News from the Archive

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

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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Ira Skutch's Archive of American Television Interview Is Now Online

July 27th, 2006

This video is Part 1 of Ira Skutch's 6-part interview. Click here to view the entire interview.

Producer/Director Ira Skutch's three hour Archive of American Television Interview is available for viewing on Google Video.

Ira Skutch started working at NBC in 1942 as an NBC Page.

Interview Description:

Skutch talks about his early years as a page and later manager of guided tours at NBC. He describes in detail the layout of the NBC building, listing the various studios and the radio series that were produced in each, as well as which were modified to bring in television production. Skutch talks about his work as a stage manger on NBC’s earliest television series including NBC Television Theater, You Are an Artist, Face to Face, Kraft Television Theater, and the big budget variety series Hour Glass. Skutch discusses his work in technique and production as a director of “live” television commercials for television series as well as the 1952 political conventions. He chronicles his work as a director on such shows as Disc Magic (a 1946 precursor to music video), The Swift Home Service Club (one of network television first daytime series), and Philco TV Playhouse. Lastly, Skutch speaks in detail about his 26 year tenure as director, then producer at Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions, where he worked on such series as Beat the Clock, Play Your Hunch, and Match Game. The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on January 29, 2004.

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D. C. Fontana's Archive of American Television Interview Is Now Online

July 19th, 2006

Writer D. C. Fontana's three-and-a-half hour Archive of American Television interview has been added to the online collection at Google Video.

This video is Part 3 of D.C. Fontana's 7-part interview. In this segment, she speaks in-depth about her work on Star Trek. To access all segments, click here. (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...).)

Interview Description:

Fontana begins by recalling her early career working for producers such as Samuel Peeples and Del Reisman, and describes how she came to work for writer/producer Gene Roddenberry as his assistant on The Lieutenant. Next, she speaks about the development of the science-fiction series Star Trek. She talks at great length about the show, including discussing the cast, the technology, and working with Roddenberry. She also explains how she came to be a writer on the series, and describes the episodes that she wrote. Later, she discusses her other many writing credits, including Star Trek: The Animated Series, The Streets of San Francisco, Logan’s Run, and The Waltons. Finally, Fontana talks about her experiences working on the first season of the series Star Trek: The Next Generation. The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on December 29, 2003.

During the interview Fontana gives her choices for her favorite original Star Trek episodes (see the end of part 3, above at about 27 minutes in). What are your favorites?

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New Book Highlights the History of Television Taboos

July 13th, 2006

From the July 14th, 2006 Issue of Entertainment Weekly:

Ten Things We Love This Week

3. 'THEY'LL NEVER PUT THAT ON THE AIR,' BY ALLAN NEUWIRTH From All in the Family to Seinfeld: Sharp analysis and firsthand anecdotes illuminate the stories behind TV's most taboo-busting comedies.

The book is a fun oral history of the behind-the-scenes machinations of those who fought to break down television taboos. Nobably, writer (and Archive interviewer) Allan Neuwirth used excerpts from three Archive interviews in the book and also interviewed some Archive alums on his own. Check it out.

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