SANTA FE, N.M. — “Ah God? How did things get so screwed up?”
– Walter White, “Breaking Bad”
Last year, when I had shoulder surgery and was a lethargic lump recovering on the couch for over a month, I acquired the hedonistic proclivity for binge watching TV series. I highly recommend it! So much more efficient and fulfilling than being obligated to distant weekly episodes as back in the days of “Dynasty” or even “Downton Abbey”!
Like a page turner to the next chapter in a gripping book, binge watching offers instant gratification. Just pop on to the next episode, and the next and the next! I quickly got caught up on “Game of Thrones,” then watched all of “Mad Men,” “The Paradise,” “House of Cards,” many others, and the all-time most-watched series in history (THEY say), “Breaking Bad.”
I wasn’t originally particularly interested in the topic (a brilliant high school chemistry teacher starts producing illegal drugs to leave his family an inheritance when he learns he has terminal cancer), but the gritty show proved to be as addictive as the blue crystal meth drug on which it is centered.
In a state with little industry and low income levels, TV and film production in 2017 brought 450,000 worker days to New Mexico in 126 job fields, from electricians to hair dyers, caterers to transportation workers, gaffers to grips. And last year, the film industry infused $506,000,000 into our economy (half a billion), and that’s not counting the spinoff businesses like “Breaking Bad” tours and little blue sugar crystal candies.
So it was thrilling to see “Breaking Bad” and its crew honored at the Film and Television Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony Dinner at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.
Also being honored that evening was New Mexico film industry icon and legendary author, painter and raconteur Max Evans, who was an original member of the New Mexico Film Commission. Throngs of doting fans in the film and related industries stopped by his table to congratulate him and pay him homage, repeat an anecdote from a film set, or give a hug.
Over 500 people attended this fabulous event, which also marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the New Mexico Film Commission by Gov. David Cargo in 1968, so it was a multiply momentous evening for filmdom, Santa Fe’s “other” industry.
And in our gift bags was a tiny, inch-square Ziploc bag filled with little aquamarine-colored crystals … .