Friday, September 23, 2016

EDDIE GREEN: Pioneering Black Filmmaker, Movie Star, Old-Time Radio Icon

In an era when African American entertainers struggled to gain a foothold in show business, Eddie Green rivaled Oscar Micheaux for honors as a pioneering Black filmmaker. Audiences from the Apollo to Broadway propelled Eddie Green into two of America's most popular long-running radio programs, Amos and Andy and Duffy's Tavern. His films have fallen into obscurity, fallen into orphan status as a result of the low-budget independent studios, mere curios on YouTube only if you are seeking out those specific titles. Recordings of his appearances behind the radio microphone circulate among fans of old-time radio, where Eddie Green's talents remain preserved in digital format.

Today, Eddie Green is best known for playing Eddie, the waiter, on the long-running radio comedy, Duffy's Tavern. Ed Gardner and his Duffy's program received more than one award and citation for depicting Eddie Green in a positive life; from an Honor Roll of Race Relations to Variety magazine citing the program as "improving race relations." Much like Eddie "Rochester" Anderson on The Jack Benny Program, Eddie was never the foil -- always the gag man.

ARCHIE: Ransom Sherman has a new radio show, and there is a highly remote possibility that he might hire me.

EDDIE: Yea, but, you ain't no radio actor.

ARCHIE: There are two schools of thought on that, Eddie.

EDDIE: But you never went to either one of them schools... What kind of radio program is this, anyhow?

ARCHIE: Why, it is called, The Nitwit Court.

EDDIE: Oh. You've got that one.

Thankfully, a new book has been published that reveals his contributions beyond radio. Within 190 pages his career is documented through multiple Vitaphone film shorts, a Warner Brothers movie, a vaudeville career, and brief television career. On July 7, 1936, Eddie Green was one of two comedians who were chosen to lend their bit to the first television broadcast by RCA/NBC. Not only did he star in The Hot Mikado on stage in 1939, but reprised his stage role for the same play at the 1939 New York's World's Fair.

Who better to write a book about Eddie Green than his daughter, Elva Diane Green, who spent more than a decade digging into archives, questioning people who worked with her father, and researching old newspapers and magazines. As Elva explains in the introduction, the book is meant to bring her father's name back to the fore of the public's memory, both as a way to honor his vast amount of work, and as a way to provide an example of what a person can accomplish in life regardless of certain obstacles. For one major reason, the most difficult book to write is a biography: unless the author knew the subject personally and intimately, it is extremely difficult to report what they were thinking or feeling. I find most biographies today are padded with plot summaries of stage plays and motion-pictures, lacking trivia about the actor's involvement behind the scenes. Assumptions tend to creep up like facts and authors tend to "assume" how an actor felt without consulting personal letters to verify this. Thankfully, Elva's mother lent a guiding hand in the early stages of this book. And what better way to capture a family tree and preserve an actor's legacy than from his daughter?

Eddie Green: The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer was published by Bear Manor Media this summer and comes with my recommendation. The sands of time may have buried his name, but Eddie Green's laughter still echoes around the world. Thanks to this first-ever biography, a good man is no longer hard to find.

You can buy a copy of the book here:

Elva's website devoted to her father can be found here:

Friday, September 16, 2016

Bing Crosby and the Business of Transcriptions

For collectors of old-time radio, the common complaint is that many radio broadcasts were never recorded and therefore cannot be heard and enjoyed today. For historians who know better, we can thanks Bing Crosby for giving us so much to listen to. Radio broadcasts of the 1930s and 1940s aired live and was at that time considered a "throw away medium" -- broadcast today, scripts were tossed into a box and hours later the script writer was hard at work on the next episode. No one thought about preserving the radio broadcasts via recording and since someone had to foot the bill, unless their was a practical reason the network and sponsor never took time to pay a company to record them. During the 1940s, as a result of a rising trend in technology, many of the top-rated radio personalities wanted to pre-record their radio broadcasts for convenience of a busy schedule. By 1945 there was high pressure and stormy implications brewing for the major networks and of all radio personalities, Bing Crosby was the big barometric push… the preamble of a condition long plaguing the big chains – that of playing a transcription disc across the nation through network feed. 

In 1945, executives at the Mutual Broadcasting System publicly stated they were welcome to the proposal and insisted that within two years taping radio programs in advance would become the standard. ABC granted permission dependent on certain time slots. NBC and CBS, however, had strict policies avoiding the use of transcriptions. Top-rated radio performers longed to record their programs in advance, at a convenient time, rather than perform “live” to the masses… strongly campaigning for the privilege. And it was this fallacy that NBC was short-sighted… costing them a number of their top-rated comedians… including Jack Benny.

It was in the summer of 1945 that relations between Bing Crosby and Kraft Foods was in a state of flux, with the strong possibility that the crooner would not return to the radio mike for the next season. Crosby’s contract with the J. Walter Thompson agency ran through 1946; his contract with Kraft had another five years to realize. When Crosby and his attorney met in Chicago with Willard F. Lochridge, vice president of Thompson, in August of 1945, the singer explained he received flattering offers from potential sponsors and Lochridge was instructed to inform executives at Kraft that he would remain with the cheese outfit only under the terms of a re-negotiated contract -- which included recording the programs in advance. General Motors made a firm offer to sponsor Crosby, broadcast over the Mutual network, via wire recorder. That meant Crosby could make as many as eight or ten radio broadcasts in a single week, thereby allowing him the freedom he wanted for many weeks following. Crosby liked the idea so well he approached NBC with the option of recording the broadcasts in advance on platters. NBC gave a firm no.

The Kraft contract was unusual because it contained a “happiness” clause, which meant Crosby could not be forced to broadcast if he was unhappy about the terms of the contract. His financial advisors assured crooner that if he dropped off radio entirely, he would be losing only $1.50 a week, taxes being what they were. Crosby made his fortune through investments nevertheless his star status and draw appeal was an influence on his business ventures and staying in the radio spotlight was essential to long-term security.

In September, there was an attempt to arrive at an amicable agreement on disputed points in Crosby’s contract. Lawyers in Chicago grappled with the contract problem for a couple of weeks but long discussions ended in the decision to submit Kraft’s latest proposal to Crosby through the offices of the top two executives. Upon learning of the possibility that Crosby might drop Kraft, top radio bankrollers were ordering executives at New York ad agencies to “get Crosby or else.” Everett Crosby, Bing’s brother and agent, handled most of the negotiations, assuring Lochridge that other offers were on the table and some were appealing. Lochridge, when grilled by reporters, claimed “Bing is just tired and wants to take a long rest. There is no contract dispute and he is apparently contented with other phases of his association with Kraft and Thompson.” With five years on the contract, Kraft was unwilling to release Crosby for another sponsor.

“They know Bing’s weakness is canned broadcast so that he isn’t tied down every week and it’s on that promise from which the big pitch is being made,” Jack Hellman reported in Variety. “If it’s open season on Crosby, what’s to prevent Bob Hope, Jim and Marian Jordan, Jack Benny and a few other top-holers from becoming fair game?”

Everett Crosby, meanwhile, asserted that the Kraft contract expired last July, under California law, which placed a seven-year limit on the term of any employment contract. The Thompson agency would not recognize the California law, insisting Crosby was tied to Kraft until 1950.

The stalemate lingered for months, with Kraft in early December making the following public statement, through the J. Walter Thompson Agency, which could be interpreted as a legal threat against any company seeking Crosby as a new client: “Bing Crosby’s sponsor is not trying to force [him] to return to the air, but is rumored to wonder how any other firm could contemplate having Bing for radio in view of his present long-term contract. Legal action is entirely possible under the contract which runs until 1950.”

On January 3, 1946, the Kraft Food Co. filed a suit for declaratory judgment and injunction. On January 2, Crosby was asked to resume with Kraft Music Hall on January 3, the start of a new cycle, and when Crosby flatly refused, court action was initiated.

In a statement issued by Kraft: “The contract originated in 1937 provided for Bing’s radio services during that year with options to Kraft to renew the contract each year into 1950. We have exercised these options to date and have notified Bing of our exercise of the option for 1946. However, Bing claims that there is no longer any agreement enforceable against him, and Kraft has filed this suit in order that the court can determine whether these contracts are still binding and enforceable.”

On January 22, Bing Crosby and Kraft kissed and made up. Crosby would complete the season at the request of the sponsor. Kraft would then give him his release, satisfied with a moral victory.

In March, Procter & Gamble offered Crosby a transcription deal at $22,500 a week if he whipped out his fountain pen. The Mutual Broadcasting System had the firm offer typed on paper, ready and waiting. In May, ABC offered Crosby a stock deal, making him a partner in the network… also offering him a transcription deal.

Transcription business and recording studios were looking forward to halcyon days – and by many account they all depended on Bing Crosby. Where the crooner goes, thus goes the trade, was the belief. Crosby definitely wanted a platter program and he got it. On Thursday, August 15, 1946, Philco and Crosby signed a contract, closing the deal, which would send his voice over 600 stations weekly. The package price for the series was $30,000 a week, with the stipulation that in the event the Hooper rating fell below 12, the series would revert to live broadcasting. (Crosby would snare 24 on his premiere broadcast.) Philco originally wanted five seasons; Everett Crosby negotiated the compromise to a three-year contract. Crosby would get an additional $40,000 per week from 400 independent radio stations for the rights to broadcast the 30-minute show, which was sent to them on three 15-inch lacquer/aluminum discs that played ten minutes per side at 33 and 1/3 rpm.

In mid-October, network fears of the threat of transcribed shows were stressed when several gags about Bing Crosby’s transcribed show, which were to have been used on Rudy Vallee’s live layout for NBC on the evening of October 22, were blue-penciled by NBC brass shortly before the show went on the air. The network’s action brought cracks to the effect that “it’s about time” from trade columnists, who wondered what happened to NBC’s ban on cross references following jokes on the Jack Benny, Bob Hope and Ed Gardner programs also about Crosby being transcribed.

Despite the ban on Crosby jokes on Rudy Vallee’s program, Bob Hope came through for his sidekick via ad-libs on his New York-originated show the same evening, also on NBC, in which he plugged Crosby in an exchange with guest Clifton Fadiman – to give further credence to the fact that the names were hot to follow Crosby’s lead in going plattered. Crosby, meanwhile, tucked six disc shows under his belt and went off on a hunting trip at his ranch in Elko, Nevada, with Jimmy Demaret and Ben Hogan, pro golfers. Crosby would not have had to make additional transcriptions for more than a month. Legend has it that Crosby wanted to record productions in advance so he could devote more time to golf. In reality, he visited a hospital twice during his strike with Kraft Foods as a result of exhaustion. Network executives couldn’t understand how it was so fatiguing to work seven days a week with writers conferences, rehearsals, agency executives and radio studios. Meanwhile, Benny, Hope and Gardner had to continue working week after week, live at the studios.

Two years after Crosby began transcribing his programs in advance, the June 9, 1948, issue of Variety reported that Bing Crosby “has disproved network arguments that transcriptions aren’t as good as live shows. Tape has in the past year completely altered not only the operation on top ABC shows, but has changed the thinking of the entire industry regarding recorded programs.”

Flash forward to 1948. Jack Benny and Amos and Andy made the switch to CBS. This was the start of what has become the notorious talent raids. Sure, CBS threw big money at the comedians and literally owned the actors who were forbidden henceforth to appear on NBC or ABC without permission -- they practically became CBS property. But the deal breaker in those negotiations was not the cash aspect... it was permission to record the programs in advance in the same manner as Bing Crosby. According to one source, Jack Benny shook hands with William S. Paley and told him, "You have me."

It wouldn’t be until February 3, 1949, that NBC made it official that taped or pre-recorded programs would be permitted on the network. By then, however, it was too late and NBC lost a dozen of their top rated radio personalities. The network’s long-standing policy against recorded programs was revived “as a further step towards promoting program flexibility and improving service to listeners,” quoted Ken Dyke, administrative vice president in charge of programs. The procedure would be followed only where talent, advertiser, agency and network agreed that the show would be improved by use of the transcriptions. Ampex tape machines were installed at NBC and it was theorized by many in the industry that most of the network programs would be transcribed before the season ended.* CBS would soon announce a similar policy on recordings since the acquisition of Bing Crosby, whose shows had been taped in advance on ABC, but this was a "public trade release" and CBS was already transcribing their programs for the benefit of their top-rated clients.

* Al Jolson got the first crack at tape-recording an NBC show, the first to get the Ampex treatment, for his March 10 broadcast of The Kraft Music Hall.

Crosby fulfilled this three-year commitment to Philco and ABC, accepting a lucrative offer with CBS under sponsorship with Chesterfield, beginning in September of 1949. Seeking better quality through recording, including being able to eliminate mistakes and control the timing of his show performances, the singer used the latest and best sound equipment and arranged the microphones his way; the logistics of microphone placement had been a debated issue in every recording studio since the beginning of the electrical era. Using his own Bing Crosby Enterprises to produce the show, the investment allowed Crosby to make even more money by finding a loophole whereby the IRS couldn’t tax him at a 77 percent rate.

The latest in technology, taping the broadcasts instead of transcribing them, allowed Crosby to do a 35 or 40-minute show, then edit it down to the 26 or 27 minutes required. Taking out jokes, gags or situations that didn’t play well, what remained was only the prime mat of the show; the solid stuff that played big. The second season of the Philco shows were taped with the new Ampex Model 200 tape recorder, using the new Scotch 111 tape from the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M) company. Crosby’s investment was more prominent than critics could anticipate when the networks began adapting similar technology, becoming customers of an industry standard set by the singer.

On March 1, 1949, NBC executives at the “affiliate crisis meeting” in Chicago spotlighted attention on the just-released annual statement of the parent Radio Corp. of America, with its net annual earnings of $24,000,000, as evidence that it would take more than the loss of a few shows and personalities to put the network out of business. In effect, NBC’s argument was that “with $24,000,000 you can buy 12 Jack Bennys and 24 Bing Crosbys” (at the CBS rate of exchange).

In another effort to counter the talent raids, NBC developed moderately-budgeted programs. Hoping to avoid losses, the network retained either full or part control of the packages, avoiding advertising agencies, and sought commercial sponsorship themselves. Among the projected was the signing of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis to a weekly series, James Mason and his wife for a whodunit series (titled Illusion, a.k.a. The James and Pamela Mason Show), and a revival of Rogue’s Gallery with Dick Powell. (Powell would star in a detective program, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, after Rogue’s Gallery failed to be revived.) Proposals that never met fruition was a Kenny Delmar series based on the fictional character of Senator Claghorn, and radio serialization of The Man Who Came to Dinner. (The latter of which was revised as a weekly program with Monty Woolley titled The Magnificent Montague.

Less than nine months from Benny’s debut on CBS, Paley managed to lure other comedians from NBC to CBS: George Burns and Gracie Allen, Bing Crosby (both premiered on CBS on the evening of September 21, 1949), Edgar Bergen, Red Skelton (both October 2), and Horace Heidt (September 4). Bergen was a television enthusiast for years, understanding that his act worked best visually, and devoted considerable time during his temporary “retirement” to filming two television pilots, which he bankrolled himself. His television debut was on Thanksgiving 1950, weeks after he made his CBS radio debut. The pilot was produced by Bergen himself, of which 30,000 feet of film was shot – 27,000 feet ended up on the cutting room floor. Bergen understood the risks involved, having to compete against Paul Winchell who beat Bergen to the punch on television, and was willing to take a financial loss on the pilot in an effort to make a big impression with the network. (Footage that remained from the cutting room floor was later edited into a second proposed pilot. Coca Cola bankrolled part of the budget.)

During the summer of 1949, Paley was reported making overtures to Al Jolson into the Columbia fold. Paley was hot after the singer after the theatrical release of The Jolson Story (1946) but the singer was grabbed by Kraft and NBC. With a client interested, stemming from the anticipated success of Jolson’s new pic, Jolson Sings Again (1949), it was Paley’s hope to succeed where he lost two years prior. “Already raising its arm as the Champ of the Year in gross time sales, CBS has demonstrated how money and shrewd business acumen can parlay a network into No. 1 position,” wrote George Rosen in Variety. “NBC’s loss of major accounts and top stars to CBS is already reflected in the comparative billings – this year vs. last year – and in the amount of good time available and client who’s interested.” NBC continued to create in-house programs, co-owned by the network, including Dangerous Assignment, Dimension X and The Big Show -- the latter of which (don't let anyone tell you otherwise) was created solely to kill Jack Benny's career for switching networks.

Historians have been quick to point out the financials involved, but historical perspective verifies the true lure to CBS was the promise of transcribing broadcasts in advance – and NBC was temporarily shortsighted and stubborn to change their policy regarding pre-recorded radio broadcasts. NBC, however, was a fighting network and still determined to inch back into grandeur and stature, evident by lavish excursions into promotion and public relations, the earmarking of millions of dollars for new programs, proving that there would always be an NBC to reckon with. But that is another story for another time.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Hopalong Cassidy Museum Destroyed By Fire

Cambridge, Ohio. The birthplace of William Boyd, the actor who was known to a generation of baby boomers as Hopalong Cassidy. In town you can find a statue in the image of Hopalong Cassidy, a monument to a local who went to Hollywood and became famous. Local artist Alan Cottrill was responsible for the life-size statue, commissioned by Laura Bates, who founded the Hopalong Cassidy festival in Cambridge, along with other members of a Hopalong Cassidy fan club. The statue was dedicated in the spring of 2016. Today you can visit Cambridge and pose for a photograph with the statue. Last year I paid a visit to Cambridge to check out the museum and have my photo taken with the statue. I grew up with Hopalong Cassidy and The Lone Ranger, now considered my two favorite childhood cowboy heroes.

Vendor room at the Hopalong Cassidy Festival.

In May of 2015, the 25th annual Hopalong Cassidy festival was held in Cambridge. Started in 1991, the festival attracted legions of "faithful buckaroos" who enjoyed watching the movies, wandering the vendor room and sharing a common interest. 2015 also marked the final year of the festival. Attendance was in decline and faithful attendees saw the handwriting on the wall. The root cause, officially, was the result of an aging fan base. This will come as no surprise to a legion of dedicated fans who flock to the Williamsburg Film Festival and Winston-Salem Western Film Fair, both of which announced next year would also be their final convention. Perhaps a changing of the times that will become more evident over the coming years.

Cambridge was also host to a Hopalong Cassidy Museum, where fans driving along I-70 could take a quick ten-minute detour and visit the structure housing Hopalong Cassidy merchandise, collectibles and historical items. Due to declining tourism, many of the items in the museum were also for sale so the collection was, for many years, slowly dwindling in size. Just a short time ago, on the evening of September 3, 2016, around 7:30 p.m., the building housing the antique shop and Hopalong Cassidy museum was in flames. A fire broke out and thankfully the Cambridge Fire Department was only one block away from the museum. According to Chief Jeff Deeks, the crews from four different fire departments worked to contain the fire from outside until around midnight. Because of he intricate maze of walls and possible combustibles in the basement, the fire department immediately went on the defensive. Crews were able to enter the building early Sunday morning to recover what could be salvaged of Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers memorabilia. 

At present, there has been no word on what caused the fire.

Thankfully, no archival materials have been reported among the inventory before the fire. This means original 35mm camera negatives, tape masters and exclusive photographs were not lost in the flames. But while a community of Hopalong Cassidy fans mourn what will probably be the last remnants of William Boyd's memorial beyond the recently-dedicated statue on Main Street in Cambridge, the event should also serve as a reminder that anything archival can be lost for all time by threat of flood or fire. Many private collectors and archives across the country house one-of-a-kind historical items that once lost are gone from history. For public institutions such as university libraries and museums, preservation is many times handicapped by red tape and a lack of motivation by someone who can spearhead a preservation effort. Red tape can sometimes be in the form of lack of staff (or interns) or money. 

Items left over from the fire.
Other times employees of an institution do not prioritize what is considered historical in value. And sadly, many times employees find reasons and excuses why preservation should not be made due to ignorance. Among private collectors, acquisition ensures bragging rights. But without an effort to preserve the materials, bragging rights can lead to embarrassment and condemnation throughout a community when floor or fire claims another page from history and the collector could -- and should -- have done something prior.

I would like to state that preservation comes in the form of four bullet points. The lack of any point listed below, and the failure to adhere to all four of these points is not true preservation. Libraries claim a superior water sprinkler system and a controlled environment ensure long-term preservation. But paper will submit to foxing (an age-related process that causes browning and flaking of old paper) no matter the environment or precautions placed on the materials. 

1. Digital scan of the highest dpi. (If the scanner and software you use offers 6400 x 9600, use it.)

2. Preserving all images, including written documents, in tiff format. While Facebook and other platforms encourage jpg and pdf, tiff is considered across the board for archival purposes. If you prefer jpg and pdf for your own use, consider scanning the item in both formats.

3. Avoid alterations. There is a difference between a restoration and an alteration. If you choose to use Adobe photoshop to eliminate cracks in a photograph, remember anything you do to the digital image is an "alteration," not a "restoration" because you are altering the photo to give a more pleasing general appearance. Nothing wrong with this process, but retain the original scan. You never know what software will come around ten years from now and you will then wish you maintained the original to work from again.

4. Create an off-site back-up. And make a back-up of a back-up. There is no benefit to create two back-ups of a digital file is flood or fire claims them all at once.

Items left over from the fire.
Only adhering to the above will preservation be ensured. Mourn for the Hopalong Cassidy Museum today but if you have archival and historical items in your possession, consider digitizing in the highest quality and creating off-site backups. (For collectors who are more concerned about the financial value than historical... remember that a digital scan of the item and the receipt can help recover your purchase cost regarding insurance in the event of floor or fire so your efforts are two-fold.)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Free Video Streaming from the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention

It's that time again. Another annual sales pitch for the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, held September 15 to 17, 2016, at the Hunt Valley Wyndham. Three days of nostalgic fun recognizing a bygone era where cowboys were heroes you could look up to, Bond girls were both beauty and deadly, and science-fiction was both thought-provoking and entertaining. Celebrities sign autographs and pose for photos with fans, vendors sell lots of merchandise and collectibles, a movie room screens films 24 hours a day, and slide show seminars will provide an educational aspect prompting deeper appreciation for classic movies and old-time radio.

This year provides a novelty that cannot be found from most conventions and film festivals: the event will be video streamed live courtesy of Facebook. In the past, the convention video-streamed the seminars and celebrity panels so that folks who lived in Alaska, Oregon, England and other geographical locations that made it difficult to attend the show in person, could watch the events as they unfolded. But the companies responsible for this technology charged a fee and MANC, in turn, had to charge a small fee to viewers for this service. Worse, the camera was not mobile because of the direct Internet connection which restricted the camera from moving behind its position. This year Facebook introduced a new form of social networking, video streaming, with a few perks that will raise eyebrows.

Thanks to Facebook, the events through the weekend will be video-streamed for free. Facebook does not charge for the streaming service so MANC does not have to charge a fee. Wireless internet in the hotel also ensures the camera will be mobile through the weekend so on top of the slide show seminars there will be exclusive one-on-one interviews with celebrities and viewers can ask questions and the celebrities will answer them for you. And a charity auction to benefit the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital will be open for those viewing the stream, allowing you a chance to bid on items. If you have never attended the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, here is your chance to be there without leaving the confines of your own home.

Robert Fuller from WAGON TRAIN
Celebrity guests include Robert Fuller (Wagon Train, Laramie, Emergency), Kent McCord (Adam-12), Bernie Kopell (Get Smart, The Love Boat), Robert Conrad (The Wild, Wild West, Hawaiian Eye), Luciana Paluzzi (Bond girl from Thunderball), Britt Ekland (Bond girl from The Man with the Golden Gun, The Wicker Man, Get Carter), John Amos (Good Times, Roots, The West Wing), Gary Lockwood (The Lieutenant, 2001: A Space Odyssey), Keir Dullea (2001: A Space Odyssey, The CBS Radio Mystery Theater), Kathy Garver (A Family Affair, The Ten Commandments), and others.

Here is the schedule of events (Eastern Time)

Few notes of interest. Streaming may begin Wednesday night for an informal backstage tour of the event itself. In the afternoon where there are no events scheduled, Thursday and Friday, there may be walk-around where you can see vendors and their merchandise, celebrities signing autographs for fans, exclusive interviews with the celebrities, and conversations with magazine editors, museum curators and film preservationists (including one from the Library of Congress). On Friday afternoon there will be a pan and scan of the items available for auction to help benefit the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital so if you want to place a bid on an item or two, details will be provided at the time. The first presentation on Saturday morning will not be video streamed, nor will the two movies scheduled, but most of the other events will be streamed.

If you are not on Facebook, sincere apologies for this news item. Streaming is provided through Facebook so this is the only venue. The link to the convention's Facebook page (you will have to "like" the page to watch the streaming for free) is enclosed below. Video will stream automatically so there is practically nothing else you have to do beyond liking the page.