Marge Greene

Writer/ Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Marge Greene talks about getting her first job in television at local Philadelphia station WPTZ, writing copy for commercials. She describes the shows for which she wrote and starred in at WPTZ, including Tots and Tales with Marge Greene and Marge and Fred. She details working with Ernie Kovacs on the Philadelphia-based Kovacs on the Corner, which ran over the NBC network. She recalls the now legendary run-ins that she had with Kovacs, who tore her scripts up in front of her and notoriously nailed her in a coffin on his final show. Greene speaks of producing the stage hit "Stalag 17," which later ran on Broadway and became an Oscar-winning film. She recounts co-starring with Jess Cain on the DuMont domestic sitcom Marge and Jeff, which originated from New York City. Finally, Greene discusses her tenure as a performer on Candid Camera, and describes some of the successful and not-so-successful stunts done on the program. B-roll consists of several photos from Greene's days at WPTZ and various newspaper headlines relating to her career. Michael Rosen conducted the interview on October 21, 2000 in Pelham Manor, NY. 

"Kovacs is a genius, if you want to call it that. He would take like a hand, a crazy hand, and move and you'd laugh. But in a minute it's gone. You need solid material."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs getting fired and stopping production on Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs nailing her in a coffin on Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on wanting to work in television and her first television appearance - a Westinghouse commercial
Marge Greene on replacing Dorothy Collins on Candid Camera
Marge Greene on sharing a studio room with Bishop Fulton Sheen at DuMont
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early influences; on moving to the United States from Scotland; on her family settling in Philadelphia; on her love of acting and dancing; on winning a scholarship to Temple University
On getting married in 1942; on her first television appearance and joining NBC affiliate WPTZ in Philadelphia; on early TV studios and writing commercials
On working on the local Philadelphia puppet show Nixie the Pixie

Chapter 2

On becoming a writer for Nixie the Pixie, contd.; on writing and hosting the childrens' show Tots and Tales with Marge Greene
On getting hired to write for and perform on Kovacs on the Corner
On Ernie Kovacs' reputation and poor attitude; on production of the first episode she wrote for Kovacs on the Corner; on the show's format and cast
On Ernie Kovac's reputation before Kovacs on the Corner

Chapter 3

On Ernie Kovacs getting fired and stopping production on Kovacs on the Corner; on Kovacs nailing her in a coffin in a scene and his apology afterwards
On Ernie Kovacs' humor and positive and negative qualities
On writing and starring in Marge and Fred (an I Love Lucy -type sitcom), which later became Marge and Jeff when Fred Bennett left and she got hired at DuMont
On how she acquired the stage play "Stalag 17"

Chapter 4

On producing the stage hit "Stalag 17," which later ran on Broadway and became an Oscar-winning film
On ad-libbing and starring in Marge and Jeff for DuMont; on the show's huge ratings and typical production; on why the show left the air
On performing in commercials - for Armstrong wax, Vanish, Minute Rice, and Mr. Clean
On joining the staff of Candid Camera

Chapter 5

On getting cast on Candid Camera, contd.; on production on the show and the difficulties of working with Allen Funt
On some of her favorite moments on Candid Camera
On her favorite moments from her career

Chapter 6

B-roll of photos from her career at WPTZ, from working on sitcoms, and acting on Candid Camera
Shows

Candid Camera

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Marge Greene on joining the staff of Candid Camera
Marge Greene on meeting with Allen Funt and getting cast on Candid Camera, contd.
Marge Greene on Allen Funt being difficult to work for on Candid Camera; on her first stint on the show
Marge Greene on acting on Candid Camera, and the difficulties of working with Allen Funt
Marge Greene on preparations for production on Candid Camera
Marge Greene on some of her favorite moments on Candid Camera

Kovacs on the Corner

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Marge Greene on getting hired to write for and perform on Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on writing her first scripts for Kovacs on the Corner and Kovacs' hatred of them
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs' reputation and poor attitude
Marge Greene on production of the first episode she wrote for Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on the format of Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs getting fired and stopping production on Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs nailing her in a coffin on Kovacs on the Corner

Marge and Jeff

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Marge Greene on working with Fred Bennett on the sitcom Marge and Fred, which later became Marge and Jeff when Fred Bennett left and she got hired at DuMont
Marge Greene on ad-libbing and starring in Marge and Jeff for DuMont
Marge Greene on production on Marge and Jeff
Marge Greene on why Marge and Jeff went off the air
Topics

Memorable Moments on Television

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Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs nailing her in a coffin on Kovacs on the Corner

Pivotal Career Moments

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Marge Greene on getting hired to write for Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on replacing Dorothy Collins on Candid Camera and meeting Allen Funt
Genres

Children's Programming

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Marge Greene on working on the local puppet show Nixie the Pixie
Marge Greene on writing and hosting the childrens' show Tots and Tales with Marge Greene

Comedy Series

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Marge Greene on writing for and performing on Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs getting fired and stopping production on Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs nailing her in a coffin on Kovacs on the Corner and Kovacs' apology
Marge Greene on working with Fred Bennett on the sitcom Marge and Fred, which later became Marge and Jeff
Marge Greene on ad-libbing and starring in Marge and Jeff for DuMont
Marge Greene on joining the staff of Candid Camera
Marge Greene on getting cast on Candid Camera; on production on the show and the difficulties of working with Allen Funt; on her favorite moments from the show

Commercials

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Marge Greene on writing and performing early television commercials
Marge Greene on performing in commercials when Marge and Jeff ended
People

Edie Adams

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Marge Greene on writing her first scripts for Kovacs on the Corner and Kovacs' hatred of them
Marge Greene on the format of Kovacs on the Corner

Fred Bennett

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Marge Greene on working with Fred Bennett on the sitcom Marge and Fred, which later became Marge and Jeff when Fred Bennett left and she got hired at DuMont

Dorothy Collins

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Marge Greene on replacing Dorothy Collins on Candid Camera

Allen Funt

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Marge Greene on replacing Dorothy Collins on Candid Camera and meeting Allen Funt
Marge Greene on meeting with Allen Funt and getting cast on Candid Camera, contd.
Marge Greene on Allen Funt being difficult to work for on Candid Camera; on her first stint on the show
Marge Greene on acting on Candid Camera, and the difficulties of working with Allen Funt
Marge Greene on preparations for production on Candid Camera

Ernie Kovacs

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Marge Greene on learning Ernie Kovacs would get a primetime show
Marge Greene on getting hired to write for Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on writing her first scripts for Kovacs on the Corner and Kovacs' hatred of them
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs' reputation and poor attitude
Marge Greene on production of the first episode she wrote for Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on the format of Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovac's reputation before Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs getting fired and stopping production on Kovacs on the Corner
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs nailing her in a coffin on Kovacs on the Corner and Kovacs' apology
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs' humor and positive and negative qualities

Ed McMahon

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Marge Greene on doing a commercial on Ed McMahon's show when Johnny Ray was the guest

Johnnie Ray

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Marge Greene on doing a commercial on Ed McMahon's show when Johnny Ray was the guest

Fulton J. Sheen

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Marge Greene on sharing a studio room with Bishop Fulton Sheen at DuMont

Leonard Valenta

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Marge Greene on Leonard Valenta directing Marge and Jeff for DuMont

Ernest Walling

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Marge Greene on Ernest Walling producing Marge and Jeff for DuMont

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