News from the Archive

Remembering Leonard Nimoy

February 27th, 2015
Leonard Nimoy

We're sad to learn that actor Leonard Nimoy passed away this morning at the age of 83. Nimoy grew up in the inner city of Boston. He served in the Army (assigned to mount Army-produced shows), moved to Hollywood, and soon appeared on The Pinky Lee Show, Matinee Theater, Wagon Train, and Gunsmoke. He was an acting teacher for many years, and worked on several series produced by syndication giant Ziv Television Programs, including West Point, Sea Hunt, and Highway Patrol. Nimoy auditioned for the Gene Roddenberry series The Lieutenant, which led to getting cast in his most famous role, that of "Spock" on Star Trek. Nimoy was also a series regular on Mission: Impossible, worked as narrator/host of In Search of... and starred in the television movies A Woman Called Golda and Never Forget. He enjoyed a second career as a director, initially with an episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery, and soon graduated to such popular feature films as "Star Trek III and IV" and "Three Men and a Baby." 

Below are some selections from his 2000 Archive interview:

On the Star Trek pilot:

On "Spock's" Vulcan salute:

On "Spock's" makeup:

On acting:

He lived long and prospered. Rest in peace.

Watch Leonard Nimoy's full Archive interview and read his obituary in The New York Times.

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Archive Lovebirds: Your Favorite TV Couples!

February 14th, 2015

Sometimes a couple just has chemistry. You can't always define exactly why two people fit together so perfectly, but you can almost see the sparks fly when halves so seamlessly make a whole. Luckily for all of us, television has provided many of these terrific twosomes over the years -- couples that we can't wait to see argue and make up, scheme and fall flat, or visit with nosy neighbors. TV's power couples make us want to tune in week after week, or daily if applicable, to watch magic happen over and over again.

Throughout the years The Archive has been privileged to interview some of television's favorite couples. And although their on-screen romances didn't carry over into real life, these couples still displayed an awful lot of love and respect for each other when out of character. Have a look for yourself:

Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford, The Jeffersons' George and Weezy:

Anthony Geary and Genie Francis, soap opera super-couple Luke and Laura of General Hospital:

Tom Bosley and Marion Ross, Mr. and Mrs. C (Cunningham) on Happy Days:

And last but not least, Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, Rob and Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show:

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! May you all find the George to your Weezy!

- by Adrienne Faillace

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Happy Birthday to Mister Rogers' King Friday XIII!

February 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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Remembering Stan Chambers

February 13th, 2015
Stan Chambers

We're sad to hear that KTLA local news correspondent Stan Chambers passed away today at the age of 91. Chambers was part of the local Los Angeles news scene for over 60 years and was instrumental in the national evolution of local television news coverage. He worked at KTLA almost since its inception. He covered the 1949 Kathy Fiscus tragedy, an above ground Nevada A-bomb test (the first time a test had been covered by television cameras), the 1965 Watts Riots, and broke the 1991 Rodney King story in LA. 

Below are some excerpts from his 1998 Archive interview:

On his initial duties at KTLA when he was hired in 1947:

I went to work on the stage crew, building sets and bringing props in, dressing sets, sweeping the floors, pushing the cameras, all of those things. During the day I would do the operations detail. I would take what’s gonna happen on the station that night and determine this will be a slide and this will be a film and this will be a film and this will be live, and assign the different studios and do all the things you had to do in preparation. You’d go over to Paramount and get the equipment you needed for the show. Then by late afternoon, if you were lucky, you would be doing some of the things on the air.  

On the impact of the 1949 Kathy Fiscus telecast:

The whole city was literally captivated by that very dramatic rescue attempt. All the churches had prayers for Kathy the next day. The whole city was just thoroughly involved. When the word came out that she was dead, it was just like a tremendous personal blow to each and every person. Here was everyone’s little girl, and we just lost her. The city felt that. To this day, I will meet a half a dozen people who say, "I remember the Kathy Fiscus telecast." It just made that type of an impact on people. The thing is, Bill Welsh and I had no idea that it was making that kind of an impact. We didn’t know. It was the next day when the phones started to ring, and the reaction started coming in that we realized that we had really been through something that we had no idea we were doing. But the interesting thing is that it changed my personal life, as well as my business life. Because after that, I wasn’t just a guy on television. I was a news reporter.  

On covering JFK's assassination:

On breaking the Rodney King story:

George Holliday, who shot the tape, had brought it to the station. He realized that KTLA did a lot of breaking news stories and he felt that we might be interested in what he had. My news director said, "We’d like you to take a look at this and see what we can do tonight for it." I went into a viewer and I played it back. I was just dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Everybody came over and clustered around me, and they were just as startled as I was. I said, "Well, we have to get the police side of this. We can’t run it without letting them know." Everybody agreed. We made arrangements for me to take it down and to show them the tape. We showed the tape. And they were surprised. But of course, with those wonderful stoic faces, they don’t show their true emotion. They said they would see what they could do and they appreciated our showing it. I said, "Well, we’re gonna run it on air tonight. Ten o’clock. Just wanted to let you know what was gonna happen." Just before air time, I got a call from Chief Bob Vernon, who was acting chief at the time. He said he wanted to let us know that, "the detectives are out there in the rain, talking to witnesses, and we’re gonna get to the bottom of this. Let the chips fall where they may." That was the set up for the story.  

On how he'd like to be remembered:

I think someone who cares. Someone who has been a part of what’s happened here in the last half century. An observer. One who’s been in awe of what has happened. One who looks at what is today and you wonder, "How did this ever happen?" for good or for bad. Someone who likes people. I think that’s the most exciting thing, because people make the world interesting and delightful. You get these wonderful encounters. Someone who’s been very lucky. Had a wonderful life with a beautiful family. Seen eleven children grow and be proud for all of them. I think the fact that just this last month my youngest boy just graduated from medical school at USC and he’s an internist - that gives you some feelings that you did something right and that it’s permeated throughout the whole family. So I’d like to be thought of as someone who tries and enjoys it while he’s doing it. And looks forward to another tomorrow that will be just as bright and happy.

Watch Stan Chambers' full Archive interview and read his obituary from KTLA.

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Remembering Bob Simon

February 12th, 2015
Bob Simon

We're sad to hear that CBS News correspondent Bob Simon died in a car crash yesterday in Manhattan, NY. Simon was 73 years old. He began working at CBS News in 1967 and was soon offered a position in CBS' London Bureau. Simon reported on the conflicts in Northern Ireland, and later covered the Vietnam War from Saigon in 1971-72. He also covered the Yom Kippur War, the Portugal Colonial War, and Anwar Sadat's assassination. He moved to the State Department in 1981, served as a national correspondent for CBS News in New York from 1982-87, and was named CBS News' Chief Middle Eastern correspondent in 1987. He was held hostage in an Iraqi prison during the first Gulf War in 1991 (he was a prisoner for 40 days along with three other members of the CBS news team). Simon joined 60 Minutes as a regular correspondent in 1996, and reported several memorable stories, including "The Traitor" with Ethel Rosenberg's brother David Greenglass, and "Curve Ball" an interview with the Iraqi defector Rafid Alwan (who fabricated the story about WMDs that helped drive the U.S. into war and actually walked out of the interview). Simon also covered Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, and felt the most important story he covered was "The Selling of the Iraq War to the U.S." 

Below are some excerpts from his 2013 Archive interview:

On getting hired at CBS News:

Back then there was an institution called The Assignment Desk. We’re talking 1967. On The Assignment Desk there were 12 of us working in the newsroom. I mean it was a real newsroom. We took turns doing desk work and going out as what today you’d call an assistant or a gofer. You’d either be sitting in the desk and looking at wire copy - your basic job, particularly at night, and I was on the overnight for months, which I loved - you're looking at wire copy and just making sure that if there was anything the national or the foreign editor should know about, you’d call them.

On working for the CBS London Bureau: 

I was the junior member; the two other correspondents there were Charles Collingwood - I don’t know if anyone of your generation even remembers Charles Collingwood - but he was the consummate chief foreign correspondent. He could have played himself in the movie. I mean he was elegant and well dressed and articulate. The other correspondent there was Morley Safer. So there’s Collingwood, Safer and Simon? You’ve got to be joking. Collingwood and Safer had pretty much divided up the world into Collingwood and Safer zones, with Collingwood taking much of western Europe, and Safer of course, taking Vietnam. And then Beirut. The only place they both hated was Northern Ireland. So I think I was in Northern Ireland more than I was in London.   

On how he was treated as an American journalist in Northern Ireland: 

This is a pattern that was to repeat itself for the rest of my career and frankly, it wasn’t my unique experience - it's everybody who’s been a foreign correspondent. You're always welcomed by the underdog and detested and attacked by the minority rulers. The Catholics welcomed us in Belfast and gave us at times an embarrassing amount of access. We were spending a lot of time with guys who the British Army was after. That repeated itself in, well obviously in Bosnia, where the Bosnian Muslims greeted us with open arms and considered us the enemy, which we were.  

On his biggest challenge reporting from Vietnam:

It was to cover the war. It was a journalist’s dream. History was being made. Look, any journalist who tells you that he doesn’t like war, give him a couple of drinks and ask him again. Because it's the biggest adrenaline rush there is. That’s why a lot of guys, soldiers too, but journalists, friends of mine, get into very deep depressions after a war. Now, some shrinks would say it's Post-traumatic stress disorder. And I’m sure that plays a part. But it's also that there’s no other experience that matches it. Journalists who become war correspondents are pretty much waiting for the next war, and when you're overseas, when you're a foreign correspondent, that’s pretty much what you're doing. Because nobody cares about the European Union and their decisions in Brussels. But when there’s a war they want it. I think I covered 35 wars/insurrections in the course of all my time overseas. 

On being held prisoner during the Gulf War:

On his favorite 60 Minutes pieces:

On the legacy of 60 Minutes:

On the power of television:

Indescribable. And it keeps on getting more indescribable. The fact that the people in Tahrir Square could be watching the revolution in Tunisia and then watching their own revolution on Al Jazeera, a cable channel, this has become part of history. This has become a very, very crucial part of world politics. I don’t even know if ‘politics’ is a broad enough word. It has become an essential. It's determining fates as much as anything else. Important things that happen like what we used to call the ‘Arab Spring’ wouldn’t have happened without television. Going back a long time, even though it was different, I agree with the Army, that it was television coverage that made it impossible for the Americans to stay in Vietnam.  

Watch Bob Simon's full Archive interview and read his obituary from CBS News.

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