I was playing around on the internet last night after a day of cutting a script of over 24,000 words down to 14,000. I found two things of note, in the arts, and I thought I’d share them with you.
The first was a list of fourteen things you may not have known about Gilligan’s Island. It was a lovely little list with such tidbits as the Skipper’s last name and how the creator of the show chose the name of the island and the boat. How interesting it was to find that Gilligan is the only one whom they can’t say for sure had a last name? It was even more interesting to me that Natalie Schafer, who played Mrs. Howell, wasn’t fan of the show. She took the part in the pilot for a free trip to Hawaii. She was actually mad that they decided to pick up the how. Pretty interesting stuff to me at midnight last night.
It got me thinking about all things that go on behind the scenes of any show, not just TV. In live music and live theater there are things that happen that only other artists would understand. I could give you many examples of things that could only happen backstage during a rehearsal or show, and not only would you never believe me, you really wouldn’t get it. No one would ever get why when directing a teen show last year, having the entire cast in tears, including me, minutes before the show was par for the course. You wouldn’t understand why during a show with very elaborate undergarments, it made sense for the guy playing my husband to lace them up before the show. Although you may get a kick out of the hilarity that ensued the night he was late and I almost wasn’t dressed when the show started.
The second thing was an article about the recent removal from the Tribeca Film Festival of a film about the dangers about vaccinations for children. Robert DeNiro, who has an autistic son, first allowed the film in the festival as he thought it would be informative and a good addition. After viewing the film personally with medical professionals, he pulled it from the festival. The film found a home in a small theater. I also read a review of the film. Cause after DeNiro pulled it, I wanted to see what the fuss was about. Of course, the reviewer said that the film pulled on your heart strings, but didn’t give many or, for that matter, any real facts saying that autism is linked to vaccinations.
I started thinking how powerful art can be. And I know you’re wondering how I’m going to bridge Gilligan’s Island and a film about vaccinations. OK, here goes.
This small, funny, quirky TV show that only aired for a few seasons starting in 1964 is still running in repeats on more than one station. It has three seasons of shows. It has a preposterous plot, idiotic characters, and nothing really ever happens. But it is one of the most loved shows of all time. Juxtapose that with this, in the words of the review I read, crazy pants, film about the link between vaccinations and autism which is similarly devoid of fact or substance, yet had people walking out of the viewing vowing never to vaccinate their children based solely on the emotion the film invoked.
How’s that for the power of art? How’s that for a symbol of what artists can do? You know what guys, we can change the world. We can sway people, move mountains, and turn a small story into something recognized and even enjoyed worldwide. That’s a lot of power. SO my question is, why aren’t we using it?