Magazine article American Cinematographer

ASC's "Heart and Soul" Retires after 38 Years

Magazine article American Cinematographer

ASC's "Heart and Soul" Retires after 38 Years

Article excerpt

On November 31,1992, the American Society of Cinematographers and the staff of American Cinematographer magazine bade a fond farewell to retiring Office Manager Barbara Prevedel, the living incarnation of the two organizations' combined history. Barbara's faithful stewardship over the years anchored the ASC through changing times; her firm hand on the rudder was augmented by a generous, caring nature and a remarkable facility for interacting gracefully with an extremely diverse range of personalities.

A native of Superior, Wyoming, Barbara completed two years of study at the University of Wyoming before joining relatives in Los Angeles in 1952. During her first two years in town, she was employed by Acme Fast Freight. In May of 1954, at age 21, she was hired as the ASC's receptionist by Office Manager Marion Hutchins, the daughter of Society president Arthur Miller.

The hiring marked the beginning of a long and fruitful alliance. Over the course of her 38 years with the organization, Barbara served in many different capacities. After moving from her receptionist's post to perform stints as circulation director and one-woman advertising department, she assumed the title of office manager, which she would hold until her last day on the job. During her tenure, Barbara worked alongside 18 Society presidents and six magazine editors. To say that she has seen it all is, at best, an understatement.

Those who know Barbara unfailingly describe her as "the heart and soul of the ASC." In her capacity as office manager, she was responsible for a vast array of details vital to the smooth operation of the Society, including the hiring of new employees. Her bookkeeping duties encompassed three separate entities: the ASC, the Society's service corporation, and American Cinematographer magazine. Prior to the installation of computers in the mid-1970s, all of the ASCs records were painstakingly maintained via Barbara's right hand. A veritable pipeline of information, Barbara also helped to plan ASC functions and served as a friendly liaison between members.

While Barbara's attention to detail and respect for protocol set a strict standard (tardy employees invariably felt the laserlike power of her "evil eye" ), her feisty style and soft heart endeared her to all who dealt with the organization. "Barbara was the ASC," declared former president and longtime member Harry Wolf. "If anyone needed anything, they knew that they could go to her. She had a handle on everything, and she was a friend to all the members. …

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