Subject to Change: Guerrilla Television Revisited

By Deirdre Boyle | Go to book overview

19.
The Big Chill

TVTV died very slowly, enduring a long and agonizing death ritual. They had incurred serious debt in producing the NBC pilot and tried to salvage things by bringing someone in to handle their financial affairs, only by then it was already too late. For Wendy Appel, The TVTV Show marked the end. 1 Allen Rucker suggests it happened the day Hudson and Megan were let go. He and Michael had decided that they could no longer afford to pay anyone, so the best thing was to cut salaries and expenses by shrinking the staff. They closed down the house on North Robertson and moved to an office on Santa Monica Boulevard, renting out their editing equipment and their tapes, stripped down to almost nothing so they could try to deal with their creditors. "It was impossible, bullshit," he mournfully remembers, recalling the time as a period of sitting in a windowless room, smoking cigarettes all day, having no money coming in and no sense of what he was doing in Hollywood. TVTV existed this way for a year or so until one day they announced a meeting, decided not to file for bankruptcy, and let it all go by walking out the door. 2

"When all this soul went out of the room, we still maintained the offices. I held on to it for years," Allen Rucker recalls. "I knew it probably was irreplaceable, and I just didn't want it to die. People yelled and sued each other and hated each other. Everyone made mistakes. We handled it badly. We didn't know how to manage ourselves. . . . Michael didn't skip a beat. I skipped a beat--the music stopped. And it took me a long time to recover."3

Many date TVTV's end to the broadcast of the 1979 profile of the group made by KCET's Senior VP Charles Allen. TVTV: Diary of the Video Guerrillas4 was a lame documentary that was TVTV's equivalent to the Beatles' "Let It Be" sessions, when everyone hated each other but came together one last time before the inevitable dissolution. The difference was that TVTV appeared together via tape

-183-

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Subject to Change: Guerrilla Television Revisited
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Introduction xiii
  • Contents xvii
  • I. Underground Video 3
  • 2. Subject to Change 14
  • 3. Guerrilla Versus Grassroots 26
  • 4. the World's Largest Tv Studio 36
  • 5. Mountain Guerrilla 48
  • 6. Four More Years 55
  • 7. Communitube 65
  • 8. Gaga Over Guru 72
  • 9. Prime Time Tvtv 89
  • 10. Broadside Tv 96
  • Ii. Impeaching Evidence 105
  • 12. Changing Channels 116
  • 13. Furor Over Fugitive 128
  • 14. Living Newsletter? 139
  • 15. the Good Times Are Killing Me 146
  • 16. Super Video 158
  • 17. Intermedia 165
  • 18. Hooray for Hollywood? 172
  • 19. the Big Chill 183
  • 20. Epilogue 190
  • Appendix Information on Apes by Broadside Tv, University Community Video, and Tvtv (top Value Television 209
  • Notes 223
  • Bibliography 259
  • Index 271
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