Friday, September 27, 2013

1232 Czar Tom the First

1232 Czar Tom the First

Los Angeles has a new film czar.  Bet you didn’t know they had an old one.  It’s hard to tell.  And it’s hard to tell over what the new czar is going to rule.  But there are hints.

A former newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, reports the fellow is Tom Sherak.  Household name at your place?  Probably not.  Okay, here’s some background.

According to the paper, he was the head of 20th Century Fox once.  And he is a former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a kind of country club whose only known function is awarding Oscars.  

And he was the head of the Will Rogers charity.  Those are the good folks who panhandle you for contributions before the main feature runs at “a select theater near you,” and to which you’ve never given a nickel. And never Will.

(Aside:  Someone’s going to get a fortune in free advertising by naming a movie house chain Select Theaters.)

And he is a graduate, says the paper, of New York City Community College.  Trouble with that is there’s no New York Community College.  They may mean Manhattan Community College or maybe City University of New York.  No matter.  His chief job is salesman with crown and sceptre, and that requires no degree, though one wouldn't hurt.

His formal title is Senior Film Adviser to the mayor.

(Are there some junior film advisers kicking around?)

His main job is to keep the film industry where most of it is… Los Angeles.

Even films set in New York are filmed in LA, except for the exteriors. Sometimes they film in Toronto which is kind a generic big city and where wages are lower.

Like the auto industry, once clustered around Detroit but now spread all over the place, the film industry is getting itchy about staying put.  The cost of living in southern California is enormous, and beside some nice recent renovations, many parts of LA and ALL parts of Hollywood have become a glittering slum including the Kodak Theater, now known as the Nokia Theater and probably soon to be known as the Microsoft Theater.

So maybe Czar Tom should be the Minister of Anti-Travel.  After all, when someone wants to find the back lot at Paramount or Warner’s no one in California wants to give them driving directions East Acne, Idaho.


--Old habits die hard though sometimes just fade away.  Take OJ Simpson, acquitted of murder but found responsible in civil court, then convicted of breaking into a hotel room to “retrieve (his) sports memorabilia.”  Now, he’s in jail but not letting that stop him from a life of crime: pilfering cookies from the cafeteria… cookies he’s not supposed to eat because he has diabetes.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2013

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