CLEAN & NEAT
Early Public Access Television
Almost 40 years ago, in the early 1980's, Manhattan Cable TV provided free public access time for locally produced video programming. It was supposed to be non-commercial, educational...
but tended toward individuals ranting about politics, religion and naturally, soft-core porn. I remember Al Goldstein's Midnight Blue and The Robin Byrd Show as being the norm. At the time, It seemed like the right situation as I loved TV but was not a big fan of "video" as a fine art form. All of CLEAN & NEAT was intended only for TV broadcast and was never shown in a gallery or any other fine art setting.
Working with Young Filmmakers on Delancey Street, I was able to get access to a studio, cameras and editor and began producing episodes of CLEAN & NEAT in early 1983.
Later that same year I teamed up with my wife Shirley Lee and together we bought a small Sony Betamax camera enabling us to work on location. It really wasn't until Shirley became involved, especially in editing, that these CLEAN & NEAT episodes became interesting. The on-location works were completely different from the studio ones which, while using better cameras and editing tricks, seemed just too cute and artsy in comparison. Sadly, or perhaps fortunately, I don't know where the earlier 3/4 inch tapes are. The art director I left them with, said there was some interest at the Queens Museum of the Moving Image. Maybe check with them.
These later, on-location works, were truly a collaboration and Shirley even took a job at Phantasmagoria, a notorious film and video post-production house in the Film Center Building on Manhattan's 9th Avenue, allowing us access to after-hours use of the 3/4 inch editing decks.
People had suggested over the years that I post some of the episodes online and while I knew there were a few vintage 3/4 inch U-Matic cassettes out in the barn, they hadn't been properly stored.
Then we saw the film, "Hugo", and I was inspired by seeing the early Georges Méliès films.
So, in the interest of television history, I shipped off four old tapes to the Portland HD Media Services and was very pleased with the transfer results.
The four episodes of CLEAN & NEAT posted on YouTube are from late 1984 and early 1985: