Sound Articles Ring a Bell with Readers

A promotional still of unidentified sound editors at Columbia Pictures who appear in The Soundman. Bison Archives

Upon receiving the MAR-APR 12 issue of CineMontage, the first thing I did (of course) was to turn to the back page to check out my “Tail Pop” column on Michael Powell’s 49th Parallel. Pleased with how that came out, I was leafing through the rest of your excellent magazine when a photo on page 52 caught my eye.

Looking closer, I was stunned to realize it was of my father, Raymond V. Bomba, a sound effects editor and the founder and first president of the Motion Picture Sound Editors. In the article on the educational short The Soundman, he is one of the “unidentified” editors — the one on the left looking on with a hand on the reels. As I hadn’t yet been born in 1949, I had no knowledge he had been in The Soundman. Nor had I ever seen that photo. I immediately watched the film on YouTube; he is definitely in it — if only in the background for a few seconds.

There is some synchronicity, if not a generational convergence, at work for this photo — and a reference to my dad’s role in the founding of the MPSE (in “The Post-War Years”) — to appear in the same issue in which I had an article. My father was at 20th Century-Fox for 20 years before retiring in the early 1970s. When I still had an office on the lot, it was in a trailer a hundred or so feet away from my dad’s old cutting room, in what is now the William Fox Theatre.
For years, I have thought about writing an article about working on that lot after having visited it often as a child. Perhaps this coincidence is telling me the time has come.
Chris Bomba
Story Analyst, Culver City, CA

I was thrilled by the new CineMontage’s articles and fascinating stories and photos of the celebrated past of sound in motion pictures. As a sound editor, now retired, I was thoroughly absorbed with the contents of this issue.

“Television was invented and built by radio people, using radio technology, so they owned it from the get-go” – John L. Sprung

The “Tail Pop” article was about one of my very favorite films, 49th Parallel, which I saw as a boy in 1942 and which was released here by Columbia Pictures in a slightly shortened version as The Invaders.  Another article I most enjoyed was “Aural History,” about the 1950 short The Soundman, which concluded with on-camera comments from a veteran production mixer from Columbia, George Cooper.  I worked alongside George on several films.
Frank Howard
Sound Editor (retired),
North Hollywood, CA

I just finished the latest issue of CineMontage and was pleasantly surprised to read in the wonderful article “The Box That Shook Hollywood” about Jim Nelson, Irving Friedman and the Primrose Company.
Irving Friedman was my father. He started Primrose in 1954 to furnish his services as musical director for Screen Gems Television as well as music editing services. Nelson was not a partner, as stated in the article, but joined in 1958 to supervise the company’s newly formed sound editing services. Jim hired a great team of sound editors and was directly responsible for my career as a sound editor doing, in particular, looping (ADR). I started at Primrose in 1959 and learned from Jim and others.
Richard (Dick) L. Friedman,
Sound Editor (Retired),
Santa Monica, CA

It’s not accurate to suggest that radio took over television because the film industry didn’t want it [“This Month in Film History: When Film Followed Television’s Lead,” CineMontage [MAR-APR 12]. Television was invented and built by radio people, using radio technology, so they owned it from the get-go. There wasn’t a vacuum — except in the tubes! As far as the movie studios were concerned, it was somebody else’s science project.
John L. Sprung,
Reseda, CA

A few members of our union have objected to the political content of Jeff Burman’s “Labor Matters” columns in CineMontage[“Letters to the Editor,” MAR-APR 12]. Those members have the right to support whatever party they prefer — even a party on a mission to destroy all labor unions.

“As a sound editor, now retired, I was thoroughly absorbed with the contents of this issue.” – Frank Howard

As a proud member of the Editors Guild for over 20 years, I would like to thank Jeff for all the time he has put into researching and writing his pro-union, pro-collective-bargaining columns over the years. It is the job of the IA and the Editors Guild to support the best interests of its members — and that includes supporting pro-union parties and candidates.
Bargain collectively or beg individually.
Frank Smathers,
Sound Editor, Santa Clarita, CA

I want to congratulate you on the bold, new look of this magazine. CineMontage is a very cool name. I love that it accentuates the artistic aspects of us Editors Guild members and our contributions to film and television.  The first two issues have been amazing; what a way to kick off the 75th anniversary of the Guild that has been so good to all of us!

I look forward to seeing every new issue and can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in the next one.
Mitch Danton,
Picture Editor, Valley Glen, CA

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