The Galveston Daily News from Galveston, Texas on October 13, 1993 · Page 20
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The Galveston Daily News from Galveston, Texas · Page 20

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Galveston, Texas
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Wednesday, October 13, 1993
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Page 20
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Arts & Entertainment WEDNESDAY MORNING, OCTOBER 13,1993 THE GALVESTON DAILY NEWS 5-B Authors of 'Dixie' may have been black northerners Associated Press K««T,.*U.* W „_.,.«,..- .._.._ MONTGOMERY, Ala. — "Efe- ie," the anthem that was a fixture at political rallies "away down South' for 100 years, may have been written by a black family _ and Yankees, no less. A new book from Smithsonian Institution Press seeks to dispel the popular notion that the song was written by white minstrel performer Dan Emmett. "Way Up North in Dixie: A Black Family's Claim to the Confederate Anthem" agrees with other history books that Emmett made "Dixie" a hit when he performed it on Broadway in 1859. But authors Howard and Judith Sacks say Emmett learned the song from the Snowden family of black musicians in his hometown of Mount Vernon, Ohio. If the research is correct, "it's a lesson in the irony of our history and the naivete of those who attach special meanings to a song," said William Ferris, co-editor of the "Encyclopedia of Southern Culture." When the Civil War broke out, "Dixie" was played at Jefferson Davis* inauguration in Montgomery and was heard at Southern political rallies for the next 100 years. It started disappearing from the polib- ical landscape after white Democrats began courting black voters in the 1970s. Sacks, chairman of the anthropology department at Kenyon College near Mount Vernon, said his quest for the origin of "Dixie" started after a friend found a cemetery marker for brothers Dan and Lew Snowden that said: "They taught 'Dixie' to Dan Emmett." Research was difficult because the last member of the family died in 1923. But Sacks found the Snowden family home and next door was a woman whose grandfather administered the estates of the last family members. She had kept musical instruments, a family album and a box of correspondence that provided details of the Snowden family. Sacks said the family lived across the street from a tavern and stagecoach stop and started entertaining travelers in 1850 with a style that later became parodied in minstrel shows. "They were performers primarily for white audiences," Sacks said in a telephone interview. "White folks wrote to them constantly asking for songs they had heard them perform." Emmett left Mount Vernon in the 1830s and founded the first black-faced minstrel troupe in 1843. But he returned to Mount Vernon often to visit relatives who lived next door to the Snowdens. Sacks said the matriarch of the Snowden family, Ellen Cooper Snowden, was born a slave in ^^^ . ——. u ..^i ui»\s iiucit, -nan uuiii a siave in Creating even the simplest show a complex process Associated Proec i ' • Associated Press LOS ANGELES — The idea for the CBS sitcom "Murphy Brown" came to producer Diane English during a freeway drive. "Coach" popped into Barry Kemp's head, plotlines and all, when he awakened at 3 a.m. The beginnings of a hit show can be that spontaneous and simple. But the process of how it gets on the air —- and why — is anything but, according to the two producers and other insiders. Critics might suggest the quality of TV programming proves there is nothing more than a hit-or-miss approach at work, But there is method behind the madness, according to the recent discussion on "Creating Today's Television" sponsored by the National Association of Television Program Executives. The spark of a creative idea must be nurtured, embellished and run the gantlet of network scrutiny, panelists said. After Kemp recounted waking up and scribbling seven pages of notes that became the basis for the ABC comedy "Coach," English detailed how CBS' "Murphy Brown" was born on Southern California roads. The idea, she said, "came to me The Idea for 'Coach,' which stars Craig T. Nelson (pictured), came to creator Barry Kemp In a dream. • ., „ ^ „ ™ a caronihe Ventura Freeway. It f ^T^rV" B ^ he time l to the San Diego Freeway, I 1^ sto ^' f u watch television every night and not see that woman there — that woman that Murphy Brown became," she said. There is, she added, "a certain amount of magic involved" in the genesis of an idea. Any idea, even a great-sounding one, must then pass an all-important test: Does it have the durability required to spin out 100 episodes or more? "Is it a show with legs?" is how Sandy Grushow, Fox Broadcasting Co. entertainment president, phrased the question. The all-important profits that a show can reap in syndication requires that there be a library of episodes to sell, the panelists said. For hour-long dramas, which are more costly to produce and face a softer syndication market, producers must consider how receptive international audiences might be to a series. Comedy tends to be a perishable export, but there are a number of American dramas that have proven successful abroad, such as the syndicated "Baywatch" and Fox's "Bev- "There was also the fact I would TANYA {4091 925-1059 Hwy. 1764 @ Av«. A, Sonfq F«, GOOD SON ,9, 5:30 7:15 * ' 9:00 APACHE t —-——.—---———-— r MEXICAN RESTAURANT* ENCHILADA DINNER $3.75 Beef or Cheese $4.25 Chicken 11 AM - 2 PM MOM-SAT 6:30 o-m. Ie 6:00 p.m. SUN 6:30 a-m. to 2:00 p.m. 7&S-S646 511- 20th Oalvuton B.O.S.S. 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Whether the project will succeed in attracting a valued demographic group, such as the young adults valued by advertisers, is also a key factor, the network chiefs said. But they are looking just as hard at the people behind the project. Producers should have demonstrated writing ability and the kind of experience needed to keep a show on track, they said. If the network approves a pilot, a producer then embarks on casting. English calls it "the make-or-break stage." When it came to "Murphy Brown," she said, the cast including Candice Bergen, Grant Shaud and Joe Regalbuto jelled immediately. "The people walked out on the stage and they were an ensemble from the get-go," she said. Networks may try to force producers to include stars on a show. Maryland in 1817. When she was 10, her owner freed her and sent her to Mount Vernon on the Ohio frontier to work for his cousins. Historians who credit the song to Emmett agree it was rewritten many times to suit various causes. But through all of the rewrites, historians say the opening line and chorus have remained the same. So why would a freed slave "wish I was in the land of cotton'? The reason, Sacks said, is the paucity of other blacks in the area — none of Mrs. Snowden's seven children found marriage partners. C1NEMARK THEATRES MALL OF THE MAINLAND 985-7166 1-45 & Emmetl F. Lowry Expy K MAINLAND E ELKS The Pinfc Lady Bar I 1 Lodge 2141 * WE'VE MOVED to IR " R 306 25th St \ Phone: SOON Hours: 4*-12 BEER • WINE • B.Y.O.B Sportsman's Club Open 7 days A week! Mon-.Sal. 1 lo.m.-2ajn. Sun. Ncion-2a.ni. 740-1978 * 6303 Broadway WEDNESDAY NIOHT! KARAOKE NIGHT Rhythm Express , , by Sheila POOLT00RNAMENT 8 pm La Marque EVERY WED. 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