Let's all go to the lobby. Let's all go to the lobby. Let's all go to the lobby to get ourselves a treat.
Hello, and welcome to movies versus capitalism and anti capitalist movie podcast. I am Frank Capello.
And I'm Rifka Rivera.
rybka. Happy May Day. Thanks, Frank. You too. Yeah, it is May 1, otherwise known as May Day, the day that we commemorate the struggles and achievements made by the labor movement here in America, although I think it might be an international holiday as well.
I think it is international. Okay. It's a super appropriate day, because we're actually recording this a day early, because we wanted to talk specifically about the writer's strike. Yes, this
is a very, very on theme episode for us. Yes, we are recording this on Monday, the WGA. The Writers Guild of America has until I believe midnight tonight to cut a deal with the studios and the network's. And it is looking like the deal will not be cut, it is almost certain that the writer is pretty certain that there's a strike strike starting Tuesday, which is the day that this episode releases. So we're gonna be talking about this strike as if it is as if it has begun today.
Yeah, because pretty much. So I think we've talked about this a lot in the month leading up to this strike. We've been talking, we shared the Charlie Kaufman speech, which, you know, some people felt like that was also prepping us a little bit of a rallying call to get writers ready for this impending strike. But the WGA is was one of the strongest unions in the sense that when they threaten a strike, we know it's very real, because they've done it really strongly before, and have made great gains, the last strike was from 2007 to 2008. And last month, WGA members voted 98% in favor of going on a strike. So there's massive solidarity here. And they really don't strike until it's really, really necessary. And it is extremely necessary. Right now, because like most industries in this country, exploitation of labor force in the entertainment industry has just continued to increase in really horrible, shitty ways. So currently, there are six corporations that own 90% of the media industry got down. Yeah, some capitalist shit for you, right? Like, I'm gonna say it again, because it's six corporations, only 90% of and the media industry is huge. We're talking film and TV, we're talking late night shows,
it's also important to compare numbers like that to, you know, countries that have quote, unquote, state media, because that's something we hear here in America, which is like, you know, thank God, we don't have, you know, state controlled media, like, like Russia does? Well, you know, what we do have is six companies that control almost all of the media. So is it is one necessarily worse than the other,
right? And it's, you know, for those of us who are taking in the content, and maybe you've never thought about, who is owning this media, it's easy to see lots of different names on, you know, when the reels happen at the end, and you might think, well, there's so many different places that I get my media from, but ultimately, those are just six corporations that have bought out all of those other companies. So you really there's one to six people in charge of that. And so what's important to know is that these capitalists are represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television producers, the am PTP. And so that is who the WGA is in negotiations with, and this this fact I love this was something that Alex O'Keefe had said, Who is the WGA, writer and activist he's known for writing on the bear. He said that if a MPTP met writer's demands in full it would cost less than 2% of Hollywood's profits.
It's just so staggering, that these companies have so much money, they just have so much money, and they're just being so tight fisted with it.
It's staggering. Again, we're gonna get into it with we're gonna be watching Newsies, but it really is like, it's just that it's such a wild thing that you're like only a Disney villain could encompass like this amount of like, chaotic greed, because it's that's all it is. There's no justification for it. I mean,
the only slight justification which is bullshit is that we live in a growth economy, you know, the, the entire American and global economy is built on the conceit that it will always be growing for infinity. We will always have economic growth. So when considering that, you know, 2% might actually eat into your year to year growth, but if you're just considering the fact that we that these companies are already making billions in profits, it's it's it's just a drop in the bucket.
This is the grotesque context of this strike. It's usually you know, but this is the context of just our world today, as you, as our listeners know, the other piece of context that's important is the last time that there was a major strike in 2007 2008. We were like, like the big piece of technology that was coming was streaming and streaming was new. But what was wild to think about that I didn't even realize the timeline of this, Frank, but like, they were thinking about streaming and protecting their writers, right. But we hadn't even seen house of cards yet. We hadn't even seen Orange is the New Black. So like, wow, it was Yeah. And I forgot that like, so they were ready for it. But they had no idea like what the success of those shows for writers and writers work was going to be now we're dealing with the repercussions of streaming and needing to get fair wages and fair payment for that. And for I think we've also talked about this a few times on this podcast. But what happened, what changed in streaming is that you used to get residuals as actors and writers from work that you did on network television. And with the advent of streaming, there were often like streaming payouts upfront, but there was not a residual. So anytime someone would watch this, it wasn't like you were getting checks for the amount of downloads, which would really be what would be fair. So if you have a wildly successful show, like God and House of Cards feels like forever ago, but I just that was one that came to mind or like any of the shows that now are successful, that are like streamers that are not on cable or network TV, those writers are not seeing any of those writers or actors are not seeing anything, any payments for like, every time that plays. So it doesn't matter how successful it is, they've already seen their payment, which is a problem because there used to be like a really flourishing middle class of writers like you really used to be able to have like, live and have healthcare, and pay your rent and like live as a writer. And so where the healthcare comes in is like, if you're not getting your payment from, you're waiting for a residual, maybe you haven't written on a show for a while, but you're no, you're gonna get a residual in a certain quarter, which is how you get your health care, you have different quarters that you need to make a certain amount of money as a writer, you could say, well, I know that I wrote forever and spent all this time on this show that's going to be running like let's say back in the day, it was Murphy Brown, right? And you would be getting residual checks in you would have sustained income and therefore you would have sustained you wouldn't be worried about losing your health care. Now you can have writers who have a deeply successful show, and then like two months later, lose their health care and be worried about rent
because you have to because you because for both actors and writers, you have to hit like an income minimum, essentially to qualify for those guild health care plans.
Yeah, it's I mean, it's insane.
And another big part of this is the fact that a lot of streaming shows and now cable shows as well, are much, much shorter than the network shows of old you know, it used to be like if you got staffed on a network sitcom or drama, that meant you were turning out 22 episodes a year now, you know, Netflix shows streaming shows, we'll do 10 episodes, eight episodes, six episodes, so it's a much shorter amount of guaranteed work for much less money.
Exactly. And so And what also came along with this, which is one of the big demands of this strike is that they they started this thing called mini rooms. So there used to be the writers rooms, right. And if you were writing for a show, like you were saying, Frank that we knew was going to last and wasn't even a designated six or eight episodes, you would have a pretty robust writers room with like, up to like 24 writers in it. I mean, you can have a lot of people inside that writers room. And not only was it a great place to have a wealth of different ideas and different people, you could have a whole wealth of different people who are like us writers who've been writing for a really long time and people who are just breaking through. What these many rooms have done is that they're sort of this newer version of a writers room that is meanie, so fewer people, but those writers are probably because they're smaller going to be the writers with the most experience. So you're cutting out a whole group of writers who would be the writers who are breaking into the industry coming into the scene, which is what we need, and we want. So it's really problematic, because now how do you break into the industry and this is disproportionately going to affect bipoc women and LGBTQ plus writers? Absolutely. It also, like you said, Frank means that you're not writing for as long period of time there's less sustainability. And another thing I found out, which was like, super shitty, is that knowing that there's potential strikes coming along, what some of these corporations have done is like they might take them in the writers room and say go write, you know, a season of this show. They won't put it on the air, but they have it written so that when there's something like a strike that comes along, they have material and it's almost like a like a war tactic.
Yeah, they're like stockpiling Yeah, exactly. Which is shitty, shady little blue. pol
explained to me a little bit about the the minimum basic agreement because I know that that's going to be like a huge crux of the negotiations and when what they'll potentially be striking over.
So the minimum basic agreement is basically your, you know, if you're saying like, this is the minimum that we're going to pay you your rate, your salary rate that you can get paid if you're WGA as a writer. So, you know, minimum wage, essentially. And that rate has never been raised, that hasn't been raised in a while. And it certainly hasn't taken into account the fact that we have had massive inflation, it's just not taking account for anything. And like I said, also with these mini rooms, often, they use it as a way to pay very experienced writers a minimum basic agreement rate, because they're making these rooms smaller and smaller, and therefore harder and harder to get into. So anyone just wants to get in, and they can kind of pay you what they they're setting that rate. So that's like one of the biggest demands right now is raising that rate to I would, I would assume, at the bare minimum reflect inflation. But also to reflect these factors, like I said, that there are no residuals being had for streaming and all of this and who knows where AI, I mean, I'm curious to know how those conversations are coming in. But I'm sure that's going to reflect a lot of what the what the thought was, back in 2008, when they were thinking about streaming, that's sort of the version of AI now.
So assuming that the WGA is striking, this means that production, or at least production that still requires writers is going to be shut down, which means that any film or TV that's already in production, that's already shooting that'll continue. But anything where a writer's room is still currently ongoing, will have to shut down. It won't necessarily mean anything in the short term for the consumer in terms of like movies and TVs shows going away, it'd be more something where like, we would start to see the effects in six months, a year or something like that. But you know, we support this strike. Everyone who cares at all about organized labor and people getting paid what they deserve, should support the strike. I know, it's Hollywood. I know, it seems like a very glamorous, high paid industry. But if you go online, there's stories from entry level writers talking about how they, you know, they can barely afford rent, still, you know, you know, working in a mini room on your first job, even on a big show sounds cool. But when you actually crunch the numbers, they're not making all that much they're making less than, you know, along
the lines of what you're making, you know, there's it's such a myth, I think, and then we're pushing past now in arts in general that like we do this, because we love it, and isn't the sheer love of it enough, like, oh, you get to be seen, your writing gets to be noticed. And maybe you don't have health care and you're starving and freezing in your apartment, but like you're doing it because you're going to have visibility and visibility should be enough. But again, in the context, that should never be okay. And in the context of like the disgusting amounts of money that we said top six corporations, but it's like last year, eight major Hollywood CEOs made over 770 million in annual salary. And again, like you said, Frank, some people are literally doing the thing that we're buying and making all that money. And the other thing I want to say is like not only is this good for us just like an immoral solidarity, it's literally good for everyone because WGA continues to set the standard for other unions. So the DGA was going to strike but they'll wait to strike and based on what the WGA strike benefits and gets and like if they get all their demands met like a minimum basic agreement, right? That rate is also going to dictate what the DGA can bargain for and then sag AFTRA can bargain for so this is an everybody in the entertainment industry's interest not only because solidarity is the only way to go but because it's going to affect us all in the long term in positive ways. Question for you, like I was thinking about this just in terms of like because you hear the term scab but like I had to look up and define like right a scab is someone who just it's pretty basic continues to work even when a strike is called so they're gonna say pencils down and if you literally are like you know what, I'm going to just do some work on the side and like maybe finish up this project I'm doing like that is scabbing there's also this kind of like tricky area where like if you're a writer and you're not WGA which is like it's it's it's these unions are hard to get into. And it might feel like which it's totally understandable like will fuck it like I haven't been able to fucking for all the other bullshit reasons get my foot in the door like maybe this is a chance for what why would it matter for me, you know, like, let me get my foot in the door right now. I'm not even part of that union. Because you see this opportunity you jump in to take a job. Know that you will probably be blacklisted from WGA if it's found out, you did scab second, like I said, this is all good for you and important for you. Because even if you're not union, it's going to set standards of wages. And see, like, so many people are making a decision to like not get income. It's really it's not like an it's not like great it's not like all these writers are like, You know what, I'm fine. As we just said, there is no so many of these writers have, are not getting the income they need right now as is. So everyone's taking a risk. Don't be a scab.
Yeah, solidarity is paramount across industries. Don't be a scab. Or else you're gonna get soaked.
That's a that's a great Newsies segue and we'll be talking Yeah, we'll be talking a lot more about this in the context of the movie. If you don't understand anything, we just said just go watch Newsies.
Yes, because as they say, in the film, Newsies, scabs get soaked, you know, that which means that they get beat up. And you know, we're not We're not advocating any writers to go beat up other writers. But, you know, that is what happens. And it's labor struggle. And you know, we should get to our conversation because it it's a, it's a big one. It's a great one. But first, I just want to let our audience know that this podcast is brought to you by the lever, a reader supported investigative news outlet, which reports on the people in corporations manipulating the levers of power in our society, you can go to lever news.com, to find all of their original reporting,
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are going to take a break but we will be right back with our epic conversation about Newsies with Harvey Kay.
Today we have joining us Harvey K. Harvey K is Professor Emeritus of democracy and justice at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and a member of the AF T the American Federation of Teachers, an award winning author and editor of 18 books including The British Marxist historians. Why do ruling classes fear history, Thomas Paine and the promise of America take hold of our history make America radical again and FDR and democracy. He has also written for lots of newspapers and magazines and advise arts projects such as four freedoms Park in New York's East River with figures ranging from TV producer and liberal activist Norman Lear to progressive politicians, Nina Turner and Marianne Williamson. And he grew up in northern New Jersey and spent a lot of time in Brooklyn. So welcome, Harvey, we're so happy to have you.
You know, I do a lot of stuff. But this I don't think I've ever been quite as excited. At least not in the last few years as I am to be with you, too. I am your biggest fan for this podcast. So there you go.
That is Harvey's such high praise. Thank you so so so much, you really have you've been our most vocal fan supporter. You and I message almost daily about this stuff that we're talking about and and other stuff as well. And it's been such it's been so lovely getting to know you. And I'm so glad you've made the time and are here joining us to talk about this movie, and I
don't want people to stalk us, but you and I are going to meet up in Brooklyn next week.
That is true. We're gonna get some lunch. We're gonna we're gonna dish we're gonna air it all out.
Yeah. And Rick, if I could just tell you one of my favorite episodes, was the one with your father. Oh, thank you. And partly because he was closer in age to me than anybody else that's been on the show. But But most important thing is is that it was interesting really to hear a voice of someone who's been in the movement who makes movies and and who teaches about it any asked and so there was that pedagogical thing that kind of came through in his life which as a professor for 45 years I could appreciate
that's awesome. I will definitely let him know although I'm sure he will listen to this episode as well. And yeah, we really appreciate it it it was very cool in this context to be able to reflect on films with him and you know, you learn something different and I got a sense of just like I was in awe as well. Always of his brain.
Yeah, I could hear your enthusiasm not just for your dad but for what you were learning. Yeah, it was great.
It also amazing for me to see someone like a contemporaries parent talk about these things that we care about so much. That have been a conversation with my father had been like how much fucking money and I'm making right now. What is it? Like?
Frank's father fed us all the most amazing foods that nourish us through college. So that's true. He's
a generous man, for sure. Generous, amazing,
amazing guy. Wait,
hold on. Wait. You guys went to school at Carnegie Mellon knows.
Yeah, yes, yes, in Pittsburgh. But we would occasionally, you know, we would come to New York for for visits on breaks and my home was was close by, you know, just by proximity. And my dad ran an Italian restaurant. He was an owner operator for many years. So whenever whenever we would all come as a big group, we'd be like, let's stop in at Frank's dad's restaurant, which was one of the most amazing businesses like your your family could be in growing up because it was just like, we get to all go and eat our faces off. Well, we have an amazing film that we're talking about today that I am so glad you chose for us we are talking about Newsies. The historical American musical produced by the Walt Disney Corporation, released in 1992, directed and choreographed by Kenny Ortega, written by Bob Zucker and Nani white with an original score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, the film stars a young Christian Bale, David Moscow, Bill Pullman and Margaret and Robert Duvall, although it was a box office flop with a 15 million budget, it only made around 2.8 million. Despite that the film gained a cult following and became a Tony Award winning musical a few years ago.
Yes, and it's currently out it's in London right now. Like it's, it's on the West End, currently, so quite relevant.
And the musical version is available to watch on Disney plus,
can I just add a note to what you're saying? Which I think you'll really you'll like, so I couldn't help like one of your guests, Christian, one of your friends, I think he was talking about how he did some homework before he saw I threw myself into it. You know, I just and I just came across this article that actually explained why Disney did bring it to Broadway. So happened was Although the film was a flop financially, there, it became the cycled thing for kids. And apparently, kids at summer camps and at schools, not unlike Star Trek fans were taking it and doing it but adding their own bits of the script into it. And somebody had transcribed the music. I mean, it was taking off and Disney This is a talk about movies versus scaffolds, or capitalism versus movies. Disney figured Wait a minute that we can make some money on this. So that was a little grab hold of it took it back. Okay, you might say lay claim to it, and then produce the state show, which actually ran for two years, I guess, on Broadway in 1002. Tony's Yeah, toward the nation. You know, I mean, really, I in fact, I'll just mention this little story. So I was talking to this friend and comrade of mine, who's a major labor organizer. And I told him about what I was gonna be doing today with movies and capitalism. I was. He said, Wow, it sounds like a really interesting podcast. So I was telling, oh, you got it. You got to listen to it. Then I told him what I was going to do and and told him a bit about what we'll talk about. And he said, I have to hear it. I said, well, thanks. Now he says, my 12 year old daughter is currently in a production of Newsies at her school. Wow. You know, so it's, it's, it's just amazing. And if the appeal is I'm sure as we'll get into, is something that Disney itself wouldn't. Oh, by the way, sorry. I'm gonna stop. I'm waiting for the first question.
No, no, you're perfect. Like, this is how this is how podcast works. You know, we just well, okay, well,
then. Okay, so the first question of course, since I'm a pro at listening to you as quickly before we
get to that first question, we'll give our quick synopsis for anyone who maybe hasn't realist rewatched the movie in a while. So Newsies. The plot is loosely based on the New York City newsboys strike of 1899 and follows the story of Jack cowboy Kelley played by Christian Bale, a charismatic and streetwise newsboy who rallies his fellow sellers to strike against the publishers, specifically, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, who have raised the prices of the papers, cutting into the boys already meager earnings. And then with the help of a reporter, the newsboys form a union and stand up for their rights against corporate interests.
And just a little context, and I know we're gonna get a lot of the historical context for this film from you, Harvey, but just some context about the year that this movie came out. It was 1992 Bill Clinton was just elected president defeating incumbent George W. Bush and independent candidate Ross Perot, HW Bush, George HW Bush, so sorry. In the United Food and Commercial Workers, UFCW W union staged a nationwide strike against Safeway and Kroger supermarkets, which lasted for 28 days. And the strike involved over 70,000 workers and was one of the largest in the history of the US. The Silence of the Lambs won best picture of the Academy Awards that year and other films that came out included Thelma and Louise, Aladdin Scent of a Woman, The bodyguard and Wayne's World. Additionally, in pop culture, real world debuts on MTV, and the Mall of America opened in Minnesota becoming the largest mall in the United States. So that is 1992 when this film came out for Disney,
alright, so Harvey, you know, it's come in, why did you choose this movie?
Okay, well, I'm gonna tell I'll first tell the personal part of the story, and then I'll explain on a larger political scale. The personal part was, I have two daughters, okay, who are now, you know, early 40s and 30s. And so they were kids when this movie came out. And I mean, I'm active and I'm an active labor unionist. I was also a founder of the Wisconsin labor history society, which was a labor organization, not an academic organization. So every year, we would go to Milwaukee, in fact, for what was called labor on the lake, and it's when all the unions turn out. And in one year, in fact, it was I think, around the same time as this movie came out, I was the advisor to the refurbishment of a downtown square in Milwaukee, which was named after the long term socialist mayor of Milwaukee. I don't know if people realize Milwaukee in the 20th century was governed by socialists, at least socialist mayors. And they call it now Zeidler Union Square, which honors all the workers who were killed on the job. It's a worker's memorial in essence, so my daughters, they collected T shirts of every union that they could get. I mean, they they grew up, you know, on the left, was put it that way. So this movie came out. And my, I said, Well, we'll have to have to see this. And we did. And my younger daughter got a crush, and Christian had a crush on Christian Bale, but also really liked the idea that here were these kids who, you know, defied the bosses, right? So I ever got that. But the other thing is, and this is the fact that people can see when we were smiling when the name Disney was said, Disney was not a welcoming place for union activism ever. Okay. Um, I do believe recently, they actually signed a contract with the union down at Disney World at the Disney parks, for the employees of the parks. Yes. Right. So anyhow, let's read. And so let me give this larger sort of historical context. Let's not forget 1970s, the United States, the corporate elite, declared war on working people, and I mean, declared war. At the end, they targeted the achievements of the 30s and the 60s, the Democratic achievements. So David Rockefeller gave a famous speech back in 1970, basically saying we're under siege. The Powell memorandum, the lewis powell memorandum was produced, which was a memorandum by a very significant lawyer, Lewis Powell in Virginia, to the Chamber of Commerce telling them it's time to organize because capitalism is under siege, we've got to do something about this. And by the way, two weeks after he delivered the memorandum, he was appointed to the US Supreme Court. And third, but by no means the last is the fact that in 1973, four and five and six right in there, with there was organized something known as the Trilateral Commission. This is not a conspiracy theory, David Rockefeller decided to act on his own advice to his fellow capitalist we have got to organize. So they created this organization, the Trilateral Commission, and they produced a report authored by Zbigniew Brzezinski, at least for the party, he helped organize it. And he wrote, he helped write this, this, this volume, I can show it to you as a show and tell but no need to do that as we're not on YouTube. And the author of the American chapter, because it was one for Western Europe, one for East Asia and one for the United States was Samuel Huntington, who was a big professor at Harvard University. And in the one on the United States, it was he argued Samuel Huntington, that basically the democracy was out of control in America, that people that they had to paraphrase it, we've got to suppress the democratic spirit and they actually named the targets. They said, public employee unions, the women's movement, the poor people's movement, minority demands, liberal media, and he they call them value oriented academics. In other words, humanities and social science professors who were talking to critically of capitalism, and this week and this was published by NYU press. This is not like a, an underground effort. Any nouns? And let me just make it clear to the key members. There were hundreds of these corporate and political figures, two key figures in that were George HW Bush, who you mentioned, and Jimmy Carter. Okay. So it was Republicans and Democrats and some declaration of war. And we used to say back in the 70s, the fastest growing enterprise in the United States was union busting law firms. And then, of course, the decade is capped off when Reagan fires the air traffic controllers in 1981, when they went out on strike, the irony there is the air traffic controllers actually endorsed Reagan over Carter in the 1980 elections. So that we were in the 1990 in 1980s themselves. And this is the Reagan era, you know, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous laborers taking a beating, you know, the pensions are being I mean, it was terrible, okay. And of all things, Disney in 1992 brings out a movie in which working class kids have organized and even though they don't, I don't want to give away the punchline, which we'll get to, but the point is, they essentially when the strike. But of course, the key thing here is, as Frank mentioned, it was something of a box office flop, but they decided not to invest in promoting it Disney. Who knows, maybe somebody said to him, you know, this is dangerous. I feel like I'm exaggerating. But it is the case. This was a pro labor, film. And it just striking. So here we are. I've been thinking a lot about the Amazon workers, they're not, you know, 12 year olds, as many of those newsboys were basically young people organizing across the country. And frankly, that's not that his I don't believe history ever repeats itself. But we hear echoes of that sort of dynamism. Okay. Of course, we had the hearings two weeks ago or so when Bernie took on Howard Schultz in the US Senate. Now, I know I offered you a whole bunch of films, but Newsies is the one that I've carried with me ever since 1992, as a film that when Ben Mankiewicz once asked me that if TCM said to me name for progressive movies, and the first one I said to him was Newsies, and he said, why? I explained it to him. So there you go.
Yeah, I gotta say, Harvey. I'm so happy you pick this film, because I live with a newsie Stan, who this was also like, my partner, this was such a deep part of his upbringing and personality, and I've been hearing about Newsies for ever, and always kind of like, okay, just don't talk about that too much. Like, why are you talking about this Disney movie, like, weird? And then we watched it, and I was like, I gotta I had to apologize. I was like, oh, you know, man, is this movie is a banger. This movie is so not even. I mean, I think I was just so surprised at how like, it just goes there. Nothing about it is sanitized. Like, this is a Disney movie. And you have police officers punching children in the face. They are punching kids in the face. It is like, you don't see that in these quote unquote, like, you know, dark movies that are going there. They sanitized that. So it makes a lot of sense. He's very, I mean, he's very pro union, very lefty, but like, this was also I imagined, like he just like He loved the dancing and the like, you know, but you're just as like a little as a youth to be just like very clear on like, Yeah, well, if we come together as a collective, we will win. And it's just, you get the message. You're like, there's no way you can watch that movie and not get the message that corporate power is in charge, and the police work for them. And the state works for them in some capacity, you know, that there is this is happening. And,
and and Yes. Everything you just said is? And it's absolutely yes. And let's also not, let's also give credit to the kids in the fact that they punch back.
Oh, they punch. Yes, yes. No, thank you for saying that. That was another thing that I thought was really fascinating. Because in so many, so many of these storylines, again, even in films made for adults that you're like, I thought this was going to be like liberal or pro union. You know, I thought this was going to be a lefty film and you're like, why am I getting the sense that they're telling me not to be self in self defense, that there's actually this undercurrent message of like, Don't defend yourself. It's better to be peaceful. That's always works. And you're like, that's weird. The message here with, with David, the friend character who comes in so there's Jack the lead, and then Jack meets David, who really becomes like, kind of he's the one who
has the academic. He's the academic. Yes,
he Yeah, I think of him as like, one is the activist the leader. Yes. And the other guy is the intellectual.
Yes. So he's the one giving the messaging and he also he he's rare because all of a lot of the new Z's are orphan And he has a family. But really important. His father has just been lost his job because there were no unions to help him and he got hurt working in a factory. And so that's like the context for for David becoming a newsie. He meets Jack. But David's kind of like thru line, when he first gets gets involved with the Newsies. He's like, whoa, why are you? I don't know, violence is the answer. And by the end, he's like, Let's go fist up, which I think is a really interesting message for like, this Disney film for children. It doesn't sanitize. That was the scene as
long as you brought up, Jack's father being in it not Jack David's father being injured is yeah, there's the scene in which I guess David and Jack robbing the fire escape. This is where that he said, Jack, I think says to David, had your father get injured or something like that. And he said, Well, he was working in a factory got injured. And of course, the bosses, the bosses couldn't use him any longer. They fired him. And he says, this is interesting. It's David, who says, because he didn't have a union.
So how did you pop get out of the factory,
it was an accident. He's no good to them anymore. So they just fired him.
He's got no union to protect
him. Okay. And at that point, they're not organizing it. So it's like David's ripe, but it's like, he doesn't realize that he's got this. He's already got this sense of what a union means. But he's never been in a position where he's going to have actually have to step outside of the, you know, the norm.
Well, this movie is a perfect marriage of politics and, like narrative structure. Like, I found the politics in this movie to be flawless like this. I'm not even I'm not even this movie, but have the most perfect politics of any movie we've done so far. That is great.
I've been worried about that. Actually, I thought everyone's gonna think I chose a film only because it's just all good politics.
But it's also an incredibly well structured film, because like you're saying, when we're introduced to David, we find his dad has lost his job on the factory floor because of an injury doesn't have a union to protect him. So we and he's making the sacrifice. He's not going to school, he has to sacrifice school to work and earn for his family. Jack, as our lead is someone who has always been on his own. He's always been by himself. So for him, the journey of being basically like a lone wolf individual to having to not only joining the union, but leading the union is one of like, the journey from individualism to solidarity. And I mean, just from top to bottom, like you understand that these kids are getting exploited. Like there's no there's no two ways around it. And a lot of the characters we meet, like David's father are down on their luck. There's the trolley strike the big trolley strike happening in the background, which sort of like, fuels some of the ideas that germinate for the Newsies? And then of course, we when we meet Joseph Pulitzer for the first time and who is our villain in the movie? I mean, it like puts it like perfectly plainly. He's just like, we got Robert Duvall play by Robert doing I don't know what the hell Robert Duvall was doing it. I know that. I know that Joseph Pulitzer was Hungarian. But Robert Duvall is on another. He's in another movie. He's like in an SNL sketch.
People should know that Pulitzer had an incredibly interesting life for what it's worth before he achieved what he achieved. Okay, as this capitalist, right. But the other thing is, I was reading at one point that apparently Pulitzer was liked by working working class men, which, which offers kind of irony there. And then I'll tell you this other bit of irony. So this film is literally the Gilded Age. This is the age in which it's the second industrial revolution. The robber barons are really I mean, really are in political and economic control of America. And work the working class is not silent at all. I mean, farmers are organizing their own organizations, which eventually become the Populist Party. Okay, a massive political party. Workers are organizing labor unions, they are in New York and other places, immigrant workers are creating socialist and anarchist political parties. In 1898, Eugene Debs and others Eugene Debs was the great railway worker leader and really the foremost socialist probably in American history. They created what was called the Social Democracy, which two years later became the Socialist Party. So in the end, because of the fact that I don't know what I would criticize the politics, I would like to talk about if I were making the movie, how, what else would I have thrown in? Yeah,
I'd imagine rVk version of Newsies would be like six hours long. Maybe not as
many already I mean, it's
two hours. The two of you in it believe me.
Oh yeah. Are we Newsies? Are we are we sticking to realistic? Ah,
no, there were girl Newsies. That's okay. So if I just mean
my, I mean, but I guess I could pull off 12 Like,
I can see you and they cannot see but you could pull it off. But the here's the other thing in the stage version of Newsies, Disney changed. Sarah Jacobs, the girl that becomes the love interest this David Sister sister. Yeah, her character doesn't exist. They create another character, a woman journalist who in the story in the story is Pulitzers daughter. And she's, she's, she's sort of she's, in our own fashion a feminist. I mean, it's a very, very interesting kind of change to the to the stage show. But the point is, you bet I have a cat, I have a bar for you. Don't worry. Oh, yeah.
Let's do it.
I'm ready for the like, six hour version of this. I mean,
that's what all those teenagers were doing back in the 90s. They were literally taking it and turning it into how they would have made it Yeah,
including my partner. I wanted to touch on that real fast, because that was my experience. Growing up Newsies wasn't a big one for my family and my household but I had like cousins I had like other friends in elementary, middle school, high school, they were like, Newsies is one of my favorite movies of all time. And I remember seeing it a lot at that age and clearly not grasping its politics. But I mean, we definitely performed and my show choir, we did seize the day, you know, which is every show choir in the country. Every boys ensemble has done seize the day at some point, you know, and it's a great this. It was so nice revisiting it because like, like I was saying, not only is it has great politics, it's just such an entertaining, sweet, uplifting, well done film. I mean, like Kenny Ortega, the director or a little bit of background on him. He was the choreographer for films like Pretty in Pink Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Dirty Dancing. And he ended up following up this with directing hocus pocus and heist, the High School Musical series. So Kenny Ortega, a great musical choreographer and director.
He must have been a little frustrated in this one because neither Christian Bale nor David, or David Moscow was, how do you say, yeah, the two lead male leads, neither one of them could dance or sing or saying funny you said sing I thought bales voice was not I thought I enjoy
it. I'm just this was the great for like actors like myself who are like, Oh, this is pure acting a song. And it works. And it's great. But when they got it originally wasn't supposed to be musical. So they actually like talk about and it's funny. I was in reading different articles. I was a Christian, one of the favorite things I learned as a Christian Bale was like, I think someone was like, Are you gonna see Newsies on Broadway? And he's like, Oh, no, I don't like musicals. Like that's
let's like and they're like, Are you sure? It's not because you don't want to see someone do like your part. But he's like, I just don't like musicals. Okay, Christian Bale. He worked hard. He's hard. He's working well, or should I say waIking? All the accents
also. In fact, that's something I wanted to talk about. Yeah,
we use as a Brooklyn boy, what do you think? Did
people actually talk like that back then? Like, I've never I've never in my life actually heard someone pronounced working. waIking
I'm glad you asked me that. Because I don't know. I wasn't alive. I'm old, but not that old. But but the thing is this nothing is this. I actually growing up in and out of Brooklyn. And I lived in Queens for a while too, as a kid. People did. There were people who did. In fact, I want to go further than that. I know people who are now older who have sort of that accent. Okay, so it it's an exaggeration, of course that you're heard, especially because it was meant to be
and whoever their dialect coach was, like, I think just was like, if you get any word, you make sure you say white. And like that word comes up a lot since it is about the working class.
When I was growing up. There were people that the word doesn't appear in the movie, but there were people who said Josie Joyce, you know,
yeah, of course. I mean, there's really nothing better than like a movie center about around a bunch of wise as kids. That was another big takeaway for me like I just love kids just like with dirty mouths, smoking cigarettes, the entire cigars. Absolutely. A spy was astonished to see that and we should tell
people in case they want their kids to see it, that they should be forewarned. That's probably the worst part of the movie for a kid to see is, you know, other than the other than when the cop punching kids and the kids are punching back.
No, it is wild and especially being the 90s Like with the smoking because I remember I mean, again, I was a Park Slope kid, like, my parents were very like, don't even look at someone smoking on the street. I'm like, it's fine. But that's shocking.
And one of my favorite of the child performers was the kid playing race track. And I was wracked with the Sella Yeah, Max Casella. I was like this. I was like, this kid is so familiar looking. How do I know this kid and it's actually adult, a Italian American character actor, Max Casella. As a child. I was blown away by that I was like, I've always loved Max Casella. This is like, reinforcing that he was so good. In this movie, I was just gonna say I want to I want to jump back in real fast and to talk about how this movie doesn't sanitize what actual labor struggle consists of. Because I think it's so important. I think it's a thing that has certainly been lost to history, at least the history that we're taught in, like the American public education system, that there at times requires a level of either, you know, destruction of property or violence against other people to achieve these ends. And that obviously, no one wants to be violent, no one, like, looks forward to that. But like they are a requirements to achieving the ends to be achieved. So like, in his defense, self defense. So in this in this movie, you see the Newsies destroying wagon loads of newspapers. And then there's a big part a big driving conflict, this movie is whether or not they are going to soak the scabs. And by soak, they mean beat up, which is also great slang. I want to bring that back, because that sounded cool as hell. Well,
in that vein, before we leave that, you know, how you mentioned the trolley strike. And and there's that moment where the trolley set on fire I believe in in the distance on the street? Well, yeah, the scene where you're talking about the resort to violence is that when they have to, when they're going to soak the scabs, they overturn a wagon. Right? I mean, that they're out there. Yeah, absolutely. out there. The violence is, of course, choreographed, but it's it's violence.
Oh, yeah. I mean, I think what you're talking about Frank, too, is so my favorite moment of that was, and probably my favorite line in the whole. One of my favorite lines in the movie was when the strikebreakers come out, right in full force. And so they're like, oh, and it's so clear to in these moments where the strike breakers come out. And the police when they
spring the trap on the Newsies? Yeah, close. Yeah,
they close the gates on it. The police are letting it happen. Like, it's very clear what's going on. There's no misunderstanding about there's not a single good cop in this. There's like no misunderstanding. And then you're like, oh, no, they're screwed. Like, ah, and then you look up. And we've already met Brooklyn, like already, because they everyone's like, Oh, my God. I know in the earlier when they're organizing, they're like, We don't want to go out to Brooklyn. And we have spot Conlon, the leader of the Brooklyn Newsies, which is my favorite. I love swag Conlon. And when you first meet him, he's like playing with this like, Boomerang thing. And he's got a great shot.
Slingshot shot. Yeah. Boomerang. That's,
oh, my god, don't take my Brooklyn card for me. And so they show up, and they're like, screwed, and then all sudden, they look up. And they're like, Brooklyn's there. And they're like, have no fear. Brooklyn is here. And they just take their slingshots out with these like metal things. Yeah, they just start, like attacking all of like the police the strikebreakers. Like, that's straight up like defense.
Oh, yeah. Yeah, that when Brooklyn's hear that, that's a classic movie moment. Of course, that's war films and every other but when that happens, and then you know, at that point, two things First of all, that they're going to they're going to win the day. But the other thing that you know, is that solidarity has literally expanded beyond the borough's it went went across the river. Okay. And it's, it was it was really great. I mean, that was such a fantastic moment. You bet.
Harvey I'm curious, we something we talked about on the show is, you know, the the leader versus the organization and how important one thing is versus the other and you know, whether whether a movement really needs a charismatic central figure in order for it to be successful or, or be more successful than it might be without and just in doing a little bit of research about the actual newsboy strike. Jack is sort of an amalgam of several of those leaders. I think it was kid blank was the actual break. It was the historically
the blank What a name to just
be the one the one actor has a patch over his eye.
Yes, they did. There is a kid blink in this film that they call him out a couple of times, but historically when this is actually happening there was a little bit of a scandal controversy with Kid blank and another newsy. David Simmons, who I believe the David character sort of modeled after, where it wasn't confirmed, but there were accusations that they were actually collaborating with the bosses. So they kind of like lost their credibility within the within the union and like actually resigned to their positions. And then the, the union efforts like lost a little bit of steam. So I'm curious what you think Harvey about, like the leader versus the organization and how important one is over the other.
I mean, if I in historical terms, leadership is central, if I can give you an example, of just the last few years, I want to refer to a labour moment, it was the Donald Trump shutdown of government, there was a woman who stepped forth. Sarah Nelson, who I will make clear is a very good friend of mine. Okay. And she was that she is the president of the American, sorry, non American, the airline flight attendants union, which is huge, okay. And their struggles continue. So if anyone's wondering, they are doing their damnedest to organize Delta Airlines right now. Okay. So anyhow, so she stepped forward. And she brought together a coalition of, you know, pilots, and others basically told, told, the government told Trump, if you don't end the shutdown, we're gonna call a general strike. And the reason or the value and that well, first of all, the leverage was that the TSA people were doing sikkens, or they were actually not they were working, and then not getting paid, because there was the question, so And the point was, was it safe to fly? And so so the flight attendants say, well, we can't fly, if it's if these people aren't doing the job, if these people are not doing the job effectively. Sure. Now, they won, they won their threat of the strike, they won, the government reopened. Now, I believe, if you look closely at the Labor story, last several years, that if you hear people talking about general strikes in a city or anything else, everyone talked about Sarah Nelson, everyone constantly to this day, in fact, you know, unfortunately, she's not President of the AFL CIO. Similarly, it's not surprising where, in contrast to politics, people don't aspire to be a strike leader, I don't think because keep in mind, a strike means this is your last resort. workers don't go out on strike unless they have no choice but to go out on strike. So it's hard to say that somebody plans on becoming a strike leader, but rather, there are people who have aspirations to become union leaders. So and in fact, quite often, the strike leader isn't necessarily the union leader, specifically, you need someone who really can not just run a union, but who can literally mobilize people and rally people, and which is also a great strength of Sarah Nelson, for example. So I was I was intrigued by the fact that in Jack's case, I think it really presented smartly, when you said this guy was a lone wolf. Okay, who really didn't ever plan on leaving anything and decided he never planned on being part of a union, his dream was to get out of New York and go to New Mexico as quickly as possible. Yeah. And was and Bob was not necessarily proud of his lone wolf status, either. Because he incense he actually invented the story of his parents being out there checking out on a ranch that they would all move to. Or it is the case that to get that leadership often is thrust upon people. And that's an example of that. But it's also interesting that you get the two of them become the leaders. Like you've got Jack, who is clearly the charismatic figure, okay, the boys will follow him. But he also knows his own inadequacies, which by the way, is a sign of his smarts. And he turns to David, okay, they're gonna go out on strike, right? And David's, the David's the intellectual, but he says to Jack, well, we don't have a union, we can't go out on strike. But Jack instinctively says, it's a great exchange. I mean, you know, you got to ask yourself, I almost like to interview the guy who wrote these the lines, and Jack is prepared to rally the boys. And he says, If we still have a strike, we have a union. Right, of course, it's a Wildcat kind of thing. But nevertheless, it leads to the creation of the Union. Once they're out there, and he's sort of called the boys out from the stock. Yeah, well, you know, the newspaper yard out onto the square or circle. And he's basically asked him, What do you think, guys? Should we do this? Should we not do this? And they're ready to go because they want to follow Jack. All right. And then, Jack, what does he do? He turns to David, he says, I don't know what to say almost right. He says what do we do? So they say then what do we do jack and he turns to Dave, what do we do and Here's David who says, you know, well, we can't wait, we shouldn't go out and shake. And David instinctively says, exactly what needs to be said. And that's the expression of what was previously his consciousness of what labor means when Jack had asked him about his father and he said, he got fired. He didn't have a union. So it's, it's brilliant, the writing, I'm seriously resubmitting for
the Academy Awards screenplay of Newsies, I will say about that friendship as well. i Everything you said is so spot on. It's a profoundly fast, intense this is all happening have like they meet and like two days later, they're like in war together. They're best friends. He's part of the family. It was just also like a profoundly like, intense codependent relationship. And I just very much appreciated that because I'm, like, I relate. Sometimes it's that fast and that hard, but it's like, wow, this is really quick. When you look at the timeline for how intense they are together,
and especially the words aren't used, but it's Jack Kelly. And David Jacobs is this Irish kid and this Jewish kid. And they're, and, you know, I can't tell you if it happened exactly that way, though. I will tell you I, in the 1930s, New Deal. years, listen to this. There was a team that were known to write the laws. So whenever FDR wanted a law to be written, He would call on these two guys, one of whom was last name was Corcoran. And the other guy was Cohen. It was like a vaudeville Corcoran and Cohen. Yeah, okay. Well, I thought I thought it was amazing that they that whoever wrote it, so now we're gonna put these two guys together. We're gonna cross the ethnic lines in there is
you know that that little bit of antiSemitism with Mr. Yeah, you know, where you're like,
oh, yeah, this
is me. did. They did go there, Mr. Wise, Mr. Weasel? Yeah, sure. Yeah. So I did clock that. But musical theater. I feel like this is sort of like something that comes across, often in in musical theater script, where you're like, oh, it's always like the most brilliant things written by Jews and even inside their own writing. There's like a lot of anti semitic tropes. You know, you think about all of our you think about, like, there's just like, particularly in musicals, this like very particular, like, especially, especially Mr. Weiser was like a very, they wrote him like a very particular trope from like, the 19th. You know, you're just like, oh,
yeah, absolutely. Right. It is interesting, this part of it that it easily would have been the case that in Jack's family, that his mother would have been a factory would have been a sweatshop worker, okay. Jewish woman. In fact, one of the things I like, if I had produced this film, is I would have had either the mother or the daughter of injects in Dave's family working in one. Yeah, they made it as if the woman was at home, you know, like, she was a homemaker, the wife and I. And then in fact, though, you know, what is missing in that sense is socialists, okay,
for the socialists, come out and say, like, we are socialists, this is a socialist movement. So,
my grandfather, three of my grandparents grew up on the Lower East Side, and, and then they moved out to Brownsville, basically, that was like, making it by crossing over into Brooklyn. And my so my grandfather was a kid on the street on the Lower East Side in the streets. You know, he would he talked to me about socialism as a kid. Right? So um, so my father, neither my father and I are red diaper babies as in a Communist Party kind of thing. But, but he was, you know, he was a young socialist, so would have been kind of interesting. So for example, the journalist, Denton, was that his son, it would have been interesting if maybe they had made that character, the writer for one of the socialist newspapers, the foreword or something like that. Yeah,
it would be great. You know, that that wouldn't have gotten past the executive.
I'm talking about the Harvey K version right now.
So rVk version? That's great. Yeah. Yeah.
I mean, let's not forget that the organizing was taking place. There were schools on the Lower East Side, that were run by socialists, that, you know, it just would have been natural. And in fact, if I can get out, I should I should bring us back into the script. There was something else I wanted to do. The script has incredible suggestions like that. What about he got fired? He didn't have a union. Right. Another one. I don't want to fail to mention this one. Finally, it's very late in in the film, they've got this really like a general strike of kids in the city. Right, and their mass protests and a mass demonstration outside. And it's at that point where Jack and David are going to once again go up to try to see Pulitzer So they and they get up there. And Pulitzer doesn't quite, he's not willing to say he lost yet. Okay, and they walk in and Pulitzer says to them, or especially to Jack who is already bought off at one point and then Jack says, What the fuck am I doing and he breaks because his dearest friends are in jeopardy. He says Jim, you know, you know, I'm paraphrasing, you can find the clip, okay? Because he says some of the effect of I had hopes that you recognize your own self interest. Right that you know that we wouldn't come to this, I told you, I'd break you. And he's sort of telling you, I'm gonna break you some day, right? And then David says, What are you talking about self interest?
You talk about self interest. But since the strike your circulation has been down 70% Every day you're losing 1000s of dollars just to be the sound of one lousy 10th of a cent? Why
do you see it ain't about the money Dave. Joe gives in to nobodies like us. It means we got the power. And he can't do that. No matter what it costs. Am I right, Joe?
That was the message of the movie. The message that that is the message that makes the whole thing so ironic that it was Disney that produced this musical film. It's that's the punch that is like, bam, right?
It's like somebody you're like who? Someone Someone fell asleep at the wheel and was like, oh, a musical about? favorable. You're like, How the fuck did this get me to Disney? And it's um, it's an amazing mistake. And I think you're onto something Harvey, we don't have evidence of it. But I really don't necessarily, but I do think someone probably like, saw it when it was too late and was like, Okay, we have to Sabet nobody can see this movie sabotage that sabotage the press for this because this is I'm in trouble.
As I said before, I mean, I offered you a few films. And I hope someday I'll have you back to do one of the other films that we couldn't possibly be as much fun as this one. So the thing is that when I watched it again, so I've watched it twice, again, one time with my wife who loved it. And we had seen it together before. And I didn't take any notes that that time in my I just said, I've got to remember this line. And when we reach that final, that line, is it. Oh my god. This is like the best labor film ever made, which sounds really weird to say. And I kept hoping you know, you know, you know the power of suggestion. So let's suppose these kids going, who are watching this, like 10 years old, right, sitting there watching and they hear that. And then like years later, they think to themselves, yeah, it's about power. It's about power. Right. And I like to believe that some of them are out there organizing now. So in fact, when I, when I was talking to this labor organizer last night, and he told me how his daughter was in this, in this production, he was just like, beaming that his daughter was in this production. And I said, Oh, we're gonna have to talk about it. And he couldn't have asked for a better musical for his kid to be in at the age of 12. Right? Here, he is a labor organizer. My grant, I can hear my mother grandmother using this word, I rarely use a Yiddish word compelling with a, that's how I feel about that film. Oh, my God, that's just too rich, right? Absolutely.
Failing with joy.
It made me so happy for all of those reasons. I'm so glad that it exists. I'm so glad that the musical is now as popular as it is. Because I think like having this historical narrative influence young minds, especially now is extremely important. And the last thing I want to hit real fast before we go on to the awards is because we haven't really talked a lot about them is Joseph Pulitzer, the villain of this film, who they really portray is just like the terrible rank capitalist, he's, he says, like, we got to make more profits, you know, he's clearly does not care about the newsboys. But then they also, this why this movie is so brilliant, is they go the extra step of showing the danger, one the power of the press, which he lays out very clearly in the film, which he says the power of the press of the greatest power on earth, I can shape the minds of people, whatever I write, they will read, and that's what they will think, which is fucking true in a lot of ways. And then there's an amazing sequence where he's conspiring to break up the newsboys rally, and he gets the mayor of New York and it was office and basically bribes him by saying, oh, you know, you know, I'll I'll get together with her. So I know we're in a, you know, we're in a little bit of a business war right now, but we see eye to eye on some stuff. So we'll get them together, and we'll get some people together, and we'll talk about the next election. And then they go ahead and show that seems like this card game. And it's literally like there's William Randolph Hearst. Here's a I forget the other guys, but it's like these are all of the news. Paper owners. They're all sitting together, they're playing cards. Who knows if stuff like I mean, I'm sure that it has occurred throughout history, but really laying out how dangerous capitalist solidarity can be and how, how much easier it is for capital and capitalists to organize than the working class sheerly by because of numbers, because it's much easier to get five guys in a room playing cards together than it is to organize all of the newsboys across all of the five boroughs and Long Island like that is such a heavy lift. And it's so
brilliantly articulates and shows the myth of competition, right in a way that a child will really relate to, because this film that I loved was like it also like it speaks to your emotions. And like for me, when I was a kid, the strongest emotion I had was justice. Like at that age, you're like, justice is everything. And if something's not fair, it's like, What the You just like that. I just remember that feeling. And it spoke to that as I was watching it. And like, that's not you're like, wait a minute, I thought their whole driving force. I hope that the whole reason for putting the Newsies through this was because they were at least they were in competition with each other, right? At least I could sort of understand like, they He's really mad at Mr. Hurst. So he has to like, win by exploiting us. But then when you find out the mad is just pretend it's like, we can put that away. We're not really mad at it. We'll put our play game away, but like now we're gonna really like come after you children.
I didn't actually did I did make a note of that very scene that that you were talking about Frank, and that you're referring to? So we're in Pulitzers office. He's got his Yes, men there. And his, you know, you know, circulation guy, whatever. And somebody says, you know, they're not making the money they were making not, you know, not too long ago, why? Well, we don't have a war right now. Right? Because the war seven newspapers, and which, which the news is themselves appreciated that they had to create their own stories almost to sell the paper. But then so he says, somebody says, How do we make more money? Straight out? How do we make more money, which, you know, that's reasonable in the world in which we live? How do we make more money? But it's not reasonable, right? not reasonable. So the accountant in the room says, Well, we could cut the salaries at the top? And it's clear, the answer is nope, not we're not going to do that, you know, forget that. And then they start calculating, well, if they raise the price, everyone should realize, so in the morning, the Newsies would come in. And they would request a certain number of copies to go out and sell. And they had to pay for those copies. Okay, and then they and then they made their money, because they were selling the paper at a higher price than the head had to buy that they calculate. It's such a small amount, right? And but if all of them do it, and by the way, you can get the wrong impression that there's like 30 newsboys, there are 1000s of newsboys around the New York City 1000s. So that will bring in phenomenal money for, for Pulitzer. So they decided this is the way to do it. And in fact, one of them says in the room, you're gonna hurt the children. One person seemed to have a conscience for a while. And they all they all looked at him, like, Give me a break, right? It'll cheer and poets, I think says it'll give them more motivation, or it'll
challenge them, or give them an incentive. Yeah, here's
the thing. So it's done in that one room, but poetry and hers both did it. I think at the same time, my impression is they both raised so talk about competition. I mean, for all I know, somebody calls in Hey, we're gonna do it. What do you think can we get can we do this? There was no law against there colluding. Okay. The laws preventing that come later.
Yeah. All the whole idea that like we're competing against each other, and that's what's going to make that's what makes the economy go round is is like bullshit in this movie, and you see it, you're like, they don't care. They're just it's like a game for it's like a sex parlor game for them in some way. It was like, oddly, you know, they're just like, oh, it's fun to like, they're playing cards. They're like, Timeout, timeout, let's play cards together and like plan, who's the next governor? And
I'm gonna, I'll make a confession here on this podcast that I don't often mention. It's not a dirty thing. It's just, I came back from I did a graduate degree in London when I came back. I needed to find a job. And when I went to find work, work, they were convinced I was a union organizes so I wasn't getting those jobs. Boom. Okay. So I started going for the big jobs like Madison Avenue, Wall Street. And believe me, it was not my politics. But but it was I ended up working for international bank, Lloyds Bank International. I was the first international Lending Officer trainee for Lloyds Bank International and the office is 195 Wall Street. You know, it was boring. As for the time I was there during those many months before I went and ended up doing a PhD, but I learned a lot about capitalism not as in how capitalism works, but how capitalism works down at the bottom. And you think, what is international banking, but they actually had a room where they kept all the files, for example, of the bank was nationalized, along with other banks in Chile, during the socialist period under ind, they literally brought all this stuff out. And there was this one room where all the files were kept in the accounts where as we say, it was illegal period. Then part of my education to banking was I had to sit at the reception area. I was a high priced receptionist. And I swear to God, one day, a guy walks in and three piece suit, and I spoke Spanish, and he and he came from up from Argentina, Buenos itis. And he said, Can we be alone? And I said, Well, we can go into this office had none of its glass so it can get really, really alone. So I ran upstairs, I said, Just wait a minute. And I told one of the vice presidents This guy wants to be alone with me. And he said, Oh, don't worry, just go where go go. So we ended up going into the men's room. And he takes off his jacket, he takes off this three piece suit vest, and he pulls off a money belt goes out by the way, this is 1970 This is 50 years ago, it might have happened today. For all I know, 50 years ago today, he pulls out $50,000. And he hands it to me. And I'm and by the way that today would be like at least a quarter of a million dollars in cash. I thought Shit, I bet. So I went up to Philip to the Vice President. And I said what do I do? He goes take it to someone so they're gonna check it for counterfeits what it was is in South America, there was in Argentina, there were these Urban gorillas, Tupamaros, I don't know how many people got killed, I think mostly it was a it was a hijack. It was like kidnapping racket. So what they do is they would kidnap people, and hold them hostage until of a ransom. And so what had obviously happened is a team of auditors had people working in the banks. So this guy who had an account there, it was advised by the people down there to take the money to New York, which by the way, it was probably I don't think you can walk out of Argentina with 50,000 into the United States with 50,000. There have been a few times from Chile and Argentina and elsewhere. And you discover how capitalism operates up here, and way down there. Okay. And so the collusion and everything else, you know, well, we have more laws about it now. But Donald Trump sort of showed us how much law matters
wild. All right, wow, Harvey, just to be respectful for your time, we should get to the awards. So as you know, we like to hand out awards for each movie. Our first one is a point, a point with a view. This goes to the character with the best politics in the movie,
the partnership of Jack and David, you kind of implied it, you registered it. You said the whole the whole film, but it really is the partnership of those two, what they discovered in each other, I think, is the politics that we should all experience growing up. Okay. And they never use the word solidarity in the movie. Did you notice that? But it was so clear that that first it's the saw that riff can notice that solidarity of these two young men, okay, and then it's the solidarity of all these newsboys together, and that it's the solidarity of Brooklyn and Manhattan, and that it's the solidarity of all those kids. So the best politics goes to I think, to Jack and David and if you have somebody else says, I'd like to hear it.
I didn't have anyone else. I also want to say and this isn't really related to politics, but it is it's always so nice to see in, in film and art male companionship and male love portrayed in such a positive way because I think young men have so few examples of seeing to hetero men be in like a in a comradeship love one another in such a positive way. So like for all of those reasons. This it's such a great portrayal of like you said, politics, friendship, male love, companionship, solidarity. All
of that is also related to add when Sarah who does Sarah tell her that her father
when she tells jack that her father, you mean she tells jack that her father is just like obsessed with him is that
he's so proud of the two of the two, the two together, yes, that's a nicer okay. And that you know that and extend out that an older generation would relish that in this film is also
the only other person I would say would be Denton, the reporter because he really like from the beginning understands the importance of this strike and clearly has very left politics and he bails all the kids out of jail at one point he
I kept asking myself, where does he get the money to bail them out? Where does it get the money to buy their food? Where's it getting the money, dude, $5
a kid they were like 100 kids I was like, There's no way this Guys pulling this down as a newspaperman and the tournament, you know, like,
here's a thought think of this in the historical context. You know, there were the progressive journalists, the muckrakers and others, even if they weren't socialists, they were capital P progressives, they were really crucial to the making of the progressive era. And in many ways, they might have come from very comfortable families, but had a you know, had a kind of conscience. Yeah, sure. So maybe came from more money than we realized. I don't know. All right,
our next award is despicable you this goes to the character with the worst politics in the movie.
We can talk about this reason, first of all, clearly the very worst is snow Snyder. The guy running the Refuge are the boys is like a boys jail reforms, you know, reform cent. reform isn't the right word. But it's that and so Snyder, does the dirty work. Yell it sir. rakes in the millions. Right? And, you know, no one would accuse him of having been
a shit. No, it was
Pulitzer and Hearst to me just because Hearst is not that, you know, to me, they were like they were, it's interesting, because you talked so much about the pairing, that again, good writing mirrors, with Pulitzer and Hearst so that they're right, equally like two sides of the coin. And our final
award is a STAR score. And this goes to the supporting character that this movie should actually be about. It's I
have two. Okay. One of them is, I think there should have been more of Sarah, the sister. Sure, I would have liked to have seen more of her story or the mothers if they had done the character the way I wanted them to be developed having the sweatshop kind of side, I really wanted that there. But having said that, I also have the movie that I want to make now. I want to make the movie of, of David, this will be a follow up to the first one. I think we want to follow David. I think Jack actually ends up he may even end up at Westboro we know and he's going to be some kind of leader. I mean, the guy's got it. But David is going to become the socialist intellectual. I'm, I'm kind of convinced that that's the case. And you know, and I would have liked to know what books he read to become that I mean, is that any had any experience on the ground himself, so he'd be like, the best of intellectuals? Well
write that movie and you can get the actor to play the adult. David, the one who did it. I mean, or or I'm also like, seeing Newsies this series, like the mini series, like there's a lot of places that you
know, let me understand this. So Frank, you don't act or do you act?
Oh, not professionally anymore. I will occasionally do a thing or two but
okay, because I was I was being generous. I was gonna cast you as the grown up.
Oh, I can still act
right Frank can be the girlfriend will be the grown up David.
Is this an offer? Because if this is an offer, like we can
bring the contract next Thursday, we're in Brooklyn together.
For me this goes to my boys in Brooklyn. I want my spot Conlon I want to go all the way Yeah, I want that whole that whole sir what I don't know where it's I don't know where he ends up. I don't think it's the path of Oregon I think spot might might have a rough kind of turn of it. But it would be like an interesting character piece you know,
he might become more of like a Jimmy Hoffa union guy. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Mine would be racetrack just because I loved Max Casella and this so much that I don't even have a good narrative for it. I just want to see more of a little Max Casella, doing a hardcore New York accent and smoking cigarettes and pull it all those faces,
like realize, of course, he becomes a bookie Oh, yeah.
Well, actually, I Rifka did you send me this someone had tweeted like, just got really sad and Harvey appreciate this just got really sad realizing that all the Newsies from Newsies all probably die in World War One.
Oh, yeah. No, wait, wait. No, they don't. They don't know. They don't break come back. And they leave the bonus marchers of 1930 to 131 32. When you know that the bonus marchers?
I know I don't know, off the top of my head. Thank
you. So, during the Depression, the veterans of World War One were guaranteed a bonus payment it they were going to receive in 1945. But a movement began all across the country. Veterans who were massively unemployed in 1931 32. They decide they're going to march on Washington and from all over the country. White black workers make their way to Washington DC and they occupy the city and it was called a Bonus March. Okay. Now, what's fascinating is because the Army in World War One, not surprisingly, was segregated to veterans were not segregated. This is like this decidedly integrated occupation, Hoover orders, it was MacArthur and his two lieutenants, Eisenhower and Patton to surround the camp. And no one knows if it was Hoover who ends up giving the order or or a MacArthur himself just takes it unto himself. And they literally stormed the camp. To this day, we don't know how many people might have been killed because their bodies might have been taken away. And there were families who were part of that occupation and the the camp dispersed. And I actually can tell you that I have a group of articles that I wanted to find the right writer to turn into a player in New York. So during the Depression, they were Hooverville. They were cold. These were the homeless setting up these camps, these camps that I remember who, okay, on the Hudson River and East River short, especially the Hudson River shoreline, all around New York City, there were those Hooverville, but there was one at West 79th Street, and it was called I have a longer story. I'll tell you, Frank, but when the senior camp Thomas Paine, it was cold, okay. And these were rough. These were refugees from the Bonus March, who had come to New York and set up this camp shack. And they flew the American flag over quite a few of their shacks. And there's even a choleric moment, I'll just tell you, there was a bus tour. And the animals were being removed from the Central Park Zoo. No, because they were going to build a better Central Park Zoo. Yeah. And one of the newspapers said, the polar bears did not want to get leave, because they knew what happened to the bonus marchers, when they had moved from Manhattan. Surely. That's why isn't there one more question? Yeah,
it's coming up. It's coming up right now. But I just wanted to say we quit. We will this conversation will be we'll have you back. Because it was it was, we could keep going and going and going. But before we do leave you just for this episode, we like to ask our guests in your life in your daily practice. Is there something that you do that you feel like it's your sort of daily way to uphold your anticapitalist values, in your in your life, I know that you do this in writing and all of those things. But in your daily life,
I have this rule for myself right now. As soon as the pandemic started, and thank God for zoom and all this stuff. I was never going to retire. But I did because of the pandemic because he didn't want to sit in front of a computer talking to students in mass. But then it turned out to be a guy who does like four shows a week. And I discovered that my thing is to talk, don't Okay, and to talk about capitalism and to talk about, but I have a rule about doing that. I will not simply talk about how bad capitalism is, I want people to realize that we already have the makings of a social democratic America. This I mean, for 45 years, ever since I came out of you know, college and graduate school. I have watched this class where I mentioned earlier goes on and on and on. So I'm a labor unionist. And when I go on shows, it's often with the idea we've got to hear at least a progressive left socialist argument about what's what's wrong and what could be done. I don't know how else I could put that, okay. Also, my wife and I live in a very small footprint home of 1000 square feet. Never we decided we didn't want to move because we didn't want to occupy more space. We have one bathroom for the family of four. We could afford to move along the way. But it's too much fun to be intimate this way. So why move?
That is awesome. Thank you, Harvey
Harvey, where can our audience find you and your work?
The work, they just go to all the usual bookstore websites and type it in there all, even if there's not in stock, it's readily available. I'm very, very active on Twitter, in spite of Elon Musk's takeover, and it's at Harvey J K, H AR ve y JKYE. And that's about it. That's my that's the way and I do a lot of shows. And I I absolutely adore you guys. This show is one of the high points of this spring season, I can tell you.
Well, that is a high point for us. And your support has meant a lot. So thank you, and this was so much fun.
Thank you all so much for listening, make sure to follow us on Instagram and Tiktok and if you've been enjoying the show, please consider becoming a supporter. You can find all of that info at MVC pod.com.
for next week's movie, we'll be watching the dystopian action thriller V for Vendetta.