On The Jazz
On The Jazz Newsletter: Volume 3 Issue N°2

Date: October 18, 1996
Author: Nicole Pellegrini
Download: otjv03i02.zip

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The totally unofficial A-Team electronic mail newsletter
***** Now in it's THIRD year of publication !! *****

Reflector submission address: [email protected]

Administrivia: Nicole Pellegrini
Please use the following address for subscribe/unsubscribe and back issue requests (do NOT send them to the reflector address):
[email protected]

Also use that address if you wish to change your subscription status to receive the newsletters only (or go from newsletter to news + reflector).

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*The A-Team On the Web: http://www.xs4all.nl/~jmm/a-team/
*The A-Team Hawaii Page: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~kaonohi

*Home of the On the Jazz Newsletter Archives**
DATE:   October 18, 1996
Hello again, everybody! Early this week - imagine that!

Well, we're still recovering here in Philadelphia from last weekend's party. It was nice to meet a few new people and fit some more faces to the names, and we had a great time - and if you couldn't make it, don't miss out next time! (Which will probably be sometime in the spring.)

And now, onto the latest news and information...

MR. T SPOTTING: Mr. T had a (very) brief cameo in this past week's episode of "Suddenly Susan" on NBC. It would seem, then, that reports of his continuing recovery are correct, which is certainly good news.

THE 'TEAM' ROSTER: I'm including this message here, which was posted earlier this week to the reflector, so that everyone can get in on the action. Remember don't send in your responses to me, send them to Rhonda.
Posted-Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 01:07:25 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 00:02:37 -0700
From: reudaly
Organization: appel associates
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: [email protected]


I have a plan! All On The Jazzers stand up and be counted! For everyone on the list who'd like to be part of the team, we're putting together a roster of all of you closet (and not so closet) Hannibals, B.A.s, Murdocks, and Faces out there who are subscribers on the list. We'd like to have an idea of who's who and where.

If you'd like to be part of this team roster. Please eMail me PRIVATELY at [email protected] with the following information (as you feel comfortable):

1. Name
2. EMail Address
3. Where You Are (City, State/Province, Country)
4. Age
5. Favorite A-Team Member

Cut off date for this roster is Oct. 25. I'd like to get this out by the end of the month. And please, if you're going to be part of the roster, eMail me, and not our fearless leader. Though we have her full knowledge and approval for the roster.

Thanks to all!

Rhonda Eudaly
[email protected]
THE A-FILES: Okay, it's still not done. BUT...the proofs are *definitely* going to the printer this coming week, so the wait for this A-Team/X-Files 'zine is almost over! Watch for a final announcement in the very near future.

PLANS SCAMS & VANS 3: Thanks to everyone who's been sending in their submissions, believe it or not this issue may be full before the January 1st deadline at this rate! (But keep them coming anyway, that's right, there will be a #4 at this rate...) This will certainly be our most diverse and interesting issue to date. And thanks to those of you who have volunteered for proofreading duty - I'll be contacting you directly over the next few weeks regarding sending out stories to proof.

TEAM MERCHANDISE: One of the Ertl vans and 4 of the Mr. T air fresheners are still sitting here in a box, awaiting promised payment. Now, after my last querry I heard from everyone who had reserved them, but still these remain unclaimed. And enough other people have inquired as to their availability that I WILL offer them off to the other interested parties if I don't receive payment within the next week.

fX AD: This was posted to the reflector, and was amusing enough that I thought it deserved mention here as well (note that's I'd LOVE a copy of this ad if anyone did tape it):
Posted-Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 18:09:23 -0400 (EDT)
From: [email protected]
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 18:03:07 -0400
To: [email protected]
Subject: silly commercial

I just heard (and saw) this silly commercial for A-Team on FX. It was a poem- Ode to the A-Team. I didn't have a tape ready, so I'll try to reconstruct it from memory Once, a long time ago There was a team of adventurers, (Murdock shouts "HO!") They were led by a wize wizard (pic of Hannibal) "He's always been a bit mystical" (Face says) Then there was a knight (pic of BA) Who was as strong as a blizzard. There was a handsome prince (pic of Face) And a high flying fool (Murdock as Captain Cab, and in plane) So if you're in some trouble ?????????? "Get yourself a team." (says Hannibal) Then a guy came on and said in a really bad Mr. T voice, "Don't you touch that dial, fool! The A-Team is coming on next!" It was all very strange.
Last issue's question was:
>What was the inscription on the watch Murdock gave Face as a farewell present
>in 'Alive at Five', and who had given Murdock the watch?

Nicole ([email protected]) and Gina ([email protected])
replied first with the correct answer:
>The inscription was "Happy birthday HM". And it was from his grandfather.

This issue's question is: (a tough one, but it *was* just on fX)
>In "There's Always a Catch", what was the name of the nearest army base,
>and >how far away was it?

This issue, a rather interesting article/interview with Dwight from 1989, shortly after the premiere of "Fat Man and Little Boy." Enjoy!

Dwight Schultz portrays J. Robert Oppenheimer as a brilliant man torn over his role in building the bomb. Critics say this is "an ignorant distortion."

by Nina J. Easton (from Los Angeles Times, 1/11/89)

Was J. Robert oppenheimer, builder of the world's first atomic bomb, the tortured, morally divided soul depicted in Roland Joffe's new film "Fat Man and Little Boy"? Or was he a man intently focused on succeeding, having made peace with his role at the helm of the top-secret $2 billion Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, NM?

In his film debut, actor Dwight Schultz portrays Oppenheimer as a brilliant weak man whose ambition overshadowed his inner doubts about the morality of building an atomic bomb. Oppenheimer, says director Joffe, "is Hamlet as Shakespeare would have written him if he was alive now." This Oppenheimer is readily manipulated by the gruff military man in charge of the Manhattan Project, Gen. Leslie R. Groves, played by Paul Newman.

But Schultz's portrayal has drawn criticism from other quarters. Richard Rhodes, author of "The Making of the Atomic Bomb," which won the 1987 National Book Award, calls his depiction "an ignorant distortion of the man....The Oppenheimer of wartime was not a divided human being. He was not Hamlet-like. He was focused and centered on making this thing happen."

Critics too are divided on Schultz's performance. When the film opened last month, The Times' Sheila Benson, for example, wrote that Schultz managed to create "a believably complicated figure." But Newsweek's David Ansen wrote that "neither Schultz nor the script gets inside the man's edgy, haunted soul."

Schultz became a contender for the part of Oppenheimer when Joffe determined to cast an unknown - asked his casting director to round up all the actors on American stages who were currently portraying Valmont in "Les Liasons Dangereuses," a character notorious for manipulating and objectifying human beings. He found Schultz in a production at the Williamstown (Mass.) Theater Festival. Schultz may not be a familiar face in Hollywood circles, but millions of TV viewers know him as the zany "Howling Mad" Murdock on NBC's former series "The A-Team." His stint on the "A-Team" - from 1983 to 1987, when the series was canceled - follwed a long career on stage, but Schultz had never appeared in a feature film. [Not exactly true - I guess he left "Alone in the Dark" off his resume? -Nicole]

Executives at Paramount were reticent about hiring someone without name recognition with movie audiences. But Joffe persisted. "He has a volatile, interesting mind," Joffe says of Schultz.

Schultz, ironically, also had an affinity for physics. In fact, he says, it was Heinz Pagels' "The Cosmic Code" - an attempt to explain quantim physics to the layman - that added important new perspective to his life.
The transformation came in 1982, at age 35, when Schultz was struggling, sleeping on couches and barely scraping out a living as an actor. He was close to giving up on show business. Pagels' book taught Schultz to look at the world in more relative terms - and not to take himself, or his profession, so seriously.

"For example," Schultz says one afternoon as he picks up a copy of Pagels' book from a coffee table, "In the micro world of particles, when scientists view photons, if they want to view photons as a wave, it's a wave. If they want to look at it as a particle, they behave as particles...There was a lot of philosophical discussion about this: Is it what I want it to be at the moment?"

Schultz applied these philosophical meanderings to his own life. "When someone props you up and another tears you down, it's not a question of wrong or right," he says. "And for you to try to beat yourself on the breast and say you're a terrible person - or say that you're a wonderful person because everyone loves you - is probably going a little too far."

His acting career up until then has been a struggle. He graduated from Towson State University in Maryland and formed a touring company, the Baltimore Theater Ensemble, with a couple of friends. Later he appeared in regional productions before landing roles in off-Broadway productions.

He made his Broadway debut in "The Water Engine" which began at Joseph Pap's Public Theatre before being transferred to the Plymouth. He also starred on Broadway in "Night and Day" with Maggie Smith and "The Crucifer of Blood". He played opposite Charleton Heston when the production moved to L.A.'s Ahmanson Theatre.

But in between stage work, Schultz struggled to make ends meet with odd jobs. The financial hardship came to an end when Schultz swallowed his stage actor's pride and auditioned for "The A-Team." Again, Pagels' book taught him the value of not taking himself so seriously.

"It's the way you want to see it," Schultz says of TV shows like "The A-Team." "If you want to see it as the epitome of art, it will be. If you want to see it as the height of exploitation and degredation, it will be. Neither of them is true. The truth is you're simply scratching out a living. I'm a song-and-dance man. That's the truth and there's a relaxation that comes with that." After reading Pagels' book, physics became a minor passion for Schultz.

Joffe looked at nearly 30 other actors before hiring Schultz to play Oppenheimer. As Schultz recalls, he was cast the day before production began and was forced to leave his daughter's 1-year birthday party to fly to Durango, New Mexico, where shooting was about to begun.

There he continued discussions with Joffe and Newman about how to portray Oppenheimer. "Being the typical actor," Schultz says, "I wanted to be very accurate [in the depiction of Oppenhiemer]. When I told Roland this, he just rolledh is eyes."

The reason for Joffe's reaction is that Oppenhiemer spoke in a "clipped, affected voice that at times was graceful but at other times had a tendency to explode," Schultz says, doing his best Oppenhiemr impersonation. "His voice also had a Mr. Rodgers quality to it."

Joffe didn't want Schultz to impersonate Oppenheimer's affected, often arrogant manner. "In a film about J. Robert Oppenheimer, you could," says Schultz. "But in this film, we wanted to make him more accessible, more of a human being faced with a dilemma rather than a man who spent his life putting himself abov other people."

Says Joffe, "I wanted our Oppenhiemer to be as true as possible to the inner Oppenhiemer. We wanted to get at the inner truth, to feel the real tensions inside these people (at Los Alamos). In public, Oppenhiemer was a dominant, powerful scientist. But he was also a vulnerable, weak man."

But Rhodes rejects the notion, forwarded in Joffe's film, that Groves played the devil to Oppenhiemer's Faust. After the war, Rhodes says, more moral doubts did creep into Oppenhiemer's thinking. For example, Rhodes notes, two years after American military planes dropped the codenamed "Fat Man" and "Little Boy" bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Oppenhiemer said to President Truman: "Mr. Truman, I have blood on my hands." During and after the war, the government viewed Oppenhiemer as a security risk for his leftist views.

Schultz calls "Fat Man and Little Boy" "an impression of reality, not reality. The attempt to make this human dilemma accessible was paramount, and anything that detracted from it had to be chipped away."
That's all for now, jazzers, so until next time, have fun!

Quote of the week:

"Murdock, what's with all the poetry?"
"Yeah, I noticed that too.  I don't know what I'm gonna
do. I got my words, my brain's workin' fine.  But when the
words come out they wanna...rhyme."
           (Amy and Murdock, from "Black Day at Bad Rock)

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