R.I.P. Ingmar Bergman, Bill Walsh and Tom Snyder

3angels.jpgA more unlikely threesome to make that celestial voyage together, one could not imagine. Except I can imagine Bergman and Walsh doing interviews on Snyder’s old “Tomorrow” show.

Snyder was an underrated journalist. He was an easily-parodied personality, but he hit the most important mark: He asked questions that elicited interesting answers. Compare that with Charlie Rose, who has an enviable spot on PBS, can book the most interesting and informed guests — and will not shut up about himself. Rose gets more respect from TV critics, but Snyder’s show was more informative.

Of course, like everyone in LA for a certain duration, we remember that at one time, KNBC, Channel 4, featured Snyder, Tom Brokaw, Pat Sajak and Bryant Gumble, all on the same local broadcast.

Of Walsh and Bergman I have less to say because so many others will say it better. They were confirmed in their respective genius by prodigious achievements over their entire careers. Walsh remade football. Bergman remade the movies. Both were cerebral in a business where thinkers were suspect. But despite their highly abstract thinking prowess, both provided fans with moments that made you gasp and gave you chills. Few movies hit me as hard as “Cries and Whispers.” Few moments made me happier than Montana-to-Clark in the closing moments of the NFC championship game in 1981.

It’s a big day in the history of the 20th Century, which the 21st Century relentlessly digests.

3 thoughts on “R.I.P. Ingmar Bergman, Bill Walsh and Tom Snyder

  1. The Bay Area is definitely in mourning over Bill Walsh’s death. He’s up there with Jerry Garcia in terms of iconic figures. KNBR radio devoted (and may still be devoting) all of its talk radio time to Walsh, taking calls and interviewing all kinds of people who worked with him, including Carmen Policy, Steve Young, Joe Montana, and the journalist Lowell Cohn, who wrote a book about him in 1992. All very interesting stuff. I think they are interview Eddie DeBartolo today.
    Walsh was “the genius” who invented and perfected the “West Coast Offense,” but he should also be remembered for being an incredible talent scout. It took superb players to make it happen, so it wasn’t all Walsh’s game plans by any means. But he also chose those players (Montana, Lott, Rice, Clark, Craig, picking up guys like Russ Francis, Hacksaw Reynolds, Fred Dean and Wendell Tyler, etc.). Even after the Niners were successful and picking nearly last in the draft, he was coming up with great talents and probably having the best drafts of all the teams. Finally, the guy had a wry sense of humor. And one more finally, Policy talked about the pressure atmosphere toward Walsh’s later years, and the later years of the Niner’s dynasty, when it became like Steinbrenner’s Yankees….Super Bowl victory or the season was a failure. It became too much for a guy who was an intellectual and a perfectionist.
    Tom Snyder…brainy? Sort of midwestern wacky, with a great sense of the absurd. I remember his aside looks to the audience during his interviews. Those could be hilarious in themselves, something Ackroyd picked up on for SNL. He was almost like Johnny Carson in that way.
    Bergman, I remember watching my first Bergman film on Channel 13 in LA, very late at night. I think it was the Seventh Seal. Does that still exist? They would show pretty arty films in the wee hours back in the 1970s.
    And…Michael Antonioni (sp) also died yesterday. Memories of the Art Theatre in Long Beach. Still there?

  2. Now, Daf, I don’t believe I called Snyder “brainy.” In fact, he was the first talk show host to admit that he didn’t necessarily read the books by authors he interviewed. As the troika moves through the levels of paradise together, Snyder might do most of the talking, but the strategy will come from Walsh and the images and words will be Bergman’s.

    I doubt there was ever a time when channel 13 in LA (always the low-brow station for its entire history as far as I can remember; it used to be owned by a boat company) would have shown Ingmar Bergman movies. Channel 28 perhaps? That’s the PBS channel in LA, while 13 is the PBS channel in NY.

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