20171213

THE NEW ODD COUPLE

In 1982, Garry Marshall developed 'The New Odd Couple' for television, "It's just a new 'Odd Couple' with a new cast, which happens to be black." Speaking to 'Scripps-Howard', Garry Marshall added, "The times are such that we can now (in 1982) depict blacks who are middle-and-upper-class college graduates. Hopefully, we'll be a spawning ground for other black actors who will be appearing on our show." Director Joel Zwick disclosed, "They tested almost every black actor in Hollywood but until they came up with a palatable package for the network, it was a no-go."

Speaking to Knight-Ridder Newspapers and the 'Los Angeles Times', Ron Glass as super-neat Felix Unger made the point, "Television still isn't ready for a real drama about blacks but at least this isn't one of those shows where every sentence starts with 'hey' and ends with 'man'. If every line he said began with 'hey' and ended with 'man', I would not have engaged myself with the show. Saying 'What happening!' is just not my forte. I might say an occasional 'hey' or 'man', but not in the same sentence."

Demond Wilson as the ultra-slob Oscar Madison told 'Town Talk', "We're not doing ghetto humor. The hand-slapping is out, and so is 'baby'." 'United Press International' understood initially "the network (ABC) and Paramount Television signed both actors with the understanding that all 13 of the first episodes would be based on old 'Odd Couple' scripts that starred Tony Randall and Jack Klugman."

Joel Zwick maintained, "To be quite honest, a lot of situation comedy is basically the rehashing of similar stories and the differences are in the actors and what they bring to the story." 'The New Odd Couple' would be shown on Friday nights, opposite 'The Dukes of Hazzard' and 'The Powers of Matthew Star'. Demond Wilson stressed, "These two guys are divorced. We're not harping about our broken marriages, but are looking ahead. In the early shows the only comment you hear about my ex is 'Blanche got my Pinto.'" Supervising producer Mark Rothman remarked, "It's a timeless premise. Whether your odd couple is neat versus messy or earthy versus elegant, it's still two mismatched people stuck between four walls."

In the November 1995 BBC's 'Panorama' interview, Diana, Princess of Wales, described the breakdown of her fairy tale marriage, "Here was a situation which hadn't ever happened before in history, in the sense that the media were everywhere, and here was a fairy story that everybody wanted to work. It was also a situation where you couldn't indulge in feeling sorry for yourself: you had to either sink or swim. And you had to learn that very fast. I swam. People were using my bulimia as a coat on a hanger: they decided that was the problem - Diana was unstable. The cause was the situation where my husband and I had to keep everything together because we didn't want to disappoint the public, and yet obviously there was a lot of anxiety going on within our four walls."

Of 'The New Odd Couple', Demond Wilson concurred, "Of course, it's the oldest idea in the world. That's the only way to get the networks to do anything – it has to be tried and tested ... Both Laurence Oliver and James Earl Jones have done 'Othello', and I don't see anybody complaining that Shakespeare's been done to death." Mark Rothman mentioned, "But now (start of 1982-83 season) we've convinced them (the network and studio) to let us go with 7 new shows." Joel Zwick believed, "I think the biggest comment we're making is that we're not calling attention to color. Interracial dating may come up as a story area later on, but I don't think anybody felt it was the kind of story choice we wanted to make right at the beginning."

In December 1992, John Major informed the House of Commons, "It is announced from Buckingham Palace that, with regret, the Prince and Princess of Wales have decided to separate." Diana, Princess of Wales continued, "We could see what the public were requiring. They wanted clarity of a situation that was obviously becoming intolerable. So we got the lawyers together, we discussed separation - obviously there were a lot of people to discuss it with: the Prime Minister, Her Majesty - and then it moved itself, so to speak.

"We had struggled to keep it going, but obviously we'd both run out of steam. And in a way I suppose it could have been a relief for us both that we'd finally made our minds up. But my husband asked for the separation and I supported it. We, I asked my husband if we could put the announcement out before the children came back from school for Christmas holidays because they were protected in the school they were at.

"And he did that, and it came out on December 9th. I was on an engagement up north. I heard it on the radio, and it was just very, very sad. Really sad. The fairy tale had come to an end, and most importantly our marriage had taken a turn, different turn. I think the announcement had a huge effect on me and Charles, really, and the children were very much out of it, in the sense that they were tucked away at school."

Speaking to 'New York Daily News', Garry Marshall expressed, "In my view they're two of the greatest characters ever to appear on television." Ron Glass made the observation, "Whoever heard of a black Felix Unger? I'll be the only Felix in a black world." Garry Marshall theorized, "We'll play on the fact that it's an odd-ball name for a black photographer. His character, incidentally, is going to be broadened. He's not just going to be a portrait photographer like the earlier TV or movie version of the Neil Simon play.

"He'll be a commercial photographer. This will give us an opportunity to inject a glamorous element into the show. To introduce beautiful models into the episodes when he's shooting an ad. Or to have fine black artists on as guests – opera stars, actors, ballet dancers, etc. It will be in character because Felix will be part of cultural New York. He will be involved with these people, some of whom will be his friends. While Oscar, a sportswriter, will be interested in going to the track."

Ron Glass continued, "I saw less than an hour of the TV series (starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman). I never saw it on stage with any of the various casts, and I missed the movie with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau (1968). Demond and I have been told that we have a hard act to follow. But I'm no judge of that because I’m not that familiar with the other casts. This show is going to be a great deal more realistic in 1982 than the original play which Neil Simon wrote for the theater in 1965."

Demond Wilson told the Chicago Tribune Co., "The big difference is two shvartzes (African Americans) in the lead. Even if we stuck exactly to the old format, which we're not doing, and read the old scripts verbatim, it would still come out different, simply because of the look of it. Ron is very analytical. He asks questions and he's sensitive and he's a good actor. I love Ron, don't get me wrong, but he can be heavy. My basic concern is with entertainment and numbers (ratings)."

Shot at Paramount Studios, Ron Glass insisted his character would wear "European au courant" wardrobe. Speaking to 'Copley News Service', Ron Glass emphasized, "There aren't any ruffled aprons and feather dusters. I have lots of lines. This may advance me into character parts. No more starting a sentence with 'Hey', and ending with 'Man'. And my Felix is going to be active, not passive. The aprons and the feather dusters are gone.

"In the 5 years it was on (1970-75), I probably saw less than an hour of it. When I became aware 'Barney (Miller)' probably was going to end, I was approached about the possibility of doing this show. But I didn't sign until after we actually buried 'Barney'. Driving to work that last morning, I felt much like I did when I drove my mother to the cemetery. That was my family. I came to Los Angeles in 1972 and did 'Barney Miller' for eight years (1974-1982), so I don't really know how I feel about L.A. without 'Barney Miller'.

"Now I must remind myself I used to do things other than Harris (detective Ron Harris in 'Barney Miller'). This new role is challenging, exciting and at the same time scary. When I read some of the old 'Odd Couple' scripts, I felt there was a character in there interesting to do. Also I knew it had to be different from what I read since much of it was written for Tony Randall and I'm not Tony Randall and don’t wish to be. So it’s an interesting position to be in.

"I don't know what I'm getting into. But why not give it a go and see what happens. We all knew life has to go on, that we had to let go of it. We had the experience and there's no way anybody can take that away from us. Nobody wants to take a step backward. I'm terrified at being a part of something that was that successful but it ('Barney Miller') didn't start out that way, as fleshed out and as full as it turned out. Hopefully, it won't just be a series of sloppy-neat jokes."

Garry Marshall noted, "There are many slobs who speak well and he (Oscar) does have clothes." Demond Wilson offered, "If the public likes you and wants to see you, it doesn't make any difference. I don't take any of this (publicity) seriously. My priorities are God, my family and show business. I take God seriously. This (publicity) is an illusion. Fame is an illusion. I'm enjoying it but you just can't let yourself become affected by this Hollywood town.

"See, I'm from reality. I'm from Harlem. From Harlem, through a war, then out here. I'm a survivor. I feel God put me here for this reason: to entertain people. Until he says no, it doesn’t matter what the press or what I was put here for. I might not be sitting here. I could’ve easily had my black butt shot off in Vietnam. Look at Richard Pryor. He set himself aflame, but God said, 'Not yet', and blew the fire out. He wanted Richard to entertain. Yes, Virginia, there is a God … You can't make everyone in the world like you. If you try, you’re just spinning your wheels and it's an exercise in futility and you frustrate yourself and you become Sammy Davis Jr."

Of public relations, Diana told Tina Brown and Anna Wintour over lunch in June 1997 at the Four Seasons (East Fifty-second Street, between Lexington and Park), "I tried again and again to get them (the Royal Family) to hire someone like him (political strategist Peter Mandelson who helped got Tony Blair elected) to give them proper advice, but they didn't want to hear it. They kept saying I was manipulative. But what's the alternative? To just sit there and have them (the press) make your image for you? Sometimes editors at newspapers would write editorials suggesting things they could do, but instead of paying attention one of the private secretaries would ring up and give the editors a rocket."

Of the success of 'The New Odd Couple', Ron Glass reasoned, "You're looking at a bonafide crossover person. I have appeal to the mass audience as opposed to performers who draw limited or racial audiences. Before accepting this part I made it clear even though we're basing the show on old scripts, they would be updated to 1982 and that Felix, whose marriage broke up, would not spend any time bemoaning the fact.

"When a marriage blows up these days (by 1982), people don't sit around crying. They get out there and find some new romantic interests. I don't play losers as a steady diet, and that's what Felix would be if he were self-pitying loser. I also made it clear how difficult it is to put actors into material written for other actors. Most of 'The Odd Couple' TV scripts were tailored to Randall and Klugman. It would be unwieldy for us to stick close to the original scripts. As a result of my insistence on making significant changes, the producers agreed to include 5 original scripts in the first 13. We're going for a sophisticated adult comedy."

Demond Wilson stated, "What I hope happens is that this show will be a catalyst and start another cycle of opportunity for black performers. The first black series was 'Julia' with Diahann Carroll. Then we did 'Sanford and Son' and that paved the way for a string of black comedies including 'That's My Mama', 'Good Times' and 'The Jeffersons'. But things go in cycles. I hope we become a spawning ground for black talent – actors, writers, directors."

In 1977, Demond Wilson decided not to renew his contract even though he was offered "more than $25,000 per episode" after Redd Foxx left 'Sanford and Son' to host 'The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour' on ABC. Speaking to 'The Sunday Constitution' in August 1977, Redd Foxx enthused, "All I can tell you is that we're in preproduction. We hope to get Idi Amin as a guest for the 4th week. The fact we’re on at 10 o’clock gives us a little leeway to do the type of humor I like to. Not Dirty. The only four-letter words on the show will be Redd Foxx. I've been on television since 1964 and I've never once gotten bleeped. It's necessary to have black writers. I'm not a white actor and it comes off like I'm trying to be white if the lines aren't right. I already got lips so thin I can hardly taste barbecue."

Of his decision, Demond Wilson clarified, "I live in Bel Air. I have 5 cars and 4 children in a private school. I haven't suffered. I like a long run, but after 6 years (1972-77) our show ('Sanford and Son') had started bordering on lunacy. When it first started out, it was legitimate. The first week Redd and I dressed in a closet. Redd drove up in a coupe de ville, and by June he had a $75,000 Rolls. I arrived in a Ford Falcon without a horn, and graduated to an El Dorado.

"'Sanford and Son' ruled the roost. Redd was a forerunner. Richard Pryor received the acclaim Redd was supposed to get. But after 5 years, it started running out of ideas. We did 'Sanford' for 6 and a half years. After that amount of time, you're tired from the inside – almost going through the motions, and that's sad. I was really exhausted and I shouldn't have done 'Baby, I'm Back' (about a husband declared legally dead returned after 7 years as his wife was about to marry another man). My mind was there but I wasn't sharp and I knew it.

"I'd said from the beginning I only wanted to do the show ('Sanford and Son') as long as Redd (Foxx) was on. When he got his ABC deal, I was offered a small raise, no creative control and no percentage to continue with the show – which I didn't want to do anyway. Meanwhile, these people from CBS  ('Baby, I'm Back') were saying, 'Demond, Demond, we got money over here.' This series ('The New Odd Couple') for me is not a money series per se. I'm perfectly satisfied with the pay scale they've given me. I'm looking for a development deal, TV movies. So I'm gonna pull out all the stops with this show. Get ready, America."

In 1975, 'The Odd Couple' was made into a morning cartoon show starring a cat and a dog. In 1985, in a gender-swapped edition, Oscar Madison and Felix Unger became Olive Madison and Florence Unger. In 1998, the sequel was released and in 2015, Matthew Perry as Oscar Madison co-starred with Thomas Lennon in the CBS series, 'The Odd Couple'. In all, 18 episodes were produced in the 1982 series developed by Garry Marshall for television. However after 13 episodes were shown weekly, the network began  pre-empting 'The New Odd Couple' "on a regular basis to try out limited-run sitcoms" before the remaining 5 episodes went on air. 'The New Odd Couple' (#60) did well against 'The Powers of Matthew Star' (#85) but way behind 'The Dukes of Hazzard' which finished the 1982-83 season averaging 17.2% households ratings and an estimated 14.3 million viewers. 

20171207

BARE ESSENCE

"A couple of years ago," Jaime Lyn Bauer told 'The Times-Herald' in 1983, "they (the producers) came up with a TV movie similar to 'Coal Miner's Daughter'. I asked my agent to put me up for it. I was told, 'You're not right. They’re looking for a Sissy Spacek type.' I said, 'Wait a minute; I come from a very poor family and, without makeup, I look almost identical to Sissy Spacek. What are you telling me?' 

"They said, 'You have too much grace.' I said I learned grace; I learned sophistication; I learned how to project that kind of character. If you want to see 'down home', come over to my house and watch me with my kids; look at me without my makeup. But I couldn't get any further. It's absurd … Someday I want to play a role where I don't dress in anything but Levis and an old shirt, with my hair stringing down my back and no makeup." 

Jaime Lyn Bauer also made the point, "How can you work as an actor, portraying someone else, if you don't know what normal life is like? If you're a star and you only travel with other stars, your guards, your dogs and your entourage, you don't have any connection with normal people any more. I've always been involved with more 'regular' people than people in the industry."

Of the industry, Jaime Lyn Bauer expressed, "You have to learn to use your wisdom about whether to play (the political games) or not play – or you're out completely. Producers and other executives do tremendous psychological numbers on performers in this industry (the show business) ... In the beginning, it is really frightening. There is a lot of pressure (as) people try to mold you and change you. They give you affection and approval; then they kick you. They do this in a very systematic way to manipulate and control you. I rebelled at all this, and they didn't know how to deal with it. If you don't let them put you in a little box, they go into shock. As soon as you confuse them, they start giving you power because they don't know what else to do." 

On 'Bare Essence', the steamy TV serial about the perfume industry set in New York, Jaime Lyn Bauer played Barbara Fisher, "She does get to wear a lot of beautiful clothes." Producer Chuck McLain told the 'Los Angeles Times', "Women tell us they can't afford to dress in an $800 office outfit, but they loved seeing the clothes." Luis Estevez experienced an increase in his ready-to-wear sales after the series 'Bare Essence' went on air. He believed, "If you could do a high-fashion TV series and follow it up with a merchandising campaign, you'd make a mint." 

In 1983, the successful CBS mini-series was switched over to NBC which hurriedly adapted 'Bare Essence' into a continuing weekly drama to take over the time slot of 'Gavilan'. 'Bare Essence' was heavily promoted and advertised in order to grab audience. The fashion budget for 'Bare Essence' was over $100,000 for the 11 one-hour episodes produced. The wedding dress Genie Francis wore in the premiere episode costed about $6,000. The lingerie, shoes and hosiery bills reportedly came to roughly $3,000 per episode, "Sometimes we were dressing as many as 50 extras, plus the 14 principals and 5 fashion models, for one scene." 

Jennifer O'Neill played Lady Bobbi Rowan told Associated Press, "It happened so quickly. I came out in December (1982) for meetings with NBC and Warner Bros Television and we started shooting on January 4 (1983)." Filming could not start sooner as Genie Francis' contract with CBS did not expire until December 31, 1982. Brandon Tartikoff initially ordered 6 episodes. Speaking to 'The Sioux City Journal' Chuck McLain explained, "The (CBS) network already had 3 serials on ('Dallas'; 'Knots Landing' and 'Falcon Crest'). They didn't need another one." The CBS representative stated, "We felt it ('Bare Essence') was fine for a mini-series, but once the story of Tyger (Hayes) and her rise to fame was told, that was it." 

It was understood NBC requested for the 11 episodes be wrapped by early May 1983. As a result, 'Bare Essence' had to be filmed entirely on location in Los Angeles as the network did not have time to build elaborate sets in the studio for the series. Ian McShane played the Onassis-like Greek millionaire Niko Theophilus told 'Nanaimo Daily Free Press', "It was all put together so fast. We were put on the air within a month (debut February 15, 1983). We're still trying to balance the plot lines, find out what works and who works well with whom. NBC wants instant results and shows like this need time to settle down and find a format. It's been good training. It's a fun part to play and if we're not picked up (for the 1983-84 season), it doesn't mean we were not good. This is big business. It’s been interesting." 

Genie Francis told the 'St. Petersburg Times', "I didn't take the cancellation of 'Bare Essence' as a personal failure. Many of the other prime-time series of that period didn't make it either." At the start of 'Bare Essence', Jennifer O'Neill observed, "Our show should work because times are rotten, people are depressed and are reaching for elegance, romance and fantasy. It's ('Bare Essence') pure fantasy and it's different from other series, because our main characters are women. 

"I'd seen the mini-series, and I thought it had more of an international flavor than any existing series. I thought a lot more could be done with it, particularly my relationship with my daughter. I think people are interested in relationships. I love these kind of series. You can sit down after a day's work and be swept away by the romanticism. At the same time, there are plenty of conflicts within the family. I find them entertaining and something I wanted to do. I received a lot of offers … and this seemed the most interesting. 

"The thing I like is that it’s not just getting in and out of limousines. I like that her life is changing and she's letting go of some relationships and renewing others. She felt she had relied too much on men and now she wants to establish her own identity. In the mini-series the character seemed to represent a type as opposed to being an individual. Linda (Evans) and I are not playing Lady Bobbi with an A-to-Z difference. The character I'm playing for all her worldly ways is vulnerable. I don't think that's a jarring change." 

Jessica Walter as Ava Marshall told 'Copley News Service' her character was "a mean witch. It's a good part, really meaty. It's a chance to show a great range. She's bitchy, but she has humor. Hopefully everyone who watches will love to hate her, not just hate her." Speaking to 'The Philadelphia Inquirer', Jessica Walter added, "I think I'll be around forever because I've never had an image of myself as an actress only. I consider myself a journeyman actor, an actor in the trenches.

"My fondest wish is that it ('Bare Essence') should run for 10 years because of the number of characters, it takes several episodes to get all the kinks ironed out, but I think we have the potential to be right up there in the ratings with 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty'. There are still a few things I want for my character. This woman has to have an Achilles' heel to show why she's so driven. I think her son, Marcus, might be good for that just like J.R.'s son is his weak spot. 

"Give me two or three good scenes an episode. That's all I need. I'm happy with quality screen time, not the quantity. Leave the audience wanting more. Frankly, I like working with a big cast where I'm not on camera all the time. I don't always have those tremendously long working days that hour-long dramas demand, and I even get an occasional day off." 

Jennifer O'Neill remembered, "Having worked mostly in movies, it was a shock to find out how quickly they shoot in television. When I worked for Visconti (Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo) in Italy (on 'The Innocent' 1976), he took 6 months to shoot the film. On this series we do an hour in 6 days. You learn your lines and get on with it. 

"I suppose that ('Summer of '42', 1971) will always be the film by which I'm remembered. It was a good film. It dealt with emotions everyone could understand. Yet the odd thing was I was on the screen for just 11 minutes. The reason I'm so well remembered in it is that every time you saw me you heard the theme music. The image and the music went hand in hand. That's very important. It's extraordinary how many classic movies had a theme song you remember. Yet even today (1983) a lot of movie makers don't realize the importance of that. 

"My whole attitude toward television has changed. When I started you were either a film actor or a TV actor and never the twain shall meet. Then I went to Europe for several years and when I came back I found there had been a metamorphosis. 'Rich Man, Poor Man' and 'Roots' had turned things around. You began to see a lot of film people on television. The business has changed to one of having to make things happen for yourself. Money is tight. But producing is only a means to an end. Eventually I'd like to direct. I was just offered a directing job but I took this instead. It was a Western and the script needed a lot of work and the budget wasn't what I wanted." 

Of daytime and prime time television, Jaime Lyn Bauer remarked, "There's a different technique involved, since we're using film versus tape." On 'The Young and the Restless', "We were memorizing 120 pages of dialog a week. It isn't just the memorizing, it's the endurance you have to build up to go along with it. If we had a 7-minute scene, we played it straight on through to the end. All of it. Sometimes there were 4 or 5 retakes. You need stamina for that. So many people in the business haven't even seen a soap in 20 years (since the 1960s); they don't know just how much they've improved. They have no concept what's involved in the timing and technique of daytime drama." 

After finishing taping her last scene on 'The Young and the Restless' in August 1982, Jaime Lyn Bauer told the press at the time, "Everything happened so fast. I was really figuring on a minimum of 6 months, if I was lucky, before I'd get another job, but I thought it would more likely take a year. I was supposed to do a test for a feature film that fell through temporarily. Then my agents called and said I had an interview for 'Bare Essence' the next Monday. They'd advised against some other series, but they were enthusiastic about this one, so I said OK. My new role, Barbara, is a different character, and she has different clothes, different lovers, different everything. You can't believe how excited I am about this."

20171203

AUTOMAN

Glen Larson created the TV series, 'Automan' first went on air between December 1983 and April 1984. The 13 episodes including the pilot, averaged 13.5% households ratings and 20% audience share up against 'Magnum, p.i.' which attracted 22.4% households ratings and 34% audience share. Automan was regarded a symbol of the computer age. Desi Arnaz, Jr. played the computer expert who brought Automan, a computer-generated hologram (or three dimensional (3D) images) into the real world. 

Associated Press reported, "All of the special effects that light up Automan, the cursor that precedes him and his special car, are done live. A beam-splitter attached to the camera causes light-reactive pieces of cloth and adhesive to appear to glow." Desi Arnaz, Jr. as Walter Nebicher insisted, "They're ('Automan' and 'Tron') are not really the same. This is more real life, taking it into real situations. 'Tron' took place inside the computer. And this is a comedy and 'Tron' wasn't a comedy. Besides, we have some special effects that are more recent than 'Tron'. This is like a 'new frontier' in filmmaking. The nature of the live special effects is unique. It's very exciting." Viewers were told, "A hologram, when perfected can be made to look, sound and feel real. It's an electronic simulation in 3 dimensions." 

'The Conversation' reported in 2013, "Three dimensional holographic images and floating displays outside a screen have long been a favorite of science fiction movies such as the rescue message carried by R2-D2 in 'Star Wars'. The success of James Cameron's 3D movie 'Avatar' caused a tremendous worldwide interest in flexible, high-definition and floating display devices. 

"In fact, the dream of optically displaying a 3D object has been constantly driving the revolution of display technologies over the past decade. At the moment most 3D imagery is only seen with the aid of special glasses. But the revenue generated by this 3D technology market in 2013 exceeded US$93.21 billion (almost double the global solar market), and is expected to grow up to US$279.27 billion by 2018." 

In February 2017, Jamie Condliffe of 'MIT Technology Review' reported, "A bright-green laser flashes on, shining into a petri dish full of goo. From nowhere, the shape of a paper clip emerges - ghostly at first, then solid. Five seconds later the clip is fished out, cleaned up, and ready for use. The basic principle here is an established 3D-printing technique that uses lasers to cure a light-activated monomer into solid plastic. 

"But unlike other approaches, which scan a laser back and forth to create shapes one layer at a time, this system does it all at once using a 3D light field - in other words, a hologram. It could make 3D printing far faster. At the heart of the device that printed the paper clip is a holographic chip developed by Daqri, a startup that designs and builds augmented-reality devices out of laboratories in San Francisco and in Milton Keynes, U.K. The company makes smart glasses similar to Microsoft’s HoloLens and head-up displays for cars; the latter have been fitted to over 150,000 vehicles made by Jaguar Land Rover." 

In May 2017, 'PR Newswire' reported, "Holographic Imaging Market is poised to cross US$3 billion by 2024; according to a new research study published by Global Market Insights, Inc. Increasing adoption of holographic imaging in medical education should drive the holographic imaging market size over the forecast years. Medical practitioners and students are widely using holographic techniques to effectively study the human body, since the technology provides surgeons with a detailed view of patient anatomy without cutting into the body.

"Emergence of 3D holographic imaging has revolutionized the medical imaging and surgery. The technology converts the given two dimensional MRI and CT scan imaging data into interactive virtual reality images. Using these images doctors can dissect, view and manipulate the body organs in any plane required. The 3D holographic imaging should also become more affordable and integral in medical education in coming 7 to 10 years." 

'PTI News' reported in May 2017, "Scientists have created the world's thinnest hologram that can be seen without 3D goggles and may be integrated into everyday electronics such as smartphones, computers and TVs. Interactive 3D holograms are a staple of science fiction - from 'Star Wars' to 'Avatar' - but the challenge for scientists trying to turn them into reality is developing holograms that are thin enough to work with modern electronics. Now, researchers led by RMIT University in Australia have designed a nano-hologram that is simple to make, can be seen without 3D goggles and is 1,000 times thinner than a human hair."

Min Gu, the Professor at RMIT told 'PTI News', "Conventional computer-generated holograms are too big for electronic devices but our ultrathin hologram overcomes those size barriers. Our nano-hologram is also fabricated using a simple and fast direct laser writing system, which makes our design suitable for large-scale uses and mass manufacture. From medical diagnostics to education, data storage, defense and cyber security, 3D holography has the potential to transform a range of industries and this research brings that revolution one critical step closer." 

'PTI News' understood, "Conventional holograms modulate the phase of light to give the illusion of three-dimensional depth. However, to generate enough phase shifts, those holograms need to be at the thickness of optical wavelengths. The RMIT team, working with the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) in China, has broken this thickness limit with a 25 nanometre hologram based on a topological insulator material - a novel quantum material that holds the low refractive index in the surface layer but the ultrahigh refractive index in the bulk. The topological insulator thin film acts as an intrinsic optical resonant cavity, which can enhance the phase shifts for holographic imaging."

Zengyi Yue co-authored the research paper published in 'Nature Communications' told 'PTI News', "The next stage for this research will be developing a rigid thin film that could be laid onto an LCD screen to enable 3D holographic display. This involves shrinking our nano-hologram's pixel size, making it at least 10 times smaller. But beyond that, we are looking to create flexible and elastic thin films that could be used on a whole range of surfaces, opening up the horizons of holographic applications."

20171201

TELEVISION

"High concept" was the Hollywood catchphrase first used around July 1983. Bud Grant clarified, "A high-concept show would be 'The Dukes of Hazzard'. A low-concept one would be 'The Waltons'. A high-concept show is somehow unique and flashy with action." Producer Lindsay Law described a high concept program as one that could "sell itself". Brandon Tartikoff added, "A high-concept show is any show I don't have to explain to my Press Department more than once."  Glen Larson remarked, "It's unique and out-of-the-ordinary, something that hasn't been done before." 

As a rule the premise and plot of a high concept program must immediately be understood by all viewers (or a show with something for everybody). Peter Bart of MGM/UA made the comment at the time, "The most dangerous trend of the (North American) summer (in 1983) was the success of 'Trading Place' (starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy), the kind of picture we used to call a 'gimmick' movie. Now they're called 'high-concept' movies and the concept comes first – then the characters, then the story.

"Eight people have come into my office with ideas for movies about break dancing (gymnastic street dance) and 15 people have said, 'Let's do a high-concept movie about exercise clubs. It's always the same story. Boy on Nautilus machine meets girl in leotards and there's lots of dancing and sex. If movies reflected submissions, half the movies being made next year (in 1984) would be about break dancing or exercise clubs."

On television, viewers were introduced to the high-concept series, 'Mr. Smith', about a talking Orangutan (played by C.J.) who had a 256 IQ and worked for the US government as a consultant. The human voice of Mr. Smith belonged to Ed Weinberger. Producer Stan Daniels observed, "We've done shows with women and shows with men. This was the only thing left."

In another high-concept series, Don Boyle came up with an idea about a New York City professor who learned the secret of changing himself into a panther, a shark, a hawk or a cat in 'Manimal'. Brandon Tartikoff made the point, "We have to try a black genie (in the sitcom 'Just Our Luck'), just like we have to try a guy who turns into an animal (in 'Manimal') against 'Dallas'."

Following 'Manimal' on Friday nights in 1983 was the low-concept military drama, 'For Love And Honor' which was produced by David Gerber. Filmed on location at Fort MacArthur on the outskirts of San Pedro, California and at MGM/UA studios in Culver City, 'For Love And Honor' told the military stories of a peacetime paratrooper battalion of the fictional 88th Airborne Division. The recruits at the elite military base were in training to be combat-ready to be part of a rapid deployment force.

"It is not an Army show. We do not have the support of the US Armed Forces," David Gerber disclosed. "The military background is solely for dramatic tension, a device wherein we bring the characters together and place them in conflict, in life-and-death situations. What I've attempted to do is come up with a hybrid, a realistic drama with modern army life as a backdrop. The result is a series that has all the ingredients of a prime-time soap opera plus the action and adventure not usually found in the soaps."

Cliff Potts played First Sergeant Eugene Allards, "the balance on the seesaw between the enlisted men and the overly ambitious captain." He expressed, "One of the best things about this series is that the people involved are not only TV personalities, they're actors as well. The fact that it's set within a military structure makes it no more pro-military than 'Hill Street Blues' is pro-police. Both shows are dramas. They deal with people."

However 'For Love And Honor' was unable to attract the minimum 25% audience share to stay on air. For the 1983-84 season, the 12 episodes of 'For Love And Honor' averaged 9.1% ratings (of the 83.3 million TV households in the US at the time) and 16% audience share. David Gerber continued, "I begged NBC to get us out of that Friday night time period because we were dying in the ratings." Cliff Potts remembered, "We have some growing pains. We've been under the gun since we started. I thought we'd be a midseason replacement and have time to work out the kinks, but instead they put us on in the fall."

David Gerber continued, "First, they wanted strong, masculine adventure. Then they wanted more melodrama, like in the soaps. Then we weren't quite a soap and we weren't an adventure. Maybe I'm in the wrong pew." Cliff Potts recounted, "There have been so many changes since we did the pilot. Spell those changes s-e-x." Critic Stuart D. Bykofsky praised, "I admired 'Love And Honor' for the things it had and things it did – good scripts, believable situations, interesting characters, good acting, good directing. I also liked it for the things it avoided – gratutious sex, moronic melodrama and brainless cliff-hangers."

David Gerber voiced, "Yes, I’m going to have more melodrama." Already filmed sequences were reportedly had to be re-edited and scenes from one episode had to be moved to another episode. David Gerber continued, "They want pure soaper and action with adventure. I’ve been begging the network to take the series off. To give us time to rework the show – and bring it back next season (1984-85), in a different time slot, away from 'Falcon Crest'.

"We've been going crazy trying to keep up with the changes the network wants. They want wall-to-wall soap opera. I'm not ready to do that. I will give them melodrama from time to time, as long as I don’t lose the impact of it as a military show. But it’s going to take time to get all that sort out. I wouldn't say 'stoop'. Let me use the word 'bend' rather than 'stoop'. I'm hoping the stories are not banal while they are bigger than life. There ought to be room on TV for straight drama, for something besides soap. I'm on thin ice within myself. I don't know how it's going to come out. It's a roll of the dice at the moment."

Critic Gary Deeb noted, "Under the direction of executive producer David Gerber and head writers Leon Tokatyan and Diana Bell Tokatyan, 'For Love And Honor' steers itself into surprisingly effective territory. The stories are interesting, the characters are very touching, and there are a lot of sexually hot stares, smiles and winks exchanged throughout the program. Most of it is quite plausible dramatically."

Cliff Potts continued, "Essentially, if you want people to watch you have to have charming and attractive characters. The military has been so low-key for such a long time that people forget it's made up of people. The military is a tool and the important thing isn't what happens at our level. Young people who go into the military can't make political choices. It's up to the nation as to how this tool is used."

After the first 6 episodes including the pilot NBC had commissioned went on air, the network decided to re-order for another 6 episodes but switched time slot to Tuesday against 'Hart To Hart'. With 'The A-Team' and 'Remington Steele' provided lead-in audience, 'For Love And Honor' still only attracted, in one week, 9.4% households ratings and 17% audience share compared to 'Hart To Hart' 16.3% households ratings and 28% audience share.

Speaking to the press, Cliff Potts made known, "When I got this role my mother clapped. She says I do my best work in uniform. Mother liked what I did in (the mini-series) 'Once An Eagle' (1976-77) and I have to agree because I thought it was one of my best roles. He was a man who was too ambitious to get ahead. I'd just gotten back from Israel where I did 'Sahara' with Brooke Shields.

"It's set in 1927 and she's driving in a Sahara car rally and ends up in the middle of an Arab holy war. I play the man who designs and builds her car and goes along as her navigator and helpmate. I stopped in Paris for a week of relaxation on the way back and when I arrived I got a call from David Gerber, the producer, on Monday. I went to the network on Wednesday and started filming the next Monday."

Yaphet Kotto played drill instructor, Master Sergeant John "China" Bell, "We’re doing our 6th show now (or at the time), and I have yet to see a script that's like the movie ('An Officer And A Gentleman'). People look at the surface. They see me, a black man, they see a white guy (Cliff Potts) and a girl (Shelley Smith) and they say, it's gotta be the same. It's like saying if you do anything military with a black guy in it, you're copying 'An Officer And A Gentleman'."

Shelley Smith played Carolyn Engel, the captain in the medical corps. "We have the sense in our show that we could go to war at any time because we are a combat-ready unit," Shelley Smith explained. "In fact, I know in one episode we shot, the guys go off in a plane, and it looks like they're going to head into a troubled area (the episode reportedly filmed two weeks before the real life US invasion of Grenada in 1983).

"I don't know if people care what I have to say about this. I'm an actor. I'm not a politician and I don't know the end-all and I'm not very well read on foreign policy, but if you ask me my opinion, I think that there's a heck of a lot more to take care of in this country (the US), rather than pouring the money and the people into Lebanon (US marines were sent to Lebanon 1982-84 on a peacekeeping mission) and El Salvador (the civil war in El Salvador lasted 1980-1992) and all the other trouble spots in the world."

Of the relationship between First Sergeant Allard and Captain Engel, Cliff Potts offered, "I think they're going to have to go off and do it in a different social milieu. She's worried that he's an enlisted man and she's an officer. I'm confident enough not only to carry on a relationship with an officer but a woman who has been to college. But it's always been on her turf. The Army is his turf. What would happen to him at a cocktail party where there are a couple of VIPs and he’s just a sergeant?"

Shelley Smith shared, "When I was a top model and I worked for a lot of years, every year the prices went up. Now they’re so high that even a medium model can earn $80,000 a year – and the top models, forget it, it’s half a million. The years I was working, it wasn't that much, but it was still a lot of money. And in a certain way, easy money - $2,500 a day to put some clothes on? Unless the weather’s bad or the clients are nasty, it’s not a bad thing to have to do.

"In modeling, you have nothing to think about. It’s so exterior. So I’d make jokes all the time. That’s what got me through. I think that’s why people hired me, not for the way I look. Joke it up. You have to laugh at it. If you take it too seriously you’ve got deep trouble. I love practical jokes and I love to tease people. Sometimes I feel guilty because you hope that someone has a good enough sense of humor to take a joke, but sometimes it goes a little too far and someone might take you too seriously."

In 1970, Yaphet Kotto decided to set up his own film production company in part to search for meaty roles but also to hire minorities in behind the camera jobs. Yaphet Kotto elaborated, "I found out there weren’t many, women especially. Once, I was told, 'Women don’t do that.' I put up $25,000 out of my pocket to train 12 women as script supervisors. The other day (in 1983) at MGM a woman came up to me and said, 'I want to thank you. You put me through school so I have this job.' I still don’t know her name."

By 1983, "I think there are more opportunities now for those who really want to try but it comes down to one thing, money. I don’t think anyone is consciously saying, 'Let's keep blacks, women, minorities out of these jobs.' What they're saying is, 'How can we make money? Let's do another 'E.T.', or 'Jaws'."  As a model becoming an actress, Shelley Smith believed, "It's even more of a help now because people like Veronica (Hamel), you don’t take her lightly. People like Jessica Lange, who keeps winning the top awards for acting, are very good actresses. When I first came out here it got me in the door, it got me an agent. I had studied acting, thank goodness, and I still do, but they don’t know if you can act at that point. It gets you in the door. It doesn’t get you a job.

"Pilot season (January through March) is a tough time of year for actors and it’s a particular beef of mine. You used to be able to read for different projects and then decide, but now an actor must sign an agreement after being cast in a pilot (to turn down other projects during the holding period while the networks decided whether to buy the series for the fall or not)."

Yaphet Kotto: "Since 1968, when I did my first television, I've been fortunate to be one of those actors who has been able to move between movies, TV and the stage. I did ‘The Liberation of Lord Byron Jones', 'Report to the Commissioner', 'Blue Collar', 'Alien' without an agent. The producers called when they were just starting the project. I was hired for 'Report to the Commisioner' a year before the movie was made and the producer gave me holding money so I wouldn't get tied up with anything else.

"Television is a grind. One of my shortcomings is that I don't think about the business aspects. I get involved in a character and, sometimes, it doesn’t work out. I was interested (in 'For Love And Honor') because China's a departure for me. I've played middle-of-the-road guys, policemen, lawyers, in most of my 28 movies (to 1983), and only two bad guys, but somehow I got tagged with this 'heavy' label. This one's a romantic role. China's a Vietnam veteran who was captured and escaped. He had to leave his Vietnamese wife and child behind and has lost contact with them. Meantime, another woman has come into his life and he's caught between them. It's the working out of his conflict and finding himself that interested me. He's a real multidimensional character." 

20171121

EMERALD POINT

"To me, religion and psychology are not separate," M. Scott Peck told journalist David Sheff in the March 1991 'Playboy' interview. "Part of my own religious development actually came about through my psychiatric work. In 'People of the Lie', I wrote, 'Faith is the choice of the nobler alternative.' A.A. works because it's a program of religious or spiritual conversion.

"I suspect that many people who do not profess to be religious have a sense of a higher power, even when they're not yet on friendly terms with it, and A.A. helps them discover that. It works because it's a psychological program that helps uncover the motivations behind unhealthy symptoms. It teaches people not only why they should go forward through the desert toward God but also how they should go forward through the desert. It teaches people how to support one another. Joining A.A. is obviously not an easy decision. When you have made the decision, there is some sadness in being in this minority who have transcended the culture."

It was explained people in A.A. and therapy "make up 4 or 5% of the population (in the U.S.) now (in 1991), which is significant. The bigger the number, the more we can go forward as a race. We take control of our own lives and become intolerant of irresponsible governments. People become more compassionate and at the same time more competent (or consciousness expanding).

"Being awake involves an appreciation of life, of the environment, of our fellow man. And an intolerance of waste, of incompetent bureaucracy, of prejudice. I used to tell my patients that therapy is not about happiness, it is about power. I can't guarantee that you'll leave therapy one jot happier. What I can guarantee is that you will leave more competent (or headexpanding). There is a certain joy that comes from knowing you're worrying about the big things and no longer getting bent out of shape over the little ones."

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who died on Easter Sunday 1955, viewed evolution as growth in consciousness and the whole evolutionary process of the universe would culminate in the Omega Point. He described the origin of all things the 'Alpha point' (with man as the axis) and 'Omega' (or the Noosphere, 'mind-sphere') being the center (presently the Internet of all things).

M. Scott Peck continued, "God is love, God is light, God is truth. And so science is very godly. But it doesn’t answer all questions. My experience is that I am being manipulated by a power beyond me. I think many people have that experience. What some people do is to ignore it. I choose to cooperate with it, because as far as I can ascertain, this manipulative power is infinitely more intelligent than I am and seems to have my best interests at heart. That doesn’t mean I’m powerless, but I see us as being co-creators. For me, that makes more sense than secular humanism, which says that we create everything, or some kind of Calvinism, which says that God predetermines everything."

M. Scott Peck also made the point, "To me, sex and God are inherently connected, which is why the American ideal of romantic love is so troublesome. It holds that it ought to be possible for Cinderella to ride off with her prince into an endless sunset of endless orgasms. Well, anyone who buys that is doomed to disappointment. Such people are looking to their spouse or their lover to fulfill them, to be their God, their heaven on earth. It violates the First Commandment.

"Idolatry of human romantic love is no less a form of idolatry. The older I’ve gotten, the more impressed I have become by sexuality, by what the mysterious essence of the difference between men and women is, which we don’t understand. Science doesn’t even begin to understand what the nonanatomical differences between men and women are – to what extent they’re genetic, to what extent they’re cultural, and what not. But I’m profoundly impressed by the differences.

"People have the fantasy that once they get married, they will no longer be lonely. Then, when they find themselves still lonely, they think, 'Well, gee, the marriage must be bad, it must not be working.' But the healthiest marriages can, at times, be lonely places. The answer is learning and growing, and your marriage can help you do that. When we look to a spouse or a lover to meet all of our needs, to fulfill us, to bring us a lasting heaven on earth, it never works, does it? It’s very natural for us to want to do that, because it’s natural to want to have a tangible God, one we can touch and hold and embrace and sleep with and maybe even possess. But it doesn’t work. I’ve said before that there are only two valid reasons to get married. Lots of invalid ones but only two valid ones.

"One is for the care and raising of children. The only other valid reason is for the friction marriage provides. A marriage ought to consist of two people who are gathered for some purpose higher than that mere pleasure of being together. Namely, to help each other on their own journeys of spiritual growth, through and with the friction. We’re supposedly a Christian culture, yet Jesus wasn’t terribly happy. He never had much peace of mind.

"The common image of him that Christians try to create is what my (ex) wife, Lily, calls the wimpy Jesus – someone who went around with this sweet smile on his face, doing very little other than patting children on the head. But that’s not at all the Jesus of the Gospels. The fact is, life is difficult and there is often much to worry about. That’s very disillusioning for people who think that we’re here to be happy."

On the TV series, 'Emerald Point N.A.S', Susan Dey played a woman coming to term with her unhappiness by going to therapy. Esther Shapiro described the show as "the warrior class. There's a feeling in the country involving a return to tradition, a search for heroes." M. Scott Peck believed, "I think that one of our primitive needs is to have heroes rather than to be heroes ourselves. This supposedly Christian culture emphasizes family values – the family that prays together stays together – as if Jesus had been some kind of a great family man.

"I don’t necessarily want to knock family values, but the fact is that the Jesus of the Gospels was not a great family man. If anything, he was a breaker-up of families. He set siblings against siblings and children against parents. And he did that because he was fighting against the idolatry of family – where family togetherness becomes sacred at all costs, where it becomes more important to do what will keep the family matriarch or patriarch happy than to do what God wants you to do."

Esther Shapiro continued, "The linchpin of the show is the admiral. He's King Lear with three daughters." In one scene, Tom Mallory told Celia Warren, "You're my first born. That mean you will always be special to me. But I swear to God, sometimes I have never understood you. You know why we name you Celia? Because it means from the heaven. You were a gift from heaven for your mother and me … I wouldn't trade my girls for any sons." Celia countered, "Are you sure? Think about it. A son carrying on the family name, the family tradition. Three for one wouldn't be a bad trade?"

Speaking to 'Movie Mirror', Susan Dey talked about her role, "The whole schedule of receiving new scripts every six days was hard to adjust to. First of all the plot is non-ending. It's like life, there is no ending, it just keeps going. It's more realistic. Celia started off as really a frightened, very confused woman who broke away from what she thought her unhappiness was: her first husband (Jack), and her father. She has this tremendous amount of freedom.

"This happens in therapy a lot: you find solution to one of your problems, and you feel, 'Oh great, I'll never have to deal with again,' and then a couple of months later (you find yourself confronting) the same thing all over again. Now Celia is discovering that she really needs help. There is something that is very deep-rooted that has caused unhappiness in her life, and that her relationship with these other men (after Jack) is not going to make a difference, and breaking up with her husband is not going to make a difference.

"She realizes that it is something else that she has to deal with, which is a tremendous amount of growth. Instead of drinking, and instead of being like time-bomb … So I feel that there has been a lot of emotional growth in the character. She is not as frightened, she is willing to face her problems and try and find out about this power over her that lets her keep making the same mistakes."

Filmed at 20th Century-Fox Studios, 'Emerald Point N.A.S.' sought to explore "all the conflicts and pressures of military life and the mutually beneficial but antagonistic relationship between the military base and the local community." World War II naval aviator Dennis Weaver played widowed Rear Admiral Thomas Mallory, the commander of 30,000 sailors at the naval air station in Annapolis. "I flew the F4F Wildcat, but I never got overseas," Dennis Weaver disclosed.

"I fought the battles of Baffin Bay, Alameda and Opalocka. I had orders to go overseas but then they dropped the bomb and the war was over. This military man is nothing like the colonel I played in ‘Pearl’. That man was a real climber. He was happy when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the war started. This guy is very concerned about the future of the world. He’s a strong man with good morals. He’s a man of compassion, but he’s also devoted to his duty. I’m sure he’s tempted but he doesn’t yield to it. He’s not going to be jumping around from woman to woman."

"This is my first serial and I find it kind of interesting. Every time we get a new script I want to know how the story is going to come out. I guess that’s how the audience gets hooked, too. I want to see how he gets out of a predicament. Since I play (the guitar) and sing, we’re trying to work that into the story. I have a house guest who’s my equivalent in the Soviet navy. Esther wants to make it human and have me play something on the guitar and he’ll play something on the balalaika."

Against the NBC's Monday night movie and ABC's 'Monday Night Football', 'Emerald Point N.A.S.' attracted between 19 and 26% share of the audience, however running last in its time period. The first 2-hour episode attracted the highest ratings (19.2% households and 29% audience share). In March 1984, 'Falcon Crest' was preempted so 'Emerald Point N.A.S.' could be shown following 'Dallas' but only attracted 24% audience share compared to its lead-in, 41% audience share.

Bud Grant lamented, "I thought 'Emerald Point' was going to work. I really did. I think it didn't work in retrospect because of the background. I think that the military or naval background was too limiting to be broadly identified by the general public. But I thought that program was going to work. I thought it was in the proper time period opposite football on Monday night and I thought it had a very attractive cast. I thought it would work, but it didn’t."

Esther Shapiro recounted, "In conceiving a program, we ask ourselves whether we can find a fresh arena and give the characters a broad base in which to act. A naval station, with its large numbers of personnel permanently based there and those constantly coming and going, along with the structured military class system, seems an ideal forum. Besides, I've always been attracted to uniforms, particularly white uniforms.

"Mostly, we will be showing the tradition inherent in the story's setting. The navy is the top gun of the services. It encompasses all those romantic fantasies about the military. Dennis' character is the prototype. Despite the pressures and problems, he must set the standard for those around him. We wanted to set the series in the South because there are so many bases there, and so much of Navy tradition comes from there. Also, in the South, the high officers' houses are likely to be former mansions held by the National Trust, which provides us with an opportunity to inject some glamor."

Richard Shapiro added, "The form allows basically a new show every couple of years. Characters move in and out of the story, which keeps it fresh and interesting for the audience and for us." Dennis Weaver offered, "When that tradition, that honor is bent, that's where the drama and the story come from. I was the first one hired. I think this whole cycle that we're going through now (in 1983), of military stories being acceptable again, makes the possibility of this being a success even greater. The feeling has changed since Vietnam. The military can be heroes again. We (Tom and Maggie Farrell) have an antagonistic kind of relationship. It's a love-hate relationship. At least, I hope love will enter into it. She's to be my romantic interest. I'm a widower and she has a husband, a Navy captain, who's been missing in action for 10 years."

Jill St. John played Deanna Kincaid, "What's the point of not enjoying the way you live? I've lived in Hollywood, Paris, Aspen, London and Honolulu, and I’ve traveled all over the world with the men in my life. Glamor is a great commodity. I enjoy looking good and feeling good and alluring. More women should feel that way about themselves and not be apologetic about it. (Around 1978) I took time off just to enjoy living. I worked once a year so my name wouldn't be forgotten. And I launched my Smith-St.John sweater company. I made some investments, and I traveled all over.

"The 6-year respite was good for me. I love skiing, hiking and rafting, but it got to be too much of a good thing. I began to lose touch with show business. I don't even get television reception at my house. I read books. Can you believe this? I agreed to appear in an episode of 'Magnum, p.i.' and I had never seen the show. When I arrived in Hawaii I had never laid eyes on Tom Selleck. When I returned to Aspen I realized that I missed acting and decided to go for a full time career again. I wanted to make a commitment to acting.

"When I heard 'Emerald Point N.A.S.' was written by Esther Shapiro, who wrote those great female roles for 'Dynasty', I changed my mind. And with such a big cast I only work 2 or 3 days a week. I get back to Aspen once or twice a month. During the ski season, I'll be going there every weekend. The woman I play is a very glamorous good-bad girl with fabulous clothes and jewels. I also have a lot of steamy love scenes with Patrick O'Neal. I hope the part matches my own glamor image. I work hard to believe that."

20171119

CHINESE PUZZLE

A special exhibit dedicated to Chinese puzzles (yizhi youxi) was on display in 2011 at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), New York City. Mathematician Peter Rasmussen and Wei Zhang created the Classical Chinese Puzzle project. Peter Rasmussen told 'Wired' magazine, "In English, the phrase 'Chinese puzzle' is frequently used as a metaphor to describe something difficult, complex, intricate — or even senseless. For us, however, 'Chinese puzzle' has a specific meaning. Puzzles are usually — but not always — games that are played by oneself, use physical apparatus, and involve arranging, disentangling, putting something together or figuring out a sequence of moves to arrive at a predetermined goal." 

In 2014, the Cédric Klapisch's film, 'Casse-tête chinois' ('Chinese Puzzle') was released. 'Chinese Puzzle' was the finale of a trilogy which started in 2002 with 'L'Auberge Espagnole' ('The Spanish Apartment'), then followed by 'Les poupées russes' ('Russian Dolls') in 2005. Cédric Klapisch told 'comingsoon.net' at the time, "'L'Auberge' I wrote the script in two weeks, 'Russian Dolls' in four months and this one I wrote the script in eight months. I really needed the eight months. It was a lot more complex to write, I needed more time to think about it and I also needed to spend some time in New York to be able to write the story that wasn't only a touristy way of showing New York. I really felt like I needed time for this movie. 

"I also needed some time to think more about what they became as actors, all of them, and to think more about what they became as characters between ‘Russian Dolls’ and now. Some characters have changed and some stayed the same. It was interesting to work on their destiny but they don't have the same rhythm, all the characters, so it's not like everyone's changed a lot. A very individualistic rhythm for every character." 

The three movies grossed between $15 million and $20 million in France. By the time of the 'Chinese Puzzle', those roommates, as Peter Bradshaw of 'The Guardian' reported, were "pushing 40 with complicated lives: divorce, remarriage, jobs in different cities, stepkids. Fitting it all together is the 'Chinese puzzle' of the title, and Klapisch turns China into a pert motif for exotic muddle (as in, perhaps: 'Forget it, Jake, it's Chinese-puzzle-town') … For all its goofiness and silliness, the story bops amiably and fluently along. It's a sort of boxset drama where the best stuff is in the last episode." 

Cédric Klapisch informed, "It really started when I was in Tribeca (for the Tribeca Film Festival) because I had this title in mind, 'Chinese Puzzle' and I thought I would do something in China. When I was in Tribeca (New York), I said to myself, 'I went to NYU Film School, I’ve learned how to make films here and every time I go to New York I want to shoot something in this city because I love New York.' 

"I went to Chinatown and realized it was so much bigger than when I was a student almost thirty years ago and I realized that China is here. What I like about New York is that it’s kind of a metaphor of the rest of the world – there’s a neighborhood for every country of the world – so I realized that maybe China wasn’t the right place to shoot the movie and New York was the right place. I really got that when I was in Tribeca walking around.

"It’s almost the opposite of a TV series where you try to have the architecture of the whole thing before you start to write the first episode. I wrote the first (movie) and I had no idea there would be a sequel and then I wrote the second one four years later and then at the end of 'Russian Dolls' I said, 'Maybe in ten years from now it’s going to be interesting to make a third one,' but even during the eight years between movies, almost all the notes I took I threw away when I started to write the script. I had to start with, 'Okay, it takes place in New York. What’s the story, what's the starting point?' I don’t always know where to start with when I’m writing so I have to invent the whole story one after the other." 

The Chinese puzzle on the Reg Grundy's TV drama 'Sons and Daughters' (1982-1987) about the interwoven lives of two Australian families, Sydney's Hamiltons and Melbourne's Palmers, Rowena Wallace told 'Fairfax Media', "There hasn't been a lot of communication between the writers and actors. It's very frustrating when you don't know where a character is heading. You play scenes in a block one week and you think 'Oh, I see, that's what she's up to,' and you relate to a certain character that way. Next week you find that it wasn't that at all, that’s not the reason you were doing that, and you think ‘I’ve gone and blown it now completely.' 

"So I decided right at the beginning that it was better to be enigmatic about just about everything. A soapie's a strange thing. The writers don't know where it’s going. I suppose it’s like life really – we don’t really know what’s going to happen – except it’s a speeded-up version. I'd like to be involved in something that has a beginning, middle and an end, that is a fully rounded thing I can get a perspective on, where I can do a complete performance. Like on stage: that’s what I’d love to do. I'd love to get back on stage. You don't know where it's going to end, so you don’t really know what you’re working with."

Charles Frank told 'Soap Opera Digest' in 1983, "I used to pick up the script for 'All My Children' and treat it as if it was a new play every day, with a beginning, a middle and an end … I'm very glad and grateful for working on 'All My Children'. It taught me a lot as an actor; how to work in a studio situation, how to keep concentrating with the cameras moving around and how to be extremely technical while still staying natural. It was probably the most valuable experience I think any actor could ever have. ('Emerald Point N.A.S') is a good show, well-written. The people look good. They have a formula like Aggie Nixon does with soaps. If you get the sets, the costumes, the words and the actors, you've got a show that will be a hit."

Rowena Wallace believed, "As far as craftsmanship is concerned, working on a soapie can be very detrimental to your craft or it can be a huge advantage. You work under enormous pressure, and you have to do all the things that an actor wants to do with something in the shortest possible time, which means you've got to work very quickly. You can learn an awful lot from it.

"On the other hand, because of the nature of the beast, many compromises have to be made with everybody involved: directors, technicians and actors. You can never really give rein to artistic expression. And I think if you're in that situation for too long, the continual frustration of not being able to give rein to that creative urge (which everybody involved in this business has) can make you ill. It can make you quite sick. There's not much time. You don't get much help, you just do it the best way you can. Fortunately, for an experienced actor, you've learned – not tricks, so much, but just ways of dealing with a situation."

Critics credited Rowena Wallace for "brilliantly interpreted" the part of Patricia the Terrible on 'Sons and Daughters'. Using her "ice-cold eyes, prematurely silver grey hair and a Siamese-cat grace", Garry Shelley expressed, "I enjoy 'Sons and Daughters'. From an acting point of view, with one or two exceptions, it is at present a happy experience. Rowena Wallace, coldly insensitive because of her tendency to social climb, is lovely to hate. Hers is a gloriously-bitchy character, with iceberg eyes and a match-striking face."

As M. Scott Peck discussed in his 1983 book, 'The People Of The Lie', Rowena Wallace observed, "Patricia Hamilton has more humor, more relish for life and for doing terrible things to others … The public seems to have taken to Patricia with warmth and affection, appreciating the way the role is played, identifying with her. The wives of taxi-drivers, I'm told, recognize her as an amalgam of their mothers, sisters and relatives. That's just the way Aunty Flo behaves, they say." Harry Robinson conceded, "Truth to tell, 'Sons and Daughters' would be nothing without Patricia. She gives the show whatever conflict and tension it has."

By the 3rd season of 'Sons and Daughters', Rowena Wallace told John Miner, "You get to a point where not only do the writers start to run out of ideas, it's as if the actors run out of energy and ideas for their contribution as well. It seems to me as if this project, which started two and half years ago and gathered its own momentum, has become like a living organism: it is a thing that works us, we don't really work it. It's losing its momentum, and it either needs some kind of shot in the arm, to go in another direction completely and get a new energy, or its going to peter out. It's inevitable that will happen. I’m beginning to feel that my character has been and done all the things she can possibly be and do. There's nowhere left to take her."

Patricia Dunne, Rowena Wallace remarked, "I think, in a way, that she became like a conglomeration of things that women are; attitudes that women have. It was like somebody decided to make a list of all the things – this is on a fairly superficial level – that women do in relationships, and they shoved them all into Patricia and she lived through everything. It's like she's a shining example of what can go wrong to everything.

"It's an interesting character. I think that she's, in a way, almost cathartic to some people. She gets away with saying and doing things that nobody ever could in our society. If there really was a person like that, she wouldn't last five minutes. I think there is an area of catharsis there. Because they say they love the way she schemes and manipulates, and then they love it when she falls flat on her face, then they love it when she struggles back up and says, 'Bugger you lot, I'm a survivor. I'm going to get on with this.' There's a spirit there, a tremendous urge to survive and spirit to get on: people identify with that."

M. Scott Peck died in 2005. In 1978, his book 'The Road Less Traveled' was bought by a record 12 million readers. In the March 1991 edition of 'Playboy' magazine, M. Scott Peck spoke to journalist David Sheff in a no-holds barred interview, "I was called to write it – that one and each of my other books. They said, 'Write me. Do it.' I was under orders. (Orders) from God.

"You know when you are called. The word for it is vocation, which means calling, and is thought to come from God. I suppose it’s a matter of faith, but I believe that some of our drives, our intuitions, do come from God or from Whoever God is – something outside that is wiser, smarter than we are. Well, the most common response I've gotten to my books has been not that I’ve said something radically new but that I’ve said the kind of things that people have been thinking all along but are afraid to talk about. Well, life is difficult.

"People are no longer accepting the answers they've been given; they want more. They realize the old program doesn’t work. There’s a larger and larger segment of the population that has made a decision to question the givens–things the culture takes for granted, things people’s parents taught them. They are becoming enlightened. Some go to therapy, some to A.A. … I believe, along with many other people, that perhaps the greatest event of the 20th Century occurred in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, when A.A. was established. A.A. was the beginning of the self-help movement, and also the beginning of the integration of science and religion on a grass-roots level."

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STEELY DAN

In 1972, Donald Fagen (then 24) and Walter Becker (then 22) formed the rock band Steely Dan. The name Steely Dan was borrowed from William S. Burroughs' 1959 book 'Naked Lunch' ("Steely Dan III From Yokohama"). They met in 1967 as undergraduates at Bard College in upstate New York. Ten songs from Steely Dan reached the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 Hits chart between 1973 and 1981. The 6-minute song 'Do It Again' (peaked at No. 6) was the breakout hit from Steely Dan's first album, 'Can't Buy A Thrill'. 

"We don’t have much of a problem with singles material, because unlike a lot of other basically FM groups, our music tends to be adaptable to really commercial purposes," Donald Fagen told the press at the time. For some singers and listeners, it was hard to make sense of the often hidden meanings in the lyrics of many of Steely Dan's songs. However both advised their music was "based on things we know about." 

'Pittsburgh Post-Gazette' noted, "Steely Dan's relaxed music is offset by dark, sardonic lyrics. All songs loaded with a detail for places and names that calls for a Steely Dan Dictionary on the Web." Donald Fagen explained to the 'Los Angeles Times', "Actually Walter and I are very sweet-natured lads. We were angry kids, there's no doubt about it. To a lot of people, the '60s is now (in 1993) some sort of incredible layer cake invented by the media. But the fact was that we did have the attitude that we were brought up with, inauthentic values, etc., and were trying to find some other kind of alternative values. We were looking for that in a very aggressive way. And as you get older, you're not that angry anymore." 

Speaking to Arthur Lubow of 'New Times' magazine in 1977, William Burroughs made the observation, "These people are too fancy. They’re too sophisticated, they’re doing too many things at once in a song. To write a bestseller, you can’t have too much going on. You take 'The Godfather', the horse’s head. That’s great. But you can’t have a horse’s head on every page. These people tend to have too many horses’ heads."

Arthur Lubow remarked, "Even if you can’t understand some words of a Steely Dan song, the lyrics are usually evocative." 'Do It Again' was described as "a hypnotic tune about a professional loser." One reviewer in 2004 tried to make sense of the song, "The first verse's theme is irony. The second verse is about discord in relationships. The third verse is about the 'bad guys' in the world. All three verses share a common theme of things repeating themselves. With a song titled 'Do It Again', history repeats itself. Bottom line."

Donald Fagen maintained, "It has to do with when we were born and how we grew up. Even though we were really too young to experience a lot of the golden age of jazz in the '50s, nevertheless that's what we were into, through recordings, although we saw live jazz as well at the tail end of that era. And we also had literary aspirations, I suppose. We never try to be obscure. If we're communicating better, that's just another characteristic of sophistication.

"We're not particularly good popular-song writers. I usually come up with germinal musical idea, and then we will arrange to meet. Usually one or both of us won't show up, but I think we generally come to make something out of it. So it is really a collaboration. It's not one of us writing the music, the other lyrics. And it's not like Lennon and McCartney, who as I understand it's usually just wrote a song by themselves and then put both their names on it. It is a collaboration: we think very much the same musically. I can start songs and Walter can finish them. He's a very good editor also. He'll suggest improvements on my original idea, and then we'll work on lyrics together."

Steely Dan stopped touring in 1974 to "concentrate on recording and writing music, which takes a lot of time and thought." In 1981, Steely Dan disbanded but re-formed again in 1993. Arthur Lubow pointed out, "One reason that their material doesn’t appear on other records is that the melodies are hard to sing. A more forbidding handle is the nature of the lyrics."

Donald Fagen insisted, "I think one of the best things about rock and roll as opposed to jazz is precision and a professional sound. That’s what I like about popular music. We strive for that sort of slick sound. It just takes time to get something to be good, to get 8 or 10 songs that are all good. Most rock and roll albums will be padded with less than wonderful material. We want every bar of the album to be good."

Speaking to Bob DiCorcia in 1997, David Palmer stated, "The word 'genius' is bandied about a lot in pop music but those two are the genuine article. Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and a few others I can think of reinvented the medium for the '60s. They spoke to my generation in a way that the 'old guard' songwriters never could by combining their own musical-lyrical sense and created a hybrid that influenced songwriters for three decades (the '70s to the '90s).

"Wasn't it John Lennon who said that all he and Paul really wanted to do was be the next Goffin and King? I also think her pop sensibility runs like a thread through everything she’s ever written, from the Drifters to The Byrds to The Monkees through her 'Latin period' right up until the present — even if the styles changed — her sense of what makes a great pop song never has. I'm a fan of anyone who practices the 'craft' of songwriting and can hold my attention.

"I'm still a sucker for a great 'hook' … be it Smashing Pumpkins, Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Patti Loveless, George Strait or Alanis Morrisette. I’m also not one who believes that art and commerce are mutually exclusive. I’ve been broke and I’ve had bread and having is much better. More power to anyone who can sell a zillion CDs."

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