Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Profiles In Courage

We're getting close to finishing up our Lincoln-related project for an unnamed cable channel specializing in history. The film covers some of the lesser-known episodes in the Great Emancipator's life, including the two-year period in the 1870's when his preserved corpse was hidden under a pile of moldy lumber in a basement in Springfield, IL. (Yes, it's true...otherwise, it wouldn't be on TV, would it?)

The program is broken up into little chapters, each with its own little on-screen title card. In the earliest drafts of the show, we gave the above-referenced incident the slug "The President In The Woodpile," which we thought was the sort of clever, if somewhat offensive, historical allusion that would earn us a knowing chuckle from our bosses before being yanked out by Standards & Practices.

Except that cable channels specializing in history turn out to be run by TV people, not historians. Nobody has gotten the joke, and rather than outing ourselves as crypto-racist smartasses this late in the game, we've been standing by quietly as the final program is assembled with the title card still in it. By the time the angry viewer mail rolls in, we'll be down south where nobody minds that kind of thing.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I'm suddenly feeling alienated by the narrators unpredictable and disconcerting moral code.

-Katie said...

I dunno. Sure, you yourself have proven yourself good at hiding in pretty remote places. But if this presidential show coincides with the inauguration of our first black president, won't you be worried the tv people will hunt you down? They may not be historians, but they love a scandal, no?

Burro Hall said...

Do you have reason to believe that our first black president may NOT be inaugurated? Shouldn't you be talking to the Secret Service instead of posting blog comments?