George Sunga

Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, George Sunga talks about his analysis of the '50s live television anthology series Climax! that he compiled as part of his studies at San Diego State College. He describes his extensive on-site observation of the series' production at Television City, and his experiences watching director John Frankenheimer at work. He recalls the start of his own career at CBS, beginning in the mailroom, and his ascension to Production Supervisor. He looks back on some of the '60s era shows and specials he oversaw, including The Judy Garland Show; The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special; and The Ed Sullivan Show. Sunga then talks of his departure from CBS to take the job of Associate Producer of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. He offers insights into the controversial nature of the show's content, its guests, and its abrupt cancellation. He chronicles his work as a Producer of several early '70s specials and speaks of joining All in the Family for the second half of the series' fifth season (and his important task of moving the production from CBS Television City to Metromedia Studios). Sunga then recounts his continued work on Norman Lear's shows The Jeffersons and Good Times. He details producing the sitcom Three's Company (and makes mention of its sequels The Ropers and Three's A Crowd).  He describes the talents of the cast (saying John Ritter was the heir to Dick Van Dyke) and outlines the many cast changes throughout the series' run. Jeff Abraham conducted the interview on February 1, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

"I took part in this business, I was rich with friends in the business, and I would love to be able to be a champion for all those people, no matter the ethnicity, who want to be able to be producers in this business."

Highlights
George Sunga on the evolution of Tommy Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
03:27
George Sunga on The Who and Pete Seeger performing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
05:06
George Sunga on Suzanne Somers leaving Three's Company
04:53
George Sunga on working with Carroll O'Connor on All in the Family
01:39
George Sunga on his contribution to the Norman Lear legacy
01:42
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his early memories of television; on working in the CBS Television City mailroom
On the various stages at CBS Television City and becoming a Production Manager; on being a Production Supervisor on Password
On being Production Supervisor for The Judy Garland Show; on working on various variety shows as Production Supervisor
On resigning from CBS Television City; on becoming an Associate Producer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
On working on The Judy Garland Show  at the time of JFK's assassination

Chapter 2

On the evolution of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; on the special guest stars and the writing staff of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; on The Who, Harry Belafonte, and Pete Seeger appearing on the show
On CBS's reaction to The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; on the cancellation of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; on producing The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour
On becoming a Producer on All in the Family and The Jeffersons; on working with Carroll O'Connor on All in the Family; on his role as Producer of All in the Family
On producing The Jeffersons; on the cast of The Jeffersons; on the lack of diversity on the crew of The Jeffersons

Chapter 3

On diversity in television and his personal experience; on working with the crew of The Jeffersons; on moving Norman Lear's shows from Television City to Metro Media
On being Associate Producer on Good Times; on his role in Norman Lear's legacy; on producing the musical specials Make Mine Red White and Blue and Of Thee I Sing
On producing Three's Company; on the cast of Three's Company
On Suzanne Somers leaving Three's Company; on producing the Three's Company spin-offs The Ropers and Three's A Crowd; on producing the short-lived series Gung Ho

Chapter 4

On producing Gung Ho; on producing Dear John; on his then-current (2008) projects
On the key to production management and his advice to aspiring television producers; on career highlights and regrets; on how he'd like to remembered
Shows

All in the Family

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George Sunga on becoming a Producer on All in the Family and The Jeffersons
05:23
George Sunga on working with Norman Lear on All in the Family and The Jeffersons
01:34
George Sunga on working with Carroll O'Connor on All in the Family
01:39
George Sunga on his role as a Producer on All in the Family
05:12
George Sunga on making the transition from producing All in the Family to producing The Jeffersons
02:15
George Sunga on working with the other Producers and Directors on All in the Family
04:54
George Sunga on the All in the Family episode "Sammy's Visit"
01:16
George Sunga on All in the Family and The Jeffersons moving from Television City to Metro Media
04:01

All in the Family: "Sammy's Visit"

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George Sunga on the All in the Family episode "Sammy's Visit"
01:16

Dear John ...

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George Sunga on producing Dear John
03:07

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

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George Sunga on acting as Production Manager for Ed Sullivan's various trips to Los Angeles to do The Ed Sullivan Show and the transition to color
05:20

Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, The

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George Sunga on producing The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour
01:35

Good Times

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George Sunga on being Associate Producer of Good Times
06:04

Gung Ho

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George Sunga on producing the short-lived series Gung Ho
01:27
George Sunga on producing Gung Ho
05:48

Jeffersons, The

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George Sunga on becoming a Producer on All in the Family and The Jeffersons
05:23
George Sunga on working with Norman Lear on All in the Family and The Jeffersons
01:34
George Sunga on making the transition from producing All in the Family to producing The Jeffersons
02:13
George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons
03:08
George Sunga on the diversity of the crew of The Jeffersons
01:58
George Sunga on working with the crew of The Jeffersons
01:59
George Sunga on All in the Family and The Jeffersons moving from Television City to Metro Media
04:01

Judy Garland Show, The

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George Sunga on the various stages at CBS Television City and becoming a Production Supervisor
04:48
George Sunga on being Production Supervisor on The Judy Garland Show
06:34
George Sunga on working on The Judy Garland Show at the time of JFK's assassination
02:41

Of Thee I Sing

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George Sunga on being Associate Producer of the musical special Of Thee I Sing
04:02

Password

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George Sunga on being Production Supervisor on Password
05:15

Red Skelton Show, The

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George Sunga on "spying on" Red Skelton
04:43

Ropers, The

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George Sunga on producing the Three's Company spin-off The Ropers
03:45

Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The

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George Sunga on being Associate Producer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
03:52
George Sunga on the evolution of Tommy Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
03:27
George Sunga on the guest stars on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the innovative technical aspects of the show
02:39
George Sunga on the writers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
02:32
George Sunga on The Who and Pete Seeger performing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
05:06
George Sunga on CBS's reaction to The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
01:45
George Sunga on becoming a Producer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; on the staff
03:42
George Sunga on the cancellation of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the lawsuit that followed
03:14
George Sunga on his Emmy nomination for producing The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
01:01

Three's A Crowd

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George Sunga on producing the Three's Company spin-off Three's A Crowd
01:59

Three's Company

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George Sunga on how he came to be Associate Producer of Three's Company
05:08
George Sunga on a typical Three's Company production week
01:00
George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company
08:47
George Sunga on Suzanne Somers leaving Three's Company
04:53
George Sunga on Lucille Ball hosting Three's Company's 100th episode retrospective
01:05
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
George Sunga on CBS's reaction to The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
01:15
George Sunga on Harry Belafonte's controversial performance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
01:24
George Sunga on diversity and discrimination in television
07:08

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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George Sunga on mentoring 
01:11

Diversity in Television

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George Sunga on the diversity of the crew of The Jeffersons
01:58

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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George Sunga on working on The Judy Garland Show  at the time of JFK's assassination
02:41

Technological Innovation

View Topic
George Sunga on acting as Production Manager for Ed Sullivan's various trips to Los Angeles to do The Ed Sullivan Show  and the transition to color
08:20
George Sunga on the guest stars on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  and the innovative technical aspects of the show
02:39

Television Industry

View Topic
George Sunga on CBS's reaction to The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
01:45
George Sunga on Harry Belafonte's controversial performance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
01:24
George Sunga on diversity and discrimination in television
07:08
Professions

Producers

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George Sunga on his role as a Producer on All in the Family
05:12
George Sunga on the key to effective production management and his advice to aspiring television producers
02:50
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
George Sunga on producing All in the Family and The Jeffersons
26:01
George Sunga on producing Good Times
06:04
George Sunga on producing Three's Company
21:37
George Sunga on producing The Ropers  and Three's A Crowd
05:44

Game Shows

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George Sunga on being Production Supervisor on Password
05:15

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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George Sunga on being Production Supervisor on The Judy Garland Show
08:55
George Sunga on being Associate Producer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
03:52
George Sunga on producing The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
24:50
People

John Amos

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George Sunga on producing Good Times
06:04

Fred Astaire

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George Sunga on producing the Fred Astaire special Make Mine Red White and Blue
02:20

Lucille Ball

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George Sunga on working as Production Manager on various variety specials
02:34
George Sunga on Lucille Ball hosting Three's Company's 100th episode retrospective
01:05

Harry Belafonte

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George Sunga on Harry Belafonte's controversial performance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
01:24

Carol Burnett

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George Sunga on working as Production Manager on various variety specials
02:34

Glen Campbell

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George Sunga on producing The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour
01:35

Carol Channing

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George Sunga on being Production Manager for various variety shows
05:20

Franklin Cover

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George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons
03:08

Zara Cully

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George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons
03:08

Joyce DeWitt

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company
05:47

Dick Van Dyke

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George Sunga on being Production Manager for Dick Van Dyke's variety special
03:14

Mike Evans

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George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons
03:08

Norman Fell

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company
05:47
George Sunga on producing the Three's Company spin-off The Ropers
03:45

John Frankenheimer

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George Sunga on working at the CBS Television City mailroom
06:33

Judy Garland

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George Sunga on being Production Supervisor on The Judy Garland Show
06:34

Marla Gibbs

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George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons
03:08

Robert Guillaume

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George Sunga on his stint at Walt Disney Television
03:15

Sherman Hemsley

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George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons
03:08

Janet Jackson

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George Sunga on producing Good Times
06:04

Milt Josefsberg

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George Sunga on the writers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
02:32

Richard Kline

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company
05:47

Don Knotts

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company
05:47

Norman Lear

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George Sunga on working with Norman Lear on All in the Family and The Jeffersons
01:34

Audra Lindley

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company
05:47

Allen Ludden

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George Sunga on being Production Supervisor on Password
05:15

Steve Martin

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George Sunga on the writers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
02:32

Zero Mostel

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George Sunga on working as Production Manager on various variety specials
02:34

Carroll O'Connor

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George Sunga on working with Carroll O'Connor on All in the Family
01:39

Nelson Riddle

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George Sunga on career highlights and regrets
03:10

John Ritter

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company
05:47

Roxie Roker

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George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons
03:08

Esther Rolle

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George Sunga on producing Good Times
06:04

Isabel Sanford

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George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons
03:08

Red Skelton

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George Sunga on "spying on" Red Skelton
04:43

Dick Smothers

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George Sunga on becoming a Producer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; on the staff
03:42

Tom Smothers

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George Sunga on becoming a Producer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; on the staff
03:42

Suzanne Somers

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company
05:47
George Sunga on Suzanne Somers leaving Three's Company
04:53

McLean Stevenson

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George Sunga on becoming a Producer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; on the staff
03:42

Bob Stewart

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George Sunga on being Production Supervisor on Password
05:15

Ed Sullivan

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George Sunga on acting as Production Manager for Ed Sullivan's various trips to Los Angeles to do The Ed Sullivan Show and the transition to color
05:20

Jimmie Walker

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George Sunga on producing Good Times
06:04

Ann Wedgeworth

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company
05:47

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