June Taylor

Choreographer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her three-hour-plus interview, June Taylor (1917-2004) talks about her start as a dancer in the 1930s on the nightclub circuit.  She details her television debut, in the late 30s in London, dancing on her own short program. She describes her start in choreography, which became her permanent profession after she was diagnosed with TB and was hospitalized for several years. Her comeback as a choreographer was solidified when her "June Taylor Dancers" became a regular attraction on Ed Sullivan's The Toast of the Town from 1948-49. Ms. Taylor talks about the work that she did with them in this period of early television. Ms. Taylor then relates her long association with Jackie Gleason which began with her "June Taylor Dancers" as regulars on his Dumont variety show Cavalcade of Stars, highlighted by the introduction of the famous Christmas song "Sleigh Ride" with an ice-skating musical number. She describes her subsequent work with Gleason on The Jackie Gleason Show, discussing such highlights as her choreography of Gleason's original ballet "Tawny."  She talks about her later work with Gleason on The American Scene Magazine, which led her to Tampa, Florida where the show would eventually originate, and finally The Jackie Gleason Show, which would include color musical "Honeymooners " shows. Michael Rosen conducted the interview in Hallandale, FL. on May 9, 2000.

"I wanted to be able to do everything, every kind of dance, which I've been very grateful that I studied all those various types of dancing. In the end of my life, when becoming a choreographer, it paid off for me."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
June Taylor on her first jobs as a professional dancer
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers going on > Cavalcade of Stars
June Taylor on forming the June Taylor Dancers
June Taylor on choreographing "The Honeymooners' Trip to Europe" sketches on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on the legacy of Jackie Gleason>
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on her early dancing lessons and how the Great Depression impacted her family; on dancing on stage as a child and her first dance teacher Muriel Abbott
On her first jobs as a professional dancer; on her first agent at MCA who worked under Jules Stein; on her early solo dancing act, and touring internationally 

Chapter 2

On her bout with tuberculosis; on making the transition from being a dancer to a choreographer; on the first time she saw television
On forming the June Taylor Dancers; on the early bookings of The June Taylor Dancers
On getting the June Taylor Dancers booked on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show); on working with Ed Sullivan on Toast of the Town; on the experience of the June Taylor Dancers appearing on Toast of the Town, and on working with Tony Martin on the show

Chapter 3

On expanding the number of June Taylor Dancers when they appeared on The Jackie Gleason Show, and on working with Jackie Gleason; on the kinds of numbers the June Taylor Dancers performed on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show), and on rehearsal and budget for that show; on the June Taylor Dancers appearing on Broadway Spotlight with Ray Block
On getting music for the June Taylor Dancers; on the June Taylor Dancers going on Cavalcade of Stars
On meeting Jackie Gleason; on Jackie Gleason hosting Cavalcade of Stars, and on Gleason's strengths as a comedian; on how the June Taylor Dancers were integrated into Cavalcade of Stars

Chapter 4

On working with Duke Ellington; on the June Taylor Dancers appearing on Cavalcade of Stars; on Jackie Gleason doing the first "Honeymooners" sketches on Cavalcade of Stars, and on the director of the show Frank Bunetta
On adapting the choreography for the cameras on Cavalcade of Stars and working with director Frank Bunetta; on the June Taylor Dancers going to The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS; on Jackie Gleason writing music for the June Taylor Dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show
On the challenges of choreographing a ballet with several dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show, and on the Jackie Gleason composed ballet "Rhapsody"; on choreographing the Jackie Gleason composed ballet "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show

Chapter 5

On her choreography of Gleason's original ballet "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show; on casting Dolores Harper as "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show; on the choreography of the waltz section and the last movement of "Tawny" on the show
On choreographing "the fire number" on The Jackie Gleason Show; on winning an Emmy Award for The Jackie Gleason Show
On choreographing "The Honeymooners' Trip to Europe" sketches on The Jackie Gleason Show; on working with Art Carney on The Jackie Gleason Show; on working with Audrey Meadows on The Jackie Gleason Show

Chapter 6

On Joyce Randolph on The Jackie Gleason Show; on choreographing "The Honeymooners" musical numbers on The Jackie Gleason Show; on the rehearsal process of the show and Gleason's aversion to rehearsing 
On choreographing Stage Show, and on Elvis Presley making his television debut on Stage Show; on choreographing Jackie Gleason's American Scene Magazine, and on clashing with Gleason over the style of dance he wanted on the show
On choreographing the 1966 version of The Jackie Gleason Show, and the show being in color; on working with the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders

Chapter 7

On her career highlights; on the legacy of Jackie Gleason; on the then-current state of dancing on television
On the potential for variety shows to make a come back; on her mentor and taking an overview of her career
On b-roll pictures from her career- at the Dorchester House in London in 1938; first cast and crew meeting with Jackie Gleason in 1950; with the June Taylor dancers circa 1964; with Jackie Gleason and Jack Philbin in 1963; with the June Taylor Dancers in 1954; in New York circa 1957; the June Taylor Dancers in 1968; the set of the Ed Sullivan Show; with her husband Sol Lerner; drawing of the set of The Jackie Gleason Show; with Jackie Gleason and Gene Kelly
Shows

American Scene Magazine

View Show Page
June Taylor on choreographing Jackie Gleason's American Scene Magazine, and on clashing with Gleason over the style of dance he wanted on the show

Cavalcade of Stars

View Show Page
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers going on Cavalcade of Stars
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason hosting Cavalcade of Stars, and on Gleason's strengths as a comedian
June Taylor on how the June Taylor Dancers were integrated into Cavalcade of Stars
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers appearing on Cavalcade of Stars
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason doing the first "Honeymooners" sketches on Cavalcade of Stars, and on the director of the show Frank Bunetta
June Taylor on adapting the choreography for the cameras on Cavalcade of Stars and working with director Frank Bunetta

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

View Show Page
June Taylor on getting the June Taylor Dancers booked on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show)
June Taylor on working with Ed Sullivan on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show)
June Taylor on the experience of the June Taylor Dancers appearing on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show), and on working with Tony Martin on the show
June Taylor on the kinds of numbers the June Taylor Dancers performed on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show), and on rehearsal and budget for that show

Honeymooners, The

View Show Page
June Taylor on choreographing "The Honeymooners' Trip to Europe" sketches on The Jackie Gleason Show

Jackie Gleason Show, The

View Show Page
June Taylor on expanding the number of June Taylor Dancers when they appeared on The Jackie Gleason Show, and on working with Jackie Gleason
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers going to The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason writing music for the June Taylor Dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on the challenges of choreographing a ballet with several dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show, and on the Jackie Gleason composed ballet "Rhapsody"
June Taylor on choreographing the Jackie Gleason composed ballet "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on her choreography of Gleason's original ballet "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on casting Dolores Harper as "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on the choreography of the waltz section and the last movement of "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on choreographing "the fire number" on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on winning an Emmy Award for The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on choreographing "The Honeymooners' Trip to Europe" sketches on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on working with Art Carney on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on working with Audrey Meadows on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on Joyce Randolph on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on choreographing "The Honeymooners" musical numbers on The Jackie Gleason Show 
June Taylor on the rehearsal process of The Jackie Gleason Show and Gleason's aversion to rehearsing 
June Taylor on choreographing the 1966 version of The Jackie Gleason Show, and the show being in color

Stage Show

View Show Page
June Taylor on choreographing Stage Show, and on Elvis Presley making his television debut on Stage Show
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
June Taylor on her mentor and taking an overview of her career

Emmy Awards

View Topic
June Taylor on winning an Emmy Award for The Jackie Gleason Show

Pop Culture

View Topic
June Taylor on choreographing Stage Show, and on Elvis Presley making his television debut on Stage Show

Rock 'n' Roll on TV (1950s & '60s)

View Topic
June Taylor on choreographing Stage Show, and on Elvis Presley making his television debut on Stage Show
Professions

Dancer/Choreographer

View Profession
June Taylor on getting music for the June Taylor Dancers
June Taylor on adapting the choreography for the cameras on Cavalcade of Stars and working with director Frank Bunetta
June Taylor on the challenges of choreographing a ballet with several dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show, and on the Jackie Gleason composed ballet "Rhapsody"
June Taylor on the rehearsal process of The Jackie Gleason Show and Gleason's aversion to rehearsing 

Performers

View Profession
June Taylor on getting music for the June Taylor Dancers
June Taylor on adapting the choreography for the cameras on Cavalcade of Stars and working with director Frank Bunetta
June Taylor on the challenges of choreographing a ballet with several dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show, and on the Jackie Gleason composed ballet "Rhapsody"
June Taylor on the rehearsal process of The Jackie Gleason Show and Gleason's aversion to rehearsing 
Genres

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers appearing on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show)
June Taylor on expanding the number of June Taylor Dancers when they appeared on The Jackie Gleason Show, and on working with Jackie Gleason
June Taylor on the kinds of numbers the June Taylor Dancers performed on Toast of the Town  (later The Ed Sullivan Show), and on rehearsal and budget for that show
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers performing on Cavalcade of Stars
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers on Cavalcade of Stars
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on doing choreography for The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on choreographing The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on choreographing Stage Show
June Taylor on choreographing American Scene Magazine
June Taylor on choreographing the 1966 version of The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on the potential for variety shows to make a come back
People

Frank Bunetta

View Person Page
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason doing the first "Honeymooners" sketches on Cavalcade of Stars, and on the director of the show Frank Bunetta
June Taylor on adapting the choreography for the cameras on Cavalcade of Stars and working with director Frank Bunetta

Art Carney

View Person Page
June Taylor on working with Art Carney on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on choreographing "The Honeymooners" musical numbers on >The Jackie Gleason Show  and on Art Carney's insecurity as a dancer

Duke Ellington

View Person Page
June Taylor on working with Duke Ellington

Jackie Gleason

View Person Page
June Taylor on expanding the number of June Taylor Dancers when they appeared on The Jackie Gleason Show, and on working with Jackie Gleason
June Taylor on meeting Jackie Gleason
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason hosting Cavalcade of Stars, and on Gleason's strengths as a comedian
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason doing the first "Honeymooners" sketches on Cavalcade of Stars
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers going to The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason writing music for the June Taylor Dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on the challenges of choreographing a ballet with several dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show, and on the Jackie Gleason composed ballet "Rhapsody"
June Taylor on choreographing the Jackie Gleason composed ballet "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on her choreography of Gleason's original ballet "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on choreographing "the fire number" on The Jackie Gleason Show
June Taylor on the rehearsal process of The Jackie Gleason Show  and Gleason's aversion to rehearsing 
June Taylor on choreographing Jackie Gleason's American Scene Magazine, and on clashing with Gleason over the style of dance he wanted on the show
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason moving American Scene Magazine and his subsequent shows to Florida
June Taylor on the legacy of Jackie Gleason

Tony Martin

View Person Page
June Taylor on the experience of the June Taylor Dancers appearing on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show), and on working with Tony Martin on the show

Audrey Meadows

View Person Page
June Taylor on working with Audrey Meadows on The Jackie Gleason Show

Elvis Presley

View Person Page
June Taylor on choreographing Stage Show, and on Elvis Presley making his television debut on Stage Show

Joyce Randolph

View Interview Page
June Taylor on Joyce Randolph on The Jackie Gleason Show

Jules Stein

View Person Page
June Taylor on her first agent at MCA who worked under Jules Stein

Ed Sullivan

View Person Page
June Taylor on getting the June Taylor Dancers booked on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show)
June Taylor on working with Ed Sullivan on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show)

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