I'll bet most readers of this commentary did not realize that William Carlos Williams made a television appearance. Yes, it was September 4, 1957, and the old stroke-inhibited but still feisty poet went to the studios of WABD (New York) and appeared with host John Wingate on a show called Nightbeat. Today we've segmented the audio version of this recording into topics. You'll note that WCW talks about television for 33 seconds, and about Stevenson, Eisenhower and Kennedy for a minute and a half (already anticipating the 1960 presidential election). Here are those segments:
on practicing medicine and writing poetry (1:59): MP3
on the Greenwich Village poets and separating from the crowd (4:15): MP3
One day, on the street, Bruce Andrews found several thousands of pages of scripts from the soap opera, As the World Turns. He then created an untitled piece we might call “This Is the 20th Century” (using its first line). It was apparently written to serve as a preface or blurb for a book by Johanna Drucker (Dark Decade). Andrews uses phrases from the TV scripts and also some language from Drucker. He read this stray-ish piece at an Ear Inn reading in 1994. Here is the recording — from PennSound's Bruce Andrews page where this '94 reading has been segmented (thanks to the talented Jenny Lesser). The blurb did not appear on or in Drucker's Dark Decade and remains unpublished.
“You know that’s flapping your fins for an audience. That’s letting dipshits define you by a number so other dipshits can compare you with other numbers so the other dipshits know who to pay to wear their sunglasses so that dipshits in the malls know which ones to buy."--Mitch Yost, John from Cincinnati, episode 3
One of the longest soliloquies in the history of TV dramas:
You shut the fuck up, huh? Gimme that! Hey, you suck my dick and shut the fuck up, huh? Come here. Come on. Now then, here. The place where I found you, huh, is where this warrant’s from. Could you believe that I may have stuck a knife in someone’s guts 12 hours before you got on the wagon we headed out for fuckin’ Laramie in? No! Because I don’t look fuckin’ backwards. I do what I have to do and go on. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, what? You got a stagecoach to catch or somethin’, huh? Slow the fuck up. Did you know the orphanage part of the building you lived in, behind it, she ran a whorehouse, huh? Oh, so you knew? So, so what are you fuckin’ lookin’ at then, huh? God. Now, I’ll tell you somethin’ you don’t know. Before she ran a girls orphanage, fat Mrs. Fucking Anderson ran the boys orphanage on fucking Euclid avenue, as I would see her fat ass waddling out the boys dormitory at 5 o’clock in the fucking mornin’, every fuckin’ morning she blew her stupid fuckin’ cowbell and woke us all the fuck up. And my fuckin’ mother dropped me the fuck off there with 7 dollars and 60 some odd fuckin’ cents on her way to suckin’ cock in…in Georgia. And I didn’t get to count the fuckin’ cents before the fuckin’ door opened, and there, Mrs. Fat Ass Fuckin’ Anderson, who sold you to me. I had to give her 7 dollars and 60 odd fuckin’ cents that my mother shoved in my fuckin’ hand before she hammered 1,2,3,4 times on the fuckin’ door and scurried off down fuckin’ Euclid Avenue, probably 30 fuckin’ years before you were fuckin’ born. Then around Cape Horn and up to San Francisco, where she probably became Mayor or some other type success story, unless by some fucking chance she wound up as a ditch for fuckin’ cum. Now, fucking go faster, hmm?
Al Swearengen, Deadwood, season 1, episode 11, "Jewel's Boot is Made for Walking" (the very end of the episode).
Yes, I'm obsessed with Hill Street Blues. I apologize. My favorite single image from the show comes from the very end of episode 1 of season 3 ("Trial By Fury"--which won an Emmy for the writing). Frank Furillo, having manipulated the justice system to get the guys guilty of the rape and murder of a nun, realizes (we're meant to think: ironically) that he's committed a sin. Got the criminals but gave into mob justice--listened to the advice of his reactionary SWAT-team adjutant (Howard Hunter) and really angered his liberal-left Public Defender lover (Joyce Davenport). Now he's pulling his car into a parking spot in front of the Catholic Church, the place where Sister Carmella had been raped and killed. He'll go into the confessional, we now realize. But in the moment before we realize that, we get this perspective of him, unlike any visual rendering of a major TV series character I'd seen up to that point (1982). We can barely see him through the urban dark and the bars of the church gate and the statue of Mary standing guard.