News from the Archive

Actress Jane Wyatt has Died

October 23rd, 2006

Jane Wyatt talks about working on Father Knows Best

Actress Jane Wyatt died at her home on Friday, October 20 at the age of 96. For six years, she starred on Father Knows Best, where she played Margaret Anderson, one of the most beloved television moms. The Archive of American Television interviewed Ms. Wyatt for two hours on November 16, 1999. Click here to access Jane Wyatt's interview.

Interview Description:

Ms. Wyatt described her lengthy career in film, stage, and television. She talked about her feature film debut in 1934 in James Whale’s One More River and her subsequent film roles in such classics as Frank Capra’s Lost Horizon and Elia Kazan’s Gentleman’s Agreement. She discussed the McCarthy era in which she found herself on an industry blacklist unable to work in film. She described her television debut on Robert Montgomery Presents in the title role of “Kitty Foyle” (1950) and her varied roles in “live” television. She described in detail her most memorable and enduring work for television on Father Knows Best (1954-63), in which she played the role of Margaret Anderson, a part which won her three consecutive Emmy Awards. She talked about her later television work on such series as the Bell Telephone Hour and Hollywood Television Theatre. She talked about her appearance as Mr. Spock’s human mother on the series Star Trek (a role she repeated in the feature film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home). Ms. Wyatt also described her memorable recurring role as Katherine Auschlander on the medical drama St. Elsewhere. Ms. Wyatt was interviewed by Gary Rutkowski in Los Angeles.

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For Golden Girls Fans in Los Angeles

October 18th, 2006

This Wednesday, October 18th, those of you in the Los Angeles-area can join author Jim Colucci at 7:30 pm at the A Different Light bookstore (8853 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood) for a signing of his book, The Q Guide to The Golden Girls. Also to be in attendance: Sirius OutQ host Frank DeCaro, author of the book's introduction, and Glen Hanson, the book's cover artist.

The book chronicles the genesis and key gay-themed episodes of The Golden Girls with interviews with the stars, producers, writers and viewers. In fact, parts of Archive of American Television interviews with Rue McClanahan (which Jim conducted) and Beatrice Arthur were cited in the book.

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Ben Wolf's Archive of American Television Interview Is Now Online

October 17th, 2006

Cameraman Ben Wolf's four-hour Archive of American Television interview has been added to the online collection at Google Video. This is tape 6 of his interview in which he talks about working on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Click here to view the entire 8-part interview.

Ben Wolf worked on many of the first shows produced at CBS Television City including Carson's Cellar (with Johnny Carson), The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, and My Favorite Husband.

Interview description:

Ben Wolf was interviewed for nearly four hours in Los Angeles, CA. He recalled his early television experience at KLAC, and then CBS in Los Angeles, working on such programs as The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, Carson’s Cellar and Climax! Next, he spoke about his work on The Jack Benny Show and The Red Skelton Show, and explained the day-to-day process of working as a cameraman on the latter program. He also touched upon his work on The Judy Garland Show, CBS Playhouse and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Next, he reminisced about working on Norman Lear-produced programs including All in the Family and Maude. Finally, he talked about working on Three’s Company and Mama’s Family before becoming a freelance cameraman for the remainder of his career.

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Happy 60th ATAS!

October 13th, 2006


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences celebrated its 60th anniversary yesterday with a gala event hosted by Beau Bridges. The event was held at Academy Headquarters in North Hollywood at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre.

The nostalgic evening offered clips from television's past and featured many special guests. In person were such television luminaries as Dick Van Dyke, Florence Henderson, and Art Linkletter. Many of the Television Academy's past presidents were also in attendance.

Also attending was Emmy-Award winner Dennis Franz, who sat down with the Archive of American Television for an Archive interview, just before the celebration. Franz was interviewed for two-and-a-half hours about his long and distiguished career and discussed his work in television, which notably included regular roles on Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue.

Click here for a history of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

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"Playhouse 90" Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary!

October 5th, 2006

In American television in the 1940s and 50s, one of the staple genres of the day was the "live" dramatic anthology series. Productions within these series featured the writing of such luminaries as Paddy Chayefsky, Rod Serling, and Horton Foote and defined what has been termed the "golden age of television." Among the anthology series were Kraft Television Theater, Philco-Goodyear Playhouse, Studio One, The U.S. Steel Hour, and Playhouse 90. As described by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh in The Complete Directory of Prime Time and Cable TV Shows: "of all the fine dramatic-anthology series to grace television in the 1950s, Playhouse 90 was the most ambitious and remains the standard against which all the others are judged." The series premiered on October 4, 1956 with Rod Serling's "Forbidden Area."

Among the most well-known productions that originated on Playhouse 90 were: Rod Serling's "Requiem for a Heavyweight," William Gibson's "The Miracle Worker," Rod Serling's "The Comedian," JP Miller's "Days of Wine and Roses," Abby Mann's "Judgment at Nuremberg, and David Shaw & Bo Goldman's "The Tunnel" as well as Horton Foote's adaptations of William Faulkner's "Old Man" and "Tomorrow."


Legendary director John Frankenheimer made his name while directing for Playhouse 90. This is part 8 of his interview, in which he talks about his work on this series. Click here to view the entire 13-part interview.

The Archive of American Television interviewed many of the series' most significant talents. In addition to John Frankenheimer, the Archive interviewed Martin Manulis (series creator and original producer), Robert Butler (assistant director), Horton Foote (writer), Albert Heschong (art director), Arthur Hiller (director), Kim Hunter (actress), Ernest Kinoy (writer), Angela Lansbury (actress), Jack Lemmon (actor), Abby Mann (writer), Delbert Mann (director), Bob Markell (set designer/associate producer), E. G. Marshall (actor), JP Miller (writer), Ricardo Montalban (actor), Rita Moreno (actress), Tad Mosel (writer), Hugh O'Brian (actor), Arthur Penn (director), Del Reisman (story editor), Rita Riggs (costumes), Cliff Robertson (actor), Mickey Rooney (actor), William Shatner (actor), David Shaw (writer), Fred Steiner (composer), George Takei (actor), and Ethel Winant (casting director).

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