Strikers bring some young blood to picket lines


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The picketer was quite clear about the reason for braving the midday sun to march back and forth in front of the Paramount studio gates Monday.

"Writers are not going to get any money, so we have to do this so we can get some money," he explained.

With that, 7-year-old Alex McGee resumed his place in the sign-bearing line behind his father, telefilm writer Ron McGee.

Yes, it was bring-your-kid-to-picket-duty day for striking members of the WGA.

"He's been asking me to bring him," Ron McGee ("The Last Ride") said with a grin. "So this allowed me to do so."

The guild conceived of the event in an apparent attempt to remind the public of the impact of the strike on members' families. Staged on the day after Veterans Day, many kids were free from classes and available to accompany their parents to studio picket lines.

"When he is older, I want Ethan to have a memory of what we went on strike for, and in 15 years, he'll feel like he was part of something," said Wayne Kramer, a member of the WGA and DGA with writing and directing credits including "The Cooler" and the upcoming Harrison Ford starrer "Crossing Over."

Kramer told a reporter that his son, Ethan, was 6 1?2 -- only to be corrected that he actually was "6 3?4."

The sprinkling of kids at the Paramount picket line and others around town didn't keep the adults from venting their frustrations on Day 8 of the WGA strike, launched after the collapse of film and TV contract talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

"I think that (Fox president) Peter Chernin and (News Corp. chairman) Rupert Murdoch and some other people, their goal is to break the union," said John Quaintance, a writer on the ABC sitcom "Notes From the Underbelly." "Rupert Murdoch is an established union buster, and he is a strong voice in the AMPTP."

In the background, a bullhorn-bearing striker led call-and-response chants among the picketers. The singsong rhymes seemed to bridge the seriousness of the occasion and the novelty of having kids toting picket signs.

"I don't know, but I been told, Sumner Redstone's made of gold," he shouted, before moving down the list of chants to a more jocular dig at networks' strike contingencies. "I don't know, but I been told, TV reruns can get old."

A few steps away, a father and his son were beating a hasty retreat from the scene.

"I've got a bathroom situation here," the father shouted over one shoulder.

For midday today, the WGA West was planning a bring-a-celeb-to-the-picket-line event at Universal Studios in addition to other regularly scheduled pickets at other studio venues.