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March 1996, Week 4


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Dennis Bingham <[log in to unmask]>
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Mon, 25 Mar 1996 16:27:21 -0500
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I am looking for early examples (say, pre-1965) of TV reporters playing
themselves in dramatic films.  While this became common practice by the
early 1970s (ABC's Howard K. Smith seemed to make a second career of it),
and had been done in the radio era (e.g., H.V. Kaltenborn in MR. SMITH
GOES TO WASHINGTON) I am interested in the earliest examples of what later
became a convention, especially (but not exclusively) when it involved a
reporter recreating his/her role in a real-life story.  For instance, in
I WANT TO LIVE! (1958), about the convicted murderer Barbara Graham, who
was put to death in California in 1955, an L.A. commentator, George
Putnam who covered the case and interviewed Graham, plays himself
interviewing Susan Hayward.  The implications of such reporters turning
players are strange indeed.  An example of a more typical situation--the
well-known reporter playing him/herself in a fictional film--would be Mike
Wallace reporting on the fictional "Lonesome Rhodes" in A FACE IN THE
CROWD (1957).  I'd love to see any examples any of you come up with for
either prototype.
Dennis Bingham
Indiana University-Indianapolis
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