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Heinlein on video 
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Post Heinlein on video
I just finished watching "The Fantasy Worlds of George Pal" on DVD (from Netflix). One of the "extras" is a kinescope of an episode of "City at Night" filmed on the set of Destination Moon. (This was a locally produced (KTLA) magazine show.) It includes a couple of questions with Robert Heinlein. Mostly he stands around in the background while the hosts interview George Pal, Irving Pichel, Chesley Bonestell, and others.

Near the end, however, RAH takes special pains to introduce a naval Lieutenant to the hosts and camera. I couldn't catch his name. Bill P, any idea who this might be?


Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:40 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein on video
BillMullins wrote:
I just finished watching "The Fantasy Worlds of George Pal" on DVD (from Netflix).


As you probably recall, I posted some remarks about this on 25 April this year in the forum "Re: Script: Destination Moon (Opus G.073) (1948)." (Sadly, I can't at the moment figure out how to post a link to an individual posting, if it's possible at all.) Try this: http://www.heinleinnexus.org/index.php?option=com_jfusion&Itemid=64

BillMullins wrote:
Near the end, however, RAH takes special pains to introduce a naval Lieutenant to the hosts and camera. I couldn't catch his name. Bill P, any idea who this might be?


I think Heinlein gets nervous when he sees that the hosts were beginning to wrap up without bringing the lieutenant on camera, so he drags the guy up and interrupts.

I've played it over a few times. Unfortunately one of the hosts, Keith Hetherington, talks over Heinlein's introduction, plus the sailor is talking too, so the name is unclear, and (the ambience of the show being fairly relaxed and improvised) Hetherington doesn't bother to re-introduce the lieutenant to the TV audience.

It sounds something like "Lieutenant Zogby" but it's pretty garbled.

Heinlein: ...Keith, if there's time left, there's another naval guest here I'd like to introduce, Lieutenant Zogby--

Lt [walking on RAH's sentence]: We, we met.

Hetherington [also walking on RAH]: Oh, yes, we did, how are you, Lieutenant? Lieutenant, are you a technical advisor on this picture or something?

Lt: No, I'm not a technical advisor...

RAH: The Navy's interested in rocketry.

KH: Oh, I know they are.

Lt: We're doing a lot of rocket work out at White Sands, as you know, so this is of interest to us. When we first heard about it, we were afraid maybe it was one of those mad scientist, wicked woman routines. But we see it isn't that at all, and it's heartening to see this sort of picture being made.

KH: Uh-huh.

[Screech and skip, possibly a splice?]

KH: ...done us a valuable service. Well, Mr. Pal, we want to thank you very much for allowing us to visit...

And then they really do wrap up.

I have learned that while the "feature" on the DVD is about 20 minutes long, the original kinescope is 47 minutes. In 1994 Mark J. Williams, now a professor of film and TV studies at Dartmouth, published a 13-page examination of this kinescope (apparently it's the only surviving episode of the show) and its context.

According to Williams, in the first half of the episode, Keith Hetherington and Dorothy Gardiner interview Irving Pichel, the director, and the four lead actors of Destination Moon, examining the space suits they are wearing. They also speak with Gene May, a Douglas test pilot flying the D-558 Skyrocket at Muroc (what is now known as Edwards Air Force Base), and with a Commander Rice of the Navy Bureau of Information. The explains RAH's phrase "another naval guest" near the end.

It's puzzling that the DVD-makers didn't see fit to include the whole kinescope. Perhaps they ran out of room.

Reference: Williams, Mark. "Televising postwar Los Angeles: "remote" possibilities in a "City at Night". " Velvet Light Trap. (Spring 1994): 24(13).

Yes, apparently, there is a journal named "Velvet Light Trap."

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Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:32 am
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Post Re: Heinlein on video
BillMullins wrote:
I just finished watching "The Fantasy Worlds of George Pal" on DVD (from Netflix). One of the "extras" is a kinescope of an episode of "City at Night" filmed on the set of Destination Moon. (This was a locally produced (KTLA) magazine show.) It includes a couple of questions with Robert Heinlein. Mostly he stands around in the background while the hosts interview George Pal, Irving Pichel, Chesley Bonestell, and others.

Near the end, however, RAH takes special pains to introduce a naval Lieutenant to the hosts and camera. I couldn't catch his name. Bill P, any idea who this might be?

I saw the cip about 6 years ago and don't own a copy of the DVD. I don't remember any flags raising about the naval officer's name, sorry.

Bill forwarded me the article about the clip by Mark Williams, and it's quite interesting -- apparently the only kintescope of the City at Night show that survived. Williams makes quite a lot of Irving Pichel and George May, talks for a couple of paragraphs about RSG from Franklin's book -- and completely fails to mention that Heinlein is in the clip at all.


Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:44 am
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Post Re: Heinlein on video
BillPatterson wrote:
-- and completely fails to mention that Heinlein is in the clip at all.

ACC must have been somewhere nearby. :D

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Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:58 am
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Post Re: Heinlein on video
JamesGifford wrote:
ACC must have been somewhere nearby. :D
ACC? Who dat?

As far as the mystery Naval Lieutenant, it could have been someone whom Heinlein met at White Sands for the V-2 launch he saw, or (less likely) someone who had been involved in approving the articles he co-wrote with Cal Laning.


Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:16 am
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Post Re: Heinlein on video
BillPatterson wrote:
Bill forwarded me the article about the clip by Mark Williams, and it's quite interesting -- apparently the only kintescope of the City at Night show that survived. Williams makes quite a lot of Irving Pichel and George May, talks for a couple of paragraphs about RSG from Franklin's book -- and completely fails to mention that Heinlein is in the clip at all.


Except in footnote 5:

Quote:
(5.) It is important to acknowledge the difficulty in somehow "representing" a program text in a written study, a project which is further compounded by the need to select representative clips of the show. Even the task of "transcribing" the show necessarily imposes a system of paradigms and syntagmatic units and breaks anterior to the interpretive analysis. In the case of this particular show, this representation can only attempt to capture its sometimes markedly entropic coverage and pace and its array of subject matter (including interviews with Pal, director Irving Pichel, writer Robert Heinlein, artistic advisor and creator of the astronomical art Chesley Bonestell, artistic director Ernst Fegte, Technicolor advisor Robert Brower, other production personnel, as well as military-industrial guests to the set). My discussion is tempered by the inadequacies of such an attempt, especially regarding how and to what degree I will be delimiting the text and its reading possibilities in the descriptions/representations of it.

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Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:15 am
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Post Re: Heinlein on video
Some framegrabs from the The City at Night kinescope (sorry, I can't figure out how to get Picasa pictures to show up here):

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ld7_YyV532Wnz3Oi38m5EA?feat=directlink

Heinlein on the set of Destination Moon.

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ld7_YyV532Wnz3Oi38m5EA?feat=directlink

Artist Chesley Bonestell, left, and art director Ernst Fegte, right, show off book The Conquest of Space.

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/iRbw6-wjhkPZHKwMO1KoBg?feat=directlink

Heinlein, producer Geroge Pal, and two cohosts from KTLA, Keith Hetherington and Dorothy Gardiner.

The airdate of this episode of The City at Night is not clear. Prof. Williams writes:
Quote:
This irregular length indicates the less codified scheduling pressures of this era of television, as well as the early stages of the show's development, apparently prior to its attracting a sponsor. Based on information discussed within the program and program schedules published in the Los Angeles Times, I have deduced that it was telecast on October 11, 1949.

This seems early for a film that was shooting on these sets in late November and early December. I would have guessed an airdate in the last three weeks of December-- but I have not done the legwork Williams did.

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Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:29 am
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Post Re: Heinlein on video
BillMullins wrote:
I just finished watching "The Fantasy Worlds of George Pal" on DVD (from Netflix). One of the "extras" is a kinescope of an episode of "City at Night" filmed on the set of Destination Moon. (This was a locally produced (KTLA) magazine show.) It includes a couple of questions with Robert Heinlein. Mostly he stands around in the background while the hosts interview George Pal, Irving Pichel, Chesley Bonestell, and others.

Some kind bootlegger known as CrowTRobot1313 has uploaded this 1949 interview to Youtube in three parts:

Part 1: http://youtu.be/wwidtTnlGJA
Part 2: http://youtu.be/R_7VrcG6naM
Part 3: http://youtu.be/vz94nrnunVw

Heinlein himself appears about 5 minutes into Part 1 to answer a few questions. He reappears briefly at the end of Part 3, but doesn't really say anything interesting. However, I find the whole tour of the set fascinating.

(Apparently Youtube has purchased a Belgian domain, in order to shorten their URLs. Cute trick. Alas, no country has an ISO abbreviation of "NS," so I will not be buying the "higgi" subdomain.)

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Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:58 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein on video
Well, not until Nova Scotia declares independence.

(I only recently found out that Newfoundland was an independent country until ~1930. Dang.)

Thanks for those links, Bill!


Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:03 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein on video
It is a heck of a commentary on the status of women in the media. Dorothy Gardiner gets to giggle a lot and make sure she stays out of the way. "Say something cute from time to time, honey, but make sure you don't step on any of the guy's lines." Catch that bit about her trying out the acceleration couch and the mention of the casting director in segment 2?


Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:35 am
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