I represent the first generation who, when we were born, the television was now a permanent fixture in our homes. When I was born people had breakfast with Barbara Walters, dinner with Walter Cronkite, and slept with Johnny Carson.
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Monday, May 05, 2014
Soap, Susskind and Efrem Zimbalist Jr.: Next on TVC
Authors A.S. Berman and Cary O’Dell will join us on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, airing May 7-12 at the following times and stations:
WROM Radio Detroit, MI Wednesday 5/7 8pm ET, 5pm PT 2am ET, 11pm PT Sunday 5/11 8pm ET, 5pm PT 2am ET, 11pm PT Click on the Listen Live button at WROMRadio.net
The story of two sisters, Jessica Tate (Katherine Helmond) and Mary Campbell (Cathryn Damon), Soap(ABC, 1977-1981) was a show that was as passionate and controversial as the era in which it was made. Though often dismissed as a mere parody of daytime soap operas, Soap tackled sex, death, depression, infidelity, homosexuality, transsexuality and other taboo subjects with a wit and gentleness that had never been seen on American television. It was also a show that both ad-hoc groups and the mainstream media universally hated ― albeit for different reasons ― long before a single episode ever actually aired. But Soapnot only survived all the controversy, it thrived, launching the careers of Billy Crystal, Robert Guillaume, and Katherine Helmond, while also establishing Susan Harris as one of television premier writer/producers.
Soap is also the subject of Soap: The Unauthorized Inside Story of the Sitcom That Broke ALL Th... an excellent new book by A.S. Berman. Aaron’s book, saysSoap actor Jay Johnson, “doesn’t pull punches, but there are no round-house sucker punches, either. It is the story of people just trying to do their job, never realizing that 40 years later someone would be asking questions about it…. It is a familiar tale of how things change but remain the same as attitudes and morés are the last to update themselves.” A.S. Berman will join us for an extended conversation that will begin near the end of our first hour.
This week’s program will also include an encore presentation of our January 2011 conversation with Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the iconic television actor who passed away on Friday, May 2. Described by several guests on our program have described as “the Rolls-Royce of actors,” Efrem shared some memories of his work on The F.B.I., Maverick and 77 Sunset Strip. But we also chatted about his musical lineage, his formative years as a young man and the path that led him to Hollywood. We will replay our conversation with Efrem Zimbalist Jr. during our first hour.
Also joining us this week will be author and archivist Cary O’Dell (June Cleaver Was a Feminist: Reconsidering the Female Characters of...). Cary has launched a crowdsourcing campaign through Kickstarter that hopes to raise funds to transfer more than 200 episodes of The David Susskind Show from their original bulky 2-inch videotape to digital format so that they can be preserved and enjoyed by future generations. Many of these videotapes are more than 40 years old and are danger of decomposing and becoming lost forever. The campaign continues through Saturday, June 7. For more information, go to Kickstarter.com and type in David Susskind, for Preservation not Profit.