American Experience: W.R. Hearst. Anyone Care to Comment?

Was on PBS this week.
A two part show on Monday and Tuesday night.

I would like to hear others opinions.

I enjoyed it. Younger Hearst was more complicated and interesting than I realized, though older Hearst was about what I expected. It was also interesting to see the juxtaposition of Citizen Kane and reality.

They probably didn’t cover the fact that Krazy Kat would likely have been killed in a lot of Hearst papers if he didn’t save it. It didn’t enjoy mass appeal, but luckily Hearst liked it.
Did they mention his war on Roscoe Arbuckle?

Better than anything on network TV, for sure. Still need to get to part two. Been drinkin’, pourin’ concrete and lumberjacking.

I enjoyed it. I learned a lot more about Hearst. E.g., I never knew how close he came to going broke during the depression.

I appreciated that they described the similarities–and the differences–between Hearst’s real life, and the way “Citizen Kane” portrayed it.

Maybe I’m reading this into it, but they seemed often to be hinting at how similar he was to Donald Trump, with the huge ego, insane appetites, and single-minded ambitions. Hearst also (like Trump) employed the strategy of being in debt constantly.

I didn’t get that so much - for one thing, despite his appetites, unless I missed it he was faithful to Davies for thirty years (yes, I know, “faithful to his mistress” has a funny sound, but it was an era when divorcing was much more difficult). But now that you ask, I can see the parallels.

There are two types of documentaries nowadays: Errol Morris, with eye-on interviews and quasi-circus music - favored by the streaming services. Or the Ken Burns PBS house style with interviewees looking off-camera and lingering photos. (For Brits there’s also the Adam Curtis style with oddball stock footage).

Luckily for us, this docu dispensed with the Ken Burns technique of wasting ten minutes or so at the start by putting us in the mood to watch a docu about Milton Berle or patio furniture or whatever, and how that informs our personal being as Americans, and got straight to the subject thank you. And also, thankfully Peter Krause doesn’t intone every remark with the profundity used by Peter Coyote for even the most trivial details.

Grateful for these upgrades by PBS, the only improvements I’d want would have been current, HD full-color video of San Simeon and the swag.

Now please do another, about Marjorie Merriweather Post