"In early television, had we been afraid that we didn't know how to do the medium, it would never have started. We weren't trained, we were just thrust into it and had to do it."
About This Interview
In his four-hour Archive interview, Bob Banner (1921-2011) speaks at length about his first experiences in the new medium of television at WBKB, and later WMAQ in Chicago. He speaks about the "Chicago school" of television, and provides several humorous stories about on-set incidents. He reminisces about such personalities as Burr Tillstrom and Fran Allison from Kukla, Fran and Ollie, and how they were instrumental in persuading him to accept a position with The Fred Waring Show in New York. Mr. Banner fondly recalls working with Dinah Shore when he was directing and producing her show, sponsored by Chevrolet, and recalls how her trademark kiss at the end of the show came about. He also describes an incident in a restaurant between Dinah Shore, legendary actress Bette Davis and a fan that clearly pointed out the differences in film and television celebrity. He speaks about many of the people that he has worked with throughout his career, including Dave Garroway, Carol Burnett, Perry Como, ice skater Peggy Fleming, Ed Wynn and Jim Henson. He talks about many of the variety shows that he has produced, such as Solid Gold, Star Search and It's Showtime at the Apollo. Mr. Banner also mentions his more recent work, including a kids show in its third season on the Discovery Channel, Real Kids, Real Adventures. Henry Colman conducted the interview on November 5, 1999 in Santa Monica, CA.