Howard Storm

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Howard Storm talks about his comic teaming with Lou Gostel in his early career, and outlines the various venues they worked. He talks about his single appearances in variety series of the '50s and '60s, including such series as The Merv Griffin Show (where he appeared with his then-retired vaudevillian father). He acknowledges his tenure at Desilu Studios and gives his impressions of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. He looks back on his association with Woody Allen, assisting him on his earliest feature films. He relates how he came to break into directing, due to his success directing the play "Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone" and the artistic atmosphere at MTM Productions. He speaks about his first directorial credit on Rhoda and his continued association with Valerie Harper on her subsequent series. He speaks in great detail about his extensive work on the popular sitcom Mork & Mindy, commenting on the series stars, the production work-week, and favorite episodes. Among the other series he discusses, of the many he served on as guest director, were: Laverne & Shirley, Taxi, Too Close for Comfort, Best of the West, Amanda's, Brothers, The Redd Foxx Show, Full House, Good Grief!, Head of the Class, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Kenan & Kel. He also speaks about several series for which he contributed as a writer, including All in the Family and Happy Days. Lastly, he talks about his participation in "Yarmy's Army," a monthly meeting of legendary comics, named for the group's late friend Dick Yarmy. Jenni Matz conducted the interview in Beverly Hills, CA on August 20, 2008.

An old-timer said to me, "I'm going to give you some advice. You're the director. They're going to ask you a lot of questions. They're gonna ask you what color jacket you want, the red one or the blue one? Never tell them you don't know because you'll scare the hell out of them. Always make a decision. Pick a color and do it." And then we're shooting and someone said to me, "Where do you want A camera?" and I yelled, "Red jacket!" 

Highlights
Howard Storm on how Robin Williams came to be cast on Mork and Mindy and how he directed him
Howard Storm on becoming the director on Rhoda; at the time, already an established show
Howard Storm on standing in as a director for Woody Allen on his films
Howard Storm on the advice director Jay Sandrich gave him "wear comfortable shoes"; and take responsibility
Howard Storm on how he'd like to be remembered
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early childhood and comedic influences
On his nightclub comedy routine; on his father, a vaudevillian and how humor was used within his family
On the burlesque sketch "Joe the Bartender"; on auditioning for Desilu
On becoming a director; first for Woody Allen and then on Rhoda; on his technique as a director
On directing Laverne & Shirley and a typical production week; on Garry Marshall; on Fernwood 2-Night with Fred Willard and Martin Mull

Chapter 2

On Mork & Mindy; on how he directed Robin Williams and Pam Dawber; on Standards & Practices; on fame
On how Jonathan Winters came to be cast on Mork & Mindy and how Robin Williams responded to him
On directing comedies; on Bea Arthur; on directing Taxi, Too Close for Comfort, Gimme a Break!; on setting up a show's pilot and setting the tone; working with Valerie Harper, Redd Foxx
On Everybody Loves Raymond; being a "modern classic"
04:25

Chapter 3

On Kenan & Kel; on City with Valerie Harper
On writing for television with partner Paul Lichtman; on writing for All in the Family
On Yarmy's Army; a group of comedians that originally consisted of Louis Nye, Tom Poston, Howie Morris, Bill Dana, 
On advice to aspiring directors; career highlights
Shows

All in the Family

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Howard Storm on an episode of All in the Family he wrote 

Daddy Dearest

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Howard Storm on directing Daddy Dearest with Don Rickles

Everybody Loves Raymond

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Howard Storm on directing Everybody Loves Raymond; on the writing

Fernwood 2 Night

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Howard Storm on directing Fernwood 2-Nite with Fred Willard

Gimme A Break!

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Howard Storm on directing Gimme a Break! with Nell Carter

Laverne & Shirley

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Howard Storm on the detail of a production workweek on Laverne & Shirley; on Garry Marshall
Howard Storm on the cast of Laverne & Shirley being close; on his favorite episodes

Mork & Mindy

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Howard Storm on how Robin Williams came to be cast on Mork & Mindy and how he directed him
Howard Storm on how essential Pam Dawber was on Mork & Mindy
Howard Storm on the premise of Mork & Mindy
Howard Storm on directing Jonathan Winters on Mork and Mindy with Robin Williams

Redd Foxx Show, The

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Howard Storm on the difficulties of directing Redd Foxx; on appearing on the show

Rhoda

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Howard Storm on becoming the director on Rhoda; at the time, already an established show
Howard Storm on the invaluable advice he recieved about directing television ("red jacket" story)

Taxi

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Howard Storm on the disadvantages of stepping into a show like Taxi that's been in the hands of multiple directors

Too Close for Comfort

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Howard Storm on directing Too Close for Comfort; working with Ted Knight
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Howard Storm on Standards and Practices on Mork and Mindy and "bullpucky"

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Howard Storm on the advice director Jay Sandrich gave him "wear comfortable shoes"; and take responsibility

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

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Howard Storm on the burlesque sketch "Joe the Bartender" he would do on early comedy-variety shows

Technological Innovation

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Howard Storm on the difference between shooting on film or tape
Professions

Directors

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Howard Storm on standing in as a director for Woody Allen on his films
Howard Storm on how he came to be the director on Rhoda; and invaluable advice he received
08:10
Howard Storm on the difference between shooting on film or tape
Howard Storm on learning directing techniques from Woody Allen
Howard Storm on the invaluable advice he received about directing television ("red jacket" story)
00:59
Howard Storm on how Robin Williams came to be cast on Mork and Mindy and how he directed him
Howard Storm on his directing style
Howard Storm on directing comedy - "it's all about the funny bone"
Howard Storm on directing Bea Arthur in Amanda by the Sea; gaining her trust
Howard Storm on the disadvantages of stepping into a show that's been in the hands of multiple directors
Howard Storm on advice to aspiring directors
Howard Storm on being sure to thank everyone you work with as a director

Writers

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Howard Storm on the challenges of writing for an established character like All in the Family's Archie Bunker
Genres

Comedy Series

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Howard Storm on directing comedy - "it's all about the funny bone" "you can't teach comedy"
People

Woody Allen

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Howard Storm on Woody Allen "i realized he was brilliant and I was good"
Howard Storm on standing in as a director for Woody Allen on his films

Beatrice Arthur

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Howard Storm on directing Bea Arthur in Amanda by the Sea; gaining her trust

Joan Darling

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Howard Storm on realizing when he'd "made it" in Hollywood; he and Joan Darling going through the MGM gates

Pam Dawber

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Howard Storm on how essential Pam Dawber was on Mork & Mindy

Lou Gostel

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Howard Storm on meeting Lou Gostel

Valerie Harper

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Howard Storm on directing Valerie Harper and correcting her accent

Norman Lear

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Howard Storm on pitching to Norman Lear for All in the Family with writing partner Paul Lichtman

Paul Lichtman

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Howard Storm on writing for tv with partner Paul Lichtman

Garry Marshall

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Howard Storm on working with Garry Marshall on Laverne & Shirley

Robin Williams

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Howard Storm on how Robin Williams came to be cast on Mork and Mindy and how he directed him

Jonathan Winters

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Howard Storm on directing Jonathan Winters on Mork and Mindy with Robin Williams

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