The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas on February 5, 1969 · Page 5
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The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas · Page 5

Baytown, Texas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, February 5, 1969
Page 5
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Wednesday. February 5. 1969 Vip Vagtmmi »un Parks Carves Tree' into One-Man Film By DICK KLEINER Hollywood Correspondent HOLLYWOOD—(N E A)— It remains to be seen whether "The Learning Tree" is a critical success and a box- office winner. But already it can be called a sociological triumph. This is the first major Hollywood film to be directed by a Negro. Gordon Parks not only directed "The Learning Tree," but he produced it, wrote the screenplay based on his own novel and is presently composing the musical score. This startling display of talent dexterity would be surprising in anybody but Parks. He is a world-famous photographer, a published poet and novelist and his classical compositions have been performed by several major symphonies. "The Learning Tree" is a fictionalized story of Parks' own youth in Fort Scott, Kan. It was filmed in Fort Scott, too, and for Parks the TALENT is his game. Already a world-famed photographer, Gordon Parks has now produced and directed "The Learning Tree," which he adapted from his own novel. Not leaving the job half-done, he's also writing the musical score. Sears 5x7 Portrait of your Child (Ages 1 month to 6 years) We have made arrangements for , Mr. Mickey Jenkins, L&M Studio, of Baytown, Professional Child Photographer To Be in Our Store Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Feb. 6th. 7th, & 8ffh Photographer's Hours 10:00 to 5:00 No Obligation To Buy... •HOT AT SEA1S AND SAYK Sears 711 W. T«XM Baytown, T«us Phone 582.8131 Bob Fosse To Give Real Alive Performance authority so that he is creative By HAL BOYLE NEW YORK (AP) - As a malt lad in Chicago, Bob Fosse liked to entertain visitors to his family home by putting on an act he called "Tarzan Wrestling the Lion." 'I was pretty obnoxious, I guess," he recalled with a grimace. "I shaved our collie to make him look more like a lion. Then I hid some ketchup behind a chair and doused myself with it in the middle of the act." After watching this bloody living room drama several times, Bob's father, a salesman who had spent a year as a vaudeville singer earlier in life, decided his son was destined for show business. So he sent Bob to dancing school at the age of 8. Today, at 40, Fosse, who first led a children's troupe then served his apprenticeship on the night club circuit, is one of the nation's most brilliant directors and choreographers. He has won five Tony Awards on Broadway as director or choreographer, or both, for such musicals as "Damn Yankees," Pajama Game," "Bells Are Ring," "Redhead," "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," and "Sweet Charity." "Sweet Charity," starring Shirley MacLaine, marks Bob's debut as a film director. He also directed the stage version which starred his wife, Gwen Verdon. Fosse admits to more than a touch of buck fever in his first film directional venture. "Everything about the films is so mammoth ... so much money . .. every moment costing X-number of dollars ... so many people on the sets . that it tends to overwhelm a fellow with a middle-class background," he said, smiling. "But if the pressure gets to you, your talent can't function. If you let yourself be hurried, you lose your inventiveness. You have to forget those other things, lower your head and go ahead." Bob was impressed by the discovery that a film director has much more power than a stage director. "On stage," he said, "a director can't change a word without the writer's consent. In films, a director can drop whole scenes if he chooses to. "But power is always dangerous. If a director overuses it, he can start indulging his every whim— and so can the cast. "On the other hand, if you underuse that power, you lose control. The picture can be taken away from you by the actors, the cameramen, or the studio itself. A director has to use his >ut not self-indulgent." Fosse, blonde, slightly balding, and trim-figured, works with a half-smoked cigarette eternally dangling from his lips. Hie is patient, soft-spoken, and has a philosophic turn of mind. "I became a choreographer in self-defense," he remarked. "I didn't like the dances that were jeing choreographed for me, so [ started doing my own. It's reallv quite a bit like writing, where you start with a phrase or a sentence and then JuiW a chapter. In choreography you start with a movement, and to me movements are words. For those of you who didn't, understand ourT Vcommercial we repeat our tr Crest Double Dollars" offer in black and white. eM send (fim a-doffa* "Or se-vd us -few back fxweJs-fK LAKG€ SrZE Cf&sT a^ d ijellsevd you a- do/far. f /V<ruJ yet-this. n f-f you ro -far : (Delude -Hie qef -&V act of going home again was a traumatic experience. He had been there only twice since he left as a 16- year-old boy. Once was a visit of a day, for his father's funeral. The other time was as a Life photographer, on assignment. But this time was different. He headed a ISO-person crew, shooting a film for a major studio (Warner Bros.- Seven Arts). It was an integrated group, and the unquestioned head was Parks —a black man. For a small town in a border state, this was a revelation. Parks says he thinks the coming of the movie company to Fort Scott advanced the town 25 years. He and others attended parties in buildings where no Negro had ever been before. And everyone noted that the comp a n y functioned together, white and black, with complete disregard for color. At first, the town was concerned. They felt the picture might be inflammatory—rumors had spread about sex scenes and violence scenes—but people who had read the book put a stop to them. The town realized it would be another kind of film. As Parks sees it, "The Learning Tree" will be "the kind of picture where blacks and whites will leave the theater arm in arm." It tells it as it is, but its message is not one of hate. Parks is much the same. He has had his moments ot physical and mental suffering — detailed in his fine autobiography, "A Choice Of Weapons"—but no bitterness shows in his face or his words. He feels that talent, ambition, dreams transcend race. He applied for—a n d got— jobs with Vogue, with Life, with Standard Oil of New Jersey many years ago, when few major companies were hiring Negroes. But he says he never wore his color as a flag. He went in and showed his portfolio of photographs and was hired on the basis of his skill. He became one of the outstanding photo-journalists of the country. Gradually, he came to believe that still photography had limitations and he felt the need to deal with pictures that moved. When "The Learning Tree" was published and attracted movie studio interest, he went with it. He doesn't feel that he has succeeded in "a white man's world." He thinks of this as a world where anyone can succeed, if he has the talent and the drive. Admittedly, it is harder for a black man, but Parks has proven it is not impossible. Unlike many Negroes who have made it, he has not been accused of Uncle Tom- ism by other blacks. There is, of course, some jealousy but that happens to successful whites, too. As proof that the black community regards him still as one of them, he cites the fact that three times in the last several weeks, he has been approached to meet and do a slo«-y on Eldridge Cleaver. Cleaver is the writer who is being hunted by the law for jumping bail. Parks would like to see him but cannot. He knows that if he did the authorities would demand to know where Cleaver is. Parks would never tell but doesn't want to go to jail himself— and a contempt of court conviction might put him in jail. So he has turned clown the overtures. Meanwhile he is at work cutting "The Learning Tree" and preparing to add his musical score. He has a four-picture deal with Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, and would like to do a film every other year. In between, he wants to do an assignment for Life occasionally, write a novel or a book of poetry, compose a symphony or a concerto now and again. It is a full life, which is only natural. Gordon Parks is a full man. >io bitterness. O 1969, Th« Proelf r t Qimbi* Com(un r full Mails at you! sioie Oiler prfmos FebfiLKy ??.1969 Good only m ihi> stales of Te«av Louisiana, Oklatiorra. and Arkansas lunil one lefund per lamily. 3- DAYS ONLY Sears interior „ SUPER COLOR FAST LATEX FIAT •»•<»»-. i. interior SUPER COLOR FAST LATEX FLAT WHEN YOU BUY SEARS LATEX BY THE PAIR SAVE 49% Super Colorfast Latex Flat Regular * 4.99 2 Gallons for • Applies smoothly, evenly with brush or roller • Dries to a hcautiful flat finish in M>~hour • Hands and tools clean with soapy water • Choose white or fashionahle colors coiorfast _ LATE? FLAT coiorfast *** LATEX SAVE Smooth Flowing, Durable Latex House Paint Regular 6.99 2 Gallons For $ 7 This acrylic latex paint is self-priming over soun'd painted surfaces. Easy to apply, and touch-ups go undetected. Superior adhesion to surface make it blister resistant. Odorless. fcllOUSEJ-VUN SAVE Dripless, Washable Latex Flat Paints Regular 5.99 2 Gallons For 11 Flows on smoothly easily and it's dripless for neater easier decorating. One coat covers many colors. Tools 'and' hands com c clean fast with soapy water. Dries in '/•> hi- Lead-free SHOP AT SEARS AND SAVE Saiiifaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back Sears 711 W.Texas Ave. Phone 427-8131 Baytown, Texas Free Parting 1EAJU, ROCBCCK AND CO.

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