Archive for the ‘"Star Trek"’ Category

From the Collection: Leonard Nimoy on the creation of the "Vulcan Salute" on "Star Trek"

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

From the Archive of American Television’s Interview collection, Leonard Nimoy describes inventing the “Vulcan Salute,” first seen on the original series episode “Amok Time.”

“The Vulcan Salute” page on Wikipedia.

Watch “Amok Time” on YouTube’s Classic TV Shows (look for the Vulcan Salute at 27:45).

Ricardo Montalban Has Died— Archive Interview Online

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Ricardo Montalban, who starred in feature films at MGM following several appearances in film in his native Mexico, and later became a major American television star as “Mr. Roarke” on Fantasy Island, has died at the age of 88. He was equally known for playing Star Trek’s Khan and as spokesman for Chrysler Cordobas.

His entire five-part interview is available to watch online.

Here’s a short segment from the interview:

Interview Description

Montalban talked about his desire to keep his name despite the Hollywood pressure to change it to “Ricky Martin.” He talked about appearing in one of the “soundies” of the 1940s— He’s A Latin From Staten Island. He related his early courting by Hollywood and his eventual signing with MGM. He discussed the Latin stereotype of the Hollywood era and how he wasn’t cast in Mexican roles but rather more “exotic” South American “types.” He described touring the country to promote movies, in the studios’ attempt to steer the public from television. He spoke about studying acting in the early 1940s with Stanislavsky disciple Seki Sano. He underscored the importance of his work with Sano, who taught him about truth in acting. He described his appearances on several “live” dramatic television anthologies of the 1950s, including Climax! and The Loretta Young Show. He discussed his recreation of the role of Khan from the 1967 “Space Seed” episode of Star Trek to the 1982 feature film Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, which required him to review his earlier performance to recapture the spirit of the part. He spoke in great detail about the part for which he is most associated, “Mr. Roarke” on Fantasy Island. For this series, he described Aaron Spelling’s concept, the use of Roarke in setting the stage for each episode, and the challenges of production. He looked back on his founding of Nosotros, an organization to promote opportunities for Hispanic actors and to help eradicate stereotypical images of them in Hollywood. He described the organizations goals and how its founding caused him to be blacklisted temporarily from the industry. He also spoke about another of his well-known appearances on television— as spokesman for Chrysler Cordobas in commercials, forever associated with their “rich Corinthian leather.” The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on August 13, 2002.

Cinematographer Joseph M. Wilcots Interview Now Online

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Joseph M. Wilcots’ full Archive interview has now been posted online. Wilcots, who is currently at work on several projects, was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for Roots. He was interviewed on December 5, 2007.

Click here to access the full 4-part interview.

Interview Description:

Wilcots spoke about his early interest in photography as a teenager and his filmmaking experiences while serving in the Navy. He described his work, following the service, at the Westheimer Optical House, in particular the creative work being done for the special effects on the original Star Trek series. He related how he became the first African-American member of the camera operators union and identified the slow shift in adding other African-American members into the union over the years. He talked about his work in independent filmmaking and reminisced about some of the people he worked with including director Gordon Parks and cinematographer Robert Surtees. He spoke in great detail about the two projects for which he is most associated, the miniseries: Roots and Roots: The Next Generations in which he served as Directory of Photography. He talked about his approach to the Roots shows (“I wanted to make the audience smell the dirt”), meeting and working with Alex Haley (“Everything he wrote was shootable”), and working with actor Marlon Brando (he says he took 200 pounds off him using a fireplace as the key light). He noted the impact of Roots and what working on the miniseries meant to him. He acknowledged his work on the Alex Haley/Norman Lear series Palmerstown U.S.A. Lastly, he gave his impressions of three individuals for whom he worked for extensively: actor/director George Stanford Brown, Bill Cosby, and Michael Jackson.

Producer Robert Justman Has Died — Archive Interview Online

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Robert Justman, who was an associate producer of the original Star Trek series and co-authored a definitive volume on the series (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story) has died at the age of 81.

Robert Justman’s four hour interview is available online. Click here to access.

Interview description:
Justman talked about breaking into the entertainment industry as a production assistant in low budget feature films. Justman discussed his entrance into television as a second assistant director starting with the series The Adventures of Superman. Justman described his continued work in television where he moved up to first assistant director and unit production manager on such series as The Outer Limits. He discussed in great detail his work as an associate producer on the classic science fiction series Star Trek and its later incarnation Star Trek: The Next Generation (for which he served as the supervising producer in its first season). For Star Trek he discussed working with creator Gene Roddenberry, talked about the cast members, and described memorable episodes.

"Star Trek" Fanfare Composer Alexander "Sandy" Courage Has Died at Age 88 — Archive Interview Online

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Alexander Courage won an Emmy Award as principal arranger for the ABC special Julie Andrews: The Sound of Christmas and was a nominee for his work on Medical Center. Mr. Courage was interviewed in 2000 by TV’s Greatest Hits author Jon Burlingame.

Jon Burlingame has authored a tribute to the composer at

Alexander Courage’s five-part interview can be accessed here.

Interview description:

Courage described his work as a conductor, arranger, and composer in network radio on such series as: “The Screen Guild Theater,” “The Adventures of Sam Spade,” and “Hedda Hopper’s This Is Hollywood.” He described his entrance into feature filmmaking as an arranger at MGM, detailing his screen highlights on such musical classics as Showboat, The Band Wagon, and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. He talked about his entrance into composing for television at Revue Productions. He detailed his work on the MGM series National Velvet and talked about several pilots he made there as well. Switching to 20th Century Fox, he described his work on such feature films as The Pleasure Seekers and Doctor Doolittle. For television at 20th he worked on such series as: Daniel Boone, for which he composed dozens of episodes. He described in detail his work on the series Star Trek for which he wrote the familiar fanfare, theme, and music for the two pilot episodes, as well as several later episodes. Courage spoke of his extensive work on The Waltons for which he composed over one hundred episodes. Other shows discussed include: Judd For The Defense (for which Courage wrote the theme and music for several episodes), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and several Academy Award telecasts. He discussed his later work for television, which included the television movie QBVII (with Jerry Goldsmith), and the television special Julie Andrews: The Sound of Christmas, which earned him an Emmy Award.

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.

Archive Interviewee Gerald Fried Joins the Topanga Symphony for a Free Concert

Saturday, August 18th, 2007



Sunday, August 19, 2007 at 7:30 p.m.

Topanga Community House
1140 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. Topanga, CA 90290


Jerome Kessler – Music Director and Conductor
Gerald Fried – Oboe

Christoph Willibald Gluck - Airs de Ballet Suite #1
Benedetto Marcello - Oboe Concerto in C minor
H. Maurice Jacquet - Pour un Petit Chien Clown
Johannes Wenzeslaus Kalivoda - Symphony No. 6 in F

No tickets or reservations required.
For further details call (818) 591-8477

Gerald Fried’s 2-hour interview interview is online. Click here to access all segments.

Interview description:

Gerald Fried talked about his early work as the composer of Stanley Kubrick’s first films, including his pulsating score for The Killing. Fried then discussed his work as a composer for television that began at Revue Studios. He described his continued composing for television in the 1960s, highlighted by such series as Gilligan’s Island (including one episode where he had musicians blow into bottles to simulate sea shell instruments) and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (including an episode entirely done with kazoos). He spoke in great detail about his work on the classic science fiction series Star Trek, for which he was one of the most significant contributors. He discussed his scores for such classic episodes as “Shore Leave”and “Amok Time.” Additionally, he spoke about his later work for television movies and miniseries (including Roots). B-roll (end of Part 4) consisted of Fried performing three pieces on the oboe from his Star Trek compositions as well as several still photos from recording sessions. The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on June 26, 2003.

Director Robert Butler’s Archive Interview is Now Online!

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

Director Robert Butler was responsible for creating the look and feel for many classic television series in a career that spanned five decades. His full Archive of American Television interview is now available online, including detailed accounts of directing the first episodes of Batman, Moonlighting (pilot telefilm) and Hill Street Blues.

Click here to access Robert Butler’s entire five-hour interview.

Interview description:
Butler began by describing his early years breaking into the business as an usher at CBS. He described his experiences in various behind-the-scenes capacities on such classic “live” anthology series as Climax! and Playhouse 90. He described his first break in television directing on the comedy/drama series Hennesey. He detailed his many and varied assignments in series television in the 1960s on such series as The Detectives, Bonanza, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Dr. Kildare, Gunsmoke, The Defenders, The Fugitive, Hogan’s Heroes, The Twilight Zone, Batman, and Star Trek. Butler described his work in the 1970s on television movies (such as Columbo MOWs and James Dean) and feature films. He extensively described his groundbreaking work on the look of Hill Street Blues, for which he directed several of the initial episodes (including the pilot). He talked about his later work on such series as Remington Steele, Moonlighting (the telefilm pilot), Out on a Limb, Midnight Caller (which he also executive-produced), Sisters, and Lois & Clark. The interview was conducted by Stephen J. Abramson on January 14, 2004.

Actress Jane Wyatt has Died

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

Jane Wyatt talks about working on Father Knows Best

Actress Jane Wyatt died at her home on Friday, October 20 at the age of 96. For six years, she starred on Father Knows Best, where she played Margaret Anderson, one of the most beloved television moms. The Archive of American Television interviewed Ms. Wyatt for two hours on November 16, 1999. Click here to access Jane Wyatt’s interview.

Interview Description:

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 Margaret Anderson, a part which won her three consecutive Emmy Awards. She talked about her later television work on such series as the Bell Telephone Hour and Hollywood Television Theatre. 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. Ms. Wyatt was interviewed by Gary Rutkowski in Los Angeles.

Stardate: 2006

Friday, September 8th, 2006

Star Trek, the orginal series celebrates its 40th anniversary today! The series ran three years from September 8, 1966 to September 2, 1969.

The Archive of American Television has interviewed several of the significant contributors to the series, including Captain James T. Kirk himself, William Shatner.

Click here to access all 5 interview segments. This is Part 5 of the interview. (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…).)

Did you watch the series when it originally aired? What are your memories of Star Trek?