Marty Pasetta

Director / Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Marty Pasetta (1932-2015) talks about his early interest in theater, which culminated in his first job in television at San Francisco's KGO-TV in 1952. He discusses his long association with KGO, where he moved up the ranks from a stage manager to a multifaceted producer. He describes his move to Los Angeles, where, because of his hands-on experience at KGO, he soon became a director for several variety series, including The Smothers Brothers, Summer Show Starring Glen Campbell, The Smothers Brothers, Comedy Hour and the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. Pasetta speaks of his long association with The Grammy Awards (from 1971-78), where he was hired for the show's first live telecast. He outlines the growth of the show's success, some key performances, and the challenges of directing a live awards show. He details his long stint as director of The Academy Awards (from 1972-88), where he instituted the live nominee screenshots and the use of seat-fillers. He relates some historical moments from the show, including the 1970's streaker, Charlie Chaplin's appearance, and John Wayne's final appearance. He speaks in great detail about his favorite project, Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, which was Elvis's 1973 comeback special. Pasetta also cites various specials, presidential inaugurations (Carter's and Reagan's) and the many variety stars he worked with through the years. Jeff Abraham conducted the interview in Los Angeles on January 18, 2007.

"I enjoy every show I do. I don't care what it is, even a game show. I enjoy anything and everything because every show is a challenge. If you go in there, and you don't love, live, and breathe the show that you're doing, you shouldn't be doing it. I don't care what it is - you better like what you're doing or get out and let the person that likes it do it."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Marty Pasetta on Charlie Chaplin appearing on the first Academy Awards he directed
Marty Pasetta on Vanessa Redgrave's infamous protest speech at The Academy Awards
Marty Pasetta on directing and producing the AFI specials and the pressures of directing The Academy Awards
Marty Pasetta on directing Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan's Inaugural specials
Marty Pasetta on nearly "discovering" Barbra Streisand
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on working at local San Francisco station KGO
On creating programming for KGO; on various people with whom he worked at KGO; on quitting KGO and moving his family to Los Angeles

Chapter 2

On moving to Los Angeles; on directing The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour and the controversy surrounding the show
On directing various game shows; on directing The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, The Andy Williams Show and Switched-On-Symphony; on collaborating with stars

Chapter 3

On working with Jimmy Durante, Andy Williams, and Bing Crosby; on directing The Grammys
On working with Pierre Cossette; on memorable Grammy moments and working with rock musicians; on how he came to direct The Academy Awards

Chapter 4

On Charlie Chaplin appearing on The Academy Awards; on directing Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii
On the process of directing The Academy Awards; on the producers of The Academy Awards and keeping the show interesting; on the streaker and Marlon Brando refusing his Oscar

Chapter 5

On John Wayne's final Academy Awards; on winners making controversial speeches on The Academy Awards; on directing The Academy Awards the day after the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan
On directing The Emmy Awards; on directing various specials; on directing Inaugural galas and The Music of UNICEF: The Gift of Song

Chapter 6

On directing the AFI specials; on his production company; on directing Let Poland Be Poland and An All Star Celebration of Martin Luther King
On directing and producing various variety specials; on directing Pope John Paul II; on his directing style

Chapter 7

On career regrets and achievements; on how television has changed; on his advice to aspiring producer/directors 
Shows

Academy Awards, The

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Marty Pasetta on his first time directing The Academy Awards
Marty Pasetta on Charlie Chaplin appearing on the first Academy Awards he directed
Marty Pasetta on the process of directing The Academy Awards
Marty Pasetta on the producers of The Academy Awards
Marty Pasetta on The Academy Awards hosts and the process of directing it
Marty Pasetta on the location of The Academy Awards and keeping the show interesting
Marty Pasetta on The Academy Awards infamous streaking incident 
Marty Pasetta on Marlon Brando refusing his Oscar
Marty Pasetta on John Wayne's final Academy Awards appearance 
Marty Pasetta on Vanessa Redgrave's infamous protest speech at The Academy Awards
Marty Pasetta on dealing with the winners and their speeches while directing The Academy Awards
Marty Pasetta on the music cues at The Academy Awards and experimenting with parts of the show
Marty Pasetta on how the Ronald Reagan assassination attempt affected The Academy Awards

Andy Williams Show, The

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Marty Pasetta on directing The Andy Williams Show and Switched-On-Symphony

Andy Williams Specials

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Marty Pasetta on directing Andy Williams

Bing Crosby Specials

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Marty Pasetta on directing Bing Crosby's TV specials

Burnett Discovers Domingo

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Marty Pasetta on directing the special Burnett Discovers Domingo

Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii

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Marty Pasetta on directing Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii
Marty Pasetta on his favorite achievement

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Marty Pasetta on directing The Emmy Awards

Gene Kelly: An American in Pasadena

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Marty Pasetta on directing Gene Kelly: An American in Pasadena and Happy Birthday, America

Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, The

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Marty Pasetta on directing The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour

Grammys, The

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Marty Pasetta on directing Andy Williams
Marty Pasetta on directing and producing The Grammys
Marty Pasetta on collaborating with Pierre Cossette on The Grammys
Marty Pasetta on dealing with rock musicians on The Grammys
Marty Pasetta on memorable Grammy moments
Marty Pasetta on what he brought to The Grammys

Jimmy Durante Presents The Lennon Sisters Hour

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Marty Pasetta on directing Jimmy Durante Presents The Lennon Sisters and Kraft Music Hall

Joker's Wild, The

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Marty Pasetta on directing The Joker's Wild

Kraft Music Hall, The

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Marty Pasetta on directing Jimmy Durante Presents The Lennon Sisters and Kraft Music Hall with Don Ho

Magical World of Disney

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Marty Pasetta on directing the Magical World of Disney

Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The

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Marty Pasetta on getting the job as director of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour and being inventive to get around budget issues
Marty Pasetta on directing the controversial final season of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour

Switched-On Symphony, The

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Marty Pasetta on directing The Andy Williams Show and The Switched-On-Symphony

Wheel of Fortune

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Marty Pasetta on directing Shopper's Bizarre, an early version of Wheel of Fortune
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Marty Pasetta on directing the controversial final season of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour

Emmy Awards

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Marty Pasetta on directing The Emmy Awards

Jimmy Carter

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Marty Pasetta on directing Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan's Inaugural specials

Media Consolidation

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Marty Pasetta on how television has changed due to technology and business

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
Marty Pasetta on Charlie Chaplin appearing on the first Academy Awards he directed
Marty Pasetta on The Academy Awards infamous streaking incident 
Marty Pasetta on Marlon Brando refusing his Oscar
Marty Pasetta on Vanessa Redgrave's infamous protest speech at The Academy Awards

Ronald Reagan

View Topic
Marty Pasetta on directing Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan's Inaugural specials
Marty Pasetta on how the Ronald Reagan assassination attempt affected The Academy Awards
Marty Pasetta on directing the special Let Poland Be Poland

Technological Innovation

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Marty Pasetta on how television has changed due to technology and business

Television Industry

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Marty Pasetta on directing the controversial final season of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour
Marty Pasetta on how television has changed due to technology and business

Television and the Presidency

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Marty Pasetta on directing Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan's Inaugural specials
Marty Pasetta on directing Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan's Inaugural specials
Marty Pasetta on how the Ronald Reagan assassination attempt affected The Academy Awards
Marty Pasetta on directing the special Let Poland Be Poland

We Considered

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Marty Pasetta on Vanessa Redgrave's infamous protest speech at The Academy Awards

We Cried

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Marty Pasetta on Charlie Chaplin appearing on the first Academy Awards he directed

We Laughed

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Marty Pasetta on The Academy Awards infamous streaking incident 
Marty Pasetta on Marlon Brando refusing his Oscar
Professions

Directors

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Marty Pasetta on his directing style
Marty Pasetta on advice for aspiring producer/directors
Genres

Awards Shows

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Marty Pasetta on directing and producing The Grammys
Marty Pasetta on directing The Academy Awards
Marty Pasetta on directing The Academy Awards
Marty Pasetta on directing The Academy Awards

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Marty Pasetta on directing The Smothers' Brothers Comedy Hour
Marty Pasetta on directing Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii
People

Carol Burnett

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Marty Pasetta on directing the special Burnett Discovers Domingo

Glen Campbell

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Marty Pasetta on directing The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour

Jimmy Carter

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Marty Pasetta on directing Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan's Inaugural specials

Charlie Chaplin

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Marty Pasetta on Charlie Chaplin appearing on the first Academy Awards he directed

Pierre Cossette

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Marty Pasetta on collaborating with Pierre Cossette on The Grammys

Bing Crosby

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Marty Pasetta on directing Bing Crosby's TV specials

Sammy Davis, Jr.

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Marty Pasetta on directing Sammy Davis, Jr.

Phyllis Diller

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Marty Pasetta on quitting in the middle of a taping of The Gypsy Rose Lee Show and moving to Los Angeles

Placido Domingo

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Marty Pasetta on directing the special Burnett Discovers Domingo

Jimmy Durante

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Marty Pasetta on directing Jimmy Durante Presents The Lennon Sisters and Kraft Music Hall with Don Ho

Pope John Paul II

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Marty Pasetta on working with Pope John Paul II

Gypsy Rose Lee

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Marty Pasetta on quitting in the middle of a taping of The Gypsy Rose Lee Show and moving to Los Angeles

Golda Meir

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Marty Pasetta on directing the 30th Anniversary of the State of Israel special

Elvis Presley

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Marty Pasetta on directing Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii

Ronald Reagan

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Marty Pasetta on directing Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan's Inaugural specials
Marty Pasetta on how the Ronald Reagan assassination attempt affected The Academy Awards
Marty Pasetta on directing the special Let Poland Be Poland

Telly Savalas

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Marty Pasetta on working with Telly Savalas

Frank Sinatra

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Marty Pasetta on working with Frank Sinatra on various specials over the years

Barbra Streisand

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Marty Pasetta on nearly "discovering" Barbra Streisand
Marty Pasetta on directing the 30th Anniversary of the State of Israel special

Elizabeth Taylor

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Marty Pasetta on directing Elizabeth Taylor

Andy Williams

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Marty Pasetta on directing The Andy Williams Show and Switched-On-Symphony
Marty Pasetta on directing Andy Williams

Stevie Wonder

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Marty Pasetta on directing An All Star Celebration Honoring Martin Luther King

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