Bob Costello

Producer / Unit Manager


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-hour Archive interview, Bob Costello (Robert E. Costello, 1921-2014) discusses his start at NBC as a production manager on many live shows including Mr. Peepers, on which he worked closely with producer Fred Coe. He talks about how he went on to produce The Armstrong Circle Theater and The Patty Duke Show. He then discusses becoming a producer on the daytime dramas Another World, One Life to Live, and Ryan's Hope, for which he won multiple Emmys. Henry Colman conducted the interview in New York, NY on October 19, 1998.

"I think  television is basically an entertainment art. If you entertain, within certain parameters, I think then it's at its best. For instance, on Armstrong, my dictum, and everybody agreed, was that we have to entertain first, even if we're doing a drama. If you don't entertain them, they're not going to watch. It doesn't matter how valid your information is."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Bob Costello on producing Armstrong Circle Theatre; on the Armstrong Cirlcle Theatre production of "Nightmare in Red" about Communism; on his dealings with McCarthyism and the Blacklist
Bob Costello on producing Dark Shadows
Bob Costello on producing The Adams Chronicles
Bob Costello on directing One Life to Live starting in 1972
Bob Costello on producing The Patty Duke Show for a year
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years, influences, and education; on attending Dartmouth University and then serving in U.S. Armed Forces during World War II; on teaching drama at Yale University

Chapter 2

On working at a European circus
On returning to New York and starting his career in television; on working on an early broadcast of Your Pet Parade; on becoming a Unit Manager at NBC; on some of the early shows he worked on; on televising President Eisenhower
On working to secure props on the comedy series Mr. Peepers

Chapter 3

On working on Mr. Peepers; on the cast and crew; on some of the memorable storylines

Chapter 4

On associate producing the sitcom Bonino; on working on the anthology series Appointment with Adventure; on working on Kukla, Fran and Ollie when they performed in New York; on working on Armstrong Circle Theatre and becoming producer when the show went to an hour format

Chapter 5

On producing Armstrong Circle Theatre; on the Armstrong Cirlcle Theatre production of "Nightmare in Red" about Communism; on his dealings with McCarthyism and the Blacklist; on working on The Nurses

Chapter 6

On leaving The Nurses; on the advent of 2-inch videotape; on producing The Patty Duke Show for a year; on working as an art director for Information Management Facility; on producing Dark Shadows

Chapter 7

On producing Strange Paradise; on producing The Secret Storm; on becoming a director for One Life to Live; on producing The Adams Chronicles for PBS and reuniting with Fred Coe; on producing Ryan's Hope; on producing Another World; on executive producing The Doctors; on becoming a professor at NYU

Chapter 8

On what makes a good producer; on producing successful daytime series; on television at its best; on television audiences; on how he would like to be remembered
On working with people in the TV industry including: Agnes Nixon, Tad Mosel, Marion Lorne, David Swift, JP Miller, Ethel Winant, Douglas Edwards, Patty Duke, Claire Labine and Paul Mayer, and Fred Coe
Shows

Adams Chronicles, The

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Bob Costello on producing The Adams Chronicles

Appointment with Adventure

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Bob Costello on working on Appointment with Adventure

Armstrong Circle Theatre

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Bob Costello on working on Armstrong Circle Theatre and becoming producer when the show went to an hour format
Bob Costello on producing Armstrong Circle Theatre; on the Armstrong Cirlcle Theatre production of "Nightmare in Red" about Communism; on his dealings with McCarthyism and the Blacklist

Bonino

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Bob Costello on associate producing Bonino

Dark Shadows

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Bob Costello on producing Dark Shadows

Doctors, The

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Bob Costello on producing The Doctors (and discusses its eventual demise)

Kukla, Fran & Ollie

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Bob Costello on working on Kukla, Fran and Ollie in New York; on film actors not wanting to appear on television

Mister Peepers

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Bob Costello on working as a property manager on Mr. Peepers
Bob Costello on working in production on Mr. Peepers

Nurses, The

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Bob Costello on working with Herbert Brodkin on The Nurses

One Life to Live

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Bob Costello on directing One Life to Live starting in 1972

Patty Duke Show, The

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Bob Costello on producing The Patty Duke Show for a year

Ryan's Hope

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Bob Costello on becoming a producer of Ryan's Hope in 1975 (to 1978)

Secret Storm, The

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Bob Costello on producing The Secret Storm in its last year
Topics

Dwight D. Eisenhower

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NBC Unit Manager Bob Costello on televising President Eisenhower's speeches

Hollywood Blacklist

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Bob Costello on producing Armstrong Circle Theatre; on the Armstrong Cirlcle Theatre production of "Nightmare in Red" about Communism; on his dealings with McCarthyism and the Blacklist

Technological Innovation

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Bob Costello on being a unit manager at NBC when the network was experimenting with color tV
People

Herbert Brodkin

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Bob Costello on working with Herbert Brodkin on The Nurses

Fred Coe

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Bob Costello on working as a property manager on Mr. Peepers
Bob Costello on working in production on Mr. Peepers
Bob Costello on producing The Adams Chronicles

Wally Cox

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Bob Costello on working in production on Mr. Peepers

Dan Curtis

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Bob Costello on producing Dark Shadows

Patty Duke

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Bob Costello on producing The Patty Duke Show for a year

Agnes Nixon

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Bob Costello on directing One Life to Live starting in 1972

Sidney Sheldon

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Bob Costello on producing The Patty Duke Show for a year

David Susskind

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Bob Costello on working on Armstrong Circle Theatre and becoming producer when the show went to an hour format

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