As for James Cameron’s 1997 Oscar-winning Titanic, Michael Keenan, who was born in Lansdale and raised in Hatfield, is more than a fan or devotee.

The right words can be “obsessed fanatics”.

Keenan has watched “Titanic” at least 100 times, starting with a terribly scary big screen in 3 years, and those 100 may be missing zero.

“Mom didn’t want to take me. She has since regretted it. Her intuition was correct. It was scary to see people in the water. That’s all I remember from the first time, ”Keenan says over the phone from his home in Los Angeles,“ and I remember it so well.

Studying the Titanic through VHS and advanced technology for over 20 years, Keenan became an expert on it. He can talk about the most mysterious nuances of Cameron’s film, including flaws in history.

He can also retell the story in abbreviated comedy form, as he does in the show “Never Let Go,” which appears at New Hope’s Bucks County Playhouse on Saturday (8pm) and Sunday (2pm)

Keenan says his high school classmates linked him to the film.

“I don’t know why, just because I’ve been talking about it all the time.”

It was in college that his encyclopedic knowledge of the film brought dividends.

“My job as an actor was to play a play with one person,” says Keenan.

He didn’t need much inspiration, just ruthless mounting abilities.

“I smashed the Titanic to pieces, came up with a suit of white shirt, corset and top hat to cover 20 characters, and showed a 12-minute version of the film.”

Although Keenan’s career on stage, in film and on television took him away from acting – “I preferred directing, design and other aspects of production.” – The 12-minute “Titanic”, which, according to Keenan, had a good response, stayed with him.

The time had come when he could no longer stay inside. He expanded the play to an hour and honed for the full stage performance of “Never Let Go,” a falsification with pathos that garnered rave reviews in New York City and caught the attention of producers at the Playhouse.

Keenan says a suit from college and a chair is all he needs to revive the Titanic.

A lot has happened in the show from the idea of ​​college to the full performance.

One of them was “Titanic”, and a brief picture of one person never fell completely out of Keenan’s thoughts. Another was yoga classes in India, during which he learned to use his body in a way to improve the attitude of his work to the audience. The third was encouragement.

“I was drawn to directing and directing roles because I lacked confidence in performance and I was intimidated by the competitiveness of acting. Time, new skills and people who encourage me have won some of them. ”

This impression led to a performance at a New York drama bookstore.

“It was the first vein of what people see now,” Keenan says. “It wouldn’t be the last, although I was afraid people would find it horrible. This is not a spectacle. This is a comedy.

“After that play, I met Teresa Bucheister of Brooklyn’s Brick Theater, and they helped hone and stage it. “Never Let Go” was supposed to appear at the Playhouse in 2020, but COVID-19 hit. Now, two years later, I’m doing a show near my hometown. “

For those who can answer anything that anyone says, a line from the Titanic, one would think that cutting a three-hour film to a one-hour comic synopsis would be difficult.

Not for Keenan.

“I think the script development was easy because it took so long to germinate in my head, and also because I knew the script thoroughly enough to know the dramatic and potentially funny moments.

“I had to be a surgeon, so the next work I mean is The Silence of the Lambs.”

Keenan’s resume on stage and on television reveals a host of talent. “Never Let Go” shows his spirit as an actor and writer.

The only skill that struck me in this resume was “whistling”. Kinnan is a professional whistler.

“Oh, it happened because of my father. He was a whistler and we could compete in a car who would be able to perform the most difficult sequence and if another could repeat. It’s one of those things that was part of my childhood and is used now. ”

Keenan’s last name is pronounced as “Kuh-NAS”, so it was natural to ask if he had anything to do with the once weatherman of Channel 3 Wally Keenan.

“No,” Keenan says, but I knew about Wally because one of my junior class teachers always called me “Michael Keenan, a weatherman.”

Factory and shop on fire after shelling in Irpen on the outskirts of Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022 (AP Photo / Emilio Morenatti)

Report on Ukraine

News coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a good example of how different cable channels relate to the main story. It also shows the strengths and weaknesses of this news, as well as the presenters and reporters who fill them.

For the sake of efficiency, I will limit my analysis to one significant point of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on his neighboring country, the bombing of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporozhye on Thursday.

Of the four news stations I chose – CNN, Fox News Channel, CNBC and MSNBC – the best performed was CNBC, which remained live with a black and white live video of the burning administration building in Zaporozhye, and the commentator told the details of the story.

CNBC earned points for never deviating from actual reports based on information that was known at the time that, for the purposes of this article, would be between 8 and 9:30 p.m.

Next up is CNN with four reporters in various locations talking to presenter Anderson Cooper, who was in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, who is one of the ancestors of my grandparents.

Journalists from Moscow, Kyiv and Washington were concise and informative. They did not paint their news with politics or any other bias. Cooper was disappointed when he listened to the reporter, but made almost hoarse, vague comments that did not add to or promote the story. Any questions he had were common and did not lead to the understanding that the journalists took on.

Even so, when my poll ended, I stopped at CNN because its coverage was the farthest, more eyes in different parts of the world, and I could filter out any policies other than those related to Putin that could arise.

Tucker Carlson on Fox News was sharper than Cooper and had a better discussion with Fox reporters on the spot, but Fox let me go from the moment I tuned in to it because these are the only photos of the wreckage and possible nuclear disaster in Zaporozhye was in the window to the right of the bottom quarter of the screen, is practically a video stream of the current situation, not a full message about it.

Carlson, meanwhile, occupied the left half of the top three quarters when talking to someone about the political implications, of course, with Fox’s conservative bias.

The conversation between Carlson and the expert was insignificant and, frankly, incompetent given the serious developments that could affect the world’s reaction to Putin’s adventure and create a risk of nuclear precipitation similar to what happened in another Ukrainian city. , Chernobyl, when Ukraine was a companion of Russia.

Zaporozhye, unlike Chernobyl, was equipped with automatic shut-off devices and other security features, including its reactors were closed rather than uncovered, limiting Chernobyl-scale damage.

Returning to Fox, after another quick view of CNN and CNBC, Carlson found himself at the top of the screen or outside the camera, while live footage from Zaporozhye had priority on most of the screen.

His exchange with journalists at the time was more prominent and articulated better than Cooper’s.

MSNBC had a complete picture of the reactor site, but its reports had the most political bias.

In general, the lesson is that reporters, if allowed to return to standard, objective journalism, do a better, more concise, and more thorough job than the presenters they talk to. They are also much more important than any commentators, especially those on the ultra-objective MSNBC and Fox.

A more specific lesson is that viewers can count on journalists to return to basics when a true story of great importance is broken. I was proud that those working in the field, most of them veterans of news broadcasting, worked well, despite presenters who were either useless or concerned.

Thanks to these reporters, I was pleased to hear the full story to date, including the aftermath and side panels, such as Putin’s phone call to French President Emmanuel Macron, which remained untainted by guerrilla tendencies.

Remembering Tim Considine

The characters played by Tim Considine figured in my imaginary life as a child.

I wanted to go to camp with Disney’s “Spin and Marty” (Considine was Spin), unravel the mysteries with “Hardy Boys” whose books I read constantly (Considine was Frank Hardy’s older brother), and go to Douglas home to play with “My Three sons ”.

For those who grew up in the 50s and 60s, Tim Considine was a constant companion. As a child who watched Mr. Considine as a child actor, I think of him as eternally young.

Time does not recognize this. Considine died last week at his home at the age of 81.

Thanks for the memories, Tim. They are in love. You helped teach me friendship, search and led a part of the family. I also shuddered when George C. Scott as General Patton hit you in the film that brought Scott an Oscar.

Rest in peace and convey greetings to Don Grady from me.

New Radio Phillies

When the Premier League of Baseball returns soon, four Philistine graduates will join the great Phyllis radio announcer Scott Franz in the broadcast booth – former short stop Kevin Stoker, former catcher Eric Kratz, key relics of 2008 Chad Durbyl and fast Bourne.

Neil Zoren’s column appears every Monday.

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