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Tag: Orson Welles

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbWe look back on a series of events that meant much to our country from the 1920s to the 1950s. A major event was the introduction of the radio into homes of America. Prior to the mid-1920s, entertainment meant either going to the local movie theater, go to a live theater (generally in the larger towns), or bringing out the record player and the recording cylinders; flat, 78 rpm records and their players were just starting to appear at this time. Radio broke onto the scene with its music and comedy which changed the “face” The American home.

Amos and Andy on Louella Parsons Show

I remember fondly the console radios at both of my grandmothers’ houses. These were not fancy stereo radios, or even hi-fidelity; they were basic units in the beginning just like the initial TVs of the late 1940s had small screens and were relatively primitive by today’s standards. In the mid-1920s, the radio units were simple and the content available was relatively meager as well. Most of this content was recorded music, live bands (on weekends), and some early comedy shows. And, of course, there was radio news. If you lived in or near a major city you were in luck since you would be able to receive a strong radio signal from your local station. If you lived farther away, you may be able to receive a signal in appropriate weather, but often times you were just plane out of luck.

Thus, some radio stations were given permission to boost their signal strength and became one of the few “clear channel” stations. One such station in Chicago was WMAQ(AM). Why was this important? Because the farmers of the extended area needed to hear the weather broadcast to know when they needed to protect their fields and/or livestock. These stations became the center of a network of stations associated with one of the national networks, such as the National Broadcasting Corporation. These stations and networks also became the home of some of the emerging radio situation comedies, like Amos ‘n’ Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, Burns and Allen, and others.

In this environment, two broadcasters from North Carolina, Charles Correll and Freeman Gosden. These two had developed a comedy show for WGN (Chicago) called “Sam and Henry”. When a difference of opinion developed between WGN management and the two broadcasters, the latter left WGN for WMAQ to develop a new program: “Amos ‘n’ Andy”. This sitcom featured the interaction of two black men from the south and a small group of their friends, mainly males. Correll and Gosden assumed the roles of all characters and adopted stereotyped characters who spoke with a stereotyped speech pattern. On radio, it wasn’t apparent that two white men were providing the voices of two black men living in Chicago.

However, when the series was adapted for television, a whole new scenario arose. White actors in black face would not pass muster. The stereotyping and hypocrisy became apparent and demanded change. In fact, the NAACP arose to demand that black actors be employed. The also demanded a change in the demeaning portrayal of blacks. Check out these two videos available online for more information on this confrontation…

Racial Stereotyping (Part 1 of 2), Television: Inside & Out…  (7:55)

[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMjJyJtVbCw&feature=player_detailpage ]

Racial Stereotyping (Part 2 of 2), Television: Inside & Out…  (6:56)

[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npbl1zfwsEw&feature=player_detailpage ]

But now let’s get started on our exploration of Amos ‘n’ Andy and some of the history of the development of this pioneering comedy series on the radio in the mid-1920s… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4680 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Radio:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/radio.html ]

    

“Gossip is the Devil’s radio.”
— George Harrison

“If it weren’t for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we’d still be eating frozen radio dinners.”
— Johnny Carson

“Radio is a bag of mediocrity where little men with carbon minds wallow in sluice of their own making.”
— Fred Allen

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary:

JerryPhotoOrson Welles was a groundbreaking name in the entertainment industry that emerged from our Great Depression. We just need to think of the impact made by the broadcast of Welles’ Mercury Theater presentation of “The War of the Worlds” on that Halloween night in 1938. It was so realistic that many people believed that it was really happening! That is great showmanship.

He repeated that performance with the movie Citizen Kane that made its debut on this day in 1941. Seven months later we would be plunged into the second World War following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The main character, Charles Foster Kane, was modeled after several media giants, especially William Randolph Hurst. Welles painted this character with sinister overtones. Welles also employed several artistic and photographic techniques to accomplish these effects.

Touch_of_Evil-Orson_Welles

George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985), best known as Orson Welles, was an American film director, actor, theatre director, screenwriter, and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television and radio. Noted for his innovative dramatic productions as well as his distinctive voice and personality, Welles is widely acknowledged as one of the most accomplished dramatic artists of the twentieth century, especially for his significant and influential early work—despite his notoriously contentious relationship with Hollywood.

His distinctive directorial style featured layered, nonlinear narrative forms, innovative uses of lighting such as chiaroscuro, unique camera angles, sound techniques borrowed from radio, deep focus shots, and long takes. Welles’s long career in film is noted for his struggle for artistic control in the face of pressure from studios. Many of his films were heavily edited and others left unreleased. He has been praised as a major creative force and as "the ultimate auteur."

Now, we need to get on with our exploration into this film and its director. There are so many facets of this work that we can only touch on a couple of the main themes in this posting…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4033 Words ]
    

   

Quotations Related to ORSON WELLES:

    

“A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.”
— Orson Welles

“A good artist should be isolated. If he isn’t isolated, something is wrong.”
— Orson Welles

“At twenty-one, so many things appear solid, permanent, untenable.”
— Orson Welles

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary

Due to injury, this commentary will be added later. Please check back. Thank you.  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3655 Words ]

   

Quotations Related to ORSON WELLES

“At twenty-one, so many things appear solid, permanent, untenable.”
— Orson Welles

“A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.”
— Orson Welles

“A good artist should be isolated. If he isn’t isolated, something is wrong.”
— Orson Welles

continue reading…