Don Pardo

Announcer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-one-half hour Archive interview, Don Pardo (1918-2014) talks about joining NBC in 1944. He defines his duties as a staff announcer and lists several of the radio and early television series on which he worked. He describes his trademark announcing style and speaks of his long association with several game shows, including the original The Price Is Right, Choose Up Sides (where he appeared on-camera as "Mr. Mischief"), and the original Jeopardy! (which launched the pop culture catchphrase: "Don Pardo, tell her what she's won!"). Lastly, Pardo details the series with which he is most closely associated, Saturday Night Live. He then recalls leaving his post as staff announcer at NBC, having held the position for a record 60 years and 6 months. David Schwartz conducted the interview on August 18, 2006 in Tuscon, AZ.

"Live, from New York...It's Saturday Night!"

Highlights
Don Pardo on a skit where he plays "Ron Lardo" and recites his famous line "It's Saturday Night Live"
01:43
Don Pardo on his announcing style and keeping his voice in shape
02:54
Don Pardo on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and having to read the announcement of his death
03:22
Don Pardo on special moments from his career
02:50
Don Pardo on the catch-phrase "Thank you, Don Pardo", first mentioned on Jeopardy! by Art Fleming
01:44
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his family, growing up in Massachusetts
On high school and college memories
On meeting resistance from his father in choosing a vocation: he wanted to be a dentist
On how deciding he wanted to pursue a career in acting
On how he got into radio, working at WJAR in Providence, R.I.; on getting hired as a radio announcer
On how his wife convinced him to take his first job in announcing for radio at WJAR; his job duties as an announcer
On his first trip to New York and meeting other announcers: Hal Sims, Mark Goodson
On becoming a "hitchhike" announcer for commercial radio, along with Mark Goodson as the main announcer
On first working for NBC radio in New York; meeting Patrick J. Kelly
On hearing Frank Gallup and Charles Stark announce when he visited NBC and approaching Patrick Kelly about a job there
03:35

Chapter 2

On meeting Patrick Kelly at NBC
04:38
On getting a job offer from NBC to become an announcer
02:57
On the announcer's role to the story on radio
03:43
On delivering a news announcement and having to double as an engineer
01:52
On first working in early television; on the process of broadcasting early television 
06:25
On announcing a baseball game in 1946 on television; on not being interested in working in early television
05:03
On working on children's television: Animal Fair
01:26

Chapter 3

On meeting and working with with Bill Cullen; on working on Follow Your Heart, an early soap opera on NBC
02:46
On working with Fred Allen and regretting not having taken a photograph with any of the Hollywood stars
04:17
On working with Fred Allen on The Price is Right and how he got the job announcing on that show
03:11
On the children's show Choose Up Sides (does voice); on "continuous performance" (speaking over a B movie); on how he preferred radio over television
03:39
On The Price is Right; on a typical day and his duties as announcer; on appearing on-camera while filling in for Bill Cullen; on blowing the surprise of a contestant winning a trip to "Rooooooome" on an early Price is Right episode
08:41
On rehearsing for The Price is Right; on doing a lot of readings
01:22
On Sid Caesar and working on Caesar's Hour, Your Show of Shows; on the Jonathan Winters Show and meeting Carol Burnett
03:30

Chapter 4

On a sample announcement: Use Shorter Words!
01:37
On Stanley; on working with Buddy Hackett, Carol Burnett, Paul Lynde, and Max Liebman
03:43
On the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and having to read the announcement of his death on-air
03:22
On his decision not to follow The Price is Right to ABC; on becoming the announcer on Saturday Night Live
06:00
On Jeopardy! and working with Art Fleming; on how the catchphrase "Thank you, Don Pardo" developed on that show
03:11
On how Senator John McCain appeared on Saturday Night Live , and told him he had actually met him as a contestant on Jeopardy! when Pardo was the announcer
01:44
On working with Bill Cullen on Jeopardy!
01:40
On his various jobs at NBC radio and TV remotes: Peppy's Young Family, Magnificent Montague, and Monitor
05:38
On becoming the announcer on Saturday Night Live; on meeting Lorne Michaels
01:37

Chapter 5

On the beginning of Saturday Night Live and how the announcer gig was described to him; on flubbing the opening for the very first show- misstating the Not Ready for Prime Time players
04:24
On Lorne Michaels; on appearing on-camera occasionally on SNL; on a skit where he plays "Ron Lardo" and recites his famous line "It's Saturday Night Live"; on the initial reaction to SNL; on what rehearsals were like
05:52
On working at Studio 8H at Rockefeller Center for SNL
06:49
On his SNL recollections; on Tina Fey, and Dick Ebersol; on Lorne Michaels leaving the show and his replacement, Jean Doumanian
06:13

Chapter 6

On working with Frank Zappa; on a music video with Weird Al
06:41
On his work in commercials; on his announcing style; on his then-current projects
22:53

Chapter 7

On special moments from his career; on getting recognized; on how microphones have changed over the years
11:17
On advice to aspiring announcers; on how he'd like to be remembered
17:39

Chapter 8

On advice to aspiring announcers
08:13
Shows

Animal Fair

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Don Pardo on working on children's television: Animal Fair
01:26

Caesar's Hour

View Show Page
Don Pardo on working on Caesar's Hour with Sid Caesar; on being replaced by Hugh Downs
01:19

Choose Up Sides

View Show Page
Don Pardo on the children's show Choose Up Sides (performs his announcing voice from that show)
00:44

Follow Your Heart

View Show Page
Don Pardo on working on Follow Your Heart, an early soap opera on NBC
02:46

Jeopardy!

View Show Page
Don Pardo on the catch-phrase "Thank you, Don Pardo", developed on Jeopardy! , by Art Fleming
01:44
Don Pardo on how Senator John McCain appeared on Saturday Night Live , and told him he had actually met him as a contestant on Jeopardy! when Pardo was the announcer; working with Bill Cullen
01:44

Judge For Yourself

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Don Pardo on working with Fred Allen on Judge for Yourself and regretting not having taken a photograph with any of the Hollywood stars
04:17

Price is Right, The

View Show Page
Don Pardo on working with Fred Allen on The Price is Right and how he got the job announcing on that show
03:11
Don Pardo on The Price is Right; on a typical day and his duties as announcer and appearing on-camera
01:50
Don Pardo on appearing on-camera on The Price is Right to fill in for host Bill Cullen
00:44
Don Pardo on The Price is Right moving to ABC; on the original format of the show
03:33
Don Pardo on blowing the surprise of a contestant winning a trip to "Rooooooome" on an early Price is Right episode
03:18

Saturday Night Live

View Show Page
Don Pardo on becoming the announcer on Saturday Night Live; on meeting Lorne Michaels
01:37
Don Pardo on the beginning of Saturday Night Live and how the announcer gig was described to him
02:41
Don Pardo on flubbing the opening for the very first Saturday Night Live show - misstating the Not Ready for Prime Time players
01:43
Don Pardo on an SNL skit where he plays "Ron Lardo" and recites his famous line "It's Saturday Night Live"
01:43
Don Pardo on the initial reaction to SNL; on what rehearsals were like
03:43
Don Pardo on working at Studio 8H at Rockefeller Center for SNL
06:49
Don Pardo on his SNL recollections; on Tina Fey, and Dick Ebersol; on Lorne Michaels leaving the show and his replacement, Jean Doumanian
06:13
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Don Pardo on an SNL skit where he plays "Ron Lardo" and recites his famous line "It's Saturday Night Live"
01:43

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Don Pardo on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and having to read the announcement of his death
03:22

JFK Assassination and Funeral

View Topic
Don Pardo on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and having to read the announcement of his death
03:22

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
Don Pardo on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and having to read the announcement of his death
03:22

Pop Culture

View Topic
Don Pardo on an SNL skit where he plays "Ron Lardo" and recites his famous line "It's Saturday Night Live"
01:43

Sports

View Topic
Don Pardo on announcing a baseball game in 1946 on television
04:39

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Don Pardo on how microphones have changed over the years
05:00

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Don Pardo on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and having to read the announcement of his death
03:22

We Cried

View Topic
Don Pardo on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and having to read the announcement of his death
03:22
Professions

Announcer

View Profession
Don Pardo on the announcer's role to the story on radio
03:43
Don Pardo on delivering a news announcement and having to double as an engineer
01:52
Don Pardo on the process of broadcasting early television as an announcer
04:13
Don Pardo on announcing a baseball game in 1946 on television
04:39
Don Pardo on his announcing style and keeping his voice in shape
02:54
Don Pardo on advice to aspiring announcers
02:58

Children's Show Host

View Profession
Don Pardo on working on children's television: Animal Fair
01:26

Hosts

View Profession
Don Pardo on the announcer's role to the story on radio
03:43
Don Pardo on delivering a news announcement and having to double as an engineer
01:52
Don Pardo on the process of broadcasting early television as an announcer
04:13
Don Pardo on announcing a baseball game in 1946 on television
04:39
Don Pardo on working on children's television: Animal Fair
01:26
Don Pardo on his announcing style and keeping his voice in shape
02:54
Don Pardo on advice to aspiring announcers
02:58
Genres

Commercials

View Genre
Don Pardo on his work in commercials
07:43

Game Shows

View Genre
Don Pardo on The Price is Right; on a typical day and his duties as announcer; on appearing on-camera while filling in for Bill Cullen; on blowing the surprise of a contestant winning a trip to "Rooooooome" on an early Price is Right episode; on rehearsals
10:21
Don Pardo on working with Bill Cullen on Jeopardy! "tell them what they've won, Don"
01:44

Late Night

View Genre
Don Pardo on becoming the announcer on Saturday Night Live; on meeting Lorne Michaels
01:37
Don Pardo on announcing for SNL
23:18

Sports

View Genre
Don Pardo on announcing a baseball game in 1946 on television
23:57
People

Fred Allen

View Person Page
Don Pardo on working with Fred Allen on Judge for Yourself and regretting not having taken a photograph with any of the Hollywood stars; on working again with Allen on The Price is Right and how he got that job
04:13

Bill Cullen

View Person Page
Don Pardo on appearing on-camera on The Price is Right to fill in for host Bill Cullen
00:44
Don Pardo on working with Bill Cullen on Jeopardy! "tell them what they've won, Don"
01:44

Jean Doumanian

View Person Page
Don Pardo on his SNL recollections; on Tina Fey, and Dick Ebersol; on Lorne Michaels leaving the show and his replacement, Jean Doumanian
06:13

Hugh Downs

View Interview Page
Don Pardo on working on Caesar's Hour with Sid Caesar; on being replaced by Hugh Downs
01:19

John F. Kennedy

View Person Page
Don Pardo on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and having to read the announcement of his death
03:22

Lorne Michaels

View Person Page
Don Pardo on Lorne Michaels; on appearing on-camera occasionally on SNL
02:09

Frank Zappa

View Person Page
Don Pardo on working with Frank Zappa
06:41

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