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Posts Tagged ‘NBC

Special Academy Awards Prep Edition: Inside “Social Network”…

Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin, the odds-on favorite for this year’s Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, set out to be an actor.  But as Pete Hammond reports in Deadline Hollywood, his career took a different turn…

…those early plans were trumped when he began writing for the stage. In 1989, at the age of 28, he was named Outstanding American Playwright by the Outer Critics Circle for A Few Good Men. Just three years later, he wrote the screenplay for the film version which was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. His subsequent success in film has included scripts for Malice (1993), The American President (1995), Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) and the upcoming Moneyball. As an Emmy-winning television writer and producer, he was behind critically acclaimed [and your correspondent's all-time fave] Sports Night, long-running The West Wing, and the short-lived Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. But he has never been nominated for an Academy Award.

Discover how Sorkin (who worked from the book proposal, not the book, which wasn’t written when he started) did his research, how he shaped his characters, and how he approaches a “non-fiction film”…

I would tell anyone that if you are seeing a movie that begins with “The following is a true story…,” you need to look at that movie the way you would a painting and not a photograph. This is my take on what happened. You can put a bowl of fruit on a table and have 10 people take a picture of it and those 10 photographs would look pretty much like each other. If you ask 10 painters to paint it, you’re going to get a lot of different versions of the thing. And so I was telling a true story, but very quickly the people became characters to me and not historical figures. And people, and properties of people, and properties of characters, actually have very little to do with each other. I know people don’t speak in dialogue, and life doesn’t play itself out in a series of connected scenes that form a narrative. But that’s what a writer does.

… and more in his interview with Hammond.  As a special bonus, use the link there (or here) to download a pdf of Sorkin’s full script.

And lest one fret that Sorkin’s dreams of greasepaint came to naught, watch for him in his cameo as the advertising executive in Social Network.

As we recheck our privacy settings on Facebook, we might recall that it was on this date in 1981 that Hill Street Blues premiered on NBC.  The first show from Sorkin’s spiritual forefather Stephen Bochco, the gritty HSB resurrected the then-moribund “cop show” genre and introduced the ensemble cast as a structural feature of series.  By the time the show signed off in May 1987, it had set the records for most Emmy nominations and most Emmys won in a single season.  In its first season alone, it received eight Emmy awards– a debut season record surpassed only by Sorkin’s ensemble political drama The West Wing.

title card

 

Fun with Advertising!…

With the perspective of passing time often comes the desire to re-write the past.  Now, as the “Twisted Adverts” Flickr pool demonstrates, one can.

Bobster855 has created and collected dozens of goodies like this re-purposed lawn mower advertisement:

Or this Aunt Jemima spread:

See them all here.

Then, readers who are disposed to do a little revisionist mashing themselves should turn to the hundreds of specimens at The Vintage Ad Browser.  Consider, for example, what one could do with:

Procter & Gamble Co.’s Drene Shampoo (1937)

As we take steps to “control the dialogue,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1952 that NBC TV format pioneer Sylvester L. “Pat” Weaver premiered The Today Show– and introduced the U.S. (and the world, as it turned out) to morning “news.”  Hosts over the years have included John Chancellor, Hugh Downs, Florence Henderson, Barbara Walters, Tom Brokaw, Bryant Gumbel, Jane Pauley, Matt Lauer, and Katie Couric. In 1953, the show also featured a chimpanzee named J. Fred Muggs, who co-hosted with Dave Garroway.  (Weaver also pioneered other important formats– including The Tonight Show–  but is probably better known these days as the father of Signorey Weaver.)

Daughter and Father

The romance of retail…

source

But then, Zippy can console himself that, as recent honoree H.L. Mencken observed, “no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

As we revisit our plans to open that book store, we might recall that this is the anniversary of the premiere (in 1954) of Walt Disney’s first prime-time television program (Disneyland, on ABC; later re-titled The Wonderful World of Disney), the second longest running television franchise in the country (as measured in seasons aired), and arguably the nation’s first major full-length infomercial (…though Bonomo, The Magic Clown, which ran on NBC from 1949 to 1954– and which was essentially an advertisement for Bonomo Turkish Taffy– has a defensible rival claim to that honor).

source

Your correspondent is headed for points antipodal, where, as it happens, the drains do not spiral in a different direction, but where connectivity promises to be uncertain…  consequently, for the next week or so, these missives are likely to be more roughly than daily.

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There are some places in the universe you don’t go alone…

Your correspondent is back, and bearing gifts…  Our furiously funny friends at Blogadilla (“The Tijuana of the Internet”) have shared a Sweded version of Aliens, James Cameron’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s singular original.  Created by Tim(botron), one of Blogadilla’s co-conspirators, it’s a complement to the “pre-makes” that (R)D considered just before the break– and a reminder that, in the right hands, $100 can go a long way…

In the time-honored tradition of re-gifting, here, Dear Readers, it is:

As we pass on the Gummi Bears, we might note that in Huichol, Mexico today is the Festival of Wawtsari (God of Deer Peyote)– that’s to say, the peyote mushroom festival.  And in Egypt, it’s the Feast of Khepera, The Beetle God… in whose honor we might enjoy:

Rootworm Beetle Dip

2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons skim milk
1/2 cup reduced calorie mayonnaise
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. dill weed
1 1/2 tsp. Beau Monde
1 cup dry-roasted rootworm beetles

Blend first 3 ingredients. Add remaining ingredients & chill (out?).

Courtesy, Iowa State University Department of Entomology’s “Insect Recipes

Disclaimer: The Department of Entomology at Iowa State University is not responsible for gastric distress, allergic reactions, feelings of repulsion, or other problems resulting from the ingestion of foods represented on these pages.

Neither is your correspondent…

ISU master chefs Kathy Gee and Julie Stephens
(pictured above with Jay Leno) Photo: NBC

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Written by LW

September 28, 2009 at 12:01 am

Bottomed out? If only!…

Through good times and bad, comic strips have played a Greek chorus-like role in American life.  Inspired exceptions (Krazy Kat, Calvin and Hobbes) aside, the comics pages have given voice (or voice bubbles, anyway) to the dreams– and nightmares– that Americans share.

So lest one be carried away by the recent updraft on Wall Street, one might consult Cathy

…  and indeed, one might consider Comics Alliance‘s round-up of “15 Suicidally Depressing Newspaper Comic Strips.”

As we swallow our selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, we might recall that it was on this  date that the first “cartoon superstar,”  Felix the Cat, premiered in a daily strip (1923, in the Daily Sketch in England, though the panels were quickly picked up across North America).  Created by Otto Messmer (for producer Pat Sullivan), Felix had been a film star since 1919, and was in an estimated 60% of U.S. cinemas when he debuted in the funnies…  Appropriately perhaps, Felix was the first image ever broadcast on television by NBC, as RCA chose a papier-mâché Felix doll for its 1930 experiment via W2XBS New York in Van Cortlandt Park. Shot on a rotating phonograph turntable, the image was chosen less for its celebrity than for its tonal contrast and its ability to withstand the intensely-hot lighting necessary…

source: TVHistory.com

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Not fighting the last war…

From Brian Lane Winfield Moore, inspirational updates of classic war posters– propaganda for the new millennium!

See Norman Rockwell’s original here… and see Brian’s full set here.


As we feel the stirrings of a sense of duty
, we might recall that on this date in 1941, NBC broadcast the first TV commercial to be sanctioned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  The appearance of illegal ads on stations earlier in the year had moved the FCC to act; they began licensing commercial television stations in May 1941, granting the first license to NBC.  During a Dodgers-Phillies game that was broadcast July 1, NBC pulled the trigger on its newly-acquired right, and ran its first commercial– for which the first legitimate television advertiser, Bulova, paid $4.

The first (legal) television commercial (source: MobHappy)

Increase your vocabulary!…

If, as Dr. Johnson suggested, “Every quotation contributes something to the stability or enlargement of the language,”  Wordnik is a veritable Santa’s sack…  One can watch the language evolve before one’s very eyes:

As we mind our p’s and q’s, we might we might recall that it was on this date in 1993– a bad day for word games–that both of the broadcast series “Scattergories” and “Scrabble” aired for the last time on NBC, effectively marking the end of the brief vogue for adapting popular board games into television quiz shows (the trend before and after being in the other direction:  television to board)…

Scrabble’s TV logo

Your correspondent is turning to some family business for the next few days, a period during which these missives will likely be more roughly than daily.  Apologies.

Written by LW

June 11, 2009 at 12:01 am

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