HELLO AMERICA!—We are finding when hearing from many of our readers around the nation, there is a hunger for the kind of TV programming which captured viewer imagination and excitement of a few decades ago. Fredrick Bach, a U.S.C. film graduate complained the concept of Tikkum Alam is missing. “There is a deficit of shows centering on characters that make you smile, sing or make you believe that life is worth living no matter how tough it is at times.”
There is very little on the tube that locks one in like that of: “I Love a Mystery,” “The Thin Man,” “Alfred Hitchcock,” “I Love Lucy,” “The Jeffersons” or reach back even further, “Lux Radio Playhouse” and “The Lone Ranger.” The Met Saturday Opera, The Paul Whiteman TV Show, The Childrens Hour, these represented programming that inspired the young and old to express themselves artistically. I remember viewing “Singing in the Rain” with Gene Kelly and it was so overwhelming, I couldn’t stop dancing all the way to the Swarthmore bus stop in Pennsylvania. The following week I began taking dancing lessons at a studio in Philly.
I wondered what others in our industry felt about inspiration and if there was something or someone that made a difference in determining their future. So, I called good friend, Roberta Lynn (Lawrence Welk Show) and she as usual was anxious to express her feelings.
“Let me tell ya, sweetie,” she roared, “There are very few shows or dramas on the tube or even films today that match the time of the truly great singers and actors. They made you laugh, cry, get angry and always leaving you with hope!” Marisa Tomei who is starring in “The Rose Tattoo” on Broadway agreed with Lynn. She reminded me that she as a very young girl saw me in “Member of the Wedding” with Ethel Waters. Naturally, I was a bit flattered.
“Beautiful stories like that,” she went on to express, “that has so much honesty, soul and love. And watching an actress like Miss Waters was like moments of magic. Every move she made was powerful, touching. Very seldom today that we are fortunate enough to witness such artistry. It was a beautiful story or human painting of love and determination in survival. I wish there were more stories like that. We all need something that represents hope and faith in who we are.”
James Monroe Iglehart of “Hamilton” was another special artist who is proving his worth on Broadway didn’t hesitate to express his feelings about today’s dramas and musicals either in films, TV or theatre. “Listen,” he began, “when time changes, life takes the same turn. Unfortunately, this means changes in attitudes and social perceptions. Hamilton, for example, was a show that Broadway needed. The message is powerful, not only that it open doors for all types of American artists. After all, that’s who we are — AMERICANS unafraid of expressing who and what we are as a people. When ideas like this are produced in plays, scripts or what have you, it simply inspires all those who follow to even reach for greater challenges.”