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."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
George Sunga on the evolution of Tommy Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
George Sunga on The Who and Pete Seeger performing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
George Sunga on Suzanne Somers leaving Three's Company
George Sunga on working with Carroll O'Connor on All in the Family
George Sunga on his contribution to the Norman Lear legacy
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
George Sunga on working with Norman Lear on All in the Family and The Jeffersons
George Sunga on working with Carroll O'Connor on All in the Family
George Sunga on his role as a Producer on All in the Family
George Sunga on making the transition from producing All in the Family to producing The Jeffersons
George Sunga on working with the other Producers and Directors on All in the Family
George Sunga on the All in the Family episode "Sammy's Visit"
George Sunga on All in the Family and The Jeffersons moving from Television City to Metro Media

All in the Family: "Sammy's Visit"

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

Dear John ...

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George Sunga on producing Dear John

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

Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, The

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George Sunga on producing The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour

Good Times

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George Sunga on being Associate Producer of Good Times

Gung Ho

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George Sunga on producing the short-lived series Gung Ho
George Sunga on producing Gung Ho

Jeffersons, The

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George Sunga on becoming a Producer on All in the Family and The Jeffersons
George Sunga on working with Norman Lear on All in the Family and The Jeffersons
George Sunga on making the transition from producing All in the Family to producing The Jeffersons
George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons
George Sunga on the diversity of the crew of The Jeffersons
George Sunga on working with the crew of The Jeffersons
George Sunga on All in the Family and The Jeffersons moving from Television City to Metro Media

Judy Garland Show, The

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George Sunga on the various stages at CBS Television City and becoming a Production Supervisor
George Sunga on being Production Supervisor on The Judy Garland Show
George Sunga on working on The Judy Garland Show at the time of JFK's assassination

Of Thee I Sing

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

Password

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George Sunga on being Production Supervisor on Password

Red Skelton Show, The

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George Sunga on "spying on" Red Skelton

Ropers, The

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

Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The

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George Sunga on being Associate Producer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
George Sunga on the evolution of Tommy Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
George Sunga on the guest stars on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the innovative technical aspects of the show
George Sunga on the writers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
George Sunga on The Who and Pete Seeger performing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
George Sunga on CBS's reaction to The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
George Sunga on becoming a Producer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; on the staff
George Sunga on the cancellation of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the lawsuit that followed
George Sunga on his Emmy nomination for producing The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

Three's A Crowd

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

Three's Company

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

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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George Sunga on mentoring 

Diversity in Television

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George Sunga on the diversity of the crew of The Jeffersons

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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

Technological Innovation

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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
George Sunga on the guest stars on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  and the innovative technical aspects of the show

Television Industry

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

Producers

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

Comedy Series

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George Sunga on producing All in the Family and The Jeffersons
George Sunga on producing Good Times
George Sunga on producing Three's Company
George Sunga on producing The Ropers  and Three's A Crowd

Game Shows

View Genre
George Sunga on being Production Supervisor on Password

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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George Sunga on being Production Supervisor on The Judy Garland Show
George Sunga on being Associate Producer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
George Sunga on producing The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
People

John Amos

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George Sunga on producing Good Times

Fred Astaire

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

Lucille Ball

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

Harry Belafonte

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

Carol Burnett

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George Sunga on working as Production Manager on various variety specials

Glen Campbell

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George Sunga on producing The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour

Carol Channing

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George Sunga on being Production Manager for various variety shows

Franklin Cover

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George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons

Zara Cully

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George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons

Joyce DeWitt

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company

Dick Van Dyke

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

Mike Evans

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George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons

Norman Fell

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company
George Sunga on producing the Three's Company spin-off The Ropers

John Frankenheimer

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George Sunga on working at the CBS Television City mailroom

Judy Garland

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George Sunga on being Production Supervisor on The Judy Garland Show

Marla Gibbs

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George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons

Robert Guillaume

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George Sunga on his stint at Walt Disney Television

Sherman Hemsley

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George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons

Janet Jackson

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George Sunga on producing Good Times

Milt Josefsberg

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George Sunga on the writers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

Richard Kline

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company

Don Knotts

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company

Norman Lear

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

Audra Lindley

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company

Allen Ludden

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George Sunga on being Production Supervisor on Password

Steve Martin

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George Sunga on the writers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

Zero Mostel

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George Sunga on working as Production Manager on various variety specials

Carroll O'Connor

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

Nelson Riddle

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George Sunga on career highlights and regrets

John Ritter

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company

Roxie Roker

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George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons

Esther Rolle

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George Sunga on producing Good Times

Isabel Sanford

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George Sunga on the cast of The Jeffersons

Red Skelton

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George Sunga on "spying on" Red Skelton

Dick Smothers

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

Tom Smothers

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

Suzanne Somers

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company
George Sunga on Suzanne Somers leaving Three's Company

McLean Stevenson

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

Bob Stewart

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George Sunga on being Production Supervisor on Password

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

Jimmie Walker

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George Sunga on producing Good Times

Ann Wedgeworth

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George Sunga on the cast of Three's Company

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