New Film Explores Ray Hill’s “The Prison Show” In Texas


Ray Hill’s Friday night “The Prison Show” on Houston’s KPFT-FM, now in its 26th year, is “good radio,” Hill tells the Houston Chronicle. “It’s all the ethos and the pathos and the eros of people’s lives in prison. I have no idea what’s going to happen. I just turn on the microphone.” The Prison Show and the personalities that shape it – Hill once served time for jewel theft – are the subject of a new 60-minute documentary by Rice University film professor Brian Huberman. Huberman said he sought to produce a film that would illuminate the “scandal” of American prisons. “What stood out to me,” he said, “was the inadequacy of the prison system and the way in which people rightly or wrongly are incarcerated and essentially forgotten. There seems to be very little attempt at rehabilitation. Punishment is the name of the game.”

Huberman has interspersed segments that examine Hill’s four-year stint in prison for burglary and his growth as a gay and prison activist. Much of this material comes from one-man autobiographical shows Hill has performed. “I think that the audience will discover that – although the activism is very strong – there is something much more powerful going on,” Huberman said. “If you listen to the show, the bulk are families of the inmates, generally women and children. The film basically is watching Ray listening to these people in the studio. There’s a very powerful human dimension. It is a very quiet and beautiful gesture.”


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