Back in 1986 I went to see that great friend of FOCAL, the late and much missed archive historian and producer Jerome Kuehl. I was eager to bring a Viennese tv format called Club 2 to Britain. Jerry, who had been my tutor at the NFTS, understood immediately: “that’s very important” he said, so it seemed both obvious and indeed somehow essential for the two of us to start a company together, which we immediately did. We made that show – After Dark, as we called it, had some success on Channel 4 – and Jerry was to remain a director of Open Media until he died two years ago.
Open Media has now digitised the archive of all the network tv shows we made back in the 1980s and 1990s. Interviews, talk shows, magic and entertainment shows featuring hundreds of hours of personalities from all over the world who made rare appearances on our programmes, rare because they did not appear elsewhere on television; or only very occasionally and not at such length; or they weren't subject to such focussed scrutiny as our formats gave them. Such people as:
- Watergate figures John Ehrlichmann and Gordon Liddy
- Edward Teller (so-called father of the H-Bomb) and Richard Perle
- Socialites the Duchess of Argyle, Claus von Bulow and Bianca Jagger
- Businessmen Adnan Khashoggi, James Goldsmith and George Soros
- Prime Ministers Edward Heath, Garret FitzGerald and Albert Reynolds
- Writers Heathcote Williams, Anthony Burgess, David Irving and Patricia Highsmith
- Sportspeople Ian Botham, Fatima Whitbread and John Fashanu
- Musicians Harry Belafonte, Abdullah Ibrahim (Cat Stevens), Yehudi Menuhin, Eartha Kitt and Sinead O’Connor
- Feminists Andrea Dworkin, Shere Hite, Germaine Greer and Kate Millett
- Film stars Oliver Reed and Olivia Newton-John
- We have Buzz Aldrin’s most extended tv appearance ever
- As well as some amusing and amazing items with Ricky Jay, the magician and actor, and the Amazing James Randi, who sadly died recently.
We own all copyrights so are set up to issue licences (for example we just helped a major Netflix project). Everything can be searched via our new website – www.openmedia.co.uk – and if you follow us on Twitter - @OpenMediaFilmTV – you’ll see us tweet an interesting sample clip every few days. We know our catalogue pretty well so feel free to drop us a line to find out more about the collection and how we can potentially help you with your project.
Finally, I should mention that Jerry left the manuscript of an unfinished but remarkably interesting, indeed unique, work on film history. This is now to form the basis for a collection of his published and unpublished work, aimed at those with a general interest in film, or in history, or in film history, and also students of the various academic disciplines involved. To prepare this for publication I am currently gathering all of Jerry’s writings. I have a lot already but if any FOCAL members have anything they would like to send me, that would be most welcome. Perhaps not his cat videos but of course I hope to use plenty of the Office Cat.