"When I was starting out, I thought my camera work was awful, and I tried to make it more interesting. As I got older and more experienced, I learned to tell the story with the actors first, cameras second. Sometimes you can just do something with the camera that's just so good and you see you love it, but it's the actors and the script."
About This Interview
In his four-hour Archive interview, Bruce Bilson talks about his early experiences as an assistant editor on classic television shows You Bet Your Life and The Liberace Show. He recalls his tenure at Desilu Studios, where he served as an assistant director on the lot's many sitcoms. He speaks with fondness about his work as an A.D. on The Andy Griffith Show, commenting on the show's production and ensemble, and identifying regular director Bob Sweeney as his mentor. Bilson describes his work on the syndicated adventure program Whirlybirds, noting the show's stunt work, and talks about his transition to becoming a full-fledged director. He speaks of directing The Patty Duke Show, directing the satirical series Get Smart, and winning the Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in Comedy in 1968. He describes his experiences on dozens of series he directed over the subsequent three decades, representing nearly four hundred hours of television. Among the series he discusses are: The Doris Day Show, Love, American Style, Bonanza, The Odd Couple, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H, The Brady Bunch, Hawaii Five-0, Wonder Woman, The Love Boat, Dallas, Hotel, Life With Lucy, Dinosaurs, and Touched By An Angel. He remembers working with his son Danny, who followed in his footsteps (with such shows as The Flash and The Sentinel) and outlines the advice he gave to his granddaughter, The O.C. star Rachel Bilson. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview in Studio City on August 19, 2008.