Alan A. Armer

Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Alan A. Armer (1922-2010) talks about his early years growing up during the Great Depression. He acknowledges winning a World's Fastest Talker contest, while a teenager, speaking 617 words in 57 seconds. He speaks about his studies in speech and drama and his practical experience as an announcer in radio. He describes his years in local television in Los Angeles at KNBH (now KNBC) where he worked in many capacities and developed the series Lights, Camera, Action, a showcase for new young acting talent. He chronicles his work as a producer at 20th Century Fox in series television, where he produced My Friend Flicka and Broken Arrow. With Broken Arrow's production falling during the era of the Hollywood Blacklist, Armer reveals that the series' original writers could not be hired, rejected by the sponsor (but that he later employed them on The Fugitive). He speaks in great detail about his association as executive producer with the classic crime series The Untouchables. For this series, he comments on the controversy that arose due to the show's portrayal of Italian-Americans, the necessity to tone down the show's depiction of violence, and Robert Stack's performance as Eliot Ness. He then talks about his work with Quinn Martin on the series The Fugitive. For The Fugitive, he gives his impressions of the cast, comments on the series highly-rated finale, and notes the series' Emmy win for Best Drama Series. He also touches on later Quinn Martin-produced series The Invaders and Cannon. Finally, he talks about serving as Chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in the early 1970s, and the increase in membership and creation of the Film Group screenings during his tenure. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview on July 15, 2008 in Los Angeles, CA.

"It was a pattern we used successfully in The Untouchables, where the framework for the series would be 'the fugitive' running from the law and there would be a human-dimensional story about the characters 'the fugitive' would become involved with. That's really what made the series work."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Alan A. Armer on how he came to produce The Untouchables
Alan A. Armer on The Fugitive possibly being based on real-life events, and on series producer Roy Huggins
Alan A. Armer on producing The Invaders with Quinn Martin, starring Roy Thinnes as "David Vincent"
Alan A. Armer on working with producer Quinn Martin on The Fugitive
Alan A. Armer on his involvement with the Television Academy
Alan A. Armer on moving over to 20th Century Fox and producing My Friend Flicka
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on entering a "fast talking contest" as a kid; on his education, and on being a disc jockey
On his early experience with television; on his radio career; on creating and producing Lights, Camera, Action!
On appearing in commercials; on working with director Walter Grauman on Lights, Camera, Action!; on the Hollywood Blacklist
On moving over to 20th Century Fox and producing My Friend Flicka ; on producing Broken Arrow; on producing Man Without a Gun

Chapter 2

On how he came to produce The Untouchables; on what was attractive about the characters on The Untouchables, and on audiences rooting for the bad guys
On the historical accuracy of The Untouchables and on the events it was based on; on the violence on The Untouchables, and on the ratings of the show
On how The Fugitive came about; on The Fugitive possibly being based on real-life events, and on series producer Roy Huggins; on the ending of The Fugitive, and on working with series producer Quinn Martin

Chapter 3

On the legacy of The Fugitive; on his producing style; on winning an Emmy Award for The Fugitive, and on the end of the show
On producing The Invaders with Quinn Martin, starring Roy Thinnes as "David Vincent"; on the end of The Invaders; on producing Cannon with Quinn Martin
On producing Lancer; on his involvement with the Television Academy; on becoming a teacher, and on producing Westside Medical
On becoming a teacher, and on producing Westside Medical; on career achievements and regrets; on advice to aspiring producers, and on what makes a story work; on how he would like to be remembered
Shows

Broken Arrow

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Alan A. Armer on producing Broken Arrow

Cannon

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Alan A. Armer on producing Cannon with Quinn Martin

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Alan A. Armer on winning an Emmy for The Fugitive

Fugitive, The

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Alan A. Armer on how The Fugitive came about
Alan A. Armer on The Fugitive possibly being based on real-life events, and on series producer Roy Huggins
Alan A. Armer on the finale of The Fugitive, and on how it was received
Alan A. Armer on working with producer Quinn Martin on The Fugitive
Alan A. Armer on David Janssen as "Dr. Richard Kimble" on The Fugitive
Alan A. Armer on the rest of the cast of The Fugitive
Alan A. Armer on the legacy of The Fugitive, and on what he looked for in a writer
Alan A. Armer on winning an Emmy Award for The Fugitive
Alan A. Armer on the end of The Fugitive

Invaders, The

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Alan A. Armer on producing The Invaders with Quinn Martin, starring Roy Thinnes as "David Vincent"
Alan A. Armer on the end of The Invaders

Lights, Camera, Action!

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Alan A. Armer on creating and producing Lights, Camera, Action!
Alan A. Armer on working with director Walter Grauman on Lights, Camera, Action!

Untouchables, The

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Alan A. Armer on how he came to produce The Untouchables
Alan A. Armer on the popularity of The Untouchables, which he produced
Alan A. Armer on what was attractive about the characters on The Untouchables, and on audiences rooting for the bad guys
Alan A. Armer on the historical accuracy of The Untouchables, and on the events it was based on
Alan A. Armer on the violence on The Untouchables, and on the ratings of the show
Topics

Advice

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Alan A. Armer on advice to aspiring producers, and on what makes a story work

Characters & Catchphrases

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Alan A. Armer on David Janssen as "Dr. Richard Kimble" on The Fugitive

Classic TV series episodes

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Alan Armer on the finale of The Fugitive, and on how it was received

Criticism of TV

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Alan A. Armer on the violence on The Untouchables and on the ratings of the show

Drama

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Alan Armer on the finale of The Fugitive, and on how it was received

Emmy Awards

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Alan A. Armer on winning an Emmy for The Fugitive

Hollywood Blacklist

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Alan A. Armer on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Alan A. Armer on the Hollywood Blacklist

Pop Culture

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Alan A. Armer on David Janssen as "Dr. Richard Kimble" on The Fugitive
Alan Armer on the finale of The Fugitive, and on how it was received

Sex & Violence

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Alan A. Armer on the violence on The Untouchables and on the ratings of the show

Television Industry

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Alan A. Armer on the Hollywood Blacklist
Alan A. Armer on the violence on The Untouchables and on the ratings of the show
Alan A. Armer on advice to aspiring producers, and on what makes a story work
Professions

Producers

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Alan A. Armer on his producing style
Alan A. Armer on advice to aspiring producers, and on what makes a story work
Genres

Commercials

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Alan A. Armer on appearing in commercials

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Alan A. Armer on producing The Fugitive
Alan A. Armer on producing Cannon with Quinn Martin
Alan A. Armer on producing Lancer

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

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Alan A. Armer on producing The Invaders
People

Roy Huggins

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Alan A. Armer on The Fugitive possibly being based on real-life events, and on series producer Roy Huggins

David Janssen

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Alan A. Armer on David Janssen as "Dr. Richard Kimble" on The Fugitive

Quinn Martin

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Alan A. Armer on working with producer Quinn Martin on The Fugitive
Alan A. Armer on producing The Invaders with Quinn Martin, starring Roy Thinnes as "David Vincent"
Alan A. Armer on producing Cannon with Quinn Martin

Roy Thinnes

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Alan A. Armer on producing The Invaders with Quinn Martin, starring Roy Thinnes as "David Vincent"

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