Imero Fiorentino

Lighting Designer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hours plus Archive interview, Imero Fiorentino (1928-2013) discusses his early years and influences - going to Radio City Music Hall and being intrigued by theater arts, and joining the "stage squad" in high school theater. He talks about the devastating moment in his life when he lost an eye and how he used the experience as a driving force in his pursuit of success. He recalls his start in television in 1950, working, trial-by-fire as a staff lighting director at ABC. Fiorentino describes developing creative lighting and working for ABC anthology series Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue, Tales of Tomorrow, and Omnibus (on which he used leaves to create a shadow effect). He tells tales of some "live" television mishaps (too much flash powder once knocked over a camera; a bed in a tender scene fell down twice; a boom shadow appeared through an entire scene...). He details lighting the first televised appearance of the Bolshoi Ballet, a particular favorite; speaks of forming his own company, Imero Fiorentino Associates; and recounts lighting the 1960 presidential debates, the Telstar satellite broadcast in 1962, and the World Showcase Pavillions at Disney's Epcot Center. Throughout the interview, Fiorentino speaks of the craft of lighting -- working with crews and talent, utilizing equipment, how the tools of the trade have changed over the years, and creating mood with light. Karen Herman conducted the interview in New York, NY.  on September 15, 2006.

"Lighting changes all the time. Lighting is a living thing. Lighting a program is not light it and walk away from it. Sometimes you can do that, but it is ever-changing, just as the face is ever-changing.  You don't get up in the morning looking exactly the same as you did yesterday."

Highlights
Imero Fiorentino on lighting Neil Diamond
05:43
Imero Fiorentino on how lighting can create a mood
02:54
Imero Fiorentino on how losing an eye changed him and affected his chosen profession
02:41
Imero Fiorentino on Telstar I, the satellite that relayed the first live transatlantic transmission on July 10, 1962— the American flag outside the sending station at Andover, Maine
03:24
Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on advice to aspiring lighting directors
01:36
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood in Brooklyn; on radio shows and hobbies he enjoyed as a kid; on wanting to be a lighting designer from the time he was a little boy; on joining the Stage Squad in high school - building scenery and hanging lights for school productions; at attending Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon) and studying lighting and design
13:33
On losing an eye before he went to college; on how losing an eye changed him and affected his chosen profession; on his father's death; on becoming the breadwinner of the family and how he got into television
11:42

Chapter 2

On getting hired at ABC television; on working with the lighting director engineer; on lighting experimental television programs at ABC; on the equipment with which he worked in the early days; on the role of a lighting director and lighting designer
15:54
On the tools of a lighting director and how the tools have changed over the years; on daily changes to a lighting setup
12:14

Chapter 3

On how lighting can create a mood; on a color palette for a show; on how he works with directors; on working with performers and on-camera talent;
14:34
On performers he's worked well with over the years - Neil Diamond; on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC; on lighting Omnibus and trying to give depth and shadow; on some of his favorite productions that he worked on
13:40

Chapter 4

On Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue, with Glenn Osser (conducting) and Paul Whiteman; on an accident that happened in filming the live opening of Tales of Tomorrow; on a shadow thrown on the actors from a microphone on live TV, during the first U.S. Steel Hour production "P.O.W." with Richard Kiley
11:10
On the first televised appearance of the Bolshoi Ballet, Best of the Bolshoi (local ABC stations, 1959; edited and re-aired on network ABC, 1965), directed by Charles S. Dubin
11:41
On leaving ABC and starting his own company
05:02

Chapter 5

On Telstar I, the satellite that relayed the first live transatlantic transmission on July 10, 1962— the American flag outside the sending station at Andover, Maine; on working with Presidents on their television appearances; on lighting the 1960 Presidential debates starting with the second one, following the first debate wherein Richard Nixon looked badly, making the best improvements he could
10:12
On working on lighting Disney's Epcot Center; on then-current projects; on studio lighting; on advice to aspiring lighting directors; on creating a good lighting plan; on working with new technology; on how he'd like to be remembered
14:13
Shows

Best of the Bolshoi, The

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Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on the first televised appearance of the Bolshoi Ballet, Best of the Bolshoi (local ABC stations, 1959; edited and re-aired on network ABC, 1965), directed by Charles S. Dubin
11:41

Omnibus

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Imero Fiorentino on lighting Omnibus
02:58
Imero Fiorentino on lighting Agnes DeMille in a ballet production on Omnibus - one of his favorite moments
02:17

Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue

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Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue, with Glenn Osser (conducting) and Paul Whiteman; a story about an opera singer who refused to sing the show's finale
04:26

Tales of Tomorrow

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Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on an accident that happened in filming the live opening of Tales of Tomorrow
02:58

United States Steel Hour, The

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Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC and the people he worked with on the program
02:24
Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on mishaps on live TV including one he briefly recalls from U.S. Steel Hour: "Fearful Decision"
02:58
Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on a shadow thrown on the actors from a microphone on live TV, during the first U.S. Steel Hour production "P.O.W." with Richard Kiley
03:05
Topics

Anthology Drama

View Topic
Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC
02:24
Imero Fiorentino on a shadow thrown on the actors from a microphone on live TV, during the first U.S. Steel Hour production "P.O.W." with Richard Kiley
03:05

Kennedy-Nixon Debates

View Topic
Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on lighting the 1960 Presidential debates starting with the second one, following the first debate wherein Richard Nixon looked badly, making the best improvements he could; also the issues he had lighting JFK due to RFK's interference
06:04

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

View Topic
Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC
02:24
Imero Fiorentino on a shadow thrown on the actors from a microphone on live TV, during the first U.S. Steel Hour production "P.O.W." with Richard Kiley
03:05
Imero Fiorentino on Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue, with Glenn Osser (conducting) and Paul Whiteman and a story about an opera singer who refused to sing the show's finale
04:26

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Imero Fiorentino on the equipment with which he worked in the early days
03:19
Imero Fiorentino on the tools of a lighting director and how the tools have changed over the years
09:21
Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on Telstar I, the satellite that relayed the first live transatlantic transmission on July 10, 1962— the American flag outside the sending station at Andover, Maine
03:28
Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on working with new technology
22:36

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on lighting the 1960 Presidential debates starting with the second one, following the first debate wherein Richard Nixon looked badly, making the best improvements he could; also the issues he had lighting JFK due to RFK's interference
06:04
Professions

Lighting Designer

View Profession
Imero Fiorentino on wanting to be a lighting designer from the time he was a little boy
01:36
Imero Fiorentino on how losing an eye changed him and affected his chosen profession
02:41
Imero Fiorentino on lighting experimental television at ABC
05:04
Imero Fiorentino on the equipment with which he worked in the early days
03:19
Imero Fiorentino on the role of a lighting director and lighting designer
04:38
Imero Fiorentino on how lighting can create a mood
02:54

Lighting Director

View Profession
Imero Fiorentino on the role of a lighting director and lighting designer
04:38
Imero Fiorentino on the tools of a lighting director and how they changed over the years
09:21
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC
02:24
Imero Fiorentino on lighting Omnibus
05:15
Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue, with Glenn Osser (conducting) and Paul Whiteman; a story about an opera singer who refused to sing the show's finale
04:26
Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on a shadow thrown on the actors from a microphone on live TV, during the first U.S. Steel Hour production "P.O.W." with Richard Kiley
03:05

News and Documentary

View Genre
Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on lighting the 1960 Presidential debates starting with the second one, following the first debate wherein Richard Nixon looked badly, making the best improvements he could; also the issues he had lighting JFK due to RFK's interference
06:04
People

Tallulah Bankhead

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Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC and the people he worked with on the program
01:41

Vic Damone

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Imero Fiorentino on learning from the Stage Squad adviser in school and lighting a young Vic Damone
02:12

Neil Diamond

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Imero Fiorentino on lighting Neil Diamond
05:43

Charles Dubin

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Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC and the people he worked with on the program and on other dramas
01:41
Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on the first televised appearance of the Bolshoi Ballet, Best of the Bolshoi (local ABC stations, 1959; edited and re-aired on network ABC, 1965), directed by Charles S. Dubin
11:41

Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.

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Imero Fiorentino on lighting experimental television at ABC
05:04

John Frankenheimer

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Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC and the people he worked with on the program and on other dramas
01:41

Dustin Hoffman

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Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC and the people he worked with on the program and on other dramas
01:41

Grace Kelly

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Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC and the people he worked with on the program and on other dramas
01:41

Robert F. Kennedy

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Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on the issues he had lighting JFK due to RFK's interference
06:04

John F. Kennedy

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Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on lighting the 1960 Presidential debates starting with the second one, following the first debate wherein Richard Nixon looked badly, making the best improvements he could; also the issues he had lighting JFK due to RFK's interference
06:04

Richard Kiley

View Person Page
Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC and the people he worked with on the program
01:41
Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on a shadow thrown on the actors from a microphone on live TV, during the first U.S. Steel Hour production "P.O.W." with Richard Kiley
03:05

Agnes De Mille

View Person Page
Imero Fiorentino on lighting Agnes DeMille in a ballet production on Omnibus - one of his favorite moments
02:17

Tad Mosel

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Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC and the people he worked with on the program and on other dramas
01:41

Richard M. Nixon

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Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on lighting the 1960 Presidential debates starting with the second one, following the first debate wherein Richard Nixon looked badly, making the best improvements he could; also the issues he had lighting JFK due to RFK's interference
06:04

William S. Paley

View Person Page
Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on lighting the 1960 Presidential debates starting with the second one, following the first debate wherein Richard Nixon looked badly, making the best improvements he could; also the issues he had lighting JFK due to RFK's interference
05:37

Reginald Rose

View Person Page
Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC and the people he worked with on the program and on other dramas
01:41

Robert Saudek

View Person Page
Imero Fiorentino on lighting Omnibus
02:58

George Schaefer

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Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC and the people he worked with on the program and on other dramas
01:41

Rod Serling

View Person Page
Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC and the people he worked with on the program
01:41

Dinah Shore

View Person Page
Imero Fiorentino on lighting The U.S. Steel Hour at ABC and the people he worked with on the program and on other dramas
01:41

Paul Whiteman

View Person Page
Lighting Director Imero Fiorentino on Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue, with Glenn Osser (conducting) and Paul Whiteman; a story about an opera singer who refused to sing the show's finale
04:26

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