Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

He’s Catching Up to The 2000 Year Old Man: Carl Reiner Turns 90!

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

He’s a boy from the Bronx who’s had a hand in some of film and television’s most memorable moments. Carl Reiner turns 90 years young today, and he’s spent over 80 of those years entertaining people in one medium or another, from stage plays, to radio, to the small screen and the large.

Born Carl Reiner on March 20, 1922, Reiner caught the acting bug early in life. After performing in school plays throughout his elementary and high school years, Reiner’s older brother encouraged him to take an acting class sponsored by the Public Works Administration during the Depression years. He enjoyed honing the craft and began acting in off-Broadway plays straight out of high school; performed in summer theater in Rochester, NY; toured with a Shakespeare company; and wrote and performed plays as part of the Special Services Unit during World War II.

After his discharge from the Army in 1946, Reiner performed in the famed Borscht Belt circuit, and began his career in television in 1948 with a spot on Maggi McNellis Crystal Room, and appearances on The Fashion Story and The Fifty-fourth Street Revue. Reiner continued to do stage work, when producer Max Liebman caught one of his performances and approached Reiner about joining the cast of a new sketch variety show he was putting together with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, Your Show of Shows. Reiner became a cast member in the 1950-51 season, memorably starring in the recurring “Professor” sketch with Caesar, and often displaying his double talk skills, mimicking foreign languages or delivering Shakespeare-esque dialogue. In his 1998 Archive Interview, Reiner discusses working with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca:

Reiner soon began writing for Your Show of Shows, alongside writers Neil Simon, Mel Tolkin, Lucille Kallen, and Mel Brooks, and stayed on to become a part of Sid Caesar’s next show, Caesar’s Hour, where he won his first Emmy:

Reiner and Brooks struck up an immediate friendship, which in turn led to the creation of some fantastic comedy. The pair dreamed up the now infamous “2000 Year Old Man” (which became both a record/radio and TV hit) in Max Liebman’s office in the early 1950s:

After Caesar’s Hour Reiner hosted the game show Celebrity Game, and secured dramatic parts in several Golden Age dramas including Playhouse 90, and Kraft Television Theatre. He tried his hand at writing novels and penned Enter Laughing, and even took a stab at writing a television series. He wrote what he knew, and in 1958 created thirteen episodes of Head of the Family, a show about a family man who commutes into the big city to write for a television show. Reiner starred in the pilot, which failed to get picked up, until Sheldon Leonard saw it, convinced Reiner to step out of the spotlight, re-cast Dick Van Dyke in the lead and Mary Tyler Moore as his wife, and renamed the program The Dick Van Dyke Show:

The Dick Van Dyke Show enjoyed five seasons on air (1961-66), with Reiner as creator, producer, writer, and actor on the show — on-screen he stepped out of the lead role and into that of the star’s boss, “Alan Brady”. Reiner’s movie career revved up in the 1960’s, as he starred in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming. He soon began directing, too – he directed the film version of Enter Laughing in 1967, and wrote the pilot for and directed several episodes of 1971’s The New Dick Van Dyke Show. He directed Steve Martin in four films, including 1979’s The Jerk and 1984’s All of Me, and also directed 1987’s Summer School.

Reiner won several Emmys for The Dick Van Dyke Show, and added another to his mantle when he revisited his Dick Van Dyke Show character, “Alan Brady”, for a memorable guest appearance on a 1995 episode of Mad About You. Throughout the ’90s and 2000s Reiner continued to stay active in both film and television, with roles on the 1999 series Family Law, 2002’s Life With Bonnie, and as the voice of “Sarmoti” in 2004’s Father of the Pride. He also starred alongside George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon in the 2001 hit film, Ocean’s Eleven, and reprised his role of “Saul Bloom” for 2004’s Ocean’s Twelve and 2007’s Ocean’s Thirteen. He currently has recurring roles on two popular television shows: TVLand’s Hot in Cleveland and FOX’s The Cleveland Show.

A few additional Carl Reiner trivia tidbits: he has appeared on all major versions of The Tonight Show – with hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, and even Conan O’Brien; he’s the father of another quite famous actor/writer/producer/director – Rob Reiner; and much like Carol Burnett, when he was starring on a variety show, he used a secret signal to communicate with family members. Son Rob shared what that signal was in his 2004 Archive Interview:

Happy 90th birthday, Carl! Here’s to many, many more!

Watch Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks do their “2000 Year Old Man” sketch:

Reiner was honored by the Television Academy in October of 2011, and several of his colleagues and friends were in attendance to pay tribute to the TV legend. You can watch the webcast of “An Evening Honoring Carl Reiner” here, and check out our full Archive interview with Reiner here.

- by Adrienne Faillace

Congratulations to Newlywed Dick Van Dyke!

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Attention ladies: Dick Van Dyke is off the market! On Leap Day, February 29th, Van Dyke, 86, married his makeup artist, Arlene Silver, 40.  Yes, it’s a May-December romance, but before you’re quick to judge, have a look at the happy couple as they belt out a rather famous TV theme song:

What do you think? Could they give Archie and Edith a run for their money?

For more on Van Dyke’s Leap Day nuptials click here, and enjoy his full Archive interview here.

Phylicia Rashad Directs “A Raisin in the Sun”

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Phylicia Rashad is currently directing a production of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, CA. Rashad is quite familiar with the play, which centers on the Younger family in post World War II Harlem: she won a Tony Award for playing “Lena Younger” and reprised the role for a 2008 Movie of the Week version of the play. She discusses the role in detail in her 2007 Archive interview, where you can sense both how much Rashad has reflected on the play’s characters, and how invested she would be as a director:

The Rashad-directed production ends this Sunday, February 19th. For more information and to purchase tickets for the the final weekend of “A Raisin in the Sun” click here.

To watch Rashad’s full two-hour Archive Interview, click here.

Happy New Year and Happy 40th to “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve!”

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest reaches its 40th annual edition with tonight’s Dec. 31, 2011- January 1, 2012 special. Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest will host the program starting at 10:00 p.m. (ET & PT) on ABC, and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve: The 40th Anniversary Party, hosted by Fergie and Jenny McCarthy, will air immediately before, at 8:00 p.m. Entertainment at this year’s festivities will include Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Pitbull, Hot Chelle Rae, the Band Perry, Blink-182, Christina Perri, Florence and the Machine, Gym Class Heroes, LMFAO, OneRepublic, Nicki Minaj, Taio Cruz, and

Dick Clark spoke about his first New Year’s special in 1959 and his inauguration of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in 1972 (competing with Guy Lombardo who at that time “owned” New Year’s Eve on TV), when he was interviewed by the Archive of American Television on July 29, 1999:

Have a safe and happy New Year, everyone!

Help the Archive of American Television Win a Pixel Award!

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

The heat is on for the 6th annual Pixel Awards! The Archive of American Television is nominated for a Pixel Award for excellence in web design and development, and with your help we have a chance to win Pixel’s “People’s Champ” award. Please visit and vote for The Archive of American Television in the TV category. You can vote daily until December 18th, so please continue to vote throughout the next 2 weeks! Thank you for your support!

TV Builds Character: “America in Primetime” Premieres Sunday on PBS

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Since its inception, television has served as a lens on American society, and in the expansive world of modern TV, today’s heroes and villains have come a long way from their predecessors. America in Primetime showcases this iconic American art form, which has both reflected and shaped our national character. The four-part series premieres Sundays, October 30 through November 20, 2011, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). America in Primetime is a production of WETA Washington, D.C., and The Documentary Group, in association with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. Funding is provided by Dove, a Unilever brand; the Annenberg Foundation; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and PBS.

Sunday, October 30, 8:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)

Independent Woman reveals how women have transformed from model housewives to complex, and sometimes controversial, characters. Interviews include Roseanne Barr (Roseanne); Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown); Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem (Nurse Jackie); Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives); Robert and Michelle King and Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife); James L. Brooks and Mary Tyler Moore (The Mary Tyler Moore Show); and Shonda Rhimes and Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy), among others.

Sunday, November 6, 8:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)

Man of the House showcases the evolution of men from the kings of their castles in classic family sitcoms to more intricate, conflicted figures in modern shows. Interviews include Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner (The Cosby Show); David Chase (The Sopranos); Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad); Ron Howard (The Andy Griffith Show); Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke (The Dick Van Dyke Show); and Phil Rosenthal and Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond), among others.

Sunday, November 13, 8:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)

The Misfit rates the unique characters who defied comic stereotypes and societal expectations to reflect America’s diverse personalities. Interviews include Alec Baldwin (30 Rock); Diablo Cody (The United States of Tara); Greg Daniels and Rainn Wilson (The Office); Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld); Paul Feig and Judd Apatow (Freaks and Geeks); Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested Development); Mike Judge (Beavis an Butthead); and Garry Shandling (The Larry Sanders Show), among others.

Sunday, November 20, 8:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)

The Crusader delves into the increasingly grey area between right and wrong as television heroes confront internal demons while seeking their own forms of justice. Interviews include Alan Alda (M*A*S*H); Steven Bochco and David Milch (NYPD Blue); Chris Carter and Gillian Anderson (The X-Files); Bob Cochran and Joel Surnow (24); Michael C. Hall (Dexter); Shawn Ryan and Michael Chiklis (The Shield); and David Shore and Hugh Laurie (House), among others.

America in Primetime features more than 100 in-depth interviews with the creators, writers and actors who give life to the characters whom audiences have come to love and demonstrates how the finest television today has its foundation in the best television of yesterday.

Listen to NPR’s David Bianculli’s review of the series here.

First Use of Videotape on the First of Two “Jonathan Winters Shows”

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Jonathan Winters does characters like nobody else. A staple on The Tonight Show with Steve Allen and the star of two shows called The Jonathan Winters Show, Winters is one of comedy’s consummate chameleons. From 1956-57, he hosted the first Jonathan Winters Show, a fifteen-minute entertainment program on NBC. The second Jonathan Winters Show was an hour-long variety show that aired from 1967-69. The 1956 program lays claim to a couple of television firsts: the first use of videotape on network television occurred on the program on October 23, 1956, with a pre-recorded two minute and thirty second tape of singer Dorothy Collins performing. And According to Winters in his Archive interview, the fifteen-minute show was also one of NBC’s first color broadcasts.

Winters featured some of his most beloved characters on the 1956 Jonathan Winters Show, including the unforgettable Maude Frickert, whom he discusses in this clip:

Learn more about the 1956 and 1967 Jonathan Winters Shows by watching Winters’ full interview:

The CBS Eye Turns 60!

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

On October 20, 1951, CBS’ trademark Eye made its television debut. CBS Creative Director of Advertising and Sales Promotion, William Golden, designed the Eye for network identification during station breaks. His inspiration for the design came from a visit to Pennsylvania Dutch country, where he noticed several hex symbols resembling a human eye. Golden enlisted the help of graphic artist Kurt Weiss, and together the pair created the first logo: a composite photo of the Eye, cloud formations, and the text “CBS Television Network” (see photo at left).

Then-President of CBS, Frank Stanton, decided to keep the eye around permanently as the CBS logo. The color, size and dimensions of the Eye have changed slightly over the years, but the design remains the same. Largely due to its consistency, the CBS Eye is one of the most recognizable and iconic logos in the world.

In his Archive Interview, Louis Dorfsman, a Graphic Designer at CBS during the 1950s, recalled the creation of the Eye:

To learn more about CBS in the 1950s, visit Frank Stanton’s full archive interview.

Toasting a Legend: The Television Academy Presents “An Evening Honoring Carl Reiner”

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Congratulations to Carl Reiner, who will be honored by The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in North Hollywood this evening! Panelists paying tribute to the television legend include Mel Brooks, Jon Cryer, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Bonnie Hunt, Rose Marie, Larry Matthews, Bill Persky, Rob Reiner, Paul Reiser, Eva Marie Saint, Garry Shandling, and Dick Van Dyke. The event is sold out, but you can watch the live webcast at 7:30pm PST at

Reiner’s career in television began in the 1940s with appearances on The Fashion Story and The Fifty-fourth Street Review, and continues today with a recurring role on Hot in Cleveland. He’s won multiple Emmys, and in his Archive Interview, Reiner shares a fun fact about how his then-rules for wearing his toupee complicated his first Emmy win for The Dick Van Dyke Show:

“I didn’t wear my hair because if I had worn my hair and sat in the audience, it would be suggesting that I think I’m gonna win. I remember saying, ’should I put my hair on?’ Because my rule of thumb is if it’s national … local shows I never wore it. If I went on an interview show I never wore my hair during the day … If it’s a national show, I’ll wear it. But I decided that night, I said, ‘honey, if I put my rug on, people are gonna think I think I’m gonna win.’ So I said, ‘I’m gonna not wear it. If I win, I’ll go up there.’

In his acceptance speech, Reiner earned a huge laugh with the line, “If I’d known I was going to win, I would have worn my hair.”

He’s a winner with or without the toupee in our book.

Watch below for more memorable moments from Reiner’s career:

On creating The 2000 Year Old Man with Mel Brooks:

On working with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca:

On winning his first Emmy:

On working with the writers of The Dick Van Dyke Show:

Watch Carl Reiner’s Full interview online:

Prohibition? The Civil War? The Brooklyn Bridge? Filmmaker Ken Burns on How He Chooses his Projects

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Prohibition, a new three-part, five-and-a-half-hour documentary series by Ken Burns (The Civil War, Jazz, Baseball, Huey Long, National Parks: America’s Best Idea; Brooklyn Bridge, and many more) and Lynn Novick, airs October 2, 3 and 4, 2011, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET on PBS. Set in the era of bathtub gin, bootleggers and speakeasies, the series tells the true story of the rise, rule and fall of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It was called the Noble Experiment, but it was in fact one of America’s most notorious civic failures, an object lesson in the challenge of legislating human behavior.

The Archive of American Television interviewed Ken Burns about his life, career, and documentary process in 2007, here’s a clip where he passionately discusses his documentary style and how he chooses his projects:

Also, check out Jim Benson’s TV Time Machine interview with Ken Burns about the project.

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick introduce the series in this promo video:

Watch the full episode. See more Ken Burns.

Watch the Archive’s full interview with Ken Burns here.

Photo courtesy of: John Binder Collection