THE MAKING OF AMERICA!
I spent the better part of 1983 creating a documentary film called
The Measure of America, released in 1984.
In the decade prior, my wife Cam and I had been producing
audio/visual marketing presentations for corporate clients. In the
course of doing so, we met, photographed and interviewed
hundreds of working people at every strata, from machine operator to
What was striking to me was what good people these were and how hard
they worked and how much they loved their jobs! This was not the
picture of America I had picked up in college, nor through the hippie
days of the 60s. Nor was it the image of America as portrayed in
In fact, through the 70s, one would be hard pressed to find anything
positive being said publicly about America anywhere!
Most schools had long been taken over by a “psychology” that was fully
dedicated to examining, exposing and promoting the flaws in
humanity, not its rightness or goodness. And a major target of this
campaign was the nation itself and all its values and
I saw trouble coming and I resolved to do something about it—to
attempt to fill a philosophical and educational void at a
grassroots level. With the
financial backing of a client, the CEO of a manufacturing conglomerate called
VSI Corporation, I embarked upon this film project. One could
say, it was a "Tea Party" of two.
WHAT, NO DIGI-CAM?
Strangely enough, it was shot in 16 mm and edited using a system
(from the Middle Ages) of
cutting and splicing together pieces of celluloid motion picture
film. In those days, there was virtually no such thing as small
format video or computerized editing, much less digital anything.
(Kids, all the phones
were wired to the walls!)
The film got some recognition and some play. It sold to city school
systems, universities and various patriotic groups. It was a
Finalist in the American Film Festival and received an
Award of Excellence from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley
Forge. On the 4th of July it was featured on local PBS
affiliate, KCET. After a couple of years the film had run its course
and was retired from circulation.
Then the country was attacked on 9/11, and I was asked to
screen the film for a gathering of friends. It seemed everyone could
use a patriotic boost. Soon after that, a distributor asked me to
re-release it in video. I
performed some minor editing and changed the title to, simply,
Now, in my opinion, we are again under attack—this time, insidiously, from
within our own government. The Constitution and our freedoms are
being eroded at a frightening pace and the over-the-top spending by
Congress is thrusting the country headlong into economic chaos and
And so in the age of YouTube, I released the film on the
Internet. It is divided into three sections, each about 8
Despite the funny hair styles and vintage automobiles, I think you
will agree the content is still relevant, for it is a film
about long-standing ideas and ideals,
as voiced by American working people.
Notable aspects are an original score by Geoff Levin and Steve Bach,
and the solo performance of our National Anthem by Caralyn
May I recommend that you watch the 24 minute film in its
entirety, at one sitting. The emotional impact is cumulative.