Answering another friend’s Facebook post reminded me today of one of my favorite books of letters between writers is between Cheever and John Weaver.
I stumbled upon Glad Tidings: A Friendship in Letters : The Correspondence of John Cheever and John D. Weaver, 1945-1982 many years ago at a used bookstore and deeply enjoyed reading how these two writers discussed their work and the origins of their most famous projects.
Of course, Cheever was also writing to Harriet Weaver but the editors left her name off the title, so it’s also a good look at how the Weaver marriage operated (in the same way The Letters of S.J. Perlemnan became a look at the marriage of Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell since he wrote so often to them).
What I enjoyed most was the inside look Cheever gave of coming to Hollywood when a studio adapted his story The Swimmer into a film – Weaver had much more experience living in Los Angeles as a writer of local histories so he helped Cheever navigate La-La-Land.
If you don’t know either of these writers, a selection of Cheever’s short stories, The Stories of John Cheever, won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (not too shabby) and John D. Weaver’s obituary in the Los Angeles Times tells you how important he was: “Weaver wrote two novels and eight nonfiction books, including one that helped change history: “The Brownsville Raid,” a 1970 book that led to the exoneration of 167 black soldiers who had been discharged without honor 64 years earlier.”
Both are well worth reading – as is Glad Tidings. Check them out.
Who wrote The Monkees? – “Success Story” by Bernie Orenstein Part 1 of an on-going series
The Monkees episode Antenna TV will air this weekend is “Success Story” – written by Bernie Orenstein, a freelancer who wrote two other episodes: “Dance, Monkee, Dance” and “Monkees à la Carte”.
His more full time writing was on the variety show The Hollywood Palace which showcased Hollywood talent such as Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. He later produced Sanford and Son. In our interview I asked Mr. Orenstein if he was part of the youth culture and he said with a laugh, “My wife accuses me of missing the sixties entirely, and I’m afraid she’s right. I avoided the ‘emerging counter-culture scene’ mostly because I didn’t know there was one going on.” He has taught in the MFA program for Writing and Producing Television at Long Island University in Brooklyn.
Dr. Rosanne Welch presents “How Doctor Who Redefined Masculinity: A Study of the Doctors and their Male Companions“ at the Cal Poly Pomona University Library. Dr. Welch teaches in the IGE (Interdisciplinary General Education) program.
Of course, along the way, he gets to be a full family man because…he and Amy have a baby! I think it’s very important. There’s a photography of him holding his child. It’s not just her always holding the baby and taking care of it, this is a shared parenting which is part of the modern generation. You all are probably lucky. Your Dad’s were probably more involved, but if you get back to my generation’s Dad, there the folks that went to work, came home, had dinner, watched TV qnd never talked to their kids and that was what men did. Right? And over the course of a couple of generations, parenting has become a co-job and you can see a Dad just as easily taking his kid to the doctor or going to a school function and helping out. it’s become a definition of men in this new generation to be family caretakers — to be involved — to go to the soccer games even if their not coaching , right? And to go to the birthday parties at school when you have to hand out little cupcakes with candles in them. That’s become a new definition, right? You all are probably more used to that, but it’s not something that happened in the past.
A clip from this 5th talk on various aspects of Doctor Who presented by Dr. Welch. You can find Dr. Welch’s other Doctor Who talks using the links below.
- Feminism in the Whoniverse
- Doctor Who and Culture
- Doctor Who Regenerated
- “How the Growing Popularity of the English Who-niverse Effected American TV” with Dr. Rosanne Welch
Follow Dr. Rosanne Welch on the Web and via social media at:
In memory of the anniversary of the loss of Davy Jones in 2012 I wanted to post this newscast by Diane Sawyer where she spoke of the news as “startling bulletin” which came across her desk in the newsroom that day (February 29, 2012). Sawyer then proclaimed “He is still that forever young and sunny singer from The Monkees who made more than one generation want to sing along.”
The question I ask in the book is why would a serious journalist (not merely an entertainment reporter) consider news of the death of a former teen idol ‘startling’ unless she, too, had once been among his fans? To me it speaks volumes about how he – and The Monkees – effected all our lives.
Today we thank Shonda Rhimes for bringing color blind casting to television when she casts a diverse array of ethnicities in lead roles on her shows. But she didn’t invent the idea. On our visit to the Autry Museum of the American West I was reminded of a show I used to watch on television but that disappeared too quickly (I didn’t then know why) and didn’t reappear in reruns as much as the more successful, longer-running program also created by the same writer (Bonanza).
The show I only vaguely remembered was The High Chaparral – the story of a Mexican woman married to a man of European descent (then controversially considered an inter-racial marriage) who owned a rancho in the West post the Civil War. I remembered it for its diverse cast and honest portrayal of the discrimination played out against minorities in the West.
Special Projects Archivist Mallory Furnier wrote the blog post, “Casting Actors as People” highlighting the archives of The High Chaparral in the David Dortort Archive, where she noted:
“Though The High Chaparral faced untimely cancellation, its four seasons embodied a step away from tired, inaccurate stereotypes and a movement toward greater respect for actors and characters, regardless of race. As a June 16, 1970 NBC memo instructed, “let’s cast actors to play people and, in so doing, give the ‘minorities’ a break.”
In a second blog post, “Finding Aids and Places”, Furnier discussed her trip to the Old Tuscon Studios in Arizona, site of some of the exterior filming of the show.
As always, I found it fascinating to wander around in the papers (old, handwritten first drafts of scripts, typed rewrites ready for production meetings, cast lists, shooting schedules, etc) and see the inside ideas of a show I had only seen from the outside all those years ago.
One of the papers was even a 1971 letter to Dortort from then U.N. Representative George H. W. Bush saying he sympathized with the producer over the cancellation of such a quality show and would do what he could to communicate that to those who had made that decision. Fascinating.
Listen to the High Chapparal Theme Song.
High Chaparral Script Cover