Monday, May 12, 2014

A letter from Nancy Malone

Last March, Elaine and I wrote a letter to Nancy Malone. We told her — in a bit of understatement — that we had become die-hard Naked City fans. We praised the show’s writing, acting, and cinematography. We told her that we especially liked hearing Adam and Libby talk in poetry: “Hail to thee, blithe salami-bringer! Bird thou never wert.” We wondered if there might have been a backstory that explained such stuff. Did Adam and Libby meet in college, perhaps?

We were (as we explained) going on an incomplete acquaintance with the series, knowing only the episodes then available in a 10-DVD set. Had we seen the entire run (now available in a 29-DVD set), we would have known that Adam Flint was an English major who wrote a thesis on Emily Dickinson (as revealed in this episode). But that still wouldn’t explain how Adam and Libby met.

We were thrilled to get a reply, postmarked June 1 and beginning “Dear Michael and Elaine.” Nancy thanked us for our letter and praised the show’s writers and directors and crew. She called the director of photography Jack Priestly “simply astounding.” And she answered our question:

[“The back story on how they [insert: Libby + Adam] met was never make clear to us — we just invented our past — and as Paul was a joy to work with — he agreed + I agreed to our relationship from — ‘chance meeting in an acting class’ etc.”]

So there is more to Adam Flint than we ever suspected.

The Archive of American Television’s Naked City page has a wonderful interview with Nancy Malone. The conversation about the series begins at 40:47. Here’s her description of auditioning actors for the part of Adam Flint: “As soon as Paul Burke walked in the room, I thought, You better not go any further.” And explaining the chemistry between the characters: “Paul Burke and Nancy Malone were crazy people, who loved each other as people and trusted each other as actors.”

Elaine and I will always be grateful to Nancy Malone for taking the time to respond to our deep affection for her work.

Related reading
All OCA Naked City posts (Pinboard)

comments: 1

The Crow said...

Cool, Michael! Way cool.