"I was an average guy, who with great luck was able to be successful. I think that's as much as I can say. I love people. I love actors. I love doing the dramatic shows. So that's how I'd like to be remembered, working with terrific people, great talented people."
About This Interview
In his nearly four-hour Archive interview, H. Wesley Kenney speaks about his early interest in acting and his training at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He recounts his break into television as a director at the DuMont Television Network in the early 1950s, and describes the network and its studio spaces (at Wannamaker's department store, the Adelphi and Ambassador theaters, and later, the state-of-the-art Telecentre). Among the DuMont shows that Kenney discusses are: Morning Chapel (which covered three religions), Life Is Worth Living (featuring Bishop Fulton Sheen), Magic Cottage and Funny Bunny (popular children's shows), and Night Beat ( Mike Wallace's breakthrough interview show). He talks in great detail about one of DuMont's most popular series, Rocky King, Detective, starring Roscoe Karns. Kenney recalls working with Karns, the attention given to the art direction despite a limited budget, and memorable gaffes on the "live" show. He chronicles his years working in daytime dramas, beginning with the fifteen-minute Modern Romances and continuing as a producer on the long-running soaps The Doctors, Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless, and General Hospital. He speaks of the shift from the thirty-minute to hour-long soap opera, talks about his work with legendary soap writers Irna Phillips and William J. Bell, and discusses casting soaps. He then details his work as a director on the groundbreaking series All in the Family during the show's fifth season. Other shows he discusses include a closed circuit medical program demonstrating the Salk vaccine, the anthology series True Story, and the Emmy-winning ABC Afternoon Playbreak: Miss Kline, We Love You. Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview in North Hollywood, California on April 30, 2008.