Eclectique916.com with the Zhanra Group (Clayton LeBouef), and the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation presented screenings of THE MAN at Busboys and Poets; then there was National Geographic, and then THE MAN was invited to the Lake Arts Foundation Festival in Chautauqua, NY followed by discussions led with Clayton LeBouef (“Homicide: Life on the Street,” “Something the Lord Made,” “The Wire”). We’re putting this and other “lost films” back into the public conscious – “Make the Public Conscious” (MTPC). Some of the themes and stories of the films may even strike a chord with what Rod Serling described as the mission for writers, “Menace the Public Conscience (MTPC).”
As the 2nd innauguration of President Barack Obama is about to take place in Washington, DC, THE MAN is going to Baltimore, MD for a FREE screening and discussion led by Clayton LeBouef.
DATE/TIME: Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 2 PM
WHERE: Enoch Pratt Free Library (Central), 400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD, Tel. (410) 396-5430
The script, written by Rod Serling (best known as the creator of the classic television series “The Twilight Zone”) is based on the novel of the same name by Irving Wallace, and directed by Joseph Sargent (“Something the Lord Made,” “Warm Springs,” “Taking of Pelham One Two Three”). The film was intended to debut as a television movie, but received a short theatrical release in 1972 with an opening run at Baltimore’s Charles Theater.
The presentations of THE MAN is part of a preservation campaign to rediscover and redistribute “lost films.”
A few months ago, I described the efforts to preserve the 1972 film “The Man” as a “Peoples Preservation Campaign“. The work of preservation is born of knowledge, technical skills, and a passionate appreciation for essential truths, events and innovations in our material culture. Preservationists are more than just history detectives. But what makes a “Peoples Preservation Campaign” different from what some associate with traditional preservation?
This weekend (June 17 at 1 PM), LakeArts Foundation in Chautauqua, New York will feature “The Man” as part their film festival series “Politics Goes to the Movies.” “Milk,” “All the King’s Men,” and “The Chautauqua Choice” (a local favorite), round out the thematic schedule. The festival, now in its 3rd year, is the creation of Bonnie Nelson Schwartz and Margaret Johnson. Clayton LeBouef, who is partnering with eclectique916.com to present “The Man” and other events will be one of the featured speakers after the film. The Rod Serling Memorial Foundation is also participating in the event.
As this blog has mentioned before, there are only a few 16 mm copies of the film known to be in existence. The original 35 mm version has yet to emerge. The LakeArts Foundation’s description of “The Man” screening event mentions the film is in the “process of being restored.” For people who see film preservation in its traditional role, that description may be overreaching or wishful thinking based on efforts made to date. For a Peoples Preservation Campaign, it’s accurate. As I wrote in my notes for the panel:
“The Man” has been restored in terms of public programming. Restored in the sense of presenting [the film] in public venues where people can see it. Otherwise, it would still be lost. As this story builds, we are changing a way of thinking about “preservation.” We are not restricted to “the vault,” the lab or even the institution. At least that’s my definition of a “peoples preservation campaign.” Even word-of-mouth — if people are talking about Serling and “The Man” – that’s preservation.
This is not being badass with institutions, the film industry, or preservation. We have licensed “The Man” for public viewing from the copyright holder, Disney. “The Man” was a production of ABC and Lorimar with ABC as the official copyright holder. ABC merged with Cap Cities and was acquired by the Walt Disney Company in 1995. We’ve taken “The Man” to Busboys and Poets, a multi-purpose gathering space for food, drink, arts, and thought. Institutions like National Geographic, LakeArts Foundation, and recently an inquiry from UCLA for an upcoming event on the work of Rod Serling (screenwriter for “The Man”) signals that the time has come to take a new look at the film. The Library of Congress holds a 16 mm copy of “The Man” and the original copyright card file for ABC. We’ve passed this information to Disney realizing it takes time and staffing to sort through company libraries and files from an acquisition. We all want to set the records straight.
Martin Scorsese‘s “Hugo” (2011) is also showing at the LakeArts Festival. Silent film director and innovator George Méliès is the basis of the “Hugo” story. “Hugo” is also one of the best 3-D experiences thanks to a director who used the technology as an artist tool and not gimmick. If there was any champion of film preservation for our time, Scorsese is its shining star advocate. He has his own institution, The Film Foundation, to support film preservation starting with the films that touched his creative soul. We are proud to have “The Man” follow “Hugo” which champions the preservation theme. But even Scorsese’s efforts must have a peoples “This is important” stamp of support for films to be preserved, screened and appreciated by the generations. The industry, large and small, has the resources to distribute content to a wider public. The institutions have the tools and resources to keep these treasures safe even if that means we can only visit every once in a while. As they told us in film class, it’s a “collaborative effort.”
Clayton LeBouef is creating a list of “lost films.” This “Peoples Preservation Campaign” selects a work on the basis of its talent, story merit, and how the stories connect with hearts and minds, and reflect our on-going struggles and triumphs in our human relations. In other words the film’s ability to “make the people conscious.” But that’s the next step. More on the MTPC Project later.
Introducing the MTPC Project -
MENACE THE PUBLIC CONSCIENCE/
MAKE THE PUBLIC CONSCIOUS Project
Saturday, May 26 (12noon – 4 PM)
No Admission Fee
The Martin Luther King Memorial Library
901 G Street, (Lower Level)
Washington, DC 20001
“THE MAN” stars James Earl Jones who through the law of succession, becomes the first Black President of the United States. Janet MacLachlan, Martin Balsam, Burgess Meridith, also star. The film directed by Joe Sargent, is based on the book by Irving Wallace with a screenplay by Rod Serling.
“UPTIGHT” stars Julian Mayfield, Roscoe Lee Brown, Max Julien, and Ruby Dee (who co-wrote the screenplay). Based on the 1935 film “THE INFORMER” by John Ford, this 1968 release deals with the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and was directed by Jules Dassin.
MTPC is the name of a new project led by actor Clayton LeBouef (“Something The Lord Made,” “Homicide, The Wire”) and taken from a quote by Rod Serling.
“The writer’s role is to menace the public’s conscience. He must have a position, a point of view. He must see the arts as a vehicle for social criticism and he must focus on the issues of his time.”
Mr. LeBouef, is partnering with eclectique916.com to reintroduce films reflecting a storyteller’s willingness to roll the dice and deliver a message about the human experience. The MTPC project includes a “people’s campaign” to bring lost works back to life through public screenings and re-releases on DVD or video streaming. You can get involved.
MTPC project is presenting “The Man” June 17 at 1 PM with the LakeArts Foundation Film Festival “Politics Goes to the Movies” in Chautauqua, New York. More information is available here.
More information about the MTPC Project will be available at the May 26 event. Email events[at]eclectique916[dot]com And Stay Tuned!
Douglass Dilman is “The Man” and the first Black President in the 1972 drama based on the novel by Irving Wallace and staring James Earl Jones. The film is back in limited distribution through independent collaborative efforts and coming to National Geographic (Grosvenor Auditorium – 1600 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036) Tuesday, February 7 to kick off Nat Geo’s “Tuesdays at Noon” Black History Month events.
In “The Man,” Senator Douglass Dilman (James Earl Jones) through the law of succession suddenly becomes the first black man to occupy the Oval Office. “The Man” remains unique in that the film presents the black president as the central dramatic character confronting the political and social weights of his position. Sound familiar? In addition to Jones, the film features actors from television and film’s “Golden Age”: Burgess Meredith, Jack Benny (in a cameo), Janet MacLachlan as Dilman’s activist daughter, George Stanford Brown, Martin Balsam, Barbara Rush, and William Windom. The screenplay for “The Man” was written by Rod Serling (“The Twilight Zone,” “Requiem for a Heavyweight”) and directed by Joseph Sargent (“Something the Lord Made,” “A Lesson Before Dying”).
Eclectique916 continues to campaign for “The Man,” a film that is less than 50 years old and yet practically obscure. According to the documentary film “These Amazing Shadows” about the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, 50% of films produced are lost. This spans from the silent film era at the top of the 20th century to the present. Feature films produced in the last 50 years are also vanishing. “The Man” is considered one of them. To date, only three 16 mm copies of “The Man” have been identified/found. It is highly likely the original film is 35 mm. To date, the location of that 35 mm reel is a mystery.
The book was taken out of print then re-released in 1999, the year after President Bill Clinton’s “impeachment” by the House of Representatives prompted by the “Monica Lewinsky scandal.” The Senate acquitted President Clinton. In the book, but not so much in the film, Dilman also faces impeachment.
James Earl Jones wrote the introduction to the 1999 version of “The Man.”
His [Dilman] intention is to be president of all the people. He has no axes to grind, even racial axes. He simply cares for the national good.
James Earl Jones
The book went back out of print but recently re-emerged as a Kindle edition. The film is not available on DVD, Blueray or streamed. Thanks to the efforts of persons like Clayton LeBouef (“Something the Lord Made,” “Homicide: Life On the Street,” “The Wire”), who will talk about preservation of films like “The Man” February 7, the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation and this blog, “The Man” is back. It’s the beginning of a project to bring attention to significant films (many recent) that deserve extended distribution. If not for an informed and conscious audience, these films will be lost forever.
VOTE!Douglass Dillman’s campaign begins with a vote — on Turner Classic Movies. The overview page for “The Man” includes a link to vote for the film to be released on DVD. And you don’t have to register to vote on TCM.
Vote for “The Man.” See “The Man” for yourself February 7 at National Geographic “Tuesdays at Noon.” Additional screenings (including outside DC) are TBA.
Latoya Peterson, owner and editor of Racialicious, a blog that keeps tabs on the intersection of race and culture joins Clayton LeBouef for the Q&A following the film. The film is FREE and open to the public. Dinner service will be available.
Black presidents have been a television and movie staple for years, hopeful looks forward to the day that was realized in January 2009. But in 1972, a black president was just as unheard of in entertainment as it would have seemed to most of America in reality. — Ian Buckwalter, DCist
Amazingly, the film predicted the future: Things do not go smoothly for the nation’s first fictional black president, either. We hope that President Obama will consider attending a screening or two to take some solace in this fact, at least. — Washington Post Express Night Out