Archive for the ‘"Taxi"’ Category

“It’s Always Sunny’s” Frank Reynolds Shows Up at Our Interview with Danny DeVito

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

The Archive recently had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Mr. Danny Devito. Interviewer Amy Harrington of the Pop Culture Passionistas shares a few thoughts about the experience:

I knew that Danny DeVito was a great actor when I signed up to interview him for the Archive of American Television. After all I’d been watching him since I was a little kid and he was the dastardly Louie DePalma on Taxi.  And I grew to admire him over the years for his roles in films like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Throw Mama from the Train,” the latter of which he also directed.

But it wasn’t until about two-thirds of the way through my sit down with the Emmy-award winning actor that I got a first hand glimpse of his incomparable talent. DeVito was discussing his role on the edgy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In the course of his response he started to talk about his time in Vietnam.

My mind frantically rifled through his resume for the period in his life when DeVito had served in the military — wondering how I’d missed his turn in the Armed Forces. That’s when I realized I was no longer talking to Hollywood’s Danny DeVito, I was speaking with Sunny’s Frank Reynolds.

At that moment I looked into the eyes of the character, not the actor, and noticed an oh-so-subtle but undeniably present shift. DeVito had disappeared and Reynolds sat there in his place.

Luckily Danny came back for the follow-up question and I was back on track. But I’ll never forget that moment of pure, unadulterated talent staring me in the eyes.

- by Amy and Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas

Watch Danny DeVito’s full interview here.

Director James Burrows on Makin’ His Way in the World Today

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Director James Burrows is practically synonymous with popular television comedies. Burrows got his start in television under the tutelage of Jay Sandrich on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, went on to direct episodes of The Bob Newhart Show, co-created Cheers with Les and Glen Charles (and directed almost all of the series’ episodes), directed episodes of Taxi, Friends, Frasier, and the entire series run of Will & Grace.

Burrows stated that one of the biggest laughs he’s ever seen on television occurred when he was directing Friends:

Watch James Burrows’ full interview here to hear his tales of Taxi, Cheers, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and other TV favorites.

About this interview:

In his three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, James Burrows discusses his early years working as a stage manger under his father, playwright/director Abe Burrows, and outlines his years directing for the stage in regional theater. He recalls his break into television directing, working at MTM Productions on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and describes directing Fay, The Bob Newhart Show, Laverne & Shirley, and Phyllis. He details working with the cast and creative team behind Taxi, and directing the majority of the series’ episodes. Burrows chronicles the eleven-year run of Cheers, which he co-created with Glen & Les Charles, and for which he directed nearly every episode.  As one of the pre-eminent directors of sitcom pilots, Burrows shares what he looks for in selecting a pilot and explains what drew him to directing the pilot episodes of Night Court, NewsRadio, and 3rd Rock From the Sun. He talks of working on the early seasons of Frasier, Friends, and Caroline in the City, and speaks of the joy of being the sole director of the hit series, Will & Grace. Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview on December 17, 2003 in Los Angeles, CA.

George Shapiro on Andy Kaufman, Jerry Seinfeld, and more!

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

George Shapiro has had the pleasure, although some might call it the challenge, of managing the seemingly unmanageable Andy Kaufman. In his Archive interview, manager George Shapiro describes his work with comedians Andy Kaufman and Jerry Seinfeld, among others, and discusses the intricacies of negotiating television appearances and series for clients. In the following excerpt Shapiro details the unbelievable story of how Andy Kaufman secured the role of “Latka” on Taxi:

You can view George Shapiro’s full interview here.

More about this interview:
George Shapiro was interviewed for approximately two hours in Los Angeles, CA. Shapiro discusses his early years growing up in the Bronx, where he met his longtime business partner, Howard West, and describes working his way up from mailroom attendant to packaging executive at the William Morris Agency. He talks about his work with The Steve Allen Show and That Girl, and details his decision to leave William Morris to form his own management company, Shapiro/West. He speaks at length on working with client Andy Kaufman, on negotiating Kaufman’s intricate deal with Taxi, and on Kaufman’s premature death. Shapiro also comments on client Jerry Seinfeld, explains how Seinfeld got on the air, and concludes with thoughts on the art of management and his philosophy on comedy. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview in a joint venture with The American Comedy Archives (at Emerson College) on February 12, 2007.

"The Simpsons" Hits the Big Screen

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

After years and years of gossip and teasers about a Simpsons feature film, the time has come! This weekend marks the opening of The Simpsons Movie — marking the iconic television series’ transition to the big screen.

In 2003, the Archive of American Television interviewed James L. Brooks, the executive producer of The Simpsons. In the interview parts 9 and 10, he speaks in-depth about the creation of The Simpsons.

Click here to access James L. Brooks 11-part interview.

Interview description:
James L. Brooks was interviewed for five-and-a-half hours (in two sessions) in Bel-Air, CA. Mr. Brooks spoke of his early days as a page at CBS – working his way up to the newsroom. After working in documentaries, Brooks turned to comedy, where he wrote scripts for Hey Landlord, The Andy Griffith Show and My Three Sons before co-creating (with Gene Reynolds) Room 222. In 1970, MTM Productions teamed Brooks with Allen Burns, where they created and produced The Mary Tyler Moore Show. They were also producers on the spin-off series Rhoda, Phyllis and Lou Grant. After leaving MTM, Brooks produced Taxi, The Associates, and The Tracy Ullman Show. Mr. Brooks also talked about the craft of writing and producing for television and his continuing work as executive producer on The Simpsons. The two-part interview was conducted by Karen Herman on January 17 and February 12, 2003.

Also available, is a full interview with Phil Roman, the founder of Film Roman, which currently oversees the animation of The Simpsons.

Glen & Les Charles’ Archive Interview Is Now Online!

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Glen & Les Charles (along with James Burrows) are best known for creating the classic sitcom Cheers. Their 8-part Archive of American Televison Interview is now available for viewing online. The Charles brothers were interviewed separately about their early years and influences and jointly about their contributions to television as writer-producers. “Take a break from all your worries” and click here to access their complete interview.

Interview description:
The writing-partner brothers talked about their early years growing up near Las Vegas, Nevada and their decision in the mid-70s to try their hand at freelance writing for television. They talked about selling their first script (to M*A*S*H) and their break into staff writing at MTM Productions where they worked as writer-producers on Phyllis and the final season of The Bob Newhart Show. They talked about other writing assignments on such series as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Betty White Show. They detailed working with the cast and crew on the hit series Taxi, for which they produced (and wrote for) the ABC run [the show would run a final season on NBC]. The two chronicled their creation (with James Burrows) of the series Cheers for which they served as producers and later executive producers during the show’s entire eleven year run. The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on December 8, 2003.

"Will & Grace" ends its eight season run

Monday, May 15th, 2006

Will & Grace (& Jack & Karen) are throwing their last barb/insult/witticism/pie-in-the-face this week. Not only will fans miss the talented ensemble (all four of whom won Emmy Awards), but also the guest shots by “it” list celebrities that together resemble a merger of Elton John’s and Vanity Fair’s Oscar parties.

Amazingly, every one of the nearly 200 “Will & Grace” episodes were directed by one person — legendary sitcom creator/director James Burrows. Burrows was interviewed by the Archive of American Television and talked about his experiences directing “Will & Grace” as well as such career highlights as “Taxi,” “Cheers,” and “Friends.”

Click here to access the the Archive’s 7-segment interview with James Burrows.

Who was your favorite star to mix it up with Eric, Debra, Sean and Megan? Choose from the list below, or “write in” your favorite.

Kevin Bacon
Alec Baldwin
Eileen Brennan

John Cleese

Glenn Close

Matt Damon

Michael Douglas

Woody Harrelson

Jeff Goldblum

Gregory Hines

Elton John

James Earl Jones


Demi Moore

Britney Spears

Post your vote by entering it in “comments” below.