rendered obsolete by platter projectors and digital projection). The ugly, annoying cue markings added to 16mm TV prints by the various stations that ran them. Each station seemingly had its own system - circles scratched into the emulsion, dots/stars/triangles punched into the film, X's drawn with magic markers, you name it.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Scott MacGillivray said...

Whenever a new UHF station started up in Massachusetts, they'd be using very, very used prints of old syndicated series until they had enough revenue to buy higher-grade stuff. I remember watching a "Saint" episode in whch the main title looked like a fireworks display: each station that used it before had punched its own cue marks, so there were circles, rings, triangles, and X marks all over it.

John, I have to ask -- the station that butchered LOST WEEKEND: did they also edit the Bowery Boys picture for an hour slot, or did they run it complete in a 90-minute slot? Just wondering which picture got pride of place!

12:56 AM  
Blogger Bill O said...

That myth that Reeves role in From here to Eternity was debunked by Fred Zinneman. Nor was he cut post-production. I think Hollywoodland repeats it.

3:50 AM  
Blogger Donald Benson said...

Eons ago San Francisco columnist Herb Caen cited a genuinely sacrilegious cut to commercial. During a showing of the silent "King of Kings", Judas betrays Christ to the Romans with a kiss, as in the gospel. This gave way to "If he kissed you once, will he kiss you again? Be certain with CERTS!"

Benny Hill did a sketch based on a beat-up movie being shown on TV; the main gag being how frequent jumps and splices turned innocent dialogue into ... well, Benny Hill ("I shall savor the memory of your" CLICK "behind."). He also did one of a film being pan-and-scanned, with pertinent objects and persons perpetually cropped off (POLICE RAID ON WATERLOO STATION became LICE ON THE LOO)

4:05 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Scott, the Bowery Boys had ninety minutes to pursue their antics, as did Jungle Jim, Tarzan, the post-48 Abbott/Costellos, and from time to time, a Universal weirdie along lines of a "Creature" or Mole Man sighting. There were also many from the same pre-49 Paramount group that housed "The Lost Weekend," thus we got four with the Marx Bros., repeated often, as well as Mae West in "Belle Of The Nineties," plus oft-run W.C. Fields like "Tillie and Gus," "Poppy," and "If I Had A Million."

4:57 AM  
Blogger ClassicMovieFan said...

My recollections of film cutting in the late 50s through the 80s were highlighted by WKDB, Detroit's showing of Three Stooges comedies all cut down to 15 minutes divided by a commercial break. As a kid in 1958 I always hated it when WXYZ's Curtain Time would start the Stooges comedies without the credits.

When I collected 16mm film 40 years ago I would often run across TV prints that had
foil strips on the sprocket side of the film for automatic pausing for commercials.
Many prints had one foot blank leader spliced into the breaks to compensate for the projection machine stopping.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Michael J. Hayde said...

@kenneth: You're repeating the myth. Columbia didn't pull the film out of theaters (prints had already shipped; the Pantages screening was a premiere, not a preview). Reeves' role as it appears in the film today is complete and matches up to the shooting script.

The fallout from "Look, it's Superman" is that Reeves never got cast in another major studio picture. His only subsequent theatrical film was Disney's WESTWARD HO, THE WAGONS (1956) with Fess Parker, and that came about because he and producer Bill Walsh were drinking buddies.

11:40 AM  
Blogger kenneth Von Gunden said...

Hayde Ho...Okay. If you're right, I stand corrected. Thanks.

1:31 PM  
Blogger tbonemankini said...

Yes definitely recall 8 1/2.... there was quite a few foreign films over the first decade of PBS. ...

2:44 PM  
Blogger tbonemankini said...

I recall the network showing of 2001 in the late 70s. ...they matted stars above and below the letterboxing...so the ship would disappear into the matted stars instead of the edge of the screen....

2:47 PM  
Blogger tbonemankini said...

Good old WKBD and other Kaiser stations...when the STAR TREK package first ran,there were so many breaks that the Trekkers bombarded the station with angry letters and phone calls....very soon we heard "Star Trek...as originally presented etc..." ...

2:57 PM  
Blogger tbonemankini said...

After years of watching films uninterrupted on the BBC or taping and whizzing thru the ads, watching a film as broadcast by a commercial station is an absolute nightmare... spoiled by years of VHS/DVD/BLU RAY,my attention span will not suffer a British ad break never mind the US counterpart... amazing to think that's how I saw ALL films in my youth....remember how strange it was the first time I watched things on NET/PBS with no breaks....it really was another world. ..same for subtitles. ...

3:05 PM  
Blogger Brother Herbert said...

In addition to cuts, time compression is a major offender these days. I caught a few minutes of a CHEERS rerun on some channel recently, and every character sounded like the disclaimer tag at the end of a radio commercial.

@Donald Benson - I never knew about Columbia's manner of reusing footage and "remaking" old Stooge shorts until I read Ted Okuda's "The Columbia Comedy Shorts." Seems like they practically made reusing and reworking old shorts and routines into an art form, and it certainly (soitenly!) makes one wonder if contemporary audiences ever noticed. Another Stooge reference notes that in 1953 there were three Stooge shorts released back-to-back that each used footage from 1947's HOLD THAT LION, meaning the boys wore the exact same outfits in three consecutive films.

@RTWhite - A perusal of AMC's upcoming schedule shows Stooges shorts plugged into a number of five- and ten-minute slots. You're right - some things apparently never change.

@coolcatdaddy - KQED, the San Francisco PBS station, was good about running films uncut back in the day. In the late 80s they showed the French comedy GET OUT YOUR HANDKERCHIEFS with the nudity and sexual situations intact - a sure thrill for high-school-age me! KQED was also the first place I saw 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and HOW THE WEST WAS WON letterboxed. Even as a kid, I knew those black bars meant I was watching something out of the ordinary. They still show movies today but they are no longer properly letterboxed and are sometimes broken up by pledge breaks.

5:00 PM  
Blogger tbonemankini said...

Amen to KQED...I certainly recall seeing LA CAGE AUX FOLLES & THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN along with PASSPORT TO PIMLICO and other non starters as far as commercial TV was concerned...

4:29 AM  
Blogger coolcatdaddy said...

Speaking of time compression, I collect laserdiscs and found awhile back the first release in that format of "Goldfinger". What surprised me was that it was time compressed - the soundtrack was higher pitched and the action faster than it was supposed to be. The film ran about two minutes shorter than its official running time.

I think it might have been speeded up because there were issues with getting the full 60 minute per side running time on laserdiscs at that point and they probably didn't want to spread the movie across three sides.

I was surprised to find time compression that early. I don't recall seeing time compressed movies or tv shows until at least the mid-80s on Ted Turner's Superstation on cable.

There's an MCA Encore release of "The Raven" and "The Black Cat" that was put out on laserdisc in 1986, with both features time compressed to fit on one side of a disc. "The Black Cat" is so speeded up that many parts of the dialogue are unintelligible - that's taking a 65 minute film and reducing it to less than 60 minutes. "The Raven" originally ran 61 minutes, so the speed up is noticeable, but less so than the other film.

6:50 AM  
Blogger RTWhite said...

"Film Odyssey" ran on PBS in 1972, hosted by then-LA Times film critic Charles Champlin. Its appeal lay not just in the classic films that were shown (Seven Samurai, Intimate Lighting, Sawdust and Tinsel, etc.), but post-film interviews (Frtiz Lang on M, King Vidor on Our Daily Bread, etc.).

6:54 AM  
Blogger Stinky Fitzwizzle said...

Stinky has to ask the most pressing question of all: what happened to Ray Milland's hair?

11:39 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

The development of DVDs, Blu-Rays, and, of course, TCM are the best thing that ever happened to fans of old movies. We're no longer at the mercy of TV editors and sponsors. And you can even watch public-domain movies on YouTube. They might not be in the best of shape but at least they're uncut (for the most part).

2:06 PM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

Nonetheless the vitality of the motion picture experience is only felt when we watch a film with an audience of strangers who, preferably, know little or nothing about the picture. Then we get an honest audience reaction which, I assure you, beats the home experience (unless you, as I have done, invite strangers into your home) all to Hell. If I watch a film by myself I can pause it for a snack, bathroom break, the telephone, whatever. Once I have a real audience watching it with me I can do none of those things. The movie then becomes A MOVIE. With comedies there is the added bonus of people picking up on things other have missed. Seeing it by ourselves we remain in control. Seeing it with strangers the movie is in control. Unfortunately I have been informed by the City of Toronto it is illegal to invite strangers into our homes. This, of course, goes completely against the nature and the quality of cities. What makes this even more bizarre is that 2016 is the 100th birthday of Jane Jacobs whose THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES remains THE book on cities. Mrs. Jacobs was my friend from her arrival in Toronto in 1968 until her death. It has been said my work is everything she wrote about. Her children tell me again and again, "Our mother loved you." This means the City Of Toronto is extending me (unknowingly) the honor of standing up for everything she knew brings life to cities against everything that kills them. It is an immense privilege. It also seems to be an idea lost on those who pay lip service to her ideas. Currently (because my landlord has been threatened) the city has closed my doors. Mrs. Jacobs' last book is titled DARK AGE AHEAD. I can't recommend it highly enough.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Barry Rivadue said...

In the City of Toronto it's illegal to invite strangers into your home? Does this include plumbers? Or is it for potential attendees for a home theater movie? This sounds weird. Who would monitor this anyway? "I'm not a stranger, officer--just a slight acquaintance of the homeowner."

7:30 AM  
Blogger antoniod said...

Yes, TV stations ran condensed versions of L&H's BONNIE SCOTLAND and DEVIL'S BROTHER, plus the L&H scenes from PICK A STAR, and, yes, the same stations didn't show the complete features, because they weren't available to stations then.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Bill DeLapp said...

Two memories from a Syracuse TV channel, both from the early 1970s. The first concerns a showing of MEET DANNY WILSON, an 86-minute Frank Sinatra musical squeezed into an 85-minute mid-afternoon slot that also had the host doing Dialing For Dollars chores. The solution was to leave in the plot and ax all the musical numbers for a 69-minute edit.
The second concerns my high school field trip to the station, where I got to see how they handled their late afternoon, two-hour movie show. The film for the day was the two-hours-plus GENGHIS KHAN, and the broadcasters had two projectors at the ready to beam it onto a 16mm movie screen. They were very short reels, probably 10 minutes in length, with brightly colored leader running through the projectors, and I noticed a detailed, typewritten log that had the exact times of the movie chunks and commercials.

11:26 AM  

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