METROFOCUS: JULY 9, 2019

The comedian, author and social commentator Colin Quinn will join us to break down how and why he sees our country as “dysfunctional and divided.” We have an intimate conversation with award-winning cult-classic filmmaker John Waters. Why did the FBI keep a secret file on Broadway legend Oscar Hammerstein? His grandson will join us and reveal details about the man behind the music.

Aired on July 9, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' 'RED STATE BLUE STATE,' COLIN QUINN.

THE COMEDIAN, AUTHOR AND SOCIAL COMMENTATOR BREAKS DO YOU KNOW HOW AND WHY HE SEES OUR PERFECT UNION AS DYSFUNCTIONAL AND DIVIDED.

> AN INTIMATE CONVERSATION WITH THE KING OF CAMP.

CULT CLASSIC FLICKMAKER JOHN WATERS BARES ALL AND WHY DID THE FBI KEEP A SECRET FILE ON MUSICAL LEGENDS OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN?

IN A MOMENT, HIS GRANDSON REVEALS ALL ABOUT THE MAN BEHIND THE MUSIC.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

WE STARTED OUT WITH 13 COLONIES.

WE GAME BECAME 50 STATES.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH 13 COLONIES?

13 STEAMS LIKE PLENTY.

WE'RE ALREADY BIGGER THAN ENGLAND AND FRANCE PUT TOGETHER.

BUT WE GOT GREEDY.

WE COULDN'T TAKE THE HINT FROM GOD.

GOD PUT MOUNTAIN RANGES, RIVERS LIKE TO INDICATE THOSE ARE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES.

THE GRAND TETONS, THE MISSISSIPPI, THE ROCKIES, NATURAL BORDERS.

EUROPE KNEW, EUROPE'S THE SAME SIZE AS US, MADE A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT COUNTRIES BECAUSE THEY UNDERSTOOD EVERY 700 MILES, PEOPLE HAVE A DIFFERENT PERSONALITY.

DO YOU THINK HUNG GI RA AND SCOTLAND HAVE LESSES IN COMMON THAN UTAH AND NEW JERSEY.

POLITICAL DIVISION IN THE UNITED STATES, A TOPIC RIFE FOR CONTEMPLATION SATIRE AND EVEN HUMOR.

COLIN QUINN KNOWN FOR BEING 'SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE''S WEEKEND UPDATE HOST BUT AN AUTHOR, A STANDUP COMIC, KNOWN FOR HIS COMEDY SPECIALS ALL DONE IN A PURE AUTHENTIC STYLE THAT ONLY A REAL NEW YORKER CAN DELIVER STARRING IN HIS LATEST ONE-MAN SHOW CALLED 'RED STATE BLUE STATE' AND TAKES ON WASHINGTON AND LAYS BARE WHAT HE SAYS ARE THE CAL AMITIES ON BOTH SIDES O THE POLITICAL DIVIDE.

IT'S GREAT TO BE ON.

THERE'S A LOT I WANT TO TALK TO YOU.

OKAY.

HERE'S MY STRUGGLE.

HELP ME WITH IT.

OFTENTIMES I'LL HAVE SOMEBODY DOING A SHOW AND SAY HERE'S THE SHOW THE YOU'RE DOING.

I'LL GIVE A SENTENCE OR TWO TO ENCAPSULATE IT.

RIGHT.

I'M STRUGGLING FIGURING HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THIS SHOW IF SOMEBODY SAIDCY SAW SU ON BROADWAY AGAIN.

WHAT'S THIS ABOUT?

HOW FAR WE FALL BASICALLY AS AN IDEA WHICH WHICH WAS A GREAT IDEA OF COMPROMISE BUT IT REALLY JUST DETERIORATES LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE.

MAYBE IT'S ABOUT HOW EVERYTHING FALLS APART.

YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

IT'S BASICALLY TRYING TO SAY HEY, GUYS, WE'RE GOING TO HEAD FOR SEVL WAR SOON.

PEOPLE BETTER STOPPING THE WAY THEY'RE BEHAVING UNLESS YOU WANT TO GO TO WAR.

IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.

IT'S INTERESTING HOW MUCH HUMOR IS DERIVED FROM CONFLICT.

ALL FROM CONFLICT.

THE TRUTH IN HUMOR.

YOU TALK HERE ABOUT WE ARE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

IT'S A DEMOCRACY AND A DEMOCRACY HAS TO BE FOUNDED ON COMPROMISE.

IT CAN'T EXIST WITHOUT THE NOTION OF COMPROMISE.

YET, IT'S BECOME AN ANA THOOEP THEME MA IN OUR SOCIETY.

YOU'RE FINDING HUMOR IN THE IDEA THAT BOY, CAN WE EVEN CONSIDER OURSELVES UNITED ANYMORE.

RIGHT.

I MEAN, HUMOR IS SUPPOSED TO SAY WHAT YOU THINK IS OBVIOUS TO EVERYBODY AND THEY GO OH, YEAH, OF COURSE THAT'S TRUE.

MOST GOOD JOKES, YOU'RE LIKE, OF COURSE, I KNOW THAT.

WE MIGHT BE THINKING THAT.

IT'S IN YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS.

YOU GO YEAH, OF COURSE.

'RED STATE BLUE STATE' AND IN THE THEATER, YOU ARE ESSENTIALLY TARGETED FOR YOUR HUMOR BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE.

BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE.

WHAT SORT OF REACTION ARE YOU GETTING FROM AUDIENCES?

SO FAR IT'S GREAT AND LAUGHING EVERYWHERE I WANT THEM TO LAUGH.

I THINK PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT I COULDN'T -- I COULD NEVER CONSIDER MYSELF IDEOLOGICALLY ALIGNED WITH ANY PARTY JUST BECAUSE I CAN'T IMAGINE ANYBODY'S NOT FILLED WITH THEIR HYPOCRISY AND THEIR PART IN WHAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.

MOST PEOPLE DO FEEL, MOST PEOPLE I KNOW BELIEVE THAT IT'S THE RIGHT IS DESTROYING THE COUNTRY OR THE PEOPLE THAT I KNOW CONSERVATIVE BELIEVE THE LEFT IS DESTROYING THE COUNTRY.

THEY BOTH BELIEVE THAT WITH ALL THEIR HEARTS AND SOULS.

HOW DO YOU THINK, THIS IS A LITTLE BIT PHILOSOPHICAL BUT IN OF HUMOR IT, HOW DO YOU THINK HUMOR LIKE YOURS CAN GET PEOPLE TO COME TO GRIPS WITH THE NOTION I MIGHT DISAGREE WITH SOMEONE, THAT DOESN'T NECESSARILY MEAN I HAVE TO DESTROY THEM.

OR THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE AN EVIL PERSON IF WE DON'T AGREE.

I DON'T THINK IT CAN.

DO YOU THINK WE'RE THAT FAR ALONG A TERRIBLE ROAD?

I BELIEVE SOCIAL MEDIA TOOK IT TO A NEW TRIBAL EF LEVEL AND VIGILANTE.

SOCIAL MEDIA SOMEHOW ENHANCE THOSE I THINK SFINGS IN US.

I BELIEVE WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A CIVIL WAR.

HOPEFULLY SOMETHINGING WILL HAPPEN BEFORE THEN WHERE WE GET PERSPECTIVE.

NOBODY WANTS TO SEE A CIVIL WAR.

I WANT TO MENTION THE PEOPLE.

THIS IS A VERY FUNNY SHOW.

YOU AND I ARE HAVING WHAT SOUNDS LIKE A VERY SERIOUS DISCUSSION AND DEEP AND PHILOSOPHICAL R.

BUT IT'S A VERY, VERY FUNNY SHOW.

THANKS.

IT'S FUNNY.

I MAKE SURE I GET LAUGHS ALL THE WAY THROUGH OR I WOULD FEEL UNCOMFORT CREDIBLE.

WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO LAUGH IN SOME KAY WAYS AT THEMSELVES.

THE HUMAN CONDITION.

I'M HAPPY WHEN SOMEBODY I DON'T LIKE GETS TAKEN DOWN JUST LIKE ANYBODY ELSE.

IT'S A HUMAN CONDITION.

I DON'T WANT TO BE LIKE THAT.

I WANT TO BE LIKE PEOPLE ARE HAPPY WHEN OTHER PEOPLE GET TAKEN DOWN, PEOPLE LIKE MYSELF.

EVERYBODY IS, YOU KNOW.

IS THE AUDIENCE IN NEW YORK, DO THEY REACT DIFFERENTLY FROM THE AUDIENCE IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY?

SURE.

THIS SHOW'S JUST BEEN IN NEW YORK FOR THE MOST PART BUT I'VE DONE VARIATIONS AND IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, THEY'RE VERY -- THEY'RE LIKE NEW YORK ONLY FROM THEIR SIDE WHERE THEY'RE LIKE, OKAY, WHERE'S THIS GO.

LIKE WHEN PEOPLE SENSE YOU'RE DISRESPECTING THEM IN NEW YORK OR IN MISSOURI OR WHEREVER, THEY STILL HAVE THE SAME, THEY'RE STILL HUMAN BEINGS.

OKAY, WHAT'S GOING ON HERE.

YOU'VE GOT ONE PART OF THE SHOW I THOUGHT WAS FASCINATING WHERE YOU TALK ABOUT I'VE GOT A SOLUTION HERE.

CITY STATES.

YEAH.

ANCIENT GREEK CITY STATES.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

I MEAN CITY STATES BEING LIKE SPARTA AND ATHENS.

THEY WERE BOTH GREECE BUT THEY HAD NOTHING IN COMMON.

SPARTA WAS JOCKS AND ATHENS WAS AN NERDS.

THEY WOULD ONLY GET TOGETHER WHEN PERSIA INVADED.

OTHERWISE.

DO YOU THINK THAT'S WHAT WE SHOULD BE?

YEAH.

DELINEATED HOW, BY GEOGRAPHY.

UNITED CITY STATES OF AMERICA.

WELL DELINEATED BY MAYBE CITIES, SUBURBS AND RURAL.

IT SEEMS MORE LIKE THAT'S THE WAY IT IS.

IT'S NOT REALLY RED STATES BLUE STATES.

CITIES, SUBURBAN RURAL HAVE DIFFERENT MENTALITIES.

LIKE I SAY IN THE SHOW, IN A REAL DEMOCRACY YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO LIVE IN A DICTATORSHIP IF YOU WANT TO.

SOME PEOPLE WANT TO BE TOLD WHAT TO DO AND MOVE FORWARD.

THERE'S DIFFERENT TYPES OF PERSONALITIES OUT THERE.

WE MENTIONED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CONVERSATION HOW MUCH OF HUMOR IS DERIVED FROM CONFLICT.

YEAH.

YET YOU WERE SAYING TO ME JUST BEFORE WE WENT ON, I SAID THERE'S A WEALTH OF MATERIAL OUT THERE FOR COMICS NOW WITH ALL THE CONFLICT GOING ON.

ABSOLUTELY.

YOU WERE SAYING YET WITH ALL THAT OUT THERE, THERE'S BEEN A CONTRACTION, SORT OF LIMITING WHAT YOU ALL CAN BE TALKING ABOUT.

OF COURSE.

NOW EVERYBODY'S KIND OF, EVERYBODY'S ON HIGH ALERT ABOUT EVERYTHING.

ESPECIALLY SINCE EVERYONE'S GOT A TRAIL OF WHAT THEY'VE SAID OVER THE YEARS.

NOW IT WAS LIKE DO I WANT THIS TO GO OUT.

YOU'RE NOT JUST SPEAKING LIKE IN THE OLD DAYS YOU WOULD SPEAK AT A COMEDY CLUB AND YOU WOULD BE THERE IN THAT MOMENT.

NOW HALF THOSE PEOPLE ARE THE MEDIA.

THEY'RE THEIR OWN MEDIA.

EVERYBODY'S GOT A PHONE THAT CAN RECORD TAPE YOU AND RECORD YOU.

SO IT'S LIKE YOU'RE PERFORMING EVERY NIGHT TORE 100TV STATIONS.

YOU KNOW?

ARE YOU THINKING THAT SOMETIMES?

ON STAGE?

YEAH, OF COURSE.

IS THERE A GOVERNOR IN YOUR MIND SAYING SHOULD I BE SAYING THIS RIGHT NOW?

OF COURSE.

I DON'T THINK IT'S ONLY HUMAN NATURE TO GO ALL RIGHT, HERE IT GOES.

THEN YOU STILL -- COMEDIANS WANT TO GET THE LAUGHS.

WE SAID WHATEVER WE'RE GOING TO SAY EVENTUALLY EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW THIS IS A MISTAKE.

YOU WANT THAT LAUGH.

IT'S GOING TO GET ME A LAUGH.

YOU'RE ON STAGE FOR 80 MINUTES.

YEAH.

THERE'S NO PROMPTER UP THERE.

YOU DON'T HAVE NOTES IN YOUR HAND.

RIGHT.

YOU'RE DONE I MENTIONED 'SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.'

YOU'RE WORKING OFF A SCRIPT YOU HELPED TO WRITE.

HOW DIFFICULT IS THAT FOR YOU IN TERMS OF BEING A PERFORMER?

WORKING FOR 80 MINUTES BY YOURSELF YOU MEAN?

YEAH.

I'M USED TO IT.

FOR STANDUPS IT'S LESS DIFFICULT THAN ANYBODY ELSE.

WE'RE ALWAYS -- YOU'RE ALWAYS BY YOURSELF ON STAGE.

WITH A CROWD FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR.

THAT'S OUR LIFE.

YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

THAT'S A STANDUP LIFE.

I'VE ALWAYS BELIEVED ONE OF THE VALUES, GREAT VALUES OF AN COMEDY IS IT KIND OF HOLDS A MIRROR UP TO US TO SOCIETY.

GIVE US A CHANCE TO LOOK AT OURSELVES AND MAYBE BETTER UNDERSTAND OURSELVES.

WHAT YOU'RE DOING NOW, 'RED STATE BLUE STATE' IS A MARVELOUS CONSTITUENT FOR ALL OF US TO HOLD A MIRROR UP WHILE WE'RE LAUGHING.

INCLUDING MYSELF.

WHILE WE'RE LAUGHING BUT TO HOLD THE MIRROR UP.

THAT'S PRETTY GOOD AND PRETTY VALUABLE.

COLIN, ALWAYS GOOD TO SEE YOU.

THANK YOU SO MUCH AND GOOD LUCK WITH THE SHOW.

THANK YOU.

> CULT CLASSIC FLICKMAKER AND KING OF CAMP JOHN WATERS SITS DOWN WITH MARYLAND PUBLIC TELEVISION'S RHEA FEIKIN FOR A CONVERSATION ON FILM, ART AND POP CULTURE AND HOW WATERS SUBVERSIVE HUMOR WAS ABLE TO ENBODY THE COMPLEX MORAL CODES OF THE TIME.

IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE THERE WOULD IT BE SOMEBODY IN THIS COUNTRY OR MAYBE THE REST OF THE WORLD WHO DOESN'T KNOW YOU, BUT SHOULD THAT WILL PERSON APPEAR, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ART TO THAT PERSON?

WELL, MY ART, I WOULD NEVER SAY ART.

I DON'T TALK ABOUT MYSELF.

I MEET YOUNG PEOPLE AND SAY WHAT DO YOU DO, AND THEY SAY I'M AN ARTIST.

I'LL BE THE JUDGE OF THAT.

NO THE HISTORY BOOKS WILL BE THE JUDGE OF THAT.

DON'T CALL YOURSELF AN ARTIST.

THAT IS FOR OTHERS TO CALL YOU.

I WOULD SAY MY PHOTOGRAPHS CELEBRATE EVERYTHING THAT CAN GO WRONG IN SHOW BUSINESS AND THE ART WORLD.

TWO INSIDER PLACES I MAKE FUN OF THAT I LOVE.

I LIKE ALL THE ELITISM OF THE ART WORLD.

IT'S HILARIOUS.

IT'S A SECRET LANGUAGE, YOU DRESS A SECRET WAY.

ONCE YOU JOIN IT, IT'S A MIRACLE.

YOU CAN SEE THE EMPEROR'S NEWS CLOTHES.

IF YOU CAN WALK DOWN THE STREET NAKED AND EVERYBODY ELSE THINKS YOU'RE DRESSED, THAT IS ART.

JOHN IS AN AMAZING MULTITALENTED INDIVIDUAL.

I THINK THE WORLD REALLY KNOWS QUITE WELL HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO CINEMA AND YOU KNOW HIS BOOKS AND EVEN HIS WORK AS A PERFORMER.

BUT PERHAPS THE LESS KNOWN ASPECT OF HIS WORK IS HIS VISUAL ARTS PRACTICE.

WE'VE BROUGHT TOGETHER OVER 160 WORKS FROM EUROPE AND THE UNITED STATES FOR THIS EXHIBITION.

HIS WORKS RANGE IN TIOOM 1992 T.

THROUGHOUT THE EXHIBITION, I THINK PEOPLE WILL FIND WORK THAT THEY FIND SHOCKING OR IN BAD TASTE.

OBVIOUSLY, THIS IS A STRATEGY THAT JOHN HAS EMPLOYED FOR YEARS.

JOHN, IKE AND TINA TURN TER I KNOW YOU LOVE THEM.

I DID.

THIS MAY BE MY FAVORITE PIECE IN THE SHOW.

I DON'T KNOW I KNOW THAT TINA SHE SHOULD HATE IKE.

SHE COULD HAVE KILLED HIM AND A JURY WOULD LET HER OFF HE TREATED HER SO BADLY BUT THEY WERE SO GOOD TOGETHER AND SUCH A HUGE INFLUENCE ON MYSELF AND DIVINE.

THIS IS WHAT SHE WAS LIKE THEN.

A RATTY MINK COAT, A PROCESSED WIG, A MUSTACHE SPRIINGOLATORS, SHE WAS SO GOOD.

TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT HOW THE WHAT YOUR PROCESS IS.

THERE'S ONE I HAVE CALLED SHE SHOULD HAVE SAID NO.

BASICALLY IT'S THE NAME OF A MOVIE I LOVED GROWING UP BECAUSE THE NUNS USED TO SAY WE WOULD GO TO HELLFUL WE SAW IT.

I LIKED HEARING THEM SAY SHE SHOULD HAVE SAID NO.

THE PICTURES IN IN SERIES NONE ARE FROM A MOVIE BUT WOMEN THAT SHOULD HAVE SAID NO TO DRUGS IS, BAD AIRPLANES, BAD HUSBANDS.

I'M TELLING A STORY COMPLETELY THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT ORIGINAL MOVIE.

SO I THINK IT UP AHEAD OF TIME AND THEN I HAVE TO FIND THE IMAGES READING IT LEFT TO RIGHT JUST LIKE A STORY BOARD IN A MOVIE.LLID RE-ENACTMENT OF THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION IN 1966 WHICH WAS THREE YEARS AFTER IT REALLY HAPPENED.

WHICH IT DID GNT G OVER SO WELL.

LATER I REPHOTOGRAPHED THAT OFF A BAD TV SCREEN AND BLEW IT UP.

TO ME IT LOOKED SCARILY LIKE THE REAL ZAPRUDER FILM THAT BECAME SO FAMOUS.

OF COURSE, TOO BIG FOR ONE WALL.

IT'S AN EPIC.

WHY DIVINE?

WELL, DIE VIN WAS MY LEADING LADY.

WARHOL DID JACKIE.

DID I VINE WAS TO BE JACKIE SO MUCH SHE'S DAYDREAMING AND IT TURNS INTO THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION.

IN REAL LIFE SHE WANTED TO BE ELIZABETH TAYLOR.

I'M THE ONE THAT WANTED TO BE JACKIE KENNEDY.

WE PUT IT TOGETHER AND IT WEIRDLY TURNED OUT TO BE FRIGHTENING AND TOUCHING BECAUSE IT ENDED UP LOOKING LIKE THE REAL ZA PUD DRER FILM.

THEY PERN OR TOPIC IN THAT'S TABOO.

YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL WITH RACE JOKES.

ANY KIND OF THING IF YOU'RE NOT THAT PERSON OR MINORITY, YOU HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL TO TELL IT.

I DO USE IT.

IT'S A GRAY LINE.

ALL HUMOR IS A THIN LINE OF HOW FAR YOU CAN GO AND MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH AND WHETHER YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH.

IT'S ALWAYS I'VE BEEN INTERESTED IN AND THINGS I DON'T UNDERSTAND IS ALWAYS A SUBJECT MATTER THAT I'M DRAWN TO.

THE GREAT AMERICAN SONG BOOK WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY INCOMPLETE WITHOUT THE VENERABLE OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN, LYRICIST AND PLAYWRIGHT COLLABORATED WITH JEROME KERN ON THE HIT 'SHOW BOAT,' AND BEST KNOWN FOR HIS COLLABORATIONS WITH RICHARD ROGERS.

TOGETHER THEY CREATED AMERICAN CLASSICS INCLUDING 'OKLAHOMA,' CAROUSEL, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE K 'KING AND I' AND THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

HIS WORK DIDN'T CATCH AT ATTENTION OF THEATER AND MUSIC LOVERS AROUND THE WORLD.

HIS POLITICAL ACTIVISM, THIS MIGHT SURPRISE YOU ALSO CAUGHT THE EYE OF THEN FBI HEAD J.

EDGAR HOEVER WHO GENERATED A MASSIVE TOP SECRET FILE ON OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN.

NOW HIS GRANDSON OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN III IS REVEALING EVERYTHING ABOUT HIS ACTIVISM IN A NEW SHOW CALLED 'OSCAR ON OSCAR.'

HERE ON INSIGHT IS, OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II 'I.'

WE'RE SO DELIGHTED TO HAVE YOU HERE.

APPLY PLEASURE.

I'M GOING DOWN THE LIST AND SAYING YOU COULD MAKE AN ARGUMENT FOR EVERY ONE OF THOSE AS BEING THE GREATEST OF ALL BROADWAY MUSICALS.

IT DEPENDS ON WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK.

I LOVE 'CAROUSEL' ON MONDAY.

I LOVE 'SOUTH PACIFIC' TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY.

IT ALL DEPENDS ON YOUR STATE OF MIND, WHAT YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT.

I MIGHT VOTE FOR 'SOUTH PACIFIC,' EVERY SONG.

IT SCORES A LOT OF VOTES.

THE WHY IS IT THAT YOU HAVE DEVOTED SO MUCH OF YOUR LIFE TO TELLING YOUR GRANDFATHER'S, HIS STORY, HIS MULTIDIMENSIONAL STORY?

WELL, WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU CAME INTO A ROOM AND EVERYBODY ALREADY-GREAT GOOD WISHES FOR YOU?

AND GOOD VIBES AND FEELINGS FOR YOU?

I'M ONE OF THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD IN THAT THE GOOD WILL PRECEDES ME WHEREVER I GO.

IF I TALK ABOUT ROGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN OR MY FAMILY'S HISTORY, I AM ALWAYS WELCOMED WHEREVER I GO WHETHER IT'S NATIONALLY, INTERNATIONALLY, IT'S BEEN A NATURAL CALLING, GO WHERE YOU WANED.

ABSOLUTELY.

LET ME TALK TO YOU A LITTLE BIT ABOUT NOT HIS MUSIC BECAUSE WE KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT HIS MUSIC AND HIS MUSICAL GENIUS.

I'VE OFTEN SAID, PEOPLE TOSS THE WORD YEEN GENIUS AROUND FAR TORE CAVALIERLY.

TRUE GENIUS, WHO CAN CREATE MUSIC IN THEIR MINDS.

THAT TO ME IS -- WE KNOW WHAT A GENUS HE WAS.

I DON'T THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW HOW ACTIVE HE WAS IN SOCIAL CAUSES.

TALK ABOUT THAT.

OKAY.

WELL, HE WAS QUOTED AS SAYING THAT A WRITER GIVES HIMSELF AWAY WHO HE REALLY IS.

THROUGH THE SONGS THAT HE WRITES.

AND OSCAR GAVE HIMSELF AWAY IN THE LOTS OF SONGS THAT HE WROTE WHETHER IT WAS OH MAN RIVER OR THE ALL BLACK OPERA 'CARMAN JONES' OR FROM 'SOUTH PACIFIC''S YOU'VE GOT TO BE CAREFULLY TAUGHT.

HE BETRAYED A CERTAIN LOVE FOR HIS FELLOW MAN, A CERTAIN KIND OF TOLERANCE AND KINDNESS THAT IT SEES THROUGH ALL OF HIS SHOWS.

EVEN THE FARMER IN THE COMMON HAD TO BE FRIENDS.

AND THAT'S I THINK PART OF WHAT HAS DRAWN ME TO DO THIS SHOW.

BECAUSE I FEEL AS IF THEY DON'T KNOW THE MAN EXCEPT THROUGH HIS MUSIC, AND I'M TRYING TO INTRODUCE THE PUBLIC TO ANOTHER SIDE OF HIM THAT PEOPLE DON'T OFTEN SEE.

YOU WERE TELLING ME AN INTERESTING STORY ABOUT HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LEGENDARY PAUL ROBSON.

PAUL ROBSON, IF YOU KNOW NOTHING MORE ABOUT HIM AND PLUS THERE ARE IS IS A LOT TO KNOW, ALL-AMERICAN FOOTBALL PLAYER AT RUTGERS, MARVELOUSLY TALENTED, OH MAN RIVER, THEY HAD THIS WONDERFUL BROTHERLY RELATIONSHIP BUT SOMETIMES THEY CLASHED AS BROTHERS DO.

LET ME SEE IF I CAN REMEMBER THE LYRIC.

I'LL KEEP ON TRYING UNTIL I'M DYING.

I'M TIRED OF LIVING, I'M SCARED OF DYING WAS THE ORIGINAL.

HE WOULD CHANGE IT TO GO I WON'T STOP FIGHTING UNTIL I'M DYING.

WHEN HE WAS TRAVELING AROUND.

CORRECT.

HE WAS A CHAMPION OF MANY CAUSES, COMMITTEES TO ENDS LYNCHING, COMPLETES FOR THE UNITED NEGRO CONGRESS, SOUTHERN CHILDREN'S CONGRESS, TOO MANY TO BE MENTIONED TO BE HONEST WITH YOU.

THE MAN WAS AN ACTIVE FELLOW.

IT HAS TO BE SAID THAT WHAT HE'S KNOWN MOST FOR ON THE STAGE IS OH MAN RIVER.

AND I WOULD ADD ABOUT OH MAN RIVER THAT I THINK OH MAN RIVER IS ALWAYS A PERFECT SONG.

I'LL DEFINE IT BY SAYING IT'S ONE OF THOSE SONGS WHERE YOU ALMOST FORGET IT WAS WRITTEN BY SOMEBODY.

IT SEEMS AS IF TO SPRING NATURALLY FROM THE SOUL OF THE CHARACTER.

IT'S ONE OF THOSE CASES WHERE OSCAR GETS OUT OF THE WAY OF THE WORDS HE WAS WRITING.

AND I ALWAYS POINT TO THAT SONG AS SOMETHING THAT IS A REMARKABLEBLY SIMPLE PERFECT SONG.

I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION ABOUT J. ED CAR HOEVER.

WE'VE LEARNED SINCE OBVIOUSLY THE FBI A MARVELOUS ORGANIZATION, GREAT HARD WORKING AGENT BUZZ WE'VE LEARNED ABOUT THE EXCESSES OF J. EDGAR HOEVER AND LEARNED THE LESSON OF POWER, ABSOLUTE POWER ESPECIALLY ABSOLUTELY POWER SK CORRUPT ABSOLUTELY.

OFTENTIMES PEOPLE HAVE SAID THAT ABOUT HOEVER.

WERE YOU SURPRISED TO LEARN THE EXTENT OF THE FILE THAT HE HAD PUT TOGETHER ABOUT YOUR GRANDFATHER?

IT RUNS 99 PAGES.

AND WHAT IT REALLY SEEMS TO BE IS A RECORD OF THEM TAILING OSCAR WHEREVER HE WENT.

FROM ABOUT 1941 UNTIL IT PETERS OUT IN THE MID '50S.

AND IN THIS RECORD, THEY DECIDE THAT HE'S A QUESTIONABLE CHARACTER AND THEY BACK DATE IT, THEY GO ALL THE WAY BACK TO 'SHOW BOAT' AND TO AN ORGANIZATION THAT HE COFOUNDED OUT IN HOLLYWOOD CALLED THE ANTI-NAZI LEAGUE.

SO.

WHICH YOU WOULD THINK THAT'S A WONDERFUL ORGANIZATION.

NOT GOING TO BE A PROBLEM.

AS WE KNOW YOU GO BACK IN THE '30s, THERE WERE PRO NAZI RALLIES HERE IN MADISON SQUARE GARD.

THAT'S ABSOLUTELY CORRECT.

OSCAR FELT IT WAS INCUMBENT UPON HIMSELF TO TELL OTHER WRITERS TO ORGANIZE OTHER WRITERS YOU MIGHT SAY TO PROP PAGAN SKIES AGAINST NAZIISM.

ON ONE SIDE THERE'S THE NAZIS AND ON THE OTHER SIDE THERE'S COMMUNISTS.

YOU HAVE TO THREAD A FINE LINE.

YOU'RE REVILED BY ONE GROUP AND EMBRACED BY THE OTHER.

J. EDGAR HOEVER IS WATCHING EVERY MOVE YOU MAKE.

THAT WAS THE LIFE HE LIVED.

HE DID NOT BEHAVE IN ANY COVERT WAY.

THE PATRIOTIC PARANOIA OF THE '40s AND '50S THAT FOLLOWED STALIN AND THE MAOISTS NUCLEAR TESTS AND STUFF LIKING THAT CAUSED THE PARANOIA TO OCCUR.

OSCAR WAS VERY VOCAL, VERY PUBLIC, VERY HONEST.

WAS WILLING TO ARGUE IT AND BELIEVED I THINK IF I CAN GO ON THIS RUN-ON IS THAT HE BELIEVED THAT WHAT A MAN -- WHATEVER HAPPENS BETWEEN A MAN'S EARS WAS HIS OWN BUSINESS.

AS A WRITER, HE WAS NOT SO MUCH A LIBERAL OR A COMMUNIST OR A CAPITALIST AS HE WAS A FREE THINKER.

HE BELIEVES THAT WAS YOUR RIGHT.

YOU COULD HAVE CAPITALIST THOUGHTS.

COULD YOU HAVE COMMUNIST THOUGHTS.

YOU COULD HAVE SOCIALIST THOUGHTS, ANY YOU WANTED, YOU WERE FREE TO HAVE YOUR THOUGHTS.

HE SAID THIS IN THE AUTHOR'S LEAGUE AND DRAMAISTS LEAGUE.

HE CHAMPIONED THE RIGHT TO BE FLEE OF AUTHORITARIANISM AND TOTALINARIANISM.

AND THE FEAR OF THE THOUGHT POLICE.

LET ME TALK ABOUT THE SHOW THAT YOU'RE DOING.

HOW DID IT COME ABOUT?

WHAT DO YOU WANT FOLKS TO WALK FROM WITH IT.

WELL, I'VE BEEN GOING AROUND THE COUNTRY FOR INDICATES NOW DOING SHOWS BECAUSE PEOPLE LOVE ME IN ADVANCE.

WHICH BASICALLY STARTS WITH IT STARTS WITH OH, WHAT I AN BEAUTIFUL MORNING' AND ENDS UP WITH 'CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN.'

I'VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR A LONG TIME, A WARM BATH OF NOSTALGIA.

I WANTED SOMETHING A LITTLE EDGIER, A LITTLE NEW YORK, SOMETHING THAT WOULD SHOW A LITTLE EDGE TO OSCAR.

I ALSO FELT AT THIS TIME THAT THIS MIGHT BE A VERY GOOD TIME TO BRING OSCAR OUT AS UNAPOLOGETIC LIBERAL AND A PERSON WHO IS AGAINST FASCIST IMPULSES THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE IN OUR COUNTRY TODAY.

I'M PUTTING HIM ON THE CORRECT SIDE OF HISTORY IN MY MIND AND SAYING YOU KNOW, IF YOU'RE GOING TO ENLIST HIM, THIS IS WHAT YOU'RE ENLISTING HIM FOR.

HERE'S HIS MUSIC BUT HERE'S THE MAN.

HERE'S THE MAN.

HERE'S WHAT HE REPRESENTED, HERE'S WHAT HE DID WITH HIS LIFE.

YES.

YOU'RE ABLE TO WEAVE SOME OF THE MUSIC INTO THOSE STORIES WHICH HOW COULD YOU NOT.

HOW COULD YOU NOT, FROM 'KING AND I' THERE'S IT'S A PUZZLEM AS AN ABSOLUTE RULER BEGINS TO QUESTION HIMSELF, SHALL I TELL YOU WHAT I THINK OF YOU WHICH IS BASICALLY SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER.

YOU'VE GOT TO BE CAREFULLY TAUGHT WHICH IS ABOUT PREJUDICE.

THE FARMER AND THE COW MAN SHOULD BE FRIENDS, ABOUT OVERCOMING DIFFERENCES HAD IN ORDER TO UNITE AND FIGHT ABROAD.

THAT SHOW OPENED IN '43.

HOW IT STILL RESONATES TODAY.

YES.

AGAIN THE GENIUS OF OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN WRITING BACK THEN AND NOW WE'RE LOOKING AT HIS MUSIC AND LOOKING AT HIS THOUGHTS AND SAYING THEY'RE IMPORTANT TO US EVEN TODAY.

AND ALSO HIS CHAMPIONING OF BLACK CAUSES OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN CAUSES WAS RATHER NOTABLE.

ONE OF THE ONES THAT I WANT TO LEAVE YOU WITH IS THAT HE CHAMPIONED THE COMMITTEE FOR EQUAL JUSTICE FOR RESSIE TAYLOR IN 1944 AND 1945.

HE WANTED TO SEE HER GET A FAIR SHAKE.

SHE NEVER DID, BUT THAT WAS A SORT OF WATERSHED MOMENT IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA AS ROSA PARKS TOOK RESSIE TAYLOR'S TESTIMONY AND STARTED A CONVERSATION THAT WOULDN'T END TILL THE MID-'60s.

OSCAR IS DEALING WITH MISS IG NATION IN SHOW BOAT OR HAVING WRITTEN AN ALL BLACK OPERA IN 'CARMAN JONES.'

HE SEEMED TO FEEL IT WAS BEHOLDEN TO HIM TO DO THIS JOB.

HE DID IT MARVELOUSLY WITH ASTONISHING MUSIC.

I'M PROUD.

AND GREAT THOUGHTS.

YOU SHOULD BE PROUD.

IT'S A PLEASURE TO MEET YOU.

MY PLEASURE.

THANK YOU FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

GOOD SEEING YOU AND A REMINDER FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OSCAR ON OSCAR, VISIT OUR WEBSITE @METROFOCUS.ORG.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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