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Free public showing of OBIT
November 9, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
MPBN journalist Irwin Grats will introduce the film, Obit, the first documentary to look into the world of newspaper obituaries, via the obituary desk at The New York Times. Writers are interviewed as they research and compose obituaries, including one for William P. Wilson, who coached John F. Kennedy on his historic TV debate with Richard Nixon, and one for Dick Rich, who developed ground-breaking advertising for Alka-Seltzer. Along the way obits for many other people are discussed, with accompanying film clips of their lives. Writers attend editorial meetings and struggle to get their lede just right in time for the 6 pm print-edition deadline. The lone keeper of the Times’ morgue files, too massive to move to the paper’s new building, describes its functions and shows off some of its treasures, including “advances” — obits written well before a person dies and kept in a locked filing cabinet. One was prepared in 1931 for Elinor Smith, a early aviatrix who the Times apparently did not expect to live long. When she died in 2010, age 98, her advance informed the obit desk almost 80 years after it was written. Public invited
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