Archive for the ‘"Gilligan's Island"’ Category

Remembering Nolan Miller

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The Archive is sad to report the death of costume designer Nolan Miller, who passed away on June 6th, 2012 from lung cancer at the age of 79. Miller designed the costumes for many Aaron Spelling/Douglas Cramer shows, including Dynasty, Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Vega$.

Below are some selections from Miller’s 2003 Archive interview:

On how he became interested in fashion:

What turned me on to fashion? Movies. I loved movies. I lived from Saturday to Saturday, and of course I particularly like Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Betty Grable … I knew when I watched Betty Grable movies that that was what I wanted to do.  All those costumes … it’s so strange that in movies there was always a fashion show or something or a girl was picked up by some guy who told her she needed clothes to be presentable and would take her to the store. Of course there was always a designer in a dark suit – note dark suit – and there was usually a staircase that the models came down. I just thought, “this is what I want.” I didn’t realize, though, the 18-hour-day of hard work sometimes. But it sounded glamorous and I loved the whole thing of movies. Anything to do with the movies. I just wanted to work at the studio.

On his start in costuming, on Matinee Theater:

It was an hour show, every day at noon, and it was live. There were usually three groups of people in the wardrobe department preparing shows, because one day it would be a modern show, one day it would be a biblical thing, another day might be a comedy. I think that there were probably 3 or 4 people in my group, and I think we did two shows a week, one if we were on a show that aired on Monday, and we would prep the rest of the week. Maybe we’d have a show for Thursday or something that week. We were always prepping the next show. It was quite an amazing show, particularly in that it was live every day.

On working in a flower shop and meeting Aaron Spelling:

He and his then wife Carolyn Jones were shopping in Beverly Hills and they stopped in the flower shop to say hello. At that point Aaron Spelling wasn’t anyone, you know. He was married to Carolyn Jones, who I was thrilled to meet. We decided to go and have a drink; it was late in the afternoon. So we went and had a drink and Carolyn was under contract to Hal Wallis at Paramount. She had just finished a film and she said the studio was sending her on a PR junket. She said the studio told her to get some clothes for personal appearances. She said, “do you want to design them?” I said, “of course.” She said, “okay, well, why don’t you bring me some sketches.” She told me what she needed and so I did sketches for her.  And that was the beginning, because I did those clothes for her. I found a dressmaker who was highly recommended who had quite a good star clientele, so I knew that she was capable, and I made the clothes for Carolyn.

On Aaron Spelling:

First of all, he’s very unassuming. He’s always been very, very thin, looks like he’s undernourished. He’s very warm, very friendly; he immediately puts everyone at ease that’s around him. After all of these years he still hasn’t run out of ideas and instantly knows what to do. He has a sixth sense about what’s wrong with the show or what he should do or something. He’s great to work with because he sees what the show is going to look like. When he says, “she’s running down the road; she should be in a white sweater,” he has a reason why she should be in a white sweater.  Over the years I would argue with him over certain things, but he usually proved himself right.

On working on Gilligan’s Island:

I was starting to be sort of known for glamour clothes and beaded gowns and that kind of thing. I had my shop at that time. I had a call from the producer, saying they were doing the show and they had a girl who was like a showgirl and they were all stranded. She must have had a very large trunk with her that day that they went for a cruise, because every season we’d do a couple of new gowns. They’d call me, “we need a couple more gowns,” so I did Tina’s clothes. I didn’t do the rest of the show. I just did Tina Louise’s gowns.

On the bra-lessness on Charlie’s Angels:

All of the Paris collections and everything were showing chiffon blouses with nothing under it. Everyone was just aghast. Everyone was so shocked, but they were showing the same blouses on Rodeo Drive. They weren’t so see-through, but you could tell there was no bra on. Before that we couldn’t even show the imprint of a nipple. I had to put a band-aid over the nipple or something. All of the sudden Farrah was in a crepe de chine blouse or a double white chiffon blouse with no bra under it. Everyone said, “ah, this is going to be shocking. They won’t allow this. You won’t get by with this.” But we did.

On Dynasty, TV fashion, and Joan Collins:

Read Nolan Miller’s New York Times obituary.

Watch his full Archive interview.

Writer/Producer William Froug Turns 90!

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Happy 90th birthday, William Froug! Froug started out as a radio writer at CBS, transitioned to television, and wound up producing some of the medium’s biggest hits. He served as a producer on The Twilight Zone, Bewitched, and Gilligan’s Island, among others. When he left production, Froug began teaching screenwriting at UCLA and authored several books on the subject, including The Screenwriter Looks at the Screenwriter and Screen-writing Tricks of the Trade.

Here are some selections from his 2011 Archive interview:

On the secret to writing for radio:

What’s the secret? I think the secret is just keep making it up as you go along. I really do. It’s one sentence at a time. I never had an outline for anything I ever did. Ever. Just start writing. If you can entertain yourself, there’s a chance you can entertain somebody else. That was my philosophy. I kept myself amused and I’m a short attention span guy. But each sentence would surprise me. I never knew what was going to happen next, and that kept me going. If I’d had an outline I would have dropped it long ago.

On working with Rod Serling as a producer on The Twilight Zone:

On why The Twilight Zone has continued to be a popular series after all these years:

I think Rod Serling. He wrote great scripts. That’s why. Stories were great. By and large they are great.

On being the Executive Producer in Charge of Drama at CBS:

It really meant I read all the scripts for dramatic series – met with the producers of dramatic series. Let them know I was going to be reading their material and make suggestions from time to time. I was greeted like cancer, you know. The blank stares “You think you’re going to tell us how to produce our series?” I’d been a line producer. I knew that wasn’t going to happen. But that was the job. So I read their scripts. Never said a word.  Never met with them. That was my job.

On why he began teaching screenwriting at UCLA:

It’s in my blood. I can’t explain that. Like what made me have to be a writer? I just knew I wanted to be a teacher. I just knew I had to do it and I love it. When I first started at CBS in radio, in the very beginning, I started a course one night a week in radio writing at CBS in one of their offices. Had about three or four people show up. But I had this urge to teach. It’s just in me. There’s no “what led me to it” anymore than what led me to be a writer.

On producing Bewitched:

I didn’t have anything to do because Bill Asher actually produced it and directed it and correctly took the credit and was married to the star. There was no role for me there, really. He just wanted somebody to be the titular producer, who he could then blame for anything that went wrong. He wasn’t interested in me as a producer. He was looking for a fall guy, basically. Because when he had battles with his wife, he didn’t have anybody to blame. Now he could blame me. That’s all right.

On his philosophy on screenwriting:

Basically, find a clear line. The key is to find a line. The storyline is king.  And Page 1, Line 1 is when the story must start. You pick up the script. Page 1, Line 1, the reader has got to know what kind of story he’s getting and what kind of genre to expect. Is it going to be a mystery? Is it going to be a comedy? What’s it going to be? I called it the opening signal: Page 1, Line 1. Then you’ve got to grab the audience within the first five pages, preferably the first two. That’s very important.

Happy 90th birthday, William! Here’s to many, many more!

Watch Froug’s two-hour Archive interview here.

Director John Rich Dies at 86

Monday, January 30th, 2012

The Archive is sad to report that director John Rich passed away yesterday at the age of 86. Rich was one of the most respected and prolific directors in all of television, directing numerous episodes of The Colgate Comedy Hour, Our Miss Brooks, Gunsmoke, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gilligan’s Island, and All in the Family (including the “Sammy’s Visit” episode), and was instrumental in merging the Screen Directors Guild with the Radio and Television Directors Guild to create the current Directors Guild of America. Here are some selections from Rich’s seven hour interview:

On how he became the main director for The Dick Van Dyke Show:

It came about because of my service to the Guild, oddly enough. I had been doing westerns – I did five years of westerns and that was the hot stuff. But I had been on the Director’s Guild Board of Directors all that time. Sheldon Leonard was on the Board. He walked by me one day, he said, “hey, how would you like to come in out of all the dust?” I said, “and do what?”  He said, “I got a new show with an actor named Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner.”  I said, “Carl Reiner?” That got my attention. Van Dyke I had never heard of. I said, “oh, I don’t know, what do you think?” He said, “I think you can do a nice job. I’d like you to come in and meet Carl Reiner and Van Dyke and see if you get along.” Fine. So I was asked to come to Carl Reiner’s house and it very pleasant, and I loved his work on Sid Ceasar’s show. I told him so. And when I met him, I was introduced to Van Dyke and I said, “I thought you were wonderful in ‘Vintage ‘60.’”  And he said, “no, that was  Dick –” some other actor. My introduction to Dick Van Dyke was to compliment him on a play he was not in.  First faux pas, you know.  Then I was going to do the show and I did it and God, it was wonderful.

On directing the opening sequence of The Dick Van Dyke Show:

On being asked to direct new series All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show on the same day:

It was a curious thing, one of those rare days in the life of a freelance director. I had a call from Mary Tyler Moore saying she’s doing a new show, would I read her script. Jim Brooks and Alan Bergman had written it.  The same day Norman Lear sent me All In the Family. I read both of them. I thought, God, and I called Mary– as a matter of fact, I met with Jim Brooks and Alan.  I said, “you know, having worked with Mary on Dick Van Dyke, I thought this would be a very good show, but it kind of had some overtones of reminiscence. It just feels okay, like another comedy that might be good, but this other thing is outrageous.” It was 1970, and the dialogue that was written then, just blew me away. I called Norman, I said, “you aren’t going to make this, are you?” He said, “yeah.” I said, “is anybody going to put it on?” He said, “they say they will.”  Well, I told Mary, I said, “you know, I really got to do that show even if it’s an exercise.” I don’t know if it’s going to get on, but I was committed to the first 6 shows, whatever it was.

On directing the Emmy-winning “Sammy’s Visit” episode of All in the Family:

On how he’d like to be remembered:

Obituary from The Huffington Post

Obituary from the Los Angeles Times

John Rich’s full Archive Interview

“Gilligan’s Island” and “Brady Bunch” Creator Sherwood Schwartz dies at 94

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Sad news: Legendary comedy writer/producer Sherwood Schwartz, best known for creating and producing Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch has died in Los Angeles at the age of 94.

Schwartz began his career as a radio writer for Bob Hope in the 1940s, and soon transitioned to television as a writer for I Married Joan (where he worked with Jim Backus, who he would later cast as Thurston Howell III on Gilligan’s Island), The Red Skelton Show (where he had a volatile relationship with Skelton), My Favorite Martian, and other early comedy series. In 1967, he created the first of his signature series Gilligan’s Island, and in 1969 premiered The Brady Bunch. The two series spawned a array of TV movies, animated series, and in the case of The Brady Bunch, two reunion series. He also created Dusty’s Trail and developed Harper Valley PTA for television. Schwartz was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2008.

In 1997, he graciously gave the Archive of American Television a wonderful “five hour tour” of his life and career. At the interview’s conclusion, when asked how he’d like to be remembered, he replied:

“As a man who tried to explain in his own way that people have to learn to get along with each other. I did it with comedy because that’s what I’m familiar with, and I think it’s more acceptable to tell it in comedy form. But that’s how I’d like to be remembered.”

Here are some video excerpts from the interview:

On working with Bob Hope early in his career

On working as script supervisor on My Favorite Martian

On the concept of Gilligan’s Island

On casting The Brady Bunch

On the impact of Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch

See his full Archive of American Television interview here.

FINALLY! "Gilligan" and "Brady" Creator Sherwood Schwartz gets a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008
CONGRATULATIONS TO SHERWOOD SCHWARTZ,
WHO WILL BE HONORED WITH A STAR ON THE
HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME THIS FRIDAY.

WHO:
Sherwood Schwartz
Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO Leron Gubler
Guest speakers: Florence Henderson and Dawn Wells

WHAT:
2,356th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

WHERE:
6541 Hollywood Boulevard

WHEN:
Friday, March 7, at 11:30 a.m.

To watch Archive interviewee Sherwood Schwartz’s full 12-part (6 hour) interview, click here.

Interview description:
Aside from discussing the creation of his classics,
Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch, Sherwood Schwartz candidly described writing for comedic legends Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Red Skelton, and working on such series as I Married Joan and It’s About Time. The 6-hour interview was conducted by Dan Pasternack on September 17, 1997.

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

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

LOS ANGELES RESIDENTS:

ARCHIVE INTERVIEWEE GERALD FRIED WILL BE PERFORMING WITH THE TOPANGA SYMPHONY

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.

Books: A Memoir by Archive Interviewee John Rich

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

A recent book, Warm up the Snake: A Hollywood Memoir (The University of Michigan Press), recounts Archive interviewee John Rich’s life in the trenches as one of television’s premier directors and producers. Rich boldly recounts his work on many classic series (and episodes) including The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gilligan’s Island, All in the Family and MacGyver as well as his longtime involvement in the Directors Guild of America. It’s a humerous, no-holds-barred look behind the scenes at some of our favorite shows and also gives readers a glimpse into what makes a great director.

From Warm Up the Snake:

During my days as an NBC stage manager, I witnessed plenty of foul-ups that no one could have invented. One day I was assigned to monitor the time and placement of a live commercial insert within a program, produced by an outside advertising agency. The program featured “Dunninger, the Mental Wizard,” a see-all know-all “mentalist” act. As the NBC representative, I had little to do but sit in the control room behind the production team and observe the action with my notepad at the ready. The first two sales pitches went as planned, but as the program neared its end, the director became concerned that the time would run out before the final commercial. He instructed the stage manager to “give Dunninger a speed-up and signal we have one minute to go.”

The stage manager obeyed, but the mentalist’s pace continued as before. The director called, “Give him 30 seconds!” No response. “Speed him up, we’re not going to make it!” Pandemonium reigned as the performer talked right into the NBC systems cue, cutting off transmission. The last commercial was lost: disaster. I made my notes, and joined the angry mob as they boiled out of the control room and confronted a bewildered Dunninger. “W lost the last commercial: the agency men screamed. “Why didn’t you take our cues?”

“What cues?” Dunninger asked.

“The three or four speed-ups, the one-minute, and the thirty-second cues we gave to the stage manager.”

Dunninger was irate. “Why don’t you put the son of a bitch where I can see him? What do you think I am, a mind reader?”


John Rich’s Archive interview is now online.
Click here to access all 14 parts.


Interview description:
John Rich was interviewed for nearly seven hours in Los Angeles, CA. Mr. Rich talked about his start in television as a stage manager for NBC, where he worked on The Colgate Comedy HourT. He eventually got his start as a director on The Ezio Pinza Show. He talked numerous shows he directed throughout his career including I Married Joan, The Ray Bolger Show, Our Miss Brooks, Gunsmoke, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gilligan’s Island, The Brady Bunch, and All In the Family, which he also produced. He also discussed directing pilots for Maude, The Jeffersons, Barney Miller, and Newhart. Mr. Rich also discussed executive producing Benson and MacGyver. The interview was conducted by Henry Colman on August 3, 1999.

A Happy 90th Birthday to Archive Interviewee Sherwood Schwartz — Creator of Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

Today marks the 90th birthday of Gilligan’s Island and Brady Bunch creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz!


Click on the play arrow to hear about “the way they became the Brady Bunch!”

Interview Description:
During his close to 6-hour Archive of American Television interview, Mr. Schwartz discussed his early years where he hoped to become a doctor, but soon found himself writing for Bob Hope. He talked about his work on shows including The Red Skelton Show, I Married Joan and It’s About Time. He discussed in detail the creation, casting and production of the two cult classic situation comedies, Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch and their later incarnations and spinoffs. The interview was conducted by Dan Pasternack in Los Angeles, CA in 1997.

Click here to access all segments of his full interview.

Happy Birthday, Sherwood, from your friends at the Archive of American Television!

So many of us grew up with his shows and many of the shows’ characters and catchphrases have entered the pop culture lexicon. What’s your favorite?

Just sit right back… and watch Russell Johnson’s Interview on Google Video

Tuesday, August 1st, 2006

Actor Russell Johnson’s two hour Archive of American Television Interview is now available for viewing on Google Video.


This video is Part 3 of Russell Johnson’s 4-part interview in which he talks about his favorite episodes of Gilligan’s Island. Click here to access all 4 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…).)

Full interview description:

Johnson begins by talking about his early years learning his craft at the Actors Lab in Hollywood. He describes his work in movies (It Came From Outer Space) and “live television” in the 1950s. He recalls his work as a guest star on such various television series as You Are There, The Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits. He describes his first series as a regular, Black Saddle and the series and role for which he is most identified, Gilligan’s Island and “the Professor.” The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on February 8, 2004.