Document 69672

a r t s / entertainment
Hazel Garland
'Caged Bird' to
become a
ABOUT FOUR OR five years ago (maybe a
little longer), I read a fascinating book that I
found impossible to lay down after I started
reading it. The book, entitled "I Know Why
the Caged Bird Sings," was written by MAYA
ANGELOU. I though at the time the book
would make a terrific movie but for a long
time it appeared as though I was alone in my
NOW I AM happy to report that Tomorrow
Entertainment, Inc., has purchased the rights
to produce the drama based on Ms. Angetou's
autobiography. As a result, Maya's best-selling boon will come to life when it airs as a
new motion picture-for- television on the CBSTV Network,Saturdav. April 28 at 9 p.m.
FILMED ENTIRELY 6N locationin Vicksburg, Miss., an all-star cast of noted Black
performers will play the leading roles. Heading the cast will be such well-known actresses
("ROOTS") SINCLAIR. Actors starring in
and ART EVANS as co-stars.
YOUNG CONSTANCE GOOD will be Introduced to movie fans as the bright, sensitive
Black girl (Maya) who finds poetry and
much pain In the South as she is growing up
during the depression years. Introduced with
Constance will be JOHN M. DRIVER 11, who
portrays Maya's younger brother, Bailey Jr.
THUNA in writing the teleplay, I feel certain
the dramatic adaptation from the book will
retain Its authenticity. That is so important
when a book, written in such poetic beauty as
"Caged Bird" is adapted into a screenplay of
teleplay as this one has been.
ESTHER ROLLE HAS one of the strongest
roles of her career. She portrays Momma, a
nroud, respected owner of the general store
n the small town of Stamps, Ark., who takes
on the job of rearing her two grandchildren,
Maya and Bailey Jr. when the children's parents marriage ends In divorce. She brings
them up with pride and dignity, her "great
brooding love" touching their lives. She also
agonizes over the bitter fact that she cannot
shelter them from the fierce prejudice that
rages through the South during that era.
the role of the children's sophisticated mother, and brilliant actress RUBY DEE their eie
gant maternal grandmother, who live in a
more affluent atmosphere in St. Louis, where
the children are taken by their father (played
by ROBER E. MOSLEY) and left to adjust to
an entirely different life style.
PAUL BENJAMIN HAS the role of Mr.
Freeman, one of Maya's mother's friends,
who sexually assaults the child, traumatizing
her Into silence. MADGE SINCLAIR portrays
a perceptive teacher In Stamps, who molds
and encourages her students and helps to
make "caged birds sing."
AN ABANDONED SHACK, bmlt in 1925,
was turned into a general store for Ms.
Rolle's character as Momma, the local grocer. Esther, one of the original members of
the famed Negro Ensemble Company in New
York, has always admired some of the famous historic Black women leaders that she
would love to portray. HARRIET TUBMAN is
her favorite. Esther feels her character in
"Caged Bird" is a great woman of strength
and dignity. "I believe I am portraying a
woman who is the source of strength and
love," she says.
SPEAKING OF HER rote, Esther said: "I
believe I am portraying a woman who Is
prime* ef the way she is raising her grandchil
dren, hat disturbed by the fact that because
of racism in the small town, the children are
As 'Momma," I havetotook
ever, tt)ren|h and beyoad tan ha rd times the y
encounter. Into a better pic tare. Memmi has
to maintain her dignity and fake a false
rtty white keeping the terror from their
Downs hosts 'Four Alone
Public Television's award-winning series
about aging, presents a one-hour special,
"Four Alone: The Older Woman in America."
This documentary explores the issues and
concerns of the largest and fastest growing
group of older Americans: the 24 million
women over the age of 55, and especially the
nearly eight million in this group who are facing the challenges of growing older alone. The
program airs, Sunday, May 13. (PBS-TV Network colorcast 8:00 to 9:00 p.m.; please consult local station for broadcast time in your
The program features on location visits to
Maine, Louisiana, Florida and California with
four women whose unique lifestyles present a
positive picture of the older woman living
alone in America.
"The hardest thing I had to do after my divorce was to find a job. People just don't
want to give you a chance," says Maine's
Jeanette Edinger, 58. After her 34-year marriage ended in divorce, she began a relentless
search for employment despite a handicap
and a lack of job skills.
This New England woman finally got her
chance and now works as a desk clerk in ?.
university library. This job gives her enough
money to support herselfrand a daughter in
college, the only one of three children sti'.l living at home. With a strong sense of selfconfidence, Jeanette looks ahead. "The future? Today is my future. I take one day at a time,
and enjoy it to the fullest."
Louisiana's Lottie Mae Burnley worked as a
domestic cook until a recent fall crippled one
leg and has survived on a $168 a month since
the death of her husband last year. "\ could
have stopped after my husband died and said,
'I just can't make it.' But older people have
to keep pushing on and I've always been a
good fighter."
Lottie Mae never had children of her own
but she has adopted the local young people
who are frequent visitors in her modest but
warm home. She rarely feels lonely because,
"T nnftt ar>A An «,<,«« «*Ko
iL^fa^^SSJ^^S rr y
tears,I don
not at
age 70.
t have
time to waste my life in
spends her time fishing and she has no intentions of marrying again.
Five years ago, Alice Malashenko, 75, took .
her nickel and dime savings, left her Miami
home, and gambled on her lifelong dream of
living in San Francisco. "I had to take the ,
chance regardless of the consequences," she
Alice arrived in San Francisco and rented a
room In a Tenderloin hotel without family or
friends to help her. Since then, she has been
active in local senior citizen groups and takes
frequent walks across the Golden Gate
Bridge, despite her handicaps. She feels the
move out West was worth the risk. "When my
time comes I will be grateful. I got w*iat 1
wanted out of life."
OVER EASY'S host HUGH DOWNS explores with Louisiana's Lottie Mae Burnley.70, how friends and
neighbors make life meaningful despite the recent loss of her husband and a modest income, on a onehour special, "Four Alone: The Older Woman in America ", a documentary about women successfully
meeting the challenges of growing older alone, Sunday, May 13.
i >,
viThe Record
The world of music today is flooded with
disco this and disco that. And like all forms
°* music there's some good and bad. With
everyone knowing that i? they can create a
g o oFive
w i n recent
d se„
, „_ .y
_ ,.
r di »ocn eof
uii t the
l su e i iat n releases
leweaaes among
aiming the
ine masmasm
,neloser Dont missma,Tiage
. , It's
, ? ,just"one
? more *mouth. to feed", says Black
ve collection
disco sounds
at all.
Sun, TheofGeorge
Bussey are
Mary Bowman, 55, alias "Fish Mary". Two
The Wonder Band, and Midnight Rhythm.
husbands who drank much harder than they
The best of the lot is Mandre, which has
worked forced Mary to be both mother and
created an album they^ call
This is-—
.._ _
. — ..
father to her five children.
a relatively
"Lots of struggle and lots of heartache
been around
two years.
h a « h o o n a r n i l l l H fnr
i h n i i t turn iraaoe
TV.ii. i e
taught me to be independent at an early
the third in a series of albums, each being a
age", she explains. Until the death of her sec- shade better than the previous.
They have a very space sounding sound
ond husband 13 years ago, Mary admits that
with the use of a lot of electronics to create a
she, too, led a "hard-drinking life." Today
she lives alone on the Florida Keys where she sound somewhat like the soundtrack to "Close
Encounters of the Third Kind," but with a
much funkier-disco beat. It's very funky, with
a hard driving bass setting the foundation. It
will still be appealing to both the white disco
crowd as well as the Black set.
Ruby Dee portrays a
It's one of those creations in which the engiwell-to-do St. Louis ma- neers should get just as much recognition as
triach, in "I Know Why
the musical musicians does. However they
the Caged Bird Sings."
both do brilliant jobs.
The new motion picture
The other four albums are typical disco Tefor television, based on
leases, but all are good. Black Sun calls their
Maya Angelou's book
release "Disco Heat", and it's made up of a
about a young black girl nearly 17 minute version of "Black Sun" on
growing up in the South side one and a 14 minute version of "Big
during the Depression,
Money" on side two. Both are disco smokers
will be broadcast on ,
which are worthy of play In the disco spots,
"The Saturday Night
The material is made up of trie-rhythm secMovies," Saturday, April tion fully supported by strings, horns and fe28 at 8 p.m. on WBBM- male vocalists, has a driving beat, but just
TV, Channel 2.
easy enough to appeal to the white audience
as e,,
^ « ^ » * .
The Wonder Band's release, "Stairway To
v v
Love", includes singles "Mairway TO Heaven" and "Whole Lotta Love" which are receiving air play on both black and white radio
However, side one, which is made up primarily of "Stairway To Heaven" and "Whole
Lotta Of Love," is the kind of disco generally
played at the white disco spots whereas side
two somewhat straddles the fence. "Finale",
and "Wonderful Medley*" has the hard driving
bass which makes them appealing to the
w w w * * audience
M W U I V I I V V but
*#uv the
w i v other
w i i w a two
i n u don't
v l f l l t L ignite
any fires. On the whole a fair disco release
T k n
theirs as "Disco Extravaganz Phase 1". Bussey is a very exceptional musician, playing
the drums, bass, guitar, Clarinet, Fender
rhodes, grand piano, soprano, alto and bass
saxophones as well as co-sharing the lead vocal work on this release. He also composed
all the material and co-produced it
Side one is a real beauty. It's broken down
into four different phases of "Disco Extravaganza". Bussey, with the help of the strings
and horns of the Don Renaldo group, and
some help from other Philadelphia artists
does it very nicely with the funky bass setting
the foundation for it all. He concludes it with
a mellow "My Feelings For You", in which
the heavy male and female vocalists do a
beautiful job.
Side two is nice but nothing great. It's
made up of four very nice disco tunes The
orchestra does the tunes. Nothing unique but
"Midnight Rhythm" is made up of a 15
minute "Climb/Rushin' To Meet You" an
eight minute "Workin' & Slavin' " and a nine
minute version of the title tune. It's primarily
t h e k i n d of d i s c o h e a r d a t t h e
white disco
spots. The keyboard work dominates
De Niro talks
about self
" I 'm not actually that much Driver," tor which he recieved an
a loner—as some people insist— Academy Award nomination, Dr
that I don't occasionally enjoy
Niro has heen relentlessly purtalking about myself," said Acad- sued by members of the news
media. All are eagertowrite
emy Award winner Robert De
Niro during a discussion of his about the real person behind the
latest film "The Deer Hunter," masterful characterizations that
an EMI Films, Inc. Presentation have become the De Niro trademark. Yet, except for a few nafor Universal.
Set In a steel producing region tional publications which have
of the American industrial heart- been successful in piercing his
land, Michael Clmlno'a mm "The cloak of anonymity , he is mostly
Deer Hunter" is an epical treat- inaccessible to those who want to
ment of contemporary life, focus- take his time to answer what be
considers "meaningless quesing on a closely-knit group of
steelworkers whose Uvea are
drastically altered when three of
"I'm just not 'on' all the time"
them go off to war. Appearing
De Niro explains. "I think you
with DeNlro as steelworker bud- find an awfultotof people in my
dies are John Caxale, John Sav- profession who are basically shy
age, Christopher Walken and
and Introverted by nature, and
(toft to right) Stan (John Cazato), Axot (Chuck Aspergren). Michael (Robert Do Niro), Steven
Chuck Aspegren.
their extrovert qualities—In my
(John Savage). Angola (Rutanya Aida), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Linda (Meryl Streep)
De Niro, who has been tabbed case, I know are limited to their
celebrate following the marriage of Steven and Angels, in "The Deer Hunter." this year's
one of the screen's newest superstars,toa very private person "When I do s character like
Academy Award winner as Best Picture, is currently playing selected theaters in the Chicago W
Michael Vrotuky, the steelworker
as well as an intensely serious
actor who prefers to stay out of in "The Deer Hunter,* I try to
the limelight glare usually ssaoci- make him appear as real as if I'd
ated with film stars.
knows him all my life Therefore, keep a y energies up and any
demandforprivacytoapparently provides s screen presence so
electrifying and varied that he
tiring that disturbs nuttoa nega- htoaVaytoself-improvement,
Since his Oscar winning per
it's not too easyforme to flip
formance in "The Godfather,
back out of character as I come tiveforceteAM."
making K possfMe for him to turn
Laurence Olivier
When De Niro U working, his
Part II." and his role In "Taxi
off camera. Actually, I have to
In the kind of performance that
»ll •—
Untitled Document
Thomas M. Tryniski
309 South 4th Street
Fulton New York