"I think the most important center for me has been to be able to do work about things that mattered. Things that had something to do with the real world, that brings the crisis in somebody's life where they make a fateful choice. Sometimes a fatal choice."
About This Interview
Noted director Lamont Johnson (1922-2010) described his work as an actor in network radio, which led to a career as an actor in television on such series as Hallmark Hall of Fame in the 1950s. Johnson discussed his period of being blacklisted from the industry, until producer Albert McCleery cast him. Johnson spoke in great detail about the ambitious, daily, color "live" NBC television series Matinee Theater (1955-58) for which he appeared as an actor and directed dozens of productions. Johnson discussed his continued work in filmed television including such series as Peter Gunn, Naked City, Dr. Kildare, Profiles in Courage, and The Twilight Zone ( for which he directed such classic episodes as "Five Characters in Search of an Exit," "Nothing in the Dark," and "Kick the Can.") Johnson described his later work on the groundbreaking Levinson and Link television movies My Sweet Charlie (1970), That Certain Summer (1972), and The Execution of Private Slovik (1974); as well as the miniseries Wallenberg: A Hero's Story ( 1985) and Gore Vidal's Lincoln (1988), both of which won Johnson Emmy Awards for directing. The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on June 10, 2003.