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."

Highlights
Al Borden on being propmaster for You Bet Your Life
01:34
Al Borden on working with Lou Costello on The Colgate Comedy Hour
02:02
Al Borden on being propmaster for The Bob Hope Chevy Show
04:56
Al Borden on the countries they visited on Bob Hope's USO tours
06:20
Al Borden on advice to aspiring propmasters
00:42
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
01:07
Al Borden on being propmaster for The Bob Hope Chevy Show
04:56
Al Borden on working with Wally Cox on The Bob Hope Chevy Show
08:41
Al Borden on working with Bob Hope behind the scenes
06:41

Bob Hope Specials

View Show Page
Al Borden on Bob Hope's USO specials
12:07
Al Borden on the countries they visited on Bob Hope's USO tours
06:20
Al Borden on getting caught in crossfire on Bob Hope's USO tours
05:51
Al Borden on the then-head of the USO, General Rosie O'Donnell
01:16
Al Borden on working with the performers on Bob Hope's USO shows
02:19
Al Borden on Bob Hope's various guest stars
02:41
Al Borden on Lucille Ball appearing on Bob Hope's specials
02:17

Colgate Comedy Hour, The

View Show Page
Al Borden on being propmaster for The Colgate Comedy Hour
05:25
Al Borden on a typical production week for The Colgate Comedy Hour
08:10
Al Borden on some of the "tricks" he used as propmaster for The Colgate Comedy Hour
01:43
Al Borden on the budgets of The Colgate Comedy Hour
01:03
Al Borden on the hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour
04:32
Al Borden on Donald O'Connor hosting The Colgate Comedy Hour
05:41
Al Borden on working with Lou Costello on The Colgate Comedy Hour
02:02
Al Borden on working with Jimmy Durante and Tallulah Bankhead on The Colgate Comedy Hour
03:14
Al Borden on problems with props and guest stars on The Colgate Comedy Hour
02:10
Al Borden on working with the writers on The Colgate Comedy Hour and the gags on the show
06:15
Al Borden on mishaps involving props on The Colgate Comedy Hour
03:36
Al Borden on leaving The Colgate Comedy Hour
00:34
Al Borden on the impact of technological advances on The Colgate Comedy Hour
05:31

Texaco Star Theater

View Show Page
Al Borden on being propmaster for Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle
03:22

Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The

View Show Page
Al Borden on working on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
04:20

Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The

View Show Page
Al Borden on working on The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno
01:08

Tonight Starring Jack Paar aka The Jack Paar Show

View Show Page
Al Borden on working with Steve Allen and Jack Paar
02:30

You Bet Your Life

View Show Page
Al Borden on being propmaster for You Bet Your Life
01:34
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Al Borden on advice to aspiring propmasters
00:42

Bloopers

View Topic
Al Borden on problems with props and guest stars on The Colgate Comedy Hour
02:10
Al Borden on mishaps involving props on The Colgate Comedy Hour
03:36

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Al Borden on his experience in World War II and living through the Great Depression
01:24
Al Borden on his service in World War II
01:48

Television Industry

View Topic
Al Borden on advice to aspiring propmasters
00:42
Al Borden on how being a propmaster has changed over the years
00:46

War

View Topic
Al Borden on his experience in World War II and living through the Great Depression
01:24
Al Borden on his service in World War II
01:48

World War II

View Topic
Al Borden on his experience in World War II and living through the Great Depression
01:24
Al Borden on his service in World War II
01:48
Professions

Designers

View Profession
Al Borden on some of the "tricks" he used as propmaster for The Colgate Comedy Hour
01:44
Al Borden on how being a propmaster has changed over the years
00:46
Al Borden on advice to aspiring propmasters
00:42

Prop Master

View Profession
Al Borden on some of the "tricks" he used as propmaster for The Colgate Comedy Hour
01:44
Al Borden on how being a propmaster has changed over the years
00:46
Al Borden on advice to aspiring propmasters
00:42
Genres

Game Shows

View Genre
Al Borden on being propmaster for You Bet Your Life
01:34

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Al Borden on being propmaster for The Colgate Comedy Hour
26:34
Al Borden on being propmaster on The Colgate Comedy Hour
17:55
Al Borden on being propmaster for Texaco Star Theater  with Milton Berle
03:22
Al Borden on being propmaster for The Bob Hope Chevy Show
25:38
Al Borden on being propmaster Bob Hope's USO specials
28:29
Al Borden on being propmaster on Bob Hope's specials
04:58
People

Steve Allen

View Interview Page
Al Borden on working with Steve Allen and Jack Paar
02:01

Lucille Ball

View Person Page
Al Borden on Lucille Ball appearing on Bob Hope's specials
02:17

Tallulah Bankhead

View Person Page
Al Borden on working with Jimmy Durante and Tallulah Bankhead on The Colgate Comedy Hour
03:14

Milton Berle

View Interview Page
Al Borden on being propmaster for Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle
03:22
Al Borden on working with George Burns and Milton Berle
02:15

Les Brown

View Person Page
Al Borden on Les Brown
01:08

George Burns

View Person Page
Al Borden on working with George Burns and Milton Berle
02:15

Johnny Carson

View Person Page
Al Borden on working on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
04:20

Fred De Cordova

View Interview Page
Al Borden on working on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
04:20
Al Borden on Fred De Cordova 
00:40

Lou Costello

View Person Page
Al Borden on working with Lou Costello on The Colgate Comedy Hour
02:01

Wally Cox

View Person Page
Al Borden on working with Wally Cox on The Bob Hope Chevy Show
08:41

Phyllis Diller

View Interview Page
Al Borden on Bob Hope's various guest stars
02:41

Jimmy Durante

View Person Page
Al Borden on working with Jimmy Durante and Tallulah Bankhead on The Colgate Comedy Hour
03:14

Ernest D. Glucksman

View Person Page
Al Borden on Ernest D. Glucksman 
03:12

Dolores Hope

View Person Page
Al Borden on Dolores and Linda Hope
09:41

Bob Hope

View Person Page
Al Borden on various stars he worked with in his career
01:56
Al Borden on being propmaster for The Bob Hope Chevy Show
01:08
Al Borden on his final thoughts on Bob Hope
01:21

Mort Lachman

View Interview Page
Al Borden on Mort Lachman
00:35

Jerry Lewis

View Interview Page
Al Borden on the hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour
04:32

Fred MacMurray

View Person Page
Al Borden on Fred MacMurray 
01:43

Dean Martin

View Person Page
Al Borden on the hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour
04:32
Al Borden on Bob Hope's various guest stars
02:41

Harpo Marx

View Person Page
Al Borden on working with Harpo Marx
02:14

Groucho Marx

View Person Page
Al Borden on being propmaster for You Bet Your Life
01:35

Donald O'Connor

View Person Page
Al Borden on Donald O'Connor hosting The Colgate Comedy Hour
05:41

Jack Paar

View Person Page
Al Borden on working with Steve Allen and Jack Paar
00:29

Thomas W. Sarnoff

View Interview Page
Al Borden on Tom Sarnoff 
01:15

Dinah Shore

View Person Page
Al Borden on Dinah Shore
00:31

Red Skelton

View Person Page
Al Borden on Red Skelton
00:45

Danny Thomas

View Person Page
Al Borden on various stars he worked with in his career
01:56
Al Borden on working with Danny Thomas
03:10

John Wayne

View Person Page
Al Borden on various stars he worked with in his career
01:56

Sylvester L. Weaver

View Person Page
Al Borden on Pat Weaver
00:51

Ed Wynn

View Person Page
Al Borden on various stars he worked with in his career
01:56

All Interviews

Q
S