Gary Smith

Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In the three-hour long, solo portion of his Archive interview, Gary Smith talks about his early years and his college career in set designing. He describes his professional set designing and the stars of the television series The Kraft Music Hall and The Judy Garland Show. He touches on producing Hullabaloo and talks in detail about collaborating with director/producer Dwight Hemion. Smith recalls their producing of many television specials starring Ann-Margret, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Herb Alpert, and Shirley MacLaine (among others), and he outlines his projects without Hemion, such as The Tony Awards and the AFI series of 100 Years shows. In the joint portion of their Archive interview, Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion recall their long-running partnership and the founding of their production company. They discuss their working relationship, and how they complimented each other as producing and directing partners. They conclude by mentioning some of their proudest company achievements and stars they've enjoyed working with over the years. The interviews were conducted on July 9, 2001 with Karen Herman conducting Smith's solo portion and Michael Rosen doing the joint Smith and Hemion portion, all in Hollywood, CA.

"If you want to be a creative producer in television, first learn about life, learn about business, learn about art, learn about music, and just absorb as much material that will then be able to be used for the things that you decide that you want to produce."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Gary Smith on how doing scenic design was different on television than it was for theater and designing a promo for The Jackie Gleason Show
Gary Smith on working with Barbra Streisand on her various specials
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on the highlights of their partnership, including the special Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
Gary Smith on Judy Garland's personal struggles during the run of The Judy Garland Show and on Garland's friendship with then-President John F. Kennedy
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on their proudest company achievements, including Rockette: A Holiday Tribute to Radio City Music Hall
Gary Smith on producing Liberty Weekend
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on the first time he saw television and shows he watched as a child; on majoring in theater arts at Carnegie Mellon (then Carnegie Tech)
On going to work doing scenic design for CBS; on how doing scenic design was different for television than for theater and designing a promo for The Jackie Gleason Show; on doing scenic design for The Andy Williams Show, and on producing Baryshnikov on Broadway and The Sentry Collection Presents Ben Vereen: His Roots
On working with Andy Williams on The Andy Williams Show; on working on Perry Como's The Kraft Music Hall

Chapter 2

On working with his partner Dwight Hemion on Perry Como's The Kraft Music Hall; on his duties as a set designer, and on working with Harry Belafonte on "Tonight with Belafonte" on The Revlon Revue
On working with Sammy Davis, Jr. and on working with African-American performers; on working with Perry Como on The Kraft Music Hall; on going to do art direction for The Judy Garland Show

Chapter 3

On the challenges of acting as art director for The Judy Garland Show, and on becoming the producer of the show; on Judy Garland's personal struggles during the run of The Judy Garland Show, and on Garland's friendship with then-President John F. Kennedy; on dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy while producing the show
On the art direction of The Judy Garland Show, and on Jerry Van Dyke leaving the show; on favorite moments of The Judy Garland Show and on being fired from the show; on how people dealt with Judy Garland's volatility on the set of The Judy Garland Show, and on working with Mel Tormé on the show
On producing The Bell Telephone Hour and Ford Presents the New Christy Minstrels, and on how he came to produce Hullabaloo; on the state of rock and roll on television when Hullabaloo came along

Chapter 4

On memorable moments of Hullabaloo; on dealing with musical performers' agents and managers as producer of Hullabaloo, and on the dancers of the show; on starting his production company with Dwight Hemion, and on Yorkshire Productions producing the later years of The Kraft Music Hall with stars like Alan King
On producing the special Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and on working with Frank Sinatra; on producing various shows in London for Lew Grade, including James Paul McCartney and Peter Pan, starring Mia Farrow; on the differences between producing in the United Kingdom and producing in the United States and on working with Jim Henson

Chapter 5

On producing Singer Presents Tony Bennett, directed by Dwight Hemion, and on producing Sammy for Sammy Davis, Jr.; on how he comes to produce projects, including tributes and awards shows; on producing Burt Bacharach: Opus No. 3 and Bette Midler: Ol' Red Hair Is Back
On working with Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, and Lew Grade on various projects; on returning to the United States in 1976 with Dwight Hemion after several years in the United Kingdom and focusing on producing specials; on then-current solo projects and on producing the Democratic National Convention

Chapter 6

On producing the Tony Awards; on producing Liberty Weekend; on career highlights
On the end of the variety format; on advice to aspiring producers; on his mentors; on the importance of continuing to work, and on how he would like to be remembered

Chapter 7

START OF JOINT INTERVIEW WITH DWIGHT HEMION AND GARY SMITH: On forming their partnership at Perry Como's The Kraft Music Hall; on the importance of Gary's art design background and on their communication with each other; on choosing projects to work on, and on their production company
On the highlights of their partnership, including the special Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass; on working together as producing partners and on coming up with ideas; on dealing with pressure and working with luminaries like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Chapter 8

On how performers like Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand regarded the medium of television; on the atmosphere on the set of their productions and how they collaborate on set; on the elements of a successful producing and directing partnership and on why theirs worked
On staffing their projects and keeping their collaborations fresh; on their proudest company achievements, including Rockette: A Holiday Tribute to Radio City Music Hall; on performers they enjoyed working with over the years, including Bette Davis
Shows

Andy Williams Show, The

View Show Page
Gary Smith on doing scenic design for The Andy Williams Show
Gary Smith on the white sets of The Andy Williams Show and on producing Baryshnikov on Broadway and The Sentry Collection Presents Ben Vereen: His Roots
Gary Smith on working with Andy Williams on The Andy Williams Show

Baryshnikov on Broadway

View Show Page
Gary Smith on the white sets of The Andy Williams Show and on producing Baryshnikov on Broadway and The Sentry Collection Presents Ben Vereen: His Roots

Bell Telephone Hour, The

View Show Page
Gary Smith on producing The Bell Telephone Hour and Ford Presents the New Christy Minstrels, and on how he came to produce Hullabaloo

Democratic National Convention

View Show Page
Gary Smith on then-current solo projects and on producing the Democratic National Convention

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

View Show Page
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on dealing with performers like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. and on winning Emmy Awards

Frank Sinatra Specials

View Show Page
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on dealing with performers like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. and on winning Emmy Awards

Hullabaloo

View Show Page
Gary Smith on producing The Bell Telephone Hour and Ford Presents the New Christy Minstrels, and on how he came to produce Hullabaloo
Gary Smith on the state of rock and roll on television when Hullabaloo came along
Gary Smith on memorable moments of Hullabaloo, including the performance of Shirley Ellis' "The Name Game"
Gary Smith on dealing with musical performers' agents and managers as producer of Hullabaloo, and on the dancers of the show

Jackie Gleason Show, The

View Show Page
Gary Smith on how doing scenic design was different for television than for theater and designing a promo for The Jackie Gleason Show

Judy Garland Show, The

View Show Page
Gary Smith on going to do art direction for The Judy Garland Show
Gary Smith on the challenges of acting as art director for The Judy Garland Show, and on becoming the producer of the show
Gary Smith on Judy Garland's personal struggles during the run of The Judy Garland Show, and on Garland's friendship with then-President John F. Kennedy
Gary Smith on dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy while producing The Judy Garland Show
Gary Smith on the art direction of The Judy Garland Show and on Jerry Van Dyke leaving the show
Gary Smith on favorite moments of The Judy Garland Show, and on being fired from the show
Gary Smith on how people dealt with Judy Garland's volatility on the set of The Judy Garland Show and on working with Mel Tormé on the show

Kraft Music Hall, The

View Show Page
Gary Smith on working on Perry Como's The Kraft Music Hall
Gary Smith on working with his partner Dwight Hemion on Perry Como's The Kraft Music Hall
Gary Smith on working with Perry Como on The Kraft Music Hall
Gary Smith on starting his production company with Dwight Hemion, and on Yorkshire Productions producing the later years of The Kraft Music Hall with stars like Alan King
Gary Smith on his duties as producer of The Kraft Music Hall, and on his working relationship with partner Dwight Hemion
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on forming their partnership at Perry Como's The Kraft Music Hall

Tony Awards

View Show Page
Gary Smith on producing the Tony Awards
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Gary Smith on advice to aspiring producers

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Gary Smith on his mentors and people who he has mentored

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Gary Smith on working with Sammy Davis, Jr. and on working with African-American performers

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on dealing with performers like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. and on winning Emmy Awards

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Gary Smith on working with Sammy Davis, Jr. and on working with African-American performers
Gary Smith on dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy while producing The Judy Garland Show

JFK Assassination and Funeral

View Topic
Gary Smith on dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy while producing The Judy Garland Show

John F. Kennedy

View Topic
Gary Smith on dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy while producing The Judy Garland Show
Gary Smith on Judy Garland's personal struggles during the run of The Judy Garland Show and on Garland's friendship with then-President John F. Kennedy

Minorities

View Topic
Gary Smith on working with Sammy Davis, Jr. and on working with African-American performers

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Gary Smith on his mentors and people who he has mentored

Pop Culture

View Topic
Gary Smith on the state of rock and roll on television when Hullabaloo came along

Rock 'n' Roll on TV (1950s & '60s)

View Topic
Gary Smith on the state of rock and roll on television when Hullabaloo came along

Television Industry

View Topic
Gary Smith on advice to aspiring producers

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Gary Smith on dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy while producing The Judy Garland Show
Gary Smith on Judy Garland's personal struggles during the run of The Judy Garland Show and on Garland's friendship with then-President John F. Kennedy
Professions

Designers

View Profession
Gary Smith on his duties as a set designer and on working with Harry Belafonte on "Tonight with Belafonte" on The Revlon Revue

Directors

View Profession
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on the importance of Gary's art design background, and on their communication with each other
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on choosing projects to work on, and on their production company
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on dealing with performers like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on dealing with pressure when working on a project
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on working together as producing partners and on coming up with ideas
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on the atmosphere on the set of their productions and how they collaborate on set
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on the elements of a successful producing and directing partnership and on why theirs worked
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on staffing their projects
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on keeping their collaborations fresh

Performers

View Profession
Gary Smith on the differences between producing in the United Kingdom and producing in the United States, and on working with Jim Henson

Producers

View Profession
Gary Smith on how he comes to produce projects, including tributes and awards shows
Gary Smith on advice to aspiring producers
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on working together as producing partners and on coming up with ideas
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on dealing with pressure when working on a project
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on dealing with performers like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on choosing projects to work on and on their production company
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on the importance of Gary's art design background, and on their communication with each other
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on the atmosphere on the set of their productions and how they collaborate on set
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on the elements of a successful producing and directing partnership and on why theirs worked
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on staffing their projects
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on keeping their collaborations fresh

Set Designer

View Profession
Gary Smith on his duties as a set designer and on working with Harry Belafonte on "Tonight with Belafonte" on The Revlon Revue
Genres

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Gary Smith on doing art direction for Perry Como's The Kraft Music Hall
Gary Smith on his duties as a set designer and on working with Harry Belafonte on "Tonight with Belafonte" on The Revlon Revue
Gary Smith on working with Perry Como on The Kraft Music Hall
Gary Smith on producing The Judy Garland Show
Gary Smith on producing The Bell Telephone Hour and Ford Presents the New Christy Minstrels, and on how he came to produce Hullabaloo
Gary Smith on producing the special Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
Gary Smith producing Hullabaloo
Gary Smith producing The Kraft Music Hall
Gary Smith on producing various shows in London for Lew Grade including James Paul McCartney and Peter Pan, starring Mia Farrow
Gary Smith on producing Singer Presents Tony Bennett, directed by Dwight Hemion, and on producing Sammy for Sammy Davis, Jr.
Gary Smith on producing Burt Bacharach: Opus No. 3 and Bette Midler: Ol' Red Hair Is Back
Gary Smith on working with Barbra Streisand on her various specials
Gary Smith on working with Neil Diamond
Gary Smith on the end of the variety format
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on the highlights of their partnership, including the special Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
People

Burt Bacharach

View Person Page
Gary Smith on producing Burt Bacharach: Opus No. 3 and Bette Midler: Ol' Red Hair Is Back

Harry Belafonte

View Person Page
Gary Smith on his duties as a set designer and on working with Harry Belafonte on "Tonight with Belafonte" on The Revlon Revue

Tony Bennett

View Person Page
Gary Smith on producing Singer Presents Tony Bennett, directed by Dwight Hemion, and on producing Sammy for Sammy Davis, Jr.

Perry Como

View Person Page
Gary Smith on working with Perry Como on The Kraft Music Hall

Bette Davis

View Person Page
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on performers they enjoyed working with over the years, including Bette Davis

Sammy Davis, Jr.

View Person Page
Gary Smith on working with Sammy Davis, Jr. and on working with African-American performers
Gary Smith on producing Singer Presents Tony Bennett, directed by Dwight Hemion, and on producing Sammy for Sammy Davis, Jr.
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on dealing with performers like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Neil Diamond

View Person Page
Gary Smith on working with Neil Diamond

Jerry Van Dyke

View Person Page
Gary Smith on the art direction of The Judy Garland Show and on Jerry Van Dyke leaving the show

Judy Garland

View Person Page
Gary Smith on the challenges of acting as art director for The Judy Garland Show, and on becoming the producer of the show
Gary Smith on Judy Garland's personal struggles during the run of The Judy Garland Show
Gary Smith on dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy while producing The Judy Garland Show
Gary Smith on favorite moments of The Judy Garland Show and on being fired from the show
Gary Smith on how people dealt with Judy Garland's volatility on the set of The Judy Garland Show and on working with Mel Tormé on the show

Lew Grade

View Person Page
Gary Smith on producing various shows in London for Lew Grade including James Paul McCartney and Peter Pan, starring Mia Farrow
Gary Smith on working with Lew Grade on various projects

Dwight Hemion

View Interview Page
Gary Smith on working with his partner Dwight Hemion on Perry Como's The Kraft Music Hall
Gary Smith on starting his production company with Dwight Hemion, and on Yorkshire Productions producing the later years of The Kraft Music Hall
Gary Smith on his duties as producer of Kraft Music Hall, and on his working relationship with partner Dwight Hemion
Gary Smith on producing Singer Presents Tony Bennett, directed by Dwight Hemion, and on producing Sammy for Sammy Davis, Jr.
Gary Smith on returning to the United States in 1976 with Dwight Hemion after several years in the United Kingdom and focusing on producing specials

Jim Henson

View Person Page
Gary Smith on working with Jim Henson

John F. Kennedy

View Person Page
Gary Smith on Judy Garland's personal struggles during the run of The Judy Garland Show, and on Garland's friendship with then-President John F. Kennedy
Gary Smith on dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy while producing The Judy Garland Show

Alan King

View Person Page
Gary Smith on starting his production company with Dwight Hemion, and on Yorkshire Productions producing the later years of The Kraft Music Hall with stars like Alan King

Paul McCartney

View Person Page
Gary Smith on producing various shows in London for Lew Grade including James Paul McCartney and Peter Pan, starring Mia Farrow

Bette Midler

View Person Page
Gary Smith on producing Burt Bacharach: Opus No. 3 and Bette Midler: Ol' Red Hair Is Back

Frank Sinatra

View Person Page
Gary Smith on working with Frank Sinatra
Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith on dealing with performers like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on how performers like Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand regarded the medium of television

Barbra Streisand

View Person Page
Gary Smith on working with Barbra Streisand on her various specials
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion on how performers like Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand regarded the medium of television

Andy Williams

View Interview Page
Gary Smith on working with Andy Williams on The Andy Williams Show

All Interviews

Q
S