"Jess [Oppenheimer] said, 'come on down to the run-through. When you see what Lucy does with your material, she'll make you think you're a writer.'"
About This Interview
In his three-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Bob Schiller speaks for half an hour solo, and for three hours alongside long-time writing/producing partner Bob Weiskopf. Each explains how they got their respective starts in the entertainment industry, and discuss radio shows and performers with which they were associated in their early careers, including "Duffy's Tavern" (Schiller) and "The Fred Allen Show" (Weiskopf). Together, they remember how they formed their partnership, and recall their years as staff writers on I Love Lucy and The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. They talk of their collaborations with Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh Davis, and Bob Carroll, as well as with the stars of I Love Lucy. They look back on the writing process for the show, and on the events that took place behind the scenes each week. They outline their work on The Lucy Show, The Red Skelton Show, The Carol Burnett Show, and The Flip Wilson Show. Schiller and Weiskopf then detail their collaboration with producer Norman Lear on Maude, and comment on the balance that was often required of them as writer/producers to find humor in dramatic situations. They chronicle their work on other Lear shows including All in the Family, Archie Bunker's Place, Sanford and Son, and Checking In. Finally, they discuss their most recent work on various television projects and pilots, and speak of being honored with the Writers Guild of America's Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Achievement in 1988. Karen Herman conducted the interview on April 4, 2000 in Santa Monica, CA.