“We didn’t know he was guilty.
We strung him up, to satisfy the mood.”
“There’s the hunger for the niche.
I wanted to be somebody.
So I decided who the victim should be.
I pointed to an old man.
I led the mob.
I wanted to be somebody.”
— Playhouse 90 A TOWN HAS TURNED TO DUST
Those quotes from 1958, written by one of our great writers to highlight a mindset of ignorance and prejudice and lynchings, are oddly and shamefully relevant. Being that here 60 years later the current occupant of the white house stole into the office, on such rhetoric of hate and stupidity and intolerance.
Invaded the most powerful office in the world, swept in on the unreasoning bellows of the mob.
I love Amazon Prime for making available these forgotten and overlooked pieces of cultural and cinematic history.
Today I watched from the early days of television, PLAYHOUSE 90s A TOWN THAT TURNED TO DUST.
Directed masterfully by John Frankenheimer, written by Rod Serling, starring a stellar cast including Rod Steiger, William Shatner, Fay Spain, Eugene Iglesias, Mario Alcade and James Gregory.
From 1958, when Jim Crow and Lynchings still infested large swaths of America, this live production is unfortunately again relevant in 2019, will always be relevant as long as there are masses who want to blame their lives on others rather than taking responsibility for their lives. And ready, these masses, to be led by the loudest voice of hate, rather than the more thoughtful voices of reason.
Watch it now courtesy of Amazon Prime (search for it under the title AN EVENING IN THE ZONE). This is a film that deserves to be owned on DVD/Blu-Ray. Deserves to always be readily available, and not at the mercy of ephemeral streaming contracts and whims.
I would like to think if Americans were raised on films like 1936’s FURY by Fritz Lang and 1943’s THE OX BOW INCIDENT by William Wellman and this one by John Ftrankenheimer, if these films were required viewing, we would stop repeating the same mistakes and committing the same attrocities and empowering the same hate mongers. To the point where the occupancy of the White House would be different.
There is nothing sadder than history and mistakes not learned from.