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Whenever Roger claimed to have the superior intellect, Gene would say, “Aren’t you the guy who wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls?”
March 21, 2012 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Enemies, A Love Story, an oral history of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert that first appeared in the premiere issue of The Chicagoan, has been published today as an eBook single by Now and Then Reader. Slate has a lengthy free excerpt, which includes an amusing anecdotal report that the two men began every taping with a game of patty cake. Writer Josh Schollmeyer, executive editor of Playboy, based the 25,000-word article on interviews with 36 participants and observers of the two men who "essentially invented televised film criticism." (Via)
posted by zarq (29 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
You can watch the chemistry between Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on this classic At the Movies outtake video.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 2:49 PM on March 21, 2012 [9 favorites]


Oh MAN. This is like Orson Welles-level shit.
posted by Madamina at 2:59 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Remember that time they drunkenly ganged up on Gene Shallit and ripped off his mustache?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:03 PM on March 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Beneath it was another slightly smaller mustache.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:05 PM on March 21, 2012 [17 favorites]


Wait a minute, to read the eBook I need an ebook reader?
posted by KokuRyu at 3:07 PM on March 21, 2012


> Wait a minute, to read the eBook I need an ebook reader?

Not sure how serious this comment is, but if you would like to read it on a PC/Mac, then the Kindle software is a free download.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:08 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was great, but Gene sounds like a terrible asshole to me. I hate pranks and all that aggressive posturing. (Of course, he's gone, and Ebert is so beloved, it's possible we're not getting a balanced picture.)
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:08 PM on March 21, 2012


KokuRyu: "Wait a minute, to read the eBook I need an ebook reader?"

Nope. I own a Kindle, but read ebooks on my Android phone.
posted by zarq at 3:08 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought it was this
posted by Postroad at 3:08 PM on March 21, 2012


(or Kindle for Android/iOS)
posted by Burhanistan at 3:08 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's also Amazon's Kindle Cloud Reader, which runs in Firefox, Chrome and Safari on the major OS's and iPad.
posted by zarq at 3:10 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks. I was into ebooks before they were popular, so have kind of missed out on the latest developments as I fiddle with my beard, flannel shirt, and pedal pushers.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:13 PM on March 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Chinese Jet Pilot: You can watch the chemistry between Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on this classic At the Movies outtake video.

This video is an absolute BLAST. It was uncomfortable at first, since they were obviously genuinely frustrated and getting pretty mean. Then they seem to get wrapped up in trying to out-insult each other until they were both laughing at each other's jabs and, seemingly, entertaining the entire studio. Then back to the actual takes with a bit less hostility. It really presents the love/hate relationship in an interesting and not-altogether-negative way.

I would not be unhappy if this thread became all about posting good videos of them interacting like this, if there is more. I could wade through the YouTube sidebar myself, but Mefi curated stuff tends to be better.
posted by gilrain at 3:13 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here's Ebert eulogizing Siskel on Larry King Live. It's clear that despite the tension, he really respected the guy.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:15 PM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is this what frenemies is supposed to mean, or the opposite?
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:24 PM on March 21, 2012


Thanks. I was into ebooks before they were popular, so have kind of missed out on the latest developments as I fiddle with my beard, flannel shirt, and pedal pushers.

Ah yes, I passed your penny farthing out front on the way in.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 3:24 PM on March 21, 2012


Chinese Jet Pilot has already linked to one, but here are some more outtakes -
posted by unliteral at 3:26 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


That was great, but Gene sounds like a terrible asshole to me.

Siskel certainly could get under Ebert's skin, but by the time of the tenth anniversary of their show, he admitted, "You know that old line 'The more you know a person, the harder it is for you to dislike him?' That’s absolutely true. Roger and I disliked each other intensely. We perceived each other as a threat to our professional security. And we were thrown together a few years ago, but we couldn't keep our distance. We got closer. At this point, the only person who knows him better is his mother."

And Ebert wrote a deeply heart-felt portrait of his partner for the tenth anniversary of his untimely death: "The public image was that we were in a state of permanent feud, but nothing we felt had anything to do with image."
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:30 PM on March 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


You can watch the chemistry between Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on this classic At the Movies outtake video.

I didn't sense any antagonism in any of the exchanges. I think it was a pretty low blow for Siskel to tease Ebert because of his weight, but Ebert struck an even lower blow by ridiculing Siskel's apparent inarticulateness. Ebert definitely had the upper hand in the exchange, but both seemed to be enjoying themselves.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:41 PM on March 21, 2012


"You guys have a sibling rivalry, but you both think you're the older brother."
posted by KokuRyu at 3:43 PM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


The excerpt also mentions that Ebert used to make bald jokes at Siskel's expense. I get the impression they both gave as good as they got.
posted by zarq at 3:44 PM on March 21, 2012


The various YouTube clips here are delightful. Adding a timely reminder not to scroll down to YouTube comments because the comments are so dense that not even light can escape from them.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:51 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I read the whole piece in the Chicagoan. Truly worth buying the e-book version in my opinion.
posted by escabeche at 5:35 PM on March 21, 2012


Beneath it was another slightly smaller mustache

I was hoping it would be even larger.
posted by zippy at 6:05 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


So were they.
posted by smithsmith at 6:30 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Frenemies? Bah. It was a bromance, plain and simple.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:31 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not sure how serious this comment is, but if you would like to read it on a PC/Mac, then the Kindle software is a free download.

... in countries where there's a Kindle marketplace. For all other countries, there's no Kindle download available whatsoever.

Kobo works in most countries though, certainly more countries than Kindle.
posted by the cydonian at 9:04 PM on March 21, 2012


Is this what frenemies is supposed to mean, or the opposite?

I think it's the opposite. I understand frenemies to mean someone you don't particularly like, but still interact with and act as friends, but are ultimately somehow in competition. Their relationship started that way, and switched to the opposite. What I admired about their relationship was that they were able to passionately disagree about something and work through that disagreement collegially- not with the aim of coming to an agreement, but seemingly with the aim of exploring the issue fully and getting the other (and the viewer) to understand where they are coming from, even if they disagree.
posted by gjc at 7:30 AM on March 22, 2012


Gene always jabbed at Roger. He found it irresistible. But Roger was just as witty so he would give it right back. (TF)

I have outtakes of Gene and Roger going after each other. Gene says, “Roger has to move. Crane please!” And Roger retorts, “Makeup—more hair!”3 (RS)

I laughed out loud on this one -- man.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:15 AM on March 22, 2012


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