Archive for the ‘"G. E. Theater"’ Category

PR Legend Warren Cowan Has Died

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Warren Cowan has died at the age of 87. Interviewed in 2001 by the Archive of American Television, his nearly two-hour interview is available for viewing at Academy headquarters and will be available online soon.

Interview description:

Cowan recalled his entry into entertainment publicity working for Alan Gordon and Associates, and later for Henry Rogers. He also spoke about his transition to partner in the renamed Rogers and Cowan. Mr. Cowan talked about working with many well-known clients, including Kirk Douglas, Joan Crawford (on the first Oscar campaign), Steve Allen, Milton Berle, George Burns, Danny Kaye, Lucille Ball, Doris Day, Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. Next, he explained the process of publicizing a television show, and talked about his work on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, G.E. Theater and That Girl. He also spoke about his longtime association with producers Aaron Spelling and Merv Griffin, and his work on their various television programs (including Mod Squad, Charlie’s Angels, and The Merv Griffin Show). Finally, he spoke about the day-to-day process of working in publicity and many of the various techniques used.

Ron Howard’s Archive of American Television Interview Is Now Online

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007


Ron Howard’s interview, the Archive’s 500th, is now available for viewing online. Fittingly, Howard’s career spans a fifty-year history of television from his first roles as a child actor in such ’50s shows as Playhouse 90 and The Red Skelton Show to his role as narrator and executive producer of Arrested Development.

To many, Howard will forever be known to television audiences as “Opie Taylor” on The Andy Griffith Show and “Richie Cunningham” on Happy Days. His discussion of these series is a significant part of his three-hour interview.

Here are the links to the interview segments:

Interview description:
Howard recalled his early years growing up in Burbank, the son of actor parents, and his own start at age 3, using a dialogue scene from “Mr. Roberts” as his audition piece. He reminisced about some of his earliest acting on television including the “live” anthology drama Playhouse 90 and his recurring role as part of the gang on Dennis the Menace. He then talked about his appearance with Bert Lahr on an episode of G. E. Theatre, in which host Ronald Reagan made special note of Howard’s performance, which also caught the eye of producer Sheldon Leonard, who cast him on the pilot for The Andy Griffith Show. He spoke in great detail about playing “Opie Taylor” on The Andy Griffith Show, describing his work with Andy Griffith and the show’s ensemble and discussing moments from the series’ production. He talked about learning how to write from signing autographs, using memories of his dog’s death to create the emotions necessary for the classic “Opie the Birdman” episode, and truly having to “act” when eating “ice cream” (actually cold mashed potatoes). He briefly described some television roles he appeared in in the early ‘70s before taking on the role of “Richie Cunningham” on Happy Days. He spoke candidly about the shift in the series focus onto the break-out “Fonzie” character, recited some of the series numerous catchphrases, and discussed memorable series episodes (including “The Howdy Doody Show” and the now infamous jump-the-shark episode “Hollywood”). He detailed his transition to behind-the-cameras as a director of low-budget features and television movies (including Cotton Candy and Skyward), before becoming one of Hollywood’s A-list producer-directors. He lastly discussed his work as executive-producer and voice-over narrator on the Emmy-Award-winning sitcom Arrested Development. The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on October 18, 2006.

Don Herbert, TV’s "Mr. Wizard," Passes On

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

Don Herbert, known to television viewers for four decades as “Mr. Wizard,” has died at age 89. The first incarnation of his educational science show, Watch Mr. Wizard, began on March 3, 1951 on WMAQ (WNBQ) in Chicago. The show continued in various formats, finding new life in the 1980s as the Nickelodeon series Mr. Wizard’s World. Herbert also developed the 90s series Teacher to Teacher with Mr. Wizard that highlighted exemplary elementary science teachers and projects.

Don Herbert was interviewed by the Archive of American Television’s Karen Herman on January 24, 2005.

Interview Description:
Don Herbert described his early years as an actor on stage and radio before turning to television where he created the classic children’s science series Watch Mr. Wizard. He detailed his hosting of the show, as well as working with his young assistants. He talked about his simultaneous work as G. E. Theater’s “progress reporter,” hosting a different three-minute commercial segment for each episode through the majority of the run. He talked about the later incarnations of the “Mr. Wizard” franchise. He also mentioned his appearances on morning and late-night television talk shows.

There is also a wonderful Mr. Wizard website — click here to access.

Stanley Rubin’s Archive of American Television Interview Is Now Online

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006


Producer Stanley Rubin’s two-and-a-half-hour Archive of American Television interview has been added to the online collection at Google Video.

Rubin won an Emmy at the very first Emmy Awards in 1949.

Interview Description:

Rubin begins by talking about his early years in the entertainment business working in the mailroom at Paramount Pictures and then as a reader for several studios, including Universal. He talks about his transition to screenwriting and ultimately producing, which began with the now-classic film noir The Narrow Margin (1952). He describes in great detail his first work as a producer in television, the dramatic anthology series Your Show Time. He discusses the creation of the pilot (which he co-wrote and co-produced with Louis Lantz), the shooting schedule of the series, and the source material that was used for the episodes. He also describes fully the experience and significance of his winning the first Emmy Award ever awarded a “film made for television,” that he accepted at the very first Emmy Awards that took place on January 25, 1949. He talks about his other credits as a television producer including the series G. E. Theater and Bracken’s World, and the television movie Babe. The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on June 17, 2004.

Click here to access all Stanley Rubin interview segments.

Remember, if you’d like to watch the interview in the order in which it was conducted, select the parts in order (1,2,3…).