Ira Skutch

Director/ Producer/ Stage Manager


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his nearly three-hour Archive interview, Ira Skutch (1921-2010) talks about his early years as a page and later as a manager of guided tours at NBC in the mid-1940s. He describes the layout of the NBC building, listing the various studios and the radio series that were produced in each, as well as which studios were modified for television production. Skutch talks about his work as a stage manger on some of NBC's earliest television series, including NBC Television Theatre, You Are an Artist, Face to Face, Kraft Television Theatre, and the big budget variety series, Hour Glass. Skutch discusses his work as a director of "live" television commercials for TV series, as well as for the 1952 political conventions. He chronicles his work as a director of Disc Magic (a 1946 precursor to music video), The Swift Home Service Club (one of network television's first daytime series), and Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse. Lastly, Skutch talks in detail about his 26-year tenure as director, then producer, at Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions, where he worked on Beat the Clock, Play Your Hunch, and Match Game. Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview on January 29, 2004 in Los Angeles, CA.

"As you look at the whole history of game shows on television, you'll see that there have been marriages of formats and MC's. John Daly on What's My Line?, Bill Cullen on The Price Is Right, and then Bob Barker on The Price Is Right. The format just fit those people."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Ira Skutch on the challenges of staging and directing a game show, specifically What's My Line? and how the audience was filmed
Ira Skutch on working for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman
Ira Skutch on directing Disc Magic, aka Musical Merry-Go-Round
Ira Skutch on directing Match Game, hosted by Gene Rayburn
Ira Skutch on the lighting in the early days of television
Ira Skutch on the technical challenges of the earliest television cameras circa 1946
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on starting to work at NBC; on the one studio in 1938 at 30 Rock that was a television studio; on being an NBC page
On watching Arturo Toscanini conduct the NBC Symphony in Studio 8H; on what he observed as an NBC page; on the television exhibit at 30 Rock; on the first time he saw television; on shows he watched early on; on becoming an NBC page

Chapter 2

On becoming a stage manager in the television department at NBC; on stage managing a 1946 NBC production of Blithe Spirit; on Campus Hoopla, which featured Eva Marie Saint
On working with Fred Coe; on the NBC shows NBC Television Theatre, You Are an Artist, and James Beard's I Love to Eat

Chapter 3

On the craft of staging managing for television and on stage managing The Hour Glass; on the quiz show Face to Face and the book discussion show Author Meets the Critics; on the travelogue series Geographically Speaking
On working with Edgar Bergen; on the camera placement for the boxing series The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports; on stage managing NBC News programming and on the rehearsal schedule of the Sunday night anthology series NBC Television Theatre
On stage managing Hour Glass starring Helen Parrish; on stage managing Hour Glass when it became a variety show with Bert Lahr

Chapter 4

On the opening of Kraft Television Theatre ; on directing Disc Magic, aka Musical Merry-Go-Round; on directing The Swift Home Service Club
On the writing and the commercials that ran during Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on Goodyear joining Philco as a sponsor for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
On directing some episodes of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on directing commercials during the 1952 political conventions

Chapter 5

On the Hollywood Blacklist; on going to work for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman on directing game shows; on the challenges of staging and directing a game show, specifically What's My Line? and how the audience was filmed
On working for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman; on Bob Stewart; on Bill Cullen
On budgets and prizes on shows like Match Game; on the game show Two for the Money; on directing Beat the Clock
On the Quiz Show Scandals; on Play Your Hunch

Chapter 6

On Merv Griffin and Johnny Olson; on Match Game; on how he'd like to be remembered
On B-roll pictures from his career- NBC production of Blythe Spirit; rehearsal of Disc Magic; Philco-Goodyear Playhouse party; "I Want to March" from Philco-Goodyear Playhouse; NBC camera; industrial film for Phico; Old Gold commercial; meeting at Goodson Todman
Shows

Author Meets the Critics, The

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Ira Skutch on the book discussion show Author Meets the Critics

Beat the Clock

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Ira Skutch on directing Beat the Clock

Blithe Spirit

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Ira Skutch on stage managing a 1946 NBC production of Blithe Spirit, starring Estelle Winwood, and on his duties in that role

Campus Hoopla

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Ira Skutch on Campus Hoopla, which featured regular Eva Marie Saint before her greater fame as a movie actress

Face to Face

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Ira Skutch on the quiz show Face to Face

Geographically Speaking

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Ira Skutch on the travelogue series Geographically Speaking

Gillette Cavalcade of Sports, The

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Ira Skutch briefly on the camera placement for the boxing series The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports

Hour Glass

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Ira Skutch on the craft of staging managing for television, and on stage managing The Hour Glass
Ira Skutch on stage managing Hour Glass starring Helen Parrish
Ira Skutch on stage managing Hour Glass when it became a variety show with Bert Lahr

I Love to Eat

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Ira Skutch on James Beard's I Love to Eat

Kraft Television Theatre

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Ira Skutch on the opening of Kraft Television Theatre

Match Game

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Ira Skutch on budgets and prizes on shows like Match Game
Ira Skutch on directing Match Game, hosted by Gene Rayburn

Musical Merry-Go-Round

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Ira Skutch on directing Disc Magic, aka Musical Merry-Go-Round

NBC Television Theatre

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Ira Skutch on the NBC Television Theatre production of "Miracle in the Rain" directed by Fred Coe
Ira Skutch on stage managing NBC News programming, and on the rehearsal schedule of the Sunday night anthology series NBC Television Theatre

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

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Ira Skutch on the writing and the commercials that ran during Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
Ira Skutch on the production of the commercials that ran during Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
Ira Skutch on Goodyear joining Philco as a sponsor for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
Ira Skutch on directing some episodes of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

Swift Home Service Club, The

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Ira Skutch on directing The Swift Home Service Club

Two for the Money

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Ira Skutch on the game show Two for the Money

What's My Line?

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Ira Skutch on the challenges of staging and directing a game show, specifically What's My Line? and how the audience was filmed

You Are an Artist

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Ira Skutch on stage managing the series You Are an Artist
Topics

Advertising and Sponsorship

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Ira Skutch on Goodyear joining Philco as a sponsor for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
Ira Skutch on the production of the commercials that ran during Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

Hollywood Blacklist

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Ira Skutch on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Ira Skutch on the Hollywood Blacklist
Ira Skutch on the Quiz Show Scandals

Quiz Show Scandals

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Ira Skutch on the Quiz Show Scandals

Technological Innovation

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Ira Skutch on the technical challenges of the earliest television cameras circa 1946
Ira Skutch on the lighting in the early days of television

Television Industry

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Ira Skutch on early NBC vice president in charge of programming John Royal
Ira Skutch on Goodyear joining Philco as a sponsor for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
Ira Skutch on the production of the commercials that ran during Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
Ira Skutch on the Hollywood Blacklist
Ira Skutch on the Quiz Show Scandals
Professions

Directors

View Profession
Ira Skutch on directing The Swift Home Service Club
Ira Skutch on directing some episodes of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
Ira Skutch on the challenges of staging and directing a game show, specifically What's My Line? and how the audience was filmed

Production Professionals

View Profession
Ira Skutch on the craft of staging managing for television, and on stage managing The Hour Glass

Stage Manager

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Ira Skutch on becoming a stage manager for NBC
Ira Skutch on the craft of staging managing for television, and on stage managing The Hour Glass
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Ira Skutch on stage managing a 1946 NBC production of Blithe Spirit, starring Estelle Winwood, and on his duties in that role
Ira Skutch on the NBC Television Theatre production of "Miracle in the Rain" directed by Fred Coe

Commercials

View Genre
Ira Skutch on directing commercials during the 1952 political conventions
Ira Skutch on writing and the commercials that ran during Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

Game Shows

View Genre
Ira Skutch on Campus Hoopla, which featured regular Eva Marie Saint before her greater fame as a movie actress
Ira Skutch on the quiz show Face to Face
Ira Skutch on the challenges of staging and directing a game show, specifically What's My Line? and how the audience was filmed
Ira Skutch on budgets and prizes on shows like Match Game
Ira Skutch on the game show Two for the Money
Ira Skutch on directing Beat the Clock
Ira Skutch on directing Match Game, hosted by Gene Rayburn

Service Shows

View Genre
Ira Skutch on the NBC show You Are an Artist, which gave drawing lessons
Ira Skutch on James Beard's I Love to Eat

Sports

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Ira Skutch briefly on the camera placement for the boxing series The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports
People

James Beard

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Ira Skutch on James Beard's I Love to Eat

Edgar Bergen

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Ira Skutch on working with Edgar Bergen

Fred Coe

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Ira Skutch on working with producer and director Fred Coe
Ira Skutch on Fred Coe's temperament and personality

Ernest Colling

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Ira Skutch on stage managing Campus Hoopla, directed by Ernest Colling, starring Eva Marie Saint

Bill Cullen

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Ira Skutch on Bill Cullen

Mark Goodson

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Ira Skutch on going to work for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman on directing game shows
Ira Skutch on working for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman

Merv Griffin

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Ira Skutch on Merv Griffin

Albert McCleery

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Ira Skutch on Albert McCleery

Johnny Olson

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Ira Skutch on Johnny Olson

Gene Rayburn

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Ira Skutch on directing Match Game, hosted by Gene Rayburn

Bob Stewart

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Ira Skutch on Bob Stewart

Bill Todman

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Ira Skutch on going to work for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman on directing game shows
Ira Skutch on working for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman

Arturo Toscanini

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Ira Skutch on watching Arturo Toscanini conduct the NBC Symphony

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