Dear Ms. Woodruff,
We are loyal fans of Channel 2, and certainly believe in freedom of speech
and of the media. Yet I must say that I feel the program tonight on
Shakespeare was a disservice to the people and unworthy of Channel 2. It
contained many inaccuracies and by implication, at least, many wrong
statements. Let me cite just one.
To make a mystery out of the fact that no known manuscripts of the plays
exist is just silly. Damned few play manuscripts of the time exist at all.
They were not considered...of any importance. They were used in the theatre
where they doubtless became marked up, soiled, and torn, ultimately to be
disposed of. The lucky miracle for us is that a few printers saw some money in
producing printed versions and did produce some of the plays in quarto. They
were not much more highly regarded in their day than our comic books are now.
After his death Shakespeare's fellow actors who evidently had some sense of the
plays' true value published what they could gather in the Folio, a format which
gave them some status, and which for plays was hitherto unheard of. Far more
is known of Shakespeare the man than of any other playwright of the times. The
"mystery" is the product of ignorant people and alas, gets perpetuated by those
who give these people public exposure.
Arleigh D. Richardson III