"One of the major successes of 'Seinfeld' is that Jerry and Larry concentrated on writing. They had no production experience. I'd find out what sets they needed, how many entrances and exits there were, how many people were there in the scene. I would go away and design the sets. Then I would go to Larry and Jerry and show them what I had in mind. Eventually Larry just said to me, 'Tom, we trust you.'"
About This Interview
In his three-hour Archive interview, Thomas Azzari talks about his early interest in art design and how he rose through the ranks of the CBS Art Department to become a set designer. He describes early set designing jobs on The Wild, Wild West, Gunsmoke, and Gilligan's Island, and recalls his time designing sets for The Della Reese Show and the St. Jude Children's Hospital Telethon. He discusses breaking into sitcoms with Barney Miller and Fish, as well as working on Newhart and Night Court. He then details his long association with Seinfeld, where he created hundreds of sets over the course of the show, including those for the celebrated episodes, "The Parking Garage" and "The Finale." He outlines his post-Seinfeld career, including stints on Caroline in the City, Spin City and Sports Night, speaks of changes in the industry, and discusses returning to the Seinfeld set for an arc on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Karen Herman conducted the interview on June 24, 2011 in Taos, NM.