News from the Archive

Glen & Les Charles' Archive Interview Is Now Online!

February 9th, 2007

Glen & Les Charles (along with James Burrows) are best known for creating the classic sitcom Cheers. Their 8-part Archive of American Televison Interview is now available for viewing online. The Charles brothers were interviewed separately about their early years and influences and jointly about their contributions to television as writer-producers. "Take a break from all your worries" and click here to access their complete interview.

Interview description:
The writing-partner brothers talked about their early years growing up near Las Vegas, Nevada and their decision in the mid-70s to try their hand at freelance writing for television. They talked about selling their first script (to M*A*S*H) and their break into staff writing at MTM Productions where they worked as writer-producers on Phyllis and the final season of The Bob Newhart Show. They talked about other writing assignments on such series as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Betty White Show. They detailed working with the cast and crew on the hit series Taxi, for which they produced (and wrote for) the ABC run [the show would run a final season on NBC]. The two chronicled their creation (with James Burrows) of the series Cheers for which they served as producers and later executive producers during the show’s entire eleven year run. The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on December 8, 2003.

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Reminder: Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship Deadline is Coming Up

February 5th, 2007
Entry deadline is February 15, 2007.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation (which runs the Archive of American Television), 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. To see our original post about this amazing opportunity (and about our interview with Fred Rogers himself), click here. Hurry, there are only a few more "snappy new days" left to apply!

Click here for full Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship application information.

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David Pressman's Archive of American Television Interview Is Now Online!

February 2nd, 2007

Director David Pressman was one of the key directors on the early anthology series Actors Studio which was the first dramatic series awarded the Peabody Award.

Actors Studio featured many of the young "method" actors who would come to prominence in later years including Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, and Julie Harris. Pressman himself appeared as an actor in the series very first production— Tennessee Williams' "Portrait of a Madonna" starring Jessica Tandy and directed by Hume Cronyn.

Click here to access David Pressman's entire 7-part interview.

Actors Studio switched networks from ABC to CBS in November 1949.
Here is a photograph of David Pressman in the control booth at CBS.

Interview Description:
David Pressman began the interview by recounting his arrival in the U.S. from Russia in 1922 and his early interest in acting. He talked about acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse in the 1930s and his entrance into WWII in the early 40s (as well as describing the feeling of returning home from the war, seeing the Statue of Liberty from a porthole on his ship). He talked about the Actor’s Studio that was created in 1947, which he described as a “gym” for actors. He spoke in great detail about the “live” prestige ABC television drama series Actors Studio that started shortly after the Studio itself opened and which featured many of the emerging talent at the time. Pressman talked about appearing as an actor in the very first production of Actors Studio and then becoming one of the series primary directors. He talked about the process by which the productions were staged and directed for television. He listed the writers, performers, and other talent who worked on the show and the series’ struggle for sponsorship. Pressman talked about the excitement of working in “live” television and talked about other anthology series he directed. He detailed his struggle to work as a director in television despite the shadow of the Hollywood Blacklist, and how he ultimately switched careers to teaching until the end of the blacklist, when he returned to television, notably as an Emmy Award-winning director of the daytime serial One Life to Live. The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on July 27, 2004.

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"I Dream of Jeannie" and "Patty Duke Show" Creator Sidney Sheldon Dies at 89

February 1st, 2007

Sidney Sheldon, best-selling author, Oscar®-winner, and writer of classic television series died yesterday.

The Archive of American Television interviewed Sidney Sheldon on March 30, 2000.

Interview description:
Sidney Sheldon was interviewed for two-and-a-half hours in Beverly Hills, CA. Sheldon recalled his early years in Hollywood as a screenwriter for feature films, and the success he achieved in that field, culminating in his win of the Academy Award for The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer. Mr. Sheldon next discussed his creation of The Patty Duke Show, and his fond memories of working with the show’s young star. He recalled how, during his run as writer/producer of Patty Duke, he was approached by Screen Gems to produce another comedy for them, which eventually became I Dream of Jeannie. He talked about how he created the concept for the show, and fondly remembered each of the stars, including Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman and assembling the production staff (including director Hal Cooper). He discussed the effort to hide Eden’s pregnancy in the first season, and how the crew put together the many special effects shots. He also shared his memories of the “navel controversy” that brewed during the time over not revealing Eden’s belly button, and the attempt by the stars of Laugh-In to circumvent that rule. Later, he recalled creating Nancy, the short-lived 1970 sitcom, and Hart to Hart (pilot only), which he produced for Aaron Spelling. Mr. Sheldon next discussed his about-face from television writer to novelist, and shared his delight at the success that he has achieved with the sixteen best-selling books he has written, many of which have been turned into successful television movies.

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"I Love Lucy" writer Bob Carroll, Jr. Dies at 88

January 28th, 2007

We're sad to report that Bob Carroll, Jr. who, along with writing partner Madelyn Pugh Davis (and producer Jess Oppenheimer) wrote some of the classic episodes of "I Love Lucy," including "Lucy Does a TV Commercial" and "Job Switching" died today at age 88.

Carroll with Davis taking a break in Desi Arnaz's office.

The Archive of American Television interviewed Carroll along with his writing partner in 1997. Carroll and Davis spoke of their 50-year writing career that included writing for Steve Allen and Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz.

Click here to access the entire six-part interview with Carroll and Davis.

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