News from the Archive

Remembering Morley Safer

May 19th, 2016
Morley Safer

We’re sad to learn that news correspondent Morley Safer has passed away at the age of 84. His retirement from 60 Minutes had just been announced last week, and 60 Minutes featured an hour-long special dedicated to Safer’s career on Sunday. Morley Safer began his journalism career in his native Canada, before becoming London Bureau Chief for CBS, a title previously held by legendary newsman Edward R. Murrow. Safer then went on to cover the Vietnam War, doing stories so raw and groundbreaking, particularly his coverage of Cam Ne, that he helped changed public opinion about the war. He also faced backlash from the Pentagon, but CBS maintained their support of him. Safer joined 60 Minutes in 1970 and continued on as a correspondent for the news magazine until just last week. During those years, he conducted interviews with notables from Katharine Hepburn to Jackie Gleason, Betty Ford, and Ruth Madoff.

Below are some selections from his 2000 interview:

On quintessential Morley Safer stories:

On the story process on 60 Minutes:

On the hardest and most rewarding parts of his job:

On covering the story of American soldiers burning the village of Cam Ne in Vietnam:

Watch Morley Safer's full Archive interview and read his obituary in The New York Times.

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May 14th, 2016
Leonard H. Goldenson

20 years ago today, on May 14, 1996, we conducted our very first Archive of American Television interview! Leonard H. Goldenson, the founder of ABC, was interviewee #1.

Back in 1996 we were a pilot program approved to conduct ten interviews, and have since become a full-fledged, integral part of the Television Academy Foundation with over 800 interviews in the collection.

Here are a few highlights from Leonard H. Goldenson's interview:

On early programming at ABC:

On getting Disney into television:

Thank you to all of our fans and supporters over the years. Looking forward to the next 20 years!

Watch Leonard H. Goldenson's full interview.

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Remembering Nicolas Noxon

May 11th, 2016
Nicolas Noxon

We’re sad to learn that documentarian Nicolas Noxon passed away on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at the age of 79. A two-time Emmy Award winner, Noxon worked as a writer-producer on documentary series including Biography, Hollywood and the Stars, and Ripley's Believe It or NotHis longest-running association was with National Geographic, where he produced documentaries including “Dr. Leakey and the Dawn of Man,” The Sharks,” and “Secrets of the Titanic,” which was National Geographic's highest selling video at the time of its release.

Below are some selections from his 1999 interview:

On ethics in documentary filmmaking:

On advice to aspiring documentarians:

On one of his proudest achievements:

Watch Nicolas Noxon's full Archive interview and read his obituary in The New York Times.

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Remembering William Schallert

May 9th, 2016
William Schallert

We’re sad to learn that actor William Schallert passed away on Sunday, May 8, 2016 at the age of 93. He is perhaps best remembered for his role as Martin Lane, father and uncle to Patty Duke’s “identical cousins” on The Patty Duke Show. Schallert first began acting while a student at UCLA. He went on to perform with the Circle Theater in Los Angeles and he appeared on early television shows including Climax! and Playhouse 90. He also made memorable appearances on Get Smart and Star Trek

Below is a selection from his 2012 interview:

On his role on The Patty Duke Show:

Watch William Schallert’s full Archive interview and read his obituary in The New York Times.

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A Salute to 10 Classic TV Moms

May 8th, 2016
Florence Henderson

Carol Brady was not going to wear an apron....Everyone wanted to be a Partridge....June Cleaver wore heels for a reason....and "Mrs. C" knows how to get what she wants! In honor of Mother's Day, the Archive of American Television highlights quotes and clips from 10 interviewees best-known for their roles as iconic sitcom TV moms.

Jane Wyatt on playing Margaret Anderson on Father Knows Best
I did understand wife and mother because I was a wife and mother. Margaret was much nicer than me. I can say that. But then she had all her lines written for her. I was much more independent than she was. She was a very nice person, I enjoyed playing her. And, she had a wonderful rapport with her children.

Barbara Billingsley on playing June Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver
Some people think she was namby-pamby. But no, she used to get teed off with the children. She didn’t always refer to the father as far as punishing is concerned. She was a loving, happy, stay-at-home mom, which I think is great. I’m not for every woman having to be out in the workplace. I had two children at home and I was working. But I think the one that stays home, if she’s doing a good job, it is the best job she’ll ever have, the most important.

Marion Ross on playing 50s mom Marion "Mrs. C." Cunningham on Happy Days
Between my childhood in Minnesota, and the 50’s, it’s easy for me to relate to the kind of woman who gets everything she wants, but in a very charming, feminine way, because it's just easier! That’s kind of the way I was raised and that’s what I saw in my own childhood how women love their husbands and protects her husband from the children. “Be good to your father.” He’s the head of the family, but he really isn’t, of course. She is the head of the family. But that’s the artifice. This is all pre-women’s lib. Now, I still think it's a kind of a handy way to get things done. We conceal our strength.

Florence Henderson on playing Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch
I know that there were certain things that I brought to the role. I think it was my experience as a young parent and the fact that I understood kids. I felt close to them. I was really the only one on the set that was married, that had children and an ongoing relationship.... I would never wear an apron. I wanted to wear sexy nightgowns. I wanted to make her as human as possible.

Mary Tyler Moore on playing Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show
The sponsors had a good deal more to say back then. We had to sleep in twin beds even though we were a married couple. We had to wear pajamas with the little pockets and a shirt. We were not allowed to say pregnant. You had to say "expecting a child" or "expecting a baby." The big objection was the pants that I wore in The Dick Van Dyke Show. I had seen too many housewives on television who were vacuuming in high heels and a floral printed frock. I said, wait a minute, that’s not the way it really is and I wanted to be real. I wanted to represent something of me. And I was married and a mother, and I’ve walked around barefoot as I still do, and wore pants. So I brought that to the show. I also brought my sense of honesty, my sense of truth.

Diahann Carroll on playing single-mother Julia Baker on Julia
On television, Julia was the first non-conventional, educated, single mother who was outspoken. She dated. She raised her child...But no Black male was the argument. No father. No image for the children to relate to a father. That was a very loud criticism. It's not that Julia and her son didn't talk about situations. It may not have been his life, but we did talk about situations. Also, mother dated, and we brought the male into the house to say hello to the son. And, usually it was another professional Black that the young man was exposed to. So, I think that as we look back, that we're very proud of that, that piece of work. It represented a new thought. It represented something that was subject to a great deal of criticism.

Jean Stapleton on her favorite Edith Bunker "mother" moment on All in the Family
The anniversary episode was one was one of my favorites. Edith was to give marital advice to her daughter. That was great. She and Gloria felt that they should have a mother and daughter talk now that Gloria’s getting married. So of course Edith said nothing. Gloria supplied all of the issues and answered them while Edith would nod in approval “yes, yes of course.” Edith was very, very shy, very timid about discussing such things. It is very funny and very much in character.

Shirley Jones on being TV music group mom Shirley Partridge on The Partridge Family
She was a working mom, but wanted her children to have values. The show business thing was secondary. And they made a point of that, because the first couple of shows, the pilot in particular, they were dealing very much with the show-business angle, “where are we going to perform? Let’s rehearse every day.” And finally [producer] Bob Claver said, “we’re going to tone down the show business angle. We’re going to make them real people. We’re going to have stories about teenage sweethearts in school, and we’re going to have stories about Shirley maybe dating one of the local guys. There will always be a song, but the show won’t be built around that performance.” I think that helped because it made us real people. And it also got every teenager in America thinking that they could do this. "We can go to school and we can have a band. And we can get a bus." The sad part is that every once in a while, I would find some young 16, 15, 14-year-old, sitting on my lawn, just off a bus from Iowa or Michigan or someplace, saying, "I’ve come to be in The Partridge Family. I can play the instrument." They’d literally run away from home. I just had to tell them the truth and say, "listen, this is a television show. We don’t have a band. It’s all make-believe."

Phylicia Rashad on playing Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show
She had a very normal relationship. She understood the difference in all their personalities. It was a very loving relationship, and there was discipline. She was very, very patient, but very disciplined. She understood the value of discipline. And they, as parents, understood the importance of being on the same page with those people.

Patricia Heaton on playing Debra Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond
Debra’s a horrible homemaker, that was what was so wonderful about her is that she couldn’t cook, and a lot of times with the kids it was just like “whatever.” I think there’s a whole movement in our country since Martha Stewart came on the scene of being a perfect and making every small daily task a work of art, which there’s some benefit to trying to lift the mundane out of its mundaneness and making it something because every act of care that you do for your family is actually sort of a sacred thing. But when you’re packing a lunch every morning, you’re not going to cut the sandwich into smiley shapes and starfish, you just throw in that prepackaged crap in their bag and stick it in their backpack. So, I think she tried, but she was like every mom that has it up to here with everything. ...But I think she was a good mother, yeah, definitely.

Happy Mothers' Day!

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