Beyond Our Control

Earl Hamilton
• Thursday, 10 December, 2020
• 9 min read

Created by Dave WilliamsStarring350+ high school studentsCountry of origin United States No. Of episodes247 (13 per year)ProductionProduction locations South Bend, Indiana Running time30 minutesProduction companyWJA-TVReleaseOriginal network INDUCT Original release1967 (1967) –1986 (1986)External links Website BeyondOurControl was an American youth-produced television series that aired on local NBC affiliate INDUCT in South Bend, Indiana for 19 seasons from 1967 to 1986.

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Approximately 30 Michigan (Indiana and Michigan) high school students were selected by audition each year as company members. Promoted as “a very nice TV show,” BOC sported its own distinctive style of parody, music, and experimental film.

Footage from BeyondOurControl still exists today, and can be seen on YouTube and occasionally on public access television in the Michigan region. Screenwriter Chris Webb, a student participant and adult writing adviser, wrote, “I think the thing that makes BOC really work is that it is done by high school kids, and the audience can tell that it was, and the show never hid the truth.

In 1976, BeyondOurControl won the Chicago International Film Festival's “Gold Hugo” award for best television program in its category, competing against professional series and specials produced by major networks and local stations throughout the country. A Gabriel Award from the Catholic Academy of Communication Professionals followed in 1977, recognizing BeyondOurControl as a top youth-oriented local television program in markets ranking smaller than number 25.

The Gabriel Awards honor broadcast work that creatively treats issues concerning human values. In 1977, the program captured one of thirty Broadcast Media Awards presented by the staff and students of San Francisco University.

BeyondOurControl also earned five awards from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge for excellence in the field of Economics Education. Most recently, in August 2017 at a BOC 50th Reunion, The City of South Bend issued a proclamation signed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg in honor of BeyondOurControl.

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According to BOC creator Dave Williams, “In 1961, the first student company took to the air with a 13-week series of half-hour shows. In the next ten years, Williams continued to develop the framework for the show so that students would be trained, and then freed to participate in all aspects of television production.

Typed scripts were handed to company members at Wednesday night Junior Achievement meetings, at which time students had the opportunity to audition for parts or be assigned to technical positions. As 1981 production manager Heidi Moses recalled, “We had an amazing amount of creative freedom.

Film and animation would later be edited by student editors and sound dubbed in the studio. Some bits were shot on 16 mm film, cut and spliced, sound dubbed, and transferred to videotape.

From 1983 to 1986, after AND moved into a new studio off-campus, BeyondOurControl was videotaped on location with minicams on 3/4” tape. Company members who went on to greater fame include Larry Karaszewski (Emmy Award-winning screenwriter and producer The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story), Daniel Waters (screenwriter, Heather's), David Sinking (screenwriter, Adventures in Babysitting), Diane Warts (film critic, creator of For Better or Warts “), Dean Norris (SAG Award-winning actor, Breaking Bad), Traci Paige Johnson (animator, creator of Blue's Clues), Phil Frank (journalist, videographer, and documentary producer ), Chris Webb (screenwriter, Toy Story 2), Katharine Elisa Umbriel (fantasy novelist, Night Calls ), Corrie Wynn's (journalist for WAS radio, AP Radio Network and Sheridan Broadcasting Network), and Mary Willems Armstrong (co-author of Encyclopedia of Film Themes, Settings and Series ).

An adviser from 1975 to 1977, Donald P. Botchers became a film producer, notable for the 1984 and 2009 versions of Children of the Corn. He graduated from Central High School in 1958 and attended Indiana University South Bend.

beyond control
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He joined the AND Stations as a production assistant in 1960 and was appointed Promotion Manager in 1964. At age 26, he conceived the idea of BeyondOurControl as a satirical look at the world of television, and, under the auspices of Junior Achievement, produced the program for ten years.

Under Williams' guidance, the show received national acclaim with articles in many newspapers and magazines, including an extensive spread in TV Guide. In a letter to his “kids” shortly before his surgery, which was distributed after his death, Dave wrote: “Some of you may find it ironic that a 37-year-old man who neither drinks nor smokes nor drugs, and who frequently preaches that life is great if you smile a lot and make others happy, suddenly discovers that he harbors something in his brain that doesn't belong there.

Then he shared a little of his philosophy of life: “I think it all has to do with working hard and smiling a lot and listening more than you talk and concentrating your effort in one area... “ ^ TV Guide : “One Vice President Resigned Because He Was Failing Algebra”, June 9–15, 1973.

^ Michigan Magazine, The South Bend Tribune: Youngsters Produce Top-Rated Variety Television Show, August 25, 1974, Cover Story, Pages 6-9 ^ AND Television / News Release: Beyond Our Control Readies Premiere January 7, 1975 ^ South Bend Tribune: Beyond Our Control wins Grand Prix in Festival, January 1977. ^ South Bend Tribune: Catholic broadcast group honors Beyond Our Control, November 30, 1977 ^ AND Television / News Release, August 29, 1977.

Edit Indiana sketch comedy show created and produced by local teenagers. The comments from Mr Kushner, who received a presidential pardon, were in response to a confidante who urged him in an email, obtained by the Times, to “get trump to be an American” instead of an *expletive×.

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In the exchange, Kushner family friend Bob Summer told the 66-year-old that he “texted Jared as well”, along with Ivanka Trump after she called the protestors “American patriots” in a Twitter post. Ms Trump deleted the tweet referring to the mob storming the US Capitol as “American patriots”.

And one thing that invariably strikes me is that the supporters of TD aren’t just from New York (as I am) or Boston or San Francisco, but in a remarkable fashion scattered across the country, red states and blue, big cities and small towns. It was summer almost half a century ago when I got into that Volkswagen van and began my trip across country with Peter, a photographer friend.

In Milwaukee, we would be joined by Nancy, who later became my wife, and then would spend weeks following those all-too-unromantic highways (without a Jack Kerouac in sight), interviewing anyone who would talk to us. In the end, that attempt of a 29-year-old to break free from his own life, to figure out “where (or whether) I fit into American society” became my first book, BeyondOurControl : America in the Mid Seventies.

So, curious about that long-lost self of mine and the world I then inhabited, I picked up that old book and reread it in order to meet the young Tom Engelhardt on the road in another American universe. So, if you have the patience for a little time travel, return with me to July 1973 and let me tell you about Frank Nelson, whom I met at a trailhead in Yellowstone National Park with his wife and three children.

Yet he was already talking back then about the growing “conservative approach” of the trade union movement and the possibility that it would be destroyed, he believed, by “the race issue.” He was clearly both anti-Semitic and racist. Frank and his wife Helen were open, chatty, and so pleased with the interview experience that she gave me their address and asked me to send them a copy of anything I wrote.

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As I had discovered in those weeks of interviewing, Nelson, like so many others on that vacation loop, was filled to the brim with half-spoken and unspoken fears about a future in which, as I put it then, “the pushers will survive, maybe even profit. All that’s missing is the right wind sweeping in off the plain, a combination of forces at the top of the society willing to mobilize Frank Nelson.

“In Germany in the thirties, the formula that worked was anti-Semitism, anti-communism, and a rabid nationalism combined with full employment and a return to domestic stability. If Frank Nelson’s any criterion, the formula may not be that much different here… Nationalism could well be the banner under which the struggle and the inevitable sacrifices will come, and race the bogeyman just as Jews were in Germany.

“Frank Nelson and millions of other Americans are set up for the picking, if a group at the top sees profit in the crop.” As a start, just a couple of months after I got back to San Francisco from that cross-country jaunt of ours, he made his first appearance on the front page of the New York Times.

The headline, shades of the future Donald and the white nationalism that’s accompanied him, was: “Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in City.” The Justice Department was then charging his father Fred and him with refusing “to rent or negotiate rentals ‘because of race and color'” in the buildings they then owned and managed. When you think about it, with that moment in 1973 in mind, Trump himself might be reimagined as some extreme combination of Richard Nixon (a man with his own revealing tapes just like The Donald) and George Wallace.

Nixon took the presidency in 1968 and again in 1972 with his own form of racism, the “southern strategy,” first pioneered by Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964 (and then called, far more redolent, Operation Dixie ”). In a racially coded and distinctly nationalist fashion, Nixon brought southern whites in the formerly Democratic bastions of the South definitively into the Republican fold.

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By 1980, Ronald Reagan wouldn’t think twice about launching his own presidential election campaign with a “states’ rights” speech (then still a code phrase for segregation) near Philadelphia, Mississippi, just miles from the earthen dam where three murdered civil rights workers had been found buried in 1964. And in the intervening years, the Republican Party, too, has gone south (so to speak) big time and into a form of illiberality that was, even in the Nixon era, striking enough.

Through telling anecdotes and penetrating analysis, he recalls his collaborations with Murrow, from their stinging documentary on Senator Joseph McCarthy to CBS's pioneering coverage of the burgeoning civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. Friendly also recounts his resignation as president of CBS News in 1966, when the network ran reruns of I Love Lucy instead of Senate hearings on the war in Vietnam.

1 Something of a Hero: Milo Radulovich There is an indoor tennis court now where Studio 41 used to be, but on the third floor of that windowless labyrinth above the railroad tracks of Grand Central Station, some early television history was enacted. With his penchant for understatement, Ed Murrow referred to such broadcasts as “minor footnotes.” I first heard him use the phrase on the day of the first See It Now program, in November 1951.

The industry found them on the night of October 20, 1953, when Murrow looked up at the television camera and said: “We propose to examine … the case of Lieutenant Radulovich …” Just thirty seconds before air time Murrow took a final sip from the glass of Scotch at his feet, offered me my customary gulp and said, “I don’t know whether we’ll get away with this one or not, and things will never be the same around here after tonight, but this show may turn out to be a small footnote to history in the fight against the senator.” He meant the junior senator from Wisconsin; the Radulovich program was television’s first attempt to do something about the contagion of fear that had come to be known as McCarthyism, and when he said that things would never be the same again, he meant at 485 Madison Avenue, headquarters of the Columbia Broadcasting System. Ed was usually nervous before a broadcast, but on this night his involvement created a special empathy which everyone in the control room could sense.

Though it was the first time a nationally televised news broadcast had engaged itself in controversy, Murrow always believed that we were six months late with such a program. Others had been critical of television’s and Murrow’s apparent unwillingness to cope with the problem of blacklisting and guilt by association.

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Murrow’s personal courage in World War II was part of the legend of combat reporting, but that was against a common foe, his detractors argued. Ed and I argued that we weren’t going to use our microphones and cameras as a monopolized pulpit from which to preach, but that when there was a news story that dramatized the problem of guilt by association we might be able to make our point legitimately.

We did not tell anyone at the time, but the thought of doing a half-hour study of McCarthy and his investigations had been considered as early as the spring of 1953, when we instructed our camera crews to begin compiling filmed records of all the senator’s speeches and hearings. We had tried our hand at a series of live interviews in which McCarthy would appear on one program, and one of his earliest critics, Senator William Benton of Connecticut, on another.

Murrow was late for a lunch date, I was returning from the cutting room, and as we passed each other, he handed me a wrinkled newspaper clipping. First Lieutenant Milo J. Radulovich, aged twenty-six, a meteorologist in the Air Force Reserve and a student at the University of Michigan, had been asked to resign his commission because his sister and father were secretly accused of radical beliefs.

When Radulovich refused to resign, an Air Force board at Selfridge Field ordered his separation as a security risk. Worship’s “dope sheets” were sometimes more comprehensive than the film they accompanied, but in the Radulovich case they were unnecessary, for after each interview he called to brief us.

When our reporters were doing well they would promote their stories with phrases like “first-rate” or “pretty good stuff.” But when the material was truly exciting, there was often a note of restraint. I don’t want to try to evaluate it from this end, but if there is any sound on the track and the picture are as good as Mack thinks it is, we may have something here.” His last words were: “And tell the lab not to scratch the film.” When a reporter says that, you know he has something.

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After watching and listening to five minutes of Lieutenant Radulovich (“The Force does not question my loyalty in the least … They have presented me with allegations against my sister and father … to the effect that … have read what are now called subversive newspapers, and that my sister and father’s activities are questionable … The actual charge against me is that I had maintained a close and continuing relationship with my dad and my sister over the years”) I called Murrow, and after apologizing for bothering him just before his nightly radio broadcast, I suggested that he see the Radulovich film that night. He’s a Serb, has been in this country for forty years, is a veteran of World War I, and works at the Hudson automobile factory.

Whenever someone appearing on one of our programs spoke with great conviction and force, Ed would say, “The guy has a fire in his belly.” He said that now about Radulovich, but he was also impressed with the young officer’s control. Worship says a former American Legion head who runs a gas station will speak up for the lieutenant, and here’s the transcript of the trial.” Radulovich had not been allowed to face his accusers, or even to read the specific allegations against him.

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