My KPFA - A Historical Footnote








The Voices of America  This is the documentary I produced for the USIS as part of its report to Congress. The taped intro for the KPFA broadcast says it all.

An Informal History of American Musical Comedy, with Cy Coleman and Barbra Streissand. A bomb set off in the embassy theater that night would have decimated London high society. Perhaps that was what made Barbra so nervous—she rehearsed her numbers over and over, continually changing her tempi and phrasing. The sound system I'd been able to cobble together from odds and ends was less than ideal, and at one point she protested angrily, "If this isn't right by tonight, I'll walk out!" Having experienced more than enough of her temperament for one afternoon, I heard myself replying, "No you won't, Barbra—'cause you're a pro!" In the end, the system worked, and so did she, sounding as fresh as if she'd slept all afternoon.

Highlights of American Humour, Part 1, Part 2 Throughout these two evenings, compere Donald Ogden Stuart anecdoted amiably about his circle of intimate friends, including James Thurber, Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, Ring Lardner and Ernest Hemingway. The young actor who gave such a masterful delivery of Benchley's riotous Treasurer's Report (even better, if fact, than Benchley's own as performed on film) was Jonathan Lynn, a Cambridge Footlights alumnus who went on to fame and fortune as the joint author, with Antony Jay, of Yes Minister.

Both the above programs were produced by Geoge Mully, with whom I subsequently worked for several years, thus totally changing my life.

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