News from the Archive

Ira Skutch's Archive of American Television Interview Is Now Online

July 27th, 2006

This video is Part 1 of Ira Skutch's 6-part interview. Click here to view the entire interview.

Producer/Director Ira Skutch's three hour Archive of American Television Interview is available for viewing on Google Video.

Ira Skutch started working at NBC in 1942 as an NBC Page.

Interview Description:

Skutch talks about his early years as a page and later manager of guided tours at NBC. He describes in detail the layout of the NBC building, listing the various studios and the radio series that were produced in each, as well as which were modified to bring in television production. Skutch talks about his work as a stage manger on NBC’s earliest television series including NBC Television Theater, You Are an Artist, Face to Face, Kraft Television Theater, and the big budget variety series Hour Glass. Skutch discusses his work in technique and production as a director of “live” television commercials for television series as well as the 1952 political conventions. He chronicles his work as a director on such shows as Disc Magic (a 1946 precursor to music video), The Swift Home Service Club (one of network television first daytime series), and Philco TV Playhouse. Lastly, Skutch speaks in detail about his 26 year tenure as director, then producer at Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions, where he worked on such series as Beat the Clock, Play Your Hunch, and Match Game. The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on January 29, 2004.

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D. C. Fontana's Archive of American Television Interview Is Now Online

July 19th, 2006

Writer D. C. Fontana's three-and-a-half hour Archive of American Television interview has been added to the online collection at Google Video.

This video is Part 3 of D.C. Fontana's 7-part interview. In this segment, she speaks in-depth about her work on Star Trek. To access all segments, click here. (Remember, if you'd like to watch the interview in the order in which it was conducted, select the parts in order (1,2,3...).)

Interview Description:

Fontana begins by recalling her early career working for producers such as Samuel Peeples and Del Reisman, and describes how she came to work for writer/producer Gene Roddenberry as his assistant on The Lieutenant. Next, she speaks about the development of the science-fiction series Star Trek. She talks at great length about the show, including discussing the cast, the technology, and working with Roddenberry. She also explains how she came to be a writer on the series, and describes the episodes that she wrote. Later, she discusses her other many writing credits, including Star Trek: The Animated Series, The Streets of San Francisco, Logan’s Run, and The Waltons. Finally, Fontana talks about her experiences working on the first season of the series Star Trek: The Next Generation. The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on December 29, 2003.

During the interview Fontana gives her choices for her favorite original Star Trek episodes (see the end of part 3, above at about 27 minutes in). What are your favorites?

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New Book Highlights the History of Television Taboos

July 13th, 2006

From the July 14th, 2006 Issue of Entertainment Weekly:

Ten Things We Love This Week

3. 'THEY'LL NEVER PUT THAT ON THE AIR,' BY ALLAN NEUWIRTH From All in the Family to Seinfeld: Sharp analysis and firsthand anecdotes illuminate the stories behind TV's most taboo-busting comedies.

The book is a fun oral history of the behind-the-scenes machinations of those who fought to break down television taboos. Nobably, writer (and Archive interviewer) Allan Neuwirth used excerpts from three Archive interviews in the book and also interviewed some Archive alums on his own. Check it out.

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Stanley Rubin's Archive of American Television Interview Is Now Online

July 11th, 2006

Producer Stanley Rubin's two-and-a-half-hour Archive of American Television interview has been added to the online collection at Google Video.

Rubin won an Emmy at the very first Emmy Awards in 1949.

Interview Description:

Rubin begins by talking about his early years in the entertainment business working in the mailroom at Paramount Pictures and then as a reader for several studios, including Universal. He talks about his transition to screenwriting and ultimately producing, which began with the now-classic film noir The Narrow Margin (1952). He describes in great detail his first work as a producer in television, the dramatic anthology series Your Show Time. He discusses the creation of the pilot (which he co-wrote and co-produced with Louis Lantz), the shooting schedule of the series, and the source material that was used for the episodes. He also describes fully the experience and significance of his winning the first Emmy Award ever awarded a “film made for television,” that he accepted at the very first Emmy Awards that took place on January 25, 1949. He talks about his other credits as a television producer including the series G. E. Theater and Bracken’s World, and the television movie Babe. The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on June 17, 2004.

Click here to access all Stanley Rubin interview segments.

Remember, if you'd like to watch the interview in the order in which it was conducted, select the parts in order (1,2,3...).

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50 years ago today… Dick Clark began hosting American Bandstand

July 10th, 2006

On July 9, 1956 Dick Clark became the permanent host of American Bandstand and his boyish looks and straight-laced style bridged the gap between teenagers and their parents, helping to bring rock ‘n’ roll to the mainstream. The show broadcast locally from Philadelphia starting in 1952 and by August 5, 1957, with Clark taking the show to the top of the ratings, the show went national (its initial title Bandstand was changed to American Bandstand). Records were rated in one of the segments of the show and as was oft said about these songs could easily apply to the show itself: “It has a good beat and you can dance to it.”

The Archive of American Television interviewed Dick Clark who talks about his long tenure on American Bandstand as well as his other television ventures including the $10,000 Pyramid and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

Click here to access Dick Clark's interview.

What are your memories of American Bandstand?

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