Orson Bean: USA Culture Would Be Healthier if Hollywood Were More Capitalistic
Appearing on Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125, Orson Bean, the actor who is also Andrew Breitbart's father-in-law, said that America's culture could be a lot healthier if Hollywood were more capitalistic.
Bean, who guest-hosted the The Tonight Show over a hundred times as a substitute for Jack Paar and Johnny Carson and was also a guest on the show 96 times, recalled a time when Americans were united by a common popular culture because everyone watched the same programs on the same three networks. He said late-night hosts back then booked "raconteurs who told tales and were interesting," and guests weren't just "plugging the latest movies." He also said that hosts like Carson were really interested in a plethora of topics and had a diversity of guests from various fields because "they liked the art of conversation."
Bean spoke glowingly about the culture of that era, especially the movies that Americans all saw and talked about.
"When I grew up, which was really in the 30s and the 40s, the movies were a moral guideline for me," he said.
Bean shared that he grew up in a "dysfunctional home with an alcoholic father and suicidal mother," and the movies "provided a basis for my values" where "good overcame bad."
Bean stated that moviemakers back then, from Jews who came to America and loved the opportunity to flourish here to the Irish and Italian filmmakers, "wanted to celebrate America" in their films.
He said he came out of the movies wanting to achieve like Spencer Tracy's Tom Edison or cure diseases, such as syphilis, like Edward G. Robinson's Paul Ehrlich.
Bean lamented that movies today are all about "who blows up the bus best" and are not as "inspiring" as movies from fifty years ago.
When asked how the cultural climate could change, Bean said that if moviemakers cared more about profits and less about their standing in Hollywood's social pecking order, the country's culture could be a lot healthier and more wholesome.
He suggested the benefits that would ensue "if only the moviemakers would stick to greed," noting that even a "lame" movie like Son of God raked in $50 million because there exists a "hunger" for culturally conservative films.
According to Bean, many religious and culturally conservative films do well financially, even though they are not very good. And he pointed out that if Hollywood wanted to tap into, and even exploit, the thirst that is out there for movies celebrating values and America, it could get good writers to produce the best scripts and make those movies even better.
"They would rather have their friends say, 'You really stuck it to the church' than make money," Bean lamented.
Former Sen. Fred Thompson said that movies that show the "triumph of good values" don't get made, despite doing well at the box office, because producers and directors don't want to get the "scorn of their colleagues."
And John Sullivan, co-director of 2016: Obama's America, has said that Hollywood executives care too much about the "cocktail currency," instead of the bottom line. Furthermore, they do not want to be known as the person or director responsible for movies that appeal to Middle America because of its pro-Americanism and conservatism.
Movies and culture matter, which is why the late Andrew Breitbart always said that it was upstream from politics.
Bean said that his son-in-law was a liberal until he saw a book by Rush Limbaugh in Bean's library.
"Take it home and read it, Andrew," Bean recalled saying to Breitbart.
After reading the book, Breitbart admitted that he surprisingly found that Limbaugh had some great points, "and it went on from there."
The actor mentioned that while many people start off as liberals and become conservatives, not as many people who start off as conservatives become liberals.
Bean joined Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125 on the day the Breitbart California bureau launched, and host Stephen K. Bannon said that none of Breitbart News' platforms would exist were it not for Bean's influence on his late son-in-law Andrew Breitbart.