The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters.
- Audrey Hepburn

PBS

Films, TV shows, and books of the 'modern' era

Moderators: Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957, moira finnie, Lzcutter

User avatar
knitwit45
Posts: 4720
Joined: May 4th, 2007, 9:33 pm
Location: Gardner, KS

Re: PBS

Postby knitwit45 » July 5th, 2009, 5:43 pm

Michigan, when Mr. O'Neil passed away, it was a week long period of mourning here in Kansas City. He was quite a gentleman.

User avatar
silentscreen
Posts: 715
Joined: March 9th, 2008, 3:47 pm

Re: PBS

Postby silentscreen » July 7th, 2009, 6:29 am

This is a great show about the history of comedy and current comedians today. Last night they had segments on Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, and Buster Keaton. They had old interviews with Buster, and how bright and alert he was even in old age. Lots of good commentary too!

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/makeemlaugh/
"Humor is nothing less than a sense of the fitness of things." Carole Lombard

User avatar
Dewey1960
Posts: 2514
Joined: April 17th, 2007, 7:52 am
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: PBS

Postby Dewey1960 » July 7th, 2009, 6:47 am

MichiganJ wrote: Not sure what's wrong with Ken Burns, but every few years or so I break out his Baseball documentary and still love it.

I'm with you there, Kevin. I've watched Burns' BASEBALL documentary all the way through several times and have always found something new and profound to dwell on. It's especially interesting to view directly after watching his exhausting but valuable film on the CIVIL WAR given the precise proximity of the beginning of the former and the conclusion of the latter. The virtually seamless overlapping of the two is fascinating to me.
Satchel Paige from Ken Burns' BASEBALL
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gsabFEZbnU[/youtube]

klondike

Re: PBS

Postby klondike » July 7th, 2009, 7:34 am

MichiganJ wrote:
Not sure what's wrong with Ken Burns, but every few years or so I break out his Baseball documentary and still love it. The interviews with Buck O'Neil are priceless.


Hey, Mich!
Let me clarify about KB, just in case it seemed like my spleen was overflowing; in general, I stand in fixated admiration of the man's work, as so many legions of American viewers do.
In particular, I loved his productions Lewis & Clark: the Corps of Discovery, Horatio's Drive, and the pieces he did on Frank Lloyd Wright, and on the Civilian Conservation Corps & Works Progress Administration (the exact names of which escape me now). Just ten days ago, he debuted (& hosted) his new special National Parks; America's Best Idea right here at the Bellows Falls Opera House, and I'm sure when I catch up with that one, I'll greatly enjoy it, too.
I just have demographic issues with how the man, as a local resident, has attempted to subjugate the towns of Walpole, NH & Rockingham, Vermont into his personal fiefdom.
That's all.
So, Mich, do ya think the Wolverine State would consider sacrificing a county or 2 to create a private duchy for the Marquis of Docudrama . . p'raps something near Detroit? :roll:

User avatar
Mr. Arkadin
Posts: 2657
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 3:00 pm

Re: PBS

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 7th, 2009, 9:38 am

Since everyone is explaining their views (and I happen to be home for a brief moment), I guess I'll throw my hat in the ring.

Let me say that I've never seen Baseball, but will probably watch it someday as I have great interest in the early years. My problem with Burns is the inaccuracies in films I have seen. I don't think the man researches his subjects enough before shooting. In other cases, I think he depends too much on others point of view and lets them dominate his subject. He has also freely admitted that he injects bias along his personal political viewpoints. While we all have our own take on life, if you are attempting to be historically accurate, you want to try and be as true to your subject as you can--even if it doesn't benefit your own ideological views. This is certainly nothing new in history (check out early Egyptian battle history--they never recorded their defeats, only victories), but I personally get tired of people hailing Ken Burns as some kind of historian. He's not. He's a very talented filmmaker that has preserved some great people on film which are not with us anymore and generated new interest in subjects that many Americans previously thought were "dull" or "boring". In that respect, I feel he has done a lot of good.

User avatar
MichiganJ
Posts: 1406
Joined: May 20th, 2008, 4:37 pm
Contact:

Re: PBS

Postby MichiganJ » July 10th, 2009, 3:59 pm

(Sorry for the delay in responding. Thank goodness for weekends!)
Dewey wrote:
I've watched Burns' BASEBALL documentary all the way through several times and have always found something new and profound to dwell on. It's especially interesting to view directly after watching his exhausting but valuable film on the CIVIL WAR given the precise proximity of the beginning of the former and the conclusion of the latter. The virtually seamless overlapping of the two is fascinating to me.

That's exactly what I did this winter. I started with The Civil War, and then went immediately into Baseball, which, as you said, is virtually seamless. One of the things I admire most about Baseball is all of the discussion about the "Negro Leagues", and I've been diving into books on the subject all spring and summer (By the way, the new Satchel Paige biography is a must read for baseball fans!)
Mr. Arkadin wrote:Since everyone is explaining their views (and I happen to be home for a brief moment), I guess I'll throw my hat in the ring.

Let me say that I've never seen Baseball, but will probably watch it someday as I have great interest in the early years. My problem with Burns is the inaccuracies in films I have seen. I don't think the man researches his subjects enough before shooting. In other cases, I think he depends too much on others point of view and lets them dominate his subject. He has also freely admitted that he injects bias along his personal political viewpoints. While we all have our own take on life, if you are attempting to be historically accurate, you want to try and be as true to your subject as you can--even if it doesn't benefit your own ideological views. This is certainly nothing new in history (check out early Egyptian battle history--they never recorded their defeats, only victories), but I personally get tired of people hailing Ken Burns as some kind of historian. He's not. He's a very talented filmmaker that has preserved some great people on film which are not with us anymore and generated new interest in subjects that many Americans previously thought were "dull" or "boring". In that respect, I feel he has done a lot of good.

I'm unsure about Burns' facts, inaccuracies, etc. I know that when we were dealing with grants from the NEH for a radio documentary, the NEH required us to have a number of Academics (that the NEH had to approve) who read each version of the scripts, making notes and corrections, etc. Lots of fun, especially when the Academics themselves disagreed on something (plus they added a great deal to the overall budget). Most of the documentaries I've seen by Burns have been told through correspondences and interviews, with remarkably little narration. Obviously these can be skewed and edited to say whatever one wants, as can any non-fiction work, be it biography, history, whatever. They are all "suspect" in that they all represent some point of view. While we like to think so, it's basically impossible for a journalist or documentarian to be unbiased. (Although I still don't believe the notion that the now undefinable "media" is liberal. But that's another matter.)

For me, a documentary works if I'm curious enough about the subject to research it further. Burns' doc on The Brooklyn Bridge led me to McCullough's fascinating book (which led me to other McCullogh books), Burns' (exhaustive) Jazz series, led me to rediscover Louis Armstrong (always liked him, now I love him), and I actually wish Burns would produce another "Inning" of Baseball. (Lots has happened in the past decade!) I don't think Burns thinks of himself as a historian. I certainly don't. He's a documentary film maker. Now, as to the definition of "documentary"....
(By the way, I'm currently watching a fascinating documentary on the history of the English language. It's an eight-part British series written and hosted by Melvyn Bragg called The Adventure of English and so far the episodes have been quite witty and highly compelling.)

Klondike wrote:
I just have demographic issues with how the man, as a local resident, has attempted to subjugate the towns of Walpole, NH & Rockingham, Vermont into his personal fiefdom.
That's all.
So, Mich, do ya think the Wolverine State would consider sacrificing a county or 2 to create a private duchy for the Marquis of Docudrama . . p'raps something near Detroit?

Actually I live in Indiana (the MJ is for the froggy cartoon) but I feel your pain about celebrities in the midst. Every year, at the Indy 500, we have both Florence Henderson AND Jim Nabors. Utter mayhem..
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

klondike

Re: PBS

Postby klondike » July 10th, 2009, 4:57 pm

MichiganJ wrote:Actually I live in Indiana (the MJ is for the froggy cartoon) but I feel your pain about celebrities in the midst. Every year, at the Indy 500, we have both Florence Henderson AND Jim Nabors. Utter mayhem..



Yeah, I know . . in typical flash-of-brilliance style, it occured to me about an hour after posting where it was that you're nom du net really came from . . . swift, eh? :?
{At least it explained those recurring mental images of Al Jolson singing inside a shoe box . . :roll: }
I gotta say, though, we're pretty lucky; beyond Emperor Ken Burns, and an occasional pass-through from Stevie King & Adam Sandler, the only celebrities we see regularly around here are Whoopi Goldberg & Joe Walsh, and they are both incredibly pleasant & funny & cool, and behave pretty much like work-a-day neighbors.
8)

User avatar
MichiganJ
Posts: 1406
Joined: May 20th, 2008, 4:37 pm
Contact:

Re: PBS

Postby MichiganJ » July 10th, 2009, 5:19 pm

I'll trade you Jim Nabors for Joe Walsh (sorry, Mrs. Brady has to stay.)
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

User avatar
Mr. Arkadin
Posts: 2657
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 3:00 pm

Re: PBS

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 10th, 2009, 9:16 pm

MichiganJ wrote:I'm unsure about Burns' facts, inaccuracies, etc. I know that when we were dealing with grants from the NEH for a radio documentary, the NEH required us to have a number of Academics (that the NEH had to approve) who read each version of the scripts, making notes and corrections, etc. Lots of fun, especially when the Academics themselves disagreed on something (plus they added a great deal to the overall budget). Most of the documentaries I've seen by Burns have been told through correspondences and interviews, with remarkably little narration. Obviously these can be skewed and edited to say whatever one wants, as can any non-fiction work, be it biography, history, whatever. They are all "suspect" in that they all represent some point of view. While we like to think so, it's basically impossible for a journalist or documentarian to be unbiased. (Although I still don't believe the notion that the now undefinable "media" is liberal. But that's another matter.)

For me, a documentary works if I'm curious enough about the subject to research it further. Burns' doc on The Brooklyn Bridge led me to McCullough's fascinating book (which led me to other McCullogh books), Burns' (exhaustive) Jazz series, led me to rediscover Louis Armstrong (always liked him, now I love him), and I actually wish Burns would produce another "Inning" of Baseball. (Lots has happened in the past decade!) I don't think Burns thinks of himself as a historian. I certainly don't. He's a documentary filmmaker. Now, as to the definition of "documentary"...


There are whole books written in response/refute of his Civil War series. I believe there are still web links for his errors on Mark Twain. The list goes on and on. While I don't believe any single source can "get it right" (you should always depend on multiple sources), I can't help but notice the care that Burns spends on his images, voiceovers, and editing and wonder why he does not use that same talent for fact checking.

You brought up Jazz, which is a great example. Here is a film where Wynton Marsalis is given free reign to define what Jazz is (and is not!) while Marsalis own career is not one of innovation, but regurgitation. It is well known that he back-stabbed many artists (including his own brother) in print. His number one target was Miles Davis, who critics often accused him of imitating.

Because of Wynton's prejudice, Davis is given a rough ride in Jazz when it was he, Davis, who changed the direction of the genre (and music overall) at least three times. Burns takes these views as gospel because he either didn't know any better or never cared to do his research. There were many other great artists left out of the film simply because they didn't fit with Marsalis' views.

At the end of the film, it's Marsalis who is shown to be a great contemporary Jazzman and the leading player of our time (BTW, Freddie Hubbard, a truly great trumpeter was still alive--why was he reduced to a name and photo shot?). What a surprise. Wynton Marsalis and his self-styled "Young Lions" have not changed anything in the music or rekindled its popularity because they are unwilling to accept that art must continually grow and mature, or die on the vine (unless you're AC/DC, but that's a story for another time). As a result, Jazz comes off as a half baked project with moments of greatness, but ultimately suffers as a whole because of the fact that an interviewee was allowed to dominate the project instead of simply participate.

The last laugh was definitely had by Miles, when four years later Burns made the film, Unforgivable Blackness about the life of boxer Jack Johnson. In an interview upon its release, Burns called Johnson his new "hero", and admitted he'd never heard of him six months prior to making the film. How can you study race relations in American history and not have heard of this man? If he'd done his homework on Miles, he would have at least known of the groundbreaking Tribute to Jack Johnson (1970). Considered a classic (and head and shoulders above anything in Wynton's entire catalog), Johnson's story is even penned on the back of the album by Davis, who personally wrote the liner notes (I believe this might have been the only time) about a man he so admired.

Just for fun, here's a few people that weren't given much time, if any in Jazz (Ron Carter on the bass was interviewed and got the most press, I believe.). That's Freddie Hubbard on the trumpet. Maybe this performance is a good indication of why he wasn't mentioned. Can ya hear me out there Wynton? :P

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqwmDNPegnM[/youtube]

User avatar
MichiganJ
Posts: 1406
Joined: May 20th, 2008, 4:37 pm
Contact:

Re: PBS

Postby MichiganJ » June 30th, 2010, 4:01 pm

Extra innings for Ken Burns' Baseball series. Inning ten, which covers 1994 to the present will air on PBS Sept. 28 and 29 with DVD and Blu-ray discs available the following week.
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=5183177

(Let's go Mets!)
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

User avatar
ChiO
Posts: 3924
Joined: January 2nd, 2008, 1:26 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: PBS

Postby ChiO » June 30th, 2010, 5:55 pm

Baseball means nothing to me.

I'm a Cubs fan.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles

User avatar
knitwit45
Posts: 4720
Joined: May 4th, 2007, 9:33 pm
Location: Gardner, KS

Re: PBS

Postby knitwit45 » June 30th, 2010, 7:54 pm

ChiO" Baseball means nothing to me.

I'm a Cubs fan.



:roll: :roll: :roll: oooo, the pain, the agony

User avatar
JackFavell
Posts: 11946
Joined: April 20th, 2009, 9:56 am

Re: PBS

Postby JackFavell » June 30th, 2010, 9:13 pm

Baseball means nothing to me.

I'm a Cubs fan.


now THAT was funny. :D

User avatar
srowley75
Posts: 731
Joined: April 22nd, 2008, 11:04 am
Location: West Virginia

Re: PBS

Postby srowley75 » July 1st, 2010, 1:22 am

I've been watching a few DVDs of Julia Child's best shows from her PBS series. Dear God, how she puts everyone on Food Network to shame. So natural, buoyant and charming yet unpretentious. Not a hint of condescension, even as she recommends foods and wines the average housewife has likely never heard of.

According to Amazon.com, there's a second set, but I haven't been able to find it at the library as yet.

klondike

Re: PBS

Postby klondike » July 1st, 2010, 7:33 am

The most exotic wine Julia ever recommended is probably easier to find, anymore, than an average housewife.


Return to “General TV and Media”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests