Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson

For many years in my youth, like a good little culturati, I sent checks to PBS during their funding drives and felt good and virtuous.

Then, after I married a professional actor, my husband Tom O'Rourke, we took a harder look at PBS and both became FURIOUS LIVID AND INCENSED. We never sent them another dollar, and I will tell you why.

Every time we tuned into PBS, we saw our hard-earned acting tax dollars being lavished on buying BBC productions. What a resounding slap in the face to every American actor, writer, director and what an insult to America's cultural history.

There we would sit, short on cash, like all actors, working in a business where good jobs are impossible to find. No one becomes an actor so they can watch themselves on TV hawking sausage and cosmetics. You become an actor to do good work in productions of interesting and memorable comedy and drama. Your calling is to bring to light some truth about the human condition.

What part of the PBS budget was spent on great American actors doing the great roles? How about FRIGGIN ZERO dollars.

Think about it. Would Jack Nicolson have said no if he'd been offered the chance to do a production of KING LEAR for PBS? I'll bet he'd have loved to have done that and done it for free. And what an incredible treasure that would have been.

Tom and I attended an immensely popular and well reviewed production of OTHELLO on Broadway starring James Earl Jones and Diane Weist. Why wasn't some deal made to bring that to PBS? Two incredible American actors in a brilliant production of a Shakespearean classic was pure gold. Would the Broadway producers have turned down all the free publicity and the acclaim they would have enjoyed from being filmed for American PBS? Gee, that's a tough one.

We were privileged to see Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson in an hilarious and unforgettable production of Anouilh's WALTZ OF THE TOREADORS. Where was PBS to capture two of America's most talented actors working at the top of their game?

Where are the productions of great American dramatists like Eugene O'Neill, Thornton Wilder, Kaufman and Hart, Ring Lardner, Garson Kanin, Booth Tarkington? I could go on and on, except my blood is already boiling. And frankly the loss of the opportunity to preserve so much talent and dazzling brilliance sickens me.

Most actors will work very cheap for the chance to be in something good and be able to really stretch their acting muscles. It was infuriating for us to see the American PBS shun everything American in favor of the BBC.

Now, post Trump election, I see the deeply dyed contempt the elites have for ordinary Americans. I believe the people running PBS shared this ingrained and insensate hatred of everything American; it  goes a long way to explain their policy of no American drama, ever.

I also believe the management at PBS was ignorant and lazy. It was so much easier to buy the BBC shows, than to put themselves on the line and do something original. 

Most of the elite are completely ignorant about American culture because they have been educated by other Liberals, who also despise America.

You can now return to your regularly scheduled programming. Thank you for reading my rant.

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