Norman Felton

Director/ Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Norman Felton (1913-2012) discusses his role in radio and in early television in Chicago, as part of the distinguished "Chicago School of Television" with Charlie Andrews and Paul Rhymer. He describes directing live dramas for Robert Montgomery Presents and producing shows for Studio One. He talks extensively about his role as executive producer on the hit series Dr. Kildare and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and the formation of his production company, Arena Productions. Felton also shares his thoughts on colleagues Gene Roddenberry, Sam Rolfe, Grant Tinker and many others. Lee Goldberg conducted the interview in Woodland Hills, CA on November 12, 1997.

"I wanted to do a medical show. I hadn't been able to do it because CBS said, as the other networks did, 'who wants to go to a hospital?  That's the last place...a person comes home from their job and they're going to turn on television and see sick people?' But in radio, I did plenty of them."

Highlights
Norman Felton on censorship on Playhouse 90's "Judgment at Nuremberg"
03:06
Norman Felton on going to the University of Iowa with classmate Tennessee Williams
01:57
Norman Felton on Ian Fleming coming up with the name "Napoleon Solo" for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
00:42
Norman Felton on the creation of the Norman Felton Television Producer of the Year Award
00:57
Director Norman Felton on meeting Pat Weaver
01:07
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on growing up in London; on regular trips to the library on Saturdays; on leaving school at 13 to go to work; on moving to America when he was 15 and the various jobs and experiences he had as a teenager
On his start in radio KJR and theater productions in Seattle; on joining the Teamsters and getting into scenery work; on his big break writing plays and going to the University of Iowa with classmate Tennessee Williams

Chapter 2

On the Living Newspaper he worked on at the University of Iowa; on directing the St. Paul Civic Theater; on moving to Chicago; on arena theater and getting into NBC radio; on directing "Office Playhouse" on the radio
On troubles working with advertising agencies; on taking a leave of absence to pursue television; on going to New York to direct television; on directing a painting show

Chapter 3

On the first television program he directed; on joining the Directors Guild
On the "Chicago School" of Television - Garroway-at-Large, Stud's Place; on TV's first soap opera These Are My Children; on Crisis

Chapter 4

On his long association with Robert Montgomery Presents; on the show's format; on the writing on the show; on studio space for Robert Montgomery Presents
On directing his first episode of Robert Montgomery Presents: "The Letter"

Chapter 5

On the "Kitty Foyle" episode of Robert Montgomery Presents; on an actress getting sick on live television 
On network and sponsor involvement on Robert Montgomery Presents; on the Hollywood Blacklist; on Robert Montgomery Presents winning its first Emmy
On leaving Robert Montgomery Presents; on directing and becoming associate producer on Studio One

Chapter 6

On Studio One writers and the show moving from New York to Hollywood; on going from live to video tape; on becoming Executive Producer of Playhouse 90
On working for CBS; on producing Pursuit; on working for MGM Television and forming his own production company; on executive producing Dr. Kildare;  on casting Raymond Massey and Richard Chamberlain for Dr. Kildare

Chapter 7

On NBC Executive David Levy approving Dr. Kildare; on doing a spinoff of Dr. Kildare; on The Lieutenant with Gene Roddenberry
On executive producing The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and its spin-off, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.; on working in British television

Chapter 8

On leaving MGM Television and setting up Arena Productions at Universal; on working with Steven Spielberg; on the series Hawkins;  on a TV movie of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.; on joining the writer's strike, against himself
On the creation of the Norman Felton Television Producer of the Year Award; on media literacy
On colleagues Jerry Goldsmith, Sam Rolfe and Grant Tinker

Chapter 9

On people with whom he's worked; on photographs of productions on which he's worked; on a photograph of his lovely wife
Shows

Dr. Kildare

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Norman Felton on executive producing Dr. Kildare
08:29
Norman Felton on executive producing Dr. Kildare
04:42

Eleventh Hour, The

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Norman Felton on executive producing Dr. Kildare and its spinoff The Eleventh Hour
04:42

Garroway at Large

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Director Norman Felton on the "Chicago School" of Broadcasting, which included shows Garroway-at-Large and Studs' Place, crediting the philosophy to writers Charlie Andrews and Paul Rhymer
02:34
Director Norman Felton on Garroway-at-Large
00:54

Girl From U.N.C.L.E., The

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Norman Felton on the spin-off of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.
05:11

Hawkins

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Norman Felton on getting Jimmy Stewart to play the lead in the series Hawkins
02:41

Humor of Vic 'N' Sade, The

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Director Norman Felton on bringing Paul Rhymer's The Humor of Vic 'N' Sade to television
01:23

Lieutenant, The

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Norman Felton on executive producing The Lieutenant,  created by Gene Roddenberry
02:17
Norman Felton on a photo from The Lieutenant
01:26

Man From U.N.C.L.E., The

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Norman Felton on executive producing The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
18:50
Norman Felton on a TV movie of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
01:36
Norman Felton on a photo from The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
00:42

Playhouse 90

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Norman Felton on becoming Executive Producer of Playhouse 90
04:05

Pursuit

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Norman Felton on producing Pursuit
01:56

Robert Montgomery Presents

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Director Norman Felton on his long association with Robert Montgomery Presents [Part 1]
26:52
Director Norman Felton on his long association with Robert Montgomery Presents  
22:36
Director Norman Felton on the "Kitty Foyle" episode of Robert Montgomery Presents  
02:01
Norman Felton on a photo of Helen Hayes in a production of Robert Montgomery Presents
01:18

Robert Montgomery Presents: "Kitty Foyle"

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Director Norman Felton on the "Kitty Foyle" episode of Robert Montgomery Presents  
02:01

Studio One

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Director Norman Felton on directing and becoming associate producer on Studio One
04:28
Norman Felton on Studio One writers and the show moving from New York to Hollywood; on going from live to video tape
00:52
Norman Felton on a photo from Studio One
00:43

Studs' Place

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Director Norman Felton on the "Chicago School" of Broadcasting, which included shows Garroway-at-Large and Studs' Place, crediting the philosophy to writers Charlie Andrews and Paul Rhymer
02:34

These Are My Children

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Director Norman Felton on bringing These Are My Children to television- TV's first soap opera - with creator Irna Phillips
02:21

United States Steel Hour, The

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Director Norman Felton on working on The U.S. Steel Hour
02:05
Topics

'The Idiot Box'

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Norman Felton on the need for media literacy
06:18

Anthology Drama

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Director Norman Felton on his long association with Robert Montgomery Presents (Part 1)
26:52

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Norman Felton on his experiences with sponsor censorship on Robert Montgomery Presents  
02:32
Norman Felton on censorship on Playhouse 90's "Judgment at Nuremberg"
03:06

Characters & Catchphrases

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Norman Felton on Ian Fleming coming up with the name "Napoleon Solo" for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
00:42

Emmy Awards

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Director Norman Felton on Robert Montgomery Presents winning its first Emmy
01:29

Hollywood Blacklist

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Norman Felton on his experiences with the Blacklist
08:00

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Director Norman Felton on the "Chicago School" of Broadcasting, which included shows Garroway-at-Large and Studs' Place, crediting the philosophy to writers Charlie Andrews and Paul Rhymer
02:34
Director Norman Felton on his long association with Robert Montgomery Presents (Part 1)
26:52

Technological Innovation

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Norman Felton on Studio One going from live to video tape and live television falling out of favor
02:19
Professions

Directors

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Norman Felton on transitioning from playwriting to directing
01:42

Producers

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Norman Felton on his duties as a producer on Studio One
00:37

Writers

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Norman Felton on his big break writing plays
02:02
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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Director Norman Felton on his long association with Robert Montgomery Presents [Part 1]
26:52
Director Norman Felton on his long association with Robert Montgomery Presents  
22:36
Director Norman Felton on directing and becoming associate producer on Studio One
04:28

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Norman Felton on executive producing The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
18:50

Daytime/Primetime Serials

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Director Norman Felton on bringing These Are My Children to television- TV's first soap opera - with creator Irna Phillips; on working in radio 
02:21

Medical Dramas

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Norman Felton on executive producing Dr. Kildare
08:29
People

Charlie Andrews

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Director Norman Felton on the "Chicago School" of Broadcasting, which included shows Garroway-at-Large and Studs' Place, crediting the philosophy to writers Charlie Andrews and Paul Rhymer
02:34

Bob Banner

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Director Norman Felton on working with Ted Mills and Bob Banner in Chicago television
02:19

Herbert Brodkin

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Director Norman Felton on working with Herbert Brodkin and becoming a producer
03:23
Norman Felton on censorship on Playhouse 90's "Judgment at Nuremberg"
03:06
Norman Felton on working with Herb Brodkin
00:08
Norman Felton on a photo with Herb Brodkin
00:46

Richard Chamberlain

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Norman Felton on casting Raymond Massey and Richard Chamberlain for Dr. Kildare
02:24
Norman Felton on working with Richard Chamberlain
00:08

Fred Coe

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Director Norman Felton on Fred Coe's response to the "Kitty Foyle" episode of Robert Montgomery Presents  
02:01

Bob Finkel

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Norman Felton on working with Bob Finkel
00:08

Ian Fleming

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Norman Felton on meeting with Ian Fleming and executive producing The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
10:30

Dave Garroway

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Director Norman Felton on Garroway-at-Large
00:54
Director Norman Felton on the "Chicago School" of Broadcasting, which included shows Garroway-at-Large and Studs' Place, crediting the philosophy to writers Charlie Andrews and Paul Rhymer
02:34

Jerry Goldsmith

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Norman Felton on working with composr Jerry Goldsmith at Universal
01:56

Helen Hayes

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Norman Felton on a photo of Helen Hayes in a production of Robert Montgomery Presents
01:18

David Karp

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Norman Felton on writer David Karp's series Hawkins
02:41

David Levy

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Norman Felton on showing David Levy, NBC's head of programming, dailies for Dr. Kildare
01:44
Norman Felton on David Levy watching dailies of Dr. Kildare
00:47
Norman Felton on working with David Levy
00:07

Sidney Lumet

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Norman Felton on working with Sidney Lumet
00:07

Raymond Massey

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Norman Felton on casting Raymond Massey and Richard Chamberlain for Dr. Kildare
02:24

David McCallum

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Norman Felton on casting two short men as the leads in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
01:17

Ted Mills

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Director Norman Felton on working with Ted Mills in Chicago television
00:33
Director Norman Felton on working with Ted Mills and Bob Banner in Chicago television
02:19
Norman Felton on working with Ted Mills
00:06

Robert Montgomery

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Director Norman Felton on his long association with Robert Montgomery Presents; on working with Robery Montgomery
26:52
Director Norman Felton on his long association with Robert Montgomery Presents  
21:53
Norman Felton on working with Robert Montgomery
00:19

William S. Paley

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Norman Felton on working with Bill Paley
00:07

Daniel Petrie, Sr.

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Norman Felton on working with Dan Petrie
00:15

Irna Phillips

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Director Norman Felton on bringing These Are My Children to television- TV's first soap opera - with creator Irna Phillips; on working in radio 
02:21

Paul Rhymer

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Director Norman Felton on the "Chicago School" of Broadcasting, which included shows Garroway-at-Large and Studs' Place, crediting the philosophy to writers Charlie Andrews and Paul Rhymer
02:34
Director Norman Felton on bringing Paul Rhymer's Vic and Sade to television and crafting the Chicago School
02:34

Gene Roddenberry

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Norman Felton on executive producing The Lieutenant,  created by Gene Roddenberry
02:17
Norman Felton on working with Gene Roddenberry
00:14

Sam Rolfe

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Norman Felton on Sam Rolfe coming up with the premise for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
08:20
Norman Felton on working with Sam Rolfe
01:16
Norman Felton on a photo with Sam Rolfe
00:42

David Sarnoff

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Norman Felton on working with David Sarnoff
00:09

Steven Spielberg

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Norman Felton on executive producing The Psychiatrist, with episodes directed by Steven Spielberg
01:30

Frank Stanton

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Norman Felton on working with Frank Stanton
00:08

Jimmy Stewart

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Norman Felton on getting Jimmy Stewart to play the lead in the series Hawkins
02:41

Studs Terkel

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Director Norman Felton on getting Studs Terkel onto television
00:51

Grant Tinker

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Norman Felton on working with Grant Tinker at MGM
02:21

Robert Vaughn

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Norman Felton on casting two short men as the leads in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
01:17
Norman Felton on working with Robert Vaughn
00:06
Norman Felton on a photo from The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
00:42

Sylvester L. Weaver

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Director Norman Felton on meeting Pat Weaver
01:07

Tennessee Williams

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Norman Felton on going to the University of Iowa with classmate Tennessee Williams
01:57
Norman Felton on the newspaper he worked on at the University of Iowa
04:12

Ethel Winant

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Norman Felton on working with Ethel Winant
00:08

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