Kirk Browning

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Kirk Browning (1921-2008) speaks of his early days in television working on live broadcasts at NBC-TV. Next, he describes his work for NBC Opera Theater, working with Samuel Chotzinoff on productions such as "Amahl and the Night Visitors" and "Billy Budd," as well as telecasts featuring Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra. He also talks about directing the NBC Opera Theater production of "Carmen," the first color broadcast for NBC, and such shows as Producers Showcase, Shirley Temple's Storybook, and the Christmas special Once Upon a Christmas Time. He recalls leaving NBC and moving to the New York PBS affiliate WNET, where he directed such shows as NET Opera, Theater in America and Great Performances. Next, Mr. Browning discusses in detail his work for PBS' Live from the Met and Live from Lincoln Center, a series which he has directed since 1975. He also recalls his work on PBS' American Playhouse, including presentations of "Fifth of July" and "The House of Blue Leaves." Henry Colman conducted the interview on May 13, 2000 in New York, NY.

"If I wanted to be known for anything, it's never forgetting that somewhere hidden in this diabolic assemblage of elements, there is a specific television art form. I would like to think that perhaps I've used it as often and as much as I could."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Director Kirk Browning on doing the first color and videotaped shows for NBC Opera Theatre
Kirk Browning on directing "Antony and Cleopatra" for Producers' Showcase
Kirk Browning on directing the Samuel Beckett play "Krapp's Last Tape" for Omnibus
Director Kirk Browning on working with Arturo Toscanini
Director Kirk Browning on his advice to aspiring directors
Full Interview

Chapter 1

Introduction
On his early years and influences; on his World War II U.S. Military service; on first seeing television; on his first jobs in television as a stage manager for NBC

Chapter 2

On the state of early television at NBC; on the layout of the studios; on his work for NBC Opera Theater, working with Samuel Chotzinoff on productions including "Amahl and the Night Visitors"

Chapter 3

On his work on NBC Opera Theatre

Chapter 4

On directing NBC Opera Theatre   (cont.); on the series' demise
On being a staff director at NBC

Chapter 5

On Arturo Toscanini; on directing for Alcoa GoodyearProducers' Showcase, Omibus, Shirley Temple's Storybook, The Frank Sinatra Show

Chapter 6

On directing the first episode of The Frank Sinatra Show (cont.)
On various shows and specials he directed; on his directing style

Chapter 7

On directing NET Opera
On directing Theater in America; Great Performances, and Live from Lincoln Center

Chapter 8

On directing musical performances; on directing Live from the Met  and American Playhouse; on his advice to aspiring directors

Chapter 9

On the future of television; on how would like to be remembered
Shows

Amahl and the Night Visitors

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Kirk Browning on working on Amahl and the Night Visitors, the first opera commissioned for television

American Playhouse

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Director Kirk Browning on American Playhouse

Frank Sinatra Show, The (1957-58)

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Director Kirk Browning on working with Frank Sinatra on the first episode of his series
Kirk Browning on directing the first episode of The Frank Sinatra Show (cont.)

Great Performances

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Kirk Browning on directing on Great Performances

Kraft Television Theatre

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Kirk Browning on working on Kraft Theatre; on the show's commercials

Live from Lincoln Center

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Kirk Browning on directing Live from Lincoln Center

Live from the Met

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Director Kirk Browning on Live from the Met

NBC Opera Theatre

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Director Kirk Browning discusses the launching of NBC Opera Theatre  
Kirk Browning on working on Amahl and the Night Visitors, the first opera commissioned for television
Kirk Browning on working on NBC Opera Theatre
Director Kirk Browning on his work on NBC Opera Theatre   ( cont.)
Director Kirk Browning on doing the first color and videotaped shows for NBC Opera Theatre
Director Kirk Browning on working with Arturo Toscanini

NET Opera Theatre

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Kirk Browning on the schedule of directing the NET Opera Theatre

Omnibus

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Kirk Browning on directing the Samuel Beckett play "Krapp's Last Tape" for Omnibus

Producers' Showcase

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Kirk Browning on directing "Antony and Cleopatra" for Producers' Showcase

Shirley Temple's Storybook

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Kirk Browning on directing "Beauty and the Beast" for Shirley Temple's Storybook

Theater in America

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Kirk Browning on directing Theater in America
Topics

Technological Innovation

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Director Kirk Browning on doing the first color and videotaped shows for NBC Opera Theatre
Professions

Directors

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Director Kirk Browning on his advice to aspiring directors
Kirk Browning on how technology might put directors like him out of business
People

Samuel Chotzinoff

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Kirk Browning on working on Amahl and the Night Visitors, the first opera commissioned for television

John Goberman

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Kirk Browning on directing Live from Lincoln Center

David Mamet

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Kirk Browning on directing Theater in America

Gian Carlo Menotti

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Kirk Browning on working on Amahl and the Night Visitors, the first opera commissioned for television

Worthington Miner

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Kirk Browning on his uncle Tony Miner

Frank Sinatra

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Director Kirk Browning on working with Frank Sinatra on his first special

Arturo Toscanini

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Director Kirk Browning on working with Arturo Toscanini

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