Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Cutting Room by Laurence Klavan (Ballantine Books 2004)

The call that changed my life did not come from Jody. It came from Alan Gilbert, perhaps the most petty of all the "trivial" men I knew.

Alan was a few years older than me. For money, he wrote the capsule descriptions of movies in the TV section of one of the New York City tabloids. ("Gone with the Wind, 1939, Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable. Gal survives the Civil War." You know what I mean.) But his real love was his own public-access TV show - the half hour paid for with most of the salary from his day job - called My Movies.

On the show, Alan sat in his tiny East Village apartment and showed forgotten clips from old films, censored scenes, short subjects not seen for forty years, early pornography, and the like. Occasionally, Alan went on location to interview forgotten actors or cult directors. Mostly, though, it was just Alan, his cameraman - fellow trivial fellow Gus Ziegler - a shabby chair, a projector, a screen, a TV, and that was it. The show ran about twenty times during the week - on channel 297 or something - and chances are, if you've ever flicked around at four in the morning, you've seen him.

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