David Gerber

Executive / Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, David Gerber (1923-2010) talks about his start in television working as a television supervisor and as a packager at Famous Artists Agency. He describes becoming familiar with network and agency executives and the importance of making those vital career connections. He details his tenure as Senior Vice President of Television at General Artists Corporation (GAC), working with such television luminaries as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. He describes his move to 20th Century Fox where he worked as Vice President in charge of television packaging. He recalls working with producer Irwin Allen on his many science-fiction series. Gerber relates how he became affiliated with Columbia Pictures Television, and then became President (and explains how he suggested that the name of the division be changed from "Screen Gems" to "Columbia Pictures Television"). He recounts the creation, issues covered, and production of the 1970s drama series Police Story. He speaks in detail about spin-off series Police Woman  and the highly-rated miniseries Beulah Land (and the controversy surrounding its production). He talks about becoming the President of MGM Television and discusses the series he oversaw including thirtysomething (and his initial excitement over the pilot script and fight to get the series financed) and In the Heat of the Night (and working with star Carroll O'Connor). B-roll consists of stills from Born Free, Police Story, Nanny and the Professor, The Adventures of Sinbad, and The Lost Batallion. Karen Herman conducted the interview on September 13, 2006 in Bel Air, CA.

"The reason I stayed away from movies is they take it away from the producer and it's all about the director. In TV, it's still about producers. Although that's beginning to soften up. Except in my case."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
David Gerber on facilitating Lucille Ball's return to television and representing Desilu Studios for Ball and Desi Arnaz
David Gerber on getting into producing
David Gerber on being President of Columbia Pictures Television 
David Gerber on shepherding thirtysomething  for MGM
David Gerber on advice to an aspiring producer
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his interest in radio and the movies as a child; on his experience in World War II; on studying journalism and drama in college
On going to work in television advertising as the television supervisor; on early television he watched and thinking he had a future in the television business; on working at Famous Artists Agency

Chapter 2

On what a television packager does and shows he packaged at Famous Artists Agency; on becoming Vice President of Television at General Artists Corporation; on the first shows he produced 
On facilitating Lucille Ball's return to television and representing Desilu Studios; on doing television deals at 21 and The Polo Lounge; on making money from television packaging deals; on packaging the series Felony Squad  

Chapter 3

On going to work for 20th Century Fox Television; on approving Batman as head of 20th Century Fox Television; on selling Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; on selling Lost in Space and working with Irwin Allen
On getting into producing; on producing the ABC After School Special  "Follow the North Star" and getting involved in the editing process; on going to work for Columbia Pictures Television and producing Police Story

Chapter 4

On producing Police Story; on the look and production of Police Story
On producing Police Woman; on producing Joe Forrester; on producing David Cassidy: Man Undercover  and Medical Story

Chapter 5

On producing Medical Story;  on being President of Columbia Pictures Television; on his management style; on changing the name of Screen Gems to Columbia Pictures Television; on shepherding productions for Columbia Pictures Television 
On shepherding That's My Mama  for Columbia Pictures Television; on producing Gibbsville  and Beulah Land;  on producing The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case

Chapter 6

On producing Quark; on going to work for MGM and shepherding George Washington
On shepherding thirtysomething for MGM 
On shepherding In the Heat of the Night starring Carroll O'Connor

Chapter 7

On shepherding In the Heat of the Night; on his legacy at MGM and producing Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; on going to work for All American Television
On producing various made-for-television movies in his later career; on producing Flight 93 
On then-current projects; on his proudest career achivements

Chapter 8

On advice to an aspiring producer; on his sales ability; on his wife, Lorraine; on how he'd like to be remembered 
On b-roll pictures from his career- on the set of Born Free; the cast of Police Story; on the set of Nanny and the Professor; filming the pilot for Police Story; at the Emmy Awards, having won for Police Story; on the set of Sinbad; on location for Born Free; on the set of The Lost Battalion
Shows

ABC Afterschool Specials

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David Gerber on producing the ABC After School Special  "Follow the North Star" and getting involved in the editing process

Batman

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David Gerber on approving Batman as head of 20th Century Fox Television 

Beulah Land

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David Gerber on producing Beulah Land

David Cassidy: Man Undercover

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David Gerber on producing David Cassidy: Man Undercover

Felony Squad

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David Gerber on packaging the series Felony Squad  

George Washington

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David Gerber on going to work for MGM and shepherding George Washington

Gibbsville

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David Gerber on producing Gibbsville

In the Heat of the Night

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David Gerber on shepherding In the Heat of the Night starring Carroll O'Connor
David Gerber on shepherding In the Heat of the Night

Joe Forrester

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David Gerber on producing Joe Forrester 

Lindbergh Kidnapping Case, The

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David Gerber on producing The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case

Lost in Space

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David Gerber on selling Lost in Space and working with Irwin Allen

Medical Story

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David Gerber on producing Medical Story
David Gerber on producing Medical  Story 

Police Story

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David Gerber on going to work for Columbia Pictures Television and producing Police Story
David Gerber on producing Police Story 
David Gerber on the look and production of Police Story

Police Woman

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David Gerber on producing Police Woman

Quark

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David Gerber on producing Quark

That's My Mama

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David Gerber on shepherding That's My Mama  for Columbia Pictures Television

Thirtysomething

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David Gerber on shepherding thirtysomething for MGM

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

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David Gerber on selling Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Topics

9/11

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David Gerber on producing Flight 93 

Advice

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David Gerber on advice to an aspiring producer

Historic Events and Social Change

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David Gerber on his experience in World War II
David Gerber on producing Flight 93 

Pivotal Career Moments

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David Gerber on getting into producing

Television Industry

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David Gerber on what a television packager does and shows he packaged at Famous Artists Agency
David Gerber on making money from television packaging deals
David Gerber on doing television deals at 21 and The Polo Lounge
David Gerber on advice to an aspiring producer

Television and the Presidency

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David Gerber on going to work for MGM and shepherding George Washington

War

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David Gerber on his experience in World War II

World War II

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David Gerber on his experience in World War II
Professions

Executives

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David Gerber on his management style

Producers

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David Gerber on his management style
David Gerber on advice to an aspiring producer
David Gerber on his sales ability

Television Executive

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David Gerber on his management style
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

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David Gerber on approving Batman  as head of 20th Century Fox Television 
David Gerber on selling Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Comedy Series

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David Gerber on shepherding That's My Mama  for Columbia Pictures Television
David Gerber on producing Quark

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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David Gerber on going to work for Columbia Pictures Television and producing Police Story
David Gerber on producing Police Story
David Gerber on producing Police Woman
David Gerber on producing Joe Forrester 
David Gerber on producing David Cassidy: Man Undercover
David Gerber on shepherding In the Heat of the Night  starring Carroll O'Connor
David Gerber on shepherding In the Heat of the Night

Drama Series

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David Gerber on producing the ABC After School Special  "Follow the North Star" and getting involved in the editing process
David Gerber on shepherding thirtysomething  for MGM

Medical Dramas

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David Gerber on producing Medical Story
David Gerber on producing Medical  Story 

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

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David Gerber on selling Lost in Space  and working with Irwin Allen

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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David Gerber on producing Gibbsville
David Gerber on producing Beulah Land
David Gerber on producing The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case
David Gerber on going to work for MGM and shepherding George Washington
David Gerber on producing Flight 93 
People

Irwin Allen

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David Gerber on selling Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
David Gerber on selling Lost in Space  and working with Irwin Allen

Desi Arnaz

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David Gerber on facilitating Lucille Ball's return to television and representing Desilu Studios for Ball and Desi Arnaz

Lucille Ball

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David Gerber on facilitating Lucille Ball's return to television and representing Desilu Studios for Ball and Desi Arnaz

David Cassidy

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David Gerber on producing David Cassidy: Man Undercover

Carroll O'Connor

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David Gerber on shepherding In the Heat of the Night starring Carroll O'Connor

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