Archive for the ‘Books and DVDs’ Category

"Rhoda: Season One" Makes Its DVD Debut (at last!)

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Rhoda, which lasted from 1974-78, featured the further adventures of Mary Richards’ friend and neighbor from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, as she relocated from Minneapolis back to her native New York City. The first season of Rhoda was ranked #6 of all shows that television season in the Nielsen ratings.

The Archive interviewed Rhoda herself Valerie Harper, just this February, below are some excerpts from her interview with Jim McKairnes:

Q: Describe Rhoda Morgenstern.
A: Rhoda was like most of us, a victorious loser, you know, she thought of herself as a loser but she kept at the game, she kept in the game of life fully. She had a marvelous sense of humor; remember the greatest comedy writers in the world were writing the jokes for her. The character had a sense of humor and I used to say to Jim, well, this joke, ‘Am I making this joke or is Rhoda?’…. Rhoda was a very funny person with a funny point of view… and what made her funny is that she would say the unsayable, and it was nice juxtaposition to Mary who was a perfect lady…. She would say things in a New York brash, no edit way that’s funny. And I think that was part of her charm, she also was terribly insecure, and a dear friend of mine, [once]…. said ‘you know Valerie it’s so interesting with the show, Mary is who you wish you were, Rhoda is who you probably are, and Phyllis is who you’re afraid you’ll become.’ It’s a great little adage and I think that is true, I think Rhoda Morgenstern appeals to people because all of us, men/women, gay/straight, black/white, young/old knew that they felt like Rhoda at some time in their life, and that most of us are just trying to get through, you know. Bumping into life and our families and our work– and Mary had a career, Rhoda had jobs, I think she was every woman to a greater degree than Mary. And her being a New Yorker and had a wonderful accent… and I’ve always found when I play a character that the sound of them is very important and then the way they move, you want to get the total person…. And I loved her too, liked her a lot, and I loved playing her.

Q: Rhoda’s evolution led of course to your own show after four years, how did that come about?
A: Well from the first year, Freddy Silverman who was then head of the network was saying we’re going to spin you off and I thought I was being fired until I asked somebody what the term meant. And then I said no, no, no I don’t want – and then finally the fourth year of Mary, I said ‘I don’t want to go, I don’t want to…’, she said ‘you don’t want to be my sidekick all your life?’ I said ‘Yes, yes I do.’ She said ‘Oh, come on.’ I said ‘What if it fails?’ She said ‘If it fails you’ll move back to Minneapolis, and I’ll have you back in my life again.’ And I thought that, that’s working with a net isn’t it? And Nancy Walker said to me, the greatest thing in her understated way. I said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know if I should leave, this is a very comfortable berth, I won Emmys, it’s fabulous I know it,’ And she said ‘Valerie, it’s a job, take it.’ No glamour, glitz, it’s a good job, take it, and I’m glad I did.

Q: Why do you think Rhoda’s wedding resonated the way it did?
A: Oh, because everybody was pulling for her to get married. … [there was a] roll up to it where there were wedding parties. We got toasters. We got wedding presents, I have silver plaques and things that were sent, trays and – the toasters were the funniest because that was a de rigor 1950’s, 1960’s… newly marrieds got a thousand toasters. People dressed up in black tie, and Howard Cosell over at, I think it ABC Sports. He would say “… we’d better shift over to the wedding.” He did Rhoda wedding jokes all night long because they’d think the women were in another room watching a second TV, you know for Rhoda’s wedding. It was a big deal. It was a very big deal because they watched her for 4 years, liked her. [The Mary Tyler Moore Show] was a big hit by the time I left and it didn’t suffer at all for Rhoda leaving because it was such a solid, wonderful show. And…. now the [audience] was happy to follow Rhoda’s progress. And I think everybody was just waiting for that wedding.

Q: Where do you think Rhoda is today?
A: Oh, I don’t know, I …. think she’s happy, she’s keeping on, going to art exhibits… maybe she’s working in the art field…. It was wonderful to have done [the television reunion movie Mary and Rhoda]. It was wonderful to work with Mary again and remember the old rhythms and the camaraderie and the love and the way we were together, that pair of women you know each together were greater than each of ourselves I think.

Bob Barker Has Written His Memoirs

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Bob Barker tells his story in the photo-filled Priceless Memories. Also look out for his special appearance on The Price Is Right on April 16th where he’ll be promoting his book.

Barker was interviewed by the Archive of American Television on July 7, 2000. As you read his book, follow along with his Archive interview. Click here to access his full interview.

Interview Description:

Barker talked about his childhood growing up on an Indian reservation in South Dakota. He described his work in radio which led him to be “cast” as the host of the game show Truth or Consequences, by show creator Ralph Edwards. Barker talked about his long run on Truth or Consequences in its network and syndicated runs. Barker then discussed in detail the show for which he is most associated, The Price Is Right, which he hosted continuously from 1972 until the time of this interview (and eventually to 2007). Barker also talked about his other hosting duties on such programs as the “Miss USA Pageant” and “The Tournaments of Roses Parade,” as well as his animal rights activism.

Michael J. Fox writes new book!

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Actor Michael J. Fox, best known on television for his roles on Family Ties and Spin City, has a new book coming out!

In this excerpt from his 2001 interview for the Archive, Fox reflects on the opportunities life has presented him, as well as many challenges. He also talks about his Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease, which he founded in 2000.

Click here to view the entire full 5-part oral history interview with actor Michael J. Fox, conducted on May 10, 2001 by James Moll.

His second memoir, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (Hyperion, 25.99), was released this week.

"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.

"Twelve Angry Men" Screening Event This Thursday with guests Jack Klugman, Jayne Meadows, Gloria Stroock, Dick Van Patten, and Barbara Rush

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Written especially for Studio One by Reginald Rose and starring Robert Cummings, Studio One’s “Twelve Angry Men” (original air date: September 26, 1954) was a classic, Emmy-award winning episode in this anthology series and the inspiration for the Oscar-nominated film.

Join us this Thursday, November 6 at 7:30 PM (at the Leonard Goldenson Theatre, 5220 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hollywood) for a special screening of the newly-remastered episode followed by a panel event on live television moderated by Thomas K. Arnold (Home Media Magazine publisher) with honored guests Jack Klugman, Jayne Meadows, Barbara Rush, Dick Van Patten, and Gloria Stroock.

Click here for more event details, and RSVP by calling 516-484-1000 x400

In addition to celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Studio One, this event will also launch “The Archive of American Television Presents“, a new DVD line featuring culturally and historically significant programs from the Golden Age of Television. The “Studio One Anthology” is the first set in this series.

“The Archive of American Television Presents” is a partnership between
 Koch Entertainment and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation (home to the Archive of American Television). The collaborative 
mission is to present classic productions from the Golden Age of Television on DVD, restored and 
re-mastered from the best-quality sources.

We hope to see you there!

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

"My Three Sons" Debuts on DVD Today

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

My Three Sons, the popular sitcom starring Fred MacMurray, which, following its long 1960-72 run, found a further audience in syndication, has been released in a Volume One DVD. Although it never cracked the top ten in yearly ratings, this wholesome series received consistently high ratings throughout its run. The show garnered just three Emmy nominations: Outstanding Directing (Peter Tewksbury, 1961), Actor in a Supporting Role (William Demarest, 1968), and Single Performance by an Actress (Irene Hervey, 1969).

The show now lives on through DVD, as does its memorable animated titles and saxophone theme song!

The Archive has interviewed several of the behind-thhe-scenes contributors to the series including directors Fred de Cordova (half way through part 4), and Gene Reynolds (end of part 4 and beginning of part 5), as well as actress Doris Singleton (end of tape 5), who played recurring character Margaret Williams.

"I Dream of Jeannie" Season Five on DVD

Friday, July 25th, 2008

With the release of season five, the complete run of I Dream of Jeannie is now available on DVD. The 1965-70 sitcom about a 2,000 year-old genie in the form of Barbara Eden and her exploits with “master” Major Anthony Nelson (Larry Hagman) has become one of the most beloved of sitcoms.

Variety began its review of the series premiere with, “The star of this blithering comedy is Barbara Eden’s cleavage,” but had changed their tone by the time they reviewed the last season’s premiere episode: “Jeannie started its fifth season with the sort of bright and bouncy enthusiasm that has kept the series nicely afloat to date. The writers… balance the magic elements neatly with sharp characterizations and fast-moving situations, and the laugh track was almost always justified.”

The Archive of American Television has interviewed several of the prominent contributors to the series including stars Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman, and Bill Daily; plus series creator Sidney Sheldon, director Hal Cooper, and casting executive Eddie Foy III.

Barbara Eden on I Dream of Jeannie’s special effects: “Our special effects weren’t very sophisticated. We did a lot against blue, which meant that if I was floating in the air, I had to do it alone with a blue backdrop. And I would be balanced on a piece of very thin board. That’s not easy…. The popping in and out of scenes, when I disappeared, everyone would have to freeze wherever they were in the scene and I ran out of the scene. And the director would say, ‘one, two, three, action.’ And everyone would continue. They were very lucky they had actors who could do that. That isn’t easy to do. You have to have some musical, you know, bent, to be able to do that, and both Larry and Bill and Hayden were very good at it.”

William Shatner’s New Book & Archive Interview Online

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

William Shatner has a new book out—- Up Till Now. He was interviewed by the Archive in 1999– see what he talked about up until then.

Click here for his complete five-part interview.

Some excerpts from his interview:

On his speech pattern:

I admire phrasing. Frank Sinatra’s phrasing spoke to me. And so words… one doesn’t think in terms of sentences. One thinks in terms of the key word that you want to communicate… you can disperse with everything else. I want to communicate with you.

On the cameras in “live” television:

Cameras were very large, had a lot of hot tubes. And they had a fan in it. And the fan [had] a low noise, as minimal noise as possible. So, it made a little wurring sound as it cooled the innards of the camera. For all the- for all that you might know it was breathing. And there was this warm camera, and there was somebody behind it, but he was kind of hidden behind this massive thing. So the thing kind of moved. In fact, one time I saw two cameras on dolly’s, electrical dolly’s, from one end of- somehow they got loose, and they came at each other, two camera’s on electrical dolly’s, like two pre-historic animals, uh, boom, and they hit each other, and they fell over, like two pre-historic amphibians. So, I thought of the camera as alive, it- was like- if you stood beside it, it could make an entrance. Thing kind of purred at you. If you were gonna come on camera during a live television show, you might make an entrance beside the camera. Cue comes on – come past the camera. So while you’re standing by the camera, things going- wooo- and it never frightened me. It- I always loved that camera. I loved the little camera, and, and you could pet it. You could, you could savor it. Then its eye went on, little red eye.

On the appeal of Star Trek:

I think that the mystique of Star Trek, the legend, the mythological proportions of Star Trek provide something that’s missing in people’s consciousness, psyche. They yearn, look for- mythology, the Greeks had it to explain away things. We don’t have it in our civilization. I think Star Trek provides a myth, and it’s built like a Greek play. A leader and his band of men searching the unknown.

On Star Trek co-star Leonard Nimoy:

Well, Leonard Nimoy is one of the great men alive, he’s just a wonderful, warm, genuine, loving human being, and I don’t know how much I loved him uh, during the show. I don’t recall, I must of, he was different. He was silent, he told me later, he was being Spock, but the warmth I feel for him now is enormous. He’s my brother.

On T. J. Hooker:

T.J. Hooker, could have been a wonderful, could have been a wonderful show, it was a terrific show, I loved doing it, and I ran up and down the streets of Los Angeles, for five years, and I had a great time, but because it’s television, it couldn’t fulfill the original premise. The original premise was a guy, an older cop full of the previous- before the Miranda, reading of the Miranda rights concepts, now having to read, and apply to the Miranda rights, and having to be there when he knew the bad guy needed a- a poke in the eye, and that frenzy, that rage, that was in him, was the- was the pull and the tug. The push and the pull that- that should have been there all the time. It was only there occasionally.

"Father Knows Best" on DVD: Stars Jane Wyatt & Elinor Donahue Interviews Online!

Monday, March 31st, 2008

The classic 50s TV family sitcom “Father Knows Best” has been released on DVD!

The Archive has interviewed two of the show’s stars, Elinor Donahue and Jane Wyatt, at length for our oral history collection.

Click here to access Elinor Donahue’s entire 7-part interview.

Interview Description:
Elinor Donahue was interviewed in 2006. She outlines her early film career in such films as “Mister Big” and “The Unfinished Dance”. She describes appearing in early experimental TV for Klaus Landsberg and speaks fondly of her appearance on “The Ray Bolger Show“. She speaks in detail about her role as teenager “Betty ‘Princess’ Anderson” on the classic ’50s sitcom “Father Knows Best“. She recalls working with producer Eugene Rodney and her fictional father Robert Young, “mother” Jane Wyatt and “siblings” Billy Gray and Lauren Chapin. Throughout the interview, Donahue also discusses her many guest appearances on series over the years including “The Andy Griffith Show”, “The Odd Couple”,”Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”, “Get A Life”, “The Loretta Young Show”, “Star Trek”, and “Ellen”.

Click here to access Jane Wyatt’s entire 4-part interview.

Interview description:
Jane Wyatt (1910-2006) was interviewed for two hours in Los Angeles, CA in 1999. Ms. Wyatt described her lengthy career in film, stage, and television. She talked about her feature film debut in 1934 in James Whale’s One More River and her subsequent film roles in such classics as Frank Capra’s Lost Horizon and Elia Kazan’s Gentleman’s Agreement. She discussed the McCarthy era in which she found herself on an industry blacklist, unable to work in film. She described her television debut on Robert Montgomery Presents in the title role of “Kitty Foyle” (1950) and her varied roles in “live” television. She described in detail her most memorable and enduring work for television on Father Knows Best (1954-63), in which she played the role of wife and mother Margaret Anderson, a part that won her three consecutive Emmy Awards. She talked about her appearance as Mr. Spock’s human mother on the series Star Trek (a role she repeated in the feature film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home). Ms. Wyatt also described her memorable recurring role as Katherine Auschlander on the medical drama St. Elsewhere.

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