"I adore the decent handling of people and I do that. Mostly they respond, sometimes they don't. But I give them a good shake, and I'm rewarded in that. One actor said to me, 'one of the greatest gifts is the way you handle people.' And I like that and find that kind of comforting."
About This Interview
In his five-hour Archive interview, Robert Butler describes breaking into the business as an usher at CBS. He speaks of his experiences in various behind-the-scenes capacities on classic "live" anthology series Climax! and Playhouse 90. He discusses his first break in television directing on the comedy/drama series Hennesey. Butler then details his varied assignments in series television in the 1960s on The Detectives, Bonanza, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Dr. Kildare, Gunsmoke, The Defenders, The Fugitive, Hogan's Heroes, The Twilight Zone, Batman, and Star Trek. He recalls his work in the 1970s on television movies (such as Columbo Movies of the Week and James Dean) and on feature films. He then outlines his groundbreaking work on the look of Hill Street Blues, for which he directed several of the initial episodes (including the pilot). He talks about his later work on Remington Steele, Moonlighting, Out on a Limb, Midnight Caller (which he also executive-produced), Sisters, and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview on January 14, 2004 in Los Angeles, CA.