Hal Kanter

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour interview, Hal Kanter (1918-2011) talks extensively about his first television work as a writer for famed comedian Ed Wynn on The Ed Wynn Show. He discusses how he ultimately wrote and directed The George Gobel Show. Kanter recalls his pioneering sitcom, Julia, which starred Diahann Carroll, and featured the first Black female lead on television. He recounts his short time as executive producer on All in the Family, which was cut short due to arguments with Norman Lear, as well as writing for Chico and the Man starring Freddie Prinze and Jack Albertson. He briefly touches on his work in feature film, where he wrote movies for Elvis Presley, Doris Day, Bob Hope, James Garner, and others. Kanter also talks of writing for Academy Awards shows and dozens of feature films. Sam Denoff conducted the interview in Encino, California on May 22, 1997.

"We couldn't get Black people on the air until Julia came along to prove that white people will watch Black people on television. I feel some gratification when I see that."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Hal Kanter on the process of producing a live episode of The Ed Wynn Show each week
Hal Kanter on writing for Kraft Music Hall featuring Milton Berle
Hal Kanter on creating Julia starring Diahann Carroll, the first series with an African-American female in a starring role
Hal Kanter on Buster Keaton and Lucille Ball appearing on The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on being executive producer during All in the Family's 1975-1976 season; on his difficulties working with Norman Lear
Hal Kanter on working on Chico and the Man and on the death of the show's star Freddie Prinze
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on moving to Los Angeles to be a "ghostwriter for a ghostwriter" on a comic strip
On his first big break writing for Eddie Cantor and other comedians on radio; on his experience of World War II with Bob Hope

Chapter 2

On writing for "The Alan Young Show" on radio; on writing for "The Danny Kaye Show" on radio
On his very first television writing job on The Ed Wynn Show; on his earliest experiences with television, and on how television writers were regarded; on the production of The Ed Wynn Show, and on phone calls from Fanny Brice
On the guest-stars of The Ed Wynn Show including The Three Stooges, Victor Moore and on attempting to get Al Jolson; on Buster Keaton and Lucille Ball appearing on The Ed Wynn Show; on Gloria Swanson and Gary Cooper appearing as a guest-stars on The Ed Wynn Show

Chapter 3

On Ann Sheridan filling in for Gary Cooper on The Ed Wynn Show; on Dinah Shore appearing on The Ed Wynn Show; on the process of producing a live episode of The Ed Wynn Show each week, and on the show's Emmy Awards
On writing for The George Gobel Show; on working on The George Gobel Show with Bud Yorkin and Everett Greenbaum; on the sketches of The George Gobel Show
On the commercials of The George Gobel Show; on the big success of The George Gobel Show, and on some standards and practices issues with the show; on The George Gobel Show winning Emmy Awards

Chapter 4

On leaving The George Gobel Show; on writing for Kraft Music Hall featuring Milton Berle
On creating Julia starring Diahann Carroll, the first series with an African-American female in a starring role
On getting another Emmy nomination for Julia; on creating The Jimmy Stewart Show

Chapter 5

On being executive producer during All in the Family's 1975-1976 season and on his difficulties working with Norman Lear; on working on Chico and the Man and on the death of the show's star Freddie Prinze; on working on the Academy Awards shows and winning an Emmy for the show in 1991
On directing and writing various feature films with Elvis Presley, Doris Day, and James Garner; on his contributions to television history through his writing
On the then-current state of comedy on television; on how he'd like to be remembered; on various people he worked with in his career

Chapter 6

On some of the people he worked with; on photos illustrating points in his career
On b-roll pictures from his career - with Danny Kaye; with Carl Sandberg; with Cary Grant; with Elvis Presley; with his daughter Abigail
Shows

Academy Awards, The

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Hal Kanter on working on the Academy Awards shows and winning an Emmy for the show in 1991

All in the Family

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Hal Kanter on being executive producer during All in the Family's 1975-1976 season; on his difficulties working with Norman Lear

Chico and the Man

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Hal Kanter on working on Chico and the Man and on the death of the show's star Freddie Prinze

Ed Wynn Show, The

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Hal Kanter on his very first television writing job on The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on the production of The Ed Wynn Show, and on phone calls from Fanny Brice
Hal Kanter on the guest-stars of The Ed Wynn Show including The Three Stooges, Victor Moore and on attempting to get Al Jolson
Hal Kanter on Buster Keaton and Lucille Ball appearing on The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on Gloria Swanson and Gary Cooper appearing as a guest-stars on The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on Ann Sheridan filling in for Gary Cooper on The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on Dinah Shore appearing on The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on the process of producing a live episode of The Ed Wynn Show each week
Hal Kanter on The Ed Wynn Show winning Emmy Awards

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Hal Kanter on The Ed Wynn Show winning Emmys
Hal Kanter on The George Gobel Show winning Emmys
Hal Kanter on working on the Academy Awards shows and winning an Emmy for the show in 1991

George Gobel Show, The

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Hal Kanter on writing for The George Gobel Show
Hal Kanter on working on The George Gobel Show with Bud Yorkin and Everett Greenbaum
Hal Kanter on the sketches of The George Gobel Show
Hal Kanter on the commercials of The George Gobel Show and on the success of the show
Hal Kanter on the big success of The George Gobel Show, and on some standards and practices issues with the show
Hal Kanter on The George Gobel Show winning Emmy Awards
Hal Kanter on leaving The George Gobel Show

Jimmy Stewart Show, The

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Hal Kanter on creating The Jimmy Stewart Show

Julia

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Hal Kanter on creating Julia starring Diahann Carroll, the first series with an African-American female in a starring role
Hal Kanter on getting another Emmy nomination for Julia

Kraft Music Hall, The

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Hal Kanter on writing for Kraft Music Hall featuring Milton Berle
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Hal Kanter on the big success of The George Gobel Show, and on some standards and practices issues with the show

Diversity in Television

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Hal Kanter on creating Julia starring Diahann Carroll, the first series with an African-American female in a starring role

Emmy Awards

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Hal Kanter on The Ed Wynn Show winning Emmys
Hal Kanter on The George Gobel Show winning Emmys
Hal Kanter on getting another Emmy nomination for Julia
Hal Kanter on working on the Academy Awards shows and winning an Emmy for the show in 1991

First Big Break

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Hal Kanter on his first big break writing for Eddie Cantor and other comedians on radio

Historic Events and Social Change

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Hal Kanter on his experience of World War II with Bob Hope
Hal Kanter on creating Julia starring Diahann Carroll, the first series with an African-American female in a starring role

Pivotal Career Moments

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Hal Kanter on his first big break writing for Eddie Cantor and other comedians on radio

Television Industry

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Hal Kanter on his earliest experiences with television, and on how television writers were regarded
Hal Kanter on the big success of The George Gobel Show, and on some standards and practices issues with the show
Hal Kanter on the then-current state of comedy on television

Underrepresented Voices

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Hal Kanter on creating Julia starring Diahann Carroll, the first series with an African-American female in a starring role

War

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Hal Kanter on his experience of World War II with Bob Hope

World War II

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Hal Kanter on his experience of World War II with Bob Hope
Professions

Writers

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Hal Kanter on his contributions to television history thought his writing
Genres

Awards Shows

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Hal Kanter on working on the Academy Awards shows and winning an Emmy for the show in 1991

Comedy Series

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Hal Kanter on creating Julia starring Diahann Carroll
Hal Kanter on being executive producer during All in the Family's 1975-1976 season; on his difficulties working with Norman Lear
Hal Kanter on working on Chico and the Man and on the death of the show's star Freddie Prinze

Drama Series

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Hal Kanter on creating The Jimmy Stewart Show

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Hal Kanter on his first television writing job on The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on writing for The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on The George Gobel Show winning Emmy Awards
Hal Kanter on writing for Kraft Music Hall featuring Milton Berle
People

Goodman Ace

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Hal Kanter on Goodman Ace

Fred Allen

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Hal Kanter on Fred Allen

Lucille Ball

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Hal Kanter on Buster Keaton and Lucille Ball appearing on The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on Milton Berle, Bob Hope, and Lucille Ball

Jack Benny

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Hal Kanter on certain shows not translating well from radio to television including Jack Benny

Milton Berle

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Hal Kanter on writing for Kraft Music Hall featuring Milton Berle
Hal Kanter on Milton Berle, Bob Hope, and Lucille Ball

Fanny Brice

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Hal Kanter on the production of The Ed Wynn Show, and on phone calls from Fanny Brice

Diahann Carroll

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Hal Kanter on creating Julia starring Diahann Carroll, the first series with an African-American female in a starring role
Hal Kanter on Diahann Carroll

Bing Crosby

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Hal Kanter on Bing Crosby

George Gobel

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Hal Kanter on writing for The George Gobel Show
Hal Kanter on the big success of The George Gobel Show, and on some standards and practices issues with the show
Hal Kanter on Ed Wynn and George Gobel
Hal Kanter on Ed Wynn and George Gobel

Everett Greenbaum

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Hal Kanter on working on The George Gobel Show with Bud Yorkin and Everett Greenbaum
Hal Kanter on Everett Greenbaum

Bob Hope

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Hal Kanter on his experience of World War II with Bob Hope
Hal Kanter on Milton Berle, Bob Hope, and Lucille Ball

Seaman Jacobs

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Hal Kanter on Seaman Jacobs

Al Jolson

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Hal Kanter on the guest-stars of The Ed Wynn Show including The Three Stooges, Victor Moore and on attempting to get Al Jolson

Milt Josefsberg

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Hal Kanter on Milt Josefsberg

Danny Kaye

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Hal Kanter on writing for "The Danny Kaye Show" on radio
Hal Kanter on Danny Kaye

Buster Keaton

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Hal Kanter on Buster Keaton and Lucille Ball appearing on The Ed Wynn Show

Norman Lear

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Hal Kanter on being executive producer during All in the Family's 1975-1976 season; on his difficulties working with Norman Lear

Ralph Levy

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Hal Kanter on Ralph Levy

Dick Martin

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Hal Kanter on Dan Rowan and Dick Martin

Groucho Marx

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Hal Kanter on Groucho Marx

Carroll O'Connor

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Hal Kanter on being executive producer at the behest of Carroll O'Connor during All in the Family's 1975-1976 season; on his difficulties working with Norman Lear

Jack Paar

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Hal Kanter on Jack Paar

William S. Paley

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Hal Kanter on William S. Paley

Elvis Presley

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Hal Kanter on Elvis Presley

Freddie Prinze

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Hal Kanter on working on Chico and the Man and on the death of the show's star Freddie Prinze

Dan Rowan

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Hal Kanter on Dan Rowan and Dick Martin

Sherwood Schwartz

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Hal Kanter on Sherwood Schwartz

Dinah Shore

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Hal Kanter on Dinah Shore

Jimmy Stewart

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Hal Kanter on creating The Jimmy Stewart Show

Gloria Swanson

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Hal Kanter on Gloria Swanson and Gary Cooper appearing as a guest-stars on The Ed Wynn Show

Jack Webb

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Hal Kanter on Jack Webb

Ed Wynn

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Hal Kanter on his very first television writing job on The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on the production of The Ed Wynn Show, and on phone calls from Fanny Brice

Bud Yorkin

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Hal Kanter on working on The George Gobel Show with Bud Yorkin and Everett Greenbaum
Hal Kanter on Bud Yorkin

Alan Young

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Hal Kanter on writing for "The Alan Young Show" on radio

All Interviews

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