News from the Archive

Students: The Television Academy Foundation's 2007 Summer Internships Application Deadline is Approaching

March 9th, 2007

Students: Just a reminder that the deadline applications for the Television Academy Foundation's Student Internship Program -- Summer 2007 is March 15th.

Even if you've watched just one Archive interview, you know how life-changing a mentor or on-the-job experience can be. The Academy Foundation's internship program, one of the most prestigious in the country, offers selected students the chance to "get their foot in the door" of today's television industry. The paid internships are designed to give qualified full-time students (undergraduate and graduate) pursuing degrees at colleges and universities in the United States in-depth exposure to television production, techniques and practices in a variety of professional disciplines. If you're a student who's pursuing a career in television, don't miss your chance to apply for this incredible opportunity. Click here for full details and application information.

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Art Linkletter's Archive Interview is Now Online

March 8th, 2007

Take a look at one of the newest interviews online -- show host Art Linkletter. He's truly an engaging and a exceptional storyteller. Here's one of our favorite little-known anecdotes from the interview:

On the opening of Disneyland in 1956 (Part 4 at 16 minutes in):

Walt Disney asked me if I would be MC [for the opening of Disneyland]. It was live, two hours, no tape in those days, no rehearsal, jumping all over the fairgrounds doing the thing. He knew I was good at that and he wanted me to do it. Then he said, "Art, we have a difficult moment here. We’re good friends, and I’ve gotta negotiate a price with you. Why don’t you have an agent like every other normal star in Hollywood?" I said, "because I like to do my own business." He said, "I’m not playing poor boy, but we’ve had cost overruns, we’ve had strikes, we’ve had problems financing. I’ve had to mortgage part of the studio." I said, "it’s a sad story but don’t tell me any more because you don’t need any of those arguments with me. I’ll do it for scale." He said, "you’ll do it for scale?" I said, "Certainly. And in return I expect you to do something for me. I’m a partner in one of the largest photo development companies in Los Angeles, and I would like to have the concession for all the film and all the cameras sold at Disneyland for the next ten years." He says, "You've got it!" So I got the highest fee anybody ever got for appearing on any show, even Oprah.

To access his whole interview, click here.

Interview description:
In his 6-part oral history interview, Art Linkletter discusses his years in radio and his start, in 1950, in his first television series, Life with Linkletter. Linkletter recounts his most memorable stories from the television series he is most associated with, Art Linkletter's House Party and People Are Funny. For these series, he discusses the shows' universal appeals and his humorous interviews with thousands of kids. The interview was conducted on September 15, 1997 by Sam Denoff.

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The Archive's Dan Rather Interview featured in Emmy Magazine

March 6th, 2007

The latest issue of Emmy magazine (Issue No. 1, 2007, with Ryan Seacrest on the cover) includes selections from our Archive of American Television interview with Dan Rather. He was interviewed in 2005 in two sessions totalling 8 hours. Here are some excerpts from the article:

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a journalist?
I cannot remember a time when I did not want to be a reporter. I think the reason for that was my father’s tremendous interest in newspapers; and to a degree, my mother’s. But who knows where the wellsprings are? This I know: from a very early age, I said I wanted to be a reporter. In that, I’ve been very lucky. There are very few people who get to live their dream.

Q: Walter Cronkite announced his retirement in 1980. Had you anticipated succeeding him?
No. There was talk that Walter Cronkite was going to retire at some point. I couldn’t imagine CBS news without him. Meanwhile, my contract was coming up and ABC came to me with a tremendous offer. It was 10, 12 times what I was making-to come do World News Tonight. I couldn’t imagine myself leaving CBS news, but I also couldn’t imagine turning that down.

CBS News president Bill Leonard, said, “We haven’t made it public, but we’ve been talking with Walter and he’s trying to figure out when he wants to go. We’re going to make this change pretty soon at Walter’s request.” CBS then said, We want to keep you. Would you be willing to do a dual anchor with Roger Mudd? You in New York and Roger in Washington."

I said yes. Not only did I not have any problem with that, but I can see some advantages, which might allow me to report from the outside. Bill Leonard then went to Washington and when he came back, he said, “The dual anchor is not going to work. Walter wants to retire in 1981; we will make the retirement in March of 1981.” I went to talk with Walter at his home to make sure he was okay with it. I signed the contract Valentine’s Day 1980 to be Walter Cronkite’s successor. Nobody replaces Walter Cronkite.

Q: Is journalism a job you’d recommend?
Absolutely, if you have a passion for it. Journalism is a great life’s work, but, one, you must burn with a hot, hard flame to do it. Two, you have to learn to write. Three you have to learn to write. Four, you have to learn to write. If you have and do those two things then it can be a great profession. I prefer to call it a craft because it’s a lifetime of learning.

Other topics covered in the article include:
- His early work at KHOU in Houston
- Covering Hurricane Carla, which brought him to the attention of CBS News
- Covering the Civil Rights Movement
- Seeing the Zapruder film of President Kennedy's assassination for the first time
- Covering the Vietnam War
- His interaction with President Nixon
- Interviewing Saddam Hussein
- Retiring from CBS Evening News

You can find the issue at some newsstands, or it can be ordered through the Emmy Magazine Webpage.

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Pat Morita's Interview is Now Online

February 28th, 2007

Noriyuke "Pat" Morita's interview is now online. Best known on television for his role of "Arnold" on Happy Days, this interview provides a fascinating account of his life and career. Click here to access all 7 segments.

Interview Description:
Pat Morita (1932-2005) talks about his early years, including his childhood internment in a camp in California for Japanese-Americans during World War II. He discusses turning to comedy performance at the age of 30, and his quick rise to his television debut on Hollywood Palace. He reminisces about landing a regular role on Happy Days as Arnold and working with the cast. He also discusses appearing on Sanford and Son and speaks fondly of his mentor, the late Redd Foxx. He also speaks of his work on the “Karate Kid” feature films. The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on October 13, 2000.

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Celebrate TV Legend Sheldon Leonard's Centennial

February 23rd, 2007

The Archive celebrates the 100-year anniversary of Sheldon Leonard's birth today. Sheldon Leonard (1907-97) was one of the first people interviewed when the Archive of American Television began its pilot project in 1996.

Although his interview is not yet online, here's a preview of part 3 of
Sheldon's Leonard's Archive of American Television interview. In this
Dick Van Dyke Show writer-producer Sam Denoff interviews
Leonard about
The Dick Van Dyke Show and I Spy.

Leonard was the executive producer of such classic television series as The Danny Thomas Show/Make Room for Daddy, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and I Spy. He won two Emmy Awards— as director of Make Room for Daddy in 1961 and as producer of My World, and Welcome To It in 1970. In 1995 he was named an Honorary Life Member of the Directors Guild of America for his long-time services to the DGA as treasurer.

Carl Reiner (Creator, The Dick Van Dyke Show)

Sheldon was a great pedagogue, a great teacher. He had taught more people how to handle themselves as producers, writers, executives on television… everybody who ever came in Sheldon’s purview, they loved him because he was so good. If you talk to any of the people who ever worked with him, they’ll all have the same thing to say.

Aaron Ruben (Producer-Director, The Andy Griffith Show)

Sheldon Leonard was an actor, turned director, turned writer, turned producer, turned entrepreneur. He started on Broadway and appeared always as a gangster and in films… he was always a gangster because he talked out of the side of his mouth, even though he was very well educated and very articulate. Grant Tinker once said about Sheldon Leonard and the way he talked, he said he talks like a New Jersey longshoreman, using the words of William Buckley and it's true.

Grant Tinker (Television Executive)

Sheldon Leonard, who was a brilliant guy, instantly recognizable from playing sort of a Brooklyn tough guy in many movies and television shows, but off camera a very bright, creative director/writer. He didn’t actually sit at a typewriter and write but he contributed a great deal to the shows that he was involved with.

Andy Griffith (Actor)

I remember the first day [on The Andy Griffith Show]… Sheldon was a very bright astute man. The first day they shot with three cameras and the first day was always spent on the script. So that day I didn't have much to say at all. Artie Stander, Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard yelled at one another all day. I asked Sheldon if I could talk to him at the end of the day and he walked me to the gate. I said, if this is what television is, I don't think I can handle it. He said, "Andy, the, the star dictates what the attitude will be on the set. Danny likes to yell so we all yell [on The Danny Thomas Show]. If you don't want to yell, nobody will yell." That's the way it was.

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