Friday, February 8, 2008

Down to the Wire!

Episode 2 of Currier & Ives: Perspectives on America is in the can! It's a lovely episode with a more leisurely pace than Part 1 and a long-overdue tip of the hat to some of the artists who put Currier & Ives on the map. What makes this episode especially beautiful to watch is that we are showing the best of the best that the firm produced. That's because of an emphasis on the "Best Fifty" lists, original and new, that put the spotlight on public favorites in the Currier & Ives inventory. It's great fun to see how America's tastes have changed in 50 years--fewer history prints make the favorites now, for instance, and more of those peaceful winter scenes make the hit list.

We started editing Part 3 this week, so we're in the home stretch! We'll be working some weekend hours to make sure we make our air date of February 25 (9pm-10:30pm). Episode 3 is called "The Surprise of Currier & Ives" and includes some of the firm's controversial, risque, and curious prints. This was without a doubt the toughest episode to write because there was so much left to say! There were many anecdotes and sidebars that simply had to go. I am still waking up thinking, "Oh - but I wanted to include this! I wanted to include that! And I forgot to include this! How could I leave him out?!" But time is short and I had to slice and dice, and slice some more, to get the show down to 27 minutes. The tightrope the editor and I walk is to include fresh information but also to review key points covered in past episodes. These episodes will air separately after the initial broadcast, and the audience may not see more than one part. Each episode has to stand alone and yet tie together with the others.

I want to send out a belated thanks to my new buddy, Ken Wales of Santa Monica, California. Ken is a remarkable man and a veteran Hollywood producer. Most recently he produced the film "Amazing Grace" with Albert Finney. He was also partners with Blake Edwards and helped make the famous "Pink Panther" films. You might know him as the producer of the television series "Christy". Ken called me a few days before screening at the Academy of Music to say he had long considered producing a film or holiday special centered around Currier & Ives and decided it might be time to do so. In his research, he found our website and my blog. At first he thought "Oh, darn! Somebody's beat me to it!" but he quickly realized our project was quite different and might actually help inform his. At the spur of the moment, Ken flew out to join us for all 3 screenings and some wonderful dinners. Mr. Wales says he's interested in some sort of collaboration down the road--it will be fun to see what comes of it! In the meantime, he enhanced an already-fabulous weekend with his graciousness and his story-telling. Ken has worked with many of film's legends and has some amazing tales to tell. He kept a table of about 15 people enthralled after the screening. And most importantly, he charmed my mother. We're grateful to Ken for sharing in our celebration and for his keen interest in our project. To show him, we sent him out with a good, old-fashioned New England snowstorm. He called me before he left to tell me he had made 2 snowmen, was working on a snowwoman, and gearing up for snow angels! He seemed absolutely delighted by the snow, although it delayed his flight considerably. Ken Wales is a gem.

I'll keep you posted.