Delbert Mann

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-hour Archive interview, Delbert Mann (1920-2007) talks about studying at the Yale School of Drama and his transition to television following his service in the Air Force during World War II. He speaks of his days during the war and his further inspiration to pursue theater after seeing various productions at the Old Vic in London. He talks about joining NBC in the summer of 1949 as a floor manager and describes working as a director for the first time on the series Theater of the Mind. Mann relates how his experiences as a pilot during the war prepared him for television, comparing piloting a B-24 to sitting in the hot seat of a live television show. He speaks in great detail about working with producer Fred Coe and their association on Philco-Goodyear Playhouse, one of the preeminent live television anthologies of the day. He describes his celebrated production of "Marty," written by Paddy Chayefsky, originally produced for Philco and later made into an Academy Award-winning feature film. He comments on several of the actors he worked with in television including, Grace Kelly, E. G. Marshall and Laurence Olivier. Lastly, he discusses several of his most notable made-for-television movies including David Copperfield and All Quiet on the Western Front. B-roll consists of photos from Philco-Goodyear Playhouse, Jane Eyre, Producer's Showcase: "Our Town," David Copperfield and All Quiet on the Western Front. Morrie Gelman conducted the interview on May 20, 1997 in Los Angeles, CA.

"I always maintained what I hoped was a very loving set -- a very calm and quiet set. My essence of what I learned and what I loved as a director was working with actors, working with the writers on the script, and essentially working with actors to interpret and to stage and to make changes as necessary. ... It was a wonderful way to work."

Highlights
Delbert Mann on Paddy Chayefsky's inspiration for writing "Marty"
03:37
Delbert Mann on the response to Paddy Chayefsky's production "Marty" on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
01:17
Delbert Mann on his on-set demeanor on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
02:15
Delbert Mann on how he decided to go into theater
03:26
Delbert Mann on differences between directing for live television and for film - TV as mainly a producer's medium and film as a director's medium
03:22
Delbert Mann on working with Grace Kelly
03:49
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his interest in theater in high school; on acting and being head of the drama club; on how he decided he wanted to be a director; on attending Yale Drama School
On growing up during the Depression; on FDR; on the Nashville Community Playhouse and his mentors there; on learning directing techniques from Fred Coe
On his college years at Vanderbilt; on meeting his wife at Vanderbilt; on entering World War II and his recollections of Pearl Harbor; on getting married; on gaining weight so he could enlist in the Air Force; on wanting to be a pilot, but not being a very good one

Chapter 2

On serving in the Air Force during World War II; on flying B24s in the 8th Air Corps; on intelligence work during the war; on getting to see theater in London during the war; on British theater still thriving during World War II; on how he decided to go into theater
On the quality of the theater productions he saw in Great Britain; on D-Day, V-E Day, and V-J Day; on seeing special service troops perform
On starting at Yale Drama School (thanks to the GI Bill); on Fred Coe helping to set up a directing job for him

Chapter 3

On classmates and professors at Yale Drama School; on Fred Coe recommending him for a job at NBC; on his first NBC directing job on Theater of the Mind; on assisting and directing on Mary Kay and Johnny and Lights Out
On rehearsals for live television; on Fred Coe bringing him on as an alternating and then full-time director on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on the television studios he worked in and talent coming from radio and theater
On the panicked atmosphere of early live television; on where he lived in New York; on his on-set demeanor on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on the talented writers of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

Chapter 4

On his respect for actors and how he sets the tone on-set; on his impressions of early television; on how working in television differed from working in theater; on sponsor and network involvement on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on Fred Coe as a boss
On how many episodes of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse he'd direct each year; on directors Gordon Duff and Vincent Donahue; on Fred Coe's stamp as producer on his shows; on weekly preparations for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

Chapter 5

On a typical production week on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, contd.; on meeting and working with Paddy Chayefsky; on the response to Paddy Chayefsky's production "Marty" on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
On Paddy Chayefsky's inspiration for writing "Marty"; on casting Rod Steiger and Nancy Marchand for "Marty"; on also directing the film version of Marty; on winning the Academy Award for directing Marty
On his feelings on awards; on returning to Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on Producers' Showcase; on his second movie, Bachelor Party (again by Paddy Chayefsky); on moving to California; on directing the Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse  production "Ernie Barger is Fifty"; on his impressions of producer David Susskind; on how videotape altered production

Chapter 6

On JP Miller's "The Rabbit Trap" on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse  and "Yellow Jack" on Producers' Showcase; on the development of live television and differences between West and East Coast television
On how his career was affected by the Hollywood Blacklist; and the end of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and the decline of live television; on directing productions of Producers' Showcase  and Playhouse 90; on directing productions of Omnibus
On directing films again - Separate Tables, Lover Come Back, and That Touch of Mink; on film actors; on directing film versions of many of Paddy Chayefsky's teleplays - Marty, Bachelor Party, and Middle of the Night

Chapter 7

On watching Paddy Chayefsky productions today; on his favorite films that he's directed; on differences between directing for live television and for film- TV as mainly a producer's medium and film as a director's medium
On returning to directing for television in 1967 with Heidi; on directing Jane Eyre and David Copperfield for television
On directing the film All Quiet on the Western Front; on filming in Czechoslovokia; on ageism in the entertainment industry

Chapter 8

On ageism in television; on the then-current state of television and film; on the emphasis on ratings; on the type of productions he enjoys most; on wanting to continue to work
On the future of television; on advice to aspiring directors; on how he'd like to be remembered
On his thoughts on people with whom he's worked over the years

Chapter 9

B-roll of pictures from his career
Shows

Academy Awards, The

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Delbert Mann on winning an Academy Award for Marty
01:00

All Quiet On The Western Front

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Delbert Mann on directing All Quiet on the Western Front
10:44
Delbert Mann on a photo from All Quiet on the Western Front
00:34

David Copperfield

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Delbert Mann on directing David Copperfield
04:44
Delbert Mann on a photo of Richard Attenboroguh and Laurence Olivier in a production of David Copperfield
00:45

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Delbert Mann on his feelings on The Emmy Awards
01:14

Heidi

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Delbert Mann on returning to directing for television in 1967 with Heidi
01:54
Delbert Mann on some controversy when Heidi  aired
02:34

Jane Eyre

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Delbert Mann on directing Jane Eyre
00:31
Delbert Mann on a photo of George C. Scott and Suzanna York from Jane Eyre
00:48

Lights Out

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Delbert Mann on assisting Kingman T. Moore and directing Lights Out
02:15

Mary Kay and Johnny

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Delbert Mann on being floor manager and directing Mary Kay and Johnny
00:26

Omnibus

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Delbert Mann on directing productions of Omnibus
01:55

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

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Delbert Mann on Fred Coe bringing him on as an alternating and then full-time director on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
03:26
Delbert Mann on the panicked atmosphere of early live television
03:07
Delbert Mann on sponsor and network involvement on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on Fred Coe as a boss
09:58
Delbert Mann on how many episodes of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse he'd direct each year; on the show's regular directors
03:33
Delbert Mann on weekly preparations for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
07:00
Delbert Mann on a typical production week on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, contd.
02:32
Delbert Mann on sponsor interference on Tad Mosel's "The Haven" production on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on working with Paddy Chayefsky
04:21
Delbert Mann on the response to Paddy Chayefsky's production "Marty" on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
01:17
Delbert Mann on Paddy Chayefsky's inspiration for writing "Marty"; on casting and critical response
06:01
Delbert Mann on returning to Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse after winning the Academy Award for Marty
00:37
Delbert Mann on "The Rabbit Trap" on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
00:51
Delbert Mann on fighting blacklisting on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse  and the end of the program
06:34
Delbert Mann on the film and TV versions of "Marty"
01:00
Delbert Mann on a picture from "The Last Tycoon" - his first show on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
01:14
Delbert Mann on a picture from the Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse production "Marty" 
01:09

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse: "Marty"

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Delbert Mann on the response to Paddy Chayefsky's production "Marty" on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
01:17
Delbert Mann on Paddy Chayefsky's inspiration for writing "Marty"; on casting and critical response
06:01
Delbert Mann on the film and TV versions of "Marty"
00:48
Delbert Mann on a picture from the Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse production "Marty" 
01:09

Playhouse 90

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Delbert Mann on directing productions of Producers' Showcase  and Playhouse 90
05:26
Delbert Mann on colleagues he met at Playhouse 90
00:54

Producers' Showcase

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Delbert Mann on directing Producers' Showcase for Fred Coe
00:12
Delbert Mann on JP Miller's "Yellow Jack" on Producers' Showcase
02:01
Delbert Mann on directing productions of Producers' Showcase  and Playhouse 90
05:26
Delbert Mann on a photo of Eva Marie Saint and Paul Newman in a production of "Our Town" for Producers' Showcase
00:59

Theater of the Mind

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Delbert Mann on his first NBC directing job on Theater of the Mind
02:40
Topics

Anthology Drama

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Delbert Mann on directing Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
28:41

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Delbert Mann on sponsor interference on Tad Mosel's "The Haven" production on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
01:00

Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Delbert Mann on his family's thoughts on FDR
00:47

Historic Events and Social Change

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Delbert Mann on entering World War II, his recollections of Pearl Harbor, and joining the Air Force
08:53

Hollywood Blacklist

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Delbert Mann on how his career was affected by the Hollywood Blacklist
07:25

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
Delbert Mann on Paddy Chayefsky's production "Marty" on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
07:18

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

View Topic
Delbert Mann on directing Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
28:41

Technological Innovation

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Delbert Mann on Fred Coe demonstrating NBC's color system
00:46
Delbert Mann on how videotape changed television and directing "The Red Mill" for CBS
01:43

Television and the Presidency

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Delbert Mann on his family's thoughts on FDR
00:47

War

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Delbert Mann on entering World War II, his recollections of Pearl Harbor, and joining the Air Force
08:53

World War II

View Topic
Delbert Mann on entering World War II, his recollections of Pearl Harbor, and joining the Air Force
08:53
Delbert Mann on serving in the Air Force during World War II
15:22
Delbert Mann on D-Day, V-E Day and V-J Day; on seeing special service troops perform
07:37
Professions

Directors

View Profession
Delbert Mann on how he decided he wanted to be a director
00:43
Delbert Mann on how he decided to go into theater
03:26
Delbert Mann on differences between directing for television and for film - TV as mainly a producer's medium and film as a director's medium
03:22
Delbert Mann on advice to aspiring directors
02:07
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Delbert Mann on Fred Coe bringing him on as an alternating and then full-time director on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
03:26
Delbert Mann on the panicked atmosphere of early live television
03:07
Delbert Mann on directing Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
28:41
Delbert Mann on Paddy Chayefsky's production "Marty" on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
07:18
Delbert Mann on fighting blacklisting on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse  and the end of the program
06:34
Delbert Mann on directing productions of Producers' Showcase  and Playhouse 90
05:26

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Delbert Mann on returning to directing for television in 1967 with Heidi
04:59
Delbert Mann on directing David Copperfield
04:44
People

Richard Attenborough

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Delbert Mann on directing David Copperfield
04:44
Delbert Mann on a photo of Richard Attenboroguh and Laurence Olivier in a production of David Copperfield
00:47

Robert Alan Aurthur

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Delbert Mann on the talented writers of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
00:33

Lew Ayres

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Delbert Mann on hearing from Lew Ayres, star of the original film version of All Quiet on the Western Front
00:20

Leonard Bernstein

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Delbert Mann on directing productions of Omnibus
01:55

Steven Bochco

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Delbert Mann on the role writer/producers seem to have in television today
07:34

Ernest Borgnine

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Delbert Mann on also directing the film version of Marty
03:43
Delbert Mann on reuniting with Ernest Borgnine on the film All Quiet on the Western Front
01:20

Sidney Carroll

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Delbert Mann on being asked to direct the film All Quiet on the Western Front
03:31

Paddy Chayefsky

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Delbert Mann on the talented writers of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
00:33
Delbert Mann on meeting and working on "Marty" with Paddy Chayefsky
15:28
Delbert Mann on directing film versions of many of Paddy Chayefsky's teleplays - Marty, Bachelor Party, and Middle of the Night
04:06
Delbert Mann on watching Paddy Chayefsky productions today 
01:21

William Kendall Clarke

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Delbert Mann on William Kendall Clarke
00:47

Fred Coe

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Delbert Mann on learning directing techniques from Fred Coe
03:44
Delbert Mann on Fred Coe helping to set up a directing job for him
00:58
Delbert Mann on Fred Coe recommending him for a job at NBC
03:02
Delbert Mann on his first NBC directing job, on Theater of the Mind
01:38
Delbert Mann on Fred Coe bringing him on as an alternating and then full-time director on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
03:26
Delbert Mann on sponsor and network involvement on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on Fred Coe talking to the network and sponsors
02:34
Delbert Mann on Fred Coe as a boss
07:24
Delbert Mann on Fred Coe's stamp as producer on his shows
00:49
Delbert Mann on weekly preparations for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
03:39
Delbert Mann on a typical production week on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, contd.
02:32
Delbert Mann on Paddy Chayefsky's inspiration for writing "Marty" and how the production was cast
03:37
Delbert Mann on JP Miller's "Yellow Jack" on Producers' Showcase
02:01
Delbert Mann on Judy Holliday being blacklisted, then approved for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
02:05
Delbert Mann on the Blacklist and the end of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
02:48
Delbert Mann on Fred Coe becoming one of the producers to replace Martin Manulis on Playhouse 90
02:26
Delbert Mann on differences between directing for live television and for film - TV as mainly a producer's medium and film as a director's medium
03:22
Delbert Mann on Grace Kelly coming to Nashville when Fred Coe died and saving a valuable kinescope
01:50
Delbert Mann on a picture of Fred Coe, Mann, and Sumner Locke Elliot
00:47

Alistair Cooke

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Delbert Mann on directing productions of Omnibus
01:55

Doris Day

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Delbert Mann on Doris Day
02:25

Vincent J. Donehue

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Delbert Mann on director Vincent Donahue, who worked closely with writer Horton Foote
00:51

Gordon Duff

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Delbert Mann on how many episodes of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse he'd direct each year; on director Gordon Duff
01:53

Sumner Locke Elliott

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Delbert Mann on Sumner Locke Elliot
00:21
Delbert Mann on a picture of Fred Coe, Mann, and Sumner Locke Elliot
00:36

Faye Emerson

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Delbert Mann on his first NBC directing job, on Theater of the Mind
01:02

Henry Fonda

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Delbert Mann on directing Henry Fonda
00:20

Horton Foote

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Delbert Mann on the talented writers of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
00:33
Delbert Mann on director Vincent Donahue, who worked closely with writer Horton Foote
00:51
Delbert Mann on writer Horton Foote
01:23

John Frankenheimer

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Delbert Mann on colleagues he met at Playhouse 90
00:54

Martin Gabel

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Delbert Mann on his first NBC directing job, on Theater of the Mind
01:38

Earl Hamner, Jr.

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Delbert Mann on returning to directing for television in 1967 with Heidi
01:54

Julie Harris

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Delbert Mann on Julie Harris
01:39

Harold Hecht

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Delbert Mann on also directing the film version of Marty
03:43

Charlton Heston

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Delbert Mann on actors who were regulars on early live television shows
01:09

Judy Holliday

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Delbert Mann on Judy Holliday being blacklisted, then approved for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
02:05

Rock Hudson

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Delbert Mann on Rock Hudson
00:49

Kim Hunter

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Delbert Mann on fighting blacklisting on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
01:41

Grace Kelly

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Delbert Mann on actors who were regulars on early live television shows
01:09
Delbert Mann on Grace Kelly
03:49

Perry Lafferty

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Delbert Mann on Executive Perry Lafferty
01:14

Angela Lansbury

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Delbert Mann on Angela Lansbury
01:13

Martin Manulis

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Delbert Mann on Fred Coe becoming one of the producers to replace Martin Manulis on Playhouse 90
02:26

Nancy Marchand

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Delbert Mann on Paddy Chayefsky's inspiration for writing "Marty" and how the production was cast
03:37
Delbert Mann on also directing the film version of Marty
03:43
Delbert Mann on a picture from the Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse production "Marty" 
01:09

E. G. Marshall

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Delbert Mann on actor E.G. Marshall
00:47

Raymond Massey

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Delbert Mann on Raymond Massey
00:52

JP Miller

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Delbert Mann on JP Miller's "The Rabbit Trap" on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse  and "Yellow Jack" on Producers' Showcase
03:06

Kingman T. Moore

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Delbert Mann on assisting Kingman T. Moore and directing Lights Out
02:15

Tad Mosel

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Delbert Mann on Tad Mosel attending Yale Drama School with him
00:06
Delbert Mann on the talented writers of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
00:33
Delbert Mann on sponsor interference on Tad Mosel's "The Haven" production on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
01:00
Delbert Mann on directing the Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse  production "Ernie Barger is Fifty"
01:44
Delbert Mann on Tad Mosel
00:23

Paul Newman

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Delbert Mann on actors who were regulars on early live television shows
01:09
Delbert Mann on a photo of Eva Marie Saint and Paul Newman in a production of "Our Town" for Producers' Showcase
00:59

Laurence Olivier

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Delbert Mann on British theater still thriving during World War II
01:20
Delbert Mann on the quality of the theater productions he saw in Great Britain
02:00
Delbert Mann on directing David Copperfield
04:44
Delbert Mann on a photo of Richard Attenboroguh and Laurence Olivier in a production of David Copperfield
00:47

Thomas Phipps

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Delbert Mann on Thomas Phipps
00:48

Robert Preston

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Delbert Mann on Angela Lansbury and Robert Preston in the best love scene he's ever seen
00:51

Ralph Richardson

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Delbert Mann on British theater still thriving during World War II
01:20
Delbert Mann on the quality of the theater productions he saw in Great Britain
02:00
Delbert Mann on directing David Copperfield
04:44

Otis Riggs

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Delbert Mann on weekly preparations for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
02:49

Hubbell Robinson

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Delbert Mann on CBS Executive Hubbell Robinson
00:51

Norman Rosemont

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Delbert Mann on being asked to direct the film All Quiet on the Western Front
03:31
Delbert Mann on selecting Czechoslovakia as the shooting location for All Quiet on the Western Front
01:23

Eva Marie Saint

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Delbert Mann on meeting Eva Marie Saint on Lights Out
00:24
Delbert Mann on actors who were regulars on early live television shows
01:09
Delbert Mann on Eva Marie Saint
01:03
Delbert Mann on a photo of Eva Marie Saint and Paul Newman in a production of "Our Town" for Producers' Showcase
00:59

George C. Scott

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Delbert Mann on a photo of George C. Scott and Suzanna York from Jane Eyre
01:25

David Shaw

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Delbert Mann on the talented writers of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
00:33
Delbert Mann on Judy Holliday being blacklisted, then approved for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
02:05
Delbert Mann on writer David Shaw
00:32

Rod Steiger

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Delbert Mann on actors who were regulars on early live television shows
01:09
Delbert Mann on Paddy Chayefsky's inspiration for writing "Marty" and how the production was cast
03:37
Delbert Mann on casting Rod Steiger for "Marty"
01:30
Delbert Mann on a picture from the Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse production "Marty" 
01:09

David Susskind

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Delbert Mann on his impressions of producer David Susskind
01:52

David Swift

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Delbert Mann on the talented writers of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
00:33
Delbert Mann on Grace Kelly coming to Nashville when Fred Coe died and saving a valuable kinescope
01:50

Richard Thomas

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Delbert Mann on casting the film All Quiet on the Western Front
00:50
Delbert Mann on directing the film All Quiet on the Western Front
04:11
Delbert Mann on a photo from All Quiet on the Western Front
00:34

Burr Tillstrom

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Delbert Mann on Fred Coe demonstrating NBC's color system
00:46

David L. Wolper

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Delbert Mann on producer David Wolper
00:44

Peggy Wood

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Delbert Mann on seeing special service troops perform during the war
00:55

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