Keeping the History Alive

a scene from Hill Street Blues. Courtesy of MTM Enterprises

It was fun seeing my old friend Ray Daniels quoted in the Hill Street Blues story (“Blue Grit,” Editors Guild Magazine, JAN-FEB 11).  Ray and I go back more than 60 years, having first met in elementary school.  We remained friends into adulthood and we both entered the motion picture industry as apprentice film editors.  Eventually, I moved east and our close connection ended for a time.

After 15 years or so as an editor, I got tired of fixing the mistakes of inept directors, and watching them get the credit for it.  I decided to become a director myself and fix my own mistakes.  As Ray rose to become the editor of such fine programs as Hill Street Blues, editing, as he says, the equivalent of “a feature theatrical film a week,” I settled into a career as a writer-director-producer of documentary films, editing most of them myself.  As expected, I was able to fix my own mistakes–– and they were legion.

Ray and I are both retired now.  With the leisure that comes with retirement, I’ve been able to revisit some of the scenes of my youth and to reconnect with Ray.  Although I haven’t seen him as often as I would like over the recent years, it is nice to be able to keep the connection strong by seeing what he has to say in our Guild’s fine magazine.  Kudos to Kevin Lewis for writing fine articles like “Blue Grit,” keeping the rich history of our craft alive, and keeping names like that of Ray Daniels in print with the valuable comments he has to make from the perspective of an industry veteran.

Stuart Hersh, Picture Editor (Retired)
New York