Chuck Fries

Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his nearly five-hour Archive interview, Chuck Fries talks about working at Ziv Television, which produced Sea Hunt and syndicated programming like Highway Patrol. He discusses his stint at Screen Gems working on such shows as I Dream of Jeannie, Hazel, Bewitched, The Flying Nun, and The Patty Duke Show. He recounts being moved over to Columbia Pictures and later being hired as an executive by Metromedia. Fries details forming his own production company, Fries Entertainment, where he worked on many independent made-for-television productions including The Martian Chronicles starring Rock Hudson, The Queen of Mean, A Rumor of War, and The Amazing Spider-Man. He speaks of the many people he's encountered in his career, including Leonard H. Goldenson, William S. Paley, Danny Arnold, Fred Ziv, and others. He concludes by talking about his family, all of whom are in the industry, and about his then-current projects. Morrie Gelman conducted the interview on July 8, 1999 in Beverly Hills, CA.

"I would like to be remembered as the godfather of the television movie."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Chuck Fries on producing The Martian Chronicles scripted by Richard Matheson
Chuck Fries on the culture at Ziv Productions and what it was like to work there
Chuck Fries on the inception of Bewitched at Screen Gems
Chuck Fries on working with Jacques Cousteau on The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau
Chuck Fries on what makes a successful made-for-television movie
Chuck Fries on producing the made-for-television movie A Rumor of War
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on radio programs he listened to and movies he liked in his youth
On his earliest memories of television; on attending Ohio State University and his early produce business; on going to work for Ziv Productions and moving to California

Chapter 2

On his move to Los Angeles; on his early duties at Ziv Television and becoming executive in charge of studio operations for Ziv Television; on working for Fred Ziv and John Simm at Ziv Television
On Ziv Television producing The Cisco Kid; on the cast of The Cisco Kid; on the production and distribution of the show
On the salespeople of Ziv Television and on how the company operated; on transitioning to the business side of Ziv Productions; on Ziv Television filming all their programs and the production of various shows including Sea Hunt, Rough Riders, Highway Patrol, Ripcord, and Men into Space

Chapter 3

On Ziv Productions producing Sea Hunt starring Lloyd Bridges and on producer Ivan Tors; on Ziv Productions producing Highway Patrol starring Broderick Crawford; on the profitability of Ziv Productions and on their most successful shows (Sea Hunt and Highway Patrol)
On the culture at Ziv Productions and what it was like to work there; on leaving Ziv Productions and the end of the company; on going to work for Bill Dozier at Screen Gems

Chapter 4

On Columbia (Screen Gems) being a family business and how the company was run; on Harry Ackerman, Vice President of Production at Screen Gems and on trouble Screen Gems had early on; on John Mitchell, President of Screen Gems, and on how Bill Dozier ran the company
On the inception of Bewitched at Screen Gems; on the staff and politics at Screen Gems; on John Mitchell's role at Screen Gems
On Screen Gems focusing on comedy programming; on Sidney Sheldon, creator of I Dream of Jeannie and The Patty Duke Show

Chapter 5

On his experience in Japan with Sidney Sheldon; on Screen Gems producing The Flying Nun starring Sally Field; on Screen Gems producing The Flintstones created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
On Screen Gems' relationship with ABC and Leonard H. Goldenson; on producing QB VII, the first miniseries; on leaving Columbia Pictures and going to work at Metromedia 

Chapter 6

On going to work for Metromedia and what the company did; on working with Jackie Cooper
On working with Jacques Cousteau on The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau; on the role talent agencies play in television, and on William Morris Agency President Abe Lastfogel; on producing made-for-television movies for Metromedia

Chapter 7

On what makes a successful made-for-television movie; on the duties of an executive producer on a made-for-television movie; on creating Fries Entertainment
On the early associates of Fries Entertainment; on his friendship with David Janssen; on producing The Word and A Rumor of War

Chapter 8

On producing A Rumor of War; on producing The Martian Chronicles scripted by Richard Matheson
On producers dealing with television ratings; on producing various series, pilots, and features including "For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story" for American Playhouse; on Fries Entertainment going public

Chapter 9

On Fries Entertainment going public; on producing The Queen of Mean starring Lloyd Bridges and Suzanne Pleshette; on the bankruptcy of Fries Entertainment in 1991
On then-current projects; on the then-current state of independent television producers; on taking an active role in industry affairs
On how television changed during his career regarding censorship of content; on the impact of cable on the television industry; on career highlights, how he'd like to be remembered, and various people he's worked with in his career

Chapter 10

On various people he's worked with in his career; on his family; on producing the feature "Troop Beverly Hills"
Shows

American Playhouse

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Chuck Fries on producing "For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story" for American Playhouse on PBS

Bewitched

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Chuck Fries on the inception of Bewitched at Screen Gems

Cisco Kid, The

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Chuck Fries on Ziv Television producing The Cisco Kid
Chuck Fries on the cast of The Cisco Kid
Chuck Fries on the production and distribution of The Cisco Kid

Flintstones, The

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Chuck Fries on Screen Gems producing The Flintstones created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera

Flying Nun, The

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Chuck Fries on Screen Gems producing The Flying Nun starring Sally Field

Highway Patrol

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Chuck Fries on Ziv Television filming all their programs and the production of various shows including Sea Hunt, Rough Riders, Highway Patrol, Ripcord, and Men Into Space
Chuck Fries on Ziv Productions producing Highway Patrol starring Broderick Crawford
Chuck Fries on the profitability of Ziv Productions and on their most successful shows (Sea Hunt and Highway Patrol)

I Dream of Jeannie

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Chuck Fries on Sidney Sheldon, creator of I Dream of Jeannie and The Patty Duke Show

Patty Duke Show, The

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Chuck Fries on Sidney Sheldon, creator of I Dream of Jeannie and The Patty Duke Show

QB VII

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Chuck Fries on producing QB VII, the first miniseries

Sea Hunt

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Chuck Fries on Ziv Television filming all their programs and the production of various shows including Sea Hunt, Rough Riders, Highway Patrol, Ripcord, and Men Into Space
Chuck Fries on Ziv Productions producing Sea Hunt starring Lloyd Bridges and on producer Ivan Tors
Chuck Fries on the profitability of Ziv Productions and on their most successful shows (Sea Hunt and Highway Patrol)

Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, The

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Chuck Fries on working with Jacques Cousteau on The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Chuck Fries on how television changed during his career regarding censorship of content

First Big Break

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Chuck Fries on going to work for Ziv Productions and moving to California

Pivotal Career Moments

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Chuck Fries on going to work for Ziv Productions and moving to California

Television Industry

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Chuck Fries on the profitability of Ziv Productions and on their most successful shows (Sea Hunt and Highway Patrol)
Chuck Fries on the history of Screen Gems
Chuck Fries on Columbia (Screen Gems) being a family business and how the company was run
Chuck Fries on Harry Ackerman, Vice President of Production at Screen Gems and on trouble Screen Gems had early on
Chuck Fries on John Mitchell, President of Screen Gems, and on how Bill Dozier ran the company
Chuck Fries on the staff and politics at Screen Gems
Chuck Fries on Screen Gems focusing on comedy programming
Chuck Fries on Screen Gems' relationship with ABC and Leonard H. Goldenson
Chuck Fries on going to work for Metromedia and what the company did
Chuck Fries on the role talent agencies play on television, and on William Morris Agency President Abe Lastfogel
Chuck Fries on creating Fries Entertainment
Chuck Fries on the early associates of Fries Entertainment
Chuck Fries on the duties of an executive producer on a made-for-television movie
Chuck Fries on producers dealing with television ratings
Chuck Fries on Fries Entertainment going public
Chuck Fries on Fries Entertainment going public
Chuck Fries on the bankruptcy of Fries Entertainment in 1991
Chuck Fries on the then-current state of independent television producers 
Chuck Fries on taking an active role in industry affairs
Chuck Fries on how television changed during his career regarding censorship of content
Chuck Fries on the impact of cable on the television industry
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

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Chuck Fries on Ziv Productions producing Sea Hunt starring Lloyd Bridges and on producer Ivan Tors

Animation

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Chuck Fries on Screen Gems producing The Flintstones  created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera

Classic Anthology Series

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Chuck Fries on producing "For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story" for American Playhouse  on PBS

Comedy Series

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Chuck Fries on the inception of Bewitched at Screen Gems
Chuck Fries on Screen Gems producing The Flying Nun  starring Sally Field

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Chuck Fries on Ziv Productions producing Highway Patrol starring Broderick Crawford

News and Documentary

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Chuck Fries on working with Jacques Cousteau on The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Chuck Fries on producing QB VII, the first miniseries
Chuck Fries on producing the miniseries The Word written by Dick Berg
Chuck Fries on producing the made-for-television movie A Rumor of War
Chuck Fries on producing A Rumor of War
Chuck Fries on producing The Martian Chronicles
Chuck Fries on producing The Queen of Mean starring Lloyd Bridges and Suzanne Pleshette

Western Series

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Chuck Fries on Ziv Television producing The Cisco Kid
People

Harry Ackerman

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Chuck Fries on Harry Ackerman, Vice President of Production at Screen Gems and on trouble Screen Gems had early on

Danny Arnold

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Chuck Fries on Danny Arnold

James T. Aubrey

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Chuck Fries on various people he's worked with in his career: James T. Aubrey

Joseph Barbera

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Chuck Fries on Screen Gems producing The Flintstones created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera

Dick Berg

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Chuck Fries on producing the miniseries The World written by Dick Berg

Shirley Booth

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Chuck Fries on various people he's worked with in his career: Shirley Booth

Ray Bradbury

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Chuck Fries on Rock Hudson in The Martin Chronicles and Ray Bradbury's displeasure with the project

Lloyd Bridges

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Chuck Fries on Ziv Productions producing Sea Hunt starring Lloyd Bridges and on producer Ivan Tors
Chuck Fries on producing The Queen of Mean starring Lloyd Bridges and Suzanne Pleshette

Eddie Cantor

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Chuck Fries on various people he's worked with in his career: Eddie Cantor

Jackie Cooper

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Chuck Fries on working with Jackie Cooper

Jacques Cousteau

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Chuck Fries on working with Jacques Cousteau on The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau

Broderick Crawford

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Chuck Fries on Ziv Productions producing Highway Patrol starring Broderick Crawford

Bill Dozier

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Chuck Fries on going to work for Bill Dozier at Screen Gems
Chuck Fries on John Mitchell, President of Screen Gems, and on how Bill Dozier ran the company

Barbara Eden

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Chuck Fries on various people he's worked with in his career: Barbara Eden

Michael Eisner

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Chuck Fries on various people he's worked with in his career: Michael Eisner

Sally Field

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Chuck Fries on Screen Gems producing The Flying Nun starring Sally Field

David Gerber

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Chuck Fries on David Gerber

Leonard H. Goldenson

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Chuck Fries on Screen Gems' relationship with ABC and Leonard H. Goldenson
Chuck Fries on various people he's worked with in his career: Leonard H. Goldenson

William Hanna

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Chuck Fries on Screen Gems producing The Flintstones created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera

Rock Hudson

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Chuck Fries on Rock Hudson in The Martin Chronicles and Ray Bradbury's displeasure with the project

David Janssen

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Chuck Fries on his friendship with David Janssen

Abe Lastfogel

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Chuck Fries on the role talent agencies play in television, and on William Morris Agency President Abe Lastfogel

Bob Markell

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Chuck Fries on Bob Markell

Richard Matheson

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Chuck Fries on producing The Martian Chronicles scripted by Richard Matheson

John Mitchell

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Chuck Fries on John Mitchell, President of Screen Gems, and on how Bill Dozier ran the company
Chuck Fries on John Mitchell's role at Screen Gems

William S. Paley

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Chuck Fries on various people he's worked with in his career: William S. Paley

Suzanne Pleshette

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Chuck Fries on producing The Queen of Mean starring Lloyd Bridges and Suzanne Pleshette

Rob Reiner

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Chuck Fries on various people he's worked with in his career: Rob Reiner

Sherwood Schwartz

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Chuck Fries on various people he's worked with in his career: Sherwood Schwartz

Sidney Sheldon

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Chuck Fries on Sidney Sheldon, creator of I Dream of Jeannie and The Patty Duke Show
Chuck Fries on his experience in Japan with Sidney Sheldon

Fred Silverman

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Chuck Fries on Fred Silverman

Brandon Stoddard

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Chuck Fries on Brandon Stoddard

Brandon Tartikoff

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Chuck Fries on Brandon Tartikoff

Danny Thomas

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Chuck Fries on various people he's worked with in his career: Danny Thomas

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