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."

Highlights
June Taylor on her first jobs as a professional dancer
06:36
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers going on > Cavalcade of Stars
03:35
June Taylor on forming the June Taylor Dancers
03:25
June Taylor on choreographing "The Honeymooners' Trip to Europe" sketches on The Jackie Gleason Show
03:28
June Taylor on the legacy of Jackie Gleason>
00:57
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
13:56
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 
15:46

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
10:20
On forming the June Taylor Dancers; on the early bookings of The June Taylor Dancers
08:16
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
11:25

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
09:48
On getting music for the June Taylor Dancers; on the June Taylor Dancers going on Cavalcade of Stars
05:47
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
13:57

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
09:56
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
12:27
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
16:05
On choreographing "the fire number" on The Jackie Gleason Show; on winning an Emmy Award for The Jackie Gleason Show
07:46
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
06:54

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 
05:38
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
16:43
On choreographing the 1966 version of The Jackie Gleason Show, and the show being in color; on working with the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders
07:33

Chapter 7

On her career highlights; on the legacy of Jackie Gleason; on the then-current state of dancing on television
07:17
On the potential for variety shows to make a come back; on her mentor and taking an overview of her career
05:44
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
07:21
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
08:02

Cavalcade of Stars

View Show Page
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers going on Cavalcade of Stars
03:35
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason hosting Cavalcade of Stars, and on Gleason's strengths as a comedian
08:06
June Taylor on how the June Taylor Dancers were integrated into Cavalcade of Stars
03:10
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers appearing on Cavalcade of Stars
02:05
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason doing the first "Honeymooners" sketches on Cavalcade of Stars, and on the director of the show Frank Bunetta
01:11
June Taylor on adapting the choreography for the cameras on Cavalcade of Stars and working with director Frank Bunetta
02:59

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

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June Taylor on getting the June Taylor Dancers booked on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show)
04:22
June Taylor on working with Ed Sullivan on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show)
02:31
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
04:32
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
04:29

Honeymooners, The

View Show Page
June Taylor on choreographing "The Honeymooners' Trip to Europe" sketches on The Jackie Gleason Show
03:28

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
03:05
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers going to The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS
05:33
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason writing music for the June Taylor Dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show
03:55
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"
02:09
June Taylor on choreographing the Jackie Gleason composed ballet "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show
03:57
June Taylor on her choreography of Gleason's original ballet "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show
10:07
June Taylor on casting Dolores Harper as "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show
01:20
June Taylor on the choreography of the waltz section and the last movement of "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show
04:38
June Taylor on choreographing "the fire number" on The Jackie Gleason Show
07:02
June Taylor on winning an Emmy Award for The Jackie Gleason Show
00:44
June Taylor on choreographing "The Honeymooners' Trip to Europe" sketches on The Jackie Gleason Show
03:27
June Taylor on working with Art Carney on The Jackie Gleason Show
01:29
June Taylor on working with Audrey Meadows on The Jackie Gleason Show
01:27
June Taylor on Joyce Randolph on The Jackie Gleason Show
00:21
June Taylor on choreographing "The Honeymooners" musical numbers on The Jackie Gleason Show 
01:15
June Taylor on the rehearsal process of The Jackie Gleason Show and Gleason's aversion to rehearsing 
04:01
June Taylor on choreographing the 1966 version of The Jackie Gleason Show, and the show being in color
04:03

Stage Show

View Show Page
June Taylor on choreographing Stage Show, and on Elvis Presley making his television debut on Stage Show
06:12
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
June Taylor on her mentor and taking an overview of her career
04:33

Emmy Awards

View Topic
June Taylor on winning an Emmy Award for The Jackie Gleason Show
00:42

Pop Culture

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June Taylor on choreographing Stage Show, and on Elvis Presley making his television debut on Stage Show
06:12

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
06:12
Professions

Dancer/Choreographer

View Profession
June Taylor on getting music for the June Taylor Dancers
02:12
June Taylor on adapting the choreography for the cameras on Cavalcade of Stars and working with director Frank Bunetta
02:59
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"
02:09
June Taylor on the rehearsal process of The Jackie Gleason Show and Gleason's aversion to rehearsing 
04:01

Performers

View Profession
June Taylor on getting music for the June Taylor Dancers
02:12
June Taylor on adapting the choreography for the cameras on Cavalcade of Stars and working with director Frank Bunetta
02:59
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"
02:09
June Taylor on the rehearsal process of The Jackie Gleason Show and Gleason's aversion to rehearsing 
04:01
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)
11:25
June Taylor on expanding the number of June Taylor Dancers when they appeared on The Jackie Gleason Show, and on working with Jackie Gleason
03:05
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
04:29
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers performing on Cavalcade of Stars
11:11
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers on Cavalcade of Stars
06:15
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show
15:34
June Taylor on doing choreography for The Jackie Gleason Show
30:45
June Taylor on choreographing The Jackie Gleason Show
05:37
June Taylor on choreographing Stage Show
06:12
June Taylor on choreographing American Scene Magazine
10:31
June Taylor on choreographing the 1966 version of The Jackie Gleason Show
04:02
June Taylor on the potential for variety shows to make a come back
00:57
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
01:11
June Taylor on adapting the choreography for the cameras on Cavalcade of Stars and working with director Frank Bunetta
02:59

Art Carney

View Person Page
June Taylor on working with Art Carney on The Jackie Gleason Show
01:29
June Taylor on choreographing "The Honeymooners" musical numbers on >The Jackie Gleason Show  and on Art Carney's insecurity as a dancer
01:15

Duke Ellington

View Person Page
June Taylor on working with Duke Ellington
06:40

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
03:04
June Taylor on meeting Jackie Gleason
02:41
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason hosting Cavalcade of Stars, and on Gleason's strengths as a comedian
08:03
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason doing the first "Honeymooners" sketches on Cavalcade of Stars
01:12
June Taylor on the June Taylor Dancers going to The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS
05:33
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason writing music for the June Taylor Dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show
03:55
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"
02:09
June Taylor on choreographing the Jackie Gleason composed ballet "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show
03:57
June Taylor on her choreography of Gleason's original ballet "Tawny" on The Jackie Gleason Show
10:05
June Taylor on choreographing "the fire number" on The Jackie Gleason Show
07:02
June Taylor on the rehearsal process of The Jackie Gleason Show  and Gleason's aversion to rehearsing 
04:01
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
07:59
June Taylor on Jackie Gleason moving American Scene Magazine and his subsequent shows to Florida
02:28
June Taylor on the legacy of Jackie Gleason
00:57

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
04:32

Audrey Meadows

View Person Page
June Taylor on working with Audrey Meadows on The Jackie Gleason Show
01:27

Elvis Presley

View Person Page
June Taylor on choreographing Stage Show, and on Elvis Presley making his television debut on Stage Show
06:12

Joyce Randolph

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June Taylor on Joyce Randolph on The Jackie Gleason Show
00:21

Jules Stein

View Person Page
June Taylor on her first agent at MCA who worked under Jules Stein
00:48

Ed Sullivan

View Person Page
June Taylor on getting the June Taylor Dancers booked on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show)
04:24
June Taylor on working with Ed Sullivan on Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show)
02:31

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