May 15, 2011

Perkins School, Watertown, MA. September, 1979


When I was working on the Captioned ABC News back in the 1980s, I would occasionally produce short video features to include on subjects of specific interest to the hearing-impaired audiences we served. I did a whole series about how deaf people were represented by Hollywood, capped off by an interview with Patty Duke here at the Perkins School (in what is now my hometown.) As a child, Duke had portrayed Perkins graduate Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker both on Broadway (1959) and in the subsequent film (1962). When she met with us, she had just finished a made-for-TV movie of the same story in which this time she played Keller’s teacher Annie Sullivan. She told me that it was her first visit to Perkins because back when the Broadway production was trying out in Boston, director Arthur Penn would not let her anywhere near the place, fearing that it might influence the performance he had worked so hard with her to develop. I remember her beautiful polka-dotted teal silk dress, the huge numbers of yellow jackets buzzing around us...and the alarming last-minute announcement by the DC-based deaf interviewer (with the impressive TV-heavy resume) that she had absolutely no on-camera experience whatsoever. Duke was charmed by her and it all went smoothly.

3 comments:

  1. Dolla Bill Y'allMay 15, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    Is that you with the Ikegami?

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  2. Hi Sandy!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Yours is great too - some really nice photos. It was indeed lovely to meet you and chat yesterday. Perhaps I'll get to refresh my blog soon with my new cookie cutters after a few weeks of finals week-induced neglect! It's always nice to meet a fellow blogger - we gotta stick together, right? Great to meet you!

    Cheers,
    Katie

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  3. I remember that day as if it were only thirty-something years ago! Hand-held. Shot on one-inch tape. Very cutting edge. I remember your elation ... and the pride the whole staff shared when your feature aired on national television.

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