That Wacky Redhead

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Brainbin, Nov 18, 2011.

Loading...
  1. su_liam Incompetent planetary engineer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    Died of autoerotic asphyxiation.
    There was an unsuccessful cover-up over the extensive collection of black-on-blonde porn discovered with the body…
     
  2. JSmith Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    Denver Colorado
    I figured this could be posted here


    [​IMG]
     
  3. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    10 miles north of 10 miles south
    Oh, boy, he wanted it in black and white? Imagine if someone had let him do that, people would probably think it was a rerun from the '60s or something. I wonder if it woudl last - how were reruns handled in those days? I only remember Mary Tyler Moore, brady Bunch, and reruns from the '70s growing up in the mid-'70s and only really saw some old black and white reruns in the early '80s I think, though I may have seen a few Leave it to Beaver or other ones int he late '70s.

    As to the colors, I wonder if that was more becasue of the home setting of AitF? Those colors seem logical for a home, especially with Archie's ultra-conservatism, whereas MTM I remember Ted had some pretty loud jackets and often wore a fancy shaded blue blazer. And, the station's set was rather colorful, though Lou always wore that same white shirt.

    Baseball tried to draw viewers with that garishness with some of their uniforms, too, although Charlie Finley was doing this as early as 1963 with the Kansas City (eventually Oakland) Athletics. And this from Houston, which makes me want to take them out for ice cream after the game like with a Little League team.:D

    Okay, some of them I think are cool, but others go overboard - you can decide for yoruself with all of these, not all of them from the '70s. But, I am curious if you British have gone through the same thing with your sports teams?
     
  4. OwenM Red Tory Scum

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Location:
    Colwyn Bay/Manchester
    Not really, but it does remind me of my Dad talking about watching the Five Nations in the 70s and not being able to tell apart shirt colours when Wales were playing France or Scotland or Ireland.
     
  5. Lindseyman Am I a Northerner? I think that I am!

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2013
    Location:
    Near Lactodorum
    I'm not a particular fan, I used him in my thread because I did remember him!
    His name stuck when others didn't:eek:
     
  6. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    Location:
    The British Empire
    As has been noted, today, September 8, 2014, marks the 48th anniversary of the series premiere of Star Trek, "The Man Trap", on NBC. It should also be pointed out that it does not mark the 48th anniversary of the world premiere, which was September 6, 2014. 48 years prior to that date, Star Trek was first seen by audiences tuned to the Canadian network CTV (which, theoretically, would have included Americans near to the Canadian border - I have no idea if CTV stations had strong enough broadcast signals in the mid-1960s). It's not terribly clear why NBC permitted this coup, but it even survived the American network's decision to move the premiere up from September 15th (the originally-planned premiere was, you guessed it, September 13th).

    I'm very pleasantly surprised to see such a high volume of responses in less than 24 hours, which has also brought us over 4,000 posts! Allow me to furnish you with some replies thereto...

    Speaking of which, since this thread is probably one of the few places I can say this without fear of censure, one of my personal reasons for lamenting World War II is the lost opportunity that the suspension of television broadcasting by the BBC represents, especially when taken cumulatively with the devastation to physical and economic infrastructure wrought by the war. Imagine where the technological level and market saturation of television broadcasting would be in a situation where WWII is somehow avoided (with a POD after 1936).

    It certainly is telling that, even to the present day, they have continued to issue licences for black-and-white television sets. Obviously there's a sufficiently large market for them.

    I know, right?! It seems wrong to imagine that "SUSPENDISSE IACULIS ANNO DOMINI MCMXXXVI" wasn't there from the beginning :p

    You're both in the same boat as me. I remember being so excited as we were approaching the year 2000 because, among other reasons, we would be going from MCMXCVIII and MCMXCIX to just MM, and then MMI! (In fact, I even remember thinking that surely when 1999 arrived, they would be able to just use "MIM", and I swear I did see that somewhere, though I can't recall where.)

    Also worth noting is that licences for colour TVs were first issued in the period ending March 31, 1968, consistent with the first regular colour broadcasts in the United Kingdom beginning on July 1, 1967 (on BBC2, perhaps marking the beginning of that channel's reputation as a testbed for "experimental" programming). By this time, the entire US primetime network schedule was in colour (since September, 1966). Consistent with your observation about sales of colour sets outpacing B&W, this happened in 1972 in the United States - the same year that the "IN COLOR" proclamations ceased.

    I'm rather ashamed to admit that I did laugh at your, off-colour, shall we say ;), explanation, su_liam. To answer your question, Orville, Thurmond was defeated in his bid for re-election in 1978 - the high-water mark year for the AIP - after that party targeted him due to his affiliation with Reagan (and refusal to change parties). This allowed the Democratic candidate, Joseph P. Riley, Jr. (IOTL the Mayor of Charleston since 1975 - yes, right up to the present day :eek:), to come up the middle between the two candidates, largely with the support of black voters (obviously) and Charlestonians. (Even IOTL, Thurmond won only 56-44 in a good year for Republicans.) Thurmond, who was 76 years old upon leaving office, subsequently went into retirement.

    Thank you, Andrew :)

    This was definitely the guiding principle for determining which southern politician found himself in which party. Democrats who took longer to switch to the Republicans IOTL have generally remained Democrats ITTL - including not only Gramm but also the man he replaced, John Connally, who is currently serving in Cabinet. (We never decided where in Cabinet - I suppose Treasury wins by default, since that's where he served under Nixon IOTL.) The up-and-coming conservatives of the post Civil Rights-era - many of whom joined the GOP IOTL - have generally joined the AIP ITTL. As an illustration of the dichotomy between AIP conservatism and GOP conservatism, I present Sen. Trent Lott (AIP) and Rep. Thad Cochran (GOP) - fortuitously, we decided which parties these two would respectively call home well before recent events vindicated our choice. (Also consider that Lott's fellow Senator from Mississippi is the black Republican, Charles Evers.) As a general rule, of course, elder statesmen and young turk alike switched to the ADP in Alabama, due to Wallace's power and influence (and, naturally, many switched back to the Democrats in the early 1980s).

    Yes, although a fair percentage of southern whites did park their votes with the AIP/ADP, who got 7% of the vote in 1976 - combined, the GOP and AIP tickets got about 58% of the vote, a number which should look familiar to those who know their electoral history. And yes, for one thing Reagan at least has the Argentine War; he's far more a George (H.W.) Bush than a Jimmy Carter.

    Intriguing speculation, which I will neither confirm nor deny at this juncture.

    That should read boldly going, not going boldly :mad:

    It should be noted that production of the first pilot for what would become All in the Family dates to 1968, when colour TV was much newer - which, of course, made it even less likely that it would be produced in black-and-white. And it must be said that many identifiably 1960s series (including, of course, Star Trek) were filmed and broadcast in colour, and are remembered as such. Even shows usually remembered in black-and-white (such as The Beverly Hillbillies and The Andy Griffith Show) transitioned to colour partway through their run. The 1950s were the monochrome decade.

    Well, you did just mention The Brady Bunch (produced contemporaneously), which also had a domestic setting, and which nobody in their right mind would ever describe as "beige". In addition, Norman Lear has spoken at length about how, forbidden from shooting in black-and-white, he devised the "compromise" of desaturating the colour palette as much as possible.
     
  7. Ogrebear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Location:
    UK
  8. Thande A special man who knows these things Donor

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    God's Own County
    Happy birthday Star Trek.

    I remember the 30th anniversary, I was in Canada and bought a book/extended magazine thing on the subject which was full of really tenuous "Canadian Connections" to Star Trek as it put them :p

    I remember it had references to the ongoing filming of Star Trek Generations II (which eventually became First Contact), things like lists of people's favourite episodes and captains they voted on, people talking about their personal connections to Trek (all Canadians I assume), but most of all I remember seeing the USS Defiant on the cover besides Voyager and all the Enterprises and thinking "...what's that?" (In 1996 season 3 of DS9 had not come to UK terrestrial television yet and this was my first sight of it ever).
     
  9. Plumber Manifest Destiny inspired Lebensraum

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Location:
    北京Beijing
    Sure am! Although as an Orange County resident there's also the disillusionment one gets by being so near to the Disney colossus. But there's always Knott's.

    Excellent.

    Ah, in-universe footnotes. :p
     
  10. JSmith Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    Denver Colorado
    Good point-sorry about that!
     
  11. Thande A special man who knows these things Donor

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    God's Own County
    Is that still there? I have fond memories of seeing the Snoopy-themed area there in 1992.
     
  12. Francisco Cojuanco To hell with Angelides and Pete Wilson

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    You're from Orange County? I'm typing this right now from one of the few places in Irvine that isn't owned by the Irvine Company.
     
  13. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    10 miles north of 10 miles south
    Interesting. I guess I do recall TBB's set being a bit more colorful, but for some reason I recall MTM better - perhaps because I saw a lot more of it, being born in '69 I saw at least some in original airing and lots more reruns, so I suspect I saw every episode, but maybe 1/4 (if that) of TBB.

    And, yes, I really should have said "early '60s," I'm probably used to famiy stories where they didn't get a color TV till 1970 or so. I know on the Hogan's Heroes DVDs, the start of the show says, "CBS presents this program in color." Which may have spurred some people to go out and buy color TVs, if they did that with a lot of shows.
     
  14. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    The Mountainous Democratic Republic of Colorado
    As the timeline winds to a close, just a thought. What are your plans after this? You intend to go back to that "Harry Potter on the Small Screen." idea you had a few years ago, or do you plan on writing a new timeline? Just asking.
     
  15. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Location:
    New Netherland
  16. Ogrebear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    Some interesting opinions about Rodenberry and Leonard Maizlish there. I can only hope that ITTL Gene does not fall to bottle or worse- though his interest in Trek seems to have died off by the 80's anyway.

    Perhaps it will be Gene who returns to Trek in the 80's and 'does a TNG' with the property. Hopefully a sober Gene won't need a Maizlish standing guard.
     
  17. unclepatrick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Location:
    Huntsville Al
    Alabama Senator

    I just finish reading over 50 pages of The Wacky Redhead.
    My life in the real world has limited the time I have to follow your timeline over the past 9 months or so.
    I glad to see that it is still at the high level that it was when I last read it.

    I have one question.
    On your List of Senators, I don't see Howell Heflin?
    Instead I find George Wallace,
    I know you said that Wallace did not get shot in this timeline, why would he have decided to run for the Senate?

    OTL he was a four term governor serving from 1971 to 1979 and then returning to from 1983 t0 1989l
    He may have been the stereotypical Alabama politician.
    I remember a teacher in High School talking about him after he was reelected in 1983. "He knew where the Bodies were buried. He buried some of them"
    But he did take care of his constituency.
    While his four runs at the Presidency may have earn him the title of "Most Influential Loser" of the 20th century, as a Governor, Many in AL thought that he could do no wrong.
    So while would he decide to run for Senator?

    And I hate to see Howell Helfin go away.
    While he may have seem to many, to be a joke as Politician,
    Chris Fraley even made fun of him on SNL, he did his job as Senator as well as any one could.
    I heard him speak at my High School in the early 1980's.
    He was a man who love the USA and the State of Alabama .
    He bore things like the SNL joke and the National Enquirer headline that call him one of Ten Members of Congress who were really Aliens with his own Humor.

    Why did Heflin lose his Senate Seat?
     
  18. Threadmarks: Appendix C, Part VI: Rendering of the Verdict

    Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    Location:
    The British Empire
    Appendix C, Part VI: Rendering of the Verdict

    A long time ago, in a courthouse
    far, far away (from Hollywood)

    [​IMG]
    The front facade of the Supreme Court Building at 1 First Street, Washington, D.C., which houses the Supreme Court of the United States. The ultimate appeal in Lucasfilm Limited v. Paramount Pictures Corporation was argued here in September, 1982, and decided on February 23, 1983, nearly five years after the lawsuit was initially brought forward.

    “For almost its entire history, the Hollywood motion picture industry has been determined to play by its own rules, as though they deserve special treatment over the farmers, manufacturers, and servicemen and women that keep our country running. The only people who’ve been willing to stand in their way have been the honourable justices of this Supreme Court. From their very inceptions, the movie studios have willfully and deliberately violated established antitrust laws in this country, seeking to control the means of production and distribution and quash the competition to the emerging oligopoly. Then, as now, they went about pretending that commercial and financial regulations didn’t apply to them the way they did for everybody else. In 1948, this court put a stop to that in the Paramount decision – but the last distributor, Loew’s, didn’t divest MGM until 1959, eleven years later. At a time when the studios made it their solemn duty to circumvent the First Amendment in the name of antiquated standards of decency, this court denied them that opportunity in the Miracle decision – though, I might add, it took them fourteen years to replace the Hays Code with a ratings system, and one which only operates through corruption and cronyism. The major film studios have, throughout their history, shown no regard to any rules and regulations but their own, and have consistently disrespected the will of Congress, and the wisdom of this Court. They must be punished for their misbehaviour. Our evidence is clear and overwhelming, and a message must be sent to the motion picture industry in your ruling, that they cannot be allowed to continue carrying out their misbehaviour with impunity. Thank you.”

    Andy Taylor, in his closing argument before the Supreme Court of the United States, arguing Lucasfilm v. Paramount on September 24, 1982

    It had all come down to this.

    Andy Taylor could never have imagined, even in his wildest dreams, that he would be returning home in these circumstances. He had been born and raised in the Old Line State, and though Washington was technically separate from Maryland, it was near enough to his hometown of Baltimore that he could commute there by train in less than an hour – even before the high-speed rail extension was due to reach the Chesapeake. [1] And he made the trip back and forth countless times, trading off his celebrity status as the plucky young lawyer from Charm City made good, and catching the home games of his beloved Orioles, in the midst of a playoff run that would culminate in their winning the 1982 World Series. [2] It took up every spare moment of his time, the bulk of which was largely devoted to preparing his arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States, the final court of appeal in the judicial system. Despite his reputation as the David to the army of Goliaths that constituted Paramount’s legal team, Taylor’s lustre had faded somewhat due to his loss on appeal before the Ninth Circuit. That reversal, of a verdict rendered by the good people of the jury in Los Angeles not only stung the plaintiff, but also the people – and, incensed with righteous populist indignation, these people exhorted their legislators to “do something”.

    A key early sponsor of the “something” that Congress had in mind was none other than Taylor’s old friend, freshman Sen. Marlin DeAngelo, a Democrat from California, in a key indicator of the groundswell of public support for closing the loopholes that allowed the entertainment industry to understate profits, depriving stakeholders and tax collectors of their due. This was not without a palpable sense of betrayal from many of those who had helped DeAngelo win the party nomination, and then the election, two years before – as a Congressman, the district he had represented included Hollywood itself. However, DeAngelo seemed to have loftier and broader ambitions than pandering to a core constituency (especially when that constituency was severely outnumbered). DeAngelo’s recent replacement, friend, and ally, Rep. George Takei, also voted in favour of the eventual legislation, though he did not play a major role in sponsoring the bill beforehand. However, the Financial Accounting Bill, as it became known, was not met without opposition in the Congress. DeAngelo and Takei were among the few whose constituents included the entertainment industry that were not in their pocket [3], and resistance to the bill became a symbolic last stand for the fading Reaganite faction; in fact, the term “fiscon” first came into widespread use during the coverage of debates over the legislation.

    The bill, which became law upon being signed by President Glenn, created the Financial Accounting Commission (FAC), which was assigned many of the roles and responsibilities previously held by the voluntary, self-regulatory Financial Accounting Foundation. [4] Where there was overlap with the responsibilities held by the extant Securities and Exchange Commission, these would be assigned to the new agency. Because the SEC reported directly to the Executive Office of the President and not to any department, so too would the FAC. President Glenn offered the inaugural Chairmanship of the Financial Accounting Commission to C.A. Baxter, forensic accountant and star witness for the plaintiff, who declined pending the conclusion of Lucasfilm v. Paramount’s appeal to the Supreme Court.

    In the meantime, given the Byzantine legalese that regulating the accounting and financial professions would require, most media outlets lost interest in covering the legislation almost the moment it had been tabled, with their business experts assuring them (and their audience) that it would be sufficient in closing the loopholes that the entertainment industry had exploited for so long. Although there was considerable buzz surrounding Baxter’s possible appointment to the new Commission – with many observers claiming that it would serve as the culmination of, appropriately enough, a real-life example of one of the great Hollywood little-guy-takes-on-the-big-bad-machine stories, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. When Baxter turned down Glenn’s offer, what little public interest remained in the legislative side of the saga dissipated. [5] The density and complexity of the responsibilities which the new agency would have which were outlined in the bill that was ultimately passed entailed hundreds of pages; every newspaper that covered the evolving legislation and the agency it produced relegated the details to deep within their business sections.

    By a verdict of 5-4, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the plaintiff, awarding Lucasfilm $1,000,000,000 in damages, on February 23, 1983 (a Wednesday). It led all the headlines the following day – at least, everywhere that the harsh winter storms didn’t impede communications or transportation. The Wall Street Journal, which naturally covered the goings-on from a business perspective, led with “LUCASFILM GOES FOR BROKE; PARAMOUNT GOES BROKE”. The New York Times instead went with “MR. TAYLOR WINS IN WASHINGTON”; across the country, the Los Angeles Times announced the “JOURNEY OF THE LAWSUIT”, reserving the actual verdict for a subtitle (“Lucasfilm wins verdict, 5-4”). The New York Post went with the most regrettable headline possible (in hindsight), “BLOODIED BLUHDORN”, when they emphasized the damage it had done to the owner of Paramount. The National Enquirer lazily recycled their headline from the original 1980 verdict when they announced that “SUPREME COURT USES ‘FORCE’ ON PARAMOUNT FOR $1B RULING”. Every article focused, at least fleetingly, on what this ruling meant for the three principals: George and Marcia Lucas, and Andy Taylor (who was entitled to a whopping percentage of the verdict, as he had worked on contingency). Unsurprisingly, stock prices for all the Gulf+Western subsidiaries plummeted precipitously as a result of the verdict. There would be no further appeals, as there had been after the 1980 ruling; the conglomerate was on the hook for a billion dollars. Then the situation went from bad to worse.

    Two days after the verdict was handed down, on February 25, 1983 (a Friday), Charles Bluhdorn was found dead in his bedroom at age 56. [6] The cause of death was a massive heart-attack; observers ranging from his closest intimates to his fiercest critics judged that the shock of the verdict had essentially killed him. It seemed unreal, like something out of one of the many movies his studio had produced, but the fact remained: the fate of Bluhdorn’s crumbling empire would have to be determined without him. By this time, Marcia Lucas had officially resigned from her position at Desilu Post-Production, ending a ten-year stint in the editor’s room – one which had earned her two Academy Awards. [7] It was now clear that working full-time as a partner in Lucasfilm would be a far more lucrative and demanding business. C.A. Baxter, who had previously served as an auditor, was hired by Lucasfilm to valuate Paramount’s net assets. The larger, older studio was not sufficiently liquid to have $900 million [8] cash on hand, nor could they easily liquidate their current assets; only a fire-sale of their vast capital portfolio would have provided them with what they needed.

    The Lucases wanted to make movies, and they believed they would be better placed to do so with the capital and intangible assets already owned by Paramount under their control, as opposed to immediately re-investing their newfound windfall into the acquisition or manufacture of new capital assets and intangibles. Therefore, both sides entered into intense negotiations. The Lucases agreed in principle that they would accept a transfer of Paramount’s net assets – in effect, of the Paramount Pictures Corporation itself, to be transferred from the ownership of Gulf+Western Industries, Inc., as payment of the damages owed to them. This included assuming all debts incurred by Paramount – by law, creditors were entitled to returns ahead of stockholders, and the Lucases did not want Paramount or Gulf+Western to default on their obligations, lest their damages become uncollectable. [9] The remainder of the Gulf+Western conglomerate would be allowed to continue operations as an independent entity, with Bluhdorn’s estate and heirs allowed to determine its own destiny, mostly outside of the entertainment industry. The details, however, would have to be ironed out.

    Baxter judged that it was a good deal for both sides; Paramount would be insolvent if it sought to pay the damages it owed in cash, and the capital assets – and particularly the intangibles, such as pre-existing contracts – which Lucasfilm would be recovering had a value in use far greater than those which the studio would likely be able to generate through new investments. Baxter agreed that he would waive his consulting fees in exchange for being granted permanent access to all papers relating to the lawsuit, including the negotiations taking place in the aftermath; in addition, he sought publishing rights for the sordid story, and licensing rights for any adaptations. All three principals – George and Marcia Lucas, and Andy Taylor – agreed to allow Baxter to publish the “official” account of the Trial of the Century, though they would obviously retain editorial control and final approval of the finished product. Fortunately, Baxter had written a number of general reference books for public consumption, providing him with notoriety among the public (resulting in his “bid” for a seat on the Financial Accounting Commission) and had built a reputation as an educator of the masses.

    The tome which resulted was given the title David and Goliath: The Authorized Account of Lucasfilm v. Paramount, the Trial of the Century. C. A. Baxter was credited as sole author. Like most of his books, David and Goliath was a fairly dry read, just this side of inaccessible; it was also an interminable slog, often criticized as a “doorstopper”. The book’s scope was relatively narrow – starting with the initial contracts between the two parties signed in the mid-1970s, during pre-production on Journey of the Force, and concluding with the 1983 “sellout” of Paramount to Lucasfilm, but it was many hundreds of pages long. The length and complexity of David and Goliath invited comparisons to the Italian medievalist, semiotician, and literary critic Umberto Eco, whose first novel, finally translated into English, also hit the shelves in 1983. [10] Both books were best-sellers despite their shared inscrutable density: Baxter’s nonfiction book was a long-awaited exposé straight from the horse’s mouth, coming right on the heels on Lucasfilm’s triumph before the Supreme Court; Eco’s novel was crammed with labyrinthine historical allusions and convoluted theming and symbolism, making it attractive to intellectuals of all stripes (including those who wished to appear intellectual – a much larger demographic than anyone was willing to admit). Both books, accordingly, were awarded the sobriquet “the best-selling book nobody ever read”. [11] Both, however, were quickly optioned for adaptations, as they shared a key trait: there was a strong story buried beneath the layers of extraneous posturing.

    Once the adaptation rights to his story had been sold, Baxter’s schedule was sufficiently clear that he could accept an appointment to, and the Chairmanship of, the Financial Accounting Commission, which he did, effective as at the beginning of 1984 (once he was confirmed by the Senate). He would remain in this post for the next five years, marking the high point of his career. Baxter had been intimately involved with the process leading up to the creation of the Commission on which he now served ever since he was first contacted by Andy Taylor during preliminary fact-finding in 1978. This had granted him valuable insight for the role, but it also allowed him to greatly inflate his own importance and perhaps dwell too heavily on his own perspective to the exclusion of others. Granted, this was a weakness shared by no less a writer than Winston Churchill (Baxter himself did not make this comparison, though others did – he merely said “anyone mentioned in the same breath as Winston Churchill and Umberto Eco is in good company, even if it is because of their mutual flaws”). [12] Baxter’s pomposity and grandstanding had always been a stark contrast to his associate Andy Taylor’s temperate modesty and prudence – Marcia Lucas, some years later, aptly noted that “If you didn’t know, you’d have been real sure Cal was the lawyer and Andy was the accountant.”

    However, despite their non-stereotypical personalities, both men obviously were well-suited for their respective vocations. In a matter of weeks, Lucasfilm and Gulf+Western (representing the interests of Paramount) devised a suitable plan for Lucasfilm to recover the $900 million they were duly owed, without Paramount defaulting on their debt, and even allowing them to continue with their operations (in a manner of speaking). Paramount Pictures, and all assets and liabilities associated therewith, would be transferred in its entirety to Lucasfilm Limited. In order to pay down those liabilities, Lucasfilm chose to liquidate those assets which would not suit their strategic purposes. In order to cover the contingent legal fees which were owed to Andy Taylor (which amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars), he was given an equal partnership in the new Lucasfilm with each of the Lucases – he would own one-third of the company going forward, alongside both George and Marcia – along with a “modest” lump-sum in the eight digits, mostly derived from the $100 million bond payment which had been held in escrow since 1980.

    George Lucas had a sufficiently well-developed ego that he chose to retain the “Lucasfilm” name to carry on film development, production, and distribution, rather than continue using the Paramount name (thus abandoning a brand with over seven decades of history). Lucasfilm sold all brands, trademarks, and logos associated with Paramount Pictures to CanWest, which had not derived nearly as much benefit from the United Artists name as it had hoped it would. CanWest formally changed names to CanWest Paramount to reflect this acquisition, which was entirely superficial and had virtually no bearing on the day-to-day operations at Global Television or (the former) United Artists Corporation – which was swiftly renamed Paramount Pictures Corporation, despite having no legal continuity with the Paramount of 1912-83. [13] The remaining film and television library belonging to Paramount were sold to Ted Turner, with the sole and obvious exception of Journey of the Force, which went into re-release just in time for the Christmas season of 1983, the first time it had been in theatres in six years. A home video release, meanwhile, was planned for 1984.

    And, finally, the massive studio space on Melrose Avenue, the crown jewel of the Paramount studio, would be sold to the neighbouring Desilu Productions at a bargain price, as a personal reward and show of gratitude for Lucille Ball’s enduring friendship and support of the Lucases during their many years on the Hollywood blacklist. The large, imposing wall (known internally as simply “The Wall”) which separated the two studio lots was auspiciously demolished, with a long ribbon being set up in its place. [14] Lucille Ball, along with George and Marcia Lucas, would cut this ribbon in a grand ceremony featuring many Desilu and Paramount stars and staffers, past and present. Ball famously quipped: “If this wall can finally come down, maybe there’s hope for the one in Berlin, too.”

    Although Desilu was only purchasing the studio space, Ball (who was, after all, a veteran of the Golden Age of Hollywood) promised to establish a permanent exhibit recognizing the storied film history of the location under the auspices of Paramount Pictures – in addition to honouring the past, it would also make an excellent (and lucrative!) tourist attraction. [15] Desilu didn’t really need the room anyway – they already had the most studio space of any production company in the United States – and were happy to rent much of the space out, as they were already doing at Cahuenga. Lucasfilm was given the first right of refusal on unused studio space for rental purposes – duplicating the original agreement between Desilu and Paramount from 1967 – and their offices would be housed there as well.

    George and Marcia Lucas were living the dream: they had started with nothing and now controlled their own production and distribution companies. One of the first press releases issued by the newly amalgamated and consolidated Lucasfilm promised the long-awaited sequel to Journey of the Force, with a tentative release date set for the summer of 1986…

    ---

    [1] The high-speed rail line between Washington, D.C. (terminus of the Northeast Corridor) and Baltimore was not scheduled for completion until the autumn of 1984 - just in time for election season.

    [2] The Baltimore Orioles finished second in the American League East during the 1982 season IOTL, falling one game short of completing a remarkable comeback, losing to the team that was ahead of them, the Milwaukee Brewers, in the final game of the season, which took place (at home) on October 3, 1982 (a Sunday). As a result, the Brewers had a record of 95-67, against 94-68 for the Orioles.

    [3] Variety summed up the palpable feelings of betrayal amongst Hollywood insiders at one of their own taking a stand against them in their memorable headline: “HAS SULU GONE SPACEY?”

    [4] The body of the text doesn’t quite elaborate as to how comparatively extreme a decision this is – even after Enron and the other accounting scandals of the early 2000s, the accounting and financial professions continue to self-regulate, though under guidelines and mandates from the US government (most notably the Sarbanes-Oxley Act). Basically, accounting fraud is now being monitored as closely and punished as severely as securities fraud, which requires (in the opinion of Congress) direct government oversight.

    [5] Glenn’s offer to Baxter was never made public by his administration until after he later accepted appointment to the Commission (at the press conference: “as you all know, we’ve been after Mr. Baxter for some time”), but political commentators on the Hill still knew about it due to Glenn’s preliminary attempts to secure the necessary support from a majority of Senators; Baxter did not belong to either major political party and would sit as an Independent on the Commission.

    [6] IOTL, Charles G. Bluhdorn died on February 20, 1983 – as ITTL, the cause of death is listed as a heart attack.

    [7] Marcia resigned by telegram, which That Wacky Redhead would display in her office. It reads, in its entirety: “TENDERING RESIGNATION – WINDFALL RECEIVED – EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY”.

    [8] $100 million has been kept in escrow since 1980, as the bond on the initial verdict. Therefore, Paramount effectively owes “only” the $900 million difference.

    [9] Remember that Lucasfilm is collecting on its share of the profits from Journey of the Force, which makes them investors as opposed to creditors. Investors receive dividend revenue; creditors receive interest revenue. In addition, creditors generally expect to receive the principal – that is, the total of what was initially loaned out – to be returned to them, either in whole (as with bonds) or over time (as with loans), whereas investors generally forfeit their initial investment (in Lucasfilm’s case, that would be the film itself, and all associated copyrights, licences and trademarks which can be derived therefrom) in exchange for the promise of their rightful share of the future returns. In this instance, it just so happens that Lucasfilm will be receiving Journey of the Force back – the best of both worlds.

    [10] The Name of the Rose, Eco’s first novel, was translated into English at around this time IOTL. Even an author as detail-oriented and deliberate as Eco probably would not have written exactly the same book after over a decade from the POD. That said, it is still a historical mystery with a lead character plainly inspired by Sherlock Holmes, probably a monk like William of Baskerville (it’s not as though many other professions in the middle ages lent themselves as well to scholastics and scientific deduction).

    [11] This description is paraphrased from an (OTL) Publisher’s Weekly review of Eco’s next novel, Foucault’s Pendulum (though describing The Name of the Rose) – which has the reputation of being the Finnegan’s Wake to The Name of the Rose’s Ulysses. (Note that it, unlike The Name of the Rose, never got a film adaptation.)

    [12] Indeed, several of the many reviewers mentioning Churchill and/or Eco can be paraphrased as saying “all of [their] flaws; none of [their] virtues”.

    [13] As a result, as of January 1, 1984 ITTL, only the following Golden Age studios remain in operation: MGM, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Columbia, and Warner Bros.

    [14] A very similar ceremony took place IOTL, in 1967, though it commemorated the opposite transaction: Desilu being sold to Gulf+Western. Here is a picture taken of the two principals at that ceremony.

    [15] It will not surprise you to learn that, IOTL, Paramount pays little to no regard for ¼ of their Melrose lot having once been the possession of RKO, and then Desilu – even though a certain property which was developed by Desilu kept that studio afloat through some very lean years.

    ---

    Unlike the pompous C.A. Baxter (what a jerk, am I right?) I’m not nearly so immodest that I would not credit those with whom I have consulted extensively in the writing of this update, so I must thank Andrew T, Dan1988, and e of pi for their input and advice at various stages of the development of both this update and the entire development of Appendix C. I apologize for not ending this post with a dialogue-free montage scored by John Williams, but I can provide you to a link which might inspire you to imagine one. May the force be with you… always.

    (And yes, I will write about the sequel… that’s why it’s coming out in 1986, and not 1987, as e of pi cruelly yet characteristically suggested. Happy birthday, you great big troll :p)
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
    Electric Monk, Knightmare and Mackon like this.
  19. Mr Teufel Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    It was worth the wait. :)
     
  20. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    The Mountainous Democratic Republic of Colorado
    You almost feel bad for Paramount in this TL, for all the failures they endure.
     
Loading...