June 7, 2023

Short Films Screening: “Fable Safe” and “Hiroshima-Nagasaki, August, 1945”

OPC member and filmmaker Sumner Jules Glimcher will screen two of his movies and discuss them at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The two short films are “Fable Safe” and “Hiroshima-Nagasaki, August, 1945”

At the height of the cold war, Glimcher, was the Manager of the Center for Mass Communication (CMC), at Columbia University. He became Executive Director of “Fable Safe,” a spoof of the behavior of the United States and Russia. This short, animated musical film was written by Erik Barnouw, music written and sung by Tom Glazer, art drawn by political cartoonist, Robert Osborne, and animated by Ted Nemeth. In addition to coordinating all the elements, Glimcher also produced the sound track. This film opened the New York Film Festival in 1999, and received a standing ovation.

In 1970, CMC received a letter from a professor at Tokyo University Law School informing them of some motion picture footage that had been shot after the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan. The letter stated that General MacArthur, after screening the footage deemed it too horrifying to be shown to the public and classified it as “Top Secret.” CMC attempted to locate the footage but was stonewalled by the US Government. Only after the intervention of the two Senators from New York did the National Archives admit that they had the footage and only after persistent and repeated demands that it be shown did the Archives allow Glimcher to come to Washington to screen the footage. CMC then ordered a dupe negative and workprint, as well as notes taken by the Japanese newsreel cameramen. Glimcher, as Executive Producer, then appointed Erik Barnouw as Producer, and hired Paul Ronder as editor and Geoff Bartz (now HBO’s top editor) as assistant editor. A 16 minute film resulted. When the sound track was mixed the quality of the sound was inferior and Glimcher, not wanting to have his name associated with poor quality work, took his name from the credits. Later, when the Museum of Modern Art restored the film, a remix improved the sound greatly. The initial screening of the film was held at MOMA and made newspaper headlines around the world. It is now regarded as a modern classic, the only true record of the results of the effect of atomic bombs on humanity.

Glimcher began his career at NBC, then worked for Radio Free Europe in Munich, pioneered in creating the first independent international broadcast news service, the precursor of CNN, was Manager of Foreign News for WOR & RKO General, Manager of the Center for Mass Communication @ Columbia University, taught at Harvard, Columbia and most recently as the Director of the Film Department @ NYU’s School of Continuing Education. He has made scores of documentaries which have been awarded more than three dozen major national and international awards. He has lectured on eleven luxury cruise liners, and has been a consultant to the President of Harvard, to the United Nations, and for more than twenty years to the Consulate General of Japan. He has just completed an ebook titled, “If You Survived the Battle of the Bulge the Rest is a Piece of Cake,” soon to be available from the APPLE IBOOKSTORE.”

Space is limited. RSVP to info@nyemmys.org to reserve a seat and write “FABLE SAFE” in the subject line.