Greg Garrison

Director / Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-hour Archive interview, Greg Garrision (1924-2005) talks about working in television in 1947 at the ABC affiliate WFIL in Philadelphia. He describes his eventual move to Chicago to produce and direct television shows, including, Stand by for Crime (with Mike Wallace) and Super Circus. He describes the rigors of working in live television in the 1950s, and coming up though the ranks to eventually become a producer and director for national television programs. He speaks about his move to New York City in 1950, where he worked at NBC as a producer/director of numerous variety shows and specials including The Texaco Star Theater, The Danny Kaye Special, and Astaire Time. Garrison recalls in detail producing The Dean Martin Show where he formed a relationship with Dean Martin that would last until Martin's death. He details working with several other luminaries including Orson Welles, Bob Newhart, Frank Sinatra, Dom DeLuise, Milton Berle, and Ronald Reagan. Henry Colman conducted the interview on October 8, 1998 at Garrison's home in Thousand Oaks, CA.

"My whole deal for 'The Dean Martin Show' was done with a handshake. There never was a piece of paper, ever, that existed between us. Not in the next thirty some-odd years, and we’re still partners as far as I’m concerned. The Dean Martin Family Trust Fund Estate still gets fifty percent of everything that comes in, and I get fifty. Because that was my deal with him. Dead or alive."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle
Greg Garrison on directing and producing The Dean Martin Show
Greg Garrison on his approach to directing performers like Gene Kelly and Sid Caesar, and on working with Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows
Greg Garrison on producing and directing the summer show Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers
Greg Garrison on the Hollywood Blacklist and how it impacted actor Jack Gilford and others
Greg Garrison on how he'd like to be remembered and how Dean Martin was regarded
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on movies he enjoyed growing up and on getting into performing and joke writing; on how his family dealt with the Depression
On his dealings with the Chicago mob as a child and other jobs he had growing up, including working with Danny Thomas; on working in radio and meeting Mike Wallace; on his experience in World War II
On working with Orson Welles; on his mentors

Chapter 2

On his earliest experiences with television, including appearing on the show Campus Hoopla; on working in local Philadelphia television and starting to direct; on going to work for WENR, the ABC affiliate in Chicago and on producing local programming in Chicago including Super Circus
On directing an episode of Garroway-at-Large, which led to him directing Your Show of Shows; on Your Show of Shows producer Max Liebman; on the structure of Your Show of Shows and directing The Kate Smith Hour

Chapter 3

On comparing television in the 1950s in Chicago and in New York and on working at NBC at that time; on his approach to directing performers like Gene Kelly and Sid Caesar and on working with Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows; on Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, and the rest of the cast of Your Show of Shows
On the rehearsal and production process of Your Show of Shows; on the biggest challenges of directing Your Show of Shows; on what it was like directing Your Show of Shows week to week
On directing The Kate Smith Hour, produced by Ted Collins; on leaving Your Show of Shows; on directing Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle

Chapter 4

On directing Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle; on the decline of Texaco Star Theater and on leaving the show; on the supporting cast of Texaco Star Theater
On the Hollywood Blacklist and how it impacted actor Jack Gilford and others; on moving to Los Angeles in 1957 and going to work at Columbia directing feature films for Harry Cohn and on directing for Ziv Television; on observing Alfred Hitchcock direct Cary Grant, and on directing The Standard Oil Anniversary Show for NBC

Chapter 5

On directing The Standard Oil Anniversary Show for NBC; on directing specials for Jack Paar, including Jack Paar Presents and on working with Jonathan Winters on those shows; on directing Mike Nichols and Elaine May in a sketch
On working with Hubbell Robinson and Jim Aubrey, and on making a deal to direct The Judy Garland Show and The Keefe Brasselle Show;  on directing a Danny Kaye Special
On directing specials for Jonathan Winters; on the challenges of directing a variety show

Chapter 6

On why the variety show dropped out of favor with audiences; on how he came to direct The Dean Martin Show and eventually producing the show; on directing and producing The Dean Martin Show
On the preparations done for The Dean Martin Show and how Dean Martin worked on the show; on the production process of The Dean Martin Show and how Dean Martin felt about the show; on the cast of The Dean Martin Show and the summer replacement shows; on the success of the show

Chapter 7

On dealing with the network and Standards & Practices on The Dean Martin Show; on producing and directing the summer show Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers; on changing the name of The Dean Martin Show to The Dean Martin Comedy Hour and on the decline of the show
On the advent of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and on the first roast, featuring Ronald Reagan; on how he felt about the end of The Dean Martin Show; on the legacy of Dean Martin
On how Dean Martin felt about The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and on the production of the roasts; on producing and directing NBC: The First Fifty Years, with Orson Welles and Jerry Lewis; on Dean Martin's relationship with Jerry Lewis and on Garrison's relationship with Frank Sinatra

Chapter 8

On Frank Sinatra guest-starring with Milton Berle on Texaco Star Theater;  on Frank Sinatra appearing on The Dean Martin Show; on his friendship with George Burns and Jack Benny
On directing The Bob Newhart Show and Dom DeLuise and Friends; on his then-current projects; on the then-future of television
On his love of animals and missing being in show business; on how he'd like to be remembered and how Dean Martin was regarded; on various people he worked with in his career

Chapter 9

On working with Orson Welles; on summing up his relationship with Dean Martin
Shows

Bob Newhart Show, The (1961-62)

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Greg Garrison on directing The Bob Newhart Show and Dom DeLuise and Friends

Campus Hoopla

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Greg Garrison on his earliest experiences with television, including appearing on the show Campus Hoopla

Danny Kaye Specials

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Greg Garrison on directing a Danny Kaye Special
Greg Garrison on working with Mickey Rooney and Lucille Ball on the Danny Kaye Special

Dean Martin Show, The

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Greg Garrison on how he came to direct The Dean Martin Show and eventually producing the show
Greg Garrison on directing and producing The Dean Martin Show
Greg Garrison on the preparations done for The Dean Martin Show and how Dean Martin worked on the show
Greg Garrison on the production process of The Dean Martin Show and how Dean Martin felt about the show
Greg Garrison on the cast of The Dean Martin Show and the summer replacement shows
Greg Garrison on the success of The Dean Martin Show and Frank Sinatra on the show
Greg Garrison on dealing with the network and Standards & Practices on The Dean Martin Show
Greg Garrison on changing the name of The Dean Martin Show to The Dean Martin Comedy Hour and on the decline of the show
Greg Garrison on the advent of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and the first roast, featuring Ronald Reagan
Greg Garrison on how he felt about the end of The Dean Martin Show
Greg Garrison on Frank Sinatra appearing on The Dean Martin Show

Garroway at Large

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Greg Garrison on directing an episode of Garroway-at-Large which led to him directing Your Show of Shows

Judy Garland Show, The

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Greg Garrison on working with Hubbell Robinson and Jim Aubrey, and on making a deal to direct The Judy Garland Show and The Keefe Brasselle Show

Kate Smith Hour

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Greg Garrison on the structure of Your Show of Shows and directing The Kate Smith Hour
Greg Garrison on directing The Kate Smith Hour, produced by Ted Collins

Keefe Brasselle Show, The

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Greg Garrison on working with Hubbell Robinson and Jim Aubrey, and on making a deal to direct The Judy Garland Show and The Keefe Brasselle Show

Super Circus

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Greg Garrison on going to work for WENR, the ABC affiliate in Chicago and on producing local programming in Chicago including Super Circus

Texaco Star Theater

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Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle
Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle
Greg Garrison on the decline of Texaco Star Theater and on leaving the show
Greg Garrison on the supporting cast of Texaco Star Theater
Greg Garrison on Frank Sinatra guest-starring with Milton Berle on Texaco Star Theater

Your Show of Shows

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Greg Garrison on Your Show of Shows producer Max Liebman
Greg Garrison on the structure of Your Show of Shows and directing The Kate Smith Hour
Greg Garrison on his approach to directing performers like Gene Kelly and Sid Caesar, and on working with Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows
Greg Garrison on Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, and the rest of the cast of Your Show of Shows
Greg Garrison on the rehearsal and production process of Your Show of Shows
Greg Garrison on the biggest challenges of directing Your Show of Shows
Greg Garrison on what it was like directing Your Show of Shows week to week
Greg Garrison on leaving Your Show of Shows
Topics

Bloopers

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Greg Garrison on dealing with the network and Standards & Practices on The Dean Martin Show

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Greg Garrison on dealing with the network and Standards & Practices on The Dean Martin Show

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Greg Garrison on his mentors, including Orson Welles
Greg Garrison on working in radio and meeting Mike Wallace

Historic Events and Social Change

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Greg Garrison on his experience in World War II

Hollywood Blacklist

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Greg Garrison on the Hollywood Blacklist and how it impacted actor Jack Gilford and others

Industry Crossroads

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Greg Garrison on the Hollywood Blacklist and how it impacted actor Jack Gilford and others

Pivotal Career Moments

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Greg Garrison on working in radio and meeting Mike Wallace
Greg Garrison on his mentors, including Orson Welles

Ronald Reagan

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Greg Garrison on the advent of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and the first roast, featuring Ronald Reagan

Television Industry

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Greg Garrison on the Hollywood Blacklist and how it impacted actor Jack Gilford and others
Greg Garrison on dealing with the network and Standards & Practices on The Dean Martin Show
Greg Garrison on the then-future of television

Television and the Presidency

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Greg Garrison on the advent of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and the first roast, featuring Ronald Reagan

War

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Greg Garrison on his experience in World War II

World War II

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Greg Garrison on his experience in World War II
Professions

Directors

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Greg Garrison on his approach to directing performers like Gene Kelly and Sid Caesar, and on working with Sid Caesar
Greg Garrison on the challenges of directing a variety show
Genres

Comedy Series

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Greg Garrison on directing Your Show of Shows
Greg Garrison on directing Your Show of Shows
Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Greg Garrison on directing The Kate Smith Hour
Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater
Greg Garrison on directing The Standard Oil Anniversary Show for NBC
Greg Garrison on working with Hubbell Robinson and Jim Aubrey, and on making a deal to direct The Judy Garland Show and The Keefe Brasselle Show
Greg Garrison on directing a Danny Kaye Special
Greg Garrison on directing specials for Jack Paar, including Jack Paar Presents and on working with Jonathan Winters on those shows
Greg Garrison on directing specials for Jonathan Winters
Greg Garrison on why the variety show dropped out of favor with audiences
Greg Garrison on directing and producing The Dean Martin Show
Greg Garrison on producing and directing The Dean Martin Show and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts >

News and Documentary

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Greg Garrison on producing and directing NBC: The First Fifty Years, with Orson Welles and Jerry Lewis
People

James T. Aubrey

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Greg Garrison on working with Hubbell Robinson and Jim Aubrey, and on making a deal to direct The Judy Garland Show and The Keefe Brasselle Show

Lucille Ball

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Greg Garrison on working with Mickey Rooney and Lucille Ball on the Danny Kaye Special

Jack Benny

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Greg Garrison on his friendship with George Burns and Jack Benny

Milton Berle

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Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle
Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle

Shelley Berman

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Greg Garrison on directing Mike Nichols and Elaine May in a sketch and on working with Shelley Berman

George Burns

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Greg Garrison on his friendship with George Burns and Jack Benny

Sid Caesar

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Greg Garrison on his approach to directing performers like Gene Kelly and Sid Caesar, and on working with Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows
Greg Garrison on Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, and the rest of the cast of Your Show of Shows

Imogene Coca

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Greg Garrison on Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, and the rest of the cast of Your Show of Shows

Harry Cohn

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Greg Garrison on moving to Los Angeles in 1957 and going to work at Columbia directing feature films for Harry Cohn, and on directing for Ziv Television

Ted Collins

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Greg Garrison on directing The Kate Smith Hour, produced by Ted Collins

Dom DeLuise

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Greg Garrison on directing The Bob Newhart Show and Dom DeLuise and Friends

Angie Dickinson

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Greg Garrison on Angie Dickinson

Tennessee Ernie Ford

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Greg Garrison on Tennessee Ernie Ford

John Forsythe

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Greg Garrison on John Forsythe

Larry Gelbart

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Greg Garrison on Jess Oppenheimer, Larry Gelbart, and Barry Levinson

Jack Gilford

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Greg Garrison on the Hollywood Blacklist and how it impacted actor Jack Gilford and others

Cary Grant

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Greg Garrison on observing Alfred Hitchcock direct Cary Grant

Alfred Hitchcock

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Greg Garrison on observing Alfred Hitchcock direct Cary Grant

Danny Kaye

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Greg Garrison on directing a Danny Kaye Special

Barry Levinson

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Greg Garrison on Jess Oppenheimer, Larry Gelbart, and Barry Levinson

Jerry Lewis

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Greg Garrison on producing and directing NBC: The First Fifty Years, with Orson Welles and Jerry Lewis>
Greg Garrison on Dean Martin's relationship with Jerry Lewis and on Garrison's relationship with Frank Sinatra

Max Liebman

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Greg Garrison on Your Show of Shows producer Max Liebman

Dean Martin

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Greg Garrison on how he came to direct The Dean Martin Show and eventually producing the show
Greg Garrison on directing and producing The Dean Martin Show
Greg Garrison on the preparations done for The Dean Martin Show and how Dean Martin worked on the show
Greg Garrison on the production process of The Dean Martin Show and how Dean Martin felt about the show
Greg Garrison on the legacy of Dean Martin
Greg Garrison on how Dean Martin felt about The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and on the production of the roasts
Greg Garrison on how he'd like to be remembered and how Dean Martin was regarded
Greg Garrison on summing up his relationship with Dean Martin

Elaine May

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Greg Garrison on directing Mike Nichols and Elaine May in a sketch

Bob Newhart

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Greg Garrison on directing The Bob Newhart Show and Dom DeLuise and Friends

Mike Nichols

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Greg Garrison on directing Mike Nichols and Elaine May in a sketch

Donald O'Connor

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Greg Garrison on Donald O'Connor

Jess Oppenheimer

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Greg Garrison on Jess Oppenheimer, Larry Gelbart, and Barry Levinson

Jack Paar

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Greg Garrison on directing specials for Jack Paar, including Jack Paar Presents and on working with Jonathan Winters on those shows

Ronald Reagan

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Greg Garrison on the advent of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and the first roast, featuring Ronald Reagan

Hubbell Robinson

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Greg Garrison on working with Hubbell Robinson and Jim Aubrey, and on making a deal to direct The Judy Garland Show and The Keefe Brasselle Show

Mickey Rooney

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Greg Garrison on working with Mickey Rooney and Lucille Ball on the Danny Kaye Special

Frank Sinatra

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Greg Garrison on the success of The Dean Martin Show and Frank Sinatra on the show
Greg Garrison on Dean Martin's relationship with Jerry Lewis and on Garrison's relationship with Frank Sinatra
Greg Garrison on Frank Sinatra guest-starring with Milton Berle on Texaco Star Theater
Greg Garrison on Frank Sinatra appearing on The Dean Martin Show

Kate Smith

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Greg Garrison on directing The Kate Smith Hour

Danny Thomas

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Greg Garrison on his dealings with the Chicago mob as a child and other jobs he had growing up, including working with Danny Thomas

Mike Wallace

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Greg Garrison on working in radio and meeting Mike Wallace

Orson Welles

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Greg Garrison on working with Orson Welles
Greg Garrison on his mentors, including Orson Welles
Greg Garrison on producing and directing NBC: The First Fifty Years, with Orson Welles and Jerry Lewis
Greg Garrison on working with Orson Welles

Jonathan Winters

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Greg Garrison on directing specials for Jack Paar, including Jack Paar Presents and on working with Jonathan Winters on those shows
Greg Garrison on directing specials for Jonathan Winters

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