News from the Archive

How Kermit's "Bein' Green" Came To Be

March 17th, 2018
Bein' Green

When Kermit the Frog sings, magic happens. Part of that magic stems from the genius of Sesame Street's music director Joe Raposo. Many of those songs you love from your childhood - "One Of These Things [Is Not Like The Others]," "Sing," "C Is For Cookie" - were his creations. Raposo passed away before the Archive was founded, but we've been lucky enough to interview many of his Sesame Street colleagues. Here's the tale of how "Bein' Green" came to be, according to Bob McGrath, Joan Ganz Cooney, and music director Danny Epstein:


Now you want to hear the song again, right? Here's Kermit and Ray Charles' duet :


- by Adrienne Faillace

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The Interviews at the Los Angeles Public Library!

March 6th, 2018
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Thanks to the Los Angeles Public Library for having us out on Saturday, March 10 to talk about television production in Los Angeles!

Jenni and Adrienne had a wonderful time showing clips (viewable below) from The Interviews, sharing stories, and hearing from fans (thanks for braving the rain!). We were also delighted to welcome a very special guest, our 886th Interviewee, Robert Clary, who joined us on stage to discuss stories from his days on The Ed Wynn Show, Hogan's Heroes, Days of Our Lives, and much more. 

The event was presented in conjuction with LAPL's Photo Exhibit, The Industry in Our Backyard: Television Production in Los Angeles 1940s-1980s.

Here are some of the videos we shared from The Interviews, edited by Jenna Hymes:

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Women in Broadcast Journalism

March 1st, 2018

We're celebrating Women's History Month with our Google Cultural Institute Exhibit: Women in Broadcast Journalism. Hear stories from Barbara Walters, Connie Chung, Katie Couric, and more!

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Remembering Nanette Fabray

February 23rd, 2018
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We’re sad to learn that actress Nanette Fabray has passed away at the age of 97. Fabray began her career in theater and film before moving on to television. She starred with Sid Caesar on Caesar’s Hour and on her own show, The Nanette Fabray Show. She appeared on series throughout the 1970s, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Carol Burnett Show, and a recurring role on One Day at a Time. Fabray won three Emmys in her career, and was also a passionate advocate for those with hearing impairment. 

Below are some selections from her 2004 interview:

On her favorite sketch on Caesar’s Hour:

On working on One Day at a Time:

On advice for an aspiring actor:

Watch Nanette Fabray’s full interview and read her obituary in The New York Times.

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February 20th, 2018
Larry Hagman

John Dalton continues with his picks for the most influential television episodes by decade. Today we focus on his selection from the 1980s.

Dallas - “Who Done It?” Airdate November 21, 1980

It’s impossible to convey the ubiquity of the “Who Shot J.R.?” phenomenon of 1980. It began in March when J.R. Ewing was unceremoniously gunned down in the 3rd season finale of Dallas. When they filmed the episode, up to the evening it aired, the producers, network, and actors had no idea how big it would become. In the spring and summer of 1980 it was a top discussion in popular culture. Magazines dedicated issues to it, people wore “Who Shot J.R.?” T-shirts, and it was spoofed on Saturday Night Live. Theories as to who did the deed were everywhere, and summer rerun ratings for Dallas climbed week-by-week. Thus, the season-ending cliffhanger was born.

As it turned out, viewers were left to hang on that cliff much longer than anyone had expected. In July of 1980, there was a long Screen Actors Guild strike that delayed the new fall television season. Instead of people losing interest, the long delay only served to amp up J.R. fever. Then, as Carroll O’Connor and Suzanne Somers had done before him, Larry Hagman decided that it was an opportune time to hold out for more money. Dallas started filming season four with no J.R. Ewing. Because the producers were still holding out hopes to have Hagman back in time for the big reveal, no answer to the burning question was offered in the first two episodes. Hagman returned briefly for episode three, and then finally, four episodes into the season, the answer was revealed nearly nine months after the question had first been posed.

An astounding 83 million people tuned in. I remember my father being profoundly annoyed as my parents’ bridge club guests that evening insisted on bringing a small black and white TV so they could watch the episode. It ushered in a decade of ratings-grabbing cliffhangers, culminating in Dynasty’s Moldavian Massacre, and later Dallas’ own “Bobby Ewing in the shower” ending to season seven.

For years after, the season-ending cliffhanger was an industry standard. Even sitcoms like Cheers employed the device to ensure viewers would come back in the fall. In 1990, Twin Peaks came along and deconstructed the cliffhanger formula, with “Who Killed Laura Palmer?” David Lynch and Mark Frost’s original idea was to never answer that central question in the series, but ABC forced their hand in the wake of declining ratings. I believe The Simpsons' “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” parody signaled the end of the major television season-ending cliffhanger. Starting in the mid ‘90s, shows tended to resolve storylines in the final two or so episodes of the season.

To this day, I believe most people know the phrase “Who Shot J.R,?” but few remember the answer to that question. For the record, it was J.R,’s mistress Kristin Shepard, played by Mary Crosby (Bing’s Crosby's daughter.) She confessed, and then wisely told J.R. she was carrying his child.

Because no kid of J.R. Ewing’s was going to suffer the indignity of being born behind bars, no one was ever prosecuted for the most famous crime in television history.

- John Dalton

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