Thursday, December 2, 2010

Act One; or, How Many Days of Christmas Did You Say There Were?

No mistaking it, Christmas is being flung in our faces at every opportunity. Every shop window, every magazine ad, channel to channel on the dial.

As a respite from the grossness of the holiday, I thought I'd post some segments from R. O. Blechman's 1977 special "Simple Gifts."

It's literate and elegant and full of wit and emotion in ways current "product" doesn't even attempt to approach.

This first story is taken from Moss Hart's "Act One".

This book, in itself, is essential reading for anybody in "show business".

This is digitized from a VHS, so the usual apologies for image and audio quality.

I don't know too much about the production of this particular piece -Michael Sporn was producer and assistant director for R. O. at the time so he probably has some insight. That's a position which requires a range of skill and a lot attention.

EDIT: In the comments section Michael attributes the piece to Phillip Schopper (who R. O. would still call on for editor recommendations 20 years later).

R. O. would give a degree of autonomy to artists whom he trusted -in the other segments of this show will see different results for this creative leeway. Interesting how through all the different styles represented in this show, they all retain that signature intelligence we know from Blechman's work.


Michael Sporn said...

Phillip Schopper directed and did most of the work on this piece - reworking the photos or reshooting as the need be. Steve Parton assisted him, mostly with some of the color. But even in that Phillip was the dominant force. Steve brought in others to help color our of his apartment.

roconnor said...

Ah, thanks. I know Bob was very high on Phillip Schopper.

I passed an office at HBO with his name on it several months back. Poked my head in to make an introduction, but it was empty.