‘Plato’s Frogs’: A Long Way from ‘Saturday Night Live’

August 30, 2015

In 1984 Malcolm Mc Neill won an Emmy for “outstanding graphics and title design” for the opening title sequence of “Saturday Night Live,” which he conceived, designed, and art directed. Here’s his storyboard:

SNL-Malcolm McNeill-Storyboard







Thirty years later, contemplating a famous passage in the “Phaedo,” Mc Neill made “Plato’s Frogs.” I have not asked him about it. My staff calls it an evolution without a dime’s worth of glory — or profit — in it.

As far as I’m concerned, the pure aesthetic of the video gives it a helluva lot more value.

From Plato’s Phaedo:

. . . For I believe there are in all directions on the earth many hollows of very various forms and sizes, into which the water and mist and air have run together; but the earth itself is pure and is situated in the pure heaven in which the stars are, the heaven which those who discourse about such matters call the ether; the water, mist and air are the sediment of this and flow together into the hollows of the earth. Now we do not perceive that we live in the hollows, but think we live on the upper surface of the earth, just as if someone who lives in the depth of the ocean should think he lived on the surface of the sea, and, seeing the sun and the stars through the water, should think the sea was the sky, and should, by reason of sluggishness or feebleness, never have reached the surface of the sea, and should never have seen, by rising and lifting his head out of the sea into our upper world, and should never have heard from anyone who had seen, how much purer and fairer it is than the world he lived in. I believe this is just the case with us; for we dwell in a hollow of the earth and think we dwell on its upper surface; and the air we call the heaven, and think that is the heaven in which the stars move. . . .


Jan Herman

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