The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street

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As Rod Serling so brilliantly admonished us in The Twilight Zone episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” those pesky monsters are just as likely to be the fear mongering fabulists, hysterics and well-meaning moralists who can’t quite seem to get out of their own way before setting the torches and mobs ablaze. Sadly, and what is truly pathetic here is, there are facts, timelines and witnesses to this case and they exculpate Woody Allen completely from the charge he molested his adopted daughter, Dylan. What is even more disconcerting is there seems to be little logic, deduction or even common sense to those who wish to turn this into a cause celebre for feminist, religious, moral, or anti-Hollywood issues. The answer is,  “none of the above”. Those of us who studied the case as it unfolded clearly saw Ms. Farrow’s attempts to charge Woody Allen with molesting Soon-Yi at first ( which may or may not be justified),  but when the facts would not bear it out, she turned to the Connecticut DA where her family had more pull  and redirected the timely charge towards their adopted daughter, Dylan, for custody reasons. This is a legal case and it has been thoroughly investigated and adjudicated according to law. Any attempt to suggest otherwise says more about the feckless groups and self-serving individuals trying so desperately to suggest otherwise.

NO, You are not entitled to your opinion. You are only entitled to what you can argue for.” http://theconversation.com/no-youre-not-entitled-to-your-opinion-9978 via @ConversationEDU

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Of Actors, Artists and Addicts

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Artists by their very nature require a certain solipsistic attitude. It is the very fiber of their craft to say nothing of the time, devotion, and “alone” time just to perform and perfect their instrument. There is nothing evil or wrong in it,  although it doesn’t make them particularly great neighbors, parents, husbands, church deacons, etc.  Hoffman was very upfront about his addictions and often commented had he  been famous or rich much younger he would have been dead that much earlier, too! The reason many artists are addicts is because the two can be intertwined psychologically and even genetically. The very thing that drove them to addiction drives them to be artists and vice versa. It never goes away and is only accelerated or abated by various social economic and psychological conditions. To ask if he loved, or lived, or transcended himself is perfectly fine, but to answer or judge them for not being otherwise causes so many more complications.  Hoffman presaged his early death and spoke about it as though it were a premonition of sorts. As with the late Cory Monteith, one of the inherent problems seems to be in their post-rehab treatment. An addict becomes sober and  detoxes for a time, but when they relapse they go right back into their old dosage and inadvertently kill themselves. I think that’s imminently more addressable, for the rest of us,  than the deeper, more ontological questions as to why they’re addicts, artists or even actors in the first place.

Woody Allen, Child Molestation, The Salem Witch Trials and Jesus

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Woody Allen, Child Molestation, The Salem Witch Trials and Jesus 

Child molestation doesn’t happen just like that, but is a disease very often passed on from the molester to the molested. There is a pathology to it and it does not occur willy nilly as if catching a cold. I’m always surprised by how readily all-forgiving Christians are willing to abandon any semblance of logic and common sense in favor of a kind of “miraculous event of evil” around these rumors even in the face of compelling exculpatory evidence that proves otherwise. Why would Dylan write about it now? Well the sad truth is it is an almost exemplary case of how myths become lies, rumors, mass hysteria and then insinuate themselves into religion, history and “fact”. We can all learn a lot from these radical departures as they show us exactly how mass-storytelling works. There is a brilliant new book out by Matt McCormick that argues there is much more evidence to support The Salem Witch Trials then there is the existence of Jesus Christ and yet one we readily accept as hysteria and the other we embrace as “proven” historical fact.

The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast

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Anyone who has suffered through a divorce with children understands the rancor and hysteria it can produce, and sadly, the children are the ones who pay the biggest price when being unashamedly “recruited” to side with one of the parents.  Those of us who followed the story closely saw an ambitious DA recklessly fanning the fires of Mia’s righteous fury, but also saw how eagerly the government, The Media, public outrage and subtle currents of anti-semitism turned her understandable pain and hurt against Woody Allen’s character. Contrary to all stereotypes, Woody Allen was one of the most celebrated bachelor/cocksmen of his time, and always seen in the company of brilliant, brainy and beautiful women such as, Louise Lasser, Mia Farrow, Diane Keaton and others. The likelihood that this sexually precocious, towering wit and masterfully accomplished intellectual face planted himself in the crotch of his seven year old adopted daughter is not just patently absurd, but cruel, vicious and outrageous nonsense. There were no charges brought against Woody Allen because he was not guilty of them and the DA had to drop the charges accordingly.  http://thebea.st/1ckev98 via @thedailybeast

Arthur Rankin Jr. Has Passed: My Boss and Mentor by Michael Chase Walker

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Arthur Rankin Jr. Has Passed: My Boss and Mentor by Michael Chase Walker ‘

This grieves me so. Arthur was my boss and a mentor. A truly elegant man and quintessential “Mad Men” from the Mad men era whom with Jules Bass crossed over from advertising to television and feature films and built their whole animation empire. When I bought the rights to The Last Unicorn I promised Peter S. Beagle (and myself) they would be the last studio in town I would approach, and as fate would have it I was in a meeting with Martin Starger and Paul Lazarus of Marble Arch Productions when Marty mentioned that Jules and Arthur Rankin were in town recently and had pitched The Last Unicorn as a feature. Marty had worked with them when he was president of ABC Television and was well aware of their pitfalls and pluses as a studio. Of course their TV programs were ratings blockbusters, but they had no credibility in the feature world. I remember telling Peter that I was going to make the deal with them and how disappointed he was. Unfortunately, my deals with Warner Bros. had come to an end and Disney had passed after courting me lavishly for some time. The alternative studios were Hanna Barbera, Ruby Spears and Depatie Freleng at the time. The deciding factor for me was they were both extremely literate and intelligent men who had actually read and loved the book — which was hardly the case with the other studios. They in turn took to me and instantly hired me as head of creative affairs for their New York offices. I had cherry offices at 1 East 53rd street in Manhattan and under their aegis developed and produced The Last Unicorn, Return of the King,The Flight of Dragons, Pinocchio’s Christmas, The Leprechaun’s Golden Rainbow and The Wind and the Willows. Arthur charged me with coming up with a way we could televise the first “TV treasure hunt” in the manner of Kit William’s “Masquerade” books. After ruminating for some time I suggested tying it into Ul De Rico’s The Rainbow Goblins books we had just optioned. My solution was to bury an ounce of gold at every ABC affiliate and then drop the clue during the weather broadcast with the word R-A-I-N-B-O-W as an anagram for Revealed Answer In News Broadcast Of Weather. I remember Arthur tearing up with gratitude at my solution and later when I left the studio to return to Los Angeles, he silently choked up again and said he’d never forget my creative problem solving.The truth is he loved the animation team he had assembled back in the Fifties and Sixties as they would form the core teams for most of the greatest Japanese animation studios in existence today. http://variety.com/2014/tv/people-news/rudolph-animator-arthur-rankin-jr-dead-at-89-1201080680/ via @Variety

Michael Chase Walker, The Last Unicorn, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, The Dragon Prince, CBS Entertainment, Rankin Bass Productions