"I brought Dagmar on the show because Jerry Lester had picked her, and I said, 'What's she supposed to do?' And he said, 'She's the girl singer with the band." So I introduced her that night. I said, 'Jerry, this is Dagmar. She's the chick with the band.' He said, 'How does she sound?' And I said, 'Who cares?" I guess it was my first laugh. After that, I had lines to do."
About This Interview
In his nearly two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Milton Delugg (1918-2015) talks about his early professional jobs, before his service in WWII, including a job in the orchestra at Paramount. He describes the days of network radio and early television, where he worked with such personalities as Abe Burrows and Morey Amsterdam. He speaks about his role as conductor (and accordion player) on the variety series Broadway Open House, a precursor to TheTonight Show. He comments on his association with several shows from the 1950s and early 60s, including The Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney Show, as well as a string of game shows. He then discusses his one-and-a-half-year stint as the orchestra leader of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, taking the reins in between Skitch Henderson and Doc Severinsen. For The Tonight Show, he talks about the rehearsal process and gives his impressions of host Carson and sidekick Ed McMahon. He then speaks in great detail about his long association with producer Chuck Barris and his participation on all of his most well-known series: The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, The Gong Show, The $1.98 Beauty Show, and others. He goes into great detail about The Gong Show, in which he comments about the panelists who appeared and the unscripted nature of the show. Lastly, he talks about his many years with the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Throughout the interview, Delugg notes his many original compositions, including: "Orange-Colored Sky" (a hit for Nat King Cole) and "Roller Coaster" (for What's My Line?). B-roll consists of photos of Delugg with such notables as Frank Loesser, Jerry Lester, Dagmar, Bing Crosby, Morey Amsterdam, Al Jolson, Johnny Carson, Chuck Barris, and John Lennon. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview in Studio City, CA on May 5, 2008.