Michael Chase Walker’s Sideways Stories From The Wayside School

Executive Producer Michael Chase Walker teams up with Pee Wee’s Playhouse Producers for this wild and wooly, edgy and controversial Television Pilot

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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

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.

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

If you abandoned your faith…

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If you abandoned your beliefs would your love go away? Your compassion, your heart, your goodness, your wisdom, loyalty and love of truth? No, no more than if you brought a new friend or child into your home would they detract from or replace those you all ready love. Love is not a byproduct of your faith, it is you and the hopes you have for your faith are because it is you, and in you and not in a deity, book, or mythic hero or messiah. If your religion is love, it is because you are and not the reverse.

Holding Fast to a Lie in an Avalanche of Information…

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It strikes me as more than curious (and a little unsettling)  that the only other body of information Christians quote as prolifically as the Bible is Wikipedia. Is there a DSM diagnosis for someone who persistently indulges in the wholesale acceptance, exaltation and dissemination of dubious, antiquated, poorly sourced and long discredited information? I have to say debating these individuals is a lot like arguing the existence of elves with a J.R.R. Tolkien fan whose only source is The Lord of the Rings, but there must be something else going on other than the old canard of religion, devotion and faith. Call it  Misology, Misoneism, Oppositional defiance, Sciolism, Pseudo-intellectualism, or just plain fanaticism, there is a definite pathological compulsion to latch on to an impossible idea for dear life and even through an avalanche of factually contradictory information hold fast to it even as everything around it crumbles.