Film Preservationist Roger Mayer
Co-Chairman, LA Chamber Orchestra’s 21st Annual Silent Film Gala
ROGER MAYER, former Turner Entertainment Co. President, Chairman of the Natl. Film Preservation Foundation and the 2005 recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Motion Picture Academy for his work in the area of Film Preservation has been called, “the Billy Graham of film preservation, because no matter where he is, he’s always had this as a central piece of his consciousness.”
Perpetually battling the perception that movies aren’t really considered “Art”, perspectives are changing. “You wouldn’t allow your art to deteriortate. You would not allow the books in the library to deteriorate, but everybody was allowing film to deterioriate as if it wasn’t art.” Roger talks about the 21st Annual Silent Film Gala and the screening of the Buster Keaton silent classic, “The Cameraman”, accompanied by a world premier score by Timothy Brock, who conducts the LA Chamber Orchestra. “The Cameraman” was Keaton’s first film at MGM, following the exploits of a tintype operator to impress a beautiful young officer worker with his camera footage. It has been deemed by the National Film Registray as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significantAnd, before there was Mickey, there was Alice. Also being shown is the first Disney short, “Alice’s Wild West Show”, from 1924.
Mayer began his career as a lawyer in 1952 for Columbia Pictures, went on to a 25-year association with MGM, and eventually TEC. With 85% of all silent films lost, the passage of time causes tape to become brittle, coated with residue, suffering damage in projectors. Although officially “retired,”Mayer continues to work tirelessly to preserve film as an integral part of preserving our national heritage.
Copies of this program can be obtained through the Pacifica Radio Archives at www.pacificaradioarchives.org.