The Sixties and Seventies saw an avalanche of talent being released
in the worlds of Films and Television,
and its this that we celebrate, here on
‘BIG SCREEN – SMALL SCREEN’
The 1960’s saw many changes in the world of Cinema. We saw the collapse of the old Hollywood Studio System,
and the rise of both Independent, and Underground production companies.
Studio-bound “contract” stars and directors were no longer. And most of the directors from the early days of cinema were either retired or dead. Some of the studios, such as UA and Hal Roach Studios, had to sell off their backlots as valuable Californian real estate. Some sold props. MGM sold film artifacts, including Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz (1939)). Universal Studios began their famed studio tours in 1964. Disney created its first theme park, DisneyWorld, in Orlando, Florida.
Due to various insecurities and financial difficulties, the studios were quickly taken over by multi-national companies, especially after the deaths of pre-war, entrepreneurish movie-studio moguls such as Louis B. Mayer of MGM and Harry Cohn of Columbia, the ousting of Darryl F. Zanuck from 20th Century Fox in 1971, and the sale of one-third of Warner Bros. stock by Jack Warner to Seven Arts in 1967. The traditional, Hollywood studio era would soon be history, as more and more studios were acquired by other unrelated business conglomerates. The age of “packaged” films and the independent company and producer were beginning.
Cinema in the 1960s reflected the decade of fun, fashion, rock ‘n’ roll, tremendous social changes (i.e., the civil rights era and marches) and transitional cultural values. This was a turbulent decade of monumental changes, tragedies, cultural events, assassinations and deaths, and many advancements.
For instance the first ‘Multiplex’ opened in 1963. this occured when Stanley H. Durwood opened the first ever multiplex, composed of two side-by-side theaters with 700 seats, at the Ward Parkway Center in Kansas City.
The 1970’s saw the film industry offering a ‘New wave’ of ‘Blockbusters’, such as Jaws, Star Wars and 2001-Space Odyssey.
Although the 1970s opened with Hollywood experiencing a financial and artistic depression, the decade became a creative high point in the film industry. Restrictions on language, adult content, sexuality, and violence had loosened up, and these elements became more widespread. The hippie movement, the civil rights movement, free love, the growth of rock and roll, changing gender roles and drug use certainly had an impact. And Hollywood was renewed and reborn with the earlier collapse of the studio system, and the works of many new and experimental film-makers (nicknamed “Movie Brats”) during a Hollywood New Wave.
In the world of Television, things were also to change in the 60’s and 70’s. In the Uk there were only two TV channels on offer in 1960, the BBC and Independent Television. All programmes were broadcast in ‘Black & White’.
The highly controversial introduction of ‘commercial’ or ‘independent’ television (ITV) in 1955, in London and then around the country (set up partly with public service rather than simply commercial principles), did much to fire up the BBC, which was allowed to introduce a second channel with colour and a higher resolution picture in 1964. Colour transmissions began in 1967 but the ‘switchover’ to the new 625 lines of UHF from the original 405 lines of VHF took over twenty years. It was 1985 before the old system was finally switched off.
ITV companies were obliged to operate on a purely regional basis, serving a distinctive community and abiding by tight regulatory controls laid down by the franchising authority, the IBA (Independent Broadcasting Authority – at first the ITA or Independent Television Authority).
Filmed American series became commonplace on UK television during this period and ‘live links’ via satellite introduced overseas news and joint broadcasting events.
So if you remember films such as ‘Blow up’, ‘ The Manchurian Candidate’, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, ‘The Godfather’, Dr Strangelove’ and ‘ Superfly’, or TV shows such as ‘Dixon of Dock Green’, ‘Compact’, ‘Magpie’, ‘Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea’ , ‘Vision On’ and ‘Crossroads’ , join us on
‘Big Screen – Small Screen’
every Saturday evening to listen to some of the best ever Film & Television Theme Music ever composed and recorded.