Talk Radio (1988)

R | 110 mins | Drama | 21 December 1988

Director:

Oliver Stone

Cinematographer:

Robert Richardson

Editor:

David Brenner

Production Designer:

Bruno Rubeo

Production Company:

Ten Four Productions
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HISTORY

During opening credits, the voices of actor Eric Bogosian, in the role of “Barry,” and other actors are heard as radio listeners call his radio show. During end credits, voices are heard again as listeners call the station to talk about Barry after his death.
       The film is based on two separate works: the one-act play, Talk Radio, written by actor-writer Eric Bogosian, and created by Bogosian and visual artist Tad Savinar; and author Stephen Singular’s 1987 book Talked to Death: The Life and Murder of Alan Berg, about the shooting of liberal talk radio host Alan Berg by white nationalists on 18 Jun 1984 in Denver, CO. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, and an article in the 6 Jan 1989 LAT, the play debuted in 1985 at the Portland Center for the Visual Arts (PCVA) in Portland, OR, featuring Eric Bogosian. On 29 May 1987, an “expanded and more elaborately staged” Talk Radio opened off-Broadway at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York City, before closing after 210 performances on 29 Nov 1987. One month before the play ended, the 23 Oct 1987 Backstage annouced that producer Edward R. Pressman acquired the property and hired Bogosian to write the screenplay and star in the film. The 18 Dec 1988 NYT noted that Pressman requested director Oliver Stone to write the film’s screenplay with Bogosian. While working on the screenplay, Stone agreed to direct the picture as well.
       A 19 Apr 1988 HR production chart reported that principal photography began on 4 Apr 1988 in ... More Less

During opening credits, the voices of actor Eric Bogosian, in the role of “Barry,” and other actors are heard as radio listeners call his radio show. During end credits, voices are heard again as listeners call the station to talk about Barry after his death.
       The film is based on two separate works: the one-act play, Talk Radio, written by actor-writer Eric Bogosian, and created by Bogosian and visual artist Tad Savinar; and author Stephen Singular’s 1987 book Talked to Death: The Life and Murder of Alan Berg, about the shooting of liberal talk radio host Alan Berg by white nationalists on 18 Jun 1984 in Denver, CO. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, and an article in the 6 Jan 1989 LAT, the play debuted in 1985 at the Portland Center for the Visual Arts (PCVA) in Portland, OR, featuring Eric Bogosian. On 29 May 1987, an “expanded and more elaborately staged” Talk Radio opened off-Broadway at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York City, before closing after 210 performances on 29 Nov 1987. One month before the play ended, the 23 Oct 1987 Backstage annouced that producer Edward R. Pressman acquired the property and hired Bogosian to write the screenplay and star in the film. The 18 Dec 1988 NYT noted that Pressman requested director Oliver Stone to write the film’s screenplay with Bogosian. While working on the screenplay, Stone agreed to direct the picture as well.
       A 19 Apr 1988 HR production chart reported that principal photography began on 4 Apr 1988 in Dallas, TX, or more specifically, as noted in a 15 Apr 1988 HR brief, in a warehouse studio, called Studios at Las Colinasinas, in the Dallas suburb of Irving, TX, where a fully equipped radio station was built. Filming lasted approximately five weeks. The budget was $4.5 million.
       According to the 21 Dec 1988 LAT review, some of the telephone calls were lifted verbatim from Alan Berg’s radio show.
       Five months after the film’s 21 Dec 1988 release, a news item in the 19 May 1989 DV reported that executive producers Greg Strangis and Sam Strangis filed a $500,000 lawsuit through their production company, Ten-Four Productions Inc., against Pressman in Los Angeles Superior Court. Ten-Four Productions had acquired rights to both Singular’s book about Alan Berg, and story rights from Judith Lee Berg, Alan Berg’s widow. In Nov 1987, the producers “conveyed the story rights to Pressman,” and believed he did not honor on their agreement. The outcome of the suit has not been determined.
       End credits state: “Special Thanks to Lynn Pressman Raymond.” End credits also state: “Special Thanks to: Abco Cart Trees, Apogee Acoustics, Inc., Century 21 Programming, Inc., Competitive Computer Components, Crouse-Kimzey Broadcast Equipment Suppliers, Telephone Talk Equipment Provided By Gentner Electronics Corp. (Salt Lake City, Utah), Gotham Audio (NYC), The Stoneleigh Hotel (Dallas, TX.), Karen Robson, Pacific Recorders & Engineering, Corp. and Stephen C. Swid, Norm Phillips -- KLIF-AM, Bill Ryan -- KVIL-FM, Neal Peden -- KTXQ-FM, Hugh Beavers -- KZEW-FM, Roy Jemkins -- KRLD-AM, Red Walker -- KXAS-TV, Thomas Dallas -- The Associated Press, Pat Hogan, TM Productions, Inc., Stuart MacRae -- Century 21 Programming, Inc., The Film Commission of North Texas.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Backstage
23 Oct 1987.
---
Daily Variety
19 May 1989
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Dec 1988
p. 4, 12.
Los Angeles Times
21 Dec 1988
Calendar, p. 1, 8.
Los Angeles Times
6 Jan 1989
Calendar, p. 1, 16.
New York Times
18 Dec 1988
Section A, p. 1, 26.
New York Times
21 Dec 1988
Section C, p. 28.
Variety
7 Dec 1988
p. 25, 29.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Cineplex Odeon Films presents
an Edward R. Pressman production
An Oliver Stone film
Produced in Association with Ten-Four Productions, Inc.
A Cineplex Odeon Films Presentation
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
B cam op
Aerial photog
1st asst B cam
Cam trainee
Steadicam
Still photog
Best boy
Elec
Rigging elec
Rigging elec
Key grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Grip
Cam and lenses supplied by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Co-ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Digital systems integrator
Direct disk ed
Negative cutters
Addl negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Const coord
Const standby
Scenic artist
Set dec
Lead man
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Standby props
COSTUMES
Cost des
Costumer
Asst to the cost des
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus eng and co-prod by
Mus coord
Mus ed
Addl KGAB mus backgrounds provided by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Utility sd
Supv post prod sd
Digital sd eff des
Re-rec dial mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
ADR supv
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Asst dial ed
Asst dial ed
Asst dial ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley rec/Ed
Foley rec/Ed
Dial ed by
Dolby stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
EFX post sd tech
EFX post sd tech
EFX post sd tech
EFX post sd tech
EFX video assist
EFX video assist
EFX coord
EFX scheduler
Main and end titles des by
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Exec in charge of prod
Unit mgr
Prod coord
Asst auditor
Scr supv
Key tech adv/Orig radio ads
Tech adv
Consultant
Texas casting
Texas casting asst
Loc coord
Key prod asst
Studio mgr
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Asst to Oliver Stone
Asst to A. Kitman Ho
Asst to Edward R. Pressman
Casting assoc
Office coord (LA)
Post prod asst
Naijo no ko
Transportation coord
Driver
Craft service
Film courier
Pressman Films representative
Pressman Films office staff exec asst (LA)
Pressman Films office staff exec asst (LA)
Prod secy (LA)
Bookkeeper (LA)
Prod asst (LA)
Prod asst (LA)
Broadcast electronics tech & 24 frame video
Commercial eng
Orig New York prod by
Prod by, New York Shakespeare Festival
Casting for the orig New York Shakespeare Festival
Casting for the orig New York Shakespeare Festival
Original paintings by
Payroll services provided by
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Talk Radio created by Eric Bogosian & Tad Savinar, written by Eric Bogosian (New York, 1987), and the book Talked to Death: The Life and Murder of Alan Berg, by Stephen Singular (New York, 1987).
SONGS
"Bad To The Bone," written by George Thorogood, performed by Michael Wetherwax
"Disco Inferno," written by Ron "Have Mercy" Kersey & Leroy Green, performed by The Trammps, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp, by arrangement Warner Special Products
"Telephone & Rubber Band," written by Simon Jeffes, performed by The Penguin Cafe Orchestra, courtesy of E.G. Records
+
SONGS
"Bad To The Bone," written by George Thorogood, performed by Michael Wetherwax
"Disco Inferno," written by Ron "Have Mercy" Kersey & Leroy Green, performed by The Trammps, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp, by arrangement Warner Special Products
"Telephone & Rubber Band," written by Simon Jeffes, performed by The Penguin Cafe Orchestra, courtesy of E.G. Records
"KGAB Radio ID's," written & arranged by Otis Conner and Whitey Thomas, produced by Otis Conner, recorded at The Otis Conner Companies Studio, Dallas Texas
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 December 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 21 December 1988
Production Date:
began 4 April 1988
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Prints by The Film House Group
Duration(in mins):
110
Length(in feet):
9,762
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29423
SYNOPSIS

In Dallas, Texas, former men’s clothing salesman and entrepreneur Barry Champlain hosts radio station KGAB’s Night Talk. Although the show is the station’s most popular program, Barry’s confrontational style angers many listeners, and he consistently receives death threats. One Friday night, Barry’s boss, Dan, announces that MetroWave Broadcasting’s vice president in charge of advertising, Chuck Dietz, has optioned the show for national syndication, beginning Monday. Barry is hesitant about the offer, but is encouraged by the excitement of his producer and girl friend, Laura. During a commercial break, Barry telephones his former wife, Ellen, and convinces her to visit Dallas, because she is the only person whose opinion he trusts. When she arrives, Barry confesses he still loves her. Ellen feels the same, but is disheartened by Barry’s obsessiveness about his work. On Monday evening, when Barry and Ellen arrive at the station, Dietz tells them the show’s syndication must be delayed. As the show airs, Barry becomes increasingly frustrated and argumentative with callers. Hoping to help, Ellen calls the show under the name “Cheryl Ann” and confesses her desire to get back together, but Barry rejects her and she leaves embarrassed. Barry admits to his listeners that he is personally affected by their threats and taunts. However, he believes they are using him as a scapegoat to satisfy their own needs. After the show ends, Dietz is impressed with Barry’s frankness and promises to get the show broadcasted nationally as soon as possible. As Barry goes to the parking lot, a fan approaches, requesting an autograph. ... +


In Dallas, Texas, former men’s clothing salesman and entrepreneur Barry Champlain hosts radio station KGAB’s Night Talk. Although the show is the station’s most popular program, Barry’s confrontational style angers many listeners, and he consistently receives death threats. One Friday night, Barry’s boss, Dan, announces that MetroWave Broadcasting’s vice president in charge of advertising, Chuck Dietz, has optioned the show for national syndication, beginning Monday. Barry is hesitant about the offer, but is encouraged by the excitement of his producer and girl friend, Laura. During a commercial break, Barry telephones his former wife, Ellen, and convinces her to visit Dallas, because she is the only person whose opinion he trusts. When she arrives, Barry confesses he still loves her. Ellen feels the same, but is disheartened by Barry’s obsessiveness about his work. On Monday evening, when Barry and Ellen arrive at the station, Dietz tells them the show’s syndication must be delayed. As the show airs, Barry becomes increasingly frustrated and argumentative with callers. Hoping to help, Ellen calls the show under the name “Cheryl Ann” and confesses her desire to get back together, but Barry rejects her and she leaves embarrassed. Barry admits to his listeners that he is personally affected by their threats and taunts. However, he believes they are using him as a scapegoat to satisfy their own needs. After the show ends, Dietz is impressed with Barry’s frankness and promises to get the show broadcasted nationally as soon as possible. As Barry goes to the parking lot, a fan approaches, requesting an autograph. The stranger pulls a gun and shoots Barry several times, killing him. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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