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In their three-hour, joint Emerson Comedy Archive interview, Rocky (1921-2016) and Irma Kalish discuss their backgrounds, and how they met and married. In a free-wheeling discussion, they touch on many of the shows they worked on including 'Colgate Comedy Hour,' 'Meet Corliss Archer,' 'My Three Sons,' 'Family Affair,' 'Gillian’s Island' and 'The Flying Nun.' They recall working on two Norman Lear shows 'All in the Family,' where they wrote the groundbreaking "Edith’s Christmas Story" dealing with breast cancer, and 'Good Times,' where they hired Janet Jackson in the final seasons to play "Penny." They describe working with many luminaries during their time as writers, some of whom became friends, including Selma Diamond, Shelley Berman, Steve Allen, Milton Berle, Carl Reiner, and Cloris Leachman. They touch on many problems facing the industry including writers strikes, ageism, and the challenge of longevity for a writer. They speak of their philosophy of comedy and joking writing, including if being funny can be taught, and what goes into constructing a joke. Jenni Matz and Bill Dana conducted the interview on February 7, 2007 in Encino, California. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Pivotal Career Moments, Ageism in Television Industry, Writers Guild of America Strikes, and Comedy Series. Other shows mentioned during the interview include 'The Brian Keith Show,' 'Carter Country,' 'F Troop,' 'The Facts of Life,' 'Good Heavens,' 'Gunsmoke,' 'Oh Madeline,' 'The Sarah Silverman Program,' and 'Too Close for Comfort.'

2007-02-07

In their three-hour, joint Emerson Comedy Archive interview, Rocky (1921-2016) and Irma Kalish discuss their backgrounds, and how they met and married. In a free-wheeling discussion, they touch on many of the shows they worked on including 'Colgate Comedy Hour,' 'Meet Corliss Archer,' 'My Three Sons,' 'Family Affair,' 'Gillian’s Island' and 'The Flying Nun.' They recall working on two Norman Lear shows 'All in the Family,' where they wrote the groundbreaking "Edith’s Christmas Story" dealing with breast cancer, and 'Good Times,' where they hired Janet Jackson in the final seasons to play "Penny." They describe working with many luminaries during their time as writers, some of whom became friends, including Selma Diamond, Shelley Berman, Steve Allen, Milton Berle, Carl Reiner, and Cloris Leachman. They touch on many problems facing the industry including writers strikes, ageism, and the challenge of longevity for a writer. They speak of their philosophy of comedy and joking writing, including if being funny can be taught, and what goes into constructing a joke. Jenni Matz and Bill Dana conducted the interview on February 7, 2007 in Encino, California. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Pivotal Career Moments, Ageism in Television Industry, Writers Guild of America Strikes, and Comedy Series. Other shows mentioned during the interview include 'The Brian Keith Show,' 'Carter Country,' 'F Troop,' 'The Facts of Life,' 'Good Heavens,' 'Gunsmoke,' 'Oh Madeline,' 'The Sarah Silverman Program,' and 'Too Close for Comfort.'

2007-02-07

In their three-hour, joint Emerson Comedy Archive interview, Rocky (1921-2016) and Irma Kalish discuss their backgrounds, and how they met and married. In a free-wheeling discussion, they touch on many of the shows they worked on including 'Colgate Comedy Hour,' 'Meet Corliss Archer,' 'My Three Sons,' 'Family Affair,' 'Gillian’s Island' and 'The Flying Nun.' They recall working on two Norman Lear shows 'All in the Family,' where they wrote the groundbreaking "Edith’s Christmas Story" dealing with breast cancer, and 'Good Times,' where they hired Janet Jackson in the final seasons to play "Penny." They describe working with many luminaries during their time as writers, some of whom became friends, including Selma Diamond, Shelley Berman, Steve Allen, Milton Berle, Carl Reiner, and Cloris Leachman. They touch on many problems facing the industry including writers strikes, ageism, and the challenge of longevity for a writer. They speak of their philosophy of comedy and joking writing, including if being funny can be taught, and what goes into constructing a joke. Jenni Matz and Bill Dana conducted the interview on February 7, 2007 in Encino, California. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Pivotal Career Moments, Ageism in Television Industry, Writers Guild of America Strikes, and Comedy Series. Other shows mentioned during the interview include 'The Brian Keith Show,' 'Carter Country,' 'F Troop,' 'The Facts of Life,' 'Good Heavens,' 'Gunsmoke,' 'Oh Madeline,' 'The Sarah Silverman Program,' and 'Too Close for Comfort.'

2007-02-07

In his one-and-a-half-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Dick Van Dyke talks about his early years, and how being an announcer in World War II kindled his passion for show business. Van Dyke speaks about working on projects such as "Bye Bye Birdie" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show," and reminisces on his time in the industry with fond anecdotes. He discusses the ups and down of showbusiness, and briefly discusses his battle with alcoholism brought on by his shyness. He speaks of the challenges of being a performer and considers the question "Was it worth it?" Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on January 5, 2006 in Santa Monica, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Fame and Celebrity, Pivotal Career Moments, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Talk Shows.

2006-01-05

In his one-and-a-half-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Dick Van Dyke talks about his early years, and how being an announcer in World War II kindled his passion for show business. Van Dyke speaks about working on projects such as "Bye Bye Birdie" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show," and reminisces on his time in the industry with fond anecdotes. He discusses the ups and down of showbusiness, and briefly discusses his battle with alcoholism brought on by his shyness. He speaks of the challenges of being a performer and considers the question "Was it worth it?" Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on January 5, 2006 in Santa Monica, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Fame and Celebrity, Pivotal Career Moments, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Talk Shows.

2006-01-05

In his one-and-a-half-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Dick Van Dyke talks about his early years, and how being an announcer in World War II kindled his passion for show business. Van Dyke speaks about working on projects such as "Bye Bye Birdie" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show," and reminisces on his time in the industry with fond anecdotes. He discusses the ups and down of showbusiness, and briefly discusses his battle with alcoholism brought on by his shyness. He speaks of the challenges of being a performer and considers the question "Was it worth it?" Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on January 5, 2006 in Santa Monica, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Fame and Celebrity, Pivotal Career Moments, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Talk Shows.

2006-01-05

In his one-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Norman Lear talks about his early years at Emerson College, his time in the television business and recalls some significant lessons and memories throughout his career. He talks in depth about the healing power of laughter and about how comedy is an excellent vehicle for social change. He recalls some of his career highs and lows, and talks about his experience working on shows such as "All in the Family," "Colgate Comedy Hour" and "The Martha Raye Show." He also gives advice on how to maintain creative integrity in the business savvy television industry, and the rarity of true talent. Lear speaks about how a sense of humor can be sharpened but not acquired, and talks about how he gets inspiration for the comedy in his shows and characters. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on May 26, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Pivotal Career Moments, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Personal Anecdotes About Career.

2005-05-26

In his one-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Norman Lear talks about his early years at Emerson College, his time in the television business and recalls some significant lessons and memories throughout his career. He talks in depth about the healing power of laughter and about how comedy is an excellent vehicle for social change. He recalls some of his career highs and lows, and talks about his experience working on shows such as "All in the Family," "Colgate Comedy Hour" and "The Martha Raye Show." He also gives advice on how to maintain creative integrity in the business savvy television industry, and the rarity of true talent. Lear speaks about how a sense of humor can be sharpened but not acquired, and talks about how he gets inspiration for the comedy in his shows and characters. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on May 26, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Pivotal Career Moments, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Personal Anecdotes About Career.

2005-05-26

In his one-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Norman Lear talks about his early years at Emerson College, his time in the television business and recalls some significant lessons and memories throughout his career. He talks in depth about the healing power of laughter and about how comedy is an excellent vehicle for social change. He recalls some of his career highs and lows, and talks about his experience working on shows such as "All in the Family," "Colgate Comedy Hour" and "The Martha Raye Show." He also gives advice on how to maintain creative integrity in the business savvy television industry, and the rarity of true talent. Lear speaks about how a sense of humor can be sharpened but not acquired, and talks about how he gets inspiration for the comedy in his shows and characters. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on May 26, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Pivotal Career Moments, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Personal Anecdotes About Career.

2005-05-26

In his one-and-a-half hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Hal Kanter (1918-2011) talks about how he got his start in comedy, writing for Eddie Cantor, as well as early radio shows he worked on. He discusses learning to write comedy, how to write for comedians’ voices, and structure jokes. He recalls creating the groundbreaking series 'Julia,' starring Diahann Carroll, and writing for 'The Danny Kaye Show.' Kanter speaks of dealing with several agents and managers in his career, and talks about how the industry has changed since he started. He gives advice to aspiring comedy writers, and concludes by discussing his role in the Pacific Pioneers Broadcasters Group. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on June 6, 2005 in Beverly Hills, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Censorship/Standards & Practices, Television Industry, Comedy Series, Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials.

2005-06-06

In his one-and-a-half hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Hal Kanter (1918-2011) talks about how he got his start in comedy, writing for Eddie Cantor, as well as early radio shows he worked on. He discusses learning to write comedy, how to write for comedians’ voices, and structure jokes. He recalls creating the groundbreaking series 'Julia,' starring Diahann Carroll, and writing for 'The Danny Kaye Show.' Kanter speaks of dealing with several agents and managers in his career, and talks about how the industry has changed since he started. He gives advice to aspiring comedy writers, and concludes by discussing his role in the Pacific Pioneers Broadcasters Group. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on June 6, 2005 in Beverly Hills, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Censorship/Standards & Practices, Television Industry, Comedy Series, Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials.

2005-06-06

In his one-and-a-half hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Hal Kanter (1918-2011) talks about how he got his start in comedy, writing for Eddie Cantor, as well as early radio shows he worked on. He discusses learning to write comedy, how to write for comedians’ voices, and structure jokes. He recalls creating the groundbreaking series 'Julia,' starring Diahann Carroll, and writing for 'The Danny Kaye Show.' Kanter speaks of dealing with several agents and managers in his career, and talks about how the industry has changed since he started. He gives advice to aspiring comedy writers, and concludes by discussing his role in the Pacific Pioneers Broadcasters Group. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on June 6, 2005 in Beverly Hills, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Censorship/Standards & Practices, Television Industry, Comedy Series, Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials.

2005-06-06

The American Comedy Archives Oral Histories consists of audiovisual interviews conducted by comedian Bill Dana, archivist/historian Jenni Matz, comedian Eddie Brill, archivist/historian Robert Fleming, and television producer/professor Dan Pasternack with comedians, directors, writers, producers, agents, and experts on comedy. Oral history interviews were conducted with Bea Arthur, Ed Begley, Jr., Shelley Berman, Lewis Black, Kevin Bright, Eddie Brill, Jack Carter, Dick Cavett, Tim Conway, Irwin Corey, Norm Crosby, Billy Crystal, Bill Dana, Sam Denoff, Vin DiBona, Phyllis Diller, Diane English, Barbara Feldon, Budd Friedman, Larry Gelbart, Shecky Greene, Dick Gregory, Charles Grodin, Pat Harrington, Jr., Hugh Hefner, Buck Henry, Doug Herzog, Arte Johnson, Austin "Rocky" Kalish, Irma Kalish, Hal Kanter, Don Knotts, Norman Lear, Rose Marie, Peter Marshall, Dick Martin, Jamie Masada, Jackie Mason, Chuck McCann, Jayne Meadows, Carlos Mencia, Howard Murray, Jan Murray, Bob Newhart, Louis Nye, Gary Owens, Janis Paige, Bill Persky, Tom Poston, Carl Reiner, Jack Riley, Tony Roberts, Paul Rodriguez, Andy Rooney, Jay Sandrich, George Schlatter, George Shapiro, Leonard Stern, Howard Storm, Dick Van Dyke, Dick Van Patten, Betty White, Fred Willard, Henry Winkler, Jonathan Winters, Steven Wright, and "Weird Al" Yankovic. The bulk of the interviews were originally recorded on DVcam tapes from February 2005 through May 2007 and duplicated at Emerson College. Some of the oral histories were done in conjunction with the American Television Foundation. In addition to the video oral histories there are transcripts for certain interviews.

2005-02-21 - 2019-06-10

In her one-hour-fifteen minute interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Bea Arthur talks about her early years as an intern in a hospital, doing minstrel shows and her first break in Broadway. She talks about how grateful she is to do what she enjoys for a living, and speaks about working on "Maude," "Golden Girls," and a number of plays. She also discusses her love for her LGBT fan following, her involvement with PETA and how she strives to use her celebrity for social change. She speaks about the challenges of being a woman in the television and performance industry, and considers the question "Was it worth it?" Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on May 31, 2005 in Brentwood, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Fame and Celebrity, Pivotal Career Moments, Television Industry, and Comedy Series.

2005-05-31

In her one-hour-fifteen minute interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Bea Arthur talks about her early years as an intern in a hospital, doing minstrel shows and her first break in Broadway. She talks about how grateful she is to do what she enjoys for a living, and speaks about working on "Maude," "Golden Girls," and a number of plays. She also discusses her love for her LGBT fan following, her involvement with PETA and how she strives to use her celebrity for social change. She speaks about the challenges of being a woman in the television and performance industry, and considers the question "Was it worth it?" Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on May 31, 2005 in Brentwood, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Fame and Celebrity, Pivotal Career Moments, Television Industry, and Comedy Series.

2005-05-31

In her one-hour-fifteen minute interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Bea Arthur talks about her early years as an intern in a hospital, doing minstrel shows and her first break in Broadway. She talks about how grateful she is to do what she enjoys for a living, and speaks about working on "Maude," "Golden Girls," and a number of plays. She also discusses her love for her LGBT fan following, her involvement with PETA and how she strives to use her celebrity for social change. She speaks about the challenges of being a woman in the television and performance industry, and considers the question "Was it worth it?" Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on May 31, 2005 in Brentwood, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Fame and Celebrity, Pivotal Career Moments, Television Industry, and Comedy Series.

2005-05-31

In part two of his two-part interview for the American Comedy Archives, Bill Dana (1924-2017) talks about comedians learning to deal with their environment and audiences. He describes first learning how to make people laugh, and later using comedy to disarm. He discusses evolving standards for subject matter and language in comedy, and his controversial character "Jose Jimenez" from 'The Bill Dana Show. 'Dana speaks of working with Norman Lear on writing the classic 'All in the Family' episode "Sammy’s Visit," featuring Sammy Davis, Jr., and outlines his own guest shot on 'The Golden Girls.' He sums up by talking about the need for performers to pay their dues, and he answers the question, "Was it worth it?" Jenni Matz conducted part two of the interview on June 3, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA. Additional topics covered include: Fame and Celebrity, Pop Culture, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Talk Shows.

2005-06-03

In part two of his two-part interview for the American Comedy Archives, Bill Dana (1924-2017) talks about comedians learning to deal with their environment and audiences. He describes first learning how to make people laugh, and later using comedy to disarm. He discusses evolving standards for subject matter and language in comedy, and his controversial character "Jose Jimenez" from 'The Bill Dana Show. 'Dana speaks of working with Norman Lear on writing the classic 'All in the Family' episode "Sammy’s Visit," featuring Sammy Davis, Jr., and outlines his own guest shot on 'The Golden Girls.' He sums up by talking about the need for performers to pay their dues, and he answers the question, "Was it worth it?" Jenni Matz conducted part two of the interview on June 3, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA. Additional topics covered include: Fame and Celebrity, Pop Culture, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Talk Shows.

2005-06-03

In part two of his two-part interview for the American Comedy Archives, Bill Dana (1924-2017) talks about comedians learning to deal with their environment and audiences. He describes first learning how to make people laugh, and later using comedy to disarm. He discusses evolving standards for subject matter and language in comedy, and his controversial character "Jose Jimenez" from 'The Bill Dana Show. 'Dana speaks of working with Norman Lear on writing the classic 'All in the Family' episode "Sammy’s Visit," featuring Sammy Davis, Jr., and outlines his own guest shot on 'The Golden Girls.' He sums up by talking about the need for performers to pay their dues, and he answers the question, "Was it worth it?" Jenni Matz conducted part two of the interview on June 3, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA. Additional topics covered include: Fame and Celebrity, Pop Culture, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Talk Shows.

2005-06-03

In part one of his two-part interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Bill Dana (1924-2017) discusses the use of humor as a survival tool. He talks about his time at Emerson College, and early comedy partner Gene Wood. He recalls his time on 'The Steve Allen Show,' as well as creating his most famous character, "Jose Jimenez." He details using "Jose" as the main character for 'The Bill Dana Show,' and his eventual decision to kill him off due to cultural sensitivity concerns. He recounts writing the famous 'All in the Family' episode "Sammy Visit," featuring Sammy Davis, Jr., and addresses comedy’s role in society. Jenni Matz conducted part one of the interview on February 21, 2005 at the Cutler Majestic Theater at Emerson College in Boston, MA. Additional topics covered include: Bloopers, Censorship/Standards & Practices, Fame and Celebrity, Pop Culture, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Talk Shows.

2005-02-21

In part one of his two-part interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Bill Dana (1924-2017) discusses the use of humor as a survival tool. He talks about his time at Emerson College, and early comedy partner Gene Wood. He recalls his time on 'The Steve Allen Show,' as well as creating his most famous character, "Jose Jimenez." He details using "Jose" as the main character for 'The Bill Dana Show,' and his eventual decision to kill him off due to cultural sensitivity concerns. He recounts writing the famous 'All in the Family' episode "Sammy Visit," featuring Sammy Davis, Jr., and addresses comedy’s role in society. Jenni Matz conducted part one of the interview on February 21, 2005 at the Cutler Majestic Theater at Emerson College in Boston, MA. Additional topics covered include: Bloopers, Censorship/Standards & Practices, Fame and Celebrity, Pop Culture, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Talk Shows.

2005-02-21

In part one of his two-part interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Bill Dana (1924-2017) discusses the use of humor as a survival tool. He talks about his time at Emerson College, and early comedy partner Gene Wood. He recalls his time on 'The Steve Allen Show,' as well as creating his most famous character, "Jose Jimenez." He details using "Jose" as the main character for 'The Bill Dana Show,' and his eventual decision to kill him off due to cultural sensitivity concerns. He recounts writing the famous 'All in the Family' episode "Sammy Visit," featuring Sammy Davis, Jr., and addresses comedy’s role in society. Jenni Matz conducted part one of the interview on February 21, 2005 at the Cutler Majestic Theater at Emerson College in Boston, MA. Additional topics covered include: Bloopers, Censorship/Standards & Practices, Fame and Celebrity, Pop Culture, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Talk Shows.

2005-02-21

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