Al Borden

Prop Master


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Al Borden (1904-2001) gives a fascinating perspective on working with many great performers, including Eddie Cantor, Milton Berle, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Bob Hope - with whom he worked for 42 years. He details his years working on various Bob Hope shows, including touring with Hope and the USO. He recalls his years on The Colgate Comedy Hour,  speaks of the many luminaries who appeared on the show, and discusses some of the mishaps that occurred with his props on live television. He recalls working with all of the hosts of The Tonight Show, up to and including Jay Leno, who would often use him in on-air bits. Sunny Parich conducted the interview on September 24, 1997 in Los Angeles, CA.

"The changes at NBC since I started in 1952 are unbelievable. It turned from a family thing to a factory thing. The atmosphere is entirely different. The friendliness is gone. Everybody looks at each other and they're scared of each other. They're afraid to get fired."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Al Borden on being propmaster for You Bet Your Life
Al Borden on working with Lou Costello on The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on being propmaster for The Bob Hope Chevy Show
Al Borden on the countries they visited on Bob Hope's USO tours
Al Borden on advice to aspiring propmasters
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on getting into theater at an early age; on moving to New York to work in theater 
On working on Broadway as a propmaster for a show starring Bob Hope; on his early experience with television; on doing prop work for feature films

Chapter 2

On being propmaster for various shows on ABC and NBC; on being propmaster for The Colgate Comedy Hour; on a typical production week for The Colgate Comedy Hour
On some of the "tricks" he used as propmaster for The Colgate Comedy Hour;  on the budgets of The Colgate Comedy Hour; on the hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour

Chapter 3

On working with Lou Costello and Jimmy Durante on The Colgate Comedy Hour; on problems with props and guest stars on The Colgate Comedy Hour; on working with the writers on The Colgate Comedy Hour and the gags on the show
On mishaps involving props on The Colgate Comedy Hour; on being propmaster for Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle; on the impact of technological advances on The Colgate Comedy Hour

Chapter 4

On working with Danny Thomas; on directors with whom he worked 
On working with Wally Cox on The Bob Hope Chevy Show; on working with Bob Hope behind the scenes

Chapter 5

On Bob Hope's USO specials
On the countries they visited on Bob Hope's USO tour; on getting caught in crossfire on Bob Hope's USO tour; on working with the performers on Bob Hope's shows

Chapter 6

On Bob Hope's various guest stars; on working with Jack Paar and Steve Allen; on working on The Tonight Show
On how the industry has changed over the years; on career highlights and advice to aspiring propmasters; on various people he worked with in his career

Chapter 7

On people he has worked with in his career; on final thoughts on Bob Hope
On B-roll pictures from his career - with Bob Hope; Eddie Cantor; dressing Bob Hope for a Christmas special; in Berlin with the USO; creating a coconut prop; with Bob Hope's overseas crew; with Dick Welsh; with Tom Sarnoff; with Grant Tinker; with Lucille Ball; with co-workers from NBC; with Jay Leno and the crew of The Tonight Show; with Donald O'Connor; plaque from the Television Academy; with his plaque for service from NBC; with Dolores Hope
Shows

Bob Hope Chevy Show, The

View Show Page
Al Borden on being propmaster for The Bob Hope Chevy Show
Al Borden on being propmaster for The Bob Hope Chevy Show
Al Borden on working with Wally Cox on The Bob Hope Chevy Show
Al Borden on working with Bob Hope behind the scenes

Bob Hope Specials

View Show Page
Al Borden on Bob Hope's USO specials
Al Borden on the countries they visited on Bob Hope's USO tours
Al Borden on getting caught in crossfire on Bob Hope's USO tours
Al Borden on the then-head of the USO, General Rosie O'Donnell
Al Borden on working with the performers on Bob Hope's USO shows
Al Borden on Bob Hope's various guest stars
Al Borden on Lucille Ball appearing on Bob Hope's specials

Colgate Comedy Hour, The

View Show Page
Al Borden on being propmaster for The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on a typical production week for The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on some of the "tricks" he used as propmaster for The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on the budgets of The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on the hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on Donald O'Connor hosting The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on working with Lou Costello on The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on working with Jimmy Durante and Tallulah Bankhead on The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on problems with props and guest stars on The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on working with the writers on The Colgate Comedy Hour and the gags on the show
Al Borden on mishaps involving props on The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on leaving The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on the impact of technological advances on The Colgate Comedy Hour

Texaco Star Theater

View Show Page
Al Borden on being propmaster for Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle

Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The

View Show Page
Al Borden on working on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The

View Show Page
Al Borden on working on The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno

Tonight Starring Jack Paar aka The Jack Paar Show

View Show Page
Al Borden on working with Steve Allen and Jack Paar

You Bet Your Life

View Show Page
Al Borden on being propmaster for You Bet Your Life
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Al Borden on advice to aspiring propmasters

Bloopers

View Topic
Al Borden on problems with props and guest stars on The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on mishaps involving props on The Colgate Comedy Hour

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Al Borden on his experience in World War II and living through the Great Depression
Al Borden on his service in World War II

Television Industry

View Topic
Al Borden on advice to aspiring propmasters
Al Borden on how being a propmaster has changed over the years

War

View Topic
Al Borden on his experience in World War II and living through the Great Depression
Al Borden on his service in World War II

World War II

View Topic
Al Borden on his experience in World War II and living through the Great Depression
Al Borden on his service in World War II
Professions

Designers

View Profession
Al Borden on some of the "tricks" he used as propmaster for The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on how being a propmaster has changed over the years
Al Borden on advice to aspiring propmasters

Prop Master

View Profession
Al Borden on some of the "tricks" he used as propmaster for The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on how being a propmaster has changed over the years
Al Borden on advice to aspiring propmasters
Genres

Game Shows

View Genre
Al Borden on being propmaster for You Bet Your Life

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Al Borden on being propmaster for The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on being propmaster on The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on being propmaster for Texaco Star Theater  with Milton Berle
Al Borden on being propmaster for The Bob Hope Chevy Show
Al Borden on being propmaster Bob Hope's USO specials
Al Borden on being propmaster on Bob Hope's specials
People

Steve Allen

View Interview Page
Al Borden on working with Steve Allen and Jack Paar

Lucille Ball

View Person Page
Al Borden on Lucille Ball appearing on Bob Hope's specials

Tallulah Bankhead

View Person Page
Al Borden on working with Jimmy Durante and Tallulah Bankhead on The Colgate Comedy Hour

Milton Berle

View Interview Page
Al Borden on being propmaster for Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle
Al Borden on working with George Burns and Milton Berle

Les Brown

View Person Page
Al Borden on Les Brown

George Burns

View Person Page
Al Borden on working with George Burns and Milton Berle

Johnny Carson

View Person Page
Al Borden on working on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

Fred de Cordova

View Interview Page
Al Borden on working on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
Al Borden on Fred De Cordova 

Lou Costello

View Person Page
Al Borden on working with Lou Costello on The Colgate Comedy Hour

Wally Cox

View Person Page
Al Borden on working with Wally Cox on The Bob Hope Chevy Show

Phyllis Diller

View Interview Page
Al Borden on Bob Hope's various guest stars

Jimmy Durante

View Person Page
Al Borden on working with Jimmy Durante and Tallulah Bankhead on The Colgate Comedy Hour

Ernest D. Glucksman

View Person Page
Al Borden on Ernest D. Glucksman 

Dolores Hope

View Person Page
Al Borden on Dolores and Linda Hope

Bob Hope

View Person Page
Al Borden on various stars he worked with in his career
Al Borden on being propmaster for The Bob Hope Chevy Show
Al Borden on his final thoughts on Bob Hope

Mort Lachman

View Interview Page
Al Borden on Mort Lachman

Jerry Lewis

View Interview Page
Al Borden on the hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour

Fred MacMurray

View Person Page
Al Borden on Fred MacMurray 

Dean Martin

View Person Page
Al Borden on the hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour
Al Borden on Bob Hope's various guest stars

Harpo Marx

View Person Page
Al Borden on working with Harpo Marx

Groucho Marx

View Person Page
Al Borden on being propmaster for You Bet Your Life

Donald O'Connor

View Person Page
Al Borden on Donald O'Connor hosting The Colgate Comedy Hour

Jack Paar

View Person Page
Al Borden on working with Steve Allen and Jack Paar

Thomas W. Sarnoff

View Interview Page
Al Borden on Tom Sarnoff 

Dinah Shore

View Person Page
Al Borden on Dinah Shore

Red Skelton

View Person Page
Al Borden on Red Skelton

Danny Thomas

View Person Page
Al Borden on various stars he worked with in his career
Al Borden on working with Danny Thomas

John Wayne

View Person Page
Al Borden on various stars he worked with in his career

Sylvester L. "Pat" Weaver

View Person Page
Al Borden on Pat Weaver

Ed Wynn

View Person Page
Al Borden on various stars he worked with in his career

All Interviews

Q
S