Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Salute to 10 Classic TV Moms

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Carol Brady was not going to wear an apron….Everyone wanted to be a Partridge….June Cleaver wore heels for a reason….and “Mrs. C” knows how to get what she wants! In honor of Mother’s Day, the Archive of American Television highlights quotes and clips from 10 interviewees best-known for their roles as iconic sitcom TV moms.

Jane Wyatt on playing Margaret Anderson on Father Knows Best
I did understand wife and mother because I was a wife and mother. Margaret was much nicer than me. I can say that. But then she had all her lines written for her. I was much more independent than she was. She was a very nice person, I enjoyed playing her. And, she had a wonderful rapport with her children.

Barbara Billingsley on playing June Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver
Some people think she was namby-pamby. But no, she used to get teed off with the children. She didn’t always refer to the father as far as punishing is concerned. She was a loving, happy, stay-at-home mom, which I think is great. I’m not for every woman having to be out in the workplace. I had two children at home and I was working. But I think the one that stays home, if she’s doing a good job, it is the best job she’ll ever have, the most important.

Interview clip: Barbara Billingsley on June Cleaver’s wardrobe, high-heels, and pearls

Marion Ross on playing 50s mom Marion “Mrs. C.” Cunningham on Happy Days
Between my childhood in Minnesota, and the 50’s, it’s easy for me to relate to the kind of woman who gets everything she wants, but in a very charming, feminine way, because it’s just easier! That’s kind of the way I was raised and that’s what I saw in my own childhood how women love their husbands and protects her husband from the children. “Be good to your father.” He’s the head of the family, but he really isn’t, of course. She is the head of the family. But that’s the artifice. This is all pre-women’s lib. Now, I still think it’s a kind of a handy way to get things done. We conceal our strength.

Florence Henderson on playing Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch
I know that there were certain things that I brought to the role. I think it was my experience as a young parent and the fact that I understood kids. I felt close to them. I was really the only one on the set that was married, that had children and an ongoing relationship…. I would never wear an apron. I wanted to wear sexy nightgowns. I wanted to make her as human as possible.

Interview clip: Florence Henderson on playing Carol Brady

Mary Tyler Moore on playing Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show
The sponsors had a good deal more to say back then. We had to sleep in twin beds even though we were a married couple. We had to wear pajamas with the little pockets and a shirt. We were not allowed to say pregnant. You had to say “expecting a child” or “expecting a baby.” The big objection was the pants that I wore in The Dick Van Dyke Show. I had seen too many housewives on television who were vacuuming in high heels and a floral printed frock. I said, wait a minute, that’s not the way it really is and I wanted to be real. I wanted to represent something of me. And I was married and a mother, and I’ve walked around barefoot as I still do, and wore pants. So I brought that to the show. I also brought my sense of honesty, my sense of truth.

Diahann Carroll on playing single-mother Julia Baker on Julia
On television, Julia was the first non-conventional, educated, single mother who was outspoken. She dated. She raised her child…But no Black male was the argument. No father. No image for the children to relate to a father. That was a very loud criticism. It’s not that Julia and her son didn’t talk about situations. It may not have been his life, but we did talk about situations. Also, mother dated, and we brought the male into the house to say hello to the son. And, usually it was another professional Black that the young man was exposed to. So, I think that as we look back, that we’re very proud of that, that piece of work. It represented a new thought. It represented something that was subject to a great deal of criticism.

Interview clip: Diahann Carroll discusses Julia

Jean Stapleton on her favorite Edith Bunker “mother” moment on All in the Family
The anniversary episode was one was one of my favorites. Edith was to give marital advice to her daughter. That was great. She and Gloria felt that they should have a mother and daughter talk now that Gloria’s getting married. So of course Edith said nothing. Gloria supplied all of the issues and answered them while Edith would nod in approval “yes, yes of course.” Edith was very, very shy, very timid about discussing such things. It is very funny and very much in character.

Video clip: watch the brilliant scene Jean Stapleton references here:

Shirley Jones on being TV music group mom Shirley Partridge on The Partridge Family
She was a working mom, but wanted her children to have values. The show business thing was secondary. And they made a point of that, because the first couple of shows, the pilot in particular, they were dealing very much with the show-business angle, “where are we going to perform? Let’s rehearse every day.” And finally [producer] Bob Claver said, “we’re going to tone down the show business angle. We’re going to make them real people. We’re going to have stories about teenage sweethearts in school, and we’re going to have stories about Shirley maybe dating one of the local guys. There will always be a song, but the show won’t be built around that performance.” I think that helped because it made us real people. And it also got every teenager in America thinking that they could do this. “We can go to school and we can have a band. And we can get a bus.” The sad part is that every once in a while, I would find some young 16, 15, 14-year-old, sitting on my lawn, just off a bus from Iowa or Michigan or someplace, saying, “I’ve come to be in The Partridge Family. I can play the instrument.” They’d literally run away from home. I just had to tell them the truth and say, “listen, this is a television show. We don’t have a band. It’s all make-believe.”

Interview clip: Shirley Jones on Shirley Partridge

Phylicia Rashad on playing Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show
She had a very normal relationship. She understood the difference in all their personalities. It was a very loving relationship, and there was discipline. She was very, very patient, but very disciplined. She understood the value of discipline. And they, as parents, understood the importance of being on the same page with those people.

Interview clip: Phylicia Rashad on working on The Cosby Show

Patricia Heaton on playing Debra Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond
Debra’s a horrible homemaker, that was what was so wonderful about her is that she couldn’t cook, and a lot of times with the kids it was just like “whatever.” I think there’s a whole movement in our country since Martha Stewart came on the scene of being a perfect and making every small daily task a work of art, which there’s some benefit to trying to lift the mundane out of its mundaneness and making it something because every act of care that you do for your family is actually sort of a sacred thing. But when you’re packing a lunch every morning, you’re not going to cut the sandwich into smiley shapes and starfish, you just throw in that prepackaged crap in their bag and stick it in their backpack. So, I think she tried, but she was like every mom that has it up to here with everything. …But I think she was a good mother, yeah, definitely.

Interview clip: Patricia Heaton discusses the Everybody Loves Raymond family dynamic

Happy Mother’s Day!

Love Is On the Air

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

(Reposted from 2/13/13 MediaPost article by Karen Herman with permission)

In time for Valentine’s Day, the Archive of American Television opens its vault to find out what our interviewees had to say about some of TV’s classic relationships:

Writer Sam Denoff on “That Girl” Here were these two people who were in love, which made the show work. People remember more about Donald and Ann Marie than all the things that she got into, which is the secret of all the great shows. “All in the Family,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Honeymooners,” “I Love Lucy” were all love stories….

I don’t think any episode mentioned, “Shall we do it?” It wasn’t if they did or didn’t — it wasn’t important.

There was a responsibility to each other that made for the comedy. “I want to do something, but will he or she be mad?” That’s why marriage works, because it’s a comedy.

Actress Jean Stapleton on “All in the Family”On the surface, Archie was that incredible, ignorant bigot — but Edith saw more than that.  Edith was in love with this man. We had some tender moments that were dramatized, perhaps more off-camera…The whole substance of their marriage is something that was probably very sweet.

Actress Tyne Daly on keeping it real with Mary Beth Lacey’s husband on “Cagney & Lacey”We weren’t beautiful, and we weren’t invested in being beautiful…. It was an idealized marriage, but it was a blue-collar marriage. They weren’t the folks on The Hill, they were the folks on the couch. And they conflicted nicely. They fought fair.

Producer Aaron Spelling on “Starsky and Hutch”We said many times, it was the first heterosexual [all-male] love affair on television. Paul Michael Glaser’s character loved hamburgers, all that jazz, and David Soul liked French food.  They disagreed about everything, but they were really terrific together. It was their relationship more than the cases.  It had lots of humor in it. It wasn’t just car chases.

Actress Isabel Sanford on the love between “The Jeffersons”Louise kept George in tow. That’s how it lasted that long. George really loved Louise. He was hotheaded, but he listened to her. Whether he thought he had the last word or not, she had the last word. That’s how that marriage lasted as long as it did.  Nobody would put up with George like Louise!

Actress Suzanne Pleshette on the mature love of “The Bob Newhart Show”– Bob and Emily Hartley were a unique couple, something that had never been on television. First, we were a married couple who loved each other. We did not denigrate each other. We were partners; we were equals. We were smart and both working.  There were no children to teach us lessons. Howard, our next-door neighbor, was our child, in effect.

We were obviously sexual. I’m very demonstrative, [and] Bob hates that [but] he was obliged to endure it, and that became something wonderful about our relationship.

Creator Phil Rosenthal on why “Everybody Loves Raymond,” including Debra — People say Debra’s so mean to him. But we always felt [that] she’s justified, she has every right to yell at him. She’s doing it all, and she doesn’t get a break.

When we analyze it, what does keep a couple together? I think what… keeps us with that other person more than anything, is not the physical; it’s the common sense of humor.  It’s that you laugh at what I say and I laugh at what you do and we both find the same things funny….

I feel like it’s never really mentioned, but Debra loves Ray because he’s fun…. Comedy’s conflict — but every once in a while, he makes her laugh. And you get it.

December 7, 1941: A Date Which Still Lives in Infamy

Friday, December 7th, 2012

On December 7, 1941, Japanese warplanes attacked the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The following day, The United States declared war on Japan, ushering in America’s involvement in World War II. Many of our interviewees recalled exactly where they were when they learned of the bombing of Pearl Harbor:

Leonard Nimoy on how he learned of the attack:

Ed McMahon on finding out about the bombing of Pearl Harbor from radio:

In the days after December 7, 1941, the federal government ordered 120,000 Japanese-Americans to leave their homes on the West Coast and enter internment camps. George Takei details his experience as a four-year-old boy, forced to leave his Los Angeles home to travel to multiple camps:

And Pat Morita, at nine years old and in the hospital with spinal tuberculosis, was escorted by FBI agents from the hospital to a relocation camp in Arizona:

December 7, 1941: a date that indeed lives in infamy, not only for marking the beginning of the United States’ involvement in armed combat overseas, but also for initiating a period of grave mistreatment of fellow citizens within our own borders.

Click to watch our full interviews with Leonard Nimoy, Ed McMahon, George Takei, and Pat Morita.

Remembering Legendary Actor Ernest Borgnine

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

We’re sad to report that legendary actor Ernest Borgnine died today, July 8th, at the age of 95. The prolific Oscar-winning (for Marty) and Emmy-nominated actor (for McHale’s Navy and ER), began his carer in early live television, and is best known on TV for his starring roles in McHale’s Navy and Airwolf; plus, he is known to younger generations for his role as “Mermaid Man” on the animated SpongeBob SquarePants.

Born Ermes Effron Borgnino on January 24, 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut, Borgnine never thought he’d be an actor. It was at the urging of his mother (“Have you ever thought of becoming an actor? You always like to make a darn fool of yourself in front of people. Why don’t you give it a try?”) that he entered the field. We’re so grateful that he did!

After graduating high school, Borgnine joined the Navy in 1935, ended his service in 1941, and went right back in again when World War II broke out. Once he set his sights upon acting, he first attended Yale University, but then moved on to the Randall School of Drama in Hartford, CT to concentrate solely on the dramatic arts. After significant stage work at the Barter Theater in Virginia and time on Broadway in “Harvey”, Borgnine appeared as the evil “Nargola” on the popular 1951 children’s television show, Captain Video and his Video Rangers.

On working in early live television


In 1953 he played “Sgt. ‘Fatso’ Judson” in From Here to Eternity, but the role with which Borgnine would forever be associated came in 1955. Based on Paddy Chayefsky’s television play of the same name, Borgnine auditioned for, and won the part – and the Best Actor Oscar that year – for playing the title role in Marty.

On winning an Oscar for Marty

A big screen star, Borgnine soon conquered the small screen as well. In 1963 he made his first of many appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and was asked to play the lead in a dramatic show called Seven Men Against the Sea, which as Borgnine explains in the following clip, eventually became the 1964 comedy McHale’s Navy.

On the genesis of McHale’s Navy



Borgnine began his run occupying center square on the popular game show Hollywood Squares in 1966, starred in the film The Poseidon Adventure in 1972, and appeared in the short-lived series Future Cop in 1976-77. In ‘77 he played “The Centurion” in Franco Zeffirelli’s TV miniseries Jesus of Nazareth, and from 1984-86 he was back starring in a TV series again, this time as “Dominic Santini” in the action-adventure show Airwolf.

On starring in Airwolf

After playing “Manny the Doorman” on the mid-’90s show The Single Guy and voicing “Carface” on the animated TV series All Dogs Go To Heaven, in 1999 Borgnine began lending his voice to SpongeBob SquarePants‘ “Mermaid Man”, thrilling girl scouts and adults alike with his maniacal catch phrase, “EVIIIIIIL!”

On voicing “Mermaid Man” on SpongeBob SquarePants



On acting

“As an actor, you’re supposed to know what life and, and love is all about.  There’s so much to life, so much to bringing forth something in yourself that you have experienced, or have had an experience, or are thinking of an experience, or are willing to experience, something that you can bring to this theater, to this picture. And this is what makes an actor, I feel  it’s what you have here (points to heart) and what you have here (points to head) that counts. It’s not just reading things off of a thing that, some writer has written for you.  You make the writer’s words your own, besides thinking, “Am I living those words?” That’s what counts.”

See the entire interview a http://emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/ernest-borgnine

About the interview:
In his two-and-a-half hour interview, Ernest Borgnine discusses his youth and the influence of his mother on his future acting ambitions. He reflects on enlisting in the Navy in the mid 1930s and on his service during World War II. He talks about his first appearances on television, including villainous roles on the DuMont children’s science fiction show Captain Video and His Video Rangers, and speaks of the role for which he is most associated – that of “Marty” in the 1955 film of the same name. He details his experience working with writer Paddy Chayefsky and director Delbert Mann (who had collaborated on the original television version)— and recounts stories about his audition for the part and of his Oscar win for Best Actor.  He details the popular 1960’s sitcom McHale’s Navy, describes the production schedule, and gives his impressions of the show’s ensemble cast. Borgnine recalls appearing on The Hollywood Squares, The Tonight Show, and (in an Emmy-nominated performance) the television movie “All Quiet on the Western Front.”  He chronicles his feature film roles in From Here to Eternity and in the disaster film classic The Poseidon Adventure, and comments on his work with directors Robert Aldrich and Sam Peckinpah,. He briefly speaks of his roles in the television series Airwolf, The Single Guy, and Spongebob Squarepants (he provides the voice of “Mermaid Man”).  The remarkably vital 91-year-old Borgnine spoke with humor and enthusiasm and a clear zest for life. Henry Colman and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on October 10, 2008 in Beverly Hills, CA.

Dallas 2012: The Ewing Boys are Back in Town

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

It’s been 21 years since Dallas left the air, but tonight, the boys of Southfork Ranch return in a reboot of the popular series. J.R. and Bobby Ewing are back, along with their sons, John Ross and Christopher, and of course, Sue Ellen (Dallas just wouldn’t be Dallas without her.)

The original Dallas premiered in 1978 and ran through 1991. Executive Producer Lee Rich describes the origins of the program in his 1999 interview:

Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing) recalls the now infamous “Who Shot J.R.?” storyline:

And speaks of where we left off with the finale of Dallas:

Here’s where tonight’s version picks up:

Looks like J.R.’s back and badder than ever. We wouldn’t expect anything less.

For more on the original Dallas, visit our show page and creator David Jacobs’ interview (Jacobs isn’t involved with the reboot.)

The Hollywood Reporter Names 35 Most Powerful People in Media

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

The Hollywood Reporter just named the 35 Most Powerful People in Media and Archive interviewees Bob Costas, Katie Couric, Steve Kroft, Barbara Walters, and Brian Williams made the list. Click here to see the full list, which includes notables like Anderson Cooper, Jon Stewart, Kelly Ripa, Stephen Colbert, and Jimmy Fallon.

Enjoy a few clips from our “powerful” interviewees:

Katie Couric on what she learned from hosting Today:

Barbara Walters on Gilda Radner’s “Baba Wawa” impression:

Michael Patrick King Talks “Sex and the City”

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

He’s the guy responsible for bringing Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha into our homes every Sunday night. Michael Patrick King was executive producer of Sex and the City, HBO’s hit series about four (originally) single gals livin’ the life in New York City. Before Sex and the City, though, King wrote for Murphy Brown and Will & Grace (among other shows) and has since gone on to executive produce CBS’ 2 Broke Girls.

In his 2011 Archive Interview, King details his work on Sex and the City, and discusses (SPOILER) Carrie ending up with Big:

Speaks of his muse, Sarah Jessica Parker:

And talks about the men of Sex and the City:

For more on Sex and the City and King’s career, watch his full Archive interview.

Dancing with Melissa Gilbert

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Tonight Week Three of Dancing with the Stars Season 14 kicks off, with Archive interviewee Melissa Gilbert and professional partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy doing the jive. Tennis star Martina Navratilova was the first of the twelve contestants to go home last week, but the remaining dancers return tonight for “Personal Story Week.” Still in the competition: Gilbert and fellow actors Jack Wagner, Jaleel White, Roshon Fegan, and William Levy; hosts Sherri Shepherd and Maria Menounos; singers Gladys Knight, Gavin DeGraw, and Katherine Jenkins; and football player Donald Driver.

In her 2011 Interview, Gilbert reminisces about the first celebrity competition show on which she appeared, Battle of the Network Stars:

Tune in to ABC tonight at 8pm ET/PT to watch the next episode of Dancing with the Stars, and learn more about “Personal Story Week” here.

Watch Melissa Gilbert’s full Archive interview.

Kevin Eubanks and “The Tonight Show” Band!

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

For years he was Jay Leno’s right-hand-man, on both The Tonight Show and the short-lived Jay Leno Show. Though Kevin Eubanks may best be known as the former Tonight Show with Jay Leno bandleader, he’s also an accomplished musician in his own right. He attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, plays the piano, violin, guitar, and trumpet, and has recorded several albums. Oh, and he’s appeared on Muppets Tonight, Hollywood Squares, and Days of Our Lives.

Eubanks discusses his easy rapport with Jay Leno in his 2011 Archive interview:

Watch Kevin Eubanks’ full interview here.

“NYPD Blue”/”L.A. Law” Creator Steven Bochco is Back!

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Writer/producer Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law) is returning to television! Bochco is partnering with Toronto-based Entertainment One to produce the one-hour sci-fi drama Evolution, a program set three million years in the future, showcasing a “Darwinian struggle for innovation and survival.” Bochco and Bryan Law created the series; Bochco, Entertainment One’s Michael Rosenberg and John Morayniss will executive produce, and Law will serve as supervising producer.

Watch Bochco’s full archive interview to reacquaint yourself with the shows in his repertoire (Doogie Howser, M.D., Hooperman, NYPD Blue) and learn more about Evolution here.