"When I acquired ABC, everyone in the motion picture companies had refused to deal with television, but Walt Disney wanted to build Disneyland and he needed money. I made up my mind that I was going to do everything in our power to bring Disney into television. If I could crack Disney, then I could maybe crack the other motion picture companies."
About This Interview
The first Archive of American Television interviewee -- Leonard Goldenson (1905–1999) -- was interviewed for three-and-a-half hours in Long Boat Key, FL. Goldenson recalls his early days working for Paramount Theaters and talks extensively about the formation of ABC. He details ABC's programming, and the competition it faced from NBC, CBS, and the Hollywood studios. He fondly recalls ABC's eventual rise to become one of television's formidable powers, despite doubts from CBS' William Paley and NBC's David Sarnoff. Goldenson also discusses ABC's long partnership with Walt Disney, and outlines his television deal with Jack Warner. He speaks of the creation of ABC Sports, the popularity of ABC's news anchors, and the very first broadcast of a television miniseries. He outlines several of ABC's hits, including The Fugitive, Charlie's Angels, The Love Boat, Roots, and Monday Night Football. B-roll consists of photos from his life and career - including pictures from events for the organization he helped found, United Cerebral Palsy. Marvin Wolf conducted the interview on May 14, 1996.