Max Wilk

Writer/ Historian


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Max Wilk (1920-2011) briefly describes his beginnings as a writer in radio, touring with Irving Berlin's "This Is the Army" during World War II, and his entrance into writing for early television. He talks about writing for such anthology and variety shows as: The Ford Television Theatre (1948-50), The Victor Borge Show (1951), and The Imogene Coca Show (1954-55). Finally, he describes working on the critically-acclaimed and long-running series Mama (for which he wrote from 1952-53), as well as the Emmy Award winning special The Fabulous Fifties (1960), a look at the decade. As a television historian and author of the seminal book The Golden Age of Television: Notes From the Survivors, Wilk also describes the "live" era of television (and the actors, writers, and producers of the day) and the cloud of the 1950s blacklist and how it affected people he knew (including Zero Mostel). Michael Rosen conducted the interview in Westport, CT on November 15, 2000.

Highlights
Writer Max Wilk on taking the play "Light Up the Sky" from it's Broadway close on May 21, 1949 to a live TV production for Ford Television Theatre on June 11, 1949
00:55
Writer Max Wilk on seeing "Marty" on Philco-Goodyear Playhouse, and the effect it had on him
02:21
Writer Max Wilk on convincing actor Oscar Karlweis to stay with the Philco production "The Man Who Bought a Town"
02:55
Writer Max Wilk on the how the storylines on Mama had an honestly about them
01:01
Writer Max Wilk on working with Boris Karloff on Starring Boris Karloff
01:25
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and studies; on his beginnings as a writer in radio; on touring with Irving Berlin's "This Is the Army" during World War II

Chapter 2

On seeing television for the first time; on writing early TV dramas; on The Ford Television Theatre; on director Marc Daniels

Chapter 3

On working in early "live" TV; on seeing Paddy Chayefsky's "Marty" and it's impact

Chapter 4

On The Fifty-Fourth Street Revue; on Ed Wynn; on writing for "Starring Boris Karloff"; on Victor Borge; on convincing actor Oscar Karlweis to stay with the Philco production "The Man Who Bought a Town"; on writing for Mama and how it differed from the sitcoms of the day; on Mama producer Carol Irwin and star Peggy Wood

Chapter 5

On The Imogene Coca Show; on CBS executive James Aubrey and his philosophy of TV; on the Hollywood Blacklist; on transitioning from TV writing to writing books
Shows

54th Street Revue

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Writer Max Wilk on the performers who appeared on 54th Street Revue including Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
01:04

Ford Television Theatre

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Writer Max Wilk on the schedule of Ford Television Theatre
00:54
Writer Max Wilk on taking the play "Light Up the Sky" from it's Broadway close on May 21, 1949 to a live TV production for Ford Television Theatre on June 11, 1949
00:55

Mama

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Writer Max Wilk on the how the storylines on Mama had an honestly about them
01:01
Writer Max Wilk on Mama producer Carol Irwin
00:30
Writer Max Wilk on Mama star Peggy Wood
00:34

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

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Writer Max Wilk on seeing "Marty" on Philco-Goodyear Playhouse, and the effect it had on him
02:21
Writer Max Wilk on convincing actor Oscar Karlweis to stay with the Philco production "The Man Who Bought a Town"
02:55

Starring Boris Karloff

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Writer Max Wilk on working with Boris Karloff on Starring Boris Karloff
01:25
People

Marc Daniels

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Writer Max Wilk on the talent of TV director Marc Daniels
00:25

Carol Irwin

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Writer Max Wilk on Mama producer Carol Irwin
00:30

Boris Karloff

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Writer Max Wilk on working with Boris Karloff on Starring Boris Karloff
01:25

Peggy Wood

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Writer Max Wilk on Mama star Peggy Wood
00:34

All Interviews

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