Archive for the ‘"Studio One"’ Category

Mitch Miller, TV’s “Sing Along” Host, Has Died— Archive Interview Online

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Mitch Miller, who, through his TV show Sing Along with Mitch and a series of LPs, taught the public the lyrics to popular music in the ’50s and ’60s, has died at the age of 99.  With his trademark mustache and goatee, and expressive conducting, Mitch Miller became an unlikely TV star when a one-shot special on Ford Motor Company’s Startime led to a 1961-66 TV series.  Miller later served as a successful executive in the music industry.

The Archive of American Television interviewed Mitch Miller on July 24, 2004.

Interview Description:

Mitch Miller talked about his early musical interests in high school, where he played the oboe.  He talked about his first professional jobs in Rochester, New York, and his move to New York City. He mentioned working with George Gershwin and described the orchestration of “Rhapsody in Blue.”  He talked about joining the CBS symphony orchestra in the mid-30s, where he appeared on radio through the 1940s.  He talked about working at Mercury Records and then Columbia Records, and his nurturing of musical talent (such as Johnny Mathis) and his developing of hit songs (including “I Believe”).  He talked about providing the song “Let Me Go Lover” to the CBS drama anthology series Studio One, which became an instant hit record for unknown Joan Weber.  He briefly talked about his own hit record in “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”  He talked about getting his first exposure with sing along songs on television with the special Startime: “Sing Along with Mitch.”  Miller then spoke in great detail about his famed 1960s television series resulting from this special, Sing Along with Mitch.

Writer Horton Foote Has Died– Archive Interview Online

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Horton Foote, whose playwriting spanned sixty years, and whose “The Trip to Bountiful” had celebrated productions in theater, television, and film, has died at the age of 92. He was an Emmy-winner for the miniseries Old Man and an Academy Award winner for his screenplays of To Kill A Mockingbird and Tender Mercies. He won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1995 for his play “The Young Man From Atlanta.”

His Archive interview, conducted in 1999, is available here (except part 1):

Tip: At the beginning of Part 4 of his interview he spoke about the inspiration for “The Trip to Bountiful.”

Interview Description:
Horton Foote discussed his work writing for “live” television dramatic anthology series. He talked about his relationship with producer Fred Coe who started him in television and later worked with him on the Goodyear-Philco Television Playhouse. Mr. Foote described in detail several of his benchmark television efforts during the “Golden Age of Television” including: Goodyear Television Playhouse: “The Trip to Bountiful,” Philco Television Playhouse: “A Young Lady of Property,” 1st Person Playhouse: “Death of the Old Man,” Studio One: “The Traveling Lady,” Playhouse 90: “The Old Man,” and Playhouse 90: “Tomorrow.” He spoke of the many talented actors who appeared in these productions including: Kim Stanley, Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Eva Marie Saint, Steven Hill, Sterling Hayden, and Geraldine Page; as well as the creative directors of these shows, including: Vincent Donehue, Delbert Mann, Arthur Penn, John Frankenheimer, and Robert Mulligan. He also talked about his later television work for PBS, including adaptations from his “Orphans Home Cycle” (series of 9 plays); his writing for cable television; his feature film work, and close association with actor Robert Duvall; and his continuous writing for the stage. Mr. Foote also fondly remembered his childhood in Wharton, Texas, which has had a lifelong influence on his writing.

"Studio One" Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Studio One, one of the first and most successful of the live dramatic anthologies of early television, celebrates its 60th anniversary today.

The first Studio One was a presentation of the McKnight Malmar suspenser “The Storm,” starring Margaret Sullavan and Dean Jagger (airing November 7, 1948). The show was produced and directed by Worthington C. Miner, who is credited as one of the most significant creative forces in American television’s early years.

During the Archive of American Television and Koch Entertainment’s panel discussion last night (to launch the debut of “The Archive of American Television Presents” DVD series) at the Television Academy, actress Gloria Stroock reiterated Miner’s contribution to both television and Studio One:

“The driving force, as I remember in Studio One, was Worthington Miner, whom we called ‘Tony’ Miner, all of us. Even though there were other directors and producers he was really the [main] force… It was a magical time. There was so much trust. I never read for anything. They just would call and say ‘are you available?’ and they’d say ‘we have something for you.’ And the parts were wonderful.”

In their review of “The Storm,” Variety gave the show an “A for effort” but admitted it was off to a rocky start. However, before long, the series ranked as the preeminent TV drama, particularly when it aired its eight production, an adaptation of “Julius Caesar,” starring William Post Jr. and directed by Paul Nickell. The New York Times‘ Jack Gould called it “spectacular television” and wrote in his review that CBS “has a real obligation to present a repeat performance” of the show… which they did with Studio One’s twelfth show, airing two months later. (Studio One wasn’t through with “Julius Caesar” though, and a third version was aired on August 1, 1955, starring Theodore Bikel– this presentation can be found on the new DVD.)

Studio One would feature some of the legendary stars of old– Paul Lukas, Franchot Tone, and Burgess Meredith, while providing a venue for some of the newest up-and-comers: Jack Lemmon, Sal Mineo, and Grace Kelly. Among the notable writers whose work was featured on Studio One included: Rod Serling (including “The Arena”), Gore Vidal (“Dark Possession”), Reginald Rose (“Twelve Angry Men”), and Arthur Hailey (“No Deadly Medicine”)

Studio One won the Emmy Award for Best Drama series in 1951, and the 1954 presentation of “Twelve Angry Men” won for director Franklin J. Schaffner, star Robert Cummings, and writer Reginald Rose.

Pictured left to right: Archive Director Karen Herman, Barbara Rush, Jack Klugman, Jayne Meadows, Gloria Stroock, Dick Van Patten, and Koch President Michael Rosenberg. At the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, November 6, 2008.

NEWSFLASH: "The Archive of American Television Presents" DVD Series Launches with "Studio One"

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

On sale November 11th, KOCH Vision and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation officially launches “The Archive of American Television Presents” with the release of 17 digitally-remastered episodes from the distinguished “Westinghouse Presents Studio One” series, which ran on CBS from 1948-1958.

A landmark series of The Golden Age of Television, “Studio One” presented a wide range of memorable dramas and received 18-Emmy nominations (including 5 wins) during its prestigious nine-year run on CBS. Showcasing some of the greatest talents of the era, this live anthology is a treasured part of America’s broadcasting history.

“Studio One Anthology” represents the first in a collection of historic programming being released under “The Archive of American Television Presents” brand.

Episodes Include:

Twelve Angry Men, Wuthering Heights, 1984, The Arena, June Moon, Dino, Julius Caesar, Pontius Pilate, The Storm, Confessions of a Nervous Man, The Remarkable Incident at Carson Corners, Dark Possession, The Death and Life of Larry Benson, The Strike, The Medium, An Almanac of Liberty, and Summer Pavilion.

In this collection are rare performances from Eddie Albert, Art Carney, Robert Cummings, Norman Fell, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Lorne Greene, Charlton Heston, Marsha Hunt, Jack Lemmon, Sal Mineo, Elizabeth Montgomery, Leslie Nielsen, Barbara O’Neil, Lee Remick, and Eva Marie Saint, among many others.

Watch the trailer:

Bonus Features:

  • The Paley Center for Media’s “Studio One Seminar”
  • Excerpted interview with director Paul Nickell from The Paley Center for Media’s “Studio One Video History”
  • “Voices from the Archive: Studio One” — related interview footage from the Archive of American Television with first-hand accounts of those who were a part of the series
  • Studio One historical overview and rediscovery featurette
  • 52-page book featuring written contributions by Gore Vidal, the Archive of American Television and Larry James Gianakos (author of Television Drama Series Programming: A Comprehensive Chronicle)



Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune “Here’s ‘One’ For the Ages” by Randy Salas

Cynthia Littleton “On the Air”

Akron Beacon Journal article by Rich Heldenfels

Home Media Magazine on launch event

TV Golden Age Writer Tad Mosel has Died

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Tad Mosel, one of the group of writers who came to define the Golden Age of Television in the 1950s, has died at the age of 86. Among Mosel’s most well-known teleplays were: “The Out-of-Towners” (for Studio One), “The Five Dollar Bill” (for Studio One), and an adaptation of “The Petrified Forest” (for Producers’ Showcase). He was Emmy-nominated in 1977 for his work on the miniseries The Adams Chronicles. He received a WGA nomination for his feature film screenplay of Up the Down Staircase.

Mosel won the Pulitizer Prize for drama for the play “All the Way Home” an adaptation of James Agee’s A Death in the Family.

Tad Mosel was one of the Archive’s earliest interviewees. Click here to view his entire 13-part interview.

“A golden age is a flowering, plain and simple, historically, artistically, it is a flowering. It is not a zenith, it is never been considered a zenith. It is a flowering and that is what television was doing in the fifties, it was flowering. They say we’ve got a new golden age, well you can’t have another golden age, you only get one…. it was a decade of opportunity. Never to my knowledge, at any point in the history of this country was there such a chance for talent. As I said if you could write, you couldn’t help but get discovered. Hanging on was another matter, but you could get discovered, same with actors, it used hundreds of actors every week. Never anywhere at anytime was there so much work for creative people. And that’s pretty golden, I always say there was gold dust in the air.” — Tad Mosel (from part 12 of his Archive interview)

Interview description:
Tad Mosel was interviewed for six-and-a-half hours in Concord, NH. He spoke about the challenges and thrills of writing for Fred Coe and David Susskind on live dramas including The Philco/Goodyear Playhouse, Playhouse 90, and Studio One. He spoke about many of his plays including his first original television play, “Ernie Barger is 50,” which appeared on Philco. The interview was conducted by Michael Rosen on October 18, 1997.

Emmy® and Oscar®-winner Abby Mann Dies at the Age of 84– Archive Interview Online

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Writer Abby Mann who won an Academy Award for the screenplay of Judgment at Nuremberg and won three Emmys for writing (The Marcus-Nelson Murders, Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesnthal Story, and Indictment: The McMartin Trial) was interviewed by the Archive in August of 2004.

Click here to access his entire six-part Archive Interview.

Interview Description:

Abby Mann was interviewed for nearly three hours in Los Angeles, CA. Mann talked about his early teleplays, written during the Golden Age of Television Drama in the 1950s. He discussed such noteworthy teleplays as “A Child Is Waiting” (for Studio One) and “Judgment at Nuremberg” (for Playhouse 90). He also talked about the feature film adaptations of these teleplays. Mann discussed his writing of the television movie The Marcus-Nelson Murders, and the creation of the subsequent series Kojak. Mann talked in detail about two other 1970s projects, the series Medical Story and the miniseries King. He spoke about his more recent endeavors as writer and executive producer of such television movies as The Atlanta Child Murders and Indicment: The McMartin Trials. Throughout the interview Mann expressed his concern about the state of the American justice system and his lifelong passion to correct injustices through the written word.

Sidney Lumet’s Interview Is Now Online

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

With Sidney Lumet’s critically praised film “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” now in theaters, the Archive of American Television has posted his three-hour interview online in which he discusses his career that started in the theater and in the “Golden Age of Television.”

Soundbites from Sidney Lumet’s six-part interview.

On “live” television:
The pressure was wonderful. And because it wasn’t insane, the pressure was, can we do it? Because nobody knew what we could do and what we couldn’t do. And nobody could say no to you because nobody knew. It was literally learning to walk. Ah, so there was nobody to say no….. From a technical point of view, anything we wanted to try, we could try. The lighting [was] very flat, just pan lighting, just scoops in ever set. And slowly, like everything else, became more and more refined and interesting…. It was quite extraordinary how much mood you could get in my still staying within the general perimeters. Also, the cameras needed a certain basic level of light simply to function…. The amount of noise in the studio was enormous. The cameras carried behind them cables about that thick. And those would just slide on the floor. And you could hear it. So if a pot wasn’t being used, it had to be closed and opened on a cue. It was out of this that all of these developments came. The same thing was true of the boom mikes, which started out– the old RCA ribbon mikes, which movies had been using for years. But they picked up everything. And so, slowly [there] developed highly directional mikes, which are being used in movies today. All of the technical advancements, which came in movies, television brought them, because movie companies never gave a damn, they never invested the money in them. The networks had to. They started with old movie equipment…. If you put a cable into this wall, for this camera, and put a cable into this wall, for this camera, you’d better not wind up like that, because if you got your cables twisted, the cameras wouldn’t be able to move. All these things had to be figured out in meticulous detail. The greatest leap forward, I must say, belonged to me when all of a sudden, I got so tired of being limited by where I could move my cameras, because there were cables coming out of walls, I thought, aha! I know what we do. We’re going to run them up the wall into the grid, and drop them down the middle.

On using blacklisted writers in the 1950s:
It’s one of the great romantic stories. Arnold Manoff and Walter Bernstein and Abe Polonsky were a triumvirate. They were close friends— close personal friends, close political friends. And all three of them had been writing for ah, fairly openly on “Danger”…. When blacklisting hit and the three of them were immediately knocked out of the box. They said, look, we don’t know which of us will get hired, again, if ever. Why don’t we set up a co-op? And ah, let’s find fronts…. what we will do is if one of is hired, we all three split the check. If things go good, and there’s a lot of work– you may have to do the first act, and I’ll do the second act, and Abe, you do the third act if we’re on deadlines, and things like that. So they set up that kind of a co-op. This was all done through the wonderful [“You Are There” producer] Charlie Russell, who didn’t have a political bone in his body. He was just a sweet, open guy from the Midwest, who thought this was too fucking unfair, and he was going to do anything he could to break it, or fight it, [and] hopefully, not putting himself in any jeopardy. He also was very careful, not only trying to protect himself, but he wanted to protect me, and if I ever wanted to talk about [the script], he would say, give me your notes, and I’ll bring them to the writer. So I didn’t know, for a number of months, about this arrangement that the guys had. Charlie was protecting me. And also, that way, protecting himself because if I ever got called, he didn’t want me in the position that I would say what I knew or didn’t know.

On using politically subversive scripts for “You Are There”:

They were deliberate choices because of the situation…. And in fact, I remember when we did “Salem Witch Trials,” we hired, for the prosecutor, I believe his name was Vince Harding. [Editor's note: according to our research, Vinton Hayworth is the actor's name.] And Vince, who was a very good actor, was one of the guys who gave names to the Red Channels.

On his reputation of being an “actor’s director”:
I think because I was an actor myself, I know what they’re going through. The process of acting is extremely painful. I know that doesn’t sound logical to most people, but all good work is self revelation. And that’s true for performing artist as well. And actors, the only instrument they’ve got, it’s not a violin, it’s not a piano, ah, it’s not just their bodies, the way a dancer is, there’s no disguise. That’s them up there. And the better they are, the most of themselves they’re using. That process of self revelation is extremely painful. I understand that process. Ah, if I can help them to feel any more secure, and any more ah, unafraid of releasing whatever part of themselves, they have to, I understand that I can help them that way.

On the 1960 television presentation “The Sacco-Vanzetti Story”:
Steve [Hill] did the great Vanzetti address to the Judge, you know, that you get in every lit class in college. And he was just brilliant. It was just underplayed and so simple, and so direct. And [producer Robert Alan Aurthur and writer Reginald Rose] both wanted more. Feisty and more angry, and I said, no, no, no, the speech is so great, it’s simple and better. “Will you try it? Just try it the other way?” I said I’m not going to try it the other way because then when we edit it, once I’ve left, you’ll have the editor put the– the way you want it in there, so no, I’m not going to do it another way. And Bob Aurthur, one of the sweetest men that ever lived, and sensitive, a writer, a wonderful man, said: “look.” And he took some back page of my script and said– he was the producer– “Sidney Lumet has final cut on this show.” Signed, Robert Alan Aurthur, producer. Wouldn’t have been worth anything, but that did it, and I did it the other way, and when it was over, Bob and Reggie said, no, you were right. But ah, it was the first time I had ever gotten into this discussion about final cut, which then became a big thing in my own movie career.

On the feature film “Network”:
It’s a peculiar movie. Everybody keeps saying, oh, God, what a brilliant satire. [Writer] Paddy [Chayefsky] and I keep saying, what satire? It’s sheer reportage. Everything that was discussed about television in that movie has happened, except we haven’t killed anybody on the air yet. That’s the only thing that hasn’t happened. Deliberately. But other than that, everything has happened, news as entertainment. I mean, ah, could anything be sillier than the way poor Dan Rather has to stand up there on 48 Hours, or whatever that silly show is, and try to make believe that he’s a magazine editor, or what have you, and be serious about this nonsense that they put on night after night? Ah, and you know, it may have been a little much to have the prognosticator– he came around on a revolving stage, tell you what’s going to happen tomorrow, but I don’t think it’s too far fetched.

On the highlight of his career:
It’s all one piece to me. I’m not being coy, I’m not avoiding it. There’s a continuum that’s just so sensible to me, I like it. I like it all.

Interview Description:
Lumet spoke of his work as an actor on the stage before he became a director in television. He recalled his work on the television series Danger (1950-55), and You Are There (1953-57) both “live” dramatic shows of the time. He discussed the use of blacklisted writers on these shows and how the material they wrote often reflected the era of McCarthyism. He also discussed other television dramatic anthology series he directed for including Omnibus, Goodyear Playhouse, The Alcoa Hour, Studio One, and Kraft Television Theatre. He described his direction of the well-known television special The Sacco-Vanzetti Story and The Play of the Week: “The Iceman Cometh” both of which aired in 1960. He spoke of his transition to a feature film director with 12 Angry Men in 1957 and his work on such other feature films as the Paddy Chayefsky’s Network (1976).

Casting Executive Ethel Winant’s Interview is Now Online

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

Casting Executive Ethel Winant’s interview is now online. Ms. Winant discusses her early years casting for live anthologies, her role as one of the first female network executives, and her experiences as a network casting executive for CBS and NBC.

Click here to access Ethel Winant’s entire 7-part interview.

Here are some excerpts:

From Part 4

Q You were one of the first female network executives. What was it like to be the only woman at the top?

I’d been the only woman for so long that I never thought about it. I mean there were things that you gotta do. Like, in the executive dining room there was a bathroom which had no door, no lock. So, for years,when I went to go to the bathroom, I would go outside, take the elevator, go down and go to the lady’s room. And, finally, I just said, well, I’m not going do this anymore. I figured out that if I took my shoes off and left my shoes outside the door that these guys, because they would all go in together, that they would know that I was in the bathroom. They wouldn’t walk in. I was always the only woman. For years, and years and years.

From Part 7

What advice would you give someone who’s starting out as a casting director?

It’s hard now, I think it’s harder to be a good casting director now because the world is so much bigger. I used to have this really simple advice which was to watch a lot of television, watch a lot of movies, start making lists for yourself and every time you see somebody that you like, write their name down. If you watch a television show, if you watch a movie, if every time you go to a play, keep lists, keep cards, do all that. It’s really what it’s about — seeing as many people as you can, going to as many plays, workshops as you can. I don’t think there’s any way to learn it.

Interview description:

In her 7-part oral history interview, Ethel Winant (1922-2003) discusses her start in television as a volunteer for Studio One, produced by Worthington Minor. Winant talks about her shift into casting and her job with David Susskind’s Talent Associates. Winant speaks about her experience as one of the first, high-ranking female executives in television, working for CBS and NBC as well as her encounters with the Blacklist. Winant’s fondest memories in television focus on her work as a casting director for Playhouse 90, and the talented people she worked with: John Houseman, John Frankenheimer, Martin Manulis, Fred Coe and Hubbell Robinson. Additionally she talks about casting such classics as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Shogun. The interview was conducted on August 7, 1996 by Sunny Parich.

"Boston Legal" Flashes Back to a 50-Year-Old Dramatic Television Classic

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

Last night’s episode of Boston Legal found William Shatner flashing back to a role he played during television’s Golden Age.

“The Defender,” shown on the dramatic anthology series Studio One, in two parts on February 25 and March 4, 1957, starred Ralph Bellamy and William Shatner as a father-son legal team who defend a man who Bellamy is convinced is guilty but who Shatner thinks deserves the best defense they can give him. The show was written by one of the period’s most acclaimed authors, Reginald Rose, who was also responsible for “Twelve Angry Men.” Variety said that the show “struck hard at the emotions with gripping tensity” and was “starkly realistic.”

The plot of “The Defender” was grafted onto Boston Legal when a man walks into “Crane, Poole, and Schmidt” with explosives strapped to him demanding a mock re-trial of the case in the office’s conference room. The man says that Denny Crane and his father got his mother’s killer off with courtroom trickery. The episode employed the black & white kinescope of the “live” Studio One show with a youthful Shatner in one of his earliest television appearances. “Son of the Defender” was written by Phoef Sutton & David E. Kelley and directed by Bill D’Elia.

William Shatner discussed his appearance on Studio One: “The Defender” in his Archive of American Television interview (at 15 minutes in to part 3).

Produced by Herbert Brodkin and directed by Robert Mulligan, “The Defender” was adapted into the critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning series The Defenders (1961-65, CBS), starring E. G. Marshall and a pre-Brady Bunch Robert Reed.

Reginald Rose was interviewed for Jeff Kisseloff’s authoritative oral history The Box: An Oral History of Television 1920-61 and was profiled in the October 2002 issue of Emmy Magazine.

Archive Interviewee John Conte Has Died

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

Actor/ Host/ TV Station Owner John Conte has died at the age of 90.

Conte was interviewed by the Archive of American Television on July 27, 1999. His interview can be viewed in the Archive’s Los Angeles offices and will be available online in the near future.

Interview description:
John Conte was interviewed for four-and-a-half hours in Malibu, CA. Conte talked about his early professional career as an announcer for network radio on such programs as “The Screen Guild Theater” and “Burns and Allen.” As the “Singing M. C.” on radio’s “Maxwell House Coffee Time,” Conte described his role as a straight man for the comedy of Frank Morgan. He talked about his brief appearance in movies as an actor, notably in the Abbott and Costello film Lost in a Harem, before his entrance into the service in World War II. Conte detailed his work after the war as an actor and singer on Broadway and in “live” television. Among the series in which he appeared were Studio One, The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre, and Musical Comedy Time. Conte detailed his work as a regular on Van Camp’s Little Show (1950-1; 1953) which through his association became known as John Conte’s Little Show. This music show featured Conte and various musical guests and regulars. Conte also discussed in detail the Matinee Theatre anthology series, an ambitious undertaking which offered a different “live” production every afternoon for three straight years (1955-58); Conte appeared as the host on every show (and occasionally appeared as an actor on the series). Conte described his appearances on four productions of Max Liebman Presents, elaborate musical specials on NBC. He talked about his numerous other appearances in television series as a regular and as a guest actor, including numerous appearances on Perry Mason. He described in detail the creation of the Palm Springs television station KMIR-TV, an NBC affiliate, and his 30-year service as its president, general manager, and owner.

Click here to access John Conte’s full interview.