Thursday, January 29, 2009

Naked City

Woke up at 3 am last night and came into the living room and found this program and had to stay up to watch the whole thing... I'm sure some of you have seen this or heard of it, but I had only the vaguest memory of hearing about it - anyway - by the look of it I figured it was very early 60s New York, black and white, and this episode featured Diahnn Carroll as a teacher for the blind or sight-impaired who takes a small group of her students on a city bus and then one of them runs off the bus, loses his glasses, and is lost in the city for the rest of the day. I didn't really know what to expect - it kind of looked like a cross between Dragnet and The Twilight Zone - but the location footage of NY was actually incredible; in this episode they went everywhere from the lower east side to Bethesda Fountain to the Brooklyn Bridge and into Brooklyn and gave you such a sharp sense of the landscape at that time. (Which was slightly before mine, I didn't arrive there until 67.) You could see Jewish delis, bakeries, bars, vegetable markets - and huge piles of rubble and dirt down along the east river - it's hard to think of any parcel of land in NY that's not built on at this point, but it reminded me so much of my childhood when things were a little rougher and darker than they are now. And to boot - this episode, anyway, was incredibly thoughtful - it wasn't so much a cop show as it was a really (really circa 1961) introspective drama - the teacher doubts her methods because she believes they can become independent until this kid gets lost - and then in the end he finds his way home because she had taught him he could. Another interesting detail that was only just dealt with under the surface was the issue of race - her boss is talking to her about it at one point and he's extremely empathetic but in so many words tells her that if this kid isn't found, she's going to be 'held more accountable' - and says something like 'you know what I mean?' Anyway, I can't be getting up at 4 am every night but I really want to see more of this show.

Plus Diahnn Carroll is wearing a really smart suit and looks totally fabulous through the whole ordeal. I tried to find a photo but no luck.