Skip to comments.CBS Revises the Reagans
Posted on 10/25/2003 7:38:43 AM PDT by Calpernia
If Ronald Reagan were still in his prime, presidential 1980s form, hed be saying to Hollywood: "There you go again."
There are two kinds of films about presidents. There are documentaries which usually try to dwell in factual examination; and fictional movies which have a habit of wildly making things up to satisfy the demands of making either effective entertainment, or effective propaganda.
Now CBS is preparing a dramatic and quite fictional miniseries for November titled "The Reagans." CBS promised reporters it would be "meticulously researched." Researched fiction, that is. The last Reagan-fictionalizing offender was Showtime, whose 2001 film on "The Day Reagan Was Shot" was denounced by Dick Allen, Reagans first national security adviser, as a parade of invented "history" that never happened, like Reagan aides James Baker and Michael Deaver urging surgeons to lie about Reagans condition. Hollywood should never call its historical fiction "meticulously researched." Rather, they should be forced to carry a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen saying "We made some of this stuff up."
Half of our dismay at this messy crossroads of entertainment and propaganda should be directed at Hollywood, which should be greeted with a shaker of salt every time a movie is "Based On a True Story." The other half should be directed as history-challenged Americans, those who could watch hysterical "history" films like Oliver Stones "JFK" and actually swallow the nonsense. To those Americans who get their history from the movies (and their news from the late-night comedians), we can only plead: read a book, or a newspaper, or else please dont bother to vote.
America needs to remember the lessons that the leadership of Ronald Reagan taught us, but no one should expect those lessons to come from leftist Hollywood. Jim Rutenberg at the New York Times got a preview of the script for "The Reagans" and noted the script mentions nothing about the historic economic recovery of the 1980s or Americas delivery from Jimmy Carter. It was somehow missed by those meticulous researchers.
Whats worse in this film are what the producers and writers are "adding" to the historical record. Rutenberg noted that the writer creates a conversation between Reagan and his agent during the Hollywood years about offering the names of communists to Congress, in which fake-Reagan declares "I've never called anybody a commie who wasn't a commie." In real life, Reagan denied doing that, although he did cooperate with FBI investigations. This is a good thing, even if Hollywood will never catch a glimpse of Reagans moral vision: an unemployed communist screenwriter is hardly a historical atrocity compared to communists starving millions in the Ukraine.
The Times also reported that the script accuses Reagan of not mere apathy in facing the outbreak of AIDS, but of "asserting that AIDS patients essentially deserved their disease." During a scene in which his wife pleads with him to help people battling AIDS, fake-Reagan says, "They that live in sin shall die in sin" and refuses to discuss the issue further. This is not only fake history, but terrible Christianity. We are all sinners, and we all die requiring the grace of a forgiving God.
This is where Rutenbergs script scoop is a little short on context. Why would Reagan be portrayed as a death-wisher? The producers of "The Reagans" are Craig Zadan and Neal Meron, whove been instrumental in bringing TV revivals of classic musicals to television for Disney. They are also openly gay activists who will be honored in Hollywood next March with an award at the "Building Equality" dinner from the gay-left lobby called the Human Rights Campaign.
In 1995, Zadan and Meron produced another "historical" film for television with their pal Barbra Streisand called "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story," with Glenn Close playing the lesbian military nurse who came out of the closet and defied the Pentagons "homophobia." This movie did not invent nasty doings or sayings to cast Cammermeyer in a negative light. On the contrary, this was uplifting propaganda. Amazon.com reminds us that the script "captures the sad irony of doing everything right serving one's country, taking care of the people in one's life yet still being treated like a pariah for entirely irrational reasons."
Inquiring minds should also remember that CBS chief Les Moonves wont be making any Clinton-bashing TV movies. In fact, in 1996, Bill Clinton talked Moonves into making "A Childs Wish," a heart-tugging propaganda film dramatizing the wonders of his Family and Medical Leave Act. Clinton even made an appearance in the movie as himself. Nobody said those fictional "history" movies cant be very political. And very dishonest.
Excellent feedback and boycott information here posted by blake6900
Or the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was brought about in large part by Reagan's leadership.
I imagine it was the same person who hire Craig Livingstone.
Elizabeth Egloff, the playwright who wrote the script, admitted to the Times that there was no evidence such a conversation took place. Instead she claims "we know he ducked the issue over and over again, and we know (Nancy Reagan) was the one who got him to deal with it."
This winter A.R.T. will present Peter Pan and Wendy, a re-telling of J.M. Barrie's novel about the boy who wouldn't grow up. It has long been a dream of director Marcus Stern to adapt this book for the stage, and playwright Elizabeth Egloff has been brought on board to help make this dream into a reality. Stern and Egloff met while both were students at the Yale School of Drama. They have not worked together since 1989, when Stern directed the first production of Egloff's The Swan, which has since been given numerous productions throughout the United States and abroad. Egloff knew that Stern had wanted to produce a new version of Peter Pan since their days at Yale and immediately accepted the offer to adapt the script for a production at A.R.T.
Since graduating from Yale, Egloff has been able to support herself through playwriting. She has received several awards, including the Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Foundation Writer's Award, the Oppenheimer Award, and the Kesselring Prize, as well as grants from the Fund for New American Plays, the W. Alton Jones Foundation, AT&T, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Foundation for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trust, and the McKnight Foundation.
Egloff came to the theatre relatively late in life. During her undergraduate years, she did not read plays or attend theatrical performances. Instead, she concentrated on poetry. While working toward a graduate degree at Brown, she took a playwriting course to open up her poetry. The course was a positive experience, and she eventually pursued a double concentration in playwriting and poetry. After graduating from Brown, she worked with the New Voices Theatre and taught screenwriting and adaptation at Emerson College in Boston. In 1986, she applied to the Yale School of Drama. She remembers, "I had thought that if they accept me, that means that I can be a playwright. Luckily, I got in."
Other plays by Egloff include The Devils, The Lover, Wolf-Man and Phaedra. The Devils, an adaptation of Dostyevsky's political novel, recently premiered at New York Theatre Workshop and won the Weissberger Prize.
"The script I am writing now is . . . true to the spirit of J.M. Barrie's original novel. Barrie's novel owes something to the spirit of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland [as well as] to a Victorian sense of middle-class morality and the Bloomsbury crowd. So there is at times a level of irony about what constitutes middle-class morality. And I think the play is an exploration of Peter Pan as an outsider. Sometimes he is James Dean. Many things go into this character."
This production will differ strikingly from the Broadway production audiences expect when they hear the name Peter Pan. The Peter Pan that will fly across A.R.T.'s stage is more complex and more aware of his predicament than the well-known Mary Martin portrayal. "It is darker in some places," Egloff notes. "But in others it may be unexpectedly funny. Ultimately a story about love and faithfulness and family."
Jennifer Kiger is a first-year dramaturgy student at the A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theatre Training.
Thanks for the post n ping ! ...
Now CBS is preparing a dramatic and quite fictional miniseries for November titled "The Reagans." CBS promised reporters it would be "meticulously researched." Researched fiction, that is. The last Reagan-fictionalizing offender was Showtime, whose 2001 film on "The Day Reagan Was Shot" was denounced by Dick Allen, Reagans first national security adviser, as a parade of invented "history" that never happened, like Reagan aides James Baker and Michael Deaver urging surgeons to lie about Reagans condition. Hollywood should never call its historical fiction "meticulously researched." Rather, they should be forced to carry a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen saying "We made some of this stuff up."Best Editorial Cartoons Of The Week - 10/25/03
It should be "We made MOST of this stuff up.And what we didn't make up we took out of context."
Isn't that the truth !?
Oh, btw ... speakin of CBS (and doin' my best Natalie Maines impression) ...
Just so you'll know, we're ashamed
that Dan Rather is from Texas !!
From the Hollyweird smearmongers with hate, malice, and premeditation.
God Bless you Ronnie, our greatest president of the 20th century.
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