Leslie H. Martinson

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his five-hour plus interview, Leslie H. Martinson (1915-2016) speaks about growing up in and around Boston, until his World War II service led him to Los Angeles. He got a job at MGM Studios and talks at length about his early script supervisor credits, which then led him to start his television directing career, first under contract at Warner Brothers and then as a freelance director. He describes working with Roy Huggins and William T. Orr (at Warner Brothers) and on many shows, including The Roy Rogers Show, Maverick, The Tales of Wells Fargo, 77 Sunset Strip, Cheyenne, Bronco, The Frontier World of Doc Holliday, and Bourbon Street Beat. Martinson outlines directing episodes of the television series Batman (as well as the feature film of the same name). Other television work includes Ironside, The Brady Bunc h, Mission: Impossible, Alias Smith and Jones, Mannix, Wonder Woman and Small Wonder. Bill Freiberger conducted the interview on March 6, 2003 in Beverly Hills, CA.

"If you want to be a director you can start before you're anywhere near a set. Every time you watch the television show, you're learning your craft. You don't watch a show for entertainment, you watch to study."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Batman
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Diff'rent Strokes  and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Leslie H. Martinson on the advent of color television 
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Wonder Woman
Leslie H. Martinson on advice to aspiring television directors
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on getting into show business and going to work for MGM
On his experience in World War II; on being a script supervisor at MGM; on working with writers and directors as a script supervisor at MGM

Chapter 2

On working with Judy Garland; on the feature films he worked on as script supervisor at MGM; on the first time he saw television 
On making the transition from movies to television; on making the transition from script supervisor to director; on directing The Roy Rogers Show

Chapter 3

On working with Roy Rogers on The Roy Rogers Show and a typical production day; on writing a song for Dale Evans
On directing The Mickey Rooney Show; on working with Mickey Rooney on The Mickey Rooney Show

Chapter 4

On almost directing The Honeymooners; on his directing style; on the Hollywood Blacklist
On his association with Warner Bros. Television; on working with Jack Warner

Chapter 5

On working with Jack Warner; on the differences between directing in film and working in television; on directing Topper
On directing Maverick and winning an Emmy; on directing Cheyenne

Chapter 6

On directing Tales of Wells Fargo; on directing Colt .45; on directing Bronco and The Lawman; on directing Bourbon Street Beat
On directing 77 Sunset Strip and Hawaiian Eye; on the production system at Warner Bros. Television in the '50s and '60s

Chapter 7

On the declining years of Warner Bros. and directing The Roaring 20's; on the craft of directing; on the technical preparations he makes to direct; on working with actors
On working with producers as a director; on what draws him to direct a script and his directing style; on how directing comedy and drama are different

Chapter 8

On directing comedy and drama; on directing a sitcom with a live studio audience; on the most important role a director fills on a sitcom
On collaborating with other professionals on set as director; on dealing with post-production and the editing process as a director; on the advent of color television; on directing Batman

Chapter 9

On directing Batman; on directing Mannix; on directing The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island
On directing Love, American Style; on directing The Six Million Dollar Man; on directing Wonder Woman

Chapter 10

On directing Quincy, M.E., Eight Is Enough and CHiPs; on directing Ironside and Fantasy Island
On directing Dallas; on directing Diff'rent Strokes and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century; on directing Airwolf, Harper Valley PTA and Small Wonder

Chapter 11

On his retirement and then-recent activities; on his proudest professional achievement; on advice to aspiring television directors; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

77 Sunset Strip

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing 77 Sunset Strip

Airwolf

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Airwolf

Batman

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Batman
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Batman
Leslie H. Martinson on working with Adam West and Burt Ward on Batman

Bourbon Street Beat

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Bourbon Street Beat

Brady Bunch, The

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island

Bronco

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Bronco and The Lawman

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Diff'rent Strokes and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

CHiPs

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing CHiPs

Cannon

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Cannon

Cheyenne

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Cheyenne

Colt .45

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Colt .45

Dallas

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Dallas

Diff'rent Strokes

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Diff'rent Strokes and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Eight Is Enough

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Eight Is Enough

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Maverick  and winning an Emmy

Fantasy Island

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Fantasy Island

Gilligan's Island

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island

Harper Valley PTA

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Harper Valley PTA

Hawaiian Eye

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Hawaiian Eye

Honeymooners, The

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Leslie H. Martinson on almost directing The Honeymooners

Ironside

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Ironside

Lawman

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Bronco and Lawman

Love, American Style

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Love, American Style

Mannix

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Mannix

Maverick

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Maverick and winning an Emmy

Mickey Rooney Show, The

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing The Mickey Rooney Show
Leslie H. Martinson on working with Mickey Rooney on The Mickey Rooney Show

Quincy, M.E.

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Quincy, M.E.

Roy Rogers Show, The

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing The Roy Rogers Show
Leslie H. Martinson on working with Roy Rogers on The Roy Rogers Show and a typical production day
Leslie H. Martinson on becoming a professional songwriter

Six Million Dollar Man, The

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing The Six Million Dollar Man

Small Wonder

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Small Wonder

Tales of Wells Fargo

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Tales of Wells Fargo

Wonder Woman

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Wonder Woman
Topics

Advice

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Leslie H. Martinson on advice to aspiring television directors

Emmy Awards

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Maverick and winning an Emmy

Historic Events and Social Change

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Leslie H. Martinson on his experiences in World War II

Hollywood Blacklist

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Leslie H. Martinson on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Leslie H. Martinson on the Hollywood Blacklist

Technological Innovation

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Leslie H. Martinson on the advent of color television 

Television Industry

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Leslie H. Martinson on the Hollywood Blacklist
Leslie H. Martinson on advice to aspiring television directors

War

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Leslie H. Martinson on his experiences in World War II

World War II

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Leslie H. Martinson on his experiences in World War II
Professions

Directors

View Profession
Leslie H. Martinson on his directing style
Leslie H. Martinson on the differences between directing in film and working in television 
Leslie H. Martinson on the craft of directing
Leslie H. Martinson on the technical preparations he makes to direct and work with actors
Leslie H. Martinson on working with producers as a director
Leslie H. Martinson on what draws him to direct a script and his directing style
Leslie H. Martinson on how directing comedy and drama are different
Leslie H. Martinson on directing comedy and drama
Leslie H. Martinson on directing a sitcom with a live studio audience
Leslie H. Martinson on the most important role a director fills on a sitcom
Leslie H. Martinson on collaborating with other professionals on set as director
Leslie H. Martinson on dealing with post-production and the editing process as a director
Leslie H. Martinson on the challenges of directing an action show
Leslie H. Martinson on advice to aspiring television directors
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

View Genre
Leslie H. Martinson on directing The Six Million Dollar Man
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Wonder Woman
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Fantasy Island
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Airwolf

Comedy Series

View Genre
Leslie H. Martinson on directing The Mickey Rooney Show
Leslie H. Martinson on almost directing The Honeymooners
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Topper
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Batman
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Batman  (Part 2)
Leslie H. Martinson on directing The Brady Bunch  and Gilligan's Island
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Love, American Style
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Eight Is Enough
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Diff'rent Strokes  and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Harper Valley PTA
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Small Wonder

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Bourbon Street Beat
Leslie H. Martinson on directing 77 Sunset Strip
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Hawaiian Eye
Leslie H. Martinson on the declining years of Warner Bros. and directing The Roaring 20's
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Mannix
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Cannon
Leslie H. Martinson on directing CHiPs
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Ironside

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Dallas

Medical Dramas

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Quincy, M.E.

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Diff'rent Strokes  and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Western Series

View Genre
Leslie H. Martinson on directing The Roy Rogers Show
Leslie H. Martinson on directing The Roy Rogers Show (Part 2)
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Maverick  and winning an Emmy
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Cheyenne
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Tales of Wells Fargo
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Colt .45
Leslie H. Martinson on directing Bronco and The Lawman
People

Ernest Borgnine

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Airwolf

Raymond Burr

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Ironside

Gary Coleman

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Diff'rent Strokes and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Mike Connors

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Mannix

Dale Evans

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing The Roy Rogers Show

Eva Gabor

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Fantasy Island

Judy Garland

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Leslie H. Martinson on working with Judy Garland

Jackie Gleason

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Leslie H. Martinson on almost directing The Honeymooners

Frank Gorshin

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Bourbon Street Beat

Roy Huggins

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Maverick  and winning an Emmy

Jack Klugman

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Quincy, M.E.

Mary Tyler Moore

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Bourbon Street Beat

William T. Orr

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Leslie H. Martinson on his association with Warner Bros. Television

Roy Rogers

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing The Roy Rogers Show
Leslie H. Martinson on working with Roy Rogers on The Roy Rogers Show  and a typical production day

Mickey Rooney

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing The Mickey Rooney Show
Leslie H. Martinson on working with Mickey Rooney on The Mickey Rooney Show

Burt Ward

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Leslie H. Martinson on working with Adam West and Burt Ward on Batman

Jack L. Warner

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Leslie H. Martinson on working with Jack Warner
Leslie H. Martinson on working with Jack Warner

Adam West

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Leslie H. Martinson on working with Adam West and Burt Ward on Batman

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