William Katz has had a long and varied career, as an assistant to a U.S. senator; an officer in the CIA; an assistant to Herman Kahn, the nuclear war theorist; an editor at The New York Times Magazine; and a talent coordinator at The Tonight Show. He is the author of ten books, translated into 15 languages. He admits to degrees from The University of Chicago and Columbia. When I asked him if he’d ever written about his various careers, he said that he hadn’t but that he would be happy to do so. His reflections of his work for the Tonight Show are here and here. In his post today, Mr. Katz follows up on “Hollywood, hurray for?” Mr. Katz writes:
In my recent post on what I’ve found in Hollywood, I mentioned Alfred Hitchcock and his classic, “Rear Window.” I also raised the question, “What went wrong in Hollywood?” To provide some answers, consider this imaginary scene, played out in a studio executive’s office. The time is now. Alfred Hitchcock, rotund and dour, enters, sits down, and faces what one comedy writer likes to call “a fetus in a three-piece suit.”
STUDIO EXEC: Uh, nice meeting you, Mr. Hitchcock.
HITCH: Of course.
STUDIO EXEC: Let’s get right to the point. Your script – “Rear Window” — look, it’s not for us.
HITCH: Oh? Why?
STUDIO EXEC: Why? Please, Mr. Hitchcock, look at the plot. A man smart enough to pay New York apartment prices kills his wife. That’s a red flag, right there.
HITCH: People kill spouses all the time.
STUDIO EXEC: But, Mr. Hitchcock, we have no-fault divorce. Why would he kill her?
HITCH: Because no-fault divorce doesn’t make a movie.
STUDIO EXEC: Then he does a lot of suspicious things and