HORIZONTAL HOLD

THE MAKING AND BREAKING OF A NETWORK TELEVISION PILOT

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, successful TV shows, on the evidence of the cautionary tale at hand, almost have to be accidents of nature. In 1990, Paisner (The Imperfect Mirror, 1989, etc.) was invited by TV impresario Bruce Paltrow (producer of St. Elsewhere and The White Shadow) to observe the filming of E.O.B., a sitcom Paltrow was producing in N.Y.C. The nascent program, starring Mary Beth Hurt and Rich Hall, focused on the antics of presidential speech-writers. Though a rough pilot was eventually taped, E.O.B. (slated for a six-episode run on the CBS prime-time summer schedule) never made it to the starting gate for reasons both within and beyond the control of its originators—e.g., Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, tardy casting, an uninspired director, script problems, a wildcat strike by technicians. Paltrow (who's married to actress Blythe Danner) and his colleagues tried again in 1991, this time on the West Coast. Despite a fresh cast (including William Daniels and singer Gladys Knight), the born-again project also sank without a trace. Thanks to Paisner, who has made the most of the unlimited access granted him by Paltrow, the abortive project (a collaborative failure if ever there was one) has achieved immortality of sorts here as a show-biz might-have-been. Without patronizing either the program's principals (a serious and dues-paying, albeit laid-back, lot) or the straitlaced networks that have the commercial equivalent of life-and-death powers, the author provides a riveting, revelatory account of the economic, creative, and pop-cultural forces shaping the entertainment fare available on home screens. One of the better inside-appreciations of the chancy, high- stakes game of broadcast TV since Merle Miller's Only You, Dick Daring (1964). (Eight pages of photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1992

ISBN: 1-55972-148-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Birch Lane Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1992

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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