Archive for the ‘"Brady Bunch"’ Category

“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.

The TVLand Awards: A Sneak Preview!

Saturday, June 14th, 2008


Sunday marked the 6th Annual TV Land Awards, and the Archive was represented in full effect!

Archive staff attended the gala event, held in Santa Monica, which airs this Sunday June 15 on TvLand, one of our sponsor partners.

Many of our Archive Interviewees were honored, including a special tribute to producer Garry Marshall, and the Golden Girls’ Bea Arthur, Betty White, and Rue McClanahan!

Jonathan Winters (pictured here with Archive Digital Projects Manager Jenni Matz) was given the “Pioneer Award” by Robin Williams, and Mike Meyers was on-hand to receive a “Legacy of Laughter” award from Justin Timberlake.

The day began with a red carpet gala with special guests from Barry Williams to Cindy Williams. We spotted Get Smart’s original ‘Agent 99′, Barbara Feldon, Star Trek’s William Shatner, and ‘The Fonz’– Henry Winkler!

En route from the parking lot I bumped into Dick Van Dyke, who was gracious enough to thank ME for remembering HIM from his interview.

We can’t spill the beans on ALL the surprises the night brought, but be sure to tune in to see it all.

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.

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.

Larry Rhine’s Archive of American Television Interview Is Now Online!

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Writer Larry Rhine wrote or co-wrote several of television’s most classic sitcom episodes including The Brady Bunch’s “The Subject Was Noses,” The Odd Couple’s “Felix Remarries” (the series finale), and All in the Family’s “Archie the Hero.” His full interview is now posted online.

Click here to access Larry Rhine’s 8-part Archive of American Television Interview.

Rhine was one of Red Skelton and Bob Hope’s writers.

Larry Rhine on writing for Red Skelton (Excerpt from Part 4):

“He didn’t want the writers to be at rehearsal. It bothered him because we’d be shaking our heads. So… I had to poke holes through the backdrop to watch to make sure that the physical things would work because with Skelton you had to have a raised stage with holes in it for flowers to spring up. You had to have a backdrop with water squirting. You had to have wires. We had to make sure that it would work. That’s the only way we could do it but he was a wonderful performer. And his pantomimes were most unusual and when we had the Skelton tribute at the Academy I got warmed up and did a couple of the pantomimes cause we had to do them in order to write them. The pantomimes were like fifteen pages each.”

Larry Rhine on writing for Bob Hope (Excerpt from Part 5):

“When you work for Hope you not only do the three of four shows he does, specials during the year, but you’re responsible for everything that he does every day which is open auto shows and beauty contests and schools and appearances on other shows and so forth and Bob doesn’t like to work more than a day ahead of time so what would happen, like right now the phone would ring it would be Bob… and he says I need three pages of chorus girl jokes so what I would do would be excuse myself, go back and write three pages of chorus girl jokes, phone them in to a secretary and go back to what I was doing… He had a very friendly kind of relationship with the writers. He liked nothing more than to come back in the writing headquarters and put his feet up on the desk and chat with you and to this day, after all these years I get Christmas cards every year from him. So he never loses a friend but we had some funny things happen when I was on the Hope show. Bob resented the fact that Saturday Evening Post came out with the story that he was worth $500 million and it demeaned him as one of the fellows and we felt that right away and he said, you know, this is a gross exaggeration. ….So he goes out on stage and says to the audience it’s a gross exaggeration… this article… that says I’m worth five hundred million. He says “maybe three hundred.” So when I left him to go on All in the Family I said how much I enjoyed being with him. “I said, too bad that we have to sever relationships, we’ve got so much in common. Neither of us is worth $500 million.”

Interview description:
Larry Rhine (1910-2000) was interviewed for four hours in Los Angeles, CA. He spoke of his early years as a writer in radio, which culminated in the position of head-writer of Duffy’s Tavern (1949-50). He spoke of his work as a television staff writer on Private Secretary, Duffy’s Tavern (the TV adaptation), and The Gale Storm Show and his many years (1960-67) working on The Red Skelton Show. He described how he simultaneously worked on the television sitcom Mister Ed and discussed the episodes he wrote with collaborator Lou Derman. He recounted his work with other comics such as Bob Hope and Lucille Ball. He spoke about his freelance work on such series as The Brady Bunch in which he co-wrote the well-known “The Subject Was Noses” episode and The Odd Couple in which he co-wrote the series finale. In great detail, he discussed his work on the Norman Lear series All in the Family and Archie Bunkers Place in which he collaborated with writer Mel Tolkin. The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on February 25, 2000.

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?