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Ascending to the Peak



ROX Episodes

Title: Ascending to the Peak
Type: production note
Date: May 11th, 2018

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when filling station attendants pumped gas, and we didn't have GPS for navigation or easy internet access for quick fact-checking. Hard to believe, but that's how things were in 1993, for us anyhow, as demonstrated in ROX #44.

For the record, Tulip Trestle is 2,307 feet long and 157 feet tall. It's one of the longest steel-girded railroad viaducts in the world. When it was built in 1905, it was almost certainly the longest in the country, but it has been surpassed since then. It's located in Greene County somewhat to the east of Bloomfield and to the west of Solsberry.

We drove out there and shot some video on the 23rd of October, 1993. We discovered it was difficult to capture the immensity of the structure on camera. Don't look here for stunning cinematography, but it was a nice little adventure. I'm especially happy with the montage of our trip out there, with a blistering soundtrack by The Submersibles. Those are my vocals! Why didn't I use our music more often?

It's interesting to see how J, Worm, and Xy all contributed varying levels of artifice to the production. Xy especially tended to think in terms of characters and skits. I was not above some spontaneous tomfoolery myself (as witness our “faith healing” sequence with Mr. G) but generally I pushed for a documentary approach.

The railway trestle may be the ostensible topic of this program, but the actual topic is faith, and we bring a critical perspective. I remember getting some commendations from my peers for my attempt to redefine the word “faith” in the vocabulary segment. The first set of points are adapted from the Encyclopedia of Religion, but the reformulation is my own work. 25 years later, I stand by it.

The relative brevity of this episode show my editing was getting tighter. I like how the viewer mail segment is appended after the credits, and yet the idea of a new polytheism is very much in keeping with the “faith” theme of the episode. Big props to W. Owen (credited here as W.P.), our first and probably only intern. We dispatched him to get b-roll of the new pantheon, and he did well. The segment would drag without those visuals. I can't help wonder how much easier this would be today. A few clicks in a web browser and one can find virtually any image imaginable. Kids today don't know how easy they've got it.

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