Gerald Perry Finnerman

Director of Photography


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his five-hour interview, Director of Photography Gerald Finnerman (1931-2011) speaks about his early years, and working as a cinematographer in the army. He talks about working as the cinematographer for Star Trek, where he gained a reputation for being able to properly light planets, and female actors. He discusses his relationship with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and actors William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. He recalls working on several films for actor Sidney Poitier, as well as working on the series Night Gallery, Emergency!, and Kojak, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award. He details his tumoltious years as cinematographer for Moonlighting, where he shoot the infamous episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice." Karen Herman conducted the interview on October 8. 2002 in Studio City, California. 

"Directors of Photography create the mood of the show.  They create the dimension. They tell a story with their lights."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the challenge of making planets look real on Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the Star Trek episode "Space Seed" starring Ricardo Montalban
Gerald Perry Finnerman on his professional fears as a cinematographer on Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Barbara Bain on Mission: Impossible
Gerald Perry Finnerman on lighting Cybill Shepherd on Moonlighting
Gerald Perry Finnerman on filming the black and white Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on becoming an cinematographer; on his earliest experiences with television during his time in the army
On being hired by Gene Roddenberry as cinematographer on Star Trek; on how Star Trek was initially described to him, and on his early ideas for the show

Chapter 2

On his ideas as cinematographer for Star Trek, and on being "too artsy"; on his mentor Harry Stradling, and on various experiences of directors of photography
On the colors of Star Trek; on the challenge of making planets look real on Star Trek
On being cinematographer for Mission: Impossible; on working with Barbara Bain on Mission: Impossible
On working with Gene Roddenberry on Star Trek; on working with producer Robert Justman on Star Trek

Chapter 3

On his professional fears as a cinematographer on Star Trek; on dealing with the color scheme on Star Trek, and on the visual style of the show; on working with Leonard Nimoy's "pig eyes" and William Shatner's hair pieces on Star Trek
On the equipment used to shoot Star Trek, and on the special effects of the show; on working with the crew on Star Trek; on making the Enterprise lurch forward or stop short on Star Trek and on the challenges of lighting the interior
On creating the special effects that made the Enterprise fly on Star Trek; on working with William Shatner and as "Captain James T. Kirk" and the rest of the cast on Star Trek; on working with his friend DeForest Kelley as "Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy," and on using "diffusion" on women and men
On working with Walter Koenig as "Pavel Chekov" and Nichelle Nichols as "Lt. Nyota Uhura" on Star Trek; on working with, and sometimes conflicting with, the directors of Star Trek including Joseph Pevney

Chapter 4

On Star Trek directors Ralph Senensky, Marc Daniels, and Joseph Pevney; on dealing with the budgets of Star Trek as the cinematographer; on specific episodes of Star Trek
On various episodes of Star Trek, including "Space Seed" with Ricardo Montalban; on his favorite Star Trek episodes
On color correction on Star Trek; on exiting Star Trek in 1968 to work on a feature starring Sidney Poitier and directed by Robert Alan Aurthur

Chapter 5

On working in feature film with Sidney Poitier; on his decision to leave television for a while, and on surviving a plane crash
On lighting episodes of Night Gallery and Emergency!; on his more "gritty" work on Kojak; on working with Telly Savalas on Kojak and on being nominated for an Emmy for the show

Chapter 6

On being director of photography on the Planet of the Apes series; on the challenge of filming Planet of the Apes with the prosthetics the actors wore; on being director of photography for Police Woman, being signed to work at Columbia Television and, working with different types of film stock
On working with Buzz Kulik on the made for television movies Kill Me if You Can Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women, and From Here to Eternity ; on coping with not working during a long strike, and on various director of photography jobs in feature films; on the challenges of doing cinematography for made-for-television movies

Chapter 7

On turning down the opportunity to be the cinematographer for Star Trek again, and on working with Gene Roddenberry; on Larry Parks and the Hollywood Blacklist
On working with Lloyd Bridges starring on Capitol; on missing out on work with Buzz Kulik
On working on Moonlighting; on lighting Cybill Shepherd on Moonlighting

Chapter 8

On being director of photography on Moonlighting and on lighting Cybill Shepherd; on filming the black and white Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
On working with Bruce Willis on Moonlighting, and on his five Emmy nominations; on the musical numbers on Moonlighting, including one staged by Stanley Donen; on directing Moonlighting in an episode guest-starring Imogene Coca

Chapter 9

On directing an episode of Moonlighting; on doing a takeoff of "Casablanca" on Moonlighting ; on the Moonlighting episode "Atomic Shakespeare" and on the crazy shooting schedule
On working with show creator Glenn Gordon Caron on Moonlighting, and on battles with show stars Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis; on the end of Moonlighting

Chapter 10

On Orson Welles appearing in the Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"; on shooting Room for Two with Linda Lavin; on shooting Double Rush for producer Diane English
On shooting New York Daze; on retiring from the business
On the cinematographer's relationship with the director and what he looks for in a gaffer; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Capitol

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Lloyd Bridges starring on Capitol

Double Rush

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on shooting Double Rush for producer Diane English

Emergency!

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on lighting Emergency!, and on problems he had lighting the fire station exterior

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Telly Savalas on Kojak and on being nominated for an Emmy for the show

Kojak

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on his more "gritty" work on Kojak
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Telly Savalas on Kojak and on winning an Emmy for the show

Mission: Impossible

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on being cinematographer for Mission: Impossible
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Barbara Bain and Steven Hill on Mission: Impossible

Moonlighting

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working on Moonlighting
Gerald Perry Finnerman on lighting Cybill Shepherd on Moonlighting
Gerald Perry Finnerman on being director of photography on Moonlighting and on lighting Cybill Shepherd
Gerald Perry Finnerman on filming the black and white Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Bruce Willis on Moonlighting, and on his five Emmy nominations
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the musical numbers on Moonlighting, including one staged by Stanley Donen
Gerald Perry Finnerman on directing Moonlighting in an episode guest-starring Imogene Coca
Gerald Perry Finnerman on directing an episode of Moonlighting featuring Allyce Beasley as "Agnes DiPesto" and guest-starring Imogene Coca
Gerald Perry Finnerman on doing a takeoff of "Casablanca" on Moonlighting
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the Moonlighting episode "Atomic Shakespeare," on the crazy shooting schedule and shooting Cybill Shepherd
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with show creator Glenn Gordon Caron on Moonlighting, and on battles with show stars Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the end of Moonlighting
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the legacy of Moonlighting

Moonlighting: "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on filming the black and white Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
Gerald Perry Finnerman on Orson Welles appearing in the Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"

Night Gallery

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on lighting episodes of Night Gallery

Planet of the Apes

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on being director of photography on the Planet of the Apes series
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the challenge of filming Planet of the Apes with the prosthetics the actors wore

Police Woman

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on being director of photography for Police Woman, being signed to work at Columbia Television and, working with different types of film stock

Room for Two

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on shooting Room for Two with Linda Lavin

Star Trek

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Gerald Finnerman on being hired by Gene Roddenberry as cinematographer on Star Trek
Gerald Finnerman on how Star Trek was initially described to him, and on his early ideas for the show
Gerald Perry Finnerman on his ideas as cinematographer for Star Trek, and on being "too artsy"
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the colors of Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the challenge of making planets look real on Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Gene Roddenberry on Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with producer Robert Justman on Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on his professional fears as a cinematographer on Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on dealing with the color scheme on Star Trek, and on the visual style of the show
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Leonard Nimoy's "pig eyes" and William Shatner's hair pieces on Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the equipment used to shoot Star Trek, and on the special effects of the show
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with the crew on Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on making the Enterprise lurch forward or stop short on Star Trek and on the challenges of lighting the interior
Gerald Perry Finnerman on creating the special effects that made the Enterprise fly on Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with William Shatner and as "Captain James T. Kirk" and the rest of the cast on Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with his friend DeForest Kelley as "Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy," and on using "diffusion" on women and men
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Walter Koenig as "Pavel Chekov" and Nichelle Nichols as "Lt. Nyota Uhura" on Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with, and sometimes conflicting with, the directors of Star Trek including Joseph Pevney
Gerald Perry Finnerman on Star Trek directors Ralph Senensky, Marc Daniels, and Joseph Pevney
Gerald Perry Finnerman on dealing with the budgets of Star Trek as the cinematographer
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the pilot episode of Star Trek, "The Cage"
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the Star Trek episode "The Enemy Within"
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the Star Trek episode "Space Seed" starring Ricardo Montalban
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the Star Trek episode "Errand of Mercy"
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the all time classic Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" starring Miss Joan Collins as "Edith Keeler"
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the all time classic Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles"
Gerald Perry Finnerman on his favorite Star Trek episodes
Gerald Perry Finnerman on color correction on Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on exiting Star Trek in 1968 to work on a feature starring Sidney Poitier and directed by Robert Alan Aurthur
Gerald Perry Finnerman on turning down the opportunity to be the cinematographer for Star Trek again, and on working with Gene Roddenberry

Star Trek: "The City on the Edge of Forever"

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on the all time classic Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" starring Miss Joan Collins as "Edith Keeler"
Topics

Comedy

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on filming the black and white Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
Gerald Perry Finnerman on filming the black and white Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
Cinematographer Gerald Perry Finnerman on Orson Welles arriving on the set for the Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"

Emmy Awards

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Telly Savalas on Kojak and on being nominated for an Emmy for the show

Hollywood Blacklist

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on Larry Parks and the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on Larry Parks and the Hollywood Blacklist

Pop Culture

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on filming the black and white Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"

Television Industry

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on Larry Parks and the Hollywood Blacklist
Professions

Cinematographer

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Gerald Finnerman on the role of a director of photography 
Gerald Perry Finnerman on dealing with the color scheme on Star Trek, and on the visual style of the show
Gerald Perry Finnerman on making the Enterprise lurch forward or stop short on Star Trek and on the challenges of lighting the interior
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the equipment used to shoot Star Trek, and on the special effects of the show
Gerald Perry Finnerman on dealing with the budgets of Star Trek as the cinematographer
Gerald Perry Finnerman on being director of photography for Police Woman, being signed to work at Columbia Television and, working with different types of film stock
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the challenges of doing cinematography for made-for-television movies
Gerald Perry Finnerman on filming the black and white Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the cinematographer's relationship with the director and what he looks for in a gaffer

Production Professionals

View Profession
Gerald Perry Finnerman on dealing with the color scheme on Star Trek, and on the visual style of the show
Gerald Perry Finnerman on making the Enterprise lurch forward or stop short on Star Trek and on the challenges of lighting the interior
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the equipment used to shoot Star Trek, and on the special effects of the show
Gerald Perry Finnerman on dealing with the budgets of Star Trek as the cinematographer
Gerald Perry Finnerman on being director of photography for Police Woman, being signed to work at Columbia Television and, working with different types of film stock
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the challenges of doing cinematography for made-for-television movies
Gerald Perry Finnerman on filming the black and white Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
Gerald Perry Finnerman on the cinematographer's relationship with the director and what he looks for in a gaffer
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on being cinematographer for Mission: Impossible

Comedy Series

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on shooting Moonlighting
Gerald Perry Finnerman on shooting Moonlighting
Gerald Perry Finnerman on Orson Welles appearing in the Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
Gerald Perry Finnerman on shooting Room for Two with Linda Lavin
Gerald Perry Finnerman on shooting Double Rush for producer Diane English
Gerald Perry Finnerman on shooting New York Daze

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on his more "gritty" work on Kojak
Gerald Perry Finnerman on shooting Moonlighting

Medical Dramas

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on lighting Emergency!, and on problems he had lighting the fire station exterior

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

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Gerald Perry Finnerman being the cinematographer for Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on being cinematographer for Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on being cinematographer for Star Trek
People

Robert Alan Aurthur

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on exiting Star Trek in 1968 to work on a feature starring Sidney Poitier and directed by Robert Alan Aurthur

Barbara Bain

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Barbara Bain and Steven Hill on Mission: Impossible

Lloyd Bridges

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Lloyd Bridges starring on Capitol

Glenn Gordon Caron

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with show creator Glenn Gordon Caron on Moonlighting, and on battles with show stars Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis

Imogene Coca

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on directing Moonlighting in an episode guest-starring Imogene Coca

Joan Collins

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on the all time classic Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" starring Miss Joan Collins as "Edith Keeler"

Marc Daniels

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on Star Trek directors Ralph Senensky, Marc Daniels, and Joseph Pevney

Diane English

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on shooting Double Rush for producer Diane English

Steven Hill

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Barbara Bain and Steven Hill on Mission: Impossible

Matt Jefferies

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Cinematographer Gerald Finnerman on first working with the sets of Star Trek

DeForest Kelley

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with his friend DeForest Kelley as "Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy," and on using "diffusion" on women and men

Walter Koenig

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Walter Koenig as "Pavel Chekov" and Nichelle Nichols as "Lt. Nyota Uhura" on Star Trek

Buzz Kulik

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Buzz Kulik on the made for television movies Kill Me if You Can Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women, and From Here to Eternity
Gerald Perry Finnerman on missing out on work with Buzz Kulik

Linda Lavin

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on shooting Room for Two with Linda Lavin

Ricardo Montalban

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on the Star Trek episode "Space Seed" starring Ricardo Montalban

Nichelle Nichols

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Walter Koenig as "Pavel Chekov" and Nichelle Nichols as "Lt. Nyota Uhura" on Star Trek

Leonard Nimoy

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Leonard Nimoy's "pig eyes" and William Shatner's hair pieces on Star Trek

Larry Parks

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on Larry Parks and the Hollywood Blacklist

Joseph Pevney

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with, and sometimes conflicting with, the directors of Star Trek including Joseph Pevney
Gerald Perry Finnerman on Star Trek directors Ralph Senensky, Marc Daniels, and Joseph Pevney

Sidney Poitier

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on exiting Star Trek in 1968 to work on a feature starring Sidney Poitier and directed by Robert Alan Aurthur
Gerald Finnerman on working in feature film with Sidney Poitier

Gene Roddenberry

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Gerald Finnerman on being hired as cinematographer on Star Trek

Telly Savalas

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Telly Savalas on Kojak and on being nominated for an Emmy for the show

Ralph Senensky

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on Star Trek directors Ralph Senensky, Marc Daniels, and Joseph Pevney

William Shatner

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Leonard Nimoy's "pig eyes" and William Shatner's hair pieces on Star Trek
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with William Shatner and as "Captain James T. Kirk" and the rest of the cast on Star Trek

Cybill Shepherd

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on lighting Cybill Shepherd on Moonlighting
Gerald Perry Finnerman on being director of photography on Moonlighting and on lighting Cybill Shepherd
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with show creator Glenn Gordon Caron on Moonlighting, and on battles with show stars Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis

Herbert F. Solow

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Gerald Finnerman on being hired as cinematographer on Star Trek

Orson Welles

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on Orson Welles appearing in the Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"

Bruce Willis

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Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with Bruce Willis on Moonlighting, and on his five Emmy nominations
Gerald Perry Finnerman on working with show creator Glenn Gordon Caron on Moonlighting, and on battles with show stars Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis

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