Previously unknown Bukowski interview (1 Viewer)


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This was in my inbox this morning:

DO you know anything about the videotaped interview featuring Fred Havens and Charles Bukowski which was shot at a local cable outlet in Santa Monica in 1973?

The name of the videotape is "Media People" and the interview is 30 mins in length in black and white.

I responded that I did not know of any such tape, but I did know quite a few people who would be very interested in seeing it. ;)
Apparently he's considering a commercial release. I'll let you know when I have more details. Though I suppose it would be a way off, since that kind of thing takes time.

He mentioned the possibility of making it available online, but I don't think that would bode well for the commercial fate. I would rather see it on the TV screen than the computer screen, but I suppose any viewing would be a good viewing.

He's already teasing the Bukowski program on his site:
the only Fred Havens I've ever heard of
Was a Tech Consultant
On Michael Douglas's Wall St.....
Can't possibly be the same guy.
And 1973, Christ no,...
Or am I out of the loop (again)?
not a bad interview. The full length is 30 minutes? Not sure how many he'll sell, but I'd probably buy one...

Does anyone know who owns the rights to something like this? Is is Buk or the interviewer? The producer?
This would have been a perfect extra on the Born Into This DVD, or even a re-release of Barfly, etc.

Interesting that the interview is in 1973 and he says he's writing Women, which didn't come out until 1978.

cirerita, your timeline says he started Women in 1975 under the title of Love Tales of the Hyena. This would seem to contradict that. said:
Does anyone know who owns the rights to something like this? Is is Buk or the interviewer? The producer?
Good question. I know the guys who own the tapes of the final readings had to get permission from Linda for a commercial release...
mjp said:
cirerita, your timeline says he started Women in 1975 under the title of Love Tales of the Hyena. This would seem to contradict that.

that's possible. he began his "women adventures" in 1971, so 1973 is a feasible year. I can't recall where I got the info re. he started Love Tales in 1975, though.
correct me if I'm wrong since my listening comprehension might be a bit rusty nowadays, but I think the interviewer says right at the beginning that B is 56 years old and that he has already published Post Office and Factotum, which means the interview was conducted in 1976 or 1977, not in 1973.

Maybe Love Tales was actually began in 1975 after all :D
Actually, '76 or '77 may also be too early. Even though the host says he's 56, that doesn't seem right (would Bukowski have corrected him if he gave his age incorrectly? Probably not). According to the owner of the tape, at one point the host "is holding a pre-release copy of [Women]. Linda Lee also appears briefly at the very end of the program."

He and Linda didn't start seeing each other regularly until 1977, but the main thing that dates this is the fact that a review copy of Women wouldn't have been published until the late summer/early fall of 1978, since the book was released in December.

If anyone knows the dates of the review copies feel free to correct me. But I think in general by the time they get to the printed review copy stage, Black Sparrow was pretty close to release.
Hi, it's me, the guy who is attempting to get the 1973 Buk interview on the market.
I'm up to my ass in work right now so this has to be quick and to the point.
I hadn't pulled the tape off the shelf in eight years or more so right away I was wrong about a couple of things. I wasnt able to watch it while I re-encoded but later I sat down and went through it and here are the corrections.

Fred (the interviewer who drank Buk under the table to get the interview) is holding a copy of "Post Office", and it was already in circulation at the time of the interview.

Bukowski mentions that he is working on (or wrapping up) a new book called "Women", which he jokingly says he is dedicating to himself".

The cable outlet studio in Santa Monica that provided the studio facilities for the show opened its doors in '73, and according to Fred, this interview was supposedly the first or second show they taped. That's right, the very first, or at the most, second, and it was telecast on "Cable Channel F".

If my memory serves me right, that would have been Theta Cable TV, the first frachise in the area, at a time when Select TV and OnTV were still vying for their share of the pay TV market. Once the area got fully wired, Select TV and OnTV both sold their facilities to Spanish broadcasting outfits.

Of course the dates might be off by a bit and of course this would not surprise me either, for a couple of reasons. First, because Fred's recollection of the whole thing seemed to be a bit hazy when he approached me to do the format conversion and remastering, and it took several weeks trying different half-inch machines before I hit on the right one by sheer luck.

I only had two working half-inch reel to reel video decks and neither one was the correct type. It turned out that this was the infamous EIAJ half-inch format which would place it roughly in 1973 vintage. The format could handle color if I remember correctly but the studio only had black and white cameras at the time.

Fred also won the permission to interview Charles by outdrinking him, so if you consider what it takes to outdo the champ at his chosen form of amusment, that's a prodigious task and it took its toll on Fred, who although he was a great person, might not have had the acuity to remember something that took place twenty years prior.

Come to think of it maybe my own brain pan might resemble a piece of rotting Swiss cheese now that I think about it, but anyway that's what I am using and the markers I can come up with point roughly to 1973 but I defer to the literary experts here who have a better grip on what the man published and when he did so.

I doubt it would have been much after 1975 at the latest because by that time almost any industrial outlet like a cable system would have dumped the catankerous reel to reel decks in favor of the Sony 3/4 inch U-Matic videocassette systems which rapidly came into favor the world over.
Chief reason was the fact that U-Matic boasted near total compatibility unlike the far-flung and obscure reel to reel formats trotted out by competing firms.

I'll close by saying that I'd like to find out for sure if Fred Havens is breathing or not before I make a move, but the last I heard he was no longer with us, and I'd also like to say that the quality of the actual tape is a lot better than the teaser I put up, but still one must bear in mind that it WAS shot on wobbly equipment that ran on a wing and a prayer, so don't expect IMAX or HD viewing is what it is, a 30 minute piece of unearthed rare treasure from Charles Bukowski that has been sitting on my shelf since I remastered it in 1992.
I'm probably going to take another stab at tweaking it a little more to get better results. I'm known for my fanatical devotion to working with ancient videotape, so maybe I can squeeze a few more pixels out while I wait to find out more news.

Wish me luck, and thanks for listening!

Cheers, and happy motoring,
JeffH in Texas
The interviewer mentions the book "factotum", which was published on Dec 18, 1975, so this must be 1976 or later, but probably not much later. It could not be 1973, though and 1975 is pushing it, although it COULD be very, very late in 1975.

Hi, it's me again, the Deep Freeze Video guy.
I've made numerous and unsuccessful attempts to get in touch with someone in the Bukowski organization. I know Linda Lee would like to be advised of the material and I'd like her to be involved with it somehow, but so far I've had ZERO luck in getting a response from anyone who is connected and I am appealing to ANYONE on this board who might have a connection.

Although it's only a thirty minute interview I feel this is an important program because it shows Hank in a somewhat different light than most of the interviews and because Hank is so amiable (to quote another poster in the forum).

There's only a finite amount of this material left undiscovered and this is one piece of history that should not go unheralded.

So please, if ANYONE can raise a response from Hank's people I would be deeply appreciative.

JeffH in Mansfield Texas
Have you called Ecco/HArperCollins? That would be the first place to go. Otherwise, if you make a couple copies of the full tape, I can make sure that it gets into Linda's hands. I can't guarantee that she'll grant permission, but that may be your best bet if you want a non-bootleg release of this. No one would grant permission, especially Linda, without seeing every second of the tape. Imagine if he said something very slanderous. That could be a tape that they don't want to surface. Also, Linda may already have a copy. HAnk may have been given a copy and he would have kept it. As much as he painted himself as in other lights, he had almost every magazine that he was published in, including some of the rare early ones. Probably only missing that copy of "write"!

If you can have a final before the Huntington reception (Sept 9th (?)), then there would probably be a few people that could get it to her.

All best,
Most probably 1977. He looks healthy. The hair and the healthy look seems to match up with photos taken around the time of Love is a Dog From Hell.

Absolutely NOT 1973 or 1974 or 1975. Buk was born August 1920; to be 56 the interview had to come after August 1976. And yes, Buk would have corrected the dude if he had given the wrong age.

Also, look at the hair and tie on the interviewer: Definitely late 1976/1977/1978. The dude looks like the salesman character on WKRP in Cincinatti which premiered September 1978.

I would put my money on 1977.
This footage might well be public domain. It's unlikely that Linda Bukowski would be the copyright holder on this since it's just an interview and doesn't seem to include any of his written work. If there is a copyright holder it would likely be either the station that it originally aired on or the producer of the program. I do agree that it would be nice to have Linda's blessing but I doubt that it's vital. You might want to check with an attorney who deals with copyrights.

At any rate, I hope you manage to get this out there since it does seem like a really good interview. If for some reason it fails to happen, I hope you'll consider making it freely available via the internet since, as you say, it really should be made available as a historical document.
If you can have a final before the Huntington reception (Sept 9th (?)), then there would probably be a few people that could get it to her.
No, don't press tapes on her at a function like that. Kind of lame. It isn't that hard to find her address, and the PO box Bukowski used is still open. But I'm not sure she's the person to start with. Like Bill said, go through HarperColins/Ecco.

Plus, the two readings are coming out, so this is probably not the best time to drop the interview on the world. 30 minutes is kind of a skimpy product anyway. Not that a lot of people wouldn't buy it, I would, but this thing seems destined to be an extra on some other DVD release. It should have been on Born Into This rather than those readings of his poems by celebutantes and grifters. ;)

If there is a copyright holder it would likely be either the station that it originally aired on or the producer of the program.
Good point. It was public access, so the rights may all lie with the producer, and I think the person who has the tape now said he was dead...
No, don't press tapes on her at a function like that. Kind of lame.
I have friends that are probably going WITH her to the event, so that would not be a problem.... Yes, you are right. Walking up to her with a tape in hand would not be taken very well.
Have you called Ecco/HArperCollins? That would be the first place to go.

---Many thanks. I spoke with a rep from Harper Collins this morning, and they've expressed some interest so I pointed them to the teaser I have online with the caveats that it is very highly compressed for web delivery and that the audio sync problem does not exist in the original edited master.

I told them that it looks, in a word, "historic". (LOL)
And yes, I do realize that Fred Havens is a dead ringer for Herb Tarlick from "WKRP in Cinncinati". Fred and I had a good laugh over this very point on the evening he brought the reel of tape over to my studio.

We shared a few drinks while we screened the thing and before I loaded it into the machine he made a couple of protestations...

"Now listen, I know you're going to laugh, but please remember that I had drank Bukowski under the table the night was the only way I could get him to agree to do the goddam show, and besides, everyone dressed that way back then!"

He also has a wee bit of Dudley Moore in him in my humble opinion.

I'm still amazed that I was able to get the thing transferred at all.
We only got about a minute into the show when the heads on the machine started to clog. I spent hours running the tape over a cleaning blade and warming it, running it over the blade again, until I was able to reduce the oxide shedding enough to get it to play without the head clogs.
Oxide shedding is a rather common problem with tapes that have been stored incorrectly, and so is edge damage.
Fred said that he had just tossed the thing in his closet and that it was stacked up along with some old books and records.
Apparently the tape had laid on its side for about ten years because there was also significant edge damage which made the picture very unstable.

The first few feet of tape on the reel was a twisted mass of tangles, and I prayed as I cut off the mangled leader that the studio did not just go right into program without running at least a minute of bar tones or black.
Thankfully they did run some black at the head of the reel.
No bars, no tone, no slate, just a minute or so of black and then the title card. They didnt even have a character generator for graphics!

It took a good bit of tweaking with the timebase corrector to get any sort of picture at all and the dropout compensator was on so much it was almost a steady indicator light instead of the occasional flicker.
Tracking was all over the place(edge damage)...I had to keep my hand on the tracking knob and watch the meter. What a nightmare.

I had almost thrown out the reel to reel machine I had a year earlier because I wasn't getting any more calls to do transfers from this format and it had been behaving badly on the rewind cycle, and I had "eaten" a couple of tapes before. I ended up rewinding Fred's reel by threading the tape back onto another takeup reel and spinning it on a couple of pencils with Fred holding the other reel because I did not want to take a gamble on destroying this tape.
I never did get another call for an EIAJ reel dub and so I did end up tossing that old machine in the dumpster about a year later.
Of course I kick myself now because collectors want them! (of course!)


Right now I am looking for a cheap 1-inch Type "C" reel deck for some other tapes I still have on THAT format. The machines are NOT "cheap"!

I dont think anyone else got a copy of the original air tape.
It was 1976 or thereabouts (thanks to the historians in the group!) and public access wasn't a good source for getting much of anything in the way of copies unless the producer ponied up the bucks for the service and, knowing Fred I'm surprised he kept a copy for himself all those years, so while I would not rule it out I'd be surprised if anyone else has a copy and if it's an original EIAJ reel, by now it is most likely unuseable.

Anyway, enough tech talk as I am sure you're probably bored to tears, but I thank you for all the help you've given and I'd like to show my appreciation if this thing gets off the ground!

JeffH in TX
deepfreeze, you should do an interview with Fred Havens, talking about the night before the taping (that sounds like a good story) and the taping itself. A special feature to bulk up the dvd, perhaps?
Ah, I thought they had that night watching the tape recently...

uh, everybody's misused him, ripped him up and abused him...(curtis Mayfield).

right, just went back and read deepfreezes' post where he wasn't sure if Fred was with us's all starting to make sense...
Most probably 1977.
I agree with Brother Schenker about the time assessment of 1977, making Buk 56 (until his birthday in '77) and at a time when he was writing WOMEN, which he mentions he's working on, later released sometime in 1978, unless I'm drunken and mistaken. 1973 was way before the glimmer of writing WOMEN was in his eyes, as far as I'm concerned, and I view that as a typo or 'misestimate' on the website by someone who may not be a fully informed Bukophile. I like the interview and the interviewer, as hesitant and bashful as the latter is. He's asking some questions out of the norm and has read the books. I like B's modesty in response, and he is open, clean and sober. I would view this as a definite keeper and wouldn't hesitate to include it in my audio/visual collection.If Linda wants to protect B's legacy, she should be on top of interviews such as this and support their availability. I can't imagine any interview, at any time or place, placing B's legacy in jeopardy. After all, he's said the worst that can possibly be said about himself by himself, and so what's the problem. Nor can I imagine Linda being worried about someone else making a few dollars off a legitimate interview, under the right legal and financial agreement, after she's inherited (I imagine) Buk's considerable royalty payments: she'll never have to work another day in her life unless she wants to. The place to start to find out the hidden treasures of Bukowski's past is quite possibly this newsgroup with those who have the same interest in B's legacy being accurately preserved as much as she does. She says there's not a day that goes by that she doesn't think of him, and not everyone is out to exploit him. If it takes an earthquake for her to read her mail, or to get it to her in the first place, she's making it just that much harder for those who are working on B's behalf because they find most everything he did of inspiring and lasting value. I would also be delighted to see her post here herself and take advantage of the research she might not be aware of. As of now, she appears out of the loop. One man's opinion.
It's been seven months since I spoke with the Harper Collins rep and after a dozen followup emails they're acting like a cheerleader who will be "washing her hair for the next five years".

They seem to have made the decision for me.
They forget that Buk sent his first submissions scrawled on yellow lined legal pads because his typer was in hock.
I made it easy for them; I used the telephone, email and Windows Media Player.

All I care about now is getting right with Linda. I don't care if she is a certified ga-zillionaire, I dont mind sharing.
I'll just sell it on my deepfreeze site and let it go at that and if I can get up with Linda I'll enter into a contract with her and split it in a way that works for both of us if she is okay with that.

Thanks, Jeff! Too bad Harper Collins act the way they do. Anyway, we all await the release of the interview. Keep us posted...
I'll just sell it on my deepfreeze site and let it go at that and if I can get up with Linda I'll enter into a contract with her and split it in a way that works for both of us if she is okay with that.
Talkshow host Bernie Ward on KGO radio always ends his show by saying, It's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is permission.

I encourage you to sell it until someone sends you an order of Cease & Desist. I mean, it's not like you are going to get rich by selling it. Only us Buk maniacs are interested and we are far & few between amongst the masses.

In fact, I would suggest you give it away for free. I highly doubt you even own the rights to it. Seriously. You're not gonna make any appreciable profits by selling it and may in fact incur more trouble via lawsuits than it's worth.
Brother Schenker, the copyright process is already underway.
Havens doesn't have and family, descendants or any interested parties to his estate, which was nonexistent anyway, and I've practiced as much due diligence as is possible given the circumstances. No one else owns the rights, and I own the only existing master tape.
I doubt that there will be any glitches in the copyright process unless Fred Havens confounds the religious community by rising from the dead.

That is all that is standing in front of the release.
But I promise you the price will be more than reasonable, and no, I am not looking to "get rich", but I work for a reasonable wage, and it took a considerable amount of work to rescue this video from oblivion.
If I make anything at all from it, I will be satisfied, and doubly so because this does not deserve to be sitting on the shelf unseen.
"Media People-Charles Bukowski" DVD

I've scheduled a press run with a replication company.
The initial run will be limited to 300 copies but these WILL be commercially pressed, NOT burned.

Used to be one had to do a thousand to get pressed discs but not anymore. I have to limit the first pressing quantity because I am not sure how well this will go.
They should be ready by end of April or mid-May, depending on my shoot schedules and other work related stuff.

Once again, bear in mind that this is video from a reel to reel 1/2 inch monochrome industrial VTR, the type you old farts probably used to see in the school library A/V dept., so it's not "broadcast quality" even for the 1970's.
I am surprised that a cable company would use this machine even for public access cable, but I guess that they had to cut corners somewhere.
It is what it is, and fortunately the creative content far outweighs the technical.

I'll put the links up here before I go anywhere else.
Of course!
By the way, I've decided to go with CustomFlix, unless someone here has had a bad experience with the company.
I'd really love to get some participation in writing the jacket blurbs and descriptions. If anyone has anything they would like to contribute I will gladly welcome it and give credit where credit is due on the jacket.
Yes, I know that May has come and gone...I have been swamped with shooting work but it's time to get the gears rolling while I have the money to do the replication.
By the way, my private email is exvenicecreature @
so please feel free to communicate any time.
I want to get this out in the next couple of weeks.

Here's a scan of the jacket.
I'd love to use a better pic but I have to stick with only what I am
legally allowed to use, namely frame grabs from the video.



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