Archive for the ‘"Producers Showcase"’ Category

Happy 90th Birthday, Jack Klugman!

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Jack Klugman celebrates his 90th birthday today! Klugman has made over 400 television appearances — in comedies, dramas, and even in a game show (well, sort of – remember the “Password”episode of The Odd Couple?) He’s played a blacklisted actor, a medical examiner, and perhaps most famously, sportswriter “Oscar Madison” opposite Tony Randall’s “Felix Unger” in the 1970’s sitcom The Odd Couple. One roommate was a neat-freak, one was sloppy and sarcastic: Klugman played the messy one.

Born April 27, 1922 in South Philadelphia, Klugman got his start in acting in the drama department of the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon). Klugman soon moved to New York to pursue theater, securing roles in several off-Broadway plays and getting his big break in the 1948 Broadway production of “Mr. Roberts.” From there, Klugman began dabbling in the new medium of television, making appearances in the early 1950s on Actors Studio, (where he was directed by Yul Brynner), and on anthology dramas Studio One, Playhouse 90, and the 1955 Producers’ Showcase production of “The Petrified Forest,” opposite Bogey and Bacall. Klugman also wrote several scripts for Kraft Television Theatre in the late 1950s:

Klugman wasn’t restricted to theater and television, though. He appeared as “Juror #5″ in the 1957 film Twelve Angry Men, and continued to do theater, television, and film projects throughout his career. He was back on-stage in 1959’s “Gypsy” with Ethel Merman, and on TV again in the 1960s for four appearances on Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. In 1964, Klugman had a memorable role in “The Blacklist” episode of The Defenders, for which he won an Emmy:

Also in 1964, Klugman starred as the superintendent of a movie studio in his first sitcom, the short-lived Harris Against the World. Then in 1966, Klugman made his first appearance in Neil Simon’s stage play, “The Odd Couple:”

Garry Marshall was looking to make a television series of the play, which Klugman agreed to do after some initial resistance. He resumed his stage role of “Oscar Madison” for the sitcom, which ran from 1970-75:

CBS’ Fred Silverman tried to sell Klugman on a few other series after The Odd Couple ended, but it wasn’t until the chance to play muckraking medical examiner Quincy, M.E. came along in 1976 that Klugman agreed to helm another TV show. Quincy lasted eight seasons, through 1983:

Klugman appeared in the 1987 film I’m Not Rappaport with Ossie Davis and Walter Matthau, but was suffering from throat cancer and soon underwent surgery to remove his right vocal cord. His voice was quieted to just above a whisper, and Klugman worked hard to train his remaining cord to pick up the slack. He returned to acting at the urging of friend Tony Randall for a one-time stage performance of “The Odd Couple” in New York in 1991. The production was a huge success, leading to Klugman and Randall teaming up for productions of “Three Men On a Horse,” and “Sunshine Boys” on Broadway throughout the 1990s.

Klugman has continued to act in small roles here and there, most recently as “Sam” in the 2010 horror film Camera Obscura. He’s a proven success in film, television, and theater, and his perseverance in resurrecting his voice after surgery is about as inspirational as it gets. Happy 90th birthday, Jack! Here’s to many, many more!

Watch Jack Klugman’s full Archive interview.

- by Adrienne Faillace

Humphrey Bogart on ’50s TV— “Jack Benny,” “Person to Person,” and “Producers’ Showcase”

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Humphrey Bogart was one of the screen’s biggest stars in the 1950s, when TV was considered a rival medium.  Bogart made relatively few appearances on TV before his death in January 1957.  According to sources (such as David M. Inman’s Performers’ Television Credits), Bogart made a few appearances on Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town in the early ’50s, but his most notable appearances occurred between 1953-55.

Bogart’s three most well-known TV appearances can all be glimpsed online, and are as listed below.  Visit the Archive’s page on Humphrey Bogart to see these performances and hear from Archive interviewees including writer Tad Mosel (Producers’ Showcase: “The Petrified Forest”)

The Jack Benny Show (airdate: 10/25/53).  Appearing in approximately ten minutes of the show’s run time, Bogart is the featured guest and sends up his tough guy image in a parody that sees him also shilling for Benny’s sponsor, Lucky Strike.

Person to Person (airdate: 9/3/54).  Edward R. Murrow visits Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in their home in Los Angeles in the 41st broadcast of the famed interview show.  Variety noted: “The Bogarts, a literate, witty, engaging couple, indulged in entertaining chitchat about themselves, films and the theatre, with some amusing crisscrosses of conflicting opinions on acting and living.”

“Bogart said there were no really big stars left in the world.  He said, ‘when I say star, I mean a name that you say at the loneliest crossroad in the world and they’ll know who it is.’  He said, ‘there’s Gable and there’s me.’”

– Tad Mosel, who adapted “The Petrified Forest” for TV’s Producers’ Showcase, Bogart’s only dramatic performance on television

Producers Showcase: “The Petrified Forest” (airdate: 5/30/55).  Bogart reprised his Broadway and film role of “Duke Mantee” in this adaptation by Tad Mosel of Robert E. Sherwood’s play, directed by Delbert Mann.  Also in the ensemble: Lauren Bacall, Henry Fonda, Richard Jaeckel, Paul Hartman, Jack Warden, Joseph Sweeney, Jack Klugman, and Natalie Schafer.  Variety (east coast) and Daily Variety (west coast) had differing opinions of Bogart.  Variety opined: “Bogart, of course, remains Bogart, but somewhere in the adaptation the part of the killer Mantee shrunk to undemanding and unrewarding opportunities” whereas Daily Variety’s take: “As the ruthless killer, Bogart gave it both barrels.  Role was a natural for his dramatic debut on tv and a conspicuous entry.”

Emmy Award-Winning Director Kirk Browning Dies At Age 86 — Archive Interview Online

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008


Kirk Browning, whose directorial credits span from the first televised version of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors in 1951 to the Brian Dennehy-starring version of Death of A Salesman in 2000, was interviewed by the Archive in May of 2000.

When asked what he’d like to be remembered for, Browning said: “….if I wanted to be known for anything, it’s never forgetting that somewhere hidden in this diabolical assemblage of elements there is an art form… That there is a specific television art form and I would like to think that perhaps I’ve used it as often and as much as I could.”

Click here to access Kirk Browning’s entire nine-part Archive interview.

Interview Description:
Browning spoke of his early days in television working on live broadcasts at NBC-TV. Next, he described his work for NBC Opera Theater, working with Samuel Chotzinoff on productions such as “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and “Billy Budd,” as well as telecasts featuring Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra. He also talked about directing the NBC Opera Theater production of “Carmen,” the first color broadcast for NBC, and such shows are Producers Showcase, Shirley Temple’s Storybook, and the Christmas special “Once Upon a Christmas Time.” He recalled leaving NBC and moving to the New York PBS affiliate WNET, where he directed such shows as Producers Showcase, NET Opera, Theater in America and Great Performances. Next, Mr. Browning discussed in detail his work for PBS’ Live from the Met and Live from Lincoln Center, a series which he has directed since 1975. He also recalled his work on PBS’ American Playhouse, including presentations of “Fifth of July” and “The House of Blue Leaves.”