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Blog Posted in avatar   Jonathan Farrell's Blog

Tales of The City on DVD is still a delight almost 20 years later

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By Jonathan Farrell
Posted Nov 29, 2011 in Entertainment
In the library the other day and I saw Armistead Maupin's "Tales of The City" on DVD on the shelf. So I check it out. I had seen its original broadcast on PBS some years ago. And, it is hard to fathom as I read the jacket-cover that it has been almost 20 years since that first broadcast on PBS back in 1993.
It is still just as enthralling to watch and all of the characters so well-portrayed by actors like Olympia Dukakis, Thomas Gibson, Nina Foch and Laura Linney; who I guess can be said made her major debut in the mini-series. And, she has since go one to even more stellar and outstanding productions.
While on a walking tour of the Castro District, our group happened to meet Armistead Maupin, he was just as charming and approachable in real life as he is in interviews and documentaries.
What is sort of painful to me is that most of what he depicts in Tales of the City is gone. Not just the sprit of the 1970's itself, but many of the landmarks that made San Francisco that special place. Even that waling tour I took of the Castro was a few years ago when Trevor Hailey was the tour guide.
Now it seems to me that most of San Francisco, like The Castro, The Haight-Ashbury, North Beach and such are little theme parks for tourists. I hear that "Tales of the City" has now been made into a musical, talk about merchandising and commercialization, ha! Yet, I guess that helps get Maupin's work out there to a new audience.
Even some of the points of reference in the dialogue of the script, I think would be unknown or misunderstood by the current contemporary generation. I was just a kid when Maupin was writing his "Tales" for the San Francisco newspapers, The Chronicle and then The Examiner. It was very different city then.
But as I always try to put things into perspective, when I get too sentimental or sad, 'San Francisco has changed because the world has changed." What more can I say? Anyone who has lived in San Francisco for a while a while will know what I am talking about.

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