Horton Foote

Writer


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, Horton Foote (1916-2009) discusses writing for "live" television dramatic anthology series. He talks about his relationship with producer Fred Coe who started him in television and with whom he later worked on the Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse. Foote describes in detail several of his benchmark television efforts during the "Golden Age of Television," including Goodyear Television Playhouse: "The Trip to Bountiful," Philco Television Playhouse: "A Young Lady of Property," 1st Person Playhouse: "Death of the Old Man," Studio One: "The Traveling Lady," Playhouse 90: "The Old Man," and Playhouse 90: "Tomorrow." He speaks of the many talented actors who appeared in these productions, including Kim Stanley, Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Eva Marie Saint, Steven Hill, Sterling Hayden, and Geraldine Page, as well as the creative directors of these shows, including Vincent Donehue, Delbert Mann, Arthur Penn, John Frankenheimer, and Robert Mulligan. He also talks about his later television work for PBS, including adaptations from his "Orphans' Home Cycle" (series of 9 plays), writing for cable television, his feature film work and close association with actor Robert Duvall, and his continuous writing for the stage. Foote also fondly remembers his childhood in Wharton, TX, which had a lifelong influence on his writing. Michael Rosen conducted the interview on June 26, 1999 in Hartford, CT.

"Writing is a very lonely thing. That's why I like to go into the editing room - it's a communal thing. I love to get to see how the actors are my instruments."

Highlights
Horton Foote on his plays "The Orphans' Home Cycle"
03:19
Horton Foote on adapting existing works for Playhouse 90
06:45
Horton Foote on writing "The Trip to Bountiful" starring Lillian Gish for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and producer Fred Coe
07:29
Horton Foote on the collaborative process of working in theater as opposed to film or television
03:51
Horton Foote on adapting "To Kill a Mockingbird" into a feature film, and on discovering Robert Duvall
01:36
Horton Foote on his greatest success and on what he's proudest of in his career
00:55
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on storytelling in his family, and on radio shows he listened to growing up
13:31
On his early jobs as a writer at various theater companies; on going to New York to write for the American Actors Company, and for the 1939 World's Fair; on the television exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair
15:10

Chapter 2

On the American Actors Company producing his first play, "Wharton Dance," and other early plays he wrote; on his activities during World War II, and on bringing his play "Only the Heart" to Broadway; on going out to Hollywood in 1943, and on what he thought of it
12:26
On meeting his wife; on working with Tennessee Williams on "The Glass Menagerie," and on starting an experimental theater company in Washington, D.C.; on director Vincent J. Donehue and producer Fred Coe and The Gabby Hayes Show; on Kraft Television Theatre's production of his play "Only the Heart"
16:03

Chapter 3

On having his play "The Chase" on Broadway; on writing "The Trip to Bountiful" starring Lillian Gish for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and producer Fred Coe; on the studios and equipment used for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
15:35
On a typical production day for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on writing various episodes of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
06:22
On his play "The Midnight Caller," and on being protected by Fred Coe; on his relationships with various writers including Rod Serling; on Fred Coe's relationship with writers, and on his agent
06:44

Chapter 4

On his writing process, and using his own life for ideas; on his work for Gulf Playhouse on the teleplays "The Death of the Old Man" and "The Tears of My Sister"; on the process of bringing Philco-Goodyear Playhouse's "The Trip to Bountiful" to Broadway
11:15
On continuing to work on Philco-Goodyear Playhouse and on the waning of his relationship with producer Fred Coe; on the cast of his Philco-Goodyear Playhouse teleplay "The Dancers"; on not rewriting parts for actors; on writing for The United States Steel Hour, and on his feature film "Storm Fear"
10:39
On the Hollywood Blacklist; on writing for Playwrights '56; on his adaptation of William Faulkner's "Old Man" for Playhouse 90
06:47

Chapter 5

On adapting existing works for Playhouse 90; on his Playhouse 90 teleplay "The Shape of the River" (airdate: May 2, 1960); on the end of the Golden Age of Television; on his teleplay "The Night of the Storm" for The DuPont Show of the Month, which prompted the idea for his theater opus "The Orphans' Home Cycle"
13:35
On adapting "To Kill a Mockingbird" into a feature film, and on discovering Robert Duvall; on the importance of casting, and on the writer working with actors; on how he feels about directing as a writer
06:17
On writing "Gambling Heart" for DuPont Show of the Month, and on writers returning to their material; on adapting various material into feature films; on the collaborative process of working in theater as opposed to film or television
10:59

Chapter 6

On his plays "The Orphans' Home Cycle"; on writing the feature film "Tender Mercies"; on the Hallmark Hall of Fame version of his teleplay "Old Man"
11:17
On writing for cable networks; on what represents television at its best; on his thoughts on the golden age of television
08:12
On the importance of creating a mood or setting for a story; on his greatest success and on what he's proudest of in his career; on his mentors, and on various people with whom he's worked in his career
10:30

Chapter 7

On people he worked with in his career; on the then-importance of him continuing to work, and on what he loves about theater
06:02
Shows

DuPont Show of the Month, The

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Horton Foote on his teleplay "The Night of the Storm" for The DuPont Show of the Month, which prompted the idea for his theater opus "The Orphans' Home Cycle"
03:22
Horton Foote on writing "Gambling Heart" for DuPont Show of the Month, and on writers returning to their material
04:03

Gabby Hayes Show, The

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Horton Foote on director Vincent J. Donehue and producer Fred Coe and The Gabby Hayes Show
04:34

Gulf Playhouse

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Horton Foote on his work for Gulf Playhouse on the teleplays "The Death of the Old Man" and "The Tears of My Sister"
03:32

Hallmark Hall of Fame

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Horton Foote on the Hallmark Hall of Fame version of his teleplay "Old Man"
01:45

Kraft Television Theatre

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Horton Foote on Kraft Television Theatre's production of his play "Only the Heart"
03:07

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

View Show Page
Horton Foote on writing "The Trip to Bountiful" starring Lillian Gish for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and producer Fred Coe
07:29
Horton Foote on the studios and equipment used for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
01:46
Horton Foote on a typical production day for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
03:36
Horton Foote on writing various episodes of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
02:44
Horton Foote on continuing to work on Philco-Goodyear Playhouse and on the waning of his relationship with producer Fred Coe
05:37
Horton Foote on the cast of his Philco-Goodyear Playhouse teleplay "The Dancers" and on not rewriting parts for actors
02:45
Horton Foote on the process of bringing Philco-Goodyear Playhouse's "The Trip to Bountiful" to Broadway
02:08

Playhouse 90

View Show Page
Horton Foote on his adaptation of William Faulkner's "Old Man" for Playhouse 90
02:10
Horton Foote on adapting existing works for Playhouse 90
06:45
Horton Foote on his Playhouse 90 teleplay "The Shape of the River" (airdate: May 2, 1960), and on the end of Golden Age of Television
03:25

Playwrights '56

View Show Page
Horton Foote on writing for Playwrights '56
02:12

United States Steel Hour, The

View Show Page
Horton Foote on writing for The United States Steel Hour, and on his feature film "Storm Fear"
02:13
Topics

1939-40 World's Fair

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Horton Foote on the television exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair
01:54

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Horton Foote on his mentors
01:50

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Horton Foote on the television exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair
01:55
Horton Foote on his activities during World War II, and on bringing his play "Only the Heart" to Broadway
04:41

Hollywood Blacklist

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Horton Foote on the Hollywood Blacklist
02:16

Industry Crossroads

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Horton Foote on the Hollywood Blacklist
02:20

Pivotal Career Moments

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Horton Foote on his mentors
01:50

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Horton Foote on his thoughts on the Golden Age of Television
04:18

Television Industry

View Topic
Horton Foote on the Hollywood Blacklist
02:16
Horton Foote on what represents television at its best
01:41
Horton Foote on his thoughts on the golden age of television
04:18

War

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Horton Foote on his activities during World War II, and on bringing his play "Only the Heart" to Broadway
04:41

World War II

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Horton Foote on his activities during World War II, and on bringing his play "Only the Heart" to Broadway
04:41
Professions

Writers

View Profession
Horton Foote on his writing process, and using his own life for ideas
05:25
Horton Foote on the importance of casting, and on the writer working with actors
03:32
Horton Foote on how he feels about directing as a writer
01:03
Horton Foote on writing for cable networks
02:15
Horton Foote on the importance of creating a mood or setting for a story
02:53
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Horton Foote on Kraft Television Theatre's production of his play "Only the Heart"
03:09
Horton Foote on writing for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
15:41
Horton Foote on his Playhouse 90 teleplay "The Shape of the River" (airdate: May 2, 1960), and on the end of the Golden Age of Television
03:27
People

Marlon Brando

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Horton Foote on Arthur Penn and Marlon Brando
01:12

Herbert Brodkin

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Horton Foote on Herbert Brodkin
00:26

Fred Coe

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Horton Foote on director Vincent J. Donehue and producer Fred Coe and The Gabby Hayes Show
04:34
Writer Horton Foote on writing "The Trip to Bountiful" starring Lillian Gish for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and producer Fred Coe
07:29
Horton Foote on his play "The Midnight Caller," and on being protected by Fred Coe
02:38
Horton Foote on his relationships with various writers including Rod Serling, on Fred Coe's relationship with writers, and on his agent
04:06
Horton Foote on continuing to work on Philco-Goodyear Playhouse and on the waning of his relationship with producer Fred Coe
05:37

Robert Duvall

View Person Page
Horton Foote on adapting "To Kill a Mockingbird" into a feature film, and on discovering Robert Duvall
01:36

Lillian Gish

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Horton Foote on writing "The Trip to Bountiful" starring Lillian Gish for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and producer Fred Coe
07:29

E. G. Marshall

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Horton Foote on E.G. Marshall
00:20

Agnes De Mille

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Horton Foote on Agnes De Mille, Lucy Crowell, Martha Graham, and Catherine Squire
02:28

Arthur Penn

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Horton Foote on Arthur Penn and Marlon Brando
01:12

Rod Serling

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Horton Foote on his relationships with various writers including Rod Serling, on Fred Coe's relationship with writers, and on his agent
04:06

Jean Stapleton

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Horton Foote on Jean Stapleton
00:21

David Susskind

View Person Page
Horton Foote on his teleplay "The Night of the Storm" for The DuPont Show of the Month, which prompted the idea for his theater opus "The Orphans' Home Cycle"
03:22

Franchot Tone

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Horton Foote on his Playhouse 90 teleplay "The Shape of the River" (airdate: May 2, 1960), starring Franchot Tone as Mark Twain
01:38

Ethel Winant

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Horton Foote on Ethel Winant
00:18

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