"You start out by respecting your audience. You start out saying these kids are not to be exploited. They're not just an audience that you look at as rating points, but each one is an individual human being that has tremendous potential but also is a little dangerous… They still listen to the voices that we forget to listen to when we grow up… That's what makes them fascinating."
About This Interview
In his three-hour Archive interview, Sonny Fox speaks about his teenage years and viewing World War II as his "ticket" to independence, and details how serving in the war and being held as a POW in Nazi Germany changed his life. He describes his start in show business, working with Allen Funt on radio's "Candid Microphone" (the precursor to Candid Camera) and offers both a vivid portrait of Funt and of the staging of stunts for the program. He outlines his entry into network television at CBS, as host of the children's informational series Let's Take a Trip, and speaks frankly about his unsuitability and subsequent firing as the host of $64,000 Challenge. He discusses the behind-the-scenes dealings on the show, and although not directly involved, comments on the quiz show scandals that erupted in the late 1950s. Fox also recounts his years as the host of the local New York children's show Wonderama, and expresses how he truly cherished working with the kids in the studio audience. He recalls his role as a producer for NBC's Tomorrow with Tom Snyder, touches on his years as Chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and talks about his experiences as Vice President of Children's Programming at NBC. Fox also shares tales of starting his own production company and of resurrecting classic anthology dramas with the PBS series The Golden Age of Television. Karen Herman conducted the interview in Encino, CA on July 16, 2008.