Interview Description: Betty White
Interview Description: Betty White
After years and years of gossip and teasers about a Simpsons feature film, the time has come! This weekend marks the opening of The Simpsons Movie — marking the iconic television series’ transition to the big screen.
In 2003, the Archive of American Television interviewed James L. Brooks, the executive producer of The Simpsons. In the interview parts 9 and 10, he speaks in-depth about the creation of The Simpsons.
Click here to access James L. Brooks 11-part interview.
James L. Brooks was interviewed for five-and-a-half hours (in two sessions) in Bel-Air, CA. Mr. Brooks spoke of his early days as a page at CBS – working his way up to the newsroom. After working in documentaries, Brooks turned to comedy, where he wrote scripts for Hey Landlord, The Andy Griffith Show and My Three Sons before co-creating (with Gene Reynolds) Room 222. In 1970, MTM Productions teamed Brooks with Allen Burns, where they created and produced The Mary Tyler Moore Show. They were also producers on the spin-off series Rhoda, Phyllis and Lou Grant. After leaving MTM, Brooks produced Taxi, The Associates, and The Tracy Ullman Show. Mr. Brooks also talked about the craft of writing and producing for television and his continuing work as executive producer on The Simpsons. The two-part interview was conducted by Karen Herman on January 17 and February 12, 2003.
Also available, is a full interview with Phil Roman, the founder of Film Roman, which currently oversees the animation of The Simpsons.
Nominations for the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were announced today. With this year’s nominations, ER has become the most-nominated television series of all time with 120 nominations (Cheers has 117). Sally Field, who was first nominated for an Emmy in 1977 for Sybil (she won), received her seventh career nomination and her first as a regular in a series, for Brothers & Sisters.
Another Emmy perennial, Edward Asner has received his 16th Emmy nomination. Asner holds the record for most acting Emmys won by a male actor (7). He is nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for The Christmas Card. Asner was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 1996.
Asner began by describing his start as an actor in theatre and in “live” television. He talked about his appearances in filmed series television in the ’60s such as in Naked City, Route 66, and The Defenders; his appearance as a regular on the political drama Slatterly’s People (1964-65); as well as television movies. He discussed the portrayal of his most memorable role, that of “Lou Grant,” which he played on the sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77) and its dramatic spin-off Lou Grant (1977-82). He discussed many of his other notable television appearances such as in the miniseries Roots and Rich Man, Poor Man; the telefilms The Life and Assassination of the Kingfish and The Gathering; and the series The Trials of Rosie O’Neill. He also discussed his political activism in the 1980s and his role as Screen Actors Guild President from 1981-85.
Tune in to the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, September 16 on FOX.
On Saturday evening, July 7, Southern California residents can tune in KPCC 89.3 FM to hear the L.A. Theatre Works’ radio theatre production of The Ruby Sunrise by Rinne Groff, starring (Archive interviewee) Henry Winkler, Jason Ritter, Elisabeth Moss and Asher Book. The most recent offering in L.A. Theatre Works’ award-winning radio drama series, “The Play’s the Thing,” The Ruby Sunrise is directly inspired by the story of Philo Farnsworth and the early days of “live” television. In it, a spirited 1920s girl works independently to develop electronic television. Twenty-five years later, her daughter, now working at a television network. vows to bring her mother’s story to the small screen during “TV’s Golden Age”. Winkler stars as a 1950s television producer with Jason Ritter as his underling writer. Other regional and nationwide radio stations presenting The Ruby Sunrise are listed below, as well as podcast information*.
The program also features a discussion about early television with Karen Herman, director of the Archive of American Television, and writer-producer Phil Savenick, an expert on the history of television. Excerpts from the Archive’s collection include insights from the late Elma Farnsworth, widow of television inventor Philo Farnsworth. NEW: Click here to read a transcript of the entire interview with Phil and Karen and to find out how to save on tickets to upcoming L.A. Theatre Works performances.
Nationwide radio broadcasts include:
89.3 FM KPCC Southern California, Saturdays 10:00 p.m
94.1 FM KPFA Northern California, Sundays 7:00 p.m.
94.9 FM KUOW Seattle, WA Fridays 10:00 p.m.
89.7 FM WGBH Boston, MA, first Sunday of month 10:00 p.m.
91.1 FM KRCB Sonoma County, CA Saturdays 6:00 p.m.
89.9 FM KUNM Albuquerque, NM bimonthly, Sundays 6:00 p.m.
XM Satellite Radio Nationwide (Sonic Theatre Channel), Saturdays 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. (EST)
How to Podcast “The Play’s the Thing”
As of July 7, free podcasts of The Ruby Sunrise are available here. Copy and paste http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast.php?id=510190 into your preferred podcasting software to automatically receive all monthly episodes of “The Play’s the Thing” broadcasts.
Also, we’ve just posted Henry Winkler’s full Archive interview online!
Henry Winkler was interviewed for two-and-a-half hours in Los Angeles, CA. Winkler discussed his early years, his early passion for acting, and his struggles with then-undiagnosed dyslexia. He chronicled his early career in New York, where he acted on stage and in numerous commercials and his subsequent decision to move to Los Angeles, where he was quickly cast as a guest actor on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He detailed all aspects of the role for which he became most known, Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli on the hit sitcom, Happy Days. He discussed his casting, Fonzie character, working with the cast (particularly Ron Howard), and the iconic status (and occasional mayhem it generated) of Fonzie. He spoke about his transition to directing and producing, which included being executive producer of MacGyver, and his later acting projects including Arrested Development and The Practice. The interview was conducted on November 10, 2006. Click here to access Henry Winkler’s 5-part interview.
Casting Executive Ethel Winant’s interview is now online. Ms. Winant discusses her early years casting for live anthologies, her role as one of the first female network executives, and her experiences as a network casting executive for CBS and NBC.
Click here to access Ethel Winant’s entire 7-part interview.
Here are some excerpts:
From Part 4
Q You were one of the first female network executives. What was it like to be the only woman at the top?
I’d been the only woman for so long that I never thought about it. I mean there were things that you gotta do. Like, in the executive dining room there was a bathroom which had no door, no lock. So, for years,when I went to go to the bathroom, I would go outside, take the elevator, go down and go to the lady’s room. And, finally, I just said, well, I’m not going do this anymore. I figured out that if I took my shoes off and left my shoes outside the door that these guys, because they would all go in together, that they would know that I was in the bathroom. They wouldn’t walk in. I was always the only woman. For years, and years and years.
From Part 7
What advice would you give someone who’s starting out as a casting director?
It’s hard now, I think it’s harder to be a good casting director now because the world is so much bigger. I used to have this really simple advice which was to watch a lot of television, watch a lot of movies, start making lists for yourself and every time you see somebody that you like, write their name down. If you watch a television show, if you watch a movie, if every time you go to a play, keep lists, keep cards, do all that. It’s really what it’s about — seeing as many people as you can, going to as many plays, workshops as you can. I don’t think there’s any way to learn it.
In her 7-part oral history interview, Ethel Winant (1922-2003) discusses her start in television as a volunteer for Studio One, produced by Worthington Minor. Winant talks about her shift into casting and her job with David Susskind’s Talent Associates. Winant speaks about her experience as one of the first, high-ranking female executives in television, working for CBS and NBC as well as her encounters with the Blacklist. Winant’s fondest memories in television focus on her work as a casting director for Playhouse 90, and the talented people she worked with: John Houseman, John Frankenheimer, Martin Manulis, Fred Coe and Hubbell Robinson. Additionally she talks about casting such classics as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Shogun. The interview was conducted on August 7, 1996 by Sunny Parich.
Glen & Les Charles (along with James Burrows) are best known for creating the classic sitcom Cheers. Their 8-part Archive of American Televison Interview is now available for viewing online. The Charles brothers were interviewed separately about their early years and influences and jointly about their contributions to television as writer-producers. “Take a break from all your worries” and click here to access their complete interview.
The writing-partner brothers talked about their early years growing up near Las Vegas, Nevada and their decision in the mid-70s to try their hand at freelance writing for television. They talked about selling their first script (to M*A*S*H) and their break into staff writing at MTM Productions where they worked as writer-producers on Phyllis and the final season of The Bob Newhart Show. They talked about other writing assignments on such series as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Betty White Show. They detailed working with the cast and crew on the hit series Taxi, for which they produced (and wrote for) the ABC run [the show would run a final season on NBC]. The two chronicled their creation (with James Burrows) of the series Cheers for which they served as producers and later executive producers during the show’s entire eleven year run. The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on December 8, 2003.
Get set to watch tonight’s 58th Annual Emmy Awards on NBC (8 p.m.EST)! In celebration, we’ve chosen to highlight one of the medium’s most versatile performers, Nanette Fabray. Fifty Emmys-years ago, at the 1956 Emmy Awards ceremony, Fabray won an Emmy for Best Comedienne (winning out against nominees Gracie Allen, Eve Arden, Lucille Ball and Ann Sothern) AND she picked up an Emmy for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work on Caesar’s Hour!
Her 3-hour Archive of American Television interview is available for viewing on Google Video.
Click here to access all Nanette Fabray interview segments. Remember, if you’d like to watch the interview in chronological order, select the parts in order (1,2,3…).
About the interview:
Fabray talks about her early years in theater and in early experimental television where she served as an NBC “color girl” — where women of particular complexions were cast to calibrate the then-new color cameras. She speaks in great detail about her work with Sid Caesar on the variety series Caesar’s Hour — including some of the series most memorable comedy sketches including “Shadow Waltz” (a take-off on Your Hit Parade) and “The Commuters” (a recurring high-strung-husband and his wife sketch). She discusses her own short-lived series Yes Yes Nanette as well as guest appearances on such series as The Carol Burnett Show, The Jerry Lewis Show, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show (she played Mary’s mom). She talks about her recurring role on the CBS sitcom One Day at a Time, where she plays Ann Romano’s mother. She also discusses her passion for raising awareness of hearing impairment issues. The interview was conducted by Jennifer Howard on August 12, 2004.