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.”
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.”