Archive for the ‘New Interview Posted’ Category

Catching up with “Half-Pint:” Melissa Gilbert Talks “Little House,” “The Miracle Worker,” and Michael Landon

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

In her newly released Archive Interview, Melissa Gilbert describes her experiences as a child actress, playing “Laura Ingalls” on the much beloved series Little House on the Prairie. She details the show’s production schedule, discusses her co-stars (including the bond she shared with her on-screen father, Michael Landon), and reflects on specific episodes of the program. She also chronicles her roles as a director and producer – her  directorial debut was on the after-school special, Me and My Hormones, and she co-founded Half-Pint Productions when she was still a teenager.

Below Melissa Gilbert shares tales of Little House on the Prairie:

On the final episode of Little House on the Prairie, “The Last Farewell:”

And on the legacy of Little House on the Prairie:

Watch Melissa Gilbert’s full interview here.

About this interview:

In her three hour interview for the Archive of American Television, Melissa Gilbert discusses her career as an actress/producer/director. She shares stories of her famous grandfather, Honeymooners creator Harry Crane, and recalls her early foray into acting in television commercials. Gilbert then details her time playing “Laura Ingalls” on the much beloved series Little House on the Prairie. She describes working with Michael Landon, and recounts memorable episodes, including “The Lord is My Shepherd,” “Laura Ingalls Wilder,” in which her character gets married, and the series finale, “The Long Farewell.” Gilbert talks of playing Helen Keller in the TV movie The Miracle Worker, for which she was nominated for an Emmy, discusses playing the title role in the made for TV movie, The Diary of Anne Frank, and speaks of her production company, Half-Pint Productions. She also describes her directorial debut on the after-school special, Me and My Hormones. Amy Harrington conducted the interview on April 18, 2011 in Tarzana, CA.

Ay Caramba! “The Simpsons” start Season 23 and Bart’s still 10

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Though Bart remains 10 years old, The Simpsons begins its 23rd season Sunday, September 25th on FOX. Not just the longest-running animated program in American television history, The Simpsons is also the longest-running American sitcom, and beat out Gunsmoke to become the longest-running primetime, scripted series.

The brainchild of Matt Groening, The Simpsons originally appeared as a series of animated shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. Executive Producer James L. Brooks liked the popular shorts, which were then developed into a stand-alone, half-hour program and debuted as such on December 17, 1989. Bart (Nancy Cartwright), Lisa (Yeardley Smith), Maggie, Marge (Julie Kavner) and Homer (Dan Castellaneta) hit the big-time that night and have reigned on FOX ever since.

The show at times stirs up controversy for its portrayal of a dysfunctional, but loving family, and not only cemented the phrase “D’oh!” into the minds of millions, but also launched dozens of other catchphrases. From “Don’t have a cow, man!”, “Ay Carumba!”, “Eat my shorts!” and “Cowabunga!” The Simpsons has its own vernacular that continues to penetrate pop culture. Nancy Cartwright’s interview (she voices Bart Simpson, Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Muntz, Todd Flanders, Kearney, and Database) is now available online. As Mr. Burns would say as he craftily twiddles his fingers, “Excellent.”

Cartwright was originally going to audition for the role of Lisa, but when she saw Bart Simpson described as “Ten years old, school-hating underachiever and proud of it”-  she knew that was the role she wanted:

On Bart Simpsons’ memorable catchphrases:

On how she differentiates between similar characters (“Nelson” v. “Kearney” and “Ralph” v “Todd Flanders”):

On how people who criticize the show respond when they find out she plays Bart:

On The Simpsons‘ place in American pop culture:

About this interview:

In her Archive interview, Nancy Cartwright describes how she got her start as a voiceover artist. Active in speech club in high school, she discovered her talent with voices and pursued Communications in college, first at Ohio University, then at UCLA, to be closer to the industry. She recalls training with acclaimed voiceover artist Daws Butler, her first professional job on Richie Rich, and her on-camera work as a guest actor on Cheers and as the lead in the television movie, Marian Rose White. Cartwright then details her work on The Simpsons, originally a series of sketches on The Tracey Ullman Show. She recalls going in to audition for the part of “Lisa Simpson” and walking out with the role of “Bart Simpson.” Cartwright outlines the recording schedule of the show, other characters she voices, expanding the show to a half hour program, her Emmy win for Outstanding Voiceover Actor, and her favorite episodes.  She also comments on other shows to which she’s contributed (Rugrats, Kim Possible) and speaks of her extensive charity work. Jenni Matz conducted the interview on March 17, 2011 in Northridge, CA.

Uncovering CSI: Creator Anthony E. Zuiker’s Interview is Now Online

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

The Archive of American Television “interrogated” CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker in 2010. His full interview is now online.
See some video excerpts, below:

Anthony Zuiker wrote the pilot in two days

CSI was one of those scripts where I did research for three days.  I wrote the teleplay in two days.  I think I changed five words in it. And every writer who’s had some success, knows that there are those that just kind of channel down from the heavens, that  you’re just the typist. And that’s what “CSI” was. It really was the first thing I wrote, we shot every word of what I first wrote.

Screaming “I’m just the writer!” does not protect you at a crime scene

The ride-along happened before the construction of the pilot. As luck would have it– I met Daniel Holstein, who’s the real-life Gil Grissom– who’s  one of 15 people licensed in blood splatter analysis.  Keeps maggots inside of vials inside of his desk.  So I went on ride-alongs.  And on day two, there was a 19-year-old woman who lured another woman back to a motel.  And we got the call for a sexual assault. The next thing I know, we’re blowing red lights at 100 miles an hour. I was freaked out, scared to death.  We show up…The 19-year-old they couldn’t find. So the CSI, to be a big shot, said, “Hey!  Here’s some gloves and some booties and a little comb. Why don’t you go comb around the bed for biologicals.  Ha, ha, ha.”  So I had my little book and I was being a fake CSI and looking for things…  Next thing I know, the bed started moving. I lifted the bed skirt and there are two sets of eyes.  The 19-year-old girl comes out.  She scratches my face.  I jump to the ceiling.  The guy pulls out a gun and “Freeze!”  And they drag her out and handcuff her and slam her on the bed, and I’m like, “I’m just the writer, man!  I’m just the writer.” But what I’ve learned– is that law enforcement, if they don’t do their job right and clear the scene, then people will hang around or harm the CSIs trying to get the evidence to convict them.  They didn’t clear the scene properly.  That’s how come I got quasi-attacked.  But if you watch the pilot closely, you’ll see that Holly Gribbs was shot at the end of the pilot, and that’s where I got the idea.

You won’t see the CSI crime lab in real-life.

When you walk through a crime lab in Las Vegas, or even the number two lab in the country, or even in Quantico, they’re very boring, four walls, drab, don’t smell nice. Very archaic equipment. PCV pipes and tubes, drapes, machinery, unorganized.  It’s not a very pretty sight. But we are doing television, so we had to sex it up, so to speak. So we did these really state-of-the-art, cool sets with see-through windows and state-of-the-art computers and made it feel like you were in sexy Washington, in terms of the state-of-the-art buildings that you might see that might be Frank Lloyd Wright-designed. It was to give it a sense of pace and style, and that’s what we did.

On the inspiration behind “C.S.I”

On breaking TV rules

On how “C.S.I” stands out

On naming “C.S.I”

On pitching the show

Anthony Zuiker’s full  interview is now online at

Emmy-nominated director Timothy Van Patten on “Boardwalk Empire” & more

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

“I think my life experience informs my directing much more than my acting skills. I think I know how to put an actor at ease, I don’t know the language, if there is a language, but I think every actor comes to the set with their own needs and then you have to handle them accordingly.” – Tim Van Patten, on his directing style

Director Timothy Van Patten is nominated for his 9th Emmy this year for Oustanding Direction for a Drama Series (Game of Thrones) ! In his Archive interview, he discussed his work on Boardwalk EmpireThe Pacific, The Wire, Sex and the City, and the long-running HBO series The Sopranos.

On what it was like to work with Boardwalk Empire’s executive producer, Martin Scorcese:

On directing the World War II story, The Pacific:

On his take on the final episode of The Sopranos:

His full interview can be viewed here:

In his three-and-a-half hour interview for the Archive of American Television, actor/director Timothy Van Patten discusses a career that has spanned East to West Coast and back again.  He recounts his early life in New York and his move to Los Angeles, where he found success as an actor playing “Salami” on the MTM production,The White Shadow. Van Patten speaks at length about mentor Bruce Paltrow and the amazing education in television and film he received on the set of several Paltrow-led productions. He talks about his challenging transition to directing, a journey that eventually led to directing episodes of several short-lived series such as Home Firesand The Road Home, and of longer reigning shows Touched By an AngelandHomicide: Life on the Street. He concludes by describing how he found his niche directing episodes of acclaimed HBO series The Sopranos,Sex and the CityThe Wire, and Boardwalk Empire, and expresses his deep respect for writer/producers David Chase, David Simon and Terence Winter. Van Patten also confesses that in addition to television acting and directing, he now has a hankering for writing, too. Ron Simon conducted interview in New York City on June 26, 2009.

The one where “Friends” creators tell their story: Marta Kauffman & David Crane’s interview now online

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

The writers and co-creators of Friends and Dream On shared their story with the Archive in 2010. The longtime writing partners were interviewed together, and individually about their past and current projects. David Crane was recently nominated for and Emmy for Outstanding Writing for Episodes, which he briefly discusses. Their complete interview is now online at

On the effect Friends had on American pop culture:

“At a certain point the show tells you what it wants, and you know you’re going in a certain direction and you had no idea that this arc would be so powerful and you have to go with it… When you do a show, your intention is not to affect American culture or to have people start wanting to wear their hair like this or dress like that.”

On what Friends means to them:

David Crane on advice to aspiring TV writers, from his solo interview:

On why their writing partnership was successful:

David Crane and  Marta Kauffman were interviewed for three hours in Burbank, CA. They spoke of how they began writing together, their partnership with Kevin Bright, and the creation of the popular series Friends as well as Dream On and other series and pilots they worked on together. They spoke in great detail about Friends; its development, cast, and writing process. Crane and Kauffman were also interviewed separately, speaking about their early influences as well as more current solo projects. The interview was conducted by Beth Cochran on October 7, 2010.

Behind door number three… it’s Monty Hall!

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

The Archive wishes a very happy 90th birthday to Monty Hall! Best known for hosting Let’s Make a Deal, Hall has also made memorable guest appearances on shows like The Odd Couple, That Girl, and The Flip Wilson Show. He’s raised over $800 million for charities, and did you know that he’s the inspiration for a famous math problem? Here it is: There are 3 closed doors. Behind one of the doors is a car; behind the other two are goats. Monty Hall knows what is behind each door. He asks you to pick a door. You make a selection. He then reveals a goat behind one of the doors you did not select. Monty Hall now asks if you would like to swap doors and select the remaining door. Is it in your best interest to swap? What do you think? Watch below to learn the answer to the probability puzzle known as “The Monty Hall Problem.”

Watch Monty Hall’s full interview here:

Valerie Harper on “Rhoda”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” & more!

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Wishing a very happy 72nd birthday to actress Valerie Harper! In her Archive interview, Harper describes starting her career as a dancer in New York, moving to Los Angeles, and getting her big break on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She reminisces about Rhoda and Valerie and shares that she was once a member of the Writers Guild of America and co-wrote an episode of a popular 1969-74 sitcom. Watch below to find out which show!

Enjoy Valerie Harper’s interview in its entirety here:

About this interview:

Valerie Harper was interviewed for two-and-a-half hours in North Hollywood, CA. Harper discusses her early years as a dancer in New York City, her time as a member of Second City, and moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting. She talks in detail about her most famous character, Rhoda Morgenstern, whom she portrayed on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the spinoff, Rhoda. She reminisces about working with Mary Tyler Moore, James L. Brooks, Jay Sandrich and many others of the cast and crew of both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda. Harper also describes why she was only on Valerie for one year, and outlines her current theater projects. Jim McKairnes conducted the interview on February 26, 2009.

Dan Rather on JFK, 9/11, CBS News, and more

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

“For anyone who loves a craft, loves news (reporting)… the bedrock requirement is to love the news, which I did.”

Watch Dan Rather’s full 2005 interview ; he discusses the craft of journalism and the many,  many historical milestones he covered both as a reporter and later, as anchor for the CBS Evening News (1980-2005).

In this excerpt, he recalls the events of September 11, 2001:

About the Interview: Dan Rather was interviewed for nearly eight hours (in two sessions) in New York, NY. He talks at length about growing up in Houston, Texas, and his early years as a radio and television journalist in the local market. He describes in detail his work at KHOU-TV, where his dramatic continuous coverage of “Hurricane Carla” garnered national recognition and brought him to the attention of CBS News. In addition, he explains the challenges and lessons he learned from covering monumental moments in the Civil Rights Movement and the assassination of President Kennedy, and why CBS News, due to logistics, did not broadcast live television’s first on-air murder — that of Lee Harvey Oswald.  He concludes with recollections on covering the war in Vietnam, the Nixon White House, and 9/11, and also speaks of his work on 60 Minutes and on succeeding Walter Cronkite as anchor of CBS Evening News.  The two-part interview was conducted by Don Carleton on April 7 and November 7, 2005.

Ask Dr. Ruth? We did!

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

TV’s legendary psychosexual therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer’s Archive interview is now online at Below are clips from the 2-hour interview:

Dr. Ruth Westheimer on why her show “Ask Dr. Ruth” was groundbreaking

Dr. Ruth Westheimer on why she avoided euphemisms on her shows

Full Interview description:

In her Archive interview, Dr. Ruth Westheimer talks about her early years growing up in Germany until the start of World War II. She discusses her eventual move to the United States, where she studied sociology and soon developed a strong interest in studying sexuality. She recalls her first foray into radio, which led to her own series, and her television work on such series as Good Sex with Dr. Ruth Westheimer/The Dr. Ruth Show,and Ask Dr. Ruth. Dr. Ruth Westheimer was interviewed in New York, NY on June 14, 2010; Allan Neuwirth conducted the nearly two-hour interview.

Jeffrey Hayden Interview Now Online

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Interview Description:

In his Archive interview, Jeffrey Hayden talks about his career as an associate director in the first years of the ABC-TV network (1948-50) and as a prolific director of comedy and drama series from the 1950s to the 1980s, including: The Donna Reed Show; The Andy Griffith Show; 77 Sunset Strip; Peyton Place; Quincy M.E.; Palmerstown, U.S.A.; and Knight Rider.  Hayden outlines how he came to produce one of the earliest sitcoms The Billy Bean Show (with Arnold Stang), before he began his work as a director gaining experience on such programs as the variety series The Bert Parks Show and quiz/variety show The Big Payoff.  He talks about his acceptance into the Actors Studio and its influence on his work, and notes throughout the interview the importance of rehearsal and improvisation to his directing style. Among dramatic series, he comments on the Philco-Goodyear Playhouse (and a memorable production he did with a difficult James Dean), 77 Sunset Strip (and the rewrites he’d do with the cast during lunch hour, despite network warnings to stick to the script), and The Lloyd Bridges Show (which he describes as one of the most arduous directing jobs of his career). He speaks fondly of his years on The Donna Reed Show, working with writer-producer Paul West who incorporated some of Hayden’s own family life into scripts and The Andy Griffith Show, a reunion with Griffith whom Hayden knew from his college days.  For Peyton Place, Hayden notes his working relationship with breakout stars Ryan O’Neal and Mia Farrow (and the dramatic real-life moment when Farrow decided to cut her hair short mid-season).  Among the other personalities he discusses are: E. G. Marshall (The Bold Ones), Peter Deuel (Alias Smith and Jones), Raymond Burr (Ironside), and Jack Klugman (Quincy, M.E.).  Additionally for Quincy, Hayden discusses memorable episodes: “Seldom Silent, Never Heard,” that influenced the passing of the Orphan Drug Act (ODA) and “Nowhere to Run,” whose incest storyline hampered actor Charles Aidman’s career.  He recounts the challenges he faced working on the series The Incredible Hulk, Knight Rider, and Palmerstown U.S.A. (this series led to a DGA rule about providing drivers to locations). Lastly, he acknowledged his satisfying work on daytime soaps Capitol and Santa Barbara (a return to the kind of work he did in his “live” TV days) and on two documentaries he made in the 1990s. Jeffrey Hayden was interviewed in Los Angeles, CA on April 29, 2010; Stephen Bowie conducted the two-and-a-half-hour interview.