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Don Schneider’s response to 1966 Motorcade question

Billy Glover

April 24, 2010.

Don Schneider filmed the Motorcade to protest the exclusion of homosexuals in the military in Los Angeles in May, 1966, and below are his thoughts.

Dear Don:

Thanks for this inside information on how you took the film of the Motorcade.

I was there, as the saying goes, and did not know of the actions you describe. I don’t remember if we showed the film in the office or not. I sure hope you can get a new copy made so you (and we) can get it on the record, as you deserve much credit for this and it is historic.

I doubt many people then or now even heard of the Committee To Fight Exclusion of Homosexuals From the Armed Forces — even though we drove through the city and had put notices on cars at gay bars all over the area, etc.

And people like Jim Kepner refused to work on the project, which was nationwide, as a NACHO project — I think it was because it might be thought as supporting the Vietnam war, which was Morris Kight’s reason [and Vern Bullough’s objection too], but Dorr Legg, nor any other local group supported us.

That is why it was good then to have the interviews with Connie Chung and Tom Brokaw on Fairfax. The question is: Do those TV stations have this footage in their archives? The same would be good to know of the taped TV shows we were on, such as Louis Lomax, Regis Philbin, etc.

Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2010 16:58:04 -0400

Subject: Re: Response to Question Motorcade

Hi, Billy— The Motorcade was first shown in Hollywood Theater, south side of Hollywood Blvd., a bit west of Western Ave. I remember being there and hearing audience comments without their knowing I was within easy ear-shot in the lobby crowd. We knew each other, but in the crunch of people didn’t get to acknowledge this before the others disappeared out the door. There was another city it was sent to; would have to refer to journal notes for details (when, where, what theater, showing date(s), etc.)

We have the printing elements here in the museum, so a new print can be made from them. They are the A and B rolls of 16mm, and the 16mm track (sound).

Didn’t we run it on Cahuenga in the office of Tangents for one of the monthly meetings? It seems that would be the thing to do, easily possible — just bring in the projection table to put the projector on, an extension cord if needed to get to an electric outlet, the projector, film, take-up reel, speaker, and a screen.

What it needs is discussion of the issue at stake with the military, pos, cons, effects, whatever. Also, get a print of the TV interview with Don Slater talking.

When Don stopped to conduct the interviews on west side of a north-south main street, I and my driver were interviewed at our car, so I didn’t get to film the interview. (Silent filming).

That caught me by surprise, so I made the most of it. I learned a lesson: if I ever do such again, I’d prepare by having another person prepared to be interviewed, so I could stick like glue to the main event I was supposed to be covering. Let someone else say what I said, so we’d accomplish both, especially not lose Don’s major moment.

Separate detail: For safety from anyone who might attack Don or his car, we had our own people drive cars surrounding his car as if we were in traffic. They also surrounded my car on three sides, two sides and back. I was in car directly behind Don’s car, filming unobtrusively, not to draw interruption from any protester. I was in my own plain, inconspicuous car, and Jack Pfirrman was my driver. I was set-up in the front passenger seat. I’d have to see the film to say, but I must have been beside his car sometime. I wouldn’t have wanted the whole thing to be from his back.

We also planned at what point on the route I would change film. If I started with 100′ feet, change to a 400′ roll, or the reverse, which would be less smart planning, to do. Because I knew the route was laid-out as so-and-so with no special activity until the TV stop.

So, I should have the longer length of film available to use, for that and whatever followed, because I didn’t know how long, or what would happen from there to returning to the office. I couldn’t be changing film during that period.

— Don Schneider


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