Martin Manulis

Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his five-hour Archive interview, Martin Manulis (1915-2007) talks about the Golden Age of Television and the challenges of producing live television anthologies, especially his greatest contribution to television, the critically acclaimed anthology, Playhouse 90. Manulis recalls celebrated teleplays like "Requiem for a Heavyweight" and "The Miracle Worker." He also talks about working with Jack Palance, Ed Wynn, Jack Lemmon, Claudette Colbert, Rod Serling, Tad Mosel and JP Miller. B-roll consists of dozens of publicity photos taken for Playhouse 90. Morrie Gelman conducted the interview on June 17, 1997 in Los Angeles, CA.  

"A producer must have more common sense than all the people working around you. You can't afford to be the artist. You may think you are, and you may truly be, but it's got to be the kind of artist who's inside somewhere. You can't be crazy. You can't suddenly be like a director who once said to me, when we were over-length, 'Martin, you've got to call New York and tell them there can't be any commercials this week.' Well, if you are the kind of idiot that would get on the phone and say 'No commercials this week,' you'd never see the inside of a studio again."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Martin Manulis on how he came to produce Playhouse 90
Martin Manulis on producing Best of Broadway, CBS's first regular color telecast
Martin Manulis on the casting of Playhouse 90's "Requiem for a Heavyweight"
Martin Manulis on his relationship with Noel Coward
Martin Manulis on producing James at 15
Martin Manulis on how he'd like to be remembered
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life an influences; on radio he listened to growing up; on movies he watched growing up
On attending Columbia University at the age of 16; on his mother being a musician; on his education at Columbia University and becoming interested in drama

Chapter 2

On his early experience with acting; on going to work for Broadway producer Max Gordon; on becoming an understudy on Broadway, and on appearing on stage in "They Walk Alone"
On quitting acting; on his earliest experience with television; on his experience during World War II, and on his relationship with Noel Coward

Chapter 3

On his personal and professional relationship with Noel Coward; on directing for theater; on being hired by CBS
On producing Crime Photographer; on producing Suspense; on producing Studio One

Chapter 4

On the logistics of live television in the 1950s; on producing the summer version of Studio One; on producing Best of Broadway, CBS's first regular color telecast
On working with the various casts of Best of Broadway, including Helen Hayes and Claudette Colbert; on producing the Best of Broadway episode "The Show-Off," starring Jackie Gleason and Thelma Ritter; on the challenge of producing Best of Broadway live, and on the end of the show
On moving to Los Angeles to produce Climax! at CBS Television City, and on a mishap during a live broadcast of the show; on John Frankenheimer directing Climax!, and on Frankenheimer's directing technique; on hiring Sidney Lumet to direct Climax!

Chapter 5

On producing Climax! with Sidney Lumet directing, and on the show being filmed at CBS's Television City in Los Angeles; on being brought in to produce Playhouse 90, and on working for CBS as a producer; on moving to Los Angeles and his accommodations
On how he came to produce Playhouse 90; on working for CBS executive Hubbell Robinson on Playhouse 90; on the budget for Playhouse 90, and on getting famous actors to appear on the show

Chapter 6

On attracting A-list actors to appear on Playhouse 90 and other anthology shows; on the first episode of Playhouse 90, "Forbidden Area," and second episode, "Requiem for a Heavyweight"; on the casting of Playhouse 90's "Requiem for a Heavyweight"
On the importance of casting and on troubleshooting as a producer; on the success of Playhouse 90's production of "Requiem for a Heavyweight"; on Rod Serling writing "Requiem for a Heavyweight" for Playhouse 90

Chapter 7

On the challenges of producing a weekly, live show like Playhouse 90, and on the quality of the episodes; on the work schedule of Playhouse 90; on the lack of diversity on Playhouse 90 and on television in the 1950s in general
On the advertisers of Playhouse 90, and on Playhouse 90's "Portrait of a Murderer"; on the Hollywood Blacklist; on network censorship and Playhouse 90, and on working with Rod Serling

Chapter 8

On the Playhouse 90 productions of "Days of Wine and Roses" and "The Comedian"; on leaving Playhouse 90, and on becoming Head of Television for 20th Century Fox Television; on developing The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis for 20th Century Fox Television
On developing Adventures in Paradise with James Michener; on developing the series Five Fingers; on leaving television to produce motion pictures

Chapter 9

On getting a Producers Guild award for Playhouse 90 and on receiving numerous Emmy Awards; on the legacy of Playhouse 90; on what represented the then-best of television, and on the then-future of television
On advice to aspiring television producers; on his philosophy as a television producer; on how he'd like to be remembered, and on various people with whom he's worked in his career

Chapter 10

On various people with whom he's worked in his career
On various people with whom he's worked in his career; on producing the series James at 15; on producing the miniseries Chiefs and Space

Chapter 11

On producing the miniseries Space and Harem; on producing the made-for-television movie Grass Roots; on his film and Broadway career
On b-roll pictures from his career- with Claudette Colbert on The Best of Broadway; with Diana Lynn and Gore Vidal; in the control room of Playhouse 90; on the set with the crew of Playhouse 90; with Rod Serling; with Desi Arnaz receiving an Emmy Award; with James Michener; with Nancy Reagan; with Ronald Reagan; with his wife
Shows

Adventures in Paradise

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on developing Adventures in Paradise with James Michener

Best of Broadway

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on producing Best of Broadway, CBS's first regular color telecast
Martin Manulis on working with the various casts of Best of Broadway, including Helen Hayes and Claudette Colbert
Martin Manulis on producing the Best of Broadway episode "The Show-Off," starring Jackie Gleason and Thelma Ritter
Martin Manulis on the challenge of producing Best of Broadway live, and on the end of the show

Chiefs

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on producing the miniseries Chiefs

Climax!

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on moving to Los Angeles to produce Climax! at CBS Television City, and on a mishap during a live broadcast of the show
Martin Manulis on John Frankenheimer directing Climax, and on Frankenheimer's directing technique
Martin Manulis on hiring Sidney Lumet to direct Climax!
Martin Manulis on producing Climax! with Sidney Lumet directing, and on the show being filmed at CBS's Television City in Los Angeles

Crime Photographer

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on producing Crime Photographer

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on receiving numerous Emmy Awards

Five Fingers

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on developing the series Five Fingers

Grass Roots

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on producing the made-for-television movie Grass Roots

Harem

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on producing the miniseries Harem

James at 15

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on producing James at 15

Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on developing The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis for 20th Century Fox Television

Playhouse 90

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on being brought in to produce Playhouse 90, and on working for CBS as a producer
Martin Manulis on how he came to produce Playhouse 90
Martin Manulis on working for CBS executive Hubbell Robinson on Playhouse 90
Martin Manulis on the budget for Playhouse 90, and on getting famous actors to appear on the show
Martin Manulis on attracting A-list actors to appear on Playhouse 90 and other anthology shows
Martin Manulis on the first episode of Playhouse 90, "Forbidden Area," and second episode, "Requiem for a Heavyweight"
Martin Manulis on the casting of Playhouse 90's "Requiem for a Heavyweight" by Ethel Winant
Martin Manulis on the success of Playhouse 90's production of "Requiem for a Heavyweight"
Martin Manulis on Rod Serling writing "Requiem for a Heavyweight" for Playhouse 90
Martin Manulis on the challenges of producing a weekly, live show like Playhouse 90, and on the quality of the episodes
Martin Manulis on the work schedule of Playhouse 90
Martin Manulis on the lack of diversity on Playhouse 90 and on television in the 1950s in general
Martin Manulis on the advertisers of Playhouse 90, and on Playhouse 90's "Portrait of a Murderer"
Martin Manulis on network censorship and Playhouse 90, and on working with Rod Serling
Martin Manulis on the Playhouse 90 productions of "Days of Wine and Roses" and "The Comedian"
Martin Manulis on leaving Playhouse 90, and on becoming Head of Television for 20th Century Fox Television
Martin Manulis on the legacy of Playhouse 90
Martin Manulis on getting a Producers Guild award for Playhouse 90

Playhouse 90: "Days of Wine and Roses"

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on the Playhouse 90 productions "Days of Wine and Roses" and "The Comedian"

Playhouse 90: "Requiem for a Heavyweight"

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on the casting of Playhouse 90's "Requiem for a Heavyweight" by Ethel Winant
Martin Manulis on the success of Playhouse 90's production of "Requiem for a Heavyweight"
Martin Manulis on Rod Serling writing "Requiem for a Heavyweight" for Playhouse 90

Playhouse 90: "The Comedian"

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on the Playhouse 90 productions "Days of Wine and Roses" and "The Comedian"

Space

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on producing the miniseries Space
Martin Manulis on producing the miniseries Space

Studio One

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on producing Studio One
Martin Manulis on producing the summer version of Studio One

Suspense

View Show Page
Martin Manulis on producing Suspense
Topics

Bloopers

View Topic
Martin Manulis on a mishap during a live broadcast of Climax!, when an extra who was supposed to be playing dead got up and walked away in the middle of a scene

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Martin Manulis on network and sponsor objections to the Playhouse 90 episode "A Town Has Turned to Dust" (written by Rod Serling), and how they got around them

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Martin Manulis on receiving numerous Emmy Awards

First Big Break

View Topic
Martin Manulis on being hired by CBS

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Martin Manulis on his experience during World War II

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Martin Manulis on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Martin Manulis on the Hollywood Blacklist

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Martin Manulis on being hired by CBS

Television Industry

View Topic
Martin Manulis on the Hollywood Blacklist
Martin Manulis on network and sponsor objections to the Playhouse 90 episode "A Town Has Turned to Dust" (written by Rod Serling), and how they got around them
Martin Manulis on leaving television to produce motion pictures
Martin Manulis on the then-future of television
Martin Manulis on advice to aspiring television producers

War

View Topic
Martin Manulis on his experience during World War II

World War II

View Topic
Martin Manulis on his experience during World War II
Professions

Directors

View Profession
Martin Manulis on making the transition from directing theater to directing television

Producers

View Profession
Martin Manulis on the logistics of live television in the 1950s
Martin Manulis on the importance of casting and on troubleshooting as a producer
Martin Manulis on his philosophy as a television producer
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Martin Manulis on producing Studio One
Martin Manulis on producing Best of Broadway
Martin Manulis on producing Climax!
Martin Manulis on producing Playhouse 90
Martin Manulis on producing Playhouse 90
Martin Manulis on producing Playhouse 90
Martin Manulis on the Playhouse 90 productions "Days of Wine and Roses" and "The Comedian"

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Martin Manulis on producing the miniseries Space and Harem, and the made-for-television movie Grass Roots
People

Fred Coe

View Person Page
Martin Manulis on working with Fred Coe

Noel Coward

View Person Page
Martin Manulis on his relationship with Noel Coward
Martin Manulis on his personal and professional relationship with Noel Coward

John Frankenheimer

View Interview Page
Martin Manulis on John Frankenheimer directing Climax, and on Frankenheimer's directing technique

Jackie Gleason

View Person Page
Martin Manulis on producing the Best of Broadway episode "The Show-Off," starring Jackie Gleason and Thelma Ritter

Helen Hayes

View Person Page
Martin Manulis on working with the various casts of Best of Broadway, including Helen Hayes and Claudette Colbert

Grace Kelly

View Person Page
Martin Manulis on working with Grace Kelly

Sidney Lumet

View Interview Page
Martin Manulis on hiring Sidney Lumet to direct Climax!

Delbert Mann

View Interview Page
Martin Manulis on Delbert Mann

JP Miller

View Interview Page
Martin Manulis on working with JP Miller

Tad Mosel

View Interview Page
Martin Manulis on working with Tad Mosel

Ralph Nelson

View Person Page
Martin Manulis on working with Ralph Nelson

William S. Paley

View Person Page
Martin Manulis on working with William S. Paley

Arthur Penn

View Interview Page
Martin Manulis on working with Arthur Penn and William Gibson

Daniel Petrie, Sr.

View Interview Page
Martin Manulis on working with Daniel Petrie, Sr.

Martin Ritt

View Person Page
Martin Manulis on working with Martin Ritt

Hubbell Robinson

View Person Page
Martin Manulis on working for CBS executive Hubbell Robinson on Playhouse 90

Reginald Rose

View Person Page
Martin Manulis on working with Reginald Rose

Rod Serling

View Person Page
Martin Manulis on Rod Serling writing "Requiem for a Heavyweight" for Playhouse 90
Martin Manulis on working with Rod Serling on "A Town Has Turned to Dust" on Playhouse 90

Kim Stanley

View Person Page
Martin Manulis on working with Kim Stanley

Frank Stanton

View Interview Page
Martin Manulis on working with Frank Stanton

Ethel Winant

View Interview Page
Martin Manulis on the casting of Playhouse 90's "Requiem for a Heavyweight" by Ethel Winant

All Interviews

Q
S