Archive for 2007

Happy President's Day and Radio

I would like to wish all a happy President's Day. One of the few holiday's in the calendar, like Memorial Day, where we can reflect on American history. I just finished doing two radio interviews about my film, Lincoln and Lee at Antietam, which were most enjoyable. The first with KDKA in Pittsburgh and the other with WOC AM in Davenport Iowa. I know the radio biz well as I started my career as a radio DJ, while still in college, with WPOE AM 1520 in Greenfield MA. I have no idea if the station even exists anymore but these interviews today got me thinking about memories of my "good old radio days".

A funny story which I will share about WPOE is when the new program director came in (who will remain nameless - Glenn) He was a top DJ from another city and I was the college kid working part-time. Glenn wanted to change the format from the dreadful Air Supply and Frank Sinatra combination we were playing to something more "happening and upbeat".

The problem was Glen did not inform the radio station owners when exactly and what type of upbeat music he was planning to change to. One day he pulled me aside and said, "Rob, I want you to kick off our new format. You've been doing a great job and well, by golly, you deserve it..." You can see what's coming I'll bet.

At an appointed time on my weekend shift, I was to change to the new "clock" which is radio speak for music rotation. At the appointed time, high noon, I faded the soothing sounds of Vicki Carr's "It Must Be Him" into the shake you out of bed track called "Our House" by a group called "Madness". I thought to myself, now this is more like it.

Probably not less than two minute later, I got a call in the studio from the station owner..."Is this Rob? Yes boss. What the #!*& are you doing! What the h*** is this #!8& on my station! I said, It's Madness. He said D*** right it is! Complete MADNESS! Have you lost your mind! I said, I was just following orders from Glen. GLEN! Rob, you work for me and MY orders are put Frank Sinatra back on! I said, you got it boss.

Ah radio.

I'd like to close today, in honor of President's Day, in sharing a video interview which I did for Fox Television in Philadelphia upon the release of Lincoln and Lee at Antietam this past year. In the interview I speak about Lincoln and the amusing story of how I found the actor to portray him. Hope you enjoy it and hope you enjoy your day.



Fox Interview
Posted by Robert Child

Welcome to my blog...

I was asked recently to create a blog about my films and projects and I thought what a good idea, why hadn't I thought of that. Then I realized that it was because I am a part of a generation which actually listened to 8 - track tapes. I even had one in my '73 Nova (had to put a matchbook under the 8 tracks in the deck so they would play correctly). And of course, how could I forget that very special Christmas when I received my own 8-track recorder to make my own tapes. Life was good indeed.

Why all this nostalgia about 8-track tapes on a blog in 2007? Because they were cool in their day and now writing a blog, downloading music and videos to an IPOD is cool in it's day. Is "cool" still cool? Do people in the know still say "cool"? Or am I dating myself by using this dusty archaic slang reference which may reveal that in fact I may be losing or have already lost my cool. Let's hope not because many people consider me a person who rarely loses his cool.

The other factor besides the 8-track factor in what I deem my earlier resistance to penning a blog is what I will call the "Lazy Christmas/Holiday letter" factor. I see that guilty smile. For those fortunate enough to have never received one, I will elaborate. The holidays are such a rush-rush time running around to parties and buying last minute gifts that who has time to write a personal note to each person on their holiday mailing list. No, that will not do. It is much better to list each of your own family member's accomplishments, promotions, European trips, academic achievements and funny (to them) incidents from the past year. Yes that's just the ticket to spread holiday cheer. I did not want my blog to be the "Lazy Christmas/Holiday Letter".

Now to the business at hand...cue the promotional music bed please, great. I was very pleased to learn only last week that PBS and PBS HD is airing my film Lincoln and Lee at Antietam twice in prime-time on President's Day Feb. 19th. (check your local listings) The film,when I began writing it, was all about the tragedy of the battle of Antietam but truly became a story about the courage and political genius of Abraham Lincoln. I was extremely fortunate as well to work with some of the foremost Lincoln scholars who provided me eye-opening insight that I hadn't earlier considered. Lincoln remains a towering figure as well as a dividing figure still today. Witness Virginia lawmakers decision just today to kill creating a commission to oversee the state's participation in the Lincoln bicentennial in 2009. It is obvious that wounds from the Civil War still remain.

And of course I cannot close today's blog without mentioning (promotional music again please) the upcoming release of my Silent Wings: The American Glider Pilots of WWII film. It took eleven years to bring it to the screen and I took the reins of the project four years ago to bring it across the finish line. Some stories need to be told and this is one of them. That is why I stuck with the project for so long. The film reveals the brave exploits of America's WWII glider pilots during all of WWII. They were the only front line aviators who had no guns, no motors and no parachutes. Every mission was one way and the glider pilots had to find their own way home. That should tell you something about guts. I hope you pick up a copy on March 20th.

That will close my first ever blog in cyber space, like the age old question, "when a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound?" "Does a blog posted on the web".... you know the rest.

In my next post I will fill you in on some exciting new projects I am working on this year. It is going to be a great year and I hope, through this blogging, that you come to know the lighter side of this serious filmmaker.

All my best,

Posted by Robert Child

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