William F. Buckley Jr. and "Firing Line"?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Dennis Nicholls, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

    Oct 5, 1998
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    Boise, ID
    Real Name:
    William F. Buckley Jr. was given a lunch today by President Bush. This reminded me that I never have seen any DVD sets of the PBS series "Firing Line", hosted by Buckley, which ran over many years. Has anyone ever heard any news on this front? There are some great classic debates in this series.

  2. Juan Books

    Juan Books Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 7, 2004
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    I'd love to see these on DVD, but they're probably not pop enough to gather much attention.
  3. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

    Jun 30, 1997
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    Joseph DeMartino
    They would be fun. Thinking about Firing Line reminds me of two wonderful Buckley quotations that aren't from the show itself:

    1. When asked why one prominent politician always rejected invitations to appear on the show Buckley replied, "Why does baloney reject the grinder?" *

    2. In the early 60s Buckley ran for mayor in a purely symbolic campaign designed to get some of his conservative ideas at least debated. A few days before the election he held a press conference and had the following exchange with a reporter:

    Reporter: Mr. Buckley we've all seen the polls and your opponents are heavily favored over you. But what would you do if by some miracle you're actually elected on Tuesday.

    Buckley: Demand a recount.

    (* Yes, I remember who the politician was, but in accordance with HTF rules I don't want to invite a political debate or dredge up arguments about old personalities. Besides, for the purpose of the anecdote the name is really unimportant.)

    The debates were always civil, a far cry from the "screaming heads" style of the cable news shows today, and the interviews sparkling. Given the sheer number of broadcasts I'm not sure full season sets would be practical, and I'd imagine a great number of the shows would not be of much interest to contemporary audiences. They might be historical curiosities, but surely some of the issues of the day would just seem trivial now. On the other hand there were certainly classic encounters. I could see a set of "best of" discs, and even "theme" shows featuring classic debates, future presidents, the more timeless issues and some of the less political shows. A collection of Malcolm Muggeridge's appearances would be welcome, for instance.

    I suspect Buckley or the Friends of Firing Line own the rights to most of the material. I wonder if any thought has been given to releasing a set, especially given that his magazine, The National Review is celebrating its 50th anniversary with special events this whole year. The White House luncheon Dennis mentioned was one of these celebrations.


  4. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator

    Oct 9, 2001
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    Rensselaer, NY
    Dennis: You've outdone yourself again. Great idea! I was fascinated by these programs when I was but a lad.

    I hope William F. has the same great idea and decides to, at least, put out some kind of best-of series.
  5. Rodney

    Rodney Supporting Actor

    Jan 12, 2001
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    This is a great idea, and this is where a best of set would really work.
    Do you think they could include Robin Williams "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" bit with it?

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