Del Reisman

Writer / Associate Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his six-hour interview, Del Reisman (1924-2011) looks back on his early years growing up as a "studio brat" observing his mother at work as a secretary at Universal Studios in the 1930s. He describes his entry into television as a reader on the anthology series Four Star Playhouse. He details his most prolific period in television as an associate producer/ story editor on such television series as the "live," daily color anthology Matinee Theater, the prestigious ninety-minute anthology Playhouse 90, the classic filmed anthology The Twilight Zone, the popular crime series The Untouchables, the western series Rawhide and the drama The Man and the City. He discusses his work as story consultant on the nighttime soap opera Peyton Place, for which he wrote the cliffhanging final episode (the series was canceled without a finale). He also talks about his later work as a freelance writer of such 1970s series as The Streets of San Francisco and Little House on the Prairie. Finally, Reisman describes his long service to the Writers Guild of America, West for which he ultimately served as President from 1991-93. Other subjects he discusses include the Hollywood blacklist and the McCarthy era, as well as his work (at the WGA) to restore the credits of blacklisted writers of feature films made in the 1950s-60s. Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview at the Writer's Guild of America, West in Los Angeles, CA on October 28, 2003.

"The script is clearly the most significant element of any film. Everything else is important but if the story doesn't' work, all of the charisma of the star, the talent of the director, the skills of everybody associated with, are for naught."

Highlights
Story editor Del Reisman on moving to Playhouse 90, where he began as associate story editor; on producer Martin Manulis; on writer James P. Cavanagh
22:34
Story editor Del Reisman on the advent of the Blacklist; on loyalty oaths; on "fronts"
18:27
Associate producer Del Reisman on joining The Twilight Zone
Story editor/associate producer Del Reisman on The Untouchables; on the series' storylines and violence; on producing for the series
18:31
Full Interview

Chapter 1

Introduction
00:17
On his early years growing up in Los Angeles; on his World War II serivce; on his interest in writing

Chapter 2

On working as a journalist; on beginning his career in television; on working for Four Star Television
On being a story editor on Matinee Theater
16:45

Chapter 3

On the production details of Matinee Theater; on some of the key personnel and actors on the show; on the series us of NBC color
28:25

Chapter 4

On Matinee Theater producer Albert McCleery; on his family life at the time he worked on Matinee Theater
10:15
On the advent of the Blacklist; on loyalty oaths; on "fronts"
18:27

Chapter 5

On the end of the Blacklist era
06:16
On moving to Playhouse 90, where he began as associate story editor; on producer Martin Manulis; on writer James P. Cavanagh
22:34

Chapter 6

On specific writers and teleplays of Playhouse 90

Chapter 7

On specific Playhouse 90 teleplays; on director John Frankenheimer; on the departure of producer Martin Manulis; on the legacy of the series
25:59
On joining The Twilight Zone as associate producer

Chapter 8

On being associate producer on The Twilight Zone;  on some of the key writers and teleplays

Chapter 9

On The Twilight Zone's popularity; on the show's use of mirrors; on the socially conscious aspects of the series
07:28
On being story editor and then associate producer on The Untouchables; on the series' storylines and violence; on producing for the series

Chapter 10

On Robert Stack; on TV violence; on The Untouchables'
04:28
On working on The Lieutenant; on producer Gene Roddenberry
07:45
On working on Rawhide
05:00
On being executive story consultant/associate producer on Peyton Place

Chapter 11

On Peyton Place's show bible; on working on Bracken's World; on beginning to work freelance on such dramatic series as Streets of San Francisco, Cannon, and Little House on the Prairie;  on writing The Billie Holiday Story
On editing your script; on becoming involved in the Writers Guild of America, West

Chapter 12

On credits disputes; on the 1988 Writers' Strike; his work as President of the Writers Guild of America, West; on winning the guild's Morgan Cox Award; on his then-current projects; on his achievements; on his advice to aspiring writers; on how he would like to be remembered
Shows

Bracken's World

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Del Reisman on working on Bracken's World
08:34

Lieutenant, The

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Del Reisman on working on The Lieutenant and on producer Gene Roddenberry
07:45

Little House on the Prairie

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Del Reisman on writing two episodes of Little House on the Prairie and his experience working with Michael Landon
02:07

NBC Matinee Theater

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Del Reisman on working as a story editor on Matinee Theater
16:45
Story editor Del Reisman on the production details of Matinee Theater; on some of the key personnel and actors on the show; on the series us of NBC color
28:25
Story editor Del Reisman on working with Matinee Theater producer Albert McCleery
07:09

Peyton Place

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Del Reisman on being executive story consultant/associate producer on Peyton Place

Playhouse 90

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Story editor Del Reisman on moving to Playhouse 90, where he began as associate story editor; on producer Martin Manulis; on writer James P. Cavanagh
22:34
Story editor Del Reisman on specific writers and teleplays of Playhouse 90
Story editor Del Reisman on how censorship of Rod Serling's social stories on Playhouse 90 led to his creation of The Twilight Zone, where his social commentary could be masked by graying time and place
01:44
Story editor Del Reisman on specific Playhouse 90 teleplays; on director John Frankenheimer; on the departure of producer Martin Manulis; on the legacy of the series
25:59

Rawhide

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Del Reisman on working on Rawhide during its last years
05:00

Twilight Zone, The

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Story editor Del Reisman on how censorship of Rod Serling's social stories on Playhouse 90 led to his creation of The Twilight Zone, where his social commentary could be masked by graying time and place
01:44
Associate producer Del Reisman on joining The Twilight Zone
The Twilight Zone associate producer Del Reisman on Rod Serling's personality and work ethic
02:02
The Twilight Zone associate producer Del Reisman on how the MGM backlot prompted story ideas, as with [SPOILER ALERT!] "Time Enough at Last"
01:16
The Twilight Zone associate producer Del Reisman on series cinematographer George T. Clemens
01:29
The Twilight Zone associate producer Del Reisman on the theme of [SPOILER ALERT!] "Eye of the Beholder"
00:41
The Twilight Zone associate producer Del Reisman on the recurring themes of the series, particularly those of series creator/main writer Rod Serling
01:36
Associate producer Del Reisman on The Twilight Zone's popularity; on the show's use of mirrors; on the socially conscious aspects of the series
07:28

Twilight Zone, The: "Eye of the Beholder"

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The Twilight Zone associate producer Del Reisman on the theme of [SPOILER ALERT!] "Eye of the Beholder"
00:41
The Twilight Zone associate producer Del Reisman on series cinematographer George T. Clemens
01:29

Twilight Zone, The: "The Invaders"

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The Twilight Zone associate producer Del Reisman on visiting the set of "The Invaders"
01:18

Twilight Zone, The: "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"

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Story editor Del Reisman on how censorship of Rod Serling's social stories on Playhouse 90 led to his creation of The Twilight Zone, where his social commentary could be masked by graying time and place
01:44

Untouchables, The

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Story editor/associate producer Del Reisman on The Untouchables; on the series' storylines and violence; on producing for the series
18:31
Del Reisman on Robert Stack, TV violence and on The Untouchables' end
04:28
Topics

Criticism of TV

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Del Reisman on Robert Stack, TV violence and on The Untouchables' end
01:40

Hollywood Blacklist

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Story editor Del Reisman on the advent of the Blacklist; on loyalty oaths; on "fronts"
18:27
Del Reisman on the end of the Blacklist era
06:16

Industry Strikes

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Del Reisman on the 1960 writers' strike; on joining the Writers Guild of America, West and becoming deeply involved in its work
01:43

Sex & Violence

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Del Reisman on Robert Stack, TV violence and on The Untouchables' end
01:40

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Del Reisman on how censorship of Rod Serling's social stories on Playhouse 90 led to his creation of The Twilight Zone, where his social commentary could be masked by graying time and place
01:44

Television Industry

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Del Reisman on Robert Stack, TV violence and on The Untouchables' end
01:40
Professions

Writers

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Del Reisman on his process of editing his scripts
01:38
People

Michael Landon

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Del Reisman on writing two episodes of Little House on the Prairie and his experience working with Michael Landon
02:07

Martin Manulis

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Story editor Del Reisman on moving to Playhouse 90, where he began as associate story editor; on producer Martin Manulis; on writer James P. Cavanagh
22:34

Albert McCleery

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Del Reisman on working as a story editor on Matinee Theater
16:45
Story editor Del Reisman on working with Matinee Theater producer Albert McCleery
07:09

Gene Roddenberry

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Del Reisman on working on The Lieutenant and on producer Gene Roddenberry
07:45

Rod Serling

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Story Editor Del Reisman on how censorship of Rod Serling's social stories on Playhouse 90 led to his creation of The Twilight Zone, where his social commentary could be masked by graying time and place
01:44
The Twilight Zone associate producer Del Reisman on Rod Serling's personality and work ethic
02:02
The Twilight Zone associate producer Del Reisman on the recurring themes of the series, particularly those of series creator/main writer Rod Serling
01:36
Playhouse 90 story editor and The Twilight Zone associate producer Del Reisman on what he perceived as on-camera overexposure of Rod Serling on television
00:59

Robert Stack

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Del Reisman on Robert Stack
02:46

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