"When I first went to New York, Olivia de Havilland gave me $500. We'd played in summer stock out in California, and she knew I was coming to New York. The night before I was to go to New York. she invited me over for dinner and said, "take this. When I started someone did that for me, and I'm doing it for you. You can pass that along to somebody."
About This Interview
In his four-hour Archive interview, Director Garry Simpson (1914-2011) discusses directing live demonstrations of early television technology around the country in the 1940s. He talks about directing some of the first televised sporting events, mobile events, and the informational series, Eye Witness. He describes directing and producing Wide Wide World (created by Pat Weaver), and chronicles the period before the war in the 1940s, when Simpson was NBC's only television stage manager. Simpson also details directing Chevrolet Tele-Theater,Mary Kay and Johnny (television's first sitcom), All Star Revue, Ford Festival, and Campbell's Soundstage. He recalls working with performers James Dean, Grace Kelly, Jimmy Durante, Ed Wynn, Jackie Gleason, Jack Carter, and Olivia de Havilland, and recounts leaving his position at NBC to spearhead the formation of Vermont public television. Karen Herman conducted the interview in Vermont on October 18, 1999.