As usual every year with the ceremony (as well as at the Oscars), I was not looking forward to the "In Memoriam" tribute segment. Lately those who passed away in the industry were given short shrift either by an obsession with flying camera-work or by not getting mentioned at all.
But I have to admit that this year's tribute was pretty good, especially the choice of Jewel to sing her composition which dealt directly with the loss of a loved one......
Of course, there was still the matter of who didn't make the cut.....
I'm glad that they did mention Art Clokey, James Gammon, and Caroline McWilliams; but why were they chosen and not Peter Haskell or Dorothy Provine? Dorothy Provine, for bleep's sake! She would have been good for an audience reaction, surely?
They included Edward Woodward, Brittany Murphy, and Gene Barry, all of whom passed away in 2009, but after that year's telecast of the Emmys. But why not Carl Ballantine, Connie Hines, or Arnold Stang?
I realize it's a question of time - they had to fit the segment around the song - but they abused that in producing the video. It should always be a collection of equals; no one should be singled out for more air time. So I would have cut down that mini-tribute to David Wolper so that he was just a photo and identification like most everybody else behind the camera. One clip for Roy Disney would have served as well.
I would also have excluded Patricia Neal (at the very least chosen only one quick clip, not three!) and Dorothy Adelle DeBorba (the little girl from "The Little Rascals").
The argument used at the Academy Awards for excluding Patrick McGoohan in their tribute was that he was primarily known for TV, despite appearing in "Ice Station Zebra", "Escape From Alcatraz", "Scanners", and even being nominated for an Oscar for his work in "Braveheart"!
So I would say then that the reverse should hold true for these two ladies. Patricia Neal did do TV, but she was better known for her films - she won the Oscar for "Hud"!
And even though the TV of my youth was saturated with "The Little Rascals" on Saturdays, those films were still made for the movies.
So that wouldn't be too much time saved, but it would have been a start, enough to squeeze in a few people from this list I put together:
Peter Haskell - 'Bracken's World', 'Ryan's Hope', and plenty of guest-starring roles ranging from 'The Outer Limits' and 'Frasier' to 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and 'Columbo'
Dorothy Provine - 'The Roaring Twenties' and 'The Alaskans'
Corey Allen - as a director of many TV shows, if not for his acting as well
Mitch Miller - How could they miss Mitch Miller? 'Sing Along With Mitch'! And it's not a question of the cut-off date for production of the video - Maury Chaykin made the cut; he died on July 27 (his birthday). Mr. Miller passed away on the 31st. And Ms. Neal died August 8th. So how could they exclude Mitch Miller and yet pay tribute to Captain Phil Harris?
Daniel Schorr - The news is just as integral to television as so-called "reality" programming. So Harris made the cut, but not a journalist who won THREE Emmy Awards?
Nathan Scott - a composer who gave us music for 'Dragnet,' 'Lassie,' 'Have Gun-Will Travel,' 'Rawhide,' 'The Twilight Zone,' 'The Untouchables' and 'Wagon Train'! A simple photo like those for writers Bernie West and David Lloyd would have been sufficient.
Because of the production deadline, I'll give them a pass on writer Jackson Gillis, but he better be mentioned at next year's presentation!
Okay, I'll bet off my soapbox now. I could rant a little more, but the heights are making me dizzy and I'm getting a nosebleed.....