Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Leave it to the Times

Apparently it is Assistant Editor's Month over at the Seattle Times, at least as far as Monday's editorial page is concerned. In addition to the usual rip-and-print syndicated conservatives like Goldberg and Krauthammer (whose headshot appears next to the Webster's definition of "smug"), they ran a "Doonesbury Flashback". Sorry, make that a "Flasback" - as they typoed their way through their own titles.

But the utter weirdity of the day was this little bit of strangeness, keying on the news that Ken Osmond, the actor who played Eddie Haskell in Leave it to Beaver, is suing the Screen Actor's Guild for undistributed royalties. The most complete story I found on this was here from the Hollywood Reporter, which lays out that Osmond has previously sued the Director's and Writer's Guilds (still pending) and that this is a preliminary motion to a class action suit, and it is based on the argument that SAG and others have collected foreign royalties on the actor's behalf and have not distributed them.

And given the, shall we say, plastic nature of accounting in creative fields (where more imagination goes into contractual interpretations than onto the screen), the idea that SAG may have undistributed change laying around is a strong possibility. And given that part of this is SAG resisting an independent audit makes it increasingly likely. So this is all business, right?

Not as far as the Times is concerned. Since Osmond played a snaky character fifty years ago (and for those who are too young, Eddie Haskell was the Beave's older brother's best friend and general bad influence who was very polite to authority figures, who in turn saw right through his unctuous ways), the Times gets all snarky and mocking on him. The thing is, this was the CHARACTER, not the actor. The actor went on, did other things, and became police officer. But the editorial is not "How dare a police officer challenge Hollywood Accounting" but rather "Oh, there goes Eddie Haskell". They've totally pitched into TV Land.

Is Ken Osmond on the up-and-up? Is his suit valid? There's a court for that to decide. But it will be based on contract and law, not on the actor's character fifty years before. Of course, given the media's inability to separate Fred Thompson from his character on Law & Order, this may be more rule than exception.

But the funny thing is, I always thought all the recreational drug use was at the Stranger. Apparently they're spending their Sunday afternoons on something over at the Times as well.

More later,