Dewey has written some 40 books of fiction and nonfiction, as
well as contributed scores of stories to magazines and other
periodicals. He has also had some 30 plays staged in Europe
and the United States. Dewey was editor of the ASME-award winning
magazine Attenzione and was editorial director of the
East-West Network, overseeing a dozen in-flight magazines and
the PBS organ Dial. Don's latest book, Franchisement:
The Alan Gibb Story, is now available.
Long before there were multiplexes, before felons developed
tactics to pay once for seeing more than one movie, it was still
possible to turn a single ticket into a compound investment.
And it didn't take a lot of sneaking around lobbies and keeping
an eye on stub collectors, either. No ingenuity whatsoever was
was the movie on the screen, of course, in Cinemascope, Vistavision,
and any number of variations on technicolour, sepia, and rust.
That picture offered an array of action, of dialogue, of musical
scoring, of more action, more dialogue, and more musical scoring.
The actors were gigantic, the smallest background hill could
have been the Alps, and crystalline streams thundered like Niagara
Falls. Size, size, and more size. But all the while this picture
was playing out before widened eyes, a second one was running
for the same single admission -- the one being unspooled in
our heads. Dot, dot, and more dots.
was not the only catalyst for the second feature. Yes, it might
happen that the learned on-screen discussions of Plato's principles
or analyses of Lenin's strategies at Finland Station could promote
mental drift. Sometimes it took a striptease to refocus on what
was going on at the front of the theater. But even a striptease
or an equivalent stampede of thousands of steers goring and
stomping on townspeople too slow to get out of their way didn't
always restore focus to where the projectionist wanted it to
be. Amazing as it was, a second feature between the ears could
occasionally overwhelm the first one between the sprockets,
and not only because the national budgets splattered over the
bigger screen had been spent unwisely.
-- that was the key. An actor, a look, a situation -- what set
it off could have been anything, maybe even the unpopped kernel
of pop corn antagonizing a cavity. All we had to bring to it
was vulnerability, just as any actor had to bring to a scene
to make it convincing. And we were more than actors. We were
also our own script writers and directors, at times even the
spectators when a memory of particular weight awoke a frisson
of excitement or depression. A lot of time could elapse from
one scene to another, often more than that elapsing on the big
screen where a fist fight in a Texas saloon was followed immediately
by the roustabouts snarling at one another from separate cells
in Romania. Whatever those university film classes had to say,
montage was not exclusive to auteurs. Any
brain at all could edit and recompose reality.
was not a problem. Westerns could spark horror shriekers, thrillers
slapstick comedies. It went without saying that we were always
the protagonists, for good, bad, and embarrassing. Many of our
private features carried such titles as Oh, God!, Did I
Really Do That?, and I Wonder What Happened to Her.
As for co-stars, they had invariably been swallowed up by time,
space, and, in the most melancholy cases, death. Only self-discipline
held us back from following the plot into non-movie realms where
we lost sight of what had been shot and what we just wished
had been. We weren't that cavalier about the dollars handed
over back at the box office. A double-bill was a double-bill,
and that meant one feature had to occupy the lower half, had
to know its place on the marquee. Guess which one.
once out of the can, attention had to be paid. The law of only
one to an orchestra or balcony seat provided the necessary air
of intimacy. Wanting to clout the hippo getting into the row
by way of your feet was merely a cartoon, the yammerers explaining
everything to each other in the row behind a filler short subject.
The basis for a full-length feature was more of that action,
that dialogue, that musical scoring, and this time for only
one to savour, agonize over, or cry about. We knew we were never
going to win awards for what we had produced, but our features
remained far more personal than what the screen upfront, even
at its best, was trying to bathe us in. Vita est longa,
by Donald Dewey:
Playing It Safe
Not to Live By
to the Rescue
Playing It Safe
Them Entertain Us
a Kindergarten Life
of Humour in the Cinema
THE ALAN GIBB STORY by DON DEWEY
becoming the world's most respected life, death, and everything
in between coach, Alan Gibb shared that common frustration over
the failure of astrology, numerology, and similar religions
to direct all aspects of human behavior. They might have all
been sacred systems for establishing a personal identity, but
there was a rusty screw at their core. Even when the revolutionary
tenets of Franchisement occurred to him, he knew they might
remain stillborn without the attacks, arrests, and tragedies
customarily accompanying an original vision. Happily for Gibb
and the tens of thousands of his fellow believers, he was assaulted
in physical, mental, and dietary ways and hauled in as a fraud,
thug, and stalker even as he pressed forward on his crusade
to share Franchisement with the hordes crying for it as a national
pastime superior to baseball. More happily, the tragedies struck
others, not him, enabling him to enjoy the millions Franchisement
brought through the Internet, the telephone, and pay-on-demand
cable. As he noted repeatedly, the delivery vehicle was unimportant
as long as a customer thought he wanted what he was getting.
"If you listen to people, the world is divided between
the Yankees and the Red Sox," he liked to chuckle fondly.
"Tell that to those with a crush on the Minnesota Twins.
A vision that isn't comprehensive sees only its own nose."
OTHERS ARE SAYING:
there are many similar books too numerous to count, but this
book is sui generis." --- Benjamin Acocella, S.J., President
of the Council for Mental Observances.
book changed my life when it most needed changing." ---
Sidney Willinger, Leisure Sciences Department, University of
love is a 13-letter word." --- Jennifer Pryor, Harvard
School of Theoretical Business.
demonstrates how life is more than steak knives and storm windows."
--- Joel Sternheim, Informercials Institute.
Trade Paperback - 6 x 9 x .7
FICTION / Humorous / General
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