News from the Archive

"Guiding Light" Celebrates Its 70th Anniversary!

January 25th, 2007


"The Guiding Light" debuted on NBC radio on January 25, 1937 and ran as a fifteen-minute program through 1956 (switching to CBS in 1947). In 1952, the daytime serial made its way to CBS television, where it has become the longest running program in broadcast history. The series was created by Irna Philips, dubbed the "Queen of the Soap Opera" (who was also responsible for television's As the World Turns and Another World). She was a great influence on later daytime producer/creators (and Archive of American Television interviewees) Agnes Nixon (One Life to Live, All My Children) and William J. Bell (The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful).

In 2006, the Archive of American Television interviewed Guiding Light's current executive producer Ellen Wheeler and star Kim Zimmer ("Reva Shayne"). Their interviews can be viewed at TV Academy headquarters in North Hollywood, CA and will later be available online.

In celebration of their 7oth Anniversary, Guiding Light has launched a tribute website, click here for the link.

What are your favorite memories of watching Guiding Light?

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Far Out New Book! "TV's Grooviest Variety Shows of the '60s and '70s"

January 23rd, 2007

Another terrific TV history book has made its way onto bookstore shelves -- Telly R. Davidson's TV's Grooviest Variety Shows of the '60s and '70s (Cumberland House, $22.95). The book consists of well-researched, fun and detailed chapters on the REALLY famous variety shows (Ed Sullivan, Lawrence Welk, Dean Martin, The Smothers Brothers, Carol Burnett, Laugh-In, Flip Wilson, and Sonny and Cher), and includes shorter listings on many others like Donny & Marie, Sha Na Na, The Jim Nabors Hour, etc. Other listings include some of television's wackiest fare like The Brady Bunch Hour, and Pink Lady and Jeff -- a whole book can be written on this one alone! If you're like us, you'll ask why a full chapter wasn't done on EVERY series discussed, because Davidson makes the history behind each show so interesting.

To readers in Los Angeles: On Saturday, January 27th, at 2PM, Telly will be signing the book at Book Soup. Book Soup Author Events, Author Apperance , Sunset Strip, Los Angeles, California.

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Producer Martin Hoade's Interview is Now Online

January 22nd, 2007

Producer Martin Hoade's seven-part interview is now available for viewing on Google Video. Mr. Hoade produced NBC's Sunday morning religious program wheel and provides much insight on the topic of how aspects of religion were portrayed on network television.

Interview description:
In his 7-part (each 30-minute segment is posted separately) oral history interview, producer Martin Hoade (1916-2006) recalls his early days in television working for NBC, on programs such as newsreels and political conventions. He talks about his move into religious programming as the producer and director of NBC’s Sunday morning religious program wheel, which was comprised of the series "Frontiers of Faith", "The Catholic Hour", and "The Eternal Light". He speaks of the craft involved in producing religious programming as well as the issue of proselytizing and of religious programming in general.

Click here to access the entire interview.

To read the Archive blog's obituary of Mr. Hoade, click on the following: Archive of American Television: Religious Series Producer/Director Martin Hoade Has Died

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For Golden Girls Fans in Los Angeles, the Sequel

January 20th, 2007

Join author Jim Colucci for a look inside the world of The Golden Girls this Sunday, January 21st, 2 PM at the Santa Monica Public Library (601 Santa Monica Blvd). We attended his last book signing (Archive of American Television: For Golden Girls Fans in Los Angeles) and are happy to report that Jim is an engaging speaker and really knows the show. Also planned, a panel discussion focusing on the show's enduring appeal to the gay and lesbian community with writers Marc Cherry, Stan Zimmerman, Winifred Hervey, Robert Bruce, and Richard Vaczy. A booksigning follows.

Jim's book, The Q Guide to the Golden Girls chronicles the genesis and key gay-themed episodes of The Golden Girls with interviews with the stars, producers, writers and viewers. (Excerpts of Archive interviews are also included.)

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Larry Rhine's Archive of American Television Interview Is Now Online!

January 17th, 2007

Writer Larry Rhine wrote or co-wrote several of television's most classic sitcom episodes including The Brady Bunch's "The Subject Was Noses," The Odd Couple's "Felix Remarries" (the series finale), and All in the Family's "Archie the Hero." His full interview is now posted online.

Click here to access Larry Rhine's 8-part Archive of American Television Interview.

Rhine was one of Red Skelton and Bob Hope's writers.

Larry Rhine on writing for Red Skelton (Excerpt from Part 4):

"He didn’t want the writers to be at rehearsal. It bothered him because we’d be shaking our heads. So... I had to poke holes through the backdrop to watch to make sure that the physical things would work because with Skelton you had to have a raised stage with holes in it for flowers to spring up. You had to have a backdrop with water squirting. You had to have wires. We had to make sure that it would work. That’s the only way we could do it but he was a wonderful performer. And his pantomimes were most unusual and when we had the Skelton tribute at the Academy I got warmed up and did a couple of the pantomimes cause we had to do them in order to write them. The pantomimes were like fifteen pages each."

Larry Rhine on writing for Bob Hope (Excerpt from Part 5):

"When you work for Hope you not only do the three of four shows he does, specials during the year, but you’re responsible for everything that he does every day which is open auto shows and beauty contests and schools and appearances on other shows and so forth and Bob doesn’t like to work more than a day ahead of time so what would happen, like right now the phone would ring it would be Bob... and he says I need three pages of chorus girl jokes so what I would do would be excuse myself, go back and write three pages of chorus girl jokes, phone them in to a secretary and go back to what I was doing... He had a very friendly kind of relationship with the writers. He liked nothing more than to come back in the writing headquarters and put his feet up on the desk and chat with you and to this day, after all these years I get Christmas cards every year from him. So he never loses a friend but we had some funny things happen when I was on the Hope show. Bob resented the fact that Saturday Evening Post came out with the story that he was worth $500 million and it demeaned him as one of the fellows and we felt that right away and he said, you know, this is a gross exaggeration. ....So he goes out on stage and says to the audience it’s a gross exaggeration... this article... that says I’m worth five hundred million. He says "maybe three hundred." So when I left him to go on All in the Family I said how much I enjoyed being with him. "I said, too bad that we have to sever relationships, we’ve got so much in common. Neither of us is worth $500 million."

Interview description:
Larry Rhine (1910-2000) was interviewed for four hours in Los Angeles, CA. He spoke of his early years as a writer in radio, which culminated in the position of head-writer of Duffy’s Tavern (1949-50). He spoke of his work as a television staff writer on Private Secretary, Duffy’s Tavern (the TV adaptation), and The Gale Storm Show and his many years (1960-67) working on The Red Skelton Show. He described how he simultaneously worked on the television sitcom Mister Ed and discussed the episodes he wrote with collaborator Lou Derman. He recounted his work with other comics such as Bob Hope and Lucille Ball. He spoke about his freelance work on such series as The Brady Bunch in which he co-wrote the well-known “The Subject Was Noses” episode and The Odd Couple in which he co-wrote the series finale. In great detail, he discussed his work on the Norman Lear series All in the Family and Archie Bunkers Place in which he collaborated with writer Mel Tolkin. The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on February 25, 2000.

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