"It's important to every writing team to spend an inordinate amount of time trying not to write. David [Pollock] and I went to great lengths to figure out ways to talk about other things besides whatever we were working on. We would talk about our families, or trips we would take. In doing so we both came to some of the same conclusions about what the important things are in life, and that helped our process."
About This Interview
In the half-hour, solo portion of his Archive interview, Elias Davis talks about his early interest in television and writing, and programs he watched with his family growing up. He describes his first job as an usher at CBS Television City, where he corralled the audience for shows like The Danny Kaye Show. He recounts his time as secretary-treasurer of the Writers Guild of America, during which there was an extended writers' strike. Davis concludes the solo portion of his interview by outlining his job teaching comedy writing at USC. In his three-hour, joint interview with David Pollock, the pair detail how they met and began writing together, and discuss their collaborative process (which has remained basically the same since they started).They talk about their early years writing comedy bits for KNX Los Angeles radio personalities, which led to their first television gig for The Joey Bishop Show. They speak of going to write for the syndicated, daytime Pat Boone Show, which became The Steve Allen Show the following season. They talk of becoming showrunners for The Steve Allen Show, and recall writing for other variety shows, including The Don Knotts Show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, and The Carol Burnett Show. Davis and Pollock also discuss writing for several sitcoms, including The New Dick Van Dyke Show, All in the Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and finally M*A*S*H, where they worked on the last few seasons and helped write the finale "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen." They conclude the joint portion of their interview by discussing their time as writers on Frasier and relating their favorite stories about each other. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview in a joint venture with The Writers Guild Foundation on January 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, CA.