Backstage: Stories from My Life in Public Television

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U of Nebraska Press, Oct 1, 2012 - Performing Arts - 280 pages
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Born in 1930 in ?Diddlin? Dora?s? establishment on the banks of Rapid Creek and carried by the Madam herself to a social worker at the Alex Johnson Hotel in Rapid City, Ron Hull was destined from the outset to live an interesting life. And interesting it has°indeed been, at the very least. A well-known and much-loved figure after six decades in television, Hull sets out in Backstage to tell his story?from playing a bellhop in a junior class play in South Dakota (and meeting his ?real? mother backstage) to initiating the American Experience series for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Before he even owned a television set, Hull produced a military TV show at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. But it wasn?t until he got a job in public broadcasting in Lincoln, Nebraska, that he truly found his medium. Hull has a lifetime of fascinating anecdotes to tell: working as a producer and director, encountering celebrities like John Wayne and William Shatner, befriending famous Nebraskans like writers Mari Sandoz and John Neihardt and actress Sandy Dennis, moving to Saigon in 1966 to bring television to embattled Vietnam, and working in Washington as director of the program fund for the CPB. Through it all, though, Hull?s story is a tribute to his adopted Nebraska, a celebration of the people?stars and unsung heroes?he?s known, and a moving memoir of the dramas of life, large and small.

 

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Contents

1 Where the West Begins in the Middle of
1
2 The Mystery in Grandmothers Trunk
5
3 The Stranger in the Night
14
4 The Hulls and the Kayes
23
5 On Becoming a Storyteller
32
6 Front and Center
47
7 With Thanks to the GI Bill
56
8 Our Town
60
15 Brief and Memorable Far East Encounters
139
16 Programming the Vietnamese Way
153
17 Goodbye Saigon
159
18 The House that Jack Built
164
19 Back to Vietnam
174
20 David and Goliath
178
21 The Big Time
183
22 Sandy Jean and Phil
195

9 We Had a Dream
73
10 Shapers of the Dream
79
11 My Two Friends John Neihardt and Mari Sandoz
91
12 Bringing Television to Vietnam
111
13 Actors Politicians and Airplanes
129
14 Like Dragons Taketo Maidens
136
23 The Gang of Seven
205
24 The Missed Opportunity
214
25 Exciting Times Stimulating People
237
26 Feeling the Old Washington Squeeze
247
27 The Peace Tree
251
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About the author (2012)

Ron Hull is senior advisor to Nebraska Educational Telecommunications and professor emeritus of broadcasting at the University of Nebraska?Lincoln.