News from the Archive

Talk Show Host Mike Douglas Has Died

August 12th, 2006

Legendary talk show host Mike Douglas died today on his 81st birthday. The Archive of American Television interviewed him about his life and career for three hours in 2005. Below are some excerpts from that interview:

On voicing Prince Charming in the Disney feature, Cinderella.
I probably was in dire need of a job and an income. Suddenly, this agent called me, and he said – they’ve auditioned 500 people at Disney, and I got you an appointment. Disney himself is there listening. I walk in and I couldn’t see. It’s one of those glasses you can’t see the people through, but you know there’s somebody in there, he was in there. I sang “So This is Love.” He turned and said, ‘that’s him, that’s what I want. I want that voice.’ I just came out of the service. We had this little GI house, we had some furniture. We had twin babies. They paid me $100 a day. We needed it so desperately. The very beginning of our life and our first little home and all.

On finding the energy to tape multiple Mike Douglas Shows in one day.
We had two double tape days. Do you know what it’s like doing two 90-minute shows in one day? Just think about the preparation. I had the energy. I cannot tell you why. I think the show gave me the energy. I was 36 years old when I got the show. I used to work with a guy who’d say, ‘if you haven’t made it by the time you’re 35, forget it.’ That stayed in my mind. I just got in under the wire. I was so grateful. I put my entire being into that show. I worked harder than any of them did…. The trick is, making it look easy.

On what makes a great interview.
Liking the person makes it a lot easier. You don’t like everybody you talk to and some of them don’t like me. It’s easy to overcome that, if you know that going in. I did it for so long, your instincts become very important. Also, the chemistry, I feel the chemistry. I can tell you before a show, seeing the people who are booked, that it’s not going to work. The chemistry’s not right. It was tough to deal with, I want to tell you, because they’re already booked, the show’s happening.

On his on-camera style.
I didn’t invent anything. I didn’t try to be anybody that I wasn’t. A lot of them do. A lot of them try to do things they’ve seen other people do. I just said, ‘I’m going on, I’m going to be myself. If they like it, fine, if they don’t, next case.’

On how he would like to be remembered.
As a nice guy, who thought a great deal about other people. I love people. As someone who never abused anyone in his family. Who was a good, honest father. One that could be trusted. I never hurt anybody in my life, in the business, intentionally. Just a good guy who likes people.

The video interview is not yet available online, but can be screened at the Archive's headquarters in North Hollywood, CA.

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"Twilight Zone" and "Playhouse 90" Story Editor Del Reisman's Archive Interview is now online

August 5th, 2006

This video is Part 8 of Del Reisman's 12-part interview. In this segment, he talks about Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone. Click here to access the interview.

"I always knew when [Rod] came to the Twilight Zone offices because I’d hear the Coca-Cola machine going... he had a coke in one hand and a cigarette in the other. He needed neither of them. I mean, he was tremendously energetic on his own."

Del Reisman's six-hour Archive of American Television Interview is now available for viewing on EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG

Interview Description:

Reisman begins by looking back on his early years growing up as a “studio brat” observing his mother at work as a secretary at Universal Studios in the 1930s. He describes his entry in television as a reader on the anthology series Four Star Playhouse. He details his most prolific period in television as an associate producer/ story editor on such television series as: the “live,” daily color anthology Matinee Theater, the prestigious ninety-minute anthology Playhouse 90, the classic filmed anthology The Twilight Zone, the popular crime series The Untouchables, the western series Rawhide, and the drama The Man and the City. He discusses his work as story consultant on the nighttime soap opera Peyton Place, for which he wrote the cliffhanging final episode (the series was canceled without a finale). He also talks about his later work as a freelance writer of such 1970s series as The Streets of San Francisco and Little House on the Prairie. Finally, Reisman describes his long service to the Writers Guild of America, west for which he ultimately served as President from 1991-93. Other subjects discussed include the Hollywood blacklist and the McCarthy era, as well as Reisman’s work (at the WGA) to restore the credits of blacklisted writers of feature films made in the 1950s-60s. The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on October 28, 2003.

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Aaron Spelling's Interview Now Available on Google Video

August 5th, 2006

Aaron Spelling, who died at the age of 83 on June 23rd, was interviewed for three hours by the Archive of American Television in a two-part interview on November 18 and 24, 1999.

Interview Description:

During his interview, Mr. Spelling spoke of his early career as an actor before turning to writing. He described the role of a producer and discussed the creation of such programs as Charlie’s Angels, Dynasty, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Beverly Hills 90210, and Melrose Place. He also discussed his role as producer of the films And the Band Played On and Mr. Mom. The interview was conducted by Henry Colman.

Click here to see Aaron Spelling's full interview.

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Just sit right back... and watch Russell Johnson's Interview on Google Video

August 2nd, 2006

Actor Russell Johnson's two hour Archive of American Television Interview is now available for viewing on Google Video.


This video is Part 3 of Russell Johnson's 4-part interview in which he talks about his favorite episodes of Gilligan's Island. Click here to access all 4 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...).)

Full interview description:

Johnson begins by talking about his early years learning his craft at the Actors Lab in Hollywood. He describes his work in movies (It Came From Outer Space) and “live television” in the 1950s. He recalls his work as a guest star on such various television series as You Are There, The Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits. He describes his first series as a regular, Black Saddle and the series and role for which he is most identified, Gilligan’s Island and “the Professor.” The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on February 8, 2004.

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See Cliff Robertson In-Person

July 29th, 2006

Actor Cliff Robertson will appear in person on Wednesday, August 9, for UCLA Film & Television Archive's 13th Festival of Preservation, in Los Angeles, CA.

Robertson will appear for a screening of two classic television dramas that aired as a part of the series The U.S. Steel Hour, one of the longest running and most prestigious of early television anthologies. The shows to be presented are: "The Two Worlds of Charlie Gordon" (which originally aired on February 22, 1961) and "Man on the Mountaintop" (which originally aired on November 15, 1961). This is a free screening. General information about this and the entire festival can be found at www.cinema.ucla.edu.

Also, check out Cliff Robertson's Archive of American Television interivew -- now online!

This video is Part 2 of Cliff Robertson's 5-part interview. In this segment, he speaks in-depth about his work in early "live" television. Click here to access all 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...).)

Archive of American Television Interview description:

Robertson begins by talking about his training at the Actors Studio and his early career on the New York stage. He talks about working in anthology series during the “live” television era of the 1950s. He discusses his role as mentally disabled “Charlie Gordon” in both television (The U.S. Steel Hour’s “The Two Worlds of Charlie Gordon”) and film (Charly, which earned him an Oscar for Best Actor). He speaks in great detail about his work with director John Frankenheimer on the Playhouse 90 show “The Days of Wine and Roses.” Robertson talks about being personally selected by President John F. Kennedy to play him in the feature film PT109. He describes his two appearances on the classic anthology series The Twilight Zone and speaks about series creator Rod Serling. Robertson discusses his blacklisting by the industry following “Hollywoodgate,” in which he accused Columbia Pictures head David Begelman of forging a check. Robertson speaks about several of his television movie appearances as well as such television series as Rod Brown and the Rocket Rangers and Batman. The interview was conducted by Stephen J. Abramson on March 1, 2005.

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