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"Just imagine ..." - This is certainly how many of Wolfgang Menge's screenplay projects began. Imagine if the German-German border had been moved a few meters to the east overnight. What would happen to the people on both sides of the barbed wire? Or imagine if there was a game show in which people were hounded to death. Or the Ruhr area would literally run out of air to breathe? Or ... or ... or?

The journalist and author Wolfgang Menge, born in Berlin in 1924, developed around 100 scripts for West German television. He is undoubtedly one of the creative minds who significantly shaped political television drama in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to his popular crime thrillers and sitcoms, which often made headlines, it was above all his business games that made television history. It was not unusual for Menge to package his meticulously researched facts in the form of a fictional TV program. Renowned directors such as Eberhard Itzenplitz, Tom Toelle and Wolfgang Petersen congenially took up Menge's ideas and engaged "real" TV reporters or show hosts for their play-within-a-play productions. 

Wolfgang Menge had a faible for crossing borders. On the occasion of his 100th birthday and 75 years after the founding of the two German states, the Deutsche Kinemathek and the Zeughauskino have therefore put together five programs in which Wolfgang Menge deals with the German-German border. The episode Spring Cleaning from the series A Heart and a Soul, in which Alfred Tetzlaff reflects on the frontline city of Berlin, will be shown on April 10, Wolfgang Menge's birthday, at the Deutsche Kinemathek on Potsdamer Platz as the occasion for an evening of discussion about the (tasteful) limits of humor on television today.

Four television feature films will be shown at the Zeughauskino. In the comedy Eines schönen Tages (1964) with Inge Meysel, East Germans and West Germans meet by chance in a pub three years after the Wall was built. Do they still have something to say to each other? In the economic satire Grüß Gott, ich komm von drüben (1978), a flourishing shoe factory (West) falls into the hands of planned economists (East) - with what success? In the courtroom drama Begründung eines Urteils, a border guard shoots a fugitive and is honored in his own regime and condemned in another. And in The Dubrow Crisis (1969), the German-German border shifts overnight - what will people do with their newly won freedom? 

Menge answered all these questions in a credible and at the same time highly speculative manner. Just how spectacular his answers were only became clear after 1989. As we all know, hindsight is easier than foresight. Menge often knew better beforehand. (Klaudia Wick)