20180424

MARSHALL McLUHAN

In an interview with journalist Hunter Davies, Marshall McLuhan said money in 1967, "It's just the poor man's credit card." The 1960s era was known as the visual age. Marshall McLuhan elaborated, "One of the many reasons for my going as Albert Schweitzer Professor at Fordham in New York is that I've been offered the use of a gallery at the Museum of Modern Art. In this I'm going to do a proper study of sensory orientation, which I hope will prove the difference between audio-tactile and visual people.

"There have been exhibits at Expo aimed at people's sense of smell, taste, touch and hearing. But they didn't measure how they affected people or what their preferences were, and they didn't check people's ages. This is what I'm going to do, although I haven't worked out the details yet. I think the dividing line will be about the age of 14 (in 1967). People under that age have been affected by TV before they've learned to read or write. This has kept them audio-tactile."

It was noted the first TV network regular schedule of programs did not begin broadcasting until 1950. Marshall McLuhan continued, "When literacy enters life the pictorial begins to take over from the tactile. Children are not naturally interested in matching, putting patterns in the right order until they are trained. That's why children's drawings are like Picasso's, which no one has been able to explain before. They're tactile and abstract.

"(Model) Twiggy is tactile because she's just an abstract outline. Beatles are audio-tactile, because they're appealing to sound and touch. The hippies are audio-tactile, utterly. They're just gipsies. A tactile world is a world of touch. To the blind all things are sudden because they suddenly feel them. So is a tactile world full of surprises with discontinuous lines – no connections are meant or taken.

"It's a world of all-at-onceness. Information comes at you from all media, at once. It is difficult to grasp these ideas. Visual people can't. But these changes are happening now (in 1967). We're so close to them that they're difficult for many people to perceive. The new media are reshaping and reconstructing every aspect of our lives. The present ones can understand me.

"They know what I'm talking about because it's happened to them. They dig me. They accept what I'm saying. I'm talking about what they like, like the Beatles. They and other groups are moving on to Oriental things. That's because the Orient is tactile and the West is visual. Though as we're becoming more Oriental and tactile, the Orient is becoming more literate, visual and Western."

At the time, Marshall McLuhan's 14-year-old son Michael was growing long, thick hair which obscured most of his head and shoulders. Marshall McLuhan continued, "You might think his hair is like that for visual, pictorial reasons. It's not. It's a mask. He's playing a role. All audio-tactile people want to be involved. They want roles, not jobs. They're interested in cool media, not hot media. By cool media I mean any situation which is involving, like TV and beat music.

"English sports cars and Volkswagen are cool. They surround you like a pair of trousers, you wrap them around. They're highly tactile. You're not involved in hot media. They permit external spectator roles, unlike cool media, where you are in there completely involved. Films are hot. They have a storyline which you follow from the outside. I'm talking about Hollywood films. Bergman films and Fellini films are cool. They don't have a storyline.

"When a new media goes around an old media the old media becomes an art form. When the novel was new it was looked down on. When the novel gave way to movies the novel became an art form. When movies gave way to TV the movie became an art form. The novel is now (in 1967) dead. Color TV is a new media. So black and white will become an art form. It will have prestige qualities.

"Now that we have satellites going round the earth, this planet is the art form. That's the end of nature. There ain't none. Nature is now inside a man-made environment. Motor cars, they won't be with us for much longer. In this age of satellites, they're finished. If our images can move anywhere we want them to, there is no necessity to move our bodies around, except as a pure vacation gesture for fun and games and holidays.

"The efficiency of the car is already finished anyway, with present-day traffic. The plane has taken over as the serious form of transport. We'll communicate by video-telephones without having to go and see people. Shopping will be done by seeing what's in the store on television and just ordering (in 1986 Home Shopping Network broadcast live 24 hours a day). Childhood will come to an end as we know it.

"Historically speaking, it's a recent innovation anyway: there was no separate childhood in Renaissance times. It only came in about the 17th century, with the coming of the idea of privacy. This was caused by print, which detribalized people. The coming of privacy brought special spaces for adults and children. There were no bedrooms up to the 17th century, just alcoves off the main eating room with curtains in front of them. Shakespeare never knew such a place as a private bedroom.

"Childhood will go because a child, after its very early years, is becoming privy to everything an adult is privy to. Education in the formal sense will go. Classrooms are already obsolete. The environment is already programmed with more information than any classroom. All the world's a stage. The planet itself is now a little school. It's like being back to primitive times again. Then nature was the education. You learned from nature around you.

"In this audio-tactile world it's happening again – only this time it won't be haphazard. Nature can be totally programmed now so that classrooms will be completely wiped away. Specialists will cease to exist. There will be no loss of natural skills, but the idea of someone becoming a specialist to earn a living will be meaningless. Childhood was a form of specialization, so that's another reason why it will go.

"The whole human environment will be a teaching machine, teaching everyone everything. We'll be all specialists, so specialists will cease to exist. Francis Bacon was looked upon as a genius, a freak, in the 16th century because he knew so much. But in a few years time every youngster will be able to learn more than Bacon ever learned. We'll be able to program nature to get the people we'll want. Instead of teaching, say, musical appreciation, we'll be able to let them feel the effects of having learned musical appreciation. Everybody will know more than the experts do today (in 1967). And Francis Bacon will be a dime a dozen.

"To be a success in any form of mass entertainment or politics you've got to put-on your audience. A lady once said to Churchill that she had a baby which looked just like him. He said 'Madam, all babies look like me.' It was true. He also looked like all British people. Because he was able to put-on a corporate identity. By putting-on I don't mean it's not natural. It's there but it's dramatized.

"De Gaulle put-on the whole of France. That's why he's a success. Kennedy put-on a teenage image, to the panic of his older rivals. That was what America wanted, and still wants. Abe Lincoln put-on the public of his time, the New Frontier public. It's never existed before or since, but it did then. President Johnson hasn't got a corporate image, so he can never be a success. His image is not acceptable. It belongs to some other country at some other time and not America today (in 1967).

"Mr Wilson (British Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson) also lacks a corporate image. He also lacks vitality, which all corporate images must have. Hitler had it. De Gaulle has it. Mr Wilson hasn't. You put on a corporate image by a process of feedback. I'm not saying a corporate image is a good thing or a bad thing. It's just the way it happens and what people need to be successful. Every successful persons works by feedback. The responses he gets back condition his public image. If an entertainer or politician is not getting any feedback, he's wasting his time."

20180423

MARSHALL McLUHAN

Speaking to Ralph Thomas of the 'Toronto Star' in 1967, Marshall McLuhan said of Canada, "It's a backward country. We're in the 19th century, really. You can sit back and watch what's going on in the 20th century America and see it as it really is. They (the Americans) can't down there, you know. They are much too involved." Of Marshall McLuhan, Andre Sarris of the 'Village Voice' acknowledged, "He's given us a road map to tomorrow's culture. He has opened our eyes to further exploration. True, he didn't make the whole fire, but he did ignite the spark." 

Marshall McLuhan maintained, "I'm just an observer. Just an investigator. I'm not concerned with how my work is applied, or in seeing it put to any practical use. I'm concerned with discovering changes - changes which should have taken place long ago (in the mass media, the arts, and the way we live). That's all. Of course by doing this, it may look as if I'm really involved in some kind of practical endeavor."

At the time, Paul Klein of NBC declared, "Within two years (around 1970), most television on this continent (North America) will be McLuhan TV. There's not much now (in 1967), true, but next season there'll be quite a lot. And the season after that, a hell of a lot more. The only reason it hasn't happened faster is that the old guard, the 'in' clique of producers in the business, either don't want any part of McLuhan or don't know what to do with him – the same way nobody knew what to do with the theory of relativity in 1910. But that's going to change. It's inevitable. There are new, young men around who understand and dig the man, and they're just waiting to change things."

Jean-Claude van Itallie wrote the hit off-Broadway production, 'America Hurrah'. He made the comment, "I'm very much influenced by McLuhan, but it's very hard to say how. His ideas somehow get into the bloodstream and you notice the affinity between his ideas and your work only after it comes out. There are things in 'America Hurrah' that would not be there except for him."

Writer Herbert Gold added, "Because of McLuhan, there has developed a whole literary scene out here (in San Francisco) where there are no writers. They live in tribes and communicate orally – all very McLuhanistic." Robert Fulford of the 'Toronto Star' remarked, "McLuhan believes the world is 'retribalizing', that man is casting off individualism and returning to some kind of tribal soul."

All new art, Marshall McLuhan predicted would become "environmental art", "The day of simply creating pictures or sculptures for placement in a gallery is just about gone." Ralph Thomas clarified, "In this art form, the artist doesn't simply create a picture to hang in a gallery. He builds a completely new gallery structure of his own to create a whole new environment for people to see, touch, feel, and even hear and smell."

At the Royal Ontario Museum at the time, Harley Parker designed an "environment" display which included the smell of the sea, the noise of thunder, sand underfoot, and fossils and rocks people could touch. Pop artist Jim Dine opened an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario at the time admitted, "McLuhan is influencing everybody with anything new to say in the visual arts, whether they like to admit it or not."

Architect John Andrews created the internationally famous Scarborough College conceded he was not "specifically translating McLuhan ideas into architecture. But he's (McLuhan) an influence, sure. I've learned a great deal from him. The man should be the motivating influence in architecture today (in 1967). I'm afraid he isn't yet, though." In 1966, Marshall McLuhan addressed an audience at Kendall College, Evanston, Illinois, "There is not theory lurking in my words. I am simply making certain observations so that we can see the forces at work around us."

John Andrews continued, "All architects should be on his wavelength. It's bound to happen sooner or later, simply because the public will demand it. McLuhan sort of points that out, doesn’t he? He's really writing about people. The main trouble with architecture today (in 1967) is its damned linearity. We've got to get away from these bloody huge slabs of glass which don’t fit into their environment and create no environment of their own.

"They're just packages into which people are stuffed. We’ve got to start creating environments, not monuments." John Andrews argued building interiors should be designed so that "communications between people are maximized." The exteriors should reflect their settings. Scarborough College could change color and "feel" the rain or the sunshine, "They should respond to the elements."

Made for television movies in 1967 were called by critics as "purposeless drama". Herman Keld of MGM-TV begged to differ, "They were good McLuhan TV. Terrible movies, awful movies. Some of the scripts were literally written overnight. The plots were a mess, the photography and direction, very rough. They were real quickies. One ('How I Spent My Summer Vacation' starring Robert Wagner) made no sense at all. But it was good McLuhan TV – great McLuhan TV. It was so cool."

As noted, "a 'cool' medium did not provide a lot of information to the viewer's senses. The viewer never saw a TV picture clearly. As a result, the TV viewer had to become active and involved in order to fill things in. The viewer participated in the picture, if not intellectually, then by soaking up the emotional message." The "hot" medium of print, considered "obsolescent", where through one sense (sight) the reader had everything the reader needed given to him or her. It was all laid out logically (or should be) and the reader was "well-filled" with information.

Of the unsuccessful programs doing McLuhanistic things, “The trouble is that they're hybrids. They're made with movie techniques. Virtually all new shows last season (1965-66 season) were slick, movie-style programs. No wonder it was a complete washout."  Since 1966, "we cut out all the explainers, rough them up a bit and throw in batches of commercials, before we put them on.

"Movies really need commercials, lots of them, to make them good and McLuhan TV. The success of a movie on TV has no relation to its box office success, or the amount of money spent on making it a slick product. A grade B cheapy often does as well, if not better, than a slick big-budget picture. McLuhan TV is really quite cheap."

Ralph Thomas reported, "Now, 'hot' and 'cool' can and often are mixed, especially on TV. That's what's wrong with it today (in 1967), McLuhanites claim. A 'cool' medium should show 'cool' things, if it wants an audience. 'Beverly Hillbillies' is a popular success, because its characters are rustics ('cool'). Westerns are successful for much the same reason.

"But few watch NBC's 'Viewpoint', because it is filled with information, fact, logic, statement of opinion (all 'hot'). McLuhan says the most effective TV programs are the public affairs and news shows which carry little fact and information but plenty of atmosphere (it's better to show the prime minister in a press conference than simply making a statement); drama series with little or no storyline, little information about locale and characters (you should never fill in a character's background); and shows with great gaps in them the viewer can fill in himself.

"Cool programs also should 'present situations which consist of some process to be completed' by the viewer – such as a detective or spy story with more mood and action than story and which the viewer must puzzle out for himself. In Canada, Daryl Duke, producer of CBC's 'Sunday' says he's 'trying to create a sense of incompleteness on the show and present the emotional rather than be journalistic.'"

In 1985, 'Soap Opera Digest' made the point, "On 'Dynasty', plots and characters go out the window in favor of the quick fix, leaving that show with as much depth as a Saturday morning cartoon. Alliances change as often as the costumes with characters going from point A to point Z with no explanation as to how they go there. A typical scene on 'Dynasty' begins with a calm encounter between two characters and ends three to four minutes later with at least one party storming out of the room in a huff following a verbal blowout about lord only knows what or cares."

Aaron Spelling stated, "We didn't want an everyman serial. We felt that in times of recession, people liked to get away from their mundane lives. So we set out to capture the flamboyant opulence of the rich."

Elaine Rich elaborated, "I came on as the producer starting with show number 14. Jettisoning those actors from the cast (in season 1) had nothing to do with the actors themselves. It was just that our best stories centered on what went on in the Carrington mansion, not what went on outside. That's why we brought Claudia's character into the mansion. None of it is geared toward competing with 'Dallas'. 'Dynasty' is the story of very rich people and the lives that they lead and the problems they face.

"To me it has the continuing story elements of an 'Upstairs, Downstairs'. There is constant change and evolution of characters. It is a lot like life. Even the actors don't know the advance stories. This is done because nobody in life knows what is going to happen to them tomorrow. If they did they (the actors) might shade their performances. My instincts tell me that the Shapiros (Esther and Richard) put together a cast of characters based on composites of people we are seeing in the world today (in 1982)."

Joan Collins made the observation, "You know, of course, that both Mike (Eileen) Pollock and Esther Shapiro think that they are, in fact, Alexis. She is their favorite character because, let's face it, this is the time of the new woman, and of the powerful woman. And as Esther says, women don't get their power until they're in the 40s."

According to Richard Shapiro, Esther wanted to be Blake. Esther Shapiro told the press the British mini-series 'I, Claudius' "told the story of Roman kings and people in power. We don't have kings, but we do have oil tycoons and they are people whose lives affect the rest of us. These are people who do outrageous things. You have families fighting for power and love. You can get terrific drama from that.

"Conflict in a family is much more dramatic than conflict between strangers. Blake Carrington is a 19th century man. If only his family would do what he wants everything would be all right. So, 'I, Claudius' is the framework. When you're a writer you're writing your fantasies. You've got your little doll house. But we became producers because we wanted control."

Of Blake, John Forsythe insisted, "Blake is a self-made man who’s built this gigantic empire, and since he’s getting older, he’s slightly wary of the younger men around him. He’s the quintessential American business tycoon – ruthless, manipulative, and demonic within that framework. And yet loving at home. A very contradictory fellow."

As Krystle, Linda Evans expressed, "I've always liked Cinderella and Snow White. I'm living my dream, and I wouldn't change it for all the bad girl parts in the world." Mike Pollock believed, "People have many needs and one of them is entertainment. Soap operas give people something to gossip about without hurting anybody. 'Dynasty' is simply a way for people to have fun, and I've yet to find somebody who has had too much fun."

20180420

TELEVISION

"I love the anthology format," Aaron Spelling once said. The Webster had defined an anthology as a "collection of literary pieces usually suggesting a theme." On television, an anthology series was the video equivalent of a short-story collection and had no permanent characters. Unlike the continuing-character series, television anthology show offered a different story and new characters each week. 

In anthology dramas, the story and not the characters was the focus. Associated Press reported in 1973, "The anthology once flourished on the tube, and while its strength lies in its diversity, its weakness is that audience attention rises or falls with the power of the story. It has no continuing characters for viewers to identify with and no thread of familiarity to cling to." 

The anthological TV series evolved in 1977 into a unique concept of a multi-story guest-star vehicle. 'Fantasy Island' (in January 1977) then 'The Love Boat' (in May 1977) successfully combined a small continuing cast to build series loyalty with totally new guests and several-plots-per-episode each week to keep each program a separate entity, unrelated to any episode that came before or after. 

In 1983, Aaron Spelling introduced 'Arthur Hailey's Hotel' and in 1984, 'Glitter' (about a magazine) and 'Finder of Lost Loves'. Each week, viewers were shown a variety of stories involving various guest stars with up to eight guest stars per week. Of the 1983-84 season, the 'Boston Globe' noted, "On Wednesday nights, two-thirds of ABC's prime-time schedule will be Spelling programs. On Saturday night, they are all Spelling." 

Lewis Chesler of 'The Hitchhiker' (Home Box Office or HBO, 1985) observed, "The anthology is appealing because each episode is self-contained and interesting in its own right … When you go to work the next day or go to school, you can tell friends, 'I saw a really fascinating show.' It just a little experience that you can sit down and enjoy. You'll be able to tell tales after you've seen them. You'll be able to describe a plot!" 

Brandon Tartikoff added, "We've had 35 years of television (1950-1985). They've seen basically every crime story we're ever going to tell. They've seen every standard family comedy plot. What I think the audience responds to is varying the formula, changing it around, given them a surprise." 

Aaron Spelling liked the multiple short-and-sweet story formats but also insisted, "I love the anthology format also because of all the stars we can bring back. I love doing anthologies because of all the people we can use. I was criticized for years for doing so many action shows and I am thrilled to be working on light anthologies, like 'Hotel', 'Love Boat', etc. With our anthology shows, we've been able to use about six former stars per episode. That's about 600 stars who will get work next year (in 1984-85 season). Helen Hayes is doing a dear role in 'Glitter' and Elizabeth Taylor is starring in a 'Hotel' episode this season (1984-85)." 

Centered around the make-believe world of the St. Gregory, the lobby of the real Fairmont hotel in San Francisco was meticulously copied inside Warner Brothers sound stage 14. At a cost of nearly $500,000, the Fairmont's pillars of orange marble were duplicated at Burbank Studios in ersatx but convincing columns made of plaster and wood. The flowers were all artificial and the stairway led up to a blank wall. Only the red furniture was real. About $10,000 a week was spent on the wardrobe.

Michael Spound played bellhop Dave Kendall recounted, "Just call me lucky Louie. I didn't know what they wanted. I went in and read (for his fifth audition of the day). Then I was called back to read with five actresses up for the role of Megan Kendall, my wife, the desk clerk. Heidi Bohay was last. Everything went wrong. We dropped lines and mangled the script. As I went out shaking my head, I heard one of the network execs say, 'She was great. They were good together.' So here we are." 

Speaking to the press in 1984, Aaron Spelling made the point, "Some of you ... all of you ... wrote that 'Hotel' was a land-locked 'Love Boat'. That was probably true of the pilot (starring Bette Davis), by the way. But a pilot … that's what it is, a test. I think the word came from test pilot. It's taking up an airplane for the first time. That's really what a (TV) pilot is, too. I wish there were no pilots. I think it's terrible for an entire series to be judged on its pilot. A pilot is to learn from. 

"The pilot we did last year (in 1983) for 'Hotel' was very frothy … I think you've all used that word talking about my shows … but it was a pilot. Later, we made substantial changes, reshooting 10 pages, adding new pages, recasting some characters … And I know you (the critics) can't watch everything (every episodes), believe me, I know you can't. I wish you could. 

"I wish there was a way I could convey to you 'Gosh, would you watch tonight's show? It's not what you expect from us.' Last year (the 1983-84 season) on 'Hotel' we did quite a remarkable show about the Ku Klux Klan. We did one on wife abuse, on a number of interesting social issues. Those shows did not get any recognition for that and that hurt a little." 

In April 2018, representatives from 53 member countries of the Commonwealth (comprised some 2.4 billion people on five continents) would meet at Windsor Castle to decide on who should succeed Queen Elizabeth II as the next head of the Commonwealth. The role was not hereditary. Her Majesty had been an "icon of the Commonwealth" since 1952. She would continue to lead the Commonwealth until her death. 

At the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held at Buckingham Palace, the Queen stated, "It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949. 

"By continuing to treasure and reinvigorate our associations and activities, I believe we will secure a safer, more prosperous and sustainable world for those who follow us. As another birthday approaches this week (92 in April 2018), I am reminded of the extraordinary journey we have been on, and how much good has been achieved. It remains a great pleasure and honor to serve you as Head of the Commonwealth and to observe, with pride and satisfaction, that this is a flourishing network."   

Associated Press reported, "Britain hopes to use the meeting as a launch pad for stronger trade ties with Commonwealth countries after the UK leaves the European Union in 2019. In 2017, 44% of British exports went to the EU and just 9% to Commonwealth countries. Still, the Commonwealth provides support for democracy and corruption-fighting, and gives its smaller members a chance to be heard as part of an international network." 

Philip Murphy headed the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, told the press the Commonwealth was held together by "a kind of inertia, the fact that it’s probably more trouble to wind it up than to keep going. It’s sort of like the Holy Roman Empire — international organizations can survive long beyond their natural expiry date." 

At the dining hall of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills 1984, Aaron Spelling launched the 1984-85 TV season of new programs. He held a pre-dinner cocktail party to be followed by dinner featuring veal, salmon mousse and a five-piece band playing themes from 'The Love Boat' and 'Dynasty'. At a news conference held for 110 TV critics and attended by 35 stars from various Aaron Spelling series, Aaron Spelling told the press his shows "are pure entertainment." 

"I don't know that a little cotton candy relaxing the mind is bad for people worried about paying the rent and their grocery bills and gasoline costs and not being able to afford a home so they can come home at night and relax. I did not mean it to be that it's like tooth decay," Aaron Spelling continued. 

Critics criticized shows such as 'The Love Boat' and 'Dynasty' for failing to tackle topical and controversial subjects. Aaron Spelling argued, "I don't think the climate is ready right now for 'Family' (1976-1980) or the kind of shows you critics would like to see. I don't think 'Family' could get on the air now. It would be very hard to make it today (in 1984) with 'Family', now that the audience is so attuned to watching this this this or shows like ours that are pure entertainment." 

On reflection, Aaron Spelling remarked, "My opinion of the American audience is like we were during the Depression years. Growing up, we didn't have television but my sister and I would love to go to the movies. My sister, dying to see what Ginger Rogers was wearing, would rush home from the movies and tell my dad, who was a tailor, and who would make her that dress. And then she’d fix her hair the way Ginger wore hers. We lived in a fantasy world because it was the only escape we had. 

"I think that when times are bad, whether there be a recession, or we have problems in the (Persian) Gulf, or whether it be the potential for obliteration for all of us, I think that escape is tremendous, a good valve that releases some of the tensions. It's good to have a release and that's why I never aplogize for my programs. Economically or socially, people need to be entertained and that's why I've never apologized for myself. 

"People love to laugh at the rich. They love to hear that the rich have problems and to see the rich have problems. The rich can afford anything but they still have emotional problems. 'Dallas' proved that. If 'Dallas' had been about four oil workers making $250 a week, I don't think it would've been a success. It wouldn't do as well. It’s probably my fault that there isn't more (reality) in the shows. 

"Viewers like entertainment and I don't try to shove social issues down their throats … If you asked me, 'Would you rather have an Emmy or a 38 (Nielsen) share?', I'd have to be gross and say a 38 share. I think Emmys, like all awards, are a great deal about quality, a great deal about popularity contests, and a great deal to do with how many people (voting members) you have in the Academy."

"We use fresh flowers rather than artificial. Maybe the difference won't be discovered by the audience, but the actors will know. And it will show up in their work. We have a slogan in our ship. The only difference between good – and I don't necessarily mean Emmy-winning, just good – television and bad television is attention to detail," Aaron Spelling maintained. 

'Chicago Tribune' 1984: What comes first, the plot or the fashion?

Nolan Miller made known, "The plot, of course, I receive a script, which I do a breakdown of, and then we have a concept meeting with the co-executive producer, Doug Cramer – who has incredible taste – and our producer, Elaine Rich. Cramer sets the pace right down to the kind of carp food that Krystle feeds to the carp – every detail, and nothing less than a Baccarat glass when they're pouring champagne. It has to be crystal. 

"The script will say something like, 'Alexis enters, looking breathtaking.' It just gives a rough idea, setting the mood for the scene, and then I sit down with Joan (Collins), or Linda (Evans) or Diahann (Carroll) and discuss how they would like to look. Yesterday (in the 1984-85 season), for example, I was with Joan, talking about her script for next week. She has eight changes and several of them are in the office. 

"Joan said, 'Let's do something in all-white.' I said, 'OK, let's save the all-white for the scene where you and Linda really get into it.' Joan is usually in something much more dramatic, but I like little surprises, so we're going to do Joan in a white suit with a big white hat. And Linda is in dark blue. She's (Krystle) pregnant now, in maternity clothes. It's going to be fun. I love to do all the Alexis things with the hat and the fur and the suit – particularly when there's a scene between her and Krystle, where they do a little face-slapping."  

The 'Wall Street Journal' understood Nolan Miller spent $165,000 a year on fabric. However Nolan Miller claimed no clothes on 'Dynasty' would be worn twice. "But we make use of it on other shows. At the end of each season, the clothes from 'Dynasty' are put into my general wardrobe and then I use them on 'The Love Boat' and 'Hotel'. 

"And the new show 'Glitter' is very glamorous, so I'll be able to make use of old 'Dynasty' clothes. It's about a very high-style magazine. It has a large cast and each week there will be four or five guest stars. Of course now (in 1984) on 'Hotel', my dreams will be fulfilled. I've waited 30 years (since 1954) to do a design for Elizabeth Taylor and I have her on 'Hotel'. I'm working on sketches for her right now. 

"The best thing about 'Dynasty' is that nobody ever tells me they're overdressed. I can just go mad. So with those three ladies, scripts that call for them to be well-dressed and the money to do it with, I have literally a designer's dream (budget of $18,000 a week in 1984-85 season). I had to have more money because of Diahann Carroll's coming in. They don't have poor people on 'Dynasty'. Except now (at the start of the 1984-85 season) the Carringtons are losing their money. I hope to God it doesn't last very long. I'm getting nervous."

20180415

KIDVID

Since August 1973, consumer advocates Action for Children's Television (ACT), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and industry representatives National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the Senate Commerce Commission (SCC) and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) had met regularly in an attempt to agree on ways to police programming for children on TV and children's commercials.

Peggy Charren of ACT told the 'Washington Post' in 1974, "Children are not the proper target for sales messages." The 'Washington Post' continued, "All the networks are signing on educational consultants in such numbers that our colleges and universities may soon lack faculties." Saturday morning television were expected to air programs showing pro-social values and teaching good citizenship, loyalty, trust and friendship.

Speaking to the press in 1978, Norman Prescott of Filmation Studios argued, "We're not saying children's shows are all they should be. We do say there isn’t enough children's programming. But if parents use TV as a babysitter, then the shows aren’t going to improve. As for the commercials, parents control what foods are brought into the home. Not the kids. If parents don’t approve of the products being advertised, they shouldn’t buy them.

"Producers have the duty and the responsibility of leaving a child with some kind of learning experience. When you take a young, pliable mind and introduce it to any form of entertainment, it’s wrong to reinforce a lack of reality in their everyday world. We’re the guys who innovated the educational content in action-adventure and comedy shows for kids. Overall the quality of Saturday morning shows is bad, but I think we're a shining example.

"No one had tried to educate through commercial entertainment TV. 'Fat Albert' is about a contemporary 'dead end' gang of ghetto kids. We've handled subjects like divorce, alcoholism, death, drugs, junk food and even the problem of watching too much TV. One of the real problems in children's programming is the difference in the ages of viewers. The kid audience, estimated at 35 million, is broken down into two major groups, those from 2 year-olds to 6 and 7-year-olds to 11."

Lou Scheimer added, "There's so much mindless material on TV the child is bombarded with meaningless movement. He sits, transfixed, watching action and color without content. There’s nothing wrong with showing right from wrong or where to go for help or how to solve a problem, along with entertainment. But it must be remembered that aside from our shows and Hanna-Barbera, most of the cartoons on Saturday morning were done for theaters as family entertainment long ago.

"Some of them go back to the '30s, '40s and '50s. It began with 'Fat Albert' in 1971. We used pro-social messages through entertainment. The networks didn't think it would work. But we organized a group of educators and consultants to include worthwhile themes. It's ('Tarzan') at the top because it is fantasy and Tarzan is a super-hero who is perceivable as a human being they can copy and there are a lot of animals. Each episode involves a moral question and resolution. Eventually, cable TV or pay TV of some kind will provide the right kind of kid shows. Until then, we’re doing our best."

In 1981, Tony Thomopoulos outlined ABC prime time lineup for the 1981-82 TV season, "The feel of the schedule reflects the mood of the country. It's a return to more traditional values."

At the same time, Joe Barbera made the comment about Saturday morning TV, "All I hope is that we leave education to the schools, where I believe it should be, and leave entertainment to us. I hope someday we can again have a cat chasing a mouse (as in 'Tom and Jerry') and not have to stop in the middle and start teaching him basketweaving or glass-blowing, because someone says you have to have something educational.

"You've got to grab them (the viewers) in the first shot. You've got to grab them with something exciting, which is a big deviation from what it used to be 20 years ago (say around 1961), when you'd open with Huckleberry Hound sauntering along singing, 'Oh My Darling.' Today (in 1981), by the time we get to the second phrase they'd go, 'Wait a minute, where's the action?' I think what has happened is that television has created a bunch of restless youths."

In 1958, Belgian cartoonist Pierre "Peyo" Culliford created the Smurfs. In 1978 (some 20 years later), a British oil company launched a Smurfs merchandising promotion. The campaign attracted the attention of an American novelty company. In the 1981-82 season, the 'Smurfs' went on air. Joe Barbera conceded, "I'm still trying to figure out why it took off. I remember we had another animated series that didn't work. We had to eliminate the villain.

"That was it. Gargamel and Azrael the cat are the villains. I think that's what makes the show work. Kids have never seen anything like this before. This is what life is all about. When they grow up they're going to meet all kinds of problems and I think they should learn about it and prepare for it. The way you look at most things on television is that they last two seasons. We did six years with 'The Flintstones' in prime time. I think the 'Smurfs' have a future in prime time specials. Our first prime-time special did good in the ratings."

Lucy Johnson of NBC acknowledged, "You ask yourself why they're popular. You study it and end up saying you don't know. It's an indefinable chemistry and charisma that the kids relate to but I would say that the merchandising was already there so kids were familiar with the characters." It was reported NBC earned about $150 million with sales of Smurf dolls, figurines, puppets, pins, pajamas, clothing, posters, school bags, lunch boxes, cups, stationery, records and books.

Lucy Johnson continued, "And secondly, they're cuddly and loveable and represent the kids' point of view. All the elements of good and evil are there, but it always ends on a positive note. And I think it's important that Papa Smurf is the authority figure in charge. The Smurfs react like humans. They stray and do things they shouldn't, but always in the background is Papa Smurf as that strong central figure in their lives.

"I got involved in children's programming a week after the premiere. Hanna-Barbera couldn't deliver the shows fast enough. The quality is so much higher than what we're used to on Saturday mornings that it takes much longer. So around the third week we had to start repeating. It didn't make any difference. There was such a hunger for this show that all the typical taboos didn't apply. Nothing has slowed it down.

"We started the (1981-82) season in third place. The show has been No. 1 four weeks in a row. Its broken all viewing records for Saturday morning. This is the first time we've had a No. 1 children's show in years. It's an extraordinary turnaround. It's not just a hit – it's a megahit. It's going to create a lot of imitators, and for once they'll be imitating something worthwhile.

"I think the imitators might have trouble. This is something pure and it works. The characters are very well defined. I think when something is created from a body of work that's stood the test of time for 20 years it shows. There are thoughtful stories. That's what makes it so nice – something good is being imitated instead of just something that's popular."

In the 1985-86 TV season, Walt Disney Productions joined the Saturday morning lineup with 'Gummi Bears' and 'The Wuzzles'.

Gary Krisel of Disney insisted the Saturday morning animation was not the same as the popular Gummi Bears candy sold in Europe, "That's a German name for rubber, but we just liked the sound of it. We're not tied into the candy. Disney has always had a strong licensing and marketing division. I know there is a lot of controversy about cartoons based on toys. But that's not the way we do things here. Here the stories come first. We're not going to be adding characters or accessories to sell more toys.

"There's been a change in thinking. We now see television as having a very important role in communicating to children. We also think that Saturday morning television has improved in recent years. We're creating a new style of animation that hopefully will raise the standards. One reason many Saturday morning cartoons don't have the high production values is because the producers want to make a profit right away."

It was noted the drawings were done by Japanese artists. Gary Krisel continued, "That's the only way to hold down costs and we're closely supervising all the work. The storyboards and ideas are all done here, along with the writing, music, editing and voices. In fact you may have noticed that some films such as 'Star Wars' do not play as well on the small screen as they did in the theater. The same thing is true for animation. There is no need to make the elaborate effort that goes into one of our feature-length projects.

"Now we're not going to be offering the same sort of detail and quality and special effects that go into our feature-length animation, but these new efforts will be better than anything new that's been seen on television. You won't see figures walking like sticks and then moving their jaws a couple of times to suggest talking. We'll also be trying to keep that Disney charm. Care has been given to character development. The Gummis, for example, are fond of puns and they like to play on words. Subtle messages about health and safety will be in the stories. For example, the bears 'buckle-up' when they rode on their little cars."

In 1918, Joe Barbera, then 8, began third grade at Holy Innocence School in Brooklyn. Between 1957 and 1974, he tried unsuccessfully to sell to the TV networks on the idea of a series of animated bible stories, "I think they felt, and rightly so, that any biblical subject would involve a difference of opinion. They just didn't want to get into anything that controversial." Fortunately, the advent of home video solved Joe Barbera's problem.

In 1986, Joe Barbera took six cassettes of 'The Greatest Adventure Stories From The Bible' to a convention of Catholic educators in Anaheim, California. Each cassette ran for 30 minutes and the first six biblical stories were: 'Moses: Let My People Go', 'David and Goliath', 'Joshua and the Battle of Jericho', 'Noah and the Ark', 'Samson and Delilah' and 'Daniel and the Lion's Den'.

Joe Barbera expressed, "It was at Holy Innocence that I found out I could draw. I reproduced the famous picture of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. I did it in chalk on the blackboard. Later, I read about Michelangelo lying on his back painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and getting full of plaster dust. With me, it was chalk dust. When my mother found out I was spending all my time doing biblical scenes and neglecting my other studies, she yanked me out and put me in public school."

Joe Barbera defended the violence in the stories, "How do you hide the violence? When David marches out and faces Goliath, he's there because Goliath has been taunting the Israelites. He kills him with a slingshot, which was a deadly weapon in its day." Each cassette opened with the youths on an archaeological expedition, falling into a sand whirlpool and a time warp, "Our young observers help bridge the gap. Then we added things we felt would have happened. Noah's ark had to leak. And the ark would rock, so the elephant would slide back and forth. Each story also has an underlying moral, but we don't hit you with it. You turn off young people if you try to preach."

The $2 million project was financed by Hanna-Barbera and Taft Entertainment Co. At the time, Joe Barbera stated, "If it goes the way we think it will, we'll soon have 26 cassettes out. We'll do as many as it will take. The story of Joseph alone could take up to six parts." Before the convention, it was reported over 250,000 cassettes had been sold in advance sales for $19.95 each.

Back in 1970, Joe Barbera told the press, "Sometimes we have as many as 650 artists employed here (at Hanna-Barbera Productions). They are all very good and, being artists, they want special treatment. Can you imagine what it would have been like to have had Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Rembrandt and El Greco in your employ at the same time?”

20180414

KIDVID

"Kidvid" was the television industry term for children's programming. Starting in 1966, Saturday morning had been packaged as all-children's hours to advertisers featuring a combination of cartoons and live-action series.

'The Flintstones', first televised in 1960 was regarded a phenomenal success. Joe Barbera told the 'Los Angeles Times' in 1972, "Flintstones was a first – the first animated series in prime time … It made television history. And now Pebbles and Bam-Bam, their little children, are teenagers on NBC 10 years later. They're not really old enough to be teenagers, but television makes people grow up faster."

A pre-historic parody on modern suburban life in the Stone Age period, 'The Flintstones' soon became America's favorite animated family and one of the most popular comic strips ever drawn. The characters on 'The Flintstones' behaved and spoke in contemporary manner, though they lived in the pre-historic town of Bedrock, reportedly some 250 feet below sea level.

Bedrock boasted all the advantages of urban life including the town's newspapers, The Bedrock Bugle, which was chiseled on a stone slab. Fred Flintstone worked as a Dino operator (a dinosaur powered crane) for the construction Rock Head and Quarry corporation. Its slogan "Feel secure; own your own cave." Fred and friend Barney Rubble both belonged to the Y.C.M.A (young cave man's association) and Fred and wife Wilma lived in a split-level cave and drove a rock-wheeled, thatched-roof convertible car.  

Bill Hanna remarked, "You can read a lot into it. You can compare Fred and Barney Rubble with (Jackie) Gleason and (Art) Carney (in 'The Honeymooners')."

Joe Barbera mentioned, "We had a lot of pre-historic and animal gags. The show really took off when Wilma had a baby and we had a contest to name the baby. The Ideal Toy Co. called and asked what the baby was going to be? I said, 'A boy, of course. A chip off the old rock.' The man from the toy company said if we'd make it a girl he'd give us a lucrative contract for dolls. We changed it to a girl on the spot. We had the contest and the baby became Pebbles." 

In 1962, the space-age animated family, 'The Jetsons' featuring all the futuristic gadgets made its prime time debut. Cartoon was regarded an art form. However the difference between full-scale animation which used 26,000 drawings and limited animation which used up to 900 drawings, according to Joe Barbera was like "the difference between making Rolls-Royces and Ford Tempos. It's purely a matter of money, and you either stay in the business or you don't?"

Hanna-Barbera Productions was the first and biggest studio supplying over 250 series of animated entertainment primarily to television for Saturday morning screening.

Chuck Jones made the comment, "I call it illustrated radio. The reason being that you build a sound track which will carry the story if the pictures don't work. Try it sometime. Turn the sound off and you can't possibly understand what's going on, but leave the sound on without the pictures and there's no problem at all. With the stuff we did, you can turn the sound off and still tell what's happening, because the characters are acting. That's how we judged our work."

Faith Frenz of CBS argued, "My belief is that the concept overrides the technique when it comes to Saturday monring programming. I think the idea that the style of animation should be criticized because it is limited is a limited point of view from adults."

Of Saturday morning television, Joe Barbera made the point, "Any new company that opens up finds out that there isn't that much (animation) talent, so you have to go abroad to find studios that will do some of the work for you. Suddenly you're traveling around the world (at the time to Australia and Taipei, Taiwan) trying to make deals and you run into all kinds of problems, like the film arrives and it isn't right. We're partners with people in both (overseas) studios. There's no way it will ever work in those countries unless you are partners with the people. You find that out. Then everything works better. They don't resent the invaders.

"People seem to think that we deliberately are trying to crucify a business that we've been raised in. We can do the finest animation in the world right here in this studio, but no one will put up the money for it, and it will not make that much difference, not for Saturday morning. There's no question that the networks are still there (in 1985) and they're very, very important, but for the future, you have to be looking for the other markets."

In October 1976, Hanna-Barbera Productions launched a college of animation at its Hollywood studio. Joe Barbera told the 'Los Angeles Times', "We have to train people if the industry is going to continue. What we're trying not to do is to train them in the television technique of limited animation. We're teaching them the feature technique (full animation) that we were trained on, which means teaching them motion, style and design. We're keeping the art going. No computer will ever replace it."

However the difficulty was the TV production season lasted only about six months. In order to "build a steady flow of work", Joe Barbera convinced parent company Taft Broadcasting Co. to invest in animated feature films to be made over at least the next five years until 1980.

William Hanna and Joseph Barbera began creating cartoons for MGM Studios. "We did every frame of the first 'Tom and Jerry' in 1939 (to show in theaters)," Joe Barbera recalled. "Then MGM decided we had exhausted all the story ideas about a cat and mouse. So for the next 20 years, all we did was turn out 'Tom and Jerry' cartoons." 

Bill Hanna added, "Then they folded the animation department (in 1957), and Joe and I were out of work. We set up our own studio at our homes and went to work (they started with $4000). The first thing we did was 'Ruff and Reddy.'" By 1960, Hanna-Barbera Productions earned about $3.5 million in addition to merchandising sales. In 1968, Hanna-Barbera Productions was sold to Taft Broadcasting for $12.5 million. 

In 1985, Joe Barbera told the press a half-hour animated series for the networks could cost as much as $250,000 per episode. At the time, 'The Jetsons' made a comeback in the syndication market, "There's more freedom of creativity in first-run syndication. With the networks, you have to sell the ideas and execution, and they have to approve. In syndication, you have to sell the ideas to the distributor who says, 'I wouldn't think of telling you what to do.'" 

By 1973, Lou Scheimer of Filmation made known, "There is a tremendous overseas market for animation. The appetite for animation overseas is insatiable. We see cable as our ultimate market. With pay cable you could get your costs back overnight." It was understood, producers of kidvid programs had "up-front costs on 52-week returns." A seven-minute cartoon feature in 1981 for theatres could cost as much as $100,000 to produce. 

On TV, producers offered "limited animation" in order to reduce the amount of time and number of frames needed to complete a cartoon. By 1981, the Hanna-Barbera Productions cartoons could be seen in 80 nations around the world in 22 different languages. At the time, it was also selling almost 4,500 toys under its name and other products including Pebbles Flinstone dolls and Scooby-Doo pajamas. 

"Television just eats this stuff up, chews it, throws it out," Joe Barbera observed. As reported, "To fill its fall schedule of 14 half-hours (about 90% of Saturday morning television over three networks), Hanna-Barbera must produce nearly a half-million frames of cartoon film for each Saturday – 24 frames for each second on the air." Joe Barbera pointed out a half-hour cartoon in 1972 would cost $65,000 to produce but by 1981, the cost had more than triple.

In the 1978 episode of 'Super Friends' titled 'Fairy Tale of Doom', viewers learnt Toyman had invented a device that could project anyone right into the pages of a story book and allowing them to become part of the tale itself. However if that person did not leave the bed-time story within 12 hours, he or she would become permanent characters and lost forever in the pages of the fairy tale history.

In real life, Diana discovered after marrying her Prince in July 1981, that her fairy tale marriage, regarded one of 20th century's most famous marriages, would end a decade later in what the Queen came to call an "annus horribilis". Speaking to the BBC in 1995, Diana reminded, "But then here was a situation which hadn't ever happened before in history, in the sense that the media were everywhere, and here was a fairy story that everybody wanted to work. And so it was, it was isolating, but it was also a situation where you couldn't indulge in feeling sorry for yourself: you had to either sink or swim. And you had to learn that very fast."

On 'Super Friends', Wonder Woman decided to play out the story in order to "get out of this deadly fantasy land." As the Super Friends became trapped in the pages of fairy tales, the Legion of Doom under Luthor leadership began a super crime wave  in order to control the wealth of the world. Wonder Woman told Cheshire Cat, "You don't understand I am not Alice. I don't belong in this story." Caterpillar countered, "You won't be in this story much longer anyway." In another scene, Batman voiced, "The first law of the Super Friends is that there is always a way (out)."

Sonny Fox of NBC told 'The Pittsburgh Press' at the time, "There is nothing inherently wrong with animation, if it is done well. I'm troubled by super persons who have powers beyond realism. There is a message in super heroes that makes me uncomfortable. I have no trouble with Flash Gordon or Tarzan, because they are heroes within the realm of human power. If the cartoon is good enough to keep the viewer raptly attentive and emotionally involved, it draws attention away from the ads."

Saturday morning programs such as 'Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids' were dedicated to "pro-social messages" as well as educating young viewers. In 1975, Joseph T. Klapper of CBS did a survey of 720 children aged between 7 and 12 from six different cities after the screening of 'Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine', "Our goal was not to teach formally but to entertain and communicate pro-social messages."

It was found the average child among 87% received 2.9 messages with only 2% of those 87% received a distorted message. Some 84% of those 87% received message of "safety"; 80% received message of "kindness"; 74% received message of "honesty" and 41% received message of "loyalty". Joe Klapper enthused, "The wonder of TV's impact could be amazing if parents or teachers talked to kids after programs."

Of the criticism that Saturday morning limited animation was not as creative, Joe Barbera contributed to the lower violence quotient, "There's no more individuality left. There was a time when if you saw a 'Tom and Jerry' cartoon, a Disney cartoon, a Lantz cartoon, each of them represented a certain thinking and technique that you could spot.

"Now (in 1981) about 15 people have got to see our cartoons before they go on the air. The networks send out their people, I can't blame them, and 9 out of 10 people from the network get terrified. They tell you you can't do this or that. We don't have any violence in our cartoons, we don't shoot anyone, you never see a gun or a knife or a sword. We follow the guidelines religiously. You have to have a flattening of the material … It's got to fall flat."

Peggy Charren of the parents' group Action for Children's Television told the press in 1976, "For many children, their first art is the animated Saturday morning schedule and what they see from 3 to 6 in the afternoon on independent and UHF stations. And it's almost never exciting or delightful animation. I don't see any reason the (TV) specials should be so much better than the weekly series. If they can't produce more quality programming at a reasonable price, they should just put on less. No one says there has to be children's programs from 7am to 12pm on Saturday. Everyone would be better off if there was less of it and what there was was better."

20180411

MARSHALL McLUHAN

"There are no passengers on the spaceship Earth. We are all crew," Marshall McLuhan maintained. "Everyone is an executive. Look at the decisions a housewife has to make. Isn't she an executive?" 

At the launch of his book 'Take Today – The Executive as Dropout' in 1972, Marshall McLuhan stated, "This isn't a book of theories or concepts. It is a book about processes, about what is happening now. People think you have to have some grand theory to write a book. Alvin Toffler writes a meaningless book but because he has a big, heavy moral people think it is significant. Our book (co-written with engineering consultant Barrington Nevitt) is designed to help people figure out for themselves what is going on." 

In his review of 'The Medium Is the Massage' in 1967, Richard Kostelanetz of 'The New York Times' made the point, "McLuhan's books contain little of the slick style of which popular sociology is usually made. As anyone who opens the covers immediately discovers, 'The Gutenberg Galaxy' (1962) and 'Understanding Media' (1964), are horrendously difficult to read – clumsily written, frequently contradictory, oddly organized, and overlaid with their author's singular jargon. 

"The basic themes in these books seem difficult at first, because the concepts are as unfamiliar as the language, but on second (or maybe third) thought, the ideas are really quite simple. Everything McLuhan writes is originally dictated, either to his secretary or to his wife, and he is reluctant to rewrite, because, he explains, 'I tend to add, and the whole thing gets out of hand.' Moreover, some of his insights are so original that they evade immediate understanding; other paragraphs may forever evade explication." 

Marshall McLuhan reasoned, "Most clear writing is a sign that there is no exploration going on. Clear prose indicates the absence of thought … It is rarely that readers of anything explain what they think it means. However, most readers are eager to tell how what they read makes them feel … On the telephone, we can scarcely visualize the faces of our own family while talking to them on the phone, but we find it easier to 'see' those with whom we are not acquainted. 

"Stockbrokers tell of their surprise upon meeting men they have dealt with for years on the phone: 'Never thought you looked like that.' Radio, in contrast to the telephone, permits the listener to fill in a good deal of visual imagery. The radio announcer or disc jockey stands out loud and clear, while the voice on the telephone resonates in isolation from the visual sense. 

"Nobody ever wrote a lament about 'all alone by the radio,' but 'all alone by the telephone' is a classic of the '20s that is a resounding prophecy of hi-rise living in the present time (1971). The TV generation imagines it has a totally new human mandate. It sees life returned to a primal state with all the rules of the game yet to be discovered, such was the natural feeling of North American settlers when they seemed to be monarchs of all they surveyed. 

"The familiar phrase can teach as much about our current media of communication. The user of the electric media, whether radio, telephone, movie or TV, has a powerful sense of being king and emperor, since he is the content of a total environment of electric services. These services extend to the moon and to Mars. The invasion from Mars occurred inevitably when radio beams made Mars a party of our planetary territory. Electric media transport us instantly wherever we choose. When we are on the phone we don't just disappear down a hole, Alice in Wonderland style – we are there and they are here." 

Richard Kostelanetz continued, "In looking at history, McLuhan espouses a position one can only call 'technological determinism.' That is, whereas Karl Marx, an economic determinist, believed that the economic organization of a society shapes every important aspect of its life, McLuhan believes the crucial technological inventions are the primary influence. 

"McLuhan admires the work of the historian Lynn White Jr., who wrote in 'Medieval Technology and Social Change' (1962) that the three inventions of the stirrup, the nailed horseshoe and the horse collar created the Middle Ages. With the stirrup, a soldier could carry armor and mount a charger; and the horseshoe and the harneness brought more efficient tilling of the land, which shaped the feudal system of agriculture, which, in turn, paid for the soldier's armor. 

"Pursuing this insight into technology's importance, McLuhan develops a narrower scheme. He maintains that a major shift in society's predominant technology of communication is the crucially determining force behind social changes, initiating great transformations not only in social organization but human sensibilities. He suggests in 'The Gutenberg Galaxy' that the invention of movable type shaped the culture of Western Europe from 1500 to 1900. 

"The mass production of printed materials encouraged nationalism by allowing more rapid and wider spread of information than permitted by hand-written messages. The linear forms of print influenced music to repudiate the structure of repetition, as in Gregorian chants, for that of linear development, as in a symphony. Also, print reshaped the sensibility of Western man, for whereas he once saw experience as individual segments, as a collection of separate entitites, man in the Renaissance saw life as he saw print – as a continuity, often with casual relationships. 

"Print even made Protestantism possible, because the printed book, by enabling people to think alone, encouraged individual revelation. Finally: 'All forms of mechanization emerge from movable type, for type is the prototype of all machines.' In 'Understanding Media', McLuhan suggests that electric modes of communication – telegraph, radio, television, movies, telephones, computers – are similarly reshaping civilization in the 20th century. 

"Whereas print-age man saw one thing at a time in consecutive sequence – like a line of type – contemporary man experiences numerous forces of communication simultaneously, often through more than one of his senses. Contrast, for example, the way most of us read a book with how we look at a newspaper. With the latter, we do not start one story, read it through and then start another. Rather, we shift our eyes across the pages, assimilating a discontinuous collection of headlines, subheadlines, lead paragraphs, photographs and advertisements." Marshall McLuhan pointed out, "People don't actually read newspapers, they get into them every morning like a hot bath." 

Richard Kostelanetz continued, "Moreover, the electronic media inititate sweeping changes in the distribution of sensory awareness – in what McLuhan calls the 'sensory ratios.' A painting or a book strikes us through only one sense, the visual; motion pictures and television hit us not only visually but also aurally. The new media envelop us, asking us to participate. 

"McLuhan believes that such a multisensory existence is bringing a return to the primitive man's emphasis upon the sense of touch, which he considers the primary sense, 'because it consists of a meeting of the senses.' Politically, he sees the new media as transforming the world into 'a global village,' where all ends of the earth are in immediate touch with one another, as well as fostering a 'retribalization' of human life." Marshall McLuhan expressed, "Any highway eatery with its TV set, newspaper and magazine is as cosmopolitan as New York or Paris." 

Richard Kostelanetz continued, "In his over-all view of human history, McLuhan posits four great stages: (1) Totally oral, preliterate tribalism. (2) The codification by script that arose after Homer in ancient Greece and lasted 2000 years. (3) The age of print, roughly from 1500 to 1900. (4) The age of electronic media, from before 1900 to the present (in 1967). 

"Underpinning this classification is his thesis that 'societies have been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication. His most famous epigram – 'the medium is the message' - means several things. The phrase first suggests that each medium develops an audience of people whose love for that medium is greater than their concern for its content. 

"That is, the TV medium itself becomes the prime interest in watching television; just as some people like to read for the joy of experiencing print, and more find great pleasure in talking to just anybody on the telephone, so others like television for the mixture of kinetic screen and relevant sound. Second, the 'message' of a medium is the impact of its forms upon society. The 'message' of print was all the aspects of Western culture that print influenced. 

"Third, the aphorism suggests that the medium itself – its form – shapes its limitations and possibilities for the communication of content. One medium is better than another at evoking a certain experience. American football, for example, is better on television than on radio or in a newspaper column; a bad football game on television is more interesting than a great game on radio. Most congressional hearings, in contrast, are less boring in the newspaper than on television. Each medium seems to possess a hidden taste mechanism that encourages some styles and rejects others. To define this mechanism, McLuhan has devised the categories of 'hot' and 'cool'." 

As understood, a 'hot' medium (such as radio, print, photography, film and paintings) had a considerable amount of detailed information. 'Cool' required that the audience participate to complete the experience such as a TV cartoon because Marshall McLuhan argued, "simply because very little visual information is provided. Any hot medium allows of less participating than a cool one, as a lecture makes for less participation than a seminar, and a book for less than a dialog. 

"It was no accident that Senator McCarthy lasted such a very short time when he switched to TV. TV is a cool medium. It rejects hot figures and hot issues and people from the hot press media. Had TV occurred on a large scale during Hitler's reign he would have vanished quickly. (Television) is revolutionizing every political system in the world. 

"The executive drops out because specialism is impossible at the high speed of the Electric Age. Henry Kissinger, for example, is a specialist in the history of World War I. Kissinger is a man out of the 19th century. Why, he does not even understand what electric money is. There's something strange about the current (in 1972) campaigns. The conventions are outdated forms, like something from science fiction. 

"The parties are meaningless; they have no policy and are looking only for an image. Richard Nixon is an interloper. In fact, nobody can take the job of being president in the electric world. The scale is too big. Things have to be run by surrogates and computers. The centralized constitutional government is doomed to break up into smaller tribal regions. Kids today (in 1972) are a whole new ethnic group." 

Richard Kostelanetz continued, "McLuhan advocates radical changes in education, because he believes that a contemporary man is not fully ‘literate’ if reading is his sole pleasure: 'You must be literate in umpteen media to be really 'literate' nowadays (in 1967).' Education, he suggests, should abandon its commitment to print – merely a focusing of the visual sense – to cultivate the 'total sensorium' of man – to teach us how to use all five cylinders, rather than only one."

20180405

CELEBRITY

June 28, 1914: (St. Vitus day - Battle of Kosovo, 1389) The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzogovina sparked the outbreak of World War I. Before his death in 1898, the Iron Chancellor, Prince Otto Furst von Bismarck-Schonhausen had already predicted the war, "One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans."

In February 1984, some 70 years later, Sarajevo, then Yugoslavia, played host to the XIV Winter Olympics. To counter ABC's coverage of the Games, NBC aired the three-part mini-series, 'Celebrity'. Based on Thomas "Tommy" Thompson's blockbusting book (No. 1 on the best-seller lists for 4 months in 1982), 'Celebrity' was an old-fashioned story of retribution. Part I  attracted 21.2% households ratings on Sunday night and 33% audience share; Part II on Monday night attracted 21.4% households ratings and Part III on Tuesday night attracted 24.9% households ratings.

Centered around "the three princes", the mini-series 'Celebrity' opened near the end of its story. In 1975, three former high school friends who grew up in the same Fort Worth, Texas neighborhood to become celebrities reunited in a cabin where they relived a terrible secret of a crime committed on the night before their graduation in 1950 (some 25 years earlier).

Evangelist Thomas Jeremiah "T.J." Luther, voted most popular in the senior yearbook was the prince of temptations. Gridiron player turned Hollywood movie star, McKenzie "Mack" Crawford, voted "most handsome" in the yearbook was the prince of charms and journalist Kleber Cantrell, voted "most likely to succeed" was the prince of power.

William Hanley adapted Tommy Thompson's book for television. Paul Wendkos was director and producer Rosilyn Heller reportedly promised Tommy Thompson before his death she would see the TV adaptation of his novel through, "It was one of Tommy's dying wishes. He said, 'Ros, we've got to go to Texas to do 'Celebrity', so that's why we're here (on the set near Dallas)."

Tommy Thompson who received training at 'Life' magazine (1961-1972) told 'People' magazine, "It is certainly not autobiography, but there are pieces of me in many of the people who now live on the pages. That is the only real truth in writing fiction." Rosilyn Heller added, "Tommy was a person in great conflict about it (being a celebrity). He was embarrassed about loving it."

'Newsday' reported, "Co-producer Richard L. O'Connor brought the $10.1 million project in slightly under budget and on time. The 70-day filming schedule shifted from locations in New York, to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to the Los Angeles area."

Of the character T.J. Luther, one critic remarked, "Luther's path to prominence takes a stranger twist. After working at ever more menial jobs, Luther turns to crime and eventually lands in jail. Then, he blinds himself while using lye to remove a self-portrait from a cell wall. Within hours, however, his sight is restored. And even more miraculously, the effect of the lye on his self-portrait creates a reasonable representation of the face of Christ.

"Luther undergoes a religious conversion, and in no time is head of one of the largest and fastest-growing evangelical movements in the United States. He calls his followers 'The Chosen', builds his City of Miracles near Fort Worth, and operates a multi-million-dollar empire from an office filled with the latest in electronic surveillance and communications equipment."

Michael Beck told the press, "The English are real sticklers for accents and dialects. Accents are very important in England because they not only reveal where you come from but establish your class. I wasn't in any of the New York scenes, so while everyone else was there NBC sent me to Fort Worth to study the accent. I think we owed it to the people who live there to try to get the accent right. Doesn't it drive you crazy to watch 'Dallas' and they all sound like they're from Los Angeles?

"I'd read the novel and Tommy was fairly clear that as a faith healer T.J. was a fraud. He's a manipulator of people, charismatic and charming in a certain way. But in the show we leave it up to the audience to decide. Personally, I think he's a fraud and a con man. I approached T.J. as a person with extremely low self-esteem. Fame happened to Mack because of his good looks. Kleber achieved fame because of his talent. But it's T.J. who wanted fame the most.

"He's a loser in life but he keeps harping on the fact that he was voted most popular in high school. He aligns himself with gangsters until he sees his main chance to become an evangelist. He resents that Mack and Kleber have shut him out of their lives. No matter how successful he's become, he's still a loser. I wanted it (the evangelist role) to come out of the writing and the character.

"I wanted it to be an old-fashioned tent revival, with a lack of sophistication but with the animal magnetism and sexuality of a rock star. I wanted his show to be a tent revival and rock'n'roll kind of show. I purposely didn't watch any of the TV evangelists or I would have copied them. Paul saw it as a modern-day morality play. Innocents commit a sin, the sin haunts them and there's retribution for their fall from grace.

"He has a way of pulling from his actors. What he would say, one word, would open up something, and you could give more. Everyone was feeling the presence of Tommy Thompson. When we were first introduced as boys, it rained in the script. But it hadn't rained in Texas for about three months. Paul really wanted a long shot of the street, and suddenly, storm clouds came up, and it rained for two hours – on the one day that we needed rain."

Richard L. O'Connor recalled, "Most difficult, almost unbearable for everybody, was when Mack gets married. That day, in California, was like 108 degrees. There was no air conditioning, and we were dying in this room, yet everybody looks so fresh on screen." Michael Beck explained the aging process of the characters, from 18 to mid-50s, "Phil Lanthrop’s lighting did a lot to help all of us, the whole 18-year-old aspect of us. It wasn’t difficult finding that emotionally, because I’d been there, but physically, at 35, when you smile, your face wrinkles."

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