Thursday, August 22, 2002
Heroes Have Immunity, Damsels Have Arthritis
By ROGER M. GRACE
Day to day annoyances don’t occur in the movies or on television. Have you ever seen dandruff on the shoulders of the actors? Of course not. No run nylons. No cold sores. No bird droppings on windshields.
Would anyone want it otherwise?
When the leading lady awakes, her hair is brushed and she has make-up on. Phony? Sure. But would you rather see her looking like a hag?
A certain amount of old fashioned Hollywoodizing — that is, fictionalizing of life to portray it as being better than it is — is a good thing. The trend in the other direction, the swing to blood, gore and vulgarity, surely cannot be healthy for our society. The value of fiction is escapism, and is it not preferable to escape to that which is pleasant?
There are times, however, when Hollywoodizing does
reach a level that’s almost comical. For example…
HEROES’ IMMUNITY — The hero can dart across a field with minions of bad guys shooting at him, and he won’t be hit. A hero, it would seem, is virtually bullet-resistant. If he ever does come into contact with a bullet, it will merely be that his arm is grazed. How often have you heard the hero proclaim, “I was just winged”?
My wife and I just saw a tape of an episode of “Jericho,” a 1966 series set during World War II. One of the leading players, portraying an Allied officer, was in a tunnel. He encountered two Nazi soldiers, who stood next to each other. They were facing the hero, armed with rifles; he was facing them, at a distance of a few feet, holding a rifle. They fired at him; he fired at them; they fell; he was unscathed. It was yet another instance of Heroes’ Immunity.
DAMSELS’ DIGITAL DEXTERITY DEFICIENCY — Heroines commonly suffer from a lack of coordination in their fingers. Time and again, the leading lady will be tied to a chair; the hero will enter; he’ll pull the end of the rope, and she’ll be free. Evidently, the villain used a bow knot, and the rope was as easy to untie as a shoe lace.
But why couldn’t the heroine, whose fingers were unencumbered, have released herself? She must be a sufferer of “DDDD.”
Presumably, she will also be unable to thread needles or put in contact lenses.
TELEPATHIC, TELEPHONIC THOUGHT TRANSFERENCES — The phone rings. An actor puts the receiver to his ear. “Yes, uh huh; uh huh; uh huh, thanks” he says in three seconds flat, hanging up. He recites the conversation to another character:
“It was Jenkins. It says the gang is holed up in Wilson’s Garage at Fourth and Maple. There are five of them, all armed. They have a doll with them. He thinks it’s that dame who sings at Bixley’s Cabaret. He says to look out for the one with a scar on his left cheek and a tattoo on his right elbow. Oh, and he asked me to pass on a tip to bet on Lucky Lucifer in the fourth race at Garden Park.”
Now, you know Jenkins could not have said all that in three seconds. Ergo, it must be concluded that characters in movies and television shows have the capacity to telepathically receive messages from other characters. Since actors do not innately possess this capacity, it must be that telephones produced in Hollywood, and used on sets, are so constructed as to enable the thought transferences.
That such devices are sold only to studios has obvious antitrust implications, presaging an action by the attorney general to end this monopoly.
INSTANT TRANSLATION DEVICES — Did you ever wonder why Colonel Klink and the other German soldiers on Hogan’s Heroes always speak in English, even when they are among themselves?
An episode of “Mission Impossible” (“Butterfly”) features a Japanese with disdain for other cultures who says of his neice, whose father is a white American: “I find her mixed blood offensive. But we should try to redeem her.” He wants to preserve Japanese culture—yet, he’s speaking in English.
Should the characters on TV speak in their native tongues, with captions appearing at the bottoms of the screens with the translations, or would this prove too much of a distraction?
Fortunately, this need not be pondered. There is a perfectly acceptable explanation as to why we hear Colonel Klink speaking in English. Actually, he is speaking in German, but television sets and movie projectors are equipped with universal language translators, primitive versions of those used on the various Star Trek series which enable different species to communicate. LeBeau, by the way, is speaking in French.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company
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