Archive for the ‘"Untouchables"’ Category

Writer Del Reisman Has Died– story editor for “Playhouse 90″ and “The Twilight Zone”

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Del Reisman, who served as the President of the Writers Guild of America, west from 1991-93, has died at the age of 86.  Reisman wrote for such series as Peyton Place and for many years served as a story editor on shows of the classic era of TV— Matinee Theater, Playhouse 90, and The Twilight Zone.

Reisman’s Archive interview was conducted on October 28, 2003.

Interview description:

Del Reisman (1924-2011) was interviewed for six hours at the Writer’s Guild of America, west in Los Angeles, CA.  Reisman looked back on his early years growing up as a “studio brat” observing his mother at work as a secretary at Universal Studios in the 1930s.  He described his entry in television as a reader on the anthology series Four Star Playhouse.  He detailed his most prolific period in television as an associate producer/ story editor on such television series as: the “live,” daily color anthology Matinee Theater, the prestigious ninety-minute anthology Playhouse 90, the classic filmed anthology The Twilight Zone, the popular crime series The Untouchables, the western series Rawhide, and the drama The Man and the City.  He discussed his work as story consultant on the nighttime soap opera Peyton Place, for which he wrote the cliffhanging final episode (the series was canceled without a finale).  He also talked about his later work as a freelance writer of such 1970s series as The Streets of San Francisco and Little House on the Prairie.  Finally, Reisman described his long service to the Writers Guild of America, west for which he ultimately served as President from 1991-93.  Other subjects discussed include the Hollywood blacklist and the McCarthy era, as well as Reisman’s work (at the WGA) to restore the credits of blacklisted writers of feature films made in the 1950s-60s.  The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski .

Alan Armer, Producer of “The Fugitive” and Former TV Academy President, Has Died

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Alan Armer, who won an Emmy Award as the producer of the classic adventure series The Fugitive, has died at the age of 88.  Armer served as the President of the Hollywood Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in the early 1970s and began his career at local L.A. TV’s KNBH (KNBC) in the 1950s.

Alan Armer’s Archive interview was conducted on July 15, 2008.

Interview Description:

Alan Armer talked about his early years growing up during the Great Depression.  He spoke about his studies in speech and drama and his practical experience as an announcer in radio, and acknowledged winning a World’s Fastest Talker contest, while a teenager, speaking 617 words in 57 seconds.  He described his years in local television in Los Angeles at KNBH (now KNBC) where he worked in many capacities and developed the series Lights, Camera, Action, a showcase for new young acting talent.  He chronicled his work as a producer at 20th Century Fox in series television, where he produced My Friend Flicka and Broken Arrow.  With Broken Arrow’s production falling during the era of the Hollywood Blacklist, Armer revealed that the series’ original writers could not be hired, rejected by the sponsor (but that he later employed them on The Fugitive).  He spoke in great detail about his association as executive producer with the classic crime series The Untouchables.  For this series, he commented on: the controversy that arose due to the show’s portrayal of Italian-Americans, the necessity to tone down the show’s depiction of violence, and Robert Stack’s performance as Eliot Ness.  He then talked about his work with Quinn Martin on the series The Fugitive.  For The Fugitive, he gave his impressions of the cast, commented on the series highly-rated finale, and noted the series’ Emmy win for Best Drama Series.   He also touched on later Quinn Martin-produced series The Invaders and Cannon.  Lastly, he talked about serving as President of the Hollywood Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in the early 1970s, and the increase in membership and creation of the Film Group screenings during his tenure.  The interview was conducted by Stephen J. Abramson.

“The Untouchables” Aired a Potent Series Episode Fifty Years Ago Today

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

As so aptly noted by The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: “With the chatter of machine-gun fire and the squeal of tires on Chicago streets, The Untouchables brought furious controversy— and big ratings— to ABC in the early 1960s.” This was no more evident than in the March 10, 1960 episode “The White Slavers.” Although one wouldn’t think an episode about the abduction of young Mexican women for the purposes of prostitution to be a subject for 1960 prime time television, it was par for the course on The Untouchables. The show’s Dragnet-esque good guys versus bad guys approach and “based on fact” defense (which was debatable, to the point that the show was even sued at one point by the estate of Al Capone) kept the series on the air from 1959-63.

“The White Slavers” is cited by Larry James Gianakos in Television Drama Series Programming: A Comprehensive Chronicle 1959-75 as the series “finest episode,” furthering: “Betty Field was extraordinary as a former procuress for the mob…. [years later] the denouement [with a mafioso trapped in a cellar] still disturbs.” The authoritative The Untouchables by Tise Vahimagi calls “The White Slavers” “chilling” and “perhaps, the first season’s most uncomfortable and ugliest episode” and notes that “it also marked a peak in terms of the body-count.”

Featuring future Bewitched co-star Dick York, others in the cast include: Betty Field, Mike Kellin, Theona Bryant, Mona Knox, and Jim Anderson; the episode was written by Leonard Kantor and directed by Walter Grauman.

Director Walter Grauman talks about one of the most brutally memorable scenes in “The White Slavers” in his Archive of American Television interview featured on the Archive’s page for The Untouchables: “The White Slavers.”