"When I was growing up, you'd be able to name poets or writers because they were embraced by the culture in a different way than they are now. So while you knew who Willie Mays was, you also knew who Carl Sandburg was. That has really changed. … part of the idea of ['American Masters'] was that we have to create an archive that will last forever."
About This Interview
In her three-hour Archive interview, Susan Lacy recalls her early experience working for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities and discusses how she became deputy director of performance programs at Thirteen/WNET (the New York PBS affiliate) where she was a program executive for Great Performances. Lacy speaks about the genesis of American Playhouse, a program which she helped to create at WNET. She discusses in great detail how she came up with the idea for the documentary series American Masters, its early struggles and why she is so passionate about the series. Lacy describes several of the specific subjects the series covered: Judy Garland, Bob Dylan, James Baldwin, Charlie Chaplin, Leonard Bernstein, Rod Serling and more. Karen Herman conducted the interview in New York City, NY on June 11, 2011.