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."

Highlights
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs getting fired and stopping production on Kovacs on the Corner
01:59
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs nailing her in a coffin on Kovacs on the Corner
06:11
Marge Greene on wanting to work in television and her first television appearance - a Westinghouse commercial
01:29
Marge Greene on replacing Dorothy Collins on Candid Camera
02:13
Marge Greene on sharing a studio room with Bishop Fulton Sheen at DuMont
01:12
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
11:56
On getting married in 1942; on her first television appearance and joining NBC affiliate WPTZ in Philadelphia; on early TV studios and writing commercials
13:36
On working on the local Philadelphia puppet show Nixie the Pixie
02:47

Chapter 2

On becoming a writer for Nixie the Pixie, contd.; on writing and hosting the childrens' show Tots and Tales with Marge Greene
07:22
On getting hired to write for and perform on Kovacs on the Corner
11:51
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
06:39
On Ernie Kovac's reputation before Kovacs on the Corner
02:19

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
14:07
On Ernie Kovacs' humor and positive and negative qualities
02:50
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
08:28
On how she acquired the stage play "Stalag 17"
03:33

Chapter 4

On producing the stage hit "Stalag 17," which later ran on Broadway and became an Oscar-winning film
07:50
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
11:37
On performing in commercials - for Armstrong wax, Vanish, Minute Rice, and Mr. Clean
04:25
On joining the staff of Candid Camera
03:39

Chapter 5

On getting cast on Candid Camera, contd.; on production on the show and the difficulties of working with Allen Funt
14:29
On some of her favorite moments on Candid Camera
11:38
On her favorite moments from her career
00:48

Chapter 6

B-roll of photos from her career at WPTZ, from working on sitcoms, and acting on Candid Camera
08:40
Shows

Candid Camera

View Show Page
Marge Greene on joining the staff of Candid Camera
03:39
Marge Greene on meeting with Allen Funt and getting cast on Candid Camera, contd.
02:21
Marge Greene on Allen Funt being difficult to work for on Candid Camera; on her first stint on the show
03:37
Marge Greene on acting on Candid Camera, and the difficulties of working with Allen Funt
01:56
Marge Greene on preparations for production on Candid Camera
04:20
Marge Greene on some of her favorite moments on Candid Camera
11:38

Kovacs on the Corner

View Show Page
Marge Greene on getting hired to write for and perform on Kovacs on the Corner
07:59
Marge Greene on writing her first scripts for Kovacs on the Corner and Kovacs' hatred of them
03:50
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs' reputation and poor attitude
01:57
Marge Greene on production of the first episode she wrote for Kovacs on the Corner
01:51
Marge Greene on the format of Kovacs on the Corner
02:51
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs getting fired and stopping production on Kovacs on the Corner
06:28
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs nailing her in a coffin on Kovacs on the Corner
06:11

Marge and Jeff

View Show Page
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
08:28
Marge Greene on ad-libbing and starring in Marge and Jeff for DuMont
04:47
Marge Greene on production on Marge and Jeff
03:15
Marge Greene on why Marge and Jeff went off the air
03:17
Topics

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs nailing her in a coffin on Kovacs on the Corner
06:11

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Marge Greene on getting hired to write for Kovacs on the Corner
04:30
Marge Greene on replacing Dorothy Collins on Candid Camera and meeting Allen Funt
02:13
Genres

Children's Programming

View Genre
Marge Greene on working on the local puppet show Nixie the Pixie
02:44
Marge Greene on writing and hosting the childrens' show Tots and Tales with Marge Greene
00:52

Comedy Series

View Genre
Marge Greene on writing for and performing on Kovacs on the Corner
18:30
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs getting fired and stopping production on Kovacs on the Corner
06:28
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs nailing her in a coffin on Kovacs on the Corner and Kovacs' apology
07:39
Marge Greene on working with Fred Bennett on the sitcom Marge and Fred, which later became Marge and Jeff
08:28
Marge Greene on ad-libbing and starring in Marge and Jeff for DuMont
11:37
Marge Greene on joining the staff of Candid Camera
03:39
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
26:07

Commercials

View Genre
Marge Greene on writing and performing early television commercials
03:30
Marge Greene on performing in commercials when Marge and Jeff ended
04:25
People

Edie Adams

View Interview Page
Marge Greene on writing her first scripts for Kovacs on the Corner and Kovacs' hatred of them
03:50
Marge Greene on the format of Kovacs on the Corner
00:35

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
07:54

Dorothy Collins

View Person Page
Marge Greene on replacing Dorothy Collins on Candid Camera
02:13

Allen Funt

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Marge Greene on replacing Dorothy Collins on Candid Camera and meeting Allen Funt
02:13
Marge Greene on meeting with Allen Funt and getting cast on Candid Camera, contd.
02:21
Marge Greene on Allen Funt being difficult to work for on Candid Camera; on her first stint on the show
03:37
Marge Greene on acting on Candid Camera, and the difficulties of working with Allen Funt
01:56
Marge Greene on preparations for production on Candid Camera
04:20

Ernie Kovacs

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Marge Greene on learning Ernie Kovacs would get a primetime show
00:25
Marge Greene on getting hired to write for Kovacs on the Corner
04:30
Marge Greene on writing her first scripts for Kovacs on the Corner and Kovacs' hatred of them
03:50
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs' reputation and poor attitude
01:57
Marge Greene on production of the first episode she wrote for Kovacs on the Corner
01:51
Marge Greene on the format of Kovacs on the Corner
01:25
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovac's reputation before Kovacs on the Corner
02:19
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs getting fired and stopping production on Kovacs on the Corner
06:28
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs nailing her in a coffin on Kovacs on the Corner and Kovacs' apology
07:39
Marge Greene on Ernie Kovacs' humor and positive and negative qualities
02:50

Ed McMahon

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Marge Greene on doing a commercial on Ed McMahon's show when Johnny Ray was the guest
01:04

Johnnie Ray

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Marge Greene on doing a commercial on Ed McMahon's show when Johnny Ray was the guest
02:42

Fulton J. Sheen

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Marge Greene on sharing a studio room with Bishop Fulton Sheen at DuMont
01:12

Leonard Valenta

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Marge Greene on Leonard Valenta directing Marge and Jeff for DuMont
00:11

Ernest Walling

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Marge Greene on Ernest Walling producing Marge and Jeff for DuMont
00:14

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