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Racial Switch Halts 'Huck Finn' Production
Yahoo ^ | 5/22/2005 | Associated Press

Posted on 05/22/2005 9:04:39 AM PDT by FreeManWhoCan

GLENELG, Md. - A black Huck Finn and a white Jim might be OK for a high school production of Mark Twain's classic tale — but those performances had to be edited out of a C-Span talent show after the copyright holder objected to the cross-casting. ADVERTISEMENT

Jay Frisby, a black student who played Huck, and Nick Lehan, a white student who played Jim, taped their performance of the song "Muddy Water" for "Close Up," a weekly show that highlights high school excellence.

When the program aired Friday, the two Glenelg Country School seniors were introduced, but viewers were told that "Close Up" could not show their performance because of "copyright restrictions."

Lehan and Frisby had played the roles of Jim and Huck in the school's production of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" without complaint. But when the show's executive producer asked for the right to air the students' performance, permission was denied.

Bert Fink, a spokesman for R&H Theatricals — the Rodgers & Hammerstein organization, which holds the license to the play — said his organization is not against cross-casting in general.

"But when you're dealing with a theatrical work and race or ethnicity is a key factor, many authors or playwrights feel strongly that ethnicity has to be reflected in the actors who portray the characters," he said.

"In the books, Jim is a runaway slave. He is clearly in the novel an African-American man. And Huck is a free white man — that is central to the story. To ignore that component or to comment on it by switching is not faithful to the story."

Frisby's father, Washington attorney Russell Frisby, said he was appalled by the decision.

"The only rationale for it is that someone in New York believes Huck Finn can't be played by an African-American. I thought we were past the days of 'whites only' clauses," the elder Frisby said.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: alangribben; auburnuniversity; huckfinn; huckleberryfinn; marktwain; pages; samclemens; samuelclemens; tomsawyer
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To: Eeper
Don't be over dramatic here...we should actually exhume Twain and burn him at the stake!! /extreme total and utter sarcasm at your drama queen act

When you post back to me, look under the tag-line. It says:

Please: NO profanity, NO personal attacks, NO racism or violence in posts.


As I have said, WE all know who and what Jim is. You don't need to reinforce it. And Yes I do find that word offensive.
21 posted on 05/22/2005 9:33:00 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
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To: Dog Gone
Imagine the absurdity of a black/white playing the role of a white/black!


22 posted on 05/22/2005 9:34:18 AM PDT by Cvengr (<;^))
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To: Eeper
IMO Huck Finn is the greatest piece of fiction ever written by an American. I think it would be ok for N-Bomb Jim to be played by a caucasian. Now, I haven't seen any productions of Huck Finn recently and I wonder is N-Bomb Jim now referred to as Just Plain Jim these days? I dunno.
23 posted on 05/22/2005 9:36:54 AM PDT by Kokojmudd (Today's Liberal is Tomorrow's Prospective Flying Saucer Abductee)
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To: MikeinIraq
Don't be over dramatic here...we should actually exhume Twain and burn him at the stake!! /extreme total and utter sarcasm at your drama queen act

I find your meldramatic reaction to my mentioning the character in a topical fashion much more amusing. OH NOES, I said the character's name when it was relevant to the discussion! It's all over!

When you post back to me, look under the tag-line. It says:

Please: NO profanity, NO personal attacks, NO racism or violence in posts.


How can a character in a Twain story be profane? Who did I attack? What racism did I evince in discussing the topic? What violence did I advocate?

It's "racist" now to even say the character's name? Talk about a drama queen...

As I have said, WE all know who and what Jim is. You don't need to reinforce it. And Yes I do find that word offensive.

I find the idea that we can't even discuss the issue properly because of your widdle feewings far more offensive.
24 posted on 05/22/2005 9:37:07 AM PDT by Eeper
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To: FreeManWhoCan

How the heck long does it take for a copyright to expire?


25 posted on 05/22/2005 9:37:09 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: FreeManWhoCan

Fascinating ... this is taking 'race' too far, when we must be able to substitute in all roles. Soon, we will have General Lee as a Black man. Wonder if I cast 'whitey' as Martin Luther King, what kind of reaction that would bring?

Sheesh ... another good example of political correctness going too far. Is there a museum somewhere for this sort of thing? there should be.

You can be assured that this 'role reversal' might play at some PC high school or for just it's novelty appeal, but would never play to the masses or to anyone literate about Mark Twain, his writings or any history of the south at all.


26 posted on 05/22/2005 9:39:30 AM PDT by AgThorn (Bush is my president, but he needs to protect our borders. FIRST, before any talk of "Amnesty.")
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To: Eeper
I find it offensive that you had to put the N word in the discussion in the first place. It was completely unnecessary, as is the screaming by this parent of the kid is unnecessary.

You WILL notice that not one other person on this thread has felt the need to drop an N bomb and they seem to be discussing this quite well.



frikin newbies
27 posted on 05/22/2005 9:39:34 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
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To: FreeManWhoCan

Twain has been dead nearly a century. Shouldn't all his work be in the public domain? How can there be copyright?


28 posted on 05/22/2005 9:40:35 AM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: MikeinIraq
I find it offensive that you had to put the N word in the discussion in the first place.

It's the character's name in the story under discussion! Do you also object to seeing the story in theatre? Do you leap from your seat and wail about how racist it all is? It's a classic work of American literature!

Cowardly political correctness is killing our country and ruining our culture.
29 posted on 05/22/2005 9:41:57 AM PDT by Eeper
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To: Young Werther

What we are dealing with here is "the relationship is central to the story".

Kojak or Bosley being black or white was never "central" to the story. Any ethnicity could play those roles.

The fact that Huck was white and Jim was black had everything to do with the story between them.


30 posted on 05/22/2005 9:43:24 AM PDT by GOP_Proud (...stumbling across Bill Bennett on the radio is like bumping into Socrates at Starbucks.-K.Parker)
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To: Eeper

????? Cry me a river....

We all know what is said in the story. ARE YOU MARK TWAIN? are you reciting the story here? No.

Jim is obviously sufficient or else the Mods wouldn't have pulled your post.


and call yourself a coward next time.


31 posted on 05/22/2005 9:43:29 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
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To: GOP_Proud

how about a white guy playing Shaft? :-)


32 posted on 05/22/2005 9:44:08 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
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To: FreeManWhoCan
Frisby's father, Washington attorney Russell Frisby, said he was appalled by the decision.

"The only rationale for it is that someone in New York believes Huck Finn can't be played by an African-American. I thought we were past the days of 'whites only' clauses," the elder Frisby said.

Someone's been flinging Frisby's brains around on the beach for too long.

33 posted on 05/22/2005 9:44:40 AM PDT by L.N. Smithee (Freeping since March 1998. This is my blessing. This is my curse.)
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To: FreeManWhoCan

< "The only rationale for it is that someone in New York believes Huck Finn can't be played by an African-American. I thought we were past the days of 'whites only' clauses," the elder Frisby said. >

Well, yes, and it is just as easily said that a white guy can't play Jim either. (Well...there is blackface, but...ummm ask Ted Danson.


34 posted on 05/22/2005 9:46:07 AM PDT by GOP_Proud (...stumbling across Bill Bennett on the radio is like bumping into Socrates at Starbucks.-K.Parker)
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To: MikeinIraq
????? Cry me a river....

No point; you can't even grasp that the character's race is central to the bloody story. You wring your hands about something because you think you should without any critical thought whatsoever. Grow up.

Jim is obviously sufficient or else the Mods wouldn't have pulled your post.

Parents often dote on the child that cries the most. I noticed you reported the post once it hurt your precious, sparkly feelings of what Twain characters can and can't be discussed.

and call yourself a coward next time.

This sentence doesn't even make sense. Perhaps you should try reading literature rather than censoring the barest mention of it.
35 posted on 05/22/2005 9:46:40 AM PDT by Eeper
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To: GOP_Proud
The fact that Huck was white and Jim was black had everything to do with the story between them.

Apparently not; mentioning such is verböten.
36 posted on 05/22/2005 9:47:29 AM PDT by Eeper
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To: FreeManWhoCan
Actually it would be interesting if Huck Finn were a free black and Jim was a white slave. I trust that there probably were some white children born to slaves in the south. I also suspect that despite their pale skin color they were still registered as slaves.

I think it would make for a very interesting premise.

37 posted on 05/22/2005 9:47:53 AM PDT by P-Marlowe
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To: MikeinIraq

< how about a white guy playing Shaft? :-) >

I never watched it? Was a big deal made that he was black on the show? Yes, I know it was a big deal to the black community to have a black star. I'm asking about the character of the show. I don't know because I never saw the show.


38 posted on 05/22/2005 9:50:14 AM PDT by GOP_Proud (...stumbling across Bill Bennett on the radio is like bumping into Socrates at Starbucks.-K.Parker)
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To: MikeinIraq

I agree with you.


39 posted on 05/22/2005 9:51:34 AM PDT by cyborg (Serving fresh, hot Anti-opus since 18 April 2005)
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To: Eeper
"frikin newbies "

Since I didn't see the post which was deleted I cannot really comment on it. However, I am offended by the common use of "friken" these days. I find it almost as offensive as the common use of the N-Bomb these days. N-Bombs are being used all the time in casual conversation among those other then caucasians.
40 posted on 05/22/2005 9:53:40 AM PDT by Kokojmudd (Today's Liberal is Tomorrow's Prospective Flying Saucer Abductee)
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