"The most important thing for a television director is just to really listen to and pay attention to what a performer is; to listen to what their message is. If they were singers, to hear the subtext. To try to enhance their style and their performance."
About This Interview
In his three-hour Archive interview, Bill Davis (1931-2014) talks about his early days at the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and becoming a television director during the medium's infancy. He describes moving to New York to work in television and getting his first American television job on The Jimmy Dean Show. He recounts working as a director in the 1960s, directing the specials Rogers and Hart Today, and Herb Alpert's The Brass is Coming, as well as several episodes of the controversial Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour. He recounts his tenure directing the series Hee Haw, with its collection of country music acts and comedy, and speaks of the show switching from network to syndication. Davis chronicles working on several other variety shows in the 1970s, including The Julie Andrews Hour, The Jonathan Winters Show, and Cher, as well as Marlo Thomas' television special Free To Be... You and Me. He outlines other specials he was involved with, including one for the musical act The Carpenters and one with the Jackson family, and talks of directing a few sitcoms, including Head of the Class and Barney Miller. Nancy Harrington conducted the interview on April 26, 2013 in North Hollywood, CA.