1 correction by anonymous - Show corrections
Every year scores of pilots are made by American producers for those in- satiable giants the American tele- vision networks. Tens of millions are spent on putting together shows that will run the gauntlet of network executive ap proval and if successful make it for a I place on programming schedules.
I The others gather dust in cans and I eventually crumble into dust along with
? the dreams of the producer, director, I writers and actors.
I For the shows that click with the I Great American Public the skies that I span from sea to shining sea - and be lyond - are the limit. As somebody once
? said: "Television is a licence to print ? money." And the printing presses run I overtime printing millions for the team J that can get a hit TV programme onto TV
1 screens around the world.
Mind you, talent has nothing to do I with success and the gems that have be Icome the great hits of American TV I usually would not tax the mental ca I pacify of a flea. They are usually bland, I lightweight, uncontroversial, un I challenging shows that work to a repeti- tious formula. But if you have that for I mula locked away in your safe you can be I the Doctor Frankenstein who creates a I money-producing monster.
I Whereas other societies, including I Australia, come up with at least some I controversial TV programmes that may
? upset somebody, somewhere, American ITV is almost paranoid in its determina-
tion not to upset anybody, most of all the ? sponsors, and religious groups, racial ? groups, etc. Bearing the restrictions in ? mind and knowing just what (a) the TV ? executives will buy and (b) the American ? public will watch is like having the eye of ? an eagle, the nose of a bloodhound, a ? mind like a steel trap, the strength of Af- ilas and the patience of Job.
I If somebody scores one hit that is a ? teat but when somebody scores three hits ? then that is truly remarkable.
j James Komack has hit the target
? again and again. As writer-director ht
|nas created such enormous hits as Wei ? COme Back Kotter, Chico And The Mar ? and The Courtship Of Eddie's Father ? Apart from making Mr Komack very H wy very rich the shows made stars ou
j or donn Travolta, Freddie Prinz and Bil leo' yWhile P00r Freddie was unable t< ? Pe Mr Travolta has gone on to becomi ÍRiSKPeuStar of the blS screen and M
I *Ty has gone from TV hit to TV hit.
? JarnPaïfrom creating such major hit
? J^^omack has been a writer/ dire«
IfHE AUSTDAI .~
ABOVE: James Komack, the TV
mastermind who boosted the careers
of, right, John Travolta and Bill Bixby.
tor/producer of such other hits as The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mr Roberts, Hennessy, Wagon Train and Get Smart. He has a list of credits and a wealth of experience in the American media that makes one wonder how he ever stood the pace.
And now Mr Komack is coming to Australia to use his not inconsiderable talent in directing a feature film. The pic- ture, Sean, is a "serious" western - something that is in short supply in Am- erica but which is lapped up by audiences around the world. It will star Gerard Kennedy and Sally Boyden and if Mr Komack's TV touch works in the cinema it will not do their careers anything but good to be directed by him.
I suppose if the Italians made spa- ghetti westerns we could call this a meat pie western aimed right at getting a major' release around the world and making piles and piles of money for its Australian producers.
The Australian film purists may shud- der at the thought that Australia may double for California in the same way as Spain doubled for Arizona when Clint Eastwood made super-stardom by shoot- ing it out on the wide open spaces outside Seville. However, in its time California has doubled for every corner of the world and I really don't think audiences any- where care where a picture comes from as long as it entertains.
Mr Komack brings to these shores the sort of inside information that is invalu
111.II i IM
able to Australian film talent. The American film industry grew and pros- pered because it made the world its oys- ter. It took Hitchcock from England, Billy Wilder from Austria, Polanski from Poland, Curtiz from Hungary, Lubitsch from Germany and Farrow from Australia, to name just a few, and created an indigenous industry that appealed to people everywhere. They brought points of view and a world ex- perience that went into creating some- thing called the Hollywood Film. They were also starmakers and turned many a sow's ear into silken purring superstar or hefty he-man superstud.
Mr Komack's story is the classic Am- erican success story of somebody who started as a stand-up comic in New York and finished up a tycoon in Hollywood.
It's to be hoped that the same sort of success will happen to the brilliant Aus- tralians now getting their breaks in film- making and TV in Australia. C7