March 3-5, 2000
volume 11, no. 45

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INTRODUCTION     In order to provide the reader more than just a rehash of what a movie or video is all about which really only serves to promote a film or program despite the rating, we have decided to bring you a more in-depth feature by enlisting Michael Vincent Boyer, editor and publisher of the excellent monthly tabloid magazine "Goodbye Hollywood". Like fellow columnist Pat Ludwa, Michael also hails from northern Ohio but for the past twenty plus years has lived in the deep south. Yet, because of his intrinsic inside work with the Hollywood establishment as Director of the Alabama Film Commission, he is well aware of the state of the industry and most of what he has seen is not compatable with the teachings of the Church. For that reason he began his monthly publication and has begun writing a regular in-depth, thought-provoking, sometimes shocking column for the DailyCATHOLIC. After Lent he will expand even further in providing a brief daily guide of programs that may not be all they're cracked up to be, or a program that might slip through the cracks and be forgotten even though it is excellent. This happens often and Michael will be on top of it to enlighten readers as to what Hollywood is truly up to as he infiltrates the devil's workshop - Hollywood USA!

   Because he will dealing with how all this affects Catholics we are calling the column: "HOLY WOULD HELP HOLLYWOOD" with the subtitles: "MOVIES & MORALS." Also, because he will be treating videos both in VCR rentals and video games and how we need to be on our guard, we're also subtitling it: "VIDEOS & VIRTUES;" and finally, he'll also be covering programs and programming decisions for television and how we need to keep in mind the great cardinal virtue of Temperance to guard and guide us in our viewing - thus subtitling it: "TELEVISION & TEMPERANCE." Therefore, all three subtitles are appropriate to effectively convey the topics he'll be covering.

   For past columns by Michael Vincent Boyer, see MOVIES & MORALS-VIDEOS & VIRTUES-TELEVISION & TEMPERANCE Archives.    If you want to send him ideas or feedback, you can reach him at

    What Hollywood doesn't want you to know

    Fred MacMurray: A Catholic actor whose respect for God and his Faith showed in his respect for his audience and profession

        " Fred MacMurray was not only a superhero to his fans, but to his family as a devout husband and devoted father, who never strayed in a town where straying and infidelity have become the norm. "

          Alas, Disney has gone from being the icon of family values in the entertainment industry to the harbinger of the culture of death since the passing of the baton from Walt Disney and past Disney glories to Michael Eisner and the greed and disregard for decency which has become the benchmark of Eisner's regime. Poor Walt, he must be turning over in his grave. And so must his good and close friend, Fred MacMurray the stalwart actor born in Kankakee, Illinois on August 30, 1908 who was born to Maleta Martin and Frederick MacMurray, a concert violinist. They were a good Catholic family who saw to young Fred's Catholic education and higher learning in music at Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. From that he went on play in a Chicago orchesra, then one in Hollywood where he first met Walt. Their bond would last a lifetime.

          Long before American television audiences came to know Fred MacMurray as the benevolent father-figure Steve Douglas on "My Three Sons" the acclaimed actor had already been a major star of motion pictures for over thirty years, appearing in leading roles that spanned the spectrum of comedy, drama, and adventure films. By 1960, MacMurray was enjoying time away from movies, preferring to spend more time with his second wife June Haver who he had married in 1954 after his first wife Lillian Lamont had died in 1953. He had a daughter Susan and a son Robert by Lillian and two daughters Kathryn and Laurie with June who he stayed with and cherished the rest of his life.

          In 1960, director Billy Wilder was in pre-production for a cynical comedy about a corporate ladder climber, Jack Lemmon, who attempts to get ahead by loaning out his apartment key to various executives for their extramarital affairs. Because of MacMurray's immense popularity, Wilder wanted MacMurray to play Lemmon's "heel" of a boss in a role that was uncharacteristic of any role he had previously portrayed. MacMurray expressed his concern to Wilder, explaining that the public had come to expect his screen portrayals of individuals with higher character. He explained to Wilder that he "didn't want to disappoint the audience."

          Director Wilder persisted and pleaded with MacMurray to take the role. Finally, MacMurray agreed to play the sleazy boss in a role that is called a "heavy" in acting terminology. Though he received high praise for his role in the finished film "The Apartment", mainly by critics who praised it as "uncharacteristic", MacMurray was never really comfortable with the with the movie or the "character" he portrayed. He would soon find out just how highly the audience had regarded him.

          In 1961 MacMurray and his wife June took their two children to Disneyland. While walking through the amusement park, a lady approached MacMurray with an angry scowl on her face. The woman immediately began a long tirade against MacMurray, explaining to him that she had come to respect him as an actor over the years for playing "upstanding" and "outstanding" roles, and she expected as much when she told the actor, "For that reason I took my daughter to see you in that movie "The Apartment" and I was ashamed." The incident so unsettled MacMurray that he vowed never again to play a "heavy". While many stories require characters of that nature in order to establish good versus evil, the type-cast "villain" has long been a mainstay of Hollywood depictions of low character. The movie critic's praise of his role was mainly a cynical celebration that MacMurray's mold was "broken".

          Keeping his promise of audience allegiance, MacMurray soon began a profitable relationship with the formerly respectable Walt Disney Company starring in "The Absent Minded Professor" in 1961, one of the year's most popular comedies and heads and tails above the filth Eddie Murphy promoted in a ripoff of the same name a few years ago. A few years after that first movie came out, MacMurray would begin his regular appearance as the widowed father Steve Douglas on the CBS series "My Three Sons", one of the highest rated shows in network television. MacMurray played a caring father raising three young boys and solving the problems of growing up and sharing his unique wisdom and advice on everything from going to school to camping trips.

          The darker forces in Hollywood that MacMurray fought eventually crept up again in 1971 when "My Three Sons "fell victim to the "CBS Massacre" by new television chief Fred Silverman who canceled all the network's most popular prime-time shows including Ed Sullivan, "Green Acres," "Petticoat Junction," "Mayberry RFD," Carol Burnett, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason, "Gomer Pyle" and many more.

          However, MacMurray had the last bitter laugh as he lived another two decades and sadly witnessed, along with the rest of America, the long slide and downfall of CBS, which never recovered from its prime-time "massacre." It was, in essence, the very thing that happened to America as morals have declined ever since. But the moral character of Fred MacMurray never waivered for every role was important to him in realizing his responsibility to his audience to convey the good qualities of a human being even if some of the characters he played were less than that, everyone knew the man playing that role was everybit the outstanding citizen he was. Through 98 films he graced the silver screen with grace and this strong character was also the visual inspiration for the original illustrations of the superhero Captain Marvel. Fred MacMurray was not only a superhero to his fans, but to his family as a devout husband and devoted father, who never strayed in a town where straying and infidelity have become the norm. Fred MacMurray never bought into that immoral lifestyle and died as he lived - nobly. He passed away from pneumonia at the age of 83 on November 5, 1991 and was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery. He may be gone, but hopefully his legacy will live on and someday more Fred MacMurrays will come forth to renew Hollywood, having as their role model the untouchable, indubitable Fred MacMurray.

    Michael Vincent Boyer


March 3-5, 2000
volume 11, no. 45

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