Archive for the ‘"Maude"’ Category

Rue McClanahan, The Golden Girls’ “Blanche” & Maude’s Best Friend “Viv,” Has Died

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Rue McClanahan’s forty year TV career began with a regular role on soap opera Another World and guest roles on such series as All in the Family and Mannix. She’s best known for her work on the series Maude, Mama’s Family, and The Golden Girls. She won the Emmy Award in 1987 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as “Blanche Devereaux” on The Golden Girls.

Click here for Rue McClanahan’s entire May 4, 2006 Archive of American Television interview.

Interview Description:

Rue McClanahan was interviewed for two-and-a-half hours in New York, NY. McClanahan talked about her acting start on the stage and touched on some of her feature films from the 1960s. She discussed her first regular role in television as scheming nurse “Caroline Johnson” on Another World. She recalled how, when her character tries unsuccessfully to poison the mother of the twins she is caring for, she received a fan letter recommending a better poison. She spoke in great detail about her role as “Vivian Cavender” best friend to Bea Arthur on the television sitcom Maude. She described her character, talked about working with the ensemble cast, and commented on memorable series episodes. She then talked about her work as series regular “Aunt Fran” on Mama’s Family. Lastly, she discussed at length the production of the classic 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls and her role of “Blanche Devereaux.” She talked about the casting process, working with the series production personnel, and the transition of the show into The Golden Palace. The interview was conducted by Jim Colucci.

In this excerpt from her interview, she discusses how different The Golden Girls actresses were from their characters:

"The Norman Lear Collection" Released on DVD

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Comprising the first seasons of seven of Norman Lear’s classic TV series, plus such extras as the newly-discovered All in the Family pilot “Justice for All,” Sony releases “The Norman Lear Collection.” Among the “season ones” included in the set: All in the Family; Good Times; The Jeffersons; Maude; Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (first 25 episodes only); One Day at a Time; and Sanford & Son. There are over six hours of bonus materials, including featurettes on all the shows.

“I was a part of a giant collaboration. That’s the best thing I do, collaborate….” says the now 86-year-old Lear on the brief introduction to the set (“Don’t Miss This”). In the first All in the Family featurette (“Those Were the Days: The Birth of All in the Family” [TRT 27:00]) Lear discuses how he and his father were the models for Archie and Mike and outlines the making of the pilot including the casting and characterizations of the leads. In the second All in the Family featurette (“The Television Revolution Begins: All in the Family Is on the Air” [TRT 30:40]) Lear talks about how the network wanted to air the second filmed show first (worried that the pilot script was too inflammatory), plus, in new and vintage interviews, we hear from from Lear, Carroll O’Connor, and the rest of the cast on the acceptance and popularity of the show, its characters and themes. Each of the series on the set have corresponding featurettes that similarly discuss their approach to social themes— a hallmark of all of Lear’s shows.

The best part about the set is to compare the two pilots and the premiere episode of All in the Family— all of which used the same script, with some changes. The most significant difference was the re-casting of Mike and Gloria, until Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers got the parts for the series premiere. PHOTO: Norman Lear (at the DVD launch party held at the Paley Center for Media) speaks to Dan Wingate, Technical Specialist at Sony Pictures Entertainment, who uncovered the lost original pilot to All in the Family.

Watch the trailer for the DVD here.

Norman Lear discusses his thoughts on what constitutes the best of television, in his Archive of American Television interview:

Click her to watch the Archive’s entire interview with Norman Lear.

Actress Beatrice Arthur Dies at 86 – Interview Online

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Bea Arthur, the Emmy-winning star of Maude and The Golden Girls, who also garnered a Tony Award for the musical Mame, died Saturday at 86. In January, one of her last public appearances, she was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. She was interviewed by the Archive in 2001. Click here for her New York Times obituary (with a reference to our interview). The entire 2-1/2 hour interview can be viewed here.

When asked in her interview how she’d like to be remembered, she responded: “As an artist. An important artist.”

Here’s a selection of clips from the Archive’s interview:

Interview Description:

Beatrice Arthur was interviewed for two hours plus in Brentwood, CA. In the interview, Arthur talked about the origins of her stage name and how she started out in plays, off and on Broadway. She then talked about her first movie roles and her appearances on The George Gobel Show and Caesar’s Hour. She described her other early appearances on television in The Seven Lively Arts, Omnibus, Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall and her role in the play and feature film Mame (with Angela Lansbury and Lucille Ball, respectively). She talked about her appearances on All in the Family as the liberal cousin Maude. She then discussed the controversial issues and topics that the series Maude tackled, (such as alcoholism, abortion, death, infidelity and feminism). Arthur also talked extensively about working with Norman Lear on All in the Family and Maude, watching the show 20 years after it first aired and why she eventually left the show. She then briefly talked about her series Amanda’s and then talked affectionately about The Golden Girls. The interview was conducted on March 15, 2001.

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.

And Then There’s Maude Season One

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Walter: Maude, did you wreck the car again?

Maude: Did you hear that, everybody? Did you hear that? Not “Maude, are you sick?” Or “Maude, are you unhappy?” Or even, “Maude, are you pregnant?” No, “Maude, did you wreck the car again?”

Walter: You’re right, darling. You’re absolutely right. I’m sorry. So tell me, are you sick?

Maude: No.

Walter: Are you unhappy?

Maude: No.

Walter: Are you pregnant?

Maude: Yes.

– from the episode “Maude’s Dilemma” which first aired on November 14, 1972

The long awaited Maude: Season One is out on DVD today. Maude was the liberal counterpoint to All in the Family’s Archie Bunker.

In part 3 of her interview, Beatrice Arthur talks about the character of Maude and the tone of the show. PRESS THE PLAY ARROW IN THE PLAYER ABOVE TO WATCH THE SEGMENT NOW.

The Archive of American Television has interviewed several of the notables involved with the show’s production including: Beatrice Arthur (“Maude Findlay”), Hal Cooper (director/executive producer), Norman Lear (creator), Rue McClanahan (“Vivian Cavender Harmon”) [online soon], Rita Riggs (costumes designer), and Bob Schiller & Bob Weiskopf (writer/producers).

Fred Silverman’s Interview is Now Online

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

We’re happy to report that legendary television executive Fred Silverman’s interview is now online. At almost 6-1/2 hours, this amazing interview encompasses over three decades of television history and gives a fascinating inside look at the networks and programming so many of us grew up with (just take a look at the brief interview description below and you’ll see what we mean!). Not one to rest on his many laurels, Silverman is currently ramping up his Fred Silverman Co. to develop scripted and unscripted comedies.

Here’s part 7 of the interview where he describes the programming of the hit miniseries Roots.

Click here to access Fred Silverman’s entire interview.

Interview description:
Network television executive Fred Silverman speaks about his first job in TV, at WGN in Chicago, where he created such programs as Zim-Bomba, Bozo’s Circus and Family Classics. He then explains his move to CBS in New York, where he quickly worked his way up the corporate ladder, first as head of daytime programming, (where he revitalized the Saturday morning lineup, Scooby-Doo being among them), and later as the Vice President of Programming. During this time, he oversaw such programs as All in the Family, The Bob Newhart Show, Kojak, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and The Waltons. Next, he talks his appointment as President of ABC Entertainment, where he oversaw such programs as Charlie’s Angels, Donny and Marie, Eight is Enough, Laverne & Shirley, The Love Boat and Three’s Company. He also touches on the development and scheduling of the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man and Roots. Mr. Silverman talks about his next move, to NBC as President and CEO in 1978. There, he oversaw the development of programs including and Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, Hill Street Blues. Mr. Silverman also explains the basic tenets of working as a network television executive, and discusses his methods for development, scheduling and promotions. Finally, he talks about his work as an independent producer for such programs as the Perry Mason television movies, Matlock, In the Heat of the Night and Diagnosis Murder. The interview was conducted in two sessions in 2001 by Dan Pasternack.