News from the Archive

Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship Applications Are Now Being Accepted!

December 16th, 2006

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation, in association with Ernst & Young LLP, is offering two scholarships in honor of Fred Rogers, the creator and host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The scholarships are intended to support and encourage aspiring upper division or graduate students to pursue careers in children’s media and further the values and principles of Fred Rogers’ work.

From 1967 to 2001, Fred Rogers produced his daily children's television program, celebrating imagination and play, exploring children's feelings and sense of self worth, and treating young viewers with love and respect. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood continues to air on PBS stations throughout the United States and remains the gold standard of how television can enlighten, educate and increase social consciousness and understanding. The Archive of American Television was very honored to conduct his four-and-a-half hour videotaped interview (puppets and all) in 1999. Click here to access Fred Rogers' Archive interview.

Two $10,000 scholarships are awarded annually to two qualified applicants. In addition to the monetary award, successful applicants are mentored by children’s programming professionals during the academic year.

The Fred Rogers Scholarships are made possible through the generous underwriting of Ernst & Young.

Entry deadline is February 15, 2007.

Click here for full Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship application information.

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Archive Mourns the Loss of Interviewee Peter Boyle

December 14th, 2006

Peter Boyle, who played Ray's Dad on Everybody Loves Raymond (and voice to the show's only catchphrase— "Holy crap!") has died at the age of 71. Boyle was also beloved for his role as the Monster in Mel Brooks' film Young Frankenstein. His other notable performances included the bigoted Joe and an Emmy-winning guest-starring role on The X-Files.

The Archive of American Television interviewed Boyle for one-and-a-half hours on November 8, 2005. Here are some soundbites from the interview:

On his first career break.
After going through a period of starvation and rejection for a couple of years, I did a few off-Broadway shows and then I got cast in the road company in a big hit play called, “The Odd Couple.” I played Murray, the cop and I understudied the Oscar.

On Young Frankenstein.
I had a big-time agent, named Mike Medavoy, who said to me, “I handle Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman and want to put the three of you guys together in a movie.” We had a conference call, and Gene said “I’ve been working on an idea of Young Frankenstein, a Frankenstein movie.” He went to Mel Brooks, whom Gene Wilder knew very well, and got him involved in directing it. I played a loving, tender, sweetheart of a guy. Just misunderstood.

On being cast on Everybody Loves Raymond.
I was out in California and my wife and my daughters were with me because it was Spring break from their school in New York. I got a call to come and meet with producer Phil Rosenthal and Ray Romano. We had to meet at Universal Studios and I drove over and took my whole family with me. My wife, my two daughters, Lucy and Amy and their friend. We had trouble getting on the studio lot, they didn’t have the proper information, then we had to find a parking place and we had to go find where the audition was and then when we got there, it had been changed. My wife kept saying to me, “do you know where you’re going?” Which of course I didn’t. So I walked in, and Phil Rosenthal came out and I said, “well you changed the place, blah, blah!” I barked at him. And I got the job because I was in character.

On working in front of a studio audience.
The hard part of doing Raymond was basically learning all the lines and doing everything in front of a live audience and four cameras. And also the great thing was doing it in front of a live audience. As the show went on, the audience became more and more tuned to our characters, basically they came to laugh. It was just a wonderful feeling. I just loved it and got a big kick out of it. I just treasure it.

On Ray Romano’s “real” family and playing the role of his father.
During the first years, when were struggling an unknown and everything, Raymond’s real family showed up on the set and there was his mother and his father and his brother the policeman and his other brother. Basically, it was us. It was amazing, just to see that. I spoke with his father, but I didn’t want to get too close with his father because I didn’t want to be tied into. Basically I took my character from Raymond’s eyes. Because Raymond would make eye contact on stage, which is a good quality for me and if I would try to come closer to try and hug him, he would freeze. Then I knew I was in the right territory. It confirmed, it confirmed to me what I as doing was right.

On the legacy of Everybody Loves Raymond.
I think it’ll be proof that basically ah, if you portray family life truthfully and you show that people can stick together even though they drive each other nuts, that there’s a lot of power to family life. I think it just reminds of people again of their childhood of brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers.

On Monster’s Ball.
That was a film I hesitated to do because the character was such a bigot. Then I decided to do it and I actually had a good time, and I was very pleased with the way it came out. It was a good part, it was a good script and I liked the director, Marc Forster.

On the highlight of his career.
The highlight of my career was meeting my wife on the set of Young Frankenstein, and having two wonderful daughters.

Interview description:
Boyle reminisced about growing up in Philadelphia, where his father performed on local children’s television shows. He described the brief tenure he spent as a monk, before embarking on his acting studies with Uta Hagen. He outlined his early career in improv and in films including Joe and Young Frankenstein. He then discussed acting in the television movie Tail Gunner Joe as well as his acclaimed work on the series NYPD Blue and The X-Files. He then went into detail about his work on the long-running sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. He described the audition experience, his character of “Frank Barone,” his co-stars, and various key episodes of the series. The interview was conducted by Allan Neuwirth.

The entire interview can be viewed at Academy Headquarters in North Hollywood.

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65th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack

December 8th, 2006

Commercial television was in its infancy in the United States when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. NBC and CBS had gone on the air with commercial television in July of 1941.

Frances Buss Buch worked at CBS at this time and describes hearing the news and how CBS reported it on television. Her reminiscenes can be found at 23 minutes into Part 1 of her interview.

Frances Buss Buch was the first woman director to work at CBS television.

Watch her entire five-part interview here. In order to watch the interview in order, click on each sucessive part: 1, 2, 3...

Interview description:

Frances Buss Buch was interviewed for over two hours in Hendersonville, NC. She described how a two-week summer job at CBS led to an over decade-long association with the network, and her historic role as CBS’ very first female director. She detailed her work at CBS before and after broadcasting was interrupted during World War II. She talked about her assistance creating maps for the news program on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. She described several of the earliest commercial broadcasts on CBS which featured her on-camera, including The Country Dance, a monthly dance program by the American Country Dance Society; Children’s Story, in which a story was read to a child, “illustrated” by an artist on camera; and the CBS Television Quiz, which featured such games as “Peanuts in the Bottle” in which a contestant attempted to spoon peanuts into an empty milk bottle that they held on their head. She talked about some of her earliest directorial efforts such as Sorry Wrong Number, an adaptation of the famed radio show. Buch talked about several of the key creative talent at CBS at the time including Worthington Miner and Gilbert Seldes. She spoke in great detail about other early CBS series including The Missus Goes A-Shopping, To the Queen’s Taste with Dione Lucas, The Whistling Wizard, and Mike and Buff. She also talked about CBS’ color experimentation and her role as the director of the first color broadcast for the network on June 25, 1951. She also discussed "Telecolor Clinics," a series of television documentaries done for the American Cancer Society. The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on June 16, 2005.

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Los Angeles Residents: Enjoy A Shopping Day at Bloomingdale's Benefiting the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation

December 5th, 2006

On Tuesday, December 5th, from noon to 8 PM, Bloomingdale's (14060 Riverside Drive) in Sherman Oaks, California, is hosting a "Shopping Works Wonders Day" to benefit the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation (the Archive of American Television's parent organization). 10% of the proceeds from receipts turned in to the Foundation's table (located on Level 2) will be donated to the Foundation.

As an extra incentive, Bloomingdale's will give you a $15 gift card for every $150 you spend (some exclusions apply).

Click here for more details.

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50 Years Ago -- Videotape Debuts

November 30th, 2006

The Advent of Videotape....50 Years Ago (November 30, 2006)
By Steve Cox

On November 30, 1956 at 6:15 pm Pacific Standard Time, a milestone in the history of broadcasting occurred: the debut of videotape. In Hollywood, CBS Television recorded and reproduced, on the new Ampex Videotape Recorder, a Douglas Edwards news broadcast in New York which was rebroadcast and seen by thousands of viewers along the Pacific West Coast, from Los Angeles up to the northern tip of Washington. The program was taped from a live New York telecast to achieve a two-hour delay and then broadcast to TV audiences in twelve western cities.

Videotape, a brand new medium, assured a record and playback of what was live television (or kinescope), but now in nearly miracle time. The new Ampex VRX-1000 Videotape Recorder--a complex gargantuan machine about the size of a wall--was installed at CBS Television City in Hollywood and utilized large two-inch format magnetic videotape. Live television broadcasts were now made possible, where kinescopes (filmed TV screens) once served as the delayed medium which to serve up shows. In fact, many television shows which originated in Hollywood as live programs were never seen "live" by West Coast viewers. Shows starring Jack Benny and Red Skelton, for instance, were presented around 4 or 5 pm in Hollywood, live for suitable prime-time air on the East Coast. West Coast viewers watched what was called a "hot kinny" (very fresh kinescope version).

CBS installed two Ampex machines and began recording news broadcasts on both for protection. The team of engineers who designed the practical videotape recorder included Charlie Ginsberg, Ray Dolby, Alex Maxey, Fred Pfost, Shelby Henderson, and Charles Anderson. These innovative visionaries were recognized by the National Television Academy in September 2005 for their achievement.

Without a doubt, video technology altered the world and the way we view it. The technology enabled was a fundamental shift in modern technology and changed the broadcasting world dramatically, if not instantly, providing choice, accessibility, as well diversity in television. Videotape changed the world in untold ways. Today, 50 years later, hundreds of millions of home-users have this miracle medium to thank for precious preserved personal memories. Not to mention endless bloopers and "live" antics caught because of this invention. Videotape has permeated literally every aspect of our lives, all the while educating, enlightening, witnessing, proving and disproving. It is the invention which has brought our society closer in a moment's glance. Now, with the digital age upon us, the video medium is bowing, a noticeable waning in its home-use, however it is still used widely within broadcasting and news media levels.

Guest Archive blogger Steve Cox is author of more than 15 books on pop culture, film, and television. He has contributed to TV Guide, The Hollywood Reporter, and LA Times. His most recent book is "The Munsters: A Trip Down Mockingbird Lane" (Waston-Guptill/ Backstage Books)

Above left: The Ampex videotape recorder installed at CBS Television City in Hollywood. (courtesy of Steve Cox)

Lower right: The actual first video recording of "Douglas Edwards With the News" on CBS, November 30, 1956 at 6:15 pm. (courtesy of Steve Cox)

© 2006 Steve Cox

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