Abby Mann

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Abby Mann (1927-2008) discusses writing the teleplays "A Child Is Waiting," for Studio One and "Judgement at Nuremberg," for Playhouse 90. He also talks about the feature film adaptations of these teleplays and of writing the made-for-television movie The Marcus Nelson Murders and the creation of the series Kojak. Mann talks in detail about 1970s projects, the series Medical Story and the miniseries King. He speaks about being a writer and executive producer of made-for-television movies including The Atlanta Child Murders and Indictment: The McMartin Trials. Throughout the interview, Mann expresses his lifelong passion for correcting or spotlighting injustices through the written word. Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview on August 18, 2004 in Los Angeles, CA.

"The thing is, I strive for some kind of immortality. You watch all these things that are on and forgotten, but you try in your own little way to change the world."  

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Abby Mann on dealing with the network over the content of Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"
Abby Mann on developing the made-for-television movie King
Abby Mann on the cast of Playhouse 90 "Judgement at Nuremberg," and on the feature film version
Abby Mann on the historical importance of Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg" teaching Americans about the Holocaust
Abby Mann on the Hollywood Blacklist
Abby Mann on writing Indictment: The McMartin Trial
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his early interest in writing and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and on writing about him for Cameo Theatre in "The Gathering Twilight"; on writing for The Kate Smith Show and Matinee Theater
On writing "Pattern for Glory" for Rheingold Theatre, and on his writing partner Bernard Drew; on writing "The World to Nothing" for Robert Montgomery Presents
On writing for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on writing for Studio One, produced by Herbert Brodkin

Chapter 2

On where he got his ideas when he was writing for classic anthology series, and on how writers were treated in that time period; on writing "The Desperate Age" and "A Child is Waiting" for Studio One, and on Judy Garland appearing in the film version; on writing The United States Steel Hour production of "Give Me My Son"
On writing the Playhouse 90 classic "Judgment at Nuremberg"; on going to Germany to do research for Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"; on the cast of Playhouse 90: "Judgement and Nuremberg," and on the feature film version

Chapter 3

On the process of writing, and on sparring with the network over a line about "gas chambers" in Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"; on the historical importance of Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg" teaching Americans about the Holocaust; on Maximilian Schell as "Hans Rolfe" on the show
On the feature film version of "Judgement at Nuremberg," and on Judy Garland as "Irene Hoffmann-Wallner"; on the main villain of Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg" being patriotism; on Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg" director George Roy Hill, and on the legacy of the show
On making the transition from television to feature films, and on winning an Oscar; on his writing process; on the themes in his work

Chapter 4

On creating the pilot movie for Medical Story; on writing the made-for-television movie The Marcus Nelson Murders, which was the pilot movie for Kojak; on casting Telly Savalas on Kojak, and on the show becoming a series
On developing the made-for-television movie King; on his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and on screening King for Coretta Scott King

Chapter 5

On The Marcus-Nelson Murders; on casting Paul Winfield as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in King, and on how King was portrayed; on how King was received
On creating Skag; on writing The Atlanta Child Murders; on writing Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story
On writing Sinatra; on writing Indictment: The McMartin Trial; on casting Indictment: The McMartin Trial, including James Woods and Shirley Knight

Chapter 6

On writing Indictment: The McMartin Trial; on then-current projects, and on career achievements and regrets; on the Hollywood Blacklist
On being a part of the Golden Age of Television, and how television has changed the world; on Stanley Kramer; on advice to aspiring television writers, and on how he'd like to be remembered
On b-roll photos from his career- telegram from Spencer Tracy; on the set of "Ship of Fools" with Spencer Tracy; with Vivian Leigh; with Frank Sinatra; with Telly Savalas; with his various awards, two Emmys, an Oscar, and a Golden Globe
Shows

Atlanta Child Murders, The

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Abby Mann on writing The Atlanta Child Murders

Cameo Theatre

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Abby Mann on his early interest in writing and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and on writing about him for Cameo Theatre in "The Gathering Twilight"

King

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Abby Mann on developing the made-for-television movie King, and on his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Abby Mann on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and on screening King for Coretta Scott King
Abby Mann on casting Paul Winfield as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in King, and on how King was portrayed
Abby Mann on how King was received

Kojak

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Abby Mann on writing the made-for-television movie The Marcus Nelson Murders, which was the pilot movie for Kojak
Abby Mann on the casting of Telly Savalas on Kojak
Abby Mann on Kojak becoming a series, and on the producers of the series
Abby Mann on doing research for Kojak

Marcus-Nelson Murders, The

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Abby Mann on writing the made-for-television movie The Marcus Nelson Murders, which was the pilot movie for Kojak
Abby Mann on The Marcus-Nelson Murders

Medical Story

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Abby Mann on creating the pilot movie for Medical Story

Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story

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Abby Mann on writing Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story

NBC Matinee Theater

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Abby Mann on writing for The Kate Smith Show and Matinee Theater, and on his friendship with Tony Bennett

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

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Abby Mann on writing for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

Playhouse 90

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Abby Mann on writing the Playhouse 90 classic "Judgment at Nuremberg"
Abby Mann on going to Germany to do research for Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"
Abby Mann on dealing with the network over the content of Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg," and on the cast
Abby Mann on the cast of Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg," and on writing the feature film version
Abby Mann on the process of writing, and on sparring with the network over a line about "gas chambers" in Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"
Abby Mann on the historical importance of Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg" teaching Americans about the Holocaust
Abby Mann on Maximilian Schell as "Hans Rolfe" in Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"
Abby Mann on the feature film version of "Judgement at Nuremberg," and on Judy Garland as "Irene Hoffmann-Wallner," and on the public reaction to the show
Abby Mann on the main villain of Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg" being patriotism
Abby Mann on Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg" director George Roy Hill
Abby Mann on the legacy of Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"

Robert Montgomery Presents

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Abby Mann on writing "The World to Nothing" for Robert Montgomery Presents

Studio One

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Abby Mann on writing for Studio One produced by Herbert Brodkin
Abby Mann on writing "The Desperate Age" and "A Child is Waiting" for Studio One, and on Judy Garland appearing in the film version

United States Steel Hour, The

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Abby Mann on writing The United States Steel Hour production of "Give Me My Son"
Topics

Advice

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Abby Mann on advice to aspiring television writers, and on how he'd like to be remembered

Anthology Drama

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Abby Mann on being a part of the Golden Age of Television, and how television has changed the world

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Abby Mann on dealing with the network over the content of Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"
Abby Mann on the process of writing, and on sparring with the network over a line about "gas chambers" in Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"

Civil Rights Movement

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Abby Mann on developing the made-for-television movie King

Historic Events and Social Change

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Abby Mann on writing the Playhouse 90 classic "Judgment at Nuremberg"
Abby Mann on writing Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"
Abby Mann on developing the made-for-television movie King

Hollywood Blacklist

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Abby Mann on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Abby Mann on the Hollywood Blacklist

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Abby Mann on being a part of the Golden Age of Television, and how television has changed the world

Television Industry

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Abby Mann on dealing with the network over the content of Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"
Abby Mann on the process of writing, and on sparring with the network over a line about "gas chambers" in Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"
Abby Mann on the Hollywood Blacklist
Abby Mann on advice to aspiring television writers

War

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Abby Mann on writing the Playhouse 90 classic "Judgment at Nuremberg"
Abby Mann on writing Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"

World War II

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Abby Mann on writing the Playhouse 90 classic "Judgment at Nuremberg"
Abby Mann on writing Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"
Professions

Writers

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Abby Mann on his writing process
Abby Mann on the themes in his work
Abby Mann on advice to aspiring television writers, and on how he'd like to be remembered
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Abby Mann on his early interest in writing and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and on writing about him for Cameo Theatre in "The Gathering Twilight"
Abby Mann on writing for The Kate Smith Show and Matinee Theater
Abby Mann on writing "Pattern for Glory" for Rheingold Theatre, and on his writing partner Bernard Drew
Abby Mann on writing "The World to Nothing" for Robert Montgomery Presents
Abby Mann on writing for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
Abby Mann on writing for Studio One produced by Herbert Brodkin
Abby Mann on where he got his ideas when he was writing for classic anthology series, and on how writers were treated in that time period
Abby Mann on writing "The Desperate Age" and "A Child is Waiting" for Studio One, and on Judy Garland appearing in the film version
Abby Mann on writing The United States Steel Hour production of "Give Me My Son"
Abby Mann on writing the Playhouse 90 classic "Judgment at Nuremberg"
Abby Mann on writing Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Abby Mann on writing the made-for-television movie The Marcus Nelson Murders, which was the pilot movie for Kojak
Abby Mann on creating Skag

Medical Dramas

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Abby Mann on creating the pilot movie for Medical Story

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Abby Mann on developing the made-for-television movie King
Abby Mann on The Marcus-Nelson Murders
Abby Mann on casting Paul Winfield as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in King, and on how King was portrayed
Abby Mann on writing The Atlanta Child Murders
Abby Mann on writing Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story
Abby Mann on writing Sinatra
Abby Mann on writing Indictment: The McMartin Trial
People

Herbert Brodkin

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Abby Mann on writing for Studio One produced by Herbert Brodkin

Judy Garland

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Abby Mann on writing "The Desperate Age" and "A Child is Waiting" for Studio One, and on Judy Garland appearing in the film version
Abby Mann on the feature film version of "Judgement at Nuremberg," and on Judy Garland as "Irene Hoffmann-Wallner"

George Roy Hill

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Abby Mann on Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg" director George Roy Hill

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Abby Mann on developing the made-for-television movie King, and on his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Shirley Knight

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Abby Mann on casting Indictment: The McMartin Trial, including James Woods and Shirley Knight

Stanley Kramer

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Abby Mann on Stanley Kramer

Telly Savalas

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Abby Mann on writing the made-for-television movie The Marcus Nelson Murders, which was the pilot movie for Kojak on the development of Kojak

Maximilian Schell

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Abby Mann on Maximilian Schell as "Hans Rolfe" in Playhouse 90: "Judgement at Nuremberg"

James Woods

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Abby Mann on casting Indictment: The McMartin Trial, including James Woods and Shirley Knight

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