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.