Four Terrifying Words: 'Mike Wallace Is Here'
From the Mon Broadcast Center at K._p._C._C. This is the frame. I'm John Horn on today's show. The cable channels and T._v.. Networks are touting their fall shows what is going to happen without game of thrones then documentary filmmaker Avi Belkin discovers another side to Mike Wallace the iconic unflinching T._v. interviewer every day might wake up in the morning feeling he has to prove to the world series this journalist and I'm talking about even after he was the number one journalist in the world he would still feel that way and will visit the headquarters of some do it yourself video game designers all that coming up on the frame this is Laurie mantle join me for our next film week screening fogy nights nineteen seventies l._A.'s porn industry and Transition Saturday night July twenty seventh at the theater at Ace hotel tickets at K._p._C._C. Dot org slash inperson welcome to the frame. I'm John Horn a couple of times a year dozens of the nation's top TV reporters and reviewers gather at the T._C.. As it's an acronym for the Television Critics Association and it's where T._v. networks and cable channels introduced new shows and give them media a snapshot of their business. Daniel Feinberg is a TV critic at the Hollywood reporter. He's also the president of the T._A.. I reached him in Beverly Hills between panels today and I began by asking him how much the streaming services are affecting the talks at the current T._C._I.'s. I think that they're in the background. I think that everyone acknowledges that that is a major conversation piece and I think we're going to be talking about all of those new streaming services this week but none of those services have decided to present it this tour basically because they're all kinds of decent and they're all on the verge of existing so I'm assuming that probably come winter tour in January we might see couple of those players show up it actually present their wares instead. They're really the elephants in the corner room but people can't ignore that also painfully discussed so one of the first presentations is from H._B._O.. They're losing game of thrones. They're making a lot more original all content. What are you looking for H._B._O.? Oh I think the H._B._O.. Panels this afternoon are going to be fascinating whether it's H._B._O.. Max etc which will have to be discussed because it's a question of whether the brand is being diluted by giving H._B._O.. Theo name over to something that also includes pizza fresh prince of bel-air then there's also were people truly disappointed by the last season if game of thrones or was it just a allowed my dory on twitter are the ready to say yet whether they're moving forward on one two three four five any of the game for prequels etc than there was Andrea Arnold the director of big little lies and whether she was squeezed out in the editing room so there are many topics of conversation and and they're coming on top of the fact that last week at the Emmy Nominations H._B._O.. Utterly dominated so on one hand had the possibility that things could get acrimonious and then you have the possibility that Casey boys could just stand up. They're going yep better than ever before bore who come out so what are the channels that hasn't gotten a lot of attention as part of the Fox Disney merger is National Geographic that is now under the Disney umbrella and there are now going to try to find Amelia earhart's plane is that right if that was one of the things that they announced yesterday that the scientists found the titanic basically Dr Ballard <hes> is leading a church to find their hurts plane and also hopefully her remains <hes> apparently and that it's a largely female-driven expedition crew and it can be currently seen in progress online streaming and then basically what they hope that when they find the plane it will be big blowout for Nat G._O.. And I think it would be because heaven knows I am old enough sadly to remember what I su- deal it was when they found the titanic and interesting if the world could come together for another moment of discovery like that one one problem Amelia earhart is playing a little bit smaller than the titanic and another series that I think nobody really knows when it's GonNa come back and that is F._X.. Is Atlanta Donald Glover also known as Childish Gambino has been really busy the any news on when or if Atlanta's GonNa Return I think we will ask John Landgraf during the F._X.. Panels and his answer will be frankly what it's always been which is went on Glover's ready. We'll have another season of Atlanta Lebed. He'll say here are the things he has on his plate before then but I'm not even sure that anyone knows that always used to be affects as policy on Louis. Is You know when Louis has the material for another seasonably there will be another season of Louis and I think that basically Donald Glover has the Louis C. K. deal but yeah. It's it's going to be one of those when he's ready. It'll happen in the same way that we will definitely be able to talk about details about the upcoming season of Fargo which is now fully cast up and will be getting production later this year pair of Chicago with F._X.. They don't keep to a schedule in the same way that a lot of other people do they have a lot of talent to they. Attempt to nurture and part of nurturing talent means letting talents salads do what they wanna do to some degree. There's four big award shows the Oscars the grammys the tonys in the upcoming Ami's the T._C. Awards. Maybe are trying to get in as number five. What are the T._C.? A awards words and why are they important to you and your organization. Oh basically what I always hope is that we give awards to a bunch of great shows and the people go okay. Maybe I haven't heard of Russian doll. Maybe I haven't Kurt of Rami which unfortunately wasn't nominated but should have been. Here's the critics really love. I hope that we would love it to just want people to think that the awards that we give out are given out honorably and that it means something to win. And so I don't know if that's necessarily the same as joining. He got as key gone having those I would love to like that. <hes> you know last year we gave Rita Marino or lifetime achievement award so she is h dot winner but I'd love to see you. Don't currently think it's happening but it's always a good show and finally you are TV critic and you also get very excited about certain shows. Have there been a snippet or a trailer or even an episode of an upcoming series stories that you have seen as part of that you are already really excited about. I cannot give specific details but I can say that every additional thing that I have seen for H._B._O.'s watchmen leaks me more and more curious just to see more from it and it could be one of those shows that the more you see the more it becomes demystified and once you actually see what the show is it becomes a Oh okay. I wasn't what I wanted it to. It wasn't what I needed it to be but at this moment nothing that H._B._O.. Has Done for that show has done anything other than make me more and more excited <hes> I. I look forward to being disappointed. Heartily by Daniel Feinberg is TV critic critic at the Hollywood reporter. He is also the president of the television critics association and he joins us from the meetings in Beverly Hills Daniel. Thanks for taking time out pleasure coming up on the frame documentary about sixty minutes veteran Mike Wallace who harbored a lot of doubts about a self worth so now a new documentary about a man who transformed the usually friendly TV interview into something a lot tougher and much more newsworthy. Mike Wallace is best known as the unflinching T._V. Reporter who co-hosted Sixty St minutes on C._B._S. before he died in twenty twelve after more than fifty years in broadcast Journalism Wallace head interviewed almost every important figure of his day now Abby Belkin has made the documentary. Mike Wallace is here ear. It's told without talking heads just older interviews and never before seeing archival footage of Wallace and his colleagues. I asked Belkin why he made his documentary that way. There's a beautiful moment in the field which is my favorite exchange between Mike and Arianna for Lachey. She plays the role of judge the interviewees on trial and fewer found innocent. She is the journalist from the seventies in Europe. She was basically a female version of Mike Wallace with tiff. She was a very tough again investigative journalists in Europe and they have a conversation between those who think that we journalists have power no. We are like the dogs Tom and listens to us. You're an entertainer and Mike asks there. Are you an entertainer and not only does that question is basically a question as Michael ask his entire career. The just shows beautifully how Mike took the questions that were presented to him and presented them to others but also it kind of sets the tone for what they interview is going to be like and she answers no. I'm an historian and Mike is like you're not on historian your journalist and then she says yes you're the journalists is an stone listen. Journalist is a person who writes history in the same moment that history happens and it is the best way to write history and I kind of feel the same way about the fill in a way I could have done a story where I interview people today and they would be like Oh yeah. Mike Changed the game Mike in that period of time was that being a story and twenty fifty years after the event analyzing it wait you know the scope of of what happened since but I chose to film that's the oriented Lachey mythology which basically gave us the times of the film so when you focus on archives you don't have anyone processing the events in retrospect. You're just living at the times and I felt like it's a much more. <hes> honest representation of what journalism is so that was kind of well informed me on that and the second element was that we got excess says to this treasure trove of materials was the first time that C._V._S. opened up the archives so I was just very lucky on that aspect that I had all those interviews that we usually see on television which are like eight minutes ten minutes. I got hours of of them. The raw footage Mike Wallace is known to almost everybody for sixty minutes but he had a big career before that and as Queer wasn't always in journalism he did some radio he did a lot of acting a lot of commercial work and then he has this show show night pete and it happens at a time when interviewing is really kind of puffy. It's very soft questions. It's couch stuff. It's like MERV. Griffin is strictly personal. A direct undiluted unrehearsed uncensored interview my role that have a report. I think that you'll agree that you'll have rather remarkable record for being called me President Roosevelt once called you'll chronic liar tonight Tennessee senator accounts Kelly called how'd you and ignorant liar liar of Tiwi Liar Liar on the daytime at a liar in the nighttime and quote. What is there about drew Pearson that inspires such bitterness well Mike <hes>? I can't give an objective answer on that. Could that'd be the Jeremiah so what is happening in this series that really sets up what Mike Wallace and his colleagues are GonNa do on sixty minutes well first of all the introduction right before even starts the the fin just setting up the fain like a stage right and I think that's what Mike Change with journalism in a way. Mike came like you said from the show business side of things he was a pitch man he was a gameshow host. He really knew how to to perform and that show night bit really not only changed interview landscape but basically gave birth to Mike Wallace the character that we know today and that was the first time that the questions was abrasive. They were very confrontational. But also very well dramatic but you know what I mean like they chose to be dramatic. There was the the cigarette smoke the beck lighting looked almost like a police investigation still there is so much cigarette smoking in the documentary documentary. It's it's really startling. Not just the men the women everybody's smoking all the time in the interviews on camera. It's kind of remarkable and it feels like such an artifact. I WANNA play another clip and this is kind of a pivotal moment not only in the history history of American journalism but in the history of sixty minutes and it's around Watergate and this is probably one of Mike Wallace's most famous interviews I would say with John. Ehrlichman who's council and assistance the president for domestic affairs under Richard Nixon Senator Weicker numerator list of the illegal or unethical act of the White House. No didn't let me read them breaking and entering wiretapping conspiracy to foster prostitution conspiracy to commit kidnapping destruction of government documents forgery of State Department documents and campaign letters secret slush fund perjury plans to audit tax returns political retaliation theft of psychiatric records plans to firebomb a building doing all of this by the law and order administration originates question in there somewhere and what you're missing is John. Ehrlichman is just in a flop sweat and he's just looks as uncomfortable as anybody could possibly oh great this is such an iconic moment. I feel like this is like the Jordan switching handbasket. You know if we're in sport. This is a moment where Mike was most proud of the he always said this was his best question ever and the beautiful thing about it. It's not even a question and then at at the end just let it sit and just goes to show you sometimes just raising the question even if you're not getting an answer is enough in journalism to Kinda put the debate on the table into the confrontation. We're talking with Avi Belkin. The director of Mike Wallace's listen here. There are a couple moments toward the end of the documentary with the story is less about Mike Wallace and it's more about litigation threats of litigation and how that affects not only sixty minutes but also other news outlets. There's two cases that are central one is the libel suit brought by General William Westmoreland against sixty minutes and then there's a threaten litigation by tobacco company to block Jeffrey Wagon a whistle blower from appearing on sixty minutes talking about tobacco today. It was revealed that C._B._S.. It's a sixty minutes and decided to back off tough investigative report on the powerful tobacco industry raising new questions tonight about corporate power and what's acceptable and journalism. What's not what do those two episodes say about what's happening in media at this time time and how companies are threatened by litigation and basically become really timid about what it is going to report the seventies journalism hit speak? It's prime with you know Watergate the Vietnam coverage that really a lot of people believe change the war so a lot of people in power where the politicians or companies fell the journalism was becoming to be a bigger problem and they started pushing back and one of the tools that they're doing it is the levels so there is a kind of a happens between the year eighty to ninety five and you actually seen that decade the change in how today we obviously know that most news outlets are owned by corporations and a lot of the time the interest of those corporation do not align fine with the news angle things and those two stories are kind of the genesis stories of what we see today in the you know interference with journalists. There's something beautiful that Mike says in night bait actually in fifty six worry says a nation's press is a good yardstick of nations health and I think today there's definitely a feeling that the press is in a very precarious tipping point. I would say where a lot of people are not really sure for our. They're getting real story because there's so many outlets today and Donald Trump is obviously you know hitting those points as well like. Who Do you trust in a way who's a journalist today? There's so many people giving you the news today that are not even journalist analyst and I'm kind of curious about talking with journalists your journalist obviously. How do you see it a from your perspective well? I think what's most interesting is Mike Wallace's son Chris Wallace works at Fox News and Mike Wallace. Certainly he had his detractors but I think you would never question his objectivity Fox News. You would question everything it says because it has a partisan agenda I think C._B._S.. News did not and I think that's the fundamental difference and you see in generation and let me ask you this last question. It's fair to say you're younger than I am so you didn't grow up watching as much Mike Wallace as I did in the making of the film. How are your assumptions about who he was and what he did challenged and changed by your research and by the things that you start to see and hear and read about him? Well I think again that's the most rewarding element of historic for me. You start this movie and I started obviously the the research on Mike Thinking here. Is this John Wayne character a tough guy in unflinching interviewer that is in a way one dimensional he stuff you know and then on you start peeling out the layers you find this insecure man in level that you can really understand he was every day mark would wake up in the morning feeling here's to prove to the world that these series journalists and I'm talking about even after he was the number one journalist in the world he would still feel that way so just discovering that for me is an amazing thing because you immediately connected to a person who's like everybody else. Avi Belkin is the director of Mike Wallace's here. It opens on Friday July Twenty Six. Thank you so much coming up next on the frame. Not Aw Popular Video Games are made by big budget companies will visit a do it yourself collective for independent game designers video games are. A multibillion dollar industry raking in more than Hollywood the music industry and streaming services but it's not all blockbusters like red dead redemption to and call of duty some indeed do it yourself. Developers are quietly making in some memorably Quirky Games in the shadow of the major studios the frame contributor Tim Grieving visited collective of game designers in Culver City. We now revisit his report. This is a video game called Dream Daddy. It's a dad dating simulator not exactly a conventional commercial video game but that's the spirit at glitch city collective of Indie game artists and developers co founded by Ben Esposito Nolan's making money any from this like this is just people trying to help other people make interesting art and so I think fear cool at the D._I._Y.. If you're cool at the empty weird warehouse then you belong here. It is a pretty empty warehouse. A Small Industrial Space Soft Robertson Boulevard in Culver City. That kind of feels like garage meets dorm room complete with a string of Christmas lights draped overhead esposito started glitch city in two thousand thirteen along with another been been Vance at times. We've described ourselves as kind of an art collective of a game collective something in between and we're not just trying to clone other games or like make games at any cost. You know we're all trying to challenge it the medium in a different way or to kind of take a different approach and there is a d._i._y.. Kind of a little bit of a punk aesthetic another founding member was Eric who preferred not to give his last name is just working at coffeeshops a lot and that was like my main way of like staying sane and keeping on task but you don't have to work at a coffee shop alone so really just took me asking both the Benz to basically let's just work at a coffee shop and eventually that call called strawberry jam which became kind of a precursor to glitch city today which city has a fluid group of about twenty four citizens but this isn't a video game company. Eh everyone here is making their own games and many of them make their living contract artists for other clients like Rachel. Sala people are like hey me logo or I need some animation or I need someone to skin this mini game for me. That's it will work. Sala made the coffee today basically every day you can drink though doesn't it does. The job part of the benefit of Shitty is doing your own project is very hard. Brinton Chung used to work for a major game studio now. He runs his his own indie company out of glitch city. I have holes in my knowledge and I could like look to my right say hey took a look at this. What would you think of this? Everyone just kind of lake understands where every product is and we all can chip in Kinda. Give feedback on how everyone Nelson doing. Something kind of people aren't just developing games here. Candy Emberley is a composer see. I'm writing music for a battle right. Now we have all these different kinds of monsters and you can have what's essentially a boss fight with any of them and the hope is that it will all be recorded live at the end. That's a funding question rather than corporate meetings. Glitch city does family dinners as Eric Explains. It's a meeting more or informal than a group meeting because if it was a true meeting just be chaos having like twenty people try to do some input towards that Eric also being modest beers been vance again because there's usually a giant dinner that's prepared and often him or Rachel that are taking care of that so there's a bunch of food and a bunch of sharing of what's going on in the space but games coming out of good city are as diverse and quirky as its residents. Ben Esposito made a game called Donut County. It's a game replay as a hole in the ground and you start really small and you'd move it under stuff to make fall in and everytime eat something it gets a little bit bigger and so it's a game about kind of like skill and <hes> destruction destruction and like what happens to place over time as you like start to raise the things from it Eric's currently working on a game called off horizon which is a seafaring exploitation game. I've been working on it for many many years but not continuously in knock doc fulltime but it's about exploring a world that changes over time last year Brendan Chung released quadrilateral cowboy. It's a far cry from the days of file cabinet and phone books your your play one of three ladies who are starting to start company where companies hire you hack other companies so you're like guns-for-hire basically but instead of guns have computers and it said as alternate nineteen eighties universe and things very clunky very analog. Ben Vance is in the midst of developing virtual reality experience called irrational exuberance in which is a deep space exploration. It's kind of like an experiment and ripping you out of your current reality and just uh-huh throwing you out into deep space as yourself <hes> and trying to make that sort of tangible and the first Game Rachel saw ever put out was called Frog fractions which is a comedy game has nothing nothing to do with math. You won't learn anything if you play it and that's about the joy discovering the spirit of exploration so you do literally plays a frog but you go into space become president bug Mars and silly things happen overhaul. They are clearly all slightly idiosyncratic labor of love. I asked Rachel Sala. Is this an exciting time to be an Indie game developer or a scary one. It's scary because there's a lot writing on it. There's always pressure to perform well and do well and I think a lot of us here at this point are pretty far careers and we want to keep making successful games and there's a lot of creativity out those a lot of wild ideas almost every day. There's some game that comes out on my talk. I wish I thought of that but Ben van says being a citizen of Glitch City means. You don't have to truck truck it alone. It's really hard making creative work especially in a vacuum when you don't have anything to bounce ideas off of you know staying motivated is one of the biggest things and having a space for that and people to connect with talk to to and just even just like commiserate with you know. What problems are you doing with? Oh Yeah Yeah that one for the frame. I'm Tim Grieving and that's the chauffeur today. You can look for us on twitter.