News from the Archive

Remembering David Canary

November 25th, 2015
David Canary

We're sad to learn that actor David Canary passed away from natural causes on November 16, 2015 at the age of 77. Canary was best known for playing the dual role of twins "Adam Chandler" and "Stuart Chandler" on the daytime soap opera All My Children. Before All My Children, Canary appeared as a regular on primetime's Peyton Place, played "Candy Canaday" on Bonanza, and had roles on the soap operas The Doctors and Another World

Below are some selections from his 2004 Archive interview: 

On wearing lifts for his role on Bonanza:

I was told that I’d have to wear lifts in my boots. And the boots already had heels. I said, “Why? Mike Landon’s 5’11”, I’m 5’11”, Lorne Greene is 5’11”, Dan is about 6’1...” "And they’re all wearing lifts in their boots. To stay in frame, you’re going to have to wear lifts.” I had lifts that were about 5 inches. So we’re all walking around with nosebleeds, trying to stay in frame, as it were. And out in a hot day in the desert, walking around - it’s not fun.

On why All My Children is a great place to work:

There are no prima donnas on the show. That’s point one. I’d been on two other shows, short term, that had real prima donnas on them, of the male and female variety. And that can just be such a horrible bore when people are trying to pull their weight around, particularly actors. We don’t have that here. We have Miss Lucci, who’s a doll. A very talented doll. We have a whole bunch of actors, wonderful actors, I think, that enjoy the work. And there’s almost never a sour moment. We all get a little peeved once in awhile, sometimes more with ourselves than anything else. But it’s from the bottom right up to the top. It's a great place to work.

On playing twins “Adam Chandler” and “Stuart Chandler” on All My Children:

I was very shaky with Stuart. Because I wanted him to be visually as different as I could make him within the limits of who he was. There’s that sort of silly smile he has and then it evolved. I’m told it works. I really am the last person to judge it because there was always a little bit of technique, a little bit of mechanics involved. Adam and Stuart were in a scene where Adam had been thrown into the loony bin and Stuart came to see him and Adam had framed Stuart’s wife and made it look like she was sleeping with somebody, for his own evil purposes. Stuart has caught on and there’s a scene in the hospital where Stuart realizes Adam admits what he’s done. Stuart admits, “I can’t hate you; you’re my brother but I do hate you.” And I burst into tears. Once in awhile we get a really convincing, wonderful emotional scene and that was a pretty good one. But it's partly technical and partly luck. 

On advice to an actor starting out in television today:

Don’t start out in television. That would be one of the first things I’d say. For me, anyway, I think we learn to act on stage. That was my experience. Television being such a commercial medium, I just think that they’d be better off studying and doing some work in theatre to build their instrument and to test it. Most of what I know about acting I’ve learned in regional theatre.  

On his proudest career achievement:

Watch David Canary’s full Archive interview and read his obituary in The Hollywood Reporter.

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Happy Birthday to Mister Rogers' King Friday XIII!

November 13th, 2015

A very special someone celebrates a birthday today. The honorable King Friday XIII, ruler of Calendarland in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, is the birthday boy not only today, but every Friday the 13th! King Friday paid us a visit during our 1999 interview with Mr. Rogers and we learned how the King got his name:



Happy birthday, King Friday!!

Watch Fred Rogers' full Archive interview for more in-depth looks at some of your favorite childhood puppets.

- by Adrienne Faillace

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Happy 101st Birthday, Norman Lloyd!

November 8th, 2015
Norman Lloyd

Acting, directing, producing - longevity in any one of these endeavors is impressive. Norman Lloyd has flourished in all three. The sheer number of credits to his name are staggering by any measure, even for someone turning 101 years old. He has worked extensively with such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles and in such varied mediums as theater, radio, film, and, of course, television.

His very first television role was back in 1939 in a live production of Anthony Mann’s The Streets of New York. His latest television acting credit was as “Donald” on Modern Family in 2010. In between, he appeared on dozens of classic shows including The Twilight Zone, The Paper Chase, Wiseguy, Murder, She Wrote and The Practice. Perhaps he is currently best known for playing “Dr. Daniel Auschlander” on the classic series St. Elsewhere.

He's also produced numerous made-for-television movies. In 1957 Norman started as executive producer on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and remained with the show for over 200 episodes.

Norman’s first directing job was for the series The Adventures of Kit Carson in 1951. Throughout his career he directed 21 TV series and made-for-television movies. In 1952 he directed the Omnibus production of “Mr. Lincoln” with a then-young, unknown filmmaker named Stanley Kubrick as his second unit director.

Please join the Archive in wishing the talented, prolific, and engaging Mr. Norman Lloyd a very happy 101st birthday.

Celebrate Norman Lloyd’s life by watching his full Archive interview.

- by John Dalton

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The Archive’s Funny Ladies

November 6th, 2015
Phyllis Diller

In the course of working for the Archive, I encounter our interviewees talking about just about every genre imaginable, from drama, to animation, to service shows (that would be your Julia Childs and your Bill Nyes). But my ears perk and I sit up a little straighter when someone starts talking about comedy.

Funny women always have been a vital element on television. From Lucille Ball to Tina Fey, women and comedy on television are inexorably linked. Whether providing excellent support (Audrey Meadows on The Honeymooners or Jean Stapleton on All in the Family) or playing the lead (Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper, and Cloris Leachman on their ‘70s shows) the Nielsen Top Ten has always had its share of funny ladies. The Archive features hundreds of clips by and about the women of television comedy.

In 1972 while riding high on the success of All in the Family, Norman Lear decided to create a spin-off entitled Maude, revolving around “Edith Bunker’s” cousin. Based on Lear’s then-current wife, Frances, “Maude Findlay” was an upper middle class liberal version of “Archie Bunker.” Lear cast Beatrice Arthur in the lead, and surrounded her with great talent including Bill Macy, Conrad Bain, and Rue McClanahan. Arthur began the series as a fantastic comedic actress, and during the course of the show became an absolute master of timing. In her 2001 Archive interview she discusses what makes great comedic actors and how even the best actors sometimes don’t make great comedians.

Much has been made about the “Boys Club” atmosphere at Saturday Night Live in its early years. Despite this, Laraine Newman, Gilda Radner, and Jane Curtin were able to shine through with signature bits and characters. Before SNL, Newman was featured in the groundbreaking Lily Tomlin Special. It was a new kind of show, and Lily Tomlin was a new kind of funny woman. Having previously been a player on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, in her special Tomlin showcased her gift for creating unique, quirky and sometimes socially relevant characters. Laraine Newman discusses her special experience working with Tomlin on The Lily Tomlin Special in her 2013 interview.

One of the most valuable aspects of the Archive is that we ask almost every interviewee for advice for those looking to get into their field. The great Phyllis Diller struggled as the very first female stand-up comic, and broke ground for those who followed her. Her legendary appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show paved the way for comedians like Joan Rivers and Sarah Silverman. She had precious advice for anyone (male or female) looking to get into comedy.

The Archive is a treasure trove of information about the funny women of television. You can find Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis talking about writing for Lucille Ball’s many shows, or Garry Shandling discussing Gilda Radner’s final public appearance on It’s Garry Shandling’s Show. And I’m only scratching the surface. For more funny ladies on television check out

- by John Dalton

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Remembering George Barris

November 5th, 2015
George Barris

We're sad to learn that custom car designer George Barris passed away this morning at the age of 89. Barris started out customizing his own cars as a teenager and participating in the street-racing youth culture of the late 1940s in Los Angeles. He began working in low budget Hollywood films that depicted this culture, and soon got into television work. Barris customized the "Batmobile" from Batman, the "Munster Koach" and "Drag-u-la" from The Munsters, the family car from The Beverly Hillbillies, the red and white-striped Ford Torino from Starsky and Hutch, the "General Lee" from The Dukes of Hazzard, and "K.I.T.T." from Knight Rider. He also made contributions to the feature films Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, and The Flintstones

Below are some excerpts from his 2004 Archive interview:

On designing the "Batmobile:"

On the "General Lee" from The Dukes of Hazzard:

Dukes became a super popular car because it made the audience feel like they were John Schneider and Tom [Wopat]. The enthusiasts loved the fact that you were driving a performance car, a Dodge Charger, which was a hot hemi type car. The choice was done by the director and producer for that car. And of course, it was filmed in the southern states, with the 01, General Lee, southern flag… I only put in the design type things. We did that as well as their prop departments, and it was a combination because we had to do so many different cars. The choice of the wheels was Western Mags, and they’re Goodrich tires and all these different things that we used were real. They didn’t like to have the off-brand tire that was not used, and an off-brand wheel that was not used. They wanted the audience to say, "Yeah, those are Western Mags. Oh yeah, those are Goodrich," or, "Yes, that is Goodyear." That was kind of an important product placement. Parts became important, because the audience knew. If you try to phony baloney it, to hide identification, they would get letters at the PR departments that say, "Why did you say that this was this and that when it really wasn’t?" You’ve got your audience out there, and they’re in the thousands, millions of enthusiasts are out there that knows cars, and that’s why a car became an important part.  

On the touring cars for Back to the Future:

My part of Back to the Future got into different stages, because there were three different films. Spielberg had the car do different things, going into space, and then it got burnt up, and different areas got smoked out. We got together with the PR department. They said, "We gotta have a car to tour. There are so many different Back to the Future cars, we want you to pick up the components of one and then get it to tour as well as use it in the film." 

Watch George Barris' full Archive interview and read his obituary in The Hollywood Reporter.

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