Elias Davis

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In the half-hour, solo portion of his Archive interview, Elias Davis talks about his early interest in television and writing, and programs he watched with his family growing up. He describes his first job as an usher at CBS Television City, where he corralled the audience for shows like The Danny Kaye Show. He recounts his time as secretary-treasurer of the Writers Guild of America, during which there was an extended writers' strike. Davis concludes the solo portion of his interview by outlining his job teaching comedy writing at USC. In his three-hour, joint interview with David Pollock, the pair detail how they met and began writing together, and discuss their collaborative process (which has remained basically the same since they started).They talk about their early years writing comedy bits for KNX Los Angeles radio personalities, which led to their first television gig for The Joey Bishop Show. They speak of going to write for the syndicated, daytime Pat Boone Show, which became The Steve Allen Show the following season. They talk of becoming showrunners for The Steve Allen Show, and recall writing for other variety shows, including The Don Knotts Show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, and The Carol Burnett Show. Davis and Pollock also discuss writing for several sitcoms, including The New Dick Van Dyke Show, All in the Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and finally M*A*S*H, where they worked on the last few seasons and helped write the finale "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen." They conclude the joint portion of their interview by discussing their time as writers on Frasier and relating their favorite stories about each other. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview in a joint venture with The Writers Guild Foundation on January 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, CA.

"It's important to every writing team to spend an inordinate amount of time trying not to write. David [Pollock] and I went to great lengths to figure out ways to talk about other things besides whatever we were working on. We would talk about our families, or trips we would take. In doing so we both came to some of the same conclusions about what the important things are in life, and that helped our process."

Highlights
Elias Davis on his first job in the entertainment business as an usher for CBS
02:02
Elias Davis and David Pollock on getting help from the Writers Guild and what they learned from writing for The Joey Bishop Show
04:00
Elias Davis and David Pollock on their favorite stories about each other
03:47
Elias Davis and David Pollock on working with Paddy Chayefsky on Your Place or Mine?
09:54
Elias Davis and David Pollock on the legacy of M*A*S*H  and its creator Larry Gelbart
06:26
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his interests growing up; on what he wanted to be when he grew up; on the first time he saw television 
On his first job in the entertainment business as an usher for CBS; on his involvement with the Writers Guild of America; on teaching writing

Chapter 2

START OF JOINT INTERVIEW with Elias Davis and David Pollock; on how they met as ushers at CBS; on how they started writing together; on their collaborative process
On their first big break as writers for Pat Buttram on the radio; on writing for Bill Dana as "Jose Jimenez"; on writing comedy for KNX radio in Los Angeles
On going to write for The Joey Bishop Show; on the process of writing for The Joey Bishop Show; on Regis Philbin as announcer of The Joey Bishop Show; on getting help from the Writers Guild and what they learned from writing for The Joey Bishop Show
On going to write for The Pat Boone Show; on going to write for The Steve Allen Show
On writing for sketches versus writing monologue jokes and why they enjoyed writing for The Steve Allen Show; on becoming showrunners for The Steve Allen Show

Chapter 3

On writing for The Don Knotts Show; on writing for The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour; on writing for Don Rickles: Alive and Kicking; on writing The Monkees  episode "Monkees Race Again"
On writing for The New Dick Van Dyke Show under producer Carl Reiner; on writing for All in the Family; on writing for The Mary Tyler Moore Show
On working with Paddy Chayefsky on Your Place or Mine?; on why Your Place or Mine? didn't work
On writing for The Carol Burnett Show; on various Carol Burnett Show sketches they wrote or participated in writing; on leaving the show after one year

Chapter 4

On how they came to write for M*A*S*H; on rewriting scripts for M*A*S*H; on the writers' room of the show
On the research that went in to writing stories for M*A*S*H and using military and medical jargon in the scripts; on keeping  M*A*S*H  fresh; on writing the M*A*S*H  final episode "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"; on the legacy of the show and its creator Larry Gelbart
On dealing with writer's block; on their mentors; on creating the show One Big Family starring Danny Thomas; on writing for Frasier
On advice to an aspiring television writer; on their favorite stories about each other; on how they'd like to be remembered 
Shows

All in the Family

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for All in the Family
04:35

Carol Burnett Show, The (1967-78)

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The Carol Burnett Show
03:05
Elias Davis and David Pollock on the process of writing for The Carol Burnett Show
07:11
Elias Davis and David Pollock on various Carol Burnett Show sketches they wrote or participated in writing
02:56
Elias Davis and David Pollock on leaving The Carol Burnett Show
04:17

Don Knotts Show, The

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The Don Knotts Show
03:32

Frasier

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for Frasier
04:57

Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, The

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour
05:04

Joey Bishop Show, The (1967-69)

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on going to write for The Joey Bishop Show
09:31
Elias Davis and David Pollock on the process of writing for The Joey Bishop Show
04:40
Elias Davis and David Pollock on Regis Philbin as announcer of The Joey Bishop Show
02:56
Elias Davis and David Pollock on getting help from the Writers Guild and what they learned from writing for The Joey Bishop Show
04:00

M*A*S*H

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on how they came to write for M*A*S*H
05:17
Elias Davis and David Pollock on rewriting scripts for M*A*S*H
03:17
Elias Davis and David Pollock on the writers' room of M*A*S*H
03:35
Elias Davis and David Pollock on the research that went in to writing stories for M*A*S*H and using military and medical jargon in the scripts
07:25
Elias Davis and David Pollock on keeping M*A*S*H fresh
06:42
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing the M*A*S*H final episode "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"
03:42
Elias Davis and David Pollock on the legacy of M*A*S*H  and its creator Larry Gelbart
06:26

M*A*S*H: "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing the M*A*S*H  final episode "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"
03:42

Mary Tyler Moore Show, The

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The Mary Tyler Moore Show
05:35

Monkees, The

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing The Monkees episode "Monkees Race Again"
02:38

New Dick Van Dyke Show, The

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The New Dick Van Dyke Show  under producer Carl Reiner
05:23

Steve Allen Show, The (1968-72)

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on going to write for The Steve Allen Show
06:53
Elias Davis and David Pollock on becoming showrunners for The Steve Allen Show
05:22
Topics

Advice

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on advice to an aspiring television writer
03:05

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on their mentors
02:03
Elias Davis and David Pollock on the legacy of M*A*S*H  and its creator Larry Gelbart
06:26
Elias Davis and David Pollock on the legacy of M*A*S*H  and its creator Larry Gelbart
06:26
Elias Davis and David Pollock on their mentors
02:03

First Big Break

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on their first big break as writers for Pat Buttram on the radio
03:12

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Elias Davis and David Pollock on their first big break as writers for Pat Buttram on the radio
03:12
Elias Davis and David Pollock on their mentors
02:03
Elias Davis and David Pollock on the legacy of M*A*S*H  and its creator Larry Gelbart
06:26

Television Industry

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on advice to an aspiring television writer
03:05
Professions

Writers

View Profession
Elias Davis and David Pollock on their collaborative process
02:36
Elias Davis and David Pollock on dealing with writer's block
01:42
Elias Davis and David Pollock on advice to an aspiring television writer
03:05
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The New Dick Van Dyke Show  under producer Carl Reiner
05:23
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing The Monkees  episode "Monkees Race Again"
02:38
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for All in the Family
04:35
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The Mary Tyler Moore Show
05:35
Elias Davis and David Pollock on creating the show One Big Family  starring Danny Thomas
02:44
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for Frasier
04:57
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for M*A*S*H
36:23

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The Don Knotts Show
03:32
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour
05:04
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The Carol Burnett Show
17:29

Talk Shows

View Genre
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The Joey Bishop Show
17:07
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The Pat Boone Show
04:17
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for and showrunning The Steve Allen Show
17:54
People

Steve Allen

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on going to write for The Steve Allen Show
06:53
Elias Davis and David Pollock on becoming showrunners for The Steve Allen Show
05:22

Joey Bishop

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on going to write for The Joey Bishop Show
09:31
Elias Davis and David Pollock on the process of writing for The Joey Bishop Show
04:40
Elias Davis and David Pollock on Regis Philbin as announcer of The Joey Bishop Show
02:56

Pat Boone

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on going to write for The Pat Boone Show
04:17

Carol Burnett

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The Carol Burnett Show
03:04

Pat Buttram

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on their first big break as writers for Pat Buttram on the radio
03:13

Glen Campbell

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour
05:04

Paddy Chayefsky

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on working with Paddy Chayefsky on Your Place or Mine?
09:54
Elias Davis and David Pollock on why Your Place or Mine?  their collaboration with Paddy Chayefsky, didn't work
02:55

Bill Dana

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for Bill Dana as "Jose Jimenez"
02:17

Dick Van Dyke

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The New Dick Van Dyke Show  under producer Carl Reiner
05:22

Larry Gelbart

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on the legacy of M*A*S*H  and its creator Larry Gelbart
06:26

Don Knotts

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The Don Knotts Show
03:32

Shari Lewis

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for Shari Lewis and "Lambchop"
01:24

Mary Tyler Moore

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The Mary Tyler Moore Show
05:35

Regis Philbin

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on Regis Philbin as announcer of The Joey Bishop Show
02:56

David Pollock

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Elias Davis on meeting writing partner David Pollock 
00:48

Carl Reiner

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing for The New Dick Van Dyke Show  under producer Carl Reiner
05:22

Danny Thomas

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on creating the show One Big Family  starring Danny Thomas
02:44

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