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October 30, 1977 - Image 14

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-10-30
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The Michigan Daily-Sunday, Oc

The Michigan Daily-Sunday, Oc

Page 4-Sunday, October 30, 1977-The Michigan Daily

FILM/christopher potter

city

of trees

4'
£r4
.l

The travesty of
late-night TV

I MISS OLD MOVIES on late-night
TV. I don't especially miss them
anywhere else, but somehow my small,
eerily-glowing screen, in the wee mid-
night hours, seems a conducive time-
suspension setting in which to worship
these icons of the past.
It's been thirty years since the mass
advent of that comppact machine known
as the boob tube, the idiot box, and
other less complimentary names.
Television's impact on motion pictures
carried the force of an atomic bomb:
"Why go out and pay for entertainment
when you can have it free in your living
room?" The economic shock waves
were immediate and devastating-a 70
per cent drop-off in movie attendance,
the abrupt closings of theater after
theater across the country as we
became increasingly a nation of night-
time stay-at-homes.
The reverberations sent a panic-
stricken film industry scrambling into
a frantic survival search for methods to
lure back its lost fans. This meant not
only the launching of such visual gim-
micks as 3-D and Cinerama, but more
significantly caused a profound and
permanent shift in production em-
phasis from the many to the few. The
big studios used to churn out feature
films almost as fast as TV series com-
panies do today, but the sudden
desperation economics of the time
necessitated an ever-increasing relian-
ce on a relative handful of splashy,
large-budget, mostly on-location pic-
tures geared to offer dwindling theater

audiences things they couldn't get on
TV._
It was a radical, calculated gamble
that by and large paid off. The film
medium didn't perish, as many predic-
ted it would, and aesthetically speaking
it's healthier today than in pre-TV
times. I subscribe to the notion that for
all their imperfections, movies are bet-
ter than ever; to be sure, a prevailing
thematic timidity still hangs over the
industry and probably -always will so-
long as profit supersedes artistry as a
motivating factor in filmmaking. But
ironically, it was the same financial
necessities that forced the movies to
wrench themselves out of their safe
never-never land and start to grow up
in both technical skill and emotional
maturity. And the pronounced, if
limited, creative freedom that resulted
will probably ensure that the classic
studio tyrants of the L. B. Mayer ilk will
never again quite wield the under-the-
thumb dominance they once exerted.
D OMESTICALLY, WE produce per-
haps a tenth the number of films
we did three decades ago. Yet compare
the very best of the present repertoire
with the best of the previous era, and
one will realize that cinematically, as
well as in so many other socio-economic
planes, "The Good Old Days" were ac-
tually something very much less than
that.
Of course, the supreme irony of this
media vs. media competition is that TV
See FILM, Page 12

(Continued from Page 3)
Jerry Cavanagh dreamed of riding
his Motor City into the White House
garage, while five-hundred thousand
black folks dreamed of owning a four
bedroom bungalow on Detroit's north-
west side. Martin Luther King still
dreamed of a day when whites and
blacks would walk hand in hand to the
promised land. Stokely Carmichael
dreamed of becoming Secretary of
State in a Black American Republic. H.
Rap Brown had visions of flames
engulfing America (sing along) from
sea to shining sea.
Newsweek had consecutive cover
stories in July on Leslie Uggams, as the

vanguard of the new Negro in show biz;
on the pot problem in America,
describing one type of chronic user as
the ghetto inhabitant who indulges in
the evil weed as an escape from the
degradation and despair; and the bat-
tlefields in American cities.
** *
THE RIOT was centered in an area
three blocks past the Park's far
western border. For an entire week,
people huddled in their houses; snipers
and "law" officers alike sought out the
best perches available; tanks, jeeps,
thousands of Guardsmen-all charac-
terized by the drab olive green of their
military coloring. Michael Ray Smith
lived right across the street from

Detroit. Three blocks from his home on
'Thompson, masses of outraged black
folk took to the streets to demand
justice. Or more specifically, a certain
racist officer's head. Or possibly the
black population merely wished an ex-
cuse-any old excuse-to get in the
streets. There are not many things
which are as unpleasant as a hot July
day in Motown when the grey resins
take up residence above the town and
command the entire populace.
Somehow, people find it no longer
tolerable to sit inside and watch Gomer
Pyle while the air swelters their patien-
ce away.
The aftershock of that muggy after-
noon was to be heard years later. As a

-

'Now I get nightly rel
Kojak, Guinness

trospectives on

holders and

other cc

sentatives of contempoi

World record
)matose repre-
rary kitsch . ..

matter of fact, ti
was even mo
noticeable than
Mother City endu
Park could boast
population and a
property tax-supl
In the space of c
September '67 t
white-to-black ra
flip-flop. Now
majority. Unfortu
exodus-as the m
the tax base for ti
been a self-supl
with a sympathet
turned into a toy
who occupied s
property and cou
millages. As the c
blacker, the ele
resounding rebuf
needs of child
weren't solvent
the quality of t
Every year, sci
would warn th
desperately needi
tp be shut down
tailed.
Sometime in
Highland Park
began finding an
of fungi growing c
elm population. I
city officials woul
90 per cent of the
have to be elimi
been stunned by
elm disease.-
The Smith fa
Montreal in late.
(They had arrive
.imperial welco
bestowed upon
Driving back to"
along Queen's hi
23, Mrs. Smith wa
kids to "shush" fa
"Shush, y'all. .
Mike Smith ha
road, intermittin
not to become hy
"Listen ... list
The announcer
story. The stati
with blankets, mr
and food, becan
even a page rust
keep you posted
ments while we w
up in flames.
national newsme
summers ago. '
Detroit as a 'Littl
"Well, I'll be
tence short as
together and ste
road. "I wonder
the city?"
They reached'
Windsor and D
later, and he was
quality that see
air. The bridge,
mile-long line on
bereft of -autos
Squire. As Mike
green Detroit R
hard look in the
Park. He saw a
of smoke marI
drove on into th
Everything, eve
a soul walking I
few cars cruisi
stopped at the fi

BRIDGE/ ken parsigian

Cityscape, 1977 Daily photos by Andy Freeberg

M Y CAR WAS IN FOR repairs, so I
asked Jim, who was playing that
night, to chauffeur me to the club. He
picked me up early, but I was worrying
whether I could endure a 15-minute ride
with his incessant yakking about all the
latest bidding conventions. The last
time he drove me, he insisted we try
bidding 1 no trump and 6-8 points when
not vulnerable! Insanity! At first it
seemed I might be spared a detailed
analysis of yet another highly artificial
and complex method of bidding simple,
ordinary hands. But it was not to be.
"I noticed you and Frank had some
trouble bidding a hand the other day,"
he began in tone that-portended the ab-
surdity which was to follow. "You
opened a heart, and Frank -had four
hearts to the queen plus a singleton club
and about 12 high card points," he said
to refresh my memory.
"I recall the hand," I said, "but what
was the problem? I bid and made 6
hearts."
"Yes," he replied, "but you had a
hard time bidding it because you didn't
know about your partner's singleton
club. If you'd been playing splinter bids
it would have been much easier," he
said smugly.
"What on earth is a splinter bid?" I
asked, feigning interest since I knew
full weli he would lecture me on the vir-
tues of these silly things regardless of

ter partner has opened the bidding 1
heart or Ispade. In response to such an
opening, a double jump (eg.: 4 diamon-
ds over 1 heart) shows good four card
trump support, 11-15 high card points,
and a singleton or void in the bid suit."
"That sounds, uh, interesting," I
replied cautiously.
"Wonderful!" he gushed. "We'll play
it tonight."
"But uh, what about. .."
"Oh, don't fret," he said condescen-
dingly, pulling up to the club. "You
won't forget it."
Jeff and Frank had already arrived,
so we cut for partners. The gods must
have been against me, for I drew, of
course, Jim as my partner.
"Don't forget our new bid," he
reminded. I nodded grudgingly, and
dealt.
The first rubber was fairly uneven-
tful. We won by a few hundred points
when Jim managed-quite acciden-
tly-to execute a double clash squeeze
to make 6 diamonds.
Then fate reared its ugly head and
dealt the following:-
North(me)
S QJ1082
H AJ95
DQJ62
C _
West(Frank) ,East(Jeff)
S S 965
H H 8743

C AKQJ10 C
98765432
South(Jim)
S AK743
HKQ 1062
D AK4
C
Jim dealt and opened 1 spade, and
Frank set the stage for a bizarre auc-
tion by passing his 13-trick hand. Frank
reasoned that if he simply jumped to 7
clubs he would be announcing a 13 club
hand to everyone, and no one would risk
a double. But he wanted more than just
7 clubs making; he wanted to be
doubled and redoubled, so he passed,
figuring that if he simply bid 7 clubs
over whatever contract we ended up in,
Jim would construe it as a sacrifice,
and double. His reasoning was well-
founded, and he could not be blamed for
the ensuing debacle.
I nearly bid a forcing 3 spades, when I
remembered the splinter bids we had
discussed earlier. My hand was perfect
for a splinter: a void, good trump sup-
port and 11 high card points. Accor-
dingly, I bid 4 clubs, which Jeff passed.
Jim's face brightened when he heard
my bid, and he looked confident as he
called 4 diamonds. Since he had started
cue bidding (4 diamonds showed the
diamond ace), I assumed he had under-
stood my bid. As I was soon to find out,
that was not the case.

ace by bidding 4 hearts. Now Jim an-
nounced the diamond king with a bid of
5 diamonds, and I turned my thoughts
to a grand slam. Since I had a void in
clubs instead of a singleton, we had no
losers in that suit. Partner had
promised the ace of diamonds and I had
the heart ace, so the only problem
seemed to be in spades. I wanted to be
in 7 spades if there were no trump
losers, and 6 spades if there was one, so
I bid 5 no trump-the grand slam force,
calling for partner to bid 6 of the agreed
trump suit (spades) with one top honor
in the suit, and 7 with two.. Frank
passed again, and Jim shocked me by
calling an impossible 7 no trump. I was
dismayed, but there was nothing I could
do, so-I passed. Frank, who had nearly.
fallen off his chair when he heard Jim.
bid no trump, doubled in a loud voice.
Jim redoubled confidently, and all
passed.
Frank was laughing uproariously as
he leaned over and showed me his hand.
"What's down 13, doubled, redoubled
and vulnerable," he asked, "something
over 7000, I should imagine." And with
that he placed the club ace on the table.
Out of reflex, I nearly tabled my hand,
but partner quickly pointed out that I
was the no trump bidder, having called
5 no trump conventionally.
"Oh well," said Frank, "you're still
going down a bundle. Partner will just

*

S----------- - -~Seep
F! 1 Y f t R*F 4 9 F q 1F S 44 * r '93 V F'a9 'b Ar t4 '! S ] S.

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