Louise Tate – in memory

From Don Hallock — 2000

Though I worked with Louise as my production assistant for more than two years, I never came to know a great deal about her personal life. She seemed to be rather the soul of modesty, the spirit of gentility and in a seeming contradiction, a creature of impressive “Gung Ho.”

Louise knew little of the medium when she first came to volunteer at the station in about 1960. And I don’t even remember how she found herself attached to my productions, but attached she was, and attached she remained. She was an amazingly quick study, and in very short order made herself indispensable. Louise was completely willing to take on virtually any duties she was presented. She discharged them with an almost unnerving attention to detail, and never balked at our typical long hours. In the long run, she seemed able to understand and anticipate the needs of a production at least as fast as I could — with the ultimate effect that I had to say or ask very little of her. My needs as director, and those of the show, were frequently met by Louise before they were even obvious.

Louise is largely responsible for the fact that I could complete a large scale choral and orchestral production in the studios of WHDH-TV, during the depths of a bitter winter, when I was so sick that I could barely negotiate the distance between the bus and the studio door.

Louise played a great part in our jointly driving Bob Larsen to the edge of his sanity and, I think significantly disturbing Greg Harney and Dave Davis during the production of a children’s music series of NET programs featuring Tony Saletan, and based on his recently completed travels to other countries. The shows were exuberantly produced, with extensive sets and large casts, frequently filling the WHDH-TV studio to the walls.

Louise (who may, by that time, have earned the title of associate producer) worked with Tony, securing a wide range of authentic ethnic talent that I would never have even guessed existed in the Boston area. Louise’s discovery of a middle-eastern belly-dancer (and my willingness to “go with it”) eventually had a troubled representative of NET, Paul Taff, up from New York to check the program before it was accepted as part of the series. The show passed and, I believe, pried further open the doors of content acceptability in national educational children’s programming.

More than one Saturday, during the work of production, Bob, Greg and Dave would emerge from the conference room where they had been viewing the rehearsals, with Bob wringing his hands and lamenting that, “This this just too much. The series was only supposed to be Tony in front of a rear screen.”

Bob deserves my apology for whatever premature aging the experience may have incurred. Louise (who passed away in early October, 1999) has apparently escaped her obligation to make amends — but in her shared enthusiasm for pumping up the productions, she was, Bob, as much to blame as I.

As you may have gathered from the preceding, Louise was vastly more of a collaborator than merely a production assistant. And, good heavens, she was satisfying to work with!

I would have been seriously remiss in creating this Web site, if I’d not acknowledged Louise, as the good friend and impressive co-worker she was.

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