A Couple of American Masters

This Friday night “American Masters” will profile two fascinating women who made quite an impact on American culture.  We’ll begin at 9pm with “American Masters: Marilyn Monroe, Still Life“.  Every year around this time we see an uptick of interest in Marilyn Monroe.   This year, being the 50th anniversary of her death, we’re seeing a lot more of Marilyn than usual.

In “Marilyn Monroe, Still Life” the producer takes us through the photographs, the still images of the American icon.  There are the movie roles, but it’s the iconic face, the expressions and poses,  that really make up our collective memory of Marilyn.  She was, arguably, the most photographed person ever. Her relationship with the camera produced an enduring body of work that even today still grabs us and peaks our curiosity.  Marilyn created her own image, lips puckered to the lens, inviting us in. These photographs are an ageless testament to her life.  I don’t always care to watch a Marilyn Monroe movie but I never seem to be able to pass up a photograph.

Following Marilyn on WOSU TV  is “American Masters: Harper Lee: Hey Boo“  There are not too many students in America that finished grade school or  High School without having to read  “To Kill a Mockingbird”.  It has been a national pastime for five decades, and it still sells nearly a million copies a year.  I still remember the first time I saw Gregory Peck, playing  the passionate Atticus Finch. It’s such a powerful story,  his subtle performance was perfect.  Nelle Harper Lee once said she wanted to be Alabama’s Jane Austen. She was off to a good start, the mystery is why did she stop ?  This program explores the life of Harper Lee and unravels its mysteries, particularly why she never published again. Illuminated with family photos, revealing personal letters and an exclusive interview with her sister, the film gives you the feel of the novel’s Deep South and the social changes it inspired.   Two great stories about a couple of  fascinating American masters.

American Masters: Marilyn Monroe, Still Life” airs Friday, August 24 at 9pm on WOSU TV with an encore presentation Saturday, August 25 at 2:00am.

American Masters: Harper Lee: Hey Boo” airs Friday, August 24 at 10pm on WOSU TV.