Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Welcome Back, Monday Night Football!!

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Yesterday marked the return of Monday Night Football as the New England Patriots take on the Miami Dolphins at 7pm EST! Archive interviewees Al Michaels and Curt Gowdy (1919-2006) are legends when it comes to announcing football games. Watch below to see how Al Michaels believes Monday Night Football changed sports and to learn how Curt Gowdy prepared for broadcasting football games:

Watch Al Michaels’ full interview online:

Watch Curt Gowdy’s full interview here:

Bid Now: TV Academy Foundation Online Auction Ends Today!

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Time is running out — Here’s your chance to own and treasure a unique television memento, or have an amazing TV-related experience, all while supporting a great cause! The online auction ends this evening, so remember to bid soon.


• Enjoy Red Carpet Seating for 2 at the Preimtime Emmys

• VIP Seating for 2 at a taping of TV Land’s Hot in Clveland

• Iconic Fedora from USA’s White Collar autographed by Matt Bomer

• Dinner for 4 at LA Market prepared by Hells Kitchen season 8 winner Nona Sivley

•Oversized tennis ball autographed by Hugh Laurie

•Primetime Emmy Award ticket package

•Autographed Family Guy Clue game

•Plus many more experiences and items

The Television Academy Foundation is offering an array of exclusive items and experiences to bidders through a special online charity auction hosted by eBay Giving Works. All proceeds will benefit the Television Academy Foundation’s educational outreach programs — from seminars to scholarships — as well as our Archive of American Television’s 700+ interviews with the legends and innovators of television.

EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG Wins Second Consecutive Interactive Media Award

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

We’re thrilled to announce that the Archive of American Television’s website EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG was named a recipient of the Interactive Media Awards’ (IMA) Outstanding Achievement in Website Development Award, honored specifically for Excellence in Arts/Culture!

The award recognizes the site’s excellence in relation to five distinct areas: design, usability, feature functionality, standards compliance and content.

The Interactive Media Awards were created by Interactive Media Council, Inc. (IMC), a team comprising today’s most incomparable web-related experts, including those in the programming, designing, developing and advertising fields. In 2006, the organization started the awards competition as a means of helping prestigious sites expand their services and thrive.  For more information about Interactive Media Awards visit

Composer Fred Steiner, best known for the “Perry Mason” theme, has died

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Legendary composer Fred Steiner passed away on June 23rd at the age of 88. The prolific composer (and musicologist) worked on many series including Playhouse 90, The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, Star Trek, The Bullwinkle Show, and Gunsmoke. He also received an Oscar nomination for his work on The Color Purple. Fred was interviewed by the Archive of American Television in 2003. Here are some excerpts from his 4+ hour interview:

On composing the theme for Perry Mason.

CBS Music Director Lud Gluskin assigned me to it…. I have found some old sketches for the Perry Mason theme, some old pencil sketches, and they have no resemblance to what I finally came up with it. So it’s a complete mystery to me.  But apparently he liked it.  The original title was “Park Avenue Beat.”  And the reason for that was that I conceived of Perry Mason as this very sophisticated lawyer — eats at the best restaurants, tailor-made suits, and so on — and yet at the same time he’s mixed in with these underworld bad guys, murder and crime.  So the  underlying beat is R&B, rhythm and blues. And for the crazy reason that in those days, even to this day, jazz or R&B, whatever, is always associated with crime.  You look at those old film noir pictures they’ve always got jazz going for some reason or other. So it’s kind of a piece of symphonic R&B.  But since then, it’s been known as the Perry Mason theme.

On the opening of Gunsmoke.

I came up with the logo where you see him with the low angle shot of Matt Dillon. Well, first you see him from behind with the legs, it’s a face-off with the villain, the bad guy.  I wrote that.  And it ends up with the two gunshots, [HUMMING], bang, bang.  I wrote that. Now it seems like an obvious thing to do, set up the gunshot.

On writing the second theme for The Bullwinkle Show.

The first theme was written by Frank Comstock. Frank had kept the copyright to that music, and it was probably some lawyer, excuse the expression, who advised [creator/producer] Jay Ward, “hey, you’re losing money by not keeping the copyright to the music.” That’s when I got called in, and I got assigned to write, not only a new theme, but also about an hour’s worth of incidental music, and that’s what he used in various segments. The music editor was Skip Craig, who was very good…. The only thing Jay Ward told me that he wanted what he called a show biz theme.  But I wrote several themes for it.  I wrote the first one that you hear with Rocky flying around, he’s going back and forth.  Then you got the other one with Bullwinkle and the top hot strutting.  But he told me he wanted a show biz theme.  Jay was a marvelous guy.

On composing for Star Trek.

I had a conference with [series creator] Gene Roddenberry, and he said I don’t want any “boops and beep stuff,” like I guess they were having on some of the other science fiction shows.  He wanted, I think the term he used was “Captain Blood in space.”  And oddly enough, that was exactly the kind of thing that I had thought of.  They had shown me the pilot film, which Alexander Courage had scored, and he was of the same mind, although he had a little bit of kind of strange sounding stuff in there.  So the first one I scored, wow, it was a weird assignment as I recall. But I got assigned to, instead of scoring a whole episode, because Star Trek was very heavily scored with library, Bob Justman, who was the line producer, associate producer, line producer, whatever you want –  had things rigged so they’d use mostly library in a sequence.  But whenever there was a certain new character on the screen, or some new twist of a story that would demand new music.  So my first assignment there was writing special music for three — three different episodes in one session.  That was quite a way to break in.

Watch his full Archive interview here.

Link to his New York Times Obituary.

Happy Birthday, Bob Vila!

Monday, June 20th, 2011

A very happy birthday to show host (This Old House, Bob Vila) and renovation expert Bob Vila, who turns 65 today.

In this clip from his Archive of American Television interview, Vila discusses his first guest appearance on the sitcom Home Improvement:

Link to Bob Vila’s website

A Conversation with Richard Chamberlain – Now Online

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Actor Richard Chamberlain sat down with the Archive of American Television for three hours and detailed his television work. The entire interview is now online. Below are some excerpts from this extensive interview:

Richard Chamberlain on the wild popularity of Dr. Kildare.

I think people are fascinated by the medical profession.  They’re fascinated by situations of life and death. Everybody knows that someday you’ll get sick or break something, or have a problem and need a doctor and people find doctors like Gillespie and Kildare wonderful because they care about you, they listen to you, they help you.  I think all of those things made the show very, very attractive.  Also it was very well-produced and very well-written for its time. We had amazing guest stars, and amazing guest directors. But mostly I think it’s in the human realm, it’s a situation which people would die to be in, if they were gonna die or close to it, with getting the best possible care from people who really cared about them.

VIDEO CLIP: Richard Chamberlain on the character of Dr. Kildare.

Richard Chamberlain on playing John Blackthorne in the Shogun miniseries.

I read a lot about him, because he was a real person.  I read a lot about that history, what Japan was like.  Japan was an unbelievably cohesive society at the time.  I mean, whatever your station in life, that’s where you were, you were allowed to eat certain things, you were allowed to dress certain ways,  you were allowed to be certain places.  And that was it.  There was no social mobility whatsoever.  You were stuck for your life, and so was your family, forever.  It was a really tough culture.  Fascinating, absolutely fascinating. And Blackthorne, of course, had to cope with all that, and even take a bath, which was unheard of in Europe at the time.  It was wonderful being in Japan, and having the Japanese crew, and the Japanese wardrobe people, and make up people and all that.  It was really good.

Richard Chamberlain on The Thorn Birds.

The basic premise of “The Thornbirds” was ‘let’s make the best most high-class tragedy driven soap opera of all time.’ I don’t mean to denigrate it.  It was brilliantly done, and brilliantly cast, and a wonderful story, but the absolute top of the heap of pure soap opera I think.   I often am surprised when I think about it that it was, and remains so successful because it was one tragedy after another, after another, after another, after another, after another. Nobody came out on top in that show.  Everybody — it was so sad, one thing after another.  And these wonderful people, wonderful characters, and Father Ralph was an extraordinary character.  He was so driven and so torn three ways. I mean, it’s one thing to have your heart ripped apart in two directions, but his was in three directions.  First of all, he loved God, and had a genuine vocation. Secondly, he was enthralled by the power and glamor of the church, and thirdly he really loved Meggie.  It was soul-mate love.  It was real, real love.

Richard Chamberlain on his decision to reveal his homosexuality in his autobiography.

Judith Regan, who was ReganBooks, and a very hot publisher had asked ‘what would you like to write about? ‘ And I said, ‘I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately, I’ll write about life.’  I thought I had some ideas about how we could live our lives better.  So I wrote five pages and sent them to her, and she liked it and said we were on.  So I was writing basically a philosophical treatise, but they kept saying ‘you’ve got to make it more personal  so people know where these ideas came from.’ So I made it more and more personal. I didn’t want to write about being gay in it because I knew that during the publicity campaign for the book that’s all anybody would want to talk about, and of course that’s what happened.  But it was during the course of writing the book that suddenly all the self-dislike, all the misconceptions I had about being gay vanished, absolutely vanished.  It was a kind of miracle, I think in fact, and then suddenly I was on national television talking about being gay because that’s all they wanted to talk about.

See the full interview, where he discusses these and many other topics in-depth at

Full Interview Description

In his Archive Interview, actor Richard Chamberlain talks about his life-long interest in acting. He discusses his first television role on Gunsmoke and describes at length his experience on Dr. Kildare, one of TV’s first medical dramas. He goes on to recount his roles on two of television’s most memorable miniseries: playing John Blackthorne on Shogun, and portraying the unforgettable Father Ralph on  The Thorn Birds. He also speaks of his stage and television work in London as well as his ventures into feature films, where he socialized with the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Federico Fellini on set. He touches on his forays into music recording and on what it’s like to be an actor who also happens to be gay. And be sure to watch for his tale on how he was mistaken for a serial killer in Colorado while filming the NBC miniseries, Centennial. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the one-hour interview on February 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA.

“I Love Lucy” Writer Madelyn Pugh Davis is 90

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Happy Birthday to Archive Interviewee Madelyn Pugh Davis! Born March 15, 921, Madelyn became known in the 1950s for her work writing on the I Love Lucy television series, alongside partner Bob Carroll. Watch the complete interview with Bob and Madelyn here.

About This Interview

Bob Carroll, Jr. (1918-2007) and writing partner Madelyn Pugh Davis, were interviewed for three hours in Los Angeles, CA. Davis and Carroll speak of their 50-year writing relationship that included writing for Steve Allen, as well as the decades of working with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and the classic I Love Lucy show.

When asked about working together, Madelyn said “We never had to argue about what was funny.  We just argued about the temperature of the room.”

The interview was conducted by Tom Gilbert on November 24, 1997.

2011 UCLA Festival of Preservation

Friday, March 11th, 2011

UCLA FIlm & Television Archive is presenting its annual festival celebrating restored classics from film and television.
In addition to their film selections, UCLA will present three episodes of Ralph Edwards’ This is Your Life (March 13), two television musical specials starring Gene Kelly (March 26), and Play of the Week: “Waiting for Godot” starring Burgess Meredith and Zero Mostel (March 13).
For more information and the complete schedule, visit UCLA’s website at

TV Academy Foundation and “Variety” host the 2011 TV Summit

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation and “Variety”  hosted the day-long 2011 TV Summit yesterday at the Renaissance Hotel in Los Angeles. As people move to watch TV whenever and wherever they want – through smartphones, tablets, computers and other platforms – traditional advertising revenue models are disrupted. The TV Summit covered ways for the industry to continue to make quality content and be a vibrant money-making business at the same time.

Among the days’ panelists were: Michael Lombardo (President of Programming for HBO), Shonda Rhimes (Creator and Executive producer of Private Practice and Grey’s Anatomy), and Gale Anne Hurd (Executive Producer of The Walking Dead).

Below are two excerpts taken from the house: from “The Rebranded Channel” panel, OWN network CEO comments on a surprising thing she discovered about the new network’s viewers and from the “State of the Industry” HBO President of Programming Michael Lombardo comments on the mistake to rush John from Cincinnati on the air.

Archive’s February Newsletter is out

Friday, February 4th, 2011

The Archive’s newsletter can be sent to you: click on the “join the Archive’s mailing list” icon on the right column of our home page.  Click the photo on left to see the Archive’s February newsletter.