Albert Heschong

Art Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his over three-hour Archive interview, Albert Heschong (1919-2001) speaks at length about the craft of art direction for television, and details his own background in theatrical productions.  He recalls his first foray into television at ABC in New York, where he worked on such productions as Pulitzer Prize Playhouse, Celanese Theater and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, for which he created the interior of a space-traveling ship. He also discusses his work on the respected anthology series U.S. Steel Hour, recalling individual teleplays including "Hedda Gabler," "The Last Notch" and "No Time For Sergeants." He then explains his career transition to CBS in Los Angeles, where he was assigned to the famed anthology series Climax! and Playhouse 90. He discusses the Playhouse 90 teleplay for which he won an Emmy, "Requiem for a Heavyweight." Mr. Heschong next talks about his work on the popular western shows Gunsmoke and Wild, Wild West and the many special effects and technical tricks they employed. He explains his involvement in the production design of the CBS Affiliate Conventions during the 1960's and 1970's, and the elaborate lengths they went to in their décor. Mr. Heschong recalls working on dozens of television movies in the 1970's and 1980's, including one memorable location shoot in Denver, Colorado that nearly pushed his problem solving skills to the limit. Finally, he discusses his most recent work, prior to his retirement in the early 1990's, including the pilots for Hawaii Five-0, Major Dad and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Henry Colman conducted the interview in Encino, California on June 13, 2000. 

"The trick is not to have a style, but to be able to do any style."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Albert Heschong on art directing Celanese Theatre, and on working with director Alex Segal
Albert Heschong on art directing the Playhouse 90 production of "Requiem for a Heavyweight," for which he won an Emmy Award
Albert Heschong on the challenge of crafting on airplane set, including on Spencer's Pilots
Albert Heschong on directing My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on attending Carnegie Tech; on his activities during World War II and on doing sets for "Pursuit of Happiness"
On the 1939 World's Fair; on his first television job at ABC as art director; on art directing Pulitzer Prize Playhouse

Chapter 2

On the facilities at ABC, and on art directing Broadway plays and feature films; on art directing Celanese Theatre, and on working with director Alex Segal
On his style, and on the duties on an art director; on collaborating with the director as art director, and on where he was while the show was airing; on the duties of the set decorator and prop master

Chapter 3

On the process of the set designer; on art directors dealing with the technological limitations of early television; on art directors making the transition from black and white to color
On being art director for The United States Steel Hour; on being art director for The United States Steel Hour production of "No Time for Sergeants"; on moving over to CBS

Chapter 4

On art directing The United States Steel Hour production of "A Garden in the Sea"; on moving over to CBS, and on production designing for The Red Skelton Show; on doing art direction for Climax!
On art directing the Playhouse 90 production of "Requiem for a Heavyweight," for which he won an Emmy Award; on the process of art directing Playhouse 90, and on working with various directors on the show; on working with John Houseman on the show
On art directing for Adventures in Paradise; on returning to CBS and art directing various shows including Gunsmoke and Pete and Gladys

Chapter 5

On being hired on Gunsmoke as the production designer; on working with "forced perspective" on Gunsmoke; on working with the cast and crew of Gunsmoke, and on the sets of the show
On becoming head of the art department at CBS, and working on events for affiliates; on art directing for The Wild Wild West and Hawaii Five-O
On art directing for The Bob Newhart Show; on art directing several made for television movies

Chapter 6

On art directing My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn; on art directing the made for television movie Visions
On his time at the head of the art department at CBS, and on the changes he made while there; on being involved with creating special effects on shows, and on some memorable effects from The Wild Wild West
On the challenge of crafting on airplane set, including on Spencer's Pilots; on art directors location scouting

Chapter 7

On his retirement from CBS, and on going to work for MTM Productions and various pilots; on his retirement; on his design style
On advice to an aspiring art director; on the then-current state of art direction on television; on career highlights and regrets
On his mentor; on how he'd like to be remembered

Chapter 8

On b-roll, pictures from his career- at ABC studios in New York City; in his office at ABC; with a producer at the Theatre Guild; main set for The United States Steel Hour; kitchen set for Playhouse 90; drawing room set for Playhouse 90; Playhouse 90 set for the episode "Dark December"; exterior of Playhouse 90 "Dark December" set; sketch for eventual Playhouse 90 set; concept sketch for Playhouse 90 ; exterior set for the Playhouse 90 episode "Wings of a Dove"; interior for Playhouse 90 "Wings of a Dove"; Playhouse 90 set; Playhouse 90 set for "Innocent Sleep"; the outdoor set for Playhouse 90's "Miracle Worker"; Playhouse 90 railroad set; interior Playhouse 90 set; Playhouse 90 set, reused in several episodes; set for Playhouse 90's "One Coat of White"; Playhouse 90 set for "Rank and File"
On b-roll, pictures from his career- various street and interior sets from Playhouse 90's "Requiem for a Heavyweight"; with Rod Serling after having won an Emmy Award for "Requiem for a Heavyweight"

Chapter 9

On b-roll pictures from his career- sketches for Gunsmoke; exterior Gunsmoke sets; miniatures of Gunsmoke sets; pictures of Gunsmoke interior sets; sequence of sketches made for the pilot of Hawaii Five-O; illustrations done for yearly event at CBS Television City
Shows

Adventures in Paradise

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on art directing for Adventures in Paradise

Bob Newhart Show, The (1972-78)

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on art directing for The Bob Newhart Show

Celanese Theatre

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on art directing Celanese Theatre, and on working with director Alex Segal

Climax!

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on doing art direction for Climax!

Gunsmoke

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on returning to CBS and art directing various shows including Gunsmoke and Pete and Gladys
Albert Heschong on being hired on Gunsmoke as the production designer
Albert Heschong on working with "forced perspective" on Gunsmoke
Albert Heschong on working with the cast and crew of Gunsmoke, and on the sets of the show

Hawaii Five-O

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on art directing for The Wild Wild West and Hawaii Five-O

My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on directing My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn

Pete and Gladys

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on returning to CBS and art directing various shows including Gunsmoke and Pete and Gladys

Playhouse 90

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on art directing the Playhouse 90 production of "Requiem for a Heavyweight," for which he won an Emmy Award
Albert Heschong on art directing the Playhouse 90 production of "The Miracle Worker"
Albert Heschong on the process of art directing Playhouse 90, and on working with various directors on the show

Playhouse 90: "Requiem for a Heavyweight"

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on art directing the Playhouse 90 production of "Requiem for a Heavyweight," for which he won an Emmy Award

Playhouse 90: "The Miracle Worker"

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on art directing the Playhouse 90 production of "The Miracle Worker"

Pulitzer Prize Playhouse

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on art directing Pulitzer Prize Playhouse

Red Skelton Show, The

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on moving over to CBS, and on production designing for The Red Skelton Show

United States Steel Hour, The

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on being art director for The United States Steel Hour
Albert Heschong on being art director for various episodes of The United States Steel Hour, and on going to work for CBS
Albert Heschong on being art director for The United States Steel Hour production of "No Time for Sergeants"
Albert Heschong on art directing The United States Steel Hour production of "A Garden in the Sea"

United States Steel Hour, The: "No Time for Sergeants"

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on being art director for The United States Steel Hour production of "No Time for Sergeants"

Visions...

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on art directing the made for television movie Visions...

Wild Wild West, The

View Show Page
Albert Heschong on art directing for The Wild Wild West and Hawaii Five-O
Topics

1939-40 World's Fair

View Topic
Albert Heschong on the 1939 World's Fair

Advice

View Topic
Albert Heschong on advice to an aspiring art director

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Albert Heschong on his mentor

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Albert Heschong on his activities during World War II and on doing sets for "Pursuit of Happiness"
Albert Heschong on the 1939 World's Fair

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Albert Heschong on his mentor

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Albert Heschong on art directors making the transition from black and white to color

Television Industry

View Topic
Albert Heschong on advice to an aspiring art director
Albert Heschong on the then-current state of art direction on television

War

View Topic
Albert Heschong on his activities during World War II and on doing sets for "Pursuit of Happiness"

World War II

View Topic
Albert Heschong on his activities during World War II and on doing sets for "Pursuit of Happiness"
Professions

Art Director/Set Decorator

View Profession
Albert Heschong on his style, and on the duties and process of an art director
Albert Heschong on collaborating with the director as art director, and on where he was while the show was airing
Albert Heschong on the duties of the set decorator
Albert Heschong on art directors working with the crew
Albert Heschong on art directors dealing with the technological limitations of early television
Albert Heschong on art directors working with various locations, including outdoor scenes
Albert Heschong on being involved with creating special effects on shows, and on some memorable effects from The Wild Wild West
Albert Heschong on the challenge of crafting on airplane set, including on Spencer's Pilots
Albert Heschong on his design style
Albert Heschong on advice to an aspiring art director

Designers

View Profession
Albert Heschong on his style, and on the duties on an art director
Albert Heschong on collaborating with the director as art director, and on where he was while the show was airing
Albert Heschong on the duties of the set decorator
Albert Heschong on the duties of the prop master
Albert Heschong on the process of the set designer
Albert Heschong on art directors working with the crew
Albert Heschong on art directors dealing with the technological limitations of early television
Albert Heschong on art directors working with various locations, including outdoor scenes
Albert Heschong on being involved with creating special effects on shows, and on some memorable effects from The Wild Wild West
Albert Heschong on the challenge of crafting on airplane set, including on Spencer's Pilots
Albert Heschong on art directors location scouting
Albert Heschong on his design style
Albert Heschong on advice to an aspiring art director

Production Designer

View Profession
Albert Heschong on art directors location scouting

Prop Master

View Profession
Albert Heschong on the duties of the prop master

Set Designer

View Profession
Albert Heschong on the process of the set designer
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

View Genre
Albert Heschong on art directing for Adventures in Paradise
Albert Heschong on the challenge of crafting on airplane set, including on Spencer's Pilots

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Albert Heschong on art directing Pulitzer Prize Playhouse
Albert Heschong on art directing Celanese Theatre, and on working with director Alex Segal
Albert Heschong on art directing for The United States Steel Hour
Albert Heschong on art directing The United States Steel Hour production of "A Garden in the Sea"
Albert Heschong on art directing Playhouse 90

Comedy Series

View Genre
Albert Heschong on returning to CBS and art directing various shows including Gunsmoke and Pete and Gladys
Albert Heschong on art directing for The Bob Newhart Show

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Albert Heschong on art directing for The Wild Wild West and Hawaii Five-O

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Albert Heschong on moving over to CBS, and on production designing for The Red Skelton Show

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Albert Heschong on art directing several made for television movies
Albert Heschong on directing My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn
Albert Heschong on art directing the made for television movie Visions

Western Series

View Genre
Albert Heschong on returning to CBS and art directing various shows including Gunsmoke and Pete and Gladys
Albert Heschong on being hired on Gunsmoke as the production designer
Albert Heschong on art directing for The Wild Wild West and Hawaii Five-O
Albert Heschong on being involved with creating special effects on shows, and on some memorable effects from The Wild Wild West
People

John Houseman

View Person Page
Albert Heschong on working with John Houseman on Playhouse 90

Alex Segal

View Person Page
Albert Heschong on art directing Celanese Theatre, and on working with director Alex Segal

All Interviews

Q
S