« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Episode 120: 30 Minutes of Disappointing Television

2018-12-17 | 🔗

You can't put THAT on TV!

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Hey there, it's micro- and this is the way I heard the only podcast for the curious mind with a short attention span. I've been thinking and rather than sell the incredibly valuable piece of real estate that precedes the unforgettable story. You're about to hear too many of my loyal sponsors this month, I'm gonna keep it for myself, so that I might suggest to you with great humility that you consider giving my book as a Christmas present like the story you're about to hear the book is called the way I heard it and modesty aside, I don't think you'll find a more appropriate gift out there. The reviews are excellent. It's an official New York Times best seller and everybody tells me
They hear my voice in their head when they read it now. I don't know if that's that's good thing or a bad thing for weird thing, but it's definitely something gotta micro dot com, slash book, that's micro, dot, com, slash books are still a few autographed copies left if you'd like one just click on autographed copy stuff it in a stocking rapid and brown paper, or slap, a bow on my giant face and give it to somebody love or like, or somebody just simply feel obligated to buy gift for either waits at micro, dot, com, slash book. This is the way I heard. In early December of nineteen sixty five, a producer named Lee Mendelson, sat in a screening room at CBS, watching the credits role on a film he had been.
Working on for the last six months with him were three network executives who made no attempt to conceal their profound confusion and deep disappointment. It's too slow said the first suit. It's too depressing said the second suit it's to religious, said the third suit, and why the hell did you cast those kids? Well, Sedley Sparky thought the kids would make the whole thing feel more honest, but their kids said the first suit and they can't even act or saying he's right said the second suit. These kids are terrible, the music terrible and the whole thing feels like it was put together by a fifth greater. I'm sorry Lee. But this is thirty minutes. A very disappointing television Lee side truth. Is he didn't entirely disagree? The pace was slow. The music was decidedly non. Traditional and yes,
In hindsight he probably should have checked within that work before casting children in roles that were traditionally played by adults. But what choice did he have? Sparky had creative control and Sparky was very protective, Of that which he had created, there's just no way we can show this to the critic said. The first suit no way said the second suit. Might as well send him home in the lobby a writer from time Gesine had been summoned for an exclusive look at least holiday special wait. Sedley you can offer time magazine a sneak peak and then just them away, they'll crucify us, but this is it- to be seen by a critic said the first suit this is
ready to be seen by anyone said the second suit we ve got. Five pages of notes said the third suit and the air dates a week away. Lee took a deep breath. Look I'm sorry fellows, but even if I had the time to make your changes spark, you won't go for it. He can't make you air it, but you can't make him change it. As the suits huddled in a scrap of panic and insecure he lay reflected on the path that brought him here. A few years ago he produced an award winning documentary about the best baseball player in the world, the one and only Willie Mays it we made sense to follow up with a documentary about the worst baseball player in the world, which is how he became friends with the one and only Sparky. Now they were collaborating
and this time on, a series of specials Sparky, as always retained. Creative control and Sparky was very protective of that which he created. The suits, however, were not quite ready to roll Let's be realistic, Leith the soundtrack is suicidal. We need something more traditional saree, sadly, Sparky loves the music, but it makes no sense. It feels like we're in a dive bar in Greenwich village. Sorry, Sedley Sparky thinks it's charming. Well, we definitely need a laugh track. That's for sure this thing is supposed to be a comedy right. Sorry, sadly, Sparky wants the viewer to decide what's funny and what isn't the suits, looked at each other and blinked and disbelief. Well. What about the scripture reading that was never even in the script that's never gonna fly. Lee could only shrug look if you want to take it up with Sparky, be my guest but trust me,
If you bought listen to me, he won't listen to you in the end, the suits have much of a choice. Go color was already committed. The air date had been announced, the critic. Was in the lobby and Sparky was playing Hardball a game. He turned out to be pretty good at. After all, so this, its allowed the critic from Time magazine to watch Liese special dirt. Which time nothing was said until the credits began to roll, at which point the critic turned to Lee and said, thanks for the snake p good luck when the critic left the first suit turned to Lee and said we have no choice but to air this mass. But you can forget about the other specials you and spark you're finished at CBS. Lee went home.
Warned his career, but three days later there was reason for hope. The critic from Time magazine had written the surprisingly positive review and, a few days after that December, ninth, one thousand nine hundred and sixty five, nearly half the country tuned in to watch a holiday special that broke all the rules, Especial that won an Emmy as well as a Peabody and got Sparky a star on the Hollywood walk of fame special. This error every December for the last five decades to the delight of millions. The question is why why do we keep coming back to a world where all the loves, her unrequited, all the baseball games or lost all the test, scores or de minuses at all the footballs or pulled away at the last moment, advance girl, Aldys, Grammy, nominated soundtrack? That leaves us melancholy and hopeful all. At the same time,
Is it the endearing charm of Douglas FIR to frail to support a single ornament? Maybe it's, but Sparky insisted on using the voices of real children instead of adult actors to bring his beloved characters to life, or maybe it, because he let a six year old who success thumb, recite the gospel according to Luke on prime time television. Nobody had ever tried that in a cartoon before
then again, no collection of animated characters, including the world's worst baseball player, ever had a creator like the man. They called Sparky, the gentle but stubborn writer who gave the world thirty minutes of really disappointing television, better known as a Charlie Brown Christmas, a timeless gift and a good deal more than peanuts from the one, and only Charles Schulz. Anyway. That's why I heard.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-30.