Greg Garrison

Director / Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

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."

Highlights
Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle
06:21
Greg Garrison on directing and producing The Dean Martin Show
04:57
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
03:45
Greg Garrison on producing and directing the summer show Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers
02:51
Greg Garrison on the Hollywood Blacklist and how it impacted actor Jack Gilford and others
04:54
Greg Garrison on how he'd like to be remembered and how Dean Martin was regarded
02:39
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
07:29
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
12:01
On working with Orson Welles; on his mentors
08:01

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
16:28
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
12:44

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
08:57
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
07:55
On directing The Kate Smith Hour, produced by Ted Collins; on leaving Your Show of Shows; on directing Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle
12:31

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
13:37
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
17:22

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
07:25
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
14:39
On directing specials for Jonathan Winters; on the challenges of directing a variety show
08:58

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
13:22
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
14:47

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
08:36
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
06:32
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
13:06

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
09:20
On directing The Bob Newhart Show and Dom DeLuise and Friends; on his then-current projects; on the then-future of television
06:56
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
10:53

Chapter 9

On working with Orson Welles; on summing up his relationship with Dean Martin
04:15
Shows

Bob Newhart Show, The (1961-62)

View Show Page
Greg Garrison on directing The Bob Newhart Show and Dom DeLuise and Friends
02:46

Campus Hoopla

View Show Page
Greg Garrison on his earliest experiences with television, including appearing on the show Campus Hoopla
02:13

Danny Kaye Specials

View Show Page
Greg Garrison on directing a Danny Kaye Special
04:24
Greg Garrison on working with Mickey Rooney and Lucille Ball on the Danny Kaye Special
02:34

Dean Martin Show, The

View Show Page
Greg Garrison on how he came to direct The Dean Martin Show and eventually producing the show
07:00
Greg Garrison on directing and producing The Dean Martin Show
04:57
Greg Garrison on the preparations done for The Dean Martin Show and how Dean Martin worked on the show
06:27
Greg Garrison on the production process of The Dean Martin Show and how Dean Martin felt about the show
02:15
Greg Garrison on the cast of The Dean Martin Show and the summer replacement shows
02:03
Greg Garrison on the success of The Dean Martin Show and Frank Sinatra on the show
04:00
Greg Garrison on dealing with the network and Standards & Practices on The Dean Martin Show
03:15
Greg Garrison on changing the name of The Dean Martin Show to The Dean Martin Comedy Hour and on the decline of the show
02:30
Greg Garrison on the advent of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and the first roast, featuring Ronald Reagan
04:24
Greg Garrison on how he felt about the end of The Dean Martin Show
01:21
Greg Garrison on Frank Sinatra appearing on The Dean Martin Show
01:39

Garroway at Large

View Show Page
Greg Garrison on directing an episode of Garroway-at-Large which led to him directing Your Show of Shows
04:28

Judy Garland Show, The

View Show Page
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
07:41

Kate Smith Hour

View Show Page
Greg Garrison on the structure of Your Show of Shows and directing The Kate Smith Hour
02:41
Greg Garrison on directing The Kate Smith Hour, produced by Ted Collins
06:37

Keefe Brasselle Show, The

View Show Page
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
07:41

Super Circus

View Show Page
Greg Garrison on going to work for WENR, the ABC affiliate in Chicago and on producing local programming in Chicago including Super Circus
09:48

Texaco Star Theater

View Show Page
Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle
02:40
Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle
06:21
Greg Garrison on the decline of Texaco Star Theater and on leaving the show
02:16
Greg Garrison on the supporting cast of Texaco Star Theater
05:00
Greg Garrison on Frank Sinatra guest-starring with Milton Berle on Texaco Star Theater
02:56

Your Show of Shows

View Show Page
Greg Garrison on Your Show of Shows producer Max Liebman
03:49
Greg Garrison on the structure of Your Show of Shows and directing The Kate Smith Hour
02:41
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
03:45
Greg Garrison on Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, and the rest of the cast of Your Show of Shows
03:51
Greg Garrison on the rehearsal and production process of Your Show of Shows
03:41
Greg Garrison on the biggest challenges of directing Your Show of Shows
03:12
Greg Garrison on what it was like directing Your Show of Shows week to week
01:00
Greg Garrison on leaving Your Show of Shows
02:01
Topics

Bloopers

View Topic
Greg Garrison on dealing with the network and Standards & Practices on The Dean Martin Show
03:15

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Greg Garrison on dealing with the network and Standards & Practices on The Dean Martin Show
03:15

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Greg Garrison on his mentors, including Orson Welles
02:39
Greg Garrison on working in radio and meeting Mike Wallace
02:06

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Greg Garrison on his experience in World War II
04:00

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Greg Garrison on the Hollywood Blacklist and how it impacted actor Jack Gilford and others
04:54

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Greg Garrison on the Hollywood Blacklist and how it impacted actor Jack Gilford and others
04:54

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Greg Garrison on working in radio and meeting Mike Wallace
02:06
Greg Garrison on his mentors, including Orson Welles
02:39

Ronald Reagan

View Topic
Greg Garrison on the advent of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and the first roast, featuring Ronald Reagan
04:24

Television Industry

View Topic
Greg Garrison on the Hollywood Blacklist and how it impacted actor Jack Gilford and others
04:54
Greg Garrison on dealing with the network and Standards & Practices on The Dean Martin Show
03:15
Greg Garrison on the then-future of television
02:55

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Greg Garrison on the advent of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and the first roast, featuring Ronald Reagan
04:24

War

View Topic
Greg Garrison on his experience in World War II
04:00

World War II

View Topic
Greg Garrison on his experience in World War II
04:00
Professions

Directors

View Profession
Greg Garrison on his approach to directing performers like Gene Kelly and Sid Caesar, and on working with Sid Caesar
03:45
Greg Garrison on the challenges of directing a variety show
04:00
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Greg Garrison on directing Your Show of Shows
06:30
Greg Garrison on directing Your Show of Shows
15:31
Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle
13:37

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Greg Garrison on directing The Kate Smith Hour
06:37
Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater
02:40
Greg Garrison on directing The Standard Oil Anniversary Show for NBC
02:32
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
07:41
Greg Garrison on directing a Danny Kaye Special
06:58
Greg Garrison on directing specials for Jack Paar, including Jack Paar Presents and on working with Jonathan Winters on those shows
03:23
Greg Garrison on directing specials for Jonathan Winters
02:27
Greg Garrison on why the variety show dropped out of favor with audiences
01:25
Greg Garrison on directing and producing The Dean Martin Show
26:45
Greg Garrison on producing and directing The Dean Martin Show and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts >
14:19

News and Documentary

View Genre
Greg Garrison on producing and directing NBC: The First Fifty Years, with Orson Welles and Jerry Lewis
05:29
People

James T. Aubrey

View Person Page
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
07:41

Lucille Ball

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on working with Mickey Rooney and Lucille Ball on the Danny Kaye Special
02:34

Jack Benny

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on his friendship with George Burns and Jack Benny
04:46

Milton Berle

View Interview Page
Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle
02:40
Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle
06:25

Shelley Berman

View Interview Page
Greg Garrison on directing Mike Nichols and Elaine May in a sketch and on working with Shelley Berman
00:43

George Burns

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on his friendship with George Burns and Jack Benny
04:46

Sid Caesar

View Interview Page
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
03:45
Greg Garrison on Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, and the rest of the cast of Your Show of Shows
03:51

Imogene Coca

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, and the rest of the cast of Your Show of Shows
03:51

Harry Cohn

View Person Page
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
03:55

Ted Collins

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on directing The Kate Smith Hour, produced by Ted Collins
06:39

Dom DeLuise

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on directing The Bob Newhart Show and Dom DeLuise and Friends
02:46

Angie Dickinson

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on Angie Dickinson
00:26

Tennessee Ernie Ford

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on Tennessee Ernie Ford
00:20

John Forsythe

View Interview Page
Greg Garrison on John Forsythe
00:50

Larry Gelbart

View Interview Page
Greg Garrison on Jess Oppenheimer, Larry Gelbart, and Barry Levinson
02:12

Jack Gilford

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on the Hollywood Blacklist and how it impacted actor Jack Gilford and others
04:54

Cary Grant

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on observing Alfred Hitchcock direct Cary Grant
03:51

Alfred Hitchcock

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on observing Alfred Hitchcock direct Cary Grant
03:51

Danny Kaye

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on directing a Danny Kaye Special
04:24

Barry Levinson

View Interview Page
Greg Garrison on Jess Oppenheimer, Larry Gelbart, and Barry Levinson
02:12

Jerry Lewis

View Interview Page
Greg Garrison on producing and directing NBC: The First Fifty Years, with Orson Welles and Jerry Lewis>
05:29
Greg Garrison on Dean Martin's relationship with Jerry Lewis and on Garrison's relationship with Frank Sinatra
02:55

Max Liebman

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on Your Show of Shows producer Max Liebman
03:48

Dean Martin

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on how he came to direct The Dean Martin Show and eventually producing the show
07:01
Greg Garrison on directing and producing The Dean Martin Show
04:57
Greg Garrison on the preparations done for The Dean Martin Show and how Dean Martin worked on the show
06:27
Greg Garrison on the production process of The Dean Martin Show and how Dean Martin felt about the show
02:16
Greg Garrison on the legacy of Dean Martin
00:47
Greg Garrison on how Dean Martin felt about The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and on the production of the roasts
04:44
Greg Garrison on how he'd like to be remembered and how Dean Martin was regarded
02:38
Greg Garrison on summing up his relationship with Dean Martin
01:55

Elaine May

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on directing Mike Nichols and Elaine May in a sketch
00:47

Bob Newhart

View Interview Page
Greg Garrison on directing The Bob Newhart Show and Dom DeLuise and Friends
02:46

Mike Nichols

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on directing Mike Nichols and Elaine May in a sketch
00:47

Donald O'Connor

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on Donald O'Connor
00:46

Jess Oppenheimer

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on Jess Oppenheimer, Larry Gelbart, and Barry Levinson
02:12

Jack Paar

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on directing specials for Jack Paar, including Jack Paar Presents and on working with Jonathan Winters on those shows
03:22

Ronald Reagan

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on the advent of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and the first roast, featuring Ronald Reagan
04:24

Hubbell Robinson

View Person Page
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
07:41

Mickey Rooney

View Interview Page
Greg Garrison on working with Mickey Rooney and Lucille Ball on the Danny Kaye Special
02:34

Frank Sinatra

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on the success of The Dean Martin Show and Frank Sinatra on the show
04:01
Greg Garrison on Dean Martin's relationship with Jerry Lewis and on Garrison's relationship with Frank Sinatra
02:55
Greg Garrison on Frank Sinatra guest-starring with Milton Berle on Texaco Star Theater
02:56
Greg Garrison on Frank Sinatra appearing on The Dean Martin Show
01:39

Kate Smith

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on directing The Kate Smith Hour
06:39

Danny Thomas

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on his dealings with the Chicago mob as a child and other jobs he had growing up, including working with Danny Thomas
04:40

Mike Wallace

View Interview Page
Greg Garrison on working in radio and meeting Mike Wallace
02:06

Orson Welles

View Person Page
Greg Garrison on working with Orson Welles
05:22
Greg Garrison on his mentors, including Orson Welles
02:39
Greg Garrison on producing and directing NBC: The First Fifty Years, with Orson Welles and Jerry Lewis
05:29
Greg Garrison on working with Orson Welles
02:22

Jonathan Winters

View Interview Page
Greg Garrison on directing specials for Jack Paar, including Jack Paar Presents and on working with Jonathan Winters on those shows
03:23
Greg Garrison on directing specials for Jonathan Winters
02:27

All Interviews

Q
S