Frances Buss Buch

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-hour Archive interview, Frances Buss Buch (1917-2010) describes how a two-week temporary job at CBS led to an over decade-long association with the network, and her historic role as CBS' very first female director. She details her work at CBS before and after broadcasting was interrupted during World War II. She talks about her assistance creating maps for the news program on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. She describes several of the earliest commercial broadcasts on CBS which featured her on-camera, including The Country Dance, a monthly dance program by the American Country Dance Society; Children's Story, in which a story was read to a child, "illustrated" by an artist on camera; and the CBS Television Quiz, which featured such games as "Peanuts in the Bottle" in which a contestant attempted to spoon peanuts into an empty milk bottle that they held on their head. She talks about some of her earliest directorial efforts such as Sorry Wrong Number, an adaptation of the famed radio show. Buch talks about several of the key creative talents at CBS at the time including Worthington Miner and Gilbert Seldes. She speaks in great detail about other early CBS series including The Missus Goes A-Shopping, To the Queen's Taste with Dione Lucas, The Whistling Wizard, and Mike and Buff. She also talks about CBS' color experimentation and her role as a director of the first color broadcast for the network on June 25, 1951. (She says she directed the show's "live" commercials). She also discusses "Telecolor Clinics," a series of television documentaries done for the American Cancer Society. Karen Herman conducted the interview on June 16, 2005 in Hendersonville, NC.

"There's no way that I could have anticipated the little bitty cameras that people walk around with and use. It was all so big and bulky then and everything had these great coaxial cables you had to drag  everywhere the camera went. The changes are just magical."

Highlights
Frances Buss Buch on early CBS TV technology and directing color tests and demonstrations
04:33
Frances Buss Buch on host Dione Lucas and directing the cooking show To the Queen's Taste
09:11
Frances Buss Buch on her advice to a person aspiring to work in a new medium
01:23
Frances Buss Buch on how she directed a television program
02:37
Frances Buss Buch on working on the CBS TV news program when Pearl Harbor was attacked
01:57
Frances Buss Buch on the games featured on CBS Television Quiz
03:48
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early years growing up in St. Louis and her early interest in theatre
04:45
On her first jobs as an actress in radio, theatre, and modeling in New York
01:50
On getting her first job at CBS TV as a replacement receptionist where Peter Goldmark was secretly testing color television technology; on remaining at CBS where she was put on the air
04:37
On some of the first shows on CBS including dancing on Country Dance; Red Cross First Aid; appearing on-camera on CBS Television Quiz
04:10
On appearing on Children's Story; on why the television industry was starting to expand; on CBS Television Quiz games 
06:10
On being on-camera 
01:33
On learning about Pearl Harbor being attacked and going to CBS TV and working on the news reports; on Gilbert Seldes
04:03

Chapter 2

On how World War II affected CBS' development of TV; on working on Navy training films; on meeting her future husband
07:22
On returning to CBS after the war; on working on Navy training films "Castaways" about a Navy pilot who bailed out over the Pacific and "Makeup from the Neck Down" an exercise film for the WAVES
03:59
On her first directing work on such programs as The Missus Goes A-Shopping, The CBS Television Quiz and King's Party Line
05:54
On directing sports shows for CBS including a boxing show where boxers didn't have enough trunks to go around; on directing Dodgers games
04:41
On being a female director in early television; on directing To the Queen's Taste aka Dione Lucas Cooking School
01:43

Chapter 3

On her role as a camera director and her process
02:34
On directing To the Queen's Taste and working with host Dione Lucas
09:04
On directing What's It Worth?  and the technology in television at the time of the early 1950s

Chapter 4

On directing The Whistling Wizard (continued) 
01:52
On directing the magazine show Vanity Fair
05:04
On the layout of a control room
02:37
On directing Sorry, Wrong Number (1946)
03:39
On directing The Stork Club remotes
01:25
On being aware of the Hollywood Blacklist and signing a loyalty oath for CBS
01:05
On working with crews and her direct demeanor on the set; marrying in 1949
05:18
On seeing changes in the television business with ad agencies becoming more powerful; on her last project, directing American Cancer Society documentaries, "Telecolor Clinics" 
06:22

Chapter 5

On retiring from CBS and moving to New Jersey with her husband
02:56
On her favorite memory of working at CBS: the Grand Central Terminal where studios were located
02:59
On summing up her thoughts on television; and the press she received; her advice to aspiring professionals
05:27
Shows

CBS Television Quiz

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Frances Buss Buch on Worthington Minor during the first years of CBS TV
01:35
Frances Buss Buch on the games featured on CBS Television Quiz
03:48
Frances Buss Buch briefly on directing CBS Television Quiz
00:23

Children's Story, The

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Frances Buss Buch on substituting for the host of Children's Story
01:07

Country Dance, The

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Frances Buss Buch on dancing on The Country Dance
01:20

Mike and Buff

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Frances Buss Buch on directing Mike and Buff
02:20

Missus Goes A-Shopping, The

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Frances Buss Buch on directing The Missus Goes A-Shopping 
03:06
Frances Buss Buch on directing remotes from supermarkets on The Missus Goes A-Shopping
02:02

Premiere

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Frances Buss Buch on directing the first color commercials during the 1951 CBS program Premiere
02:47

Sorry, Wrong Number (1946)

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Frances Buss Buch on directing Sorry, Wrong Number for television
03:39

Stork Club, The

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Frances Buss Buch on directing The Stork Club
01:25

To the Queen's Taste aka Dione Lucas Cooking School

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Frances Buss Buch on directing the CBS cooking show Dione Lucas Cooking School
05:23
Frances Buss Buch on host Dione Lucas and directing the cooking show Dione Lucas Cooking School
09:11

Vanity Fair

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Frances Buss Buch on directing the magazine show Vanity Fair
05:04

What's It Worth?

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Frances Buss Buch on directing What's It Worth?
03:50

Whistling Wizard, The

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Frances Buss Buch on directing The Whistling Wizard
04:12
Frances Buss Buch on directing The Whistling Wizard (continued) 
01:52

Winner Take All (1948-52)

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Frances Buss Buch on seeing Winner Take All many years later and thinking it was dull
00:53
Topics

Health and Medicine

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Frances Buss Buch on directing "Telecolor Clinics" for The American Cancer Society
06:23

Hollywood Blacklist

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Director Frances Buss Buch on being aware of the Hollywood Blacklist and signing a loyalty oath for CBS
01:06

Technological Innovation

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Frances Buss Buch on early CBS TV technology and directing color tests and demonstrations
04:33

Women

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Frances Buss Buch on the press she got for being one of the first women directors at CBS
02:26

World War II

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Frances Buss Buch on working on the CBS TV news program when Pearl Harbor was attacked
01:57
Professions

Directors

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Frances Buss Buch on how she directed a television program
02:37
Genres

Service Shows

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Frances Buss Buch on host Dione Lucas and directing the cooking show To the Queen's Taste
09:11

Sports

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Frances Buss Buch on directing sports event on early television (boxing, baseball)
04:11
People

Bil Baird

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Frances Buss Buch on directing The Whistling Wizard
04:12
Frances Buss Buch on directing The Whistling Wizard (continued) 
01:52

Lucille Ball

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Frances Buss Buch on the games featured on CBS Television Quiz
03:43

Buff Cobb

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Frances Buss Buch on directing Mike and Buff
02:22

Dorothy Doan

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Frances Buss Buch on directing the magazine show Vanity Fair
05:04

Gil Fates

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Frances Buss Buch on directing What's It Worth?
03:50

Anne Francis

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Frances Buss Buch on substituting for the host of Children's Story
01:07

John Houseman

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Frances Buss Buch on directing Sorry Wrong Number for television
03:39

Dione Lucas

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Frances Buss Buch on directing the CBS cooking show To the Queen's Taste
05:23

Worthington Miner

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Frances Buss Buch on Worthington Minor during the first years of CBS TV
01:35

Mildred Natwick

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Frances Buss Buch on directing Sorry Wrong Number for television
03:39

Gilbert Seldes

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Frances Buss Buch on Gilbert Seldes
00:54

Lela Swift

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Frances Buss Buch on how she directed a television program
02:37

Maria von Trapp

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Frances Buss Buch on directing the magazine show Vanity Fair
05:04

Mike Wallace

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Frances Buss Buch on directing Mike and Buff
02:22

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