Arthur Penn

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his nearly three-hour interview, noted director Arthur Penn (1922-2010) gives a fascinating perspective on directing for television. He highlights his early jobs with many live shows including Producer's Showcase, Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and Playhouse 90. Penn reminisces about legendary producer Fred Coe and relates how his television experience prepared him for his motion picture career, which includes the classics "Miracle Worker," "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Little Big Man." Henry Colman conducted the interview on October 21, 1998 in New York City, New York.

"None of us realized the potency yet of this medium--how many homes it was going to, what kind of affect it was having on people and so forth.. I think everybody who works in the visual medium would love to have that kind of innocence again."

Highlights
Arthur Penn on being hired as a floor manager at NBC in New York, and on working on the Colgate Comedy Hour
06:12
Arthur Penn on Playhouse 90's productions of "Dark Side of the Earth" with Van Heflin and "Portrait of a Murderer"
05:13
Arthur Penn on the Playwright's 56 episode "The Battler" which was to star James Dean
02:32
Arthur Penn on directing "Bonnie and Clyde" with Warren Beatty
03:44
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on favorite radio programs, and on how the Great Depression impacted his family; on attending the 1939 World's Fair
On his experience with World War II, and on meeting Fred Coe and Lester Shorr; on putting on plays while touring around Europe during World War II

Chapter 2

On various people he met while attending college; on being hired as a floor manager at NBC in New York, and on working on the Colgate Comedy Hour; on learning about directing while he was the floor manager of The Colgate Comedy Hour, and on the production schedule for the show
On becoming associate director for The Colgate Comedy Hour, and on going to work for Fred Coe; on Fred Coe's approach to producing, and on Coe's strengths and weaknesses; on the challenges of directing Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

Chapter 3

On directing Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse from the control room and on the atmosphere on a live television show; on "The Lawn Party" show on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse , written by Tad Mosel; on the writing process on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and Fred Coe's involvement on the show
On how Producer's Showcase came about; on directing for Playhouse 90; the potency of television at the time; on the Playwright's 56 episode "The Battler" which was to star James Dean and starred Paul Newman

Chapter 4

On directing Playhouse 90; on bloopers on Playhouse 90; on Playhouse 90's productions of "Dark Side of the Earth" with Van Heflin and "Portrait of a Murderer"
On his various projects with Fred Coe, and on getting involved in directing feature films; on his battles with studio executives; on directing the play "Two for the Seasaw"
On being an advisor to the John F. Kennedy campaign; on directing Tad Mosel's "All the Way Home"

Chapter 5

On directing the feature film version of "The Miracle Worker"; on directing "Bonnie and Clyde" with Warren Beatty; on directing Flesh and Blood
On directing the feature film "Alice's Restaurant" and "Little Big Man" and on then-current projects; on what represents the best of television; on advice he's given his son about directing
On the legacies of Fred Coe and Martin Manulis; on how directing live television prepared him to direct plays and feature films; on the then-future of television, and how he'd like to be remembered, and on various people he's worked with in his career

Chapter 6

On actors, directors and producers he's worked with: Rod Serling, Ethel Winant, William Gibson, Marlon Brando, Fred Coe
Shows

Colgate Comedy Hour, The

View Show Page
Arthur Penn on being hired as a floor manager at NBC in New York, and on working on The Colgate Comedy Hour
06:12
Arthur Penn on learning about directing while he was the floor manager of The Colgate Comedy Hour, and on the production schedule for the show
02:55
Arthur Penn on becoming associate director for The Colgate Comedy Hour, and on going to work for Fred Coe
05:46

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

View Show Page
Arthur Penn on the challenges of directing Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
03:59
Arthur Penn on directing Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse from the control room and on the atmosphere on a live television show
06:16
Arthur Penn on "The Lawn Party" show on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse , written by Tad Mosel
06:09
Arthur Penn on the writing process on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and Fred Coe's involvement on the show
04:02

Playhouse 90

View Show Page
Arthur Penn on directing for Playhouse 90; the potency of television at the time
02:42
Arthur Penn on directing Playhouse 90
02:56
Arthur Penn on bloopers on Playhouse 90
02:00
Arthur Penn on Playhouse 90's productions of "Dark Side of the Earth" with Van Heflin and "Portrait of a Murderer"
05:13

Playwrights '56

View Show Page
Arthur Penn on the Playwright's 56 episode "The Battler" which was to star James Dean
02:32

Producers' Showcase

View Show Page
Arthur Penn on how Producer's Showcase came about
06:46
Topics

1939-40 World's Fair

View Topic
Arthur Penn on attending the 1939 World's Fair
00:37

Advice

View Topic
Arthur Penn on advice he's given his son about directing, and on general advice to aspiring directors
01:48

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Arthur Penn on attending the 1939 World's Fair
00:37
Arthur Penn on his experience with World War II, and on meeting Fred Coe and Lester Shorr
09:20
Arthur Penn on putting on plays while touring around Europe during World War II
06:16

John F. Kennedy

View Topic
Arthur Penn on being an advisor to the John F. Kennedy campaign
06:00

Kennedy-Nixon Debates

View Topic
Arthur Penn on being an advisor to the John F. Kennedy campaign
06:00

Richard M. Nixon

View Topic
Arthur Penn on being an advisor to the John F. Kennedy campaign
06:01

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Arthur Penn on the coaxial cable which connected the two coasts

Television Industry

View Topic
Arthur Penn on what represents the best of television
01:12
Arthur Penn on advice he's given his son about directing
01:48
Arthur Penn on the then-future of television, and how he'd like to be remembered
02:08

War

View Topic
Arthur Penn on his experience with World War II, and on meeting Fred Coe and Lester Shorr
09:20
Arthur Penn on putting on plays while touring around Europe during World War II
06:16

World War II

View Topic
Arthur Penn on his experience with World War II, and on meeting Fred Coe and Lester Shorr
09:20
Arthur Penn on putting on plays while touring around Europe during World War II
06:16
Professions

Directors

View Profession
Arthur Penn on how directing live television prepared him to direct plays and feature films
02:04
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Arthur Penn on directing Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
16:27
Arthur Penn on directing for Playhouse 90
02:42
Arthur Penn on the Playwright's 56 episode "The Battler" which was to star James Dean
02:32
Arthur Penn on directing Playhouse 90
10:09
People

Warren Beatty

View Person Page
Arthur Penn on directing "Bonnie and Clyde" with Warren Beatty, and on how his television direction impacted his style
03:44

Fred Coe

View Person Page
Arthur Penn on his experience with World War II, and on meeting Fred Coe and Lester Shorr
09:20
Arthur Penn on Fred Coe's approach to producing, and on Coe's strengths and weaknesses
03:54
Arthur Penn on the writing process on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and Fred Coe's involvement on the show
04:02
Arthur Penn on the Kennedy-Nixon Debates. When asked by a Kennedy friend his advice on shooting the televised debate, he and Fred Coe made the suggestion "close-ups"
06:00
Arthur Penn on his various projects with Fred Coe, and on getting involved in directing feature films
03:59
Arthur Penn on the legacies of Fred Coe and Martin Manulis
02:02

James Dean

View Person Page
Arthur Penn on the Playwright's 56 episode "The Battler" which was to star James Dean
02:32

Martin Manulis

View Interview Page
Arthur Penn on the legacies of Fred Coe and Martin Manulis
02:00

Tad Mosel

View Interview Page
Arthur Penn on "The Lawn Party" show on Philco, written by Tad Mosel; describing the talents of Mosel
06:09
Arthur Penn on directing Tad Mosel's play "All the Way Home"
01:29

All Interviews

Q
S