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Mark Dawidziak <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 26 Mar 2008 23:42:22 -0400
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Arianne and all,
    It's an honor to be Googled.
    But let me spare you the YouTube or the DVD search for anything on 
"The Shape of the River."
    Hal's very generous words concerning "The Shape of the River" has 
prompted a few direct inquiries about whether or not the May 1960 
"Playhouse 90" by Horton Foote is available on DVD. It is not. Such 
companies as CBS, Paramount, HBO and Universal, almost without 
exception, use marketing projections to decide what to release on DVD. 
The coin of this particular realm is the projected number of units sold. 
Consumer demand drives this world, not artistic integrity, and this 
model has kept far more than "The Shape of the River" from reaching DVD. 
Indeed, almost no "Playhouse 90" show is available on DVD, and the very 
few out there were written by Rod Serling. CBS owns the videotaped print 
of "The Shape of the River," and this is a company that looks at the big 
sales, plus ancillary merchandising, generated by such boxed sets as "I 
Love Lucy" and "Everybody Loves Raymond." The best hope is that a 
fine-arts outfit, like Kultur Video, licenses "The Shape of the River" 
because of interest in Mark Twain, Horton Foote and theater.
    Barb Snedecor and the wonderful folks at Elmira College's Center for 
Mark Twain Studies set aside a night at the 2005 conference to screen 
the entire show (Camel cigarette and gas company commercials included), 
figuring this was the best way to reach the most interested Twainiacs at 
the same time. Without a home-video release of any kind, it was the best 
we could do.
    Horton, by the way, turned 92 last Friday, and he's still working on 
new plays.  

Arianne wrote:
> Mark, thank you so much for your helpful and interesting message about your
> own
> experiences here and at conferences.  Reassuring (and entertaining.)
>>     Twain said he had no prejudices because all he needed to know was
>> that someone was a human being -- he couldn't be any worse.
> That made me laugh out loud.  Thanks.
>>    After that, if you have any doubts you belong here, remember the
>> words of Tom Tenney (all honor to his name): "You're precisely the kind
>> of person we need."
> I hope so.  We'll see.  I've had several experiences already of the
> generosity of
> posters here.  I'm grateful.
> OH!  Hal Bush led me to google you and I'm awe struck by the work you did
> on The Shape of the River.  Wonderful achievement.  And a terrific
> contribution to
> us all.  I haven't checked youtube to see if there are any snippets of the
> program
> there.  A friend just posted a few videos for me  made from old movies I
> took in
> Indonesia and Africa. I've always wanted to share them and Youtube is handy.
> Warm regrads,
> Arianne Laidlaw.