The Austin Daily Herald from Austin, Minnesota on December 20, 1958 · Page 21
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The Austin Daily Herald from Austin, Minnesota · Page 21

Austin, Minnesota
Issue Date:
Saturday, December 20, 1958
Page 21
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SCRIPT WRITER REPLIES TO CRITICS AUSTIN (Minn.) HERALD, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20, 19*8-7 TV Medium for Entertainment and Information - Not Editorials By CHARLES MERCER ~ NEW YORK <AP)—A while ago we reported the disenchantment of seven past and present prominent television dramatists with the medium. They expressed it to producer David Susskind in a TV interview. There comes now an eloquent reply to their views in a letter (o his department from Frederick Hazlitt Brennan, a fine craftsman erf entertaining fiction and the •tory editor and major script contributor to the TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. Brennan writes: "Despite the noble disclaimer of (the seven writers) that they abhor proselyting for a minority cause or trying to reform the cultural taste of 180 million Americans, these things are precisely what they are trying to do. "Why? TV is a medium of mass entertainment. Sponsors, advertising agencies and TV producers have no obligation to uplift the cultural standards of the American people by means of propaganda disguised as social criticism, satire, 'worthwhile drama' or other intellectual snobberies. "Indeed, the FCC might very properly object to special pleading on TV wave lengths which are the property — by government and court decision — of all the people. "TV writers who feel that they have a 'message' can write for special audiences by way of books, the theater, highbrow magazines, or even a few movie producers. TV is a medium of entertainment and public information. It is not, rightly, a medium for editorializing on the news or for the presentation of intellectual find philosophical opinion. Those who happen to disagree with the writer-preacher would soon demand equal time on the networks to answer him. "In actual practice, TV has done very well when it comes to freedom of speech and expression of opinion. A mass medium which allows Oscar Levant, Arthur Godfrey, Edward R. Murrow, Chet Huntley, the Rev. O. L. Jaggers and Bishop Pike to have their say cannot be accused of strict censorship. "Comedians, politicians and college professors are allowed a wide latitude — usually on the somewhat dubious reasoning that they may provide entertainment. "But TV has been shamed by cultural-uplifters and many professional critics into evading the real issue. It is a dangerous weapon of propaganda. So long as TV sponsors and producers insist that its programs be entertaining or informational — or both — then it will be fulfilling its responsibility to all the people. "Once TV is persuaded that ft should be a propaganda medium for cultural uplift, we are in for serious trouble. Who is to say what is cultural? One man's culture is another man's boredom. And who will decree what is uplifting? The Broadway stage? Mr. Paddy Chayefsky or Mr. Tad Mosel? "Really dig this thing, Mercer. You critics may be tired of Westerns. But what if you were forced TEENAGE ROMANCE — "Ugly Duckling" sister Luana Anders prepares for beauty contest in "Life Begins at 17" opening at the Paramount Sunday. to watch a daily programing of intellectual snob dramas which dealt with the Negro problem, the Jewish problem, the Catholic problem, the Protestant problem, and the adjustment of frustrated longshoremen to the pansy gardens of beatnik ballet? "Stay in there slugging, Mercer!" Happy, to have you in the ring any time, Brennan. Maker Denies His Peter Gunn Is Too Brutal' By BOB THOMAS HOLLYWOOD (AP)— The new TV show they're talking about in Hollywood is a slick reworking of the old private eye gimmick, "Peter Gunn." I've heard predictions from insiders that Gunn will shoot down his opposition (except on the West Coast), high-riding Danny Thomas. I've heard raves about the originality of the show, also complaints about the amount of brutality. So it was time for a chat with the show's papa, a bright young film maker named Blake Edwards. "Yes, I've heard it said that we have too much brutality in the show," said Edwards. "We're re-evaluating our scripts with that in mind. May "Seem Worse" "But I think we have a lot less brutality than most westerns. Maybe it's the way we show it. You seldom see actual blows being landed. A fist will come right at the camera, then we'll cut and you'll hear the sound. Perhaps it seems worse that way. "We'll never be able to do away with violence. After all, a private eye lives in a world of crime. He comes in contact with criminals every day." Topnotch Scripts "Peter Gunn" has topnotch scripts, written or supervised by Edwards, who has directed about half the shows. The Monday night NBC offering has an able cast, headed by Craig Stevens, Lola Albright and Hope Emerson. But Edwards credits 50 per cent of the show's effectiveness to the musical score by Hank Mantuci. "Those who understand modern jazz will appreciate the music for itself," Edwards said. "The others will get the message in the mood it creates. We've spent a lot of time and money on the music, even writing sequences to fit Hank's score." DeMille Looks Beyond Buccaneer to 'On My Honor and a Surprise By BOB THOMAS AP Movie-TV Writer NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A living legend at 77, Cecil B. DeMille can still set a pace that makes younger men tire. I watched him at close range in New Orleans, where he is helping to exploit "The Buccaneer," a movie he supervised but did not direct. His day included radio interviews before breakfast, a luncheon speech, a parade, pre- nieire and reception afterward. He goes on to Atlanta for more of the same, then a strenuous week in New York. Plans for Future With it all, his mind remained razor-sharp, as I found out while riding with him through crowds to the theater. "Keep those wonderful pictures coming," shouted an admirer, and DeMille beamed. Between these exchanges, he talked of bis plans for the future. No. i project is "On My Honor," the story of Lord Baden-Powell and the Boy Scouts. This seemed to some an unlikely subject for DeMille, whose name connotes the spectacular epic. "But it isn't just a story of SO,000 boys tying knots or rubbing sticks together to create fire," he said. "This is a story of tremen- CECO. B. DE MILLE dous scope. I will film it all over the world." To Be Different He expects to film the picture in 1960. Then he plans to spend four years in preparing what he calls Project X. He resisted any hints that it would be another Biblical epic—"you can hint all you want but nobody will ever guess; it's that much different from anything I've done." These plans could take him to the age of 85, "and then they'll have to come and wheel me away." He shows no signs of flagging yet. He still approaches film making — and film selling — with burning enthusiasm. Therein lies « good chunk of his success. DeMille films seldom draw the plaudits of the highbrow critics, but they are researched and filmed with tender care. And they are sold with relentless drive. "There are three parts to the picture business—production, distribution and exhibition," he reasoned, "and all are of equal importance. • Network Television 1 Friday, December 26 (C) Moans Program it m Color 6:05 a.m. S— David Ston« 6:30 ».m. S, 10— Continental Out- room 7/00 a.m. 4— Slegtreid S, 10— Today 7:45 d.m. 4— Chrlitmat Show 5:00 a.m. 3, 4 — Capt Kanaaroo S, 10— Today 8:45 a.m. 1— Newt 9:00 ».m. 1. 4— foi iovt or Monty S. 10— Dough Rt Mi 9:3C *.m. S, 4— Way Hmch S, 10— Treoiurt HM| 1. 4, (-^Godfrey 5, 10— Pnco It Rlflht •—Bill Hiekok 10:30 a.m. t, 4, 1— Top Dollar *. 1*— Concentre*!** fr— Christophers 11. -00 *.m. 1. 4, I— Ion of life 5, Id— Tic Toe Otegh • Day *• Court 1, 4, •— Sewc* S. Ifr-CouM •« Ye. •—Peter Hayes 11.45 a.m. 1. 4-Guiding Light •—Film Review 72:00 m ». 4, S, 10— News, Weather 1— News 12:10 p.m. •— Living Storybook 12:20 p.m. S— Treasure Chest 12:30 p.m. 3, 4— World TurM 6— Mothers Day t— Crusade In Europe 10 — Brevities l.-OO p.m. 3. 4, 1 — Jimmy Dean 5, 10— Truth or Conse- quenees (C) *— Liberace 1.30 p.m 4— Llnkletter S, 10 — Haggis Bagglt Iti 3, (—Haute Party •—News Weather Clubs 1.40 i>.m t— TV Bingo 2:01* p.m. 4, t — Big Payoff 5, 10— Today U Ours 6— Chance *o> Romance 2:30 p.m. 3, 4, •— Verdtet Youri 5, 10— From These Root* •—Mark Sobei 3.VO p.m 1, 4, t— Brighter Day S, 10— Queen Foi D«y •—••at Clock 3:15 p.m 3, 4, (—Secret Storm 3:30 p.m I, 4, I— Edge at NlgM 5, 10— County fair «— Wka Do ro> Trust 4.-00 p.m. I— SM« . •» . no few* S- Margt* •—American MndttvM l-CwtMH Call It— WlMt't Mew 4:30 p.m. t£jTe« .Mile*.* «— Film !•— ftm 5.-00 p.m. 3— Clue Mouse 4— Axel A Dog S— Robin Hood t— Whlrlyblrdi 10 — Bengal Lancers 5:30 p.m. 3— Lta * Pioneers 4 — Popeye 5— Hi-Fine Time t — Mickev Mouse Club (—Huckleberry Hound 10— Superman 6.-00 p.m 1, 4, t. 6, (. 10— News. Weatnet 6:75 p.m. 3— Growth 01 Notion •—Don Goddard 10— NBC News 6:20 p.m. S— Should Know 6:30 p.m. 3, 4, f— Hit Paradt 5— Buckskin 10— Sherwood Forest 7.-00 p.m. 3, 4, (— Trockdow* 5, 10— tilery Queen (C) •—Walt Disney Presents 7/30 6 m 3, 4, (—Jackie Cleaton 8.-00 p.m 1, 4, (—Phil SHvert 3, 10— M-Sqind •—Mm Wltft Cemwra t ^ 8:30 ^.f». Si 10— TWn MM •—77 S*met Strip 9.-00 p.m S.' le^-CenJcVZi •! St««e 9:30 >>.»». j, *_Jfy*»" «o PenM ( Pattl Page 9:4) p.m. S-*lt Flgfcf |«.t ' 10.-00 p.m. 1. 4, S, «. (. 10— Newt, Wevther SMrti JO.-75 p.m. •—John Daly 10:20 p.m. (—Thin Man 70:30 p.m.. 3— Night Cap 4— Night Court S— U.S. Marshall 6— Hoar of Stan 10— Jock Poor Show 70:50 p.m. (—Playhouse 77.00 p.m. 4— Playhouse S— Jack >aar Show 72:00 p.m. S— Newt *• '58 Leaving Movie Industry Working on Survival Pattern HOLLYWOOD (AP) — The motion picture industry was still working out its pattern for survival in 1958. At year's end, the solution was not yet found. Plagued by TV and apathetic audiences, film business remained in an unsettled state. Theaters could get tremendous returns with films like "The Vikings," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "South Pacific" and "Bridge on the River Kwai." But business lagged between such hits. An index of the troubled condition hi the industry was the production slate. The number of films produced dropped 34 per cent, from 293 in 1957 to 194 in 1958. The principal casualty was the run-of-the-mill picture. Hollywood seemed to be specializing in two kinds of films: The big budget epic with top stars and the fast- buck exploitation picture with monsters and-or juvenile delinquents. With all its other problems, the producers were encountering another major one: The overpricing of stars. A dozen or so top male stars and a few female stars had achieved such prominence at the box office that they could demand and get fantastic salaries. Movie makers screamed, but still were willing to shell out a million dollars for names like Marlon Brando, William Holden and John Wayne. And so Hollywood enters 1959 with some apprehension and wonder. £**>*«**.*•*** LANE'S 1 LANE'S ( CAMERA M DR"GS Dial HE 34903 OPEN SUNDAY 9:00 to 10:00 a. m. AND EVERY DAT OPEN CHRISTMAS DAT 11:00 a. m. to 12 Noon HERE'S THE PUCE TO GET YOUR FILM FLASH BULBS CANDY * FILMS * DRUGS * CAMERAS * PRESCRIPTIONS 400 M, MAIN Registered Pharmacist on Dvty FRIENDLY SERVICE ALWAYS Optn Monday and Friday Night*

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