Norman Stiles

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Norman Stiles talks about his early years as a writer for various comedians, and how he came to write for the then-new children's program, Sesame Street. He describes writing for the show in its early years and working with such luminaries as Joan Ganz Cooney and Jim Henson. He recounts creating and writing for various characters, including "The Count", "Forgetful Jones", "Elmo", and "Telly Monster." He discusses writing for the actors on the show, and writing songs with composer Joe Raposo. Stiles recalls leaving Sesame Street in the mid-'70s, co-creating the Mel Brooks-produced comedy, When Things Were Rotten, and writing for Norman Lear's Fernwood 2-Night. He outlines his return to Sesame Street in 1980 when he became head writer and won a Daytime Emmy for the episode, "Farewell, Mr. Hooper." He recalls once again leaving the show in 1995 to create the short-lived series Between the Lions, and talks about his then-current projects and the legacy of Sesame Street. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview on December 12, 2014 in Hoboken, New Jersey.

"I don't think there will ever be a children's program that will have the continued impact over time that 'Sesame Street' has had. Maybe in another universe, but I don't think on this planet."

Highlights
Norman Stiles on writing the Sesame Street  episode "Farewell, Mr. Hooper"
09:25
Norman Stiles on why "Snuffleupagus" started out as only visible to "Big Bird", but soon became visible to everyone on Sesame Street
02:31
Norman Stiles on NASA approaching Sesame Street about a storyline
02:12
Norman Stiles on Jim Henson's involvement in Sesame Street  and creating the Muppet "The Count"
07:48
Norman Stiles on the legacy of Sesame Street
02:03
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his early memories of television
12:30
On writing for Allen & Rossi and various other comedians; on going to write for Sesame Street; on the early process of writing for Sesame Street
19:58
On the length and format of a Sesame Street segment; on learning to write for Sesame Street and the basic philosophy of writing for the show; on working with Joan Ganz Cooney on Sesame Street
08:12
On Jim Henson's involvement in Sesame Street and creating the Muppet "The Count"; on creating the characters "Forgetful Jones", "Elmo", and "Telly Monster" on Sesame Street
19:02

Chapter 2

On various characters he wrote for or created; on his favorite Sesame Street character to write for; on writing for the actors on Sesame Street
15:23
On writing for the ensemble of Sesame Street; on Ladysmith Black Mambazo performing on Sesame Street and writing songs for the show; on Dulcy Singer as executive producer of Sesame Street
13:54
On writing The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence; on leaving Sesame Street and co-creating When Things Were Rotten
12:22

Chapter 3

On writing for Fernwood 2-Night and America 2-Night; on returning to Sesame Street in 1980
13:11
On collaborating with the writers on Sesame Street as head writer of the show and what he looked for in a writer; on writing the iconic Sesame Street episode "Farewell, Mr. Hooper"; on winning a Daytime Emmy for the Sesame Street episode "Farewell, Mr. Hooper"
14:36

Chapter 4

On the unaired Sesame Street segment "Snuffy's Parents Gt A Divorce"; on his favorite Sesame Street segments; on why "Snuffleupagus" started out as only visible to "Big Bird", but soon became visible to everyone on Sesame Street; on NASA approaching Sesame Street about a storyline; on keeping his writing for Sesame Street fresh over several decades
14:46
On working on international versions of Sesame Street; on leaving Sesame Street in 1995 and creating Between the Lions; on the legacy of Sesame Street
13:13
On then-current projects; on how children's television has changed since he started in the industry; on career achievements and regrets; on advice to an aspiring children's television writer and how he'd like to be remembered 
14:36
On B-roll pictures from his career- with Mel Brooks on the set of When Things Were Rotten; with Jerry Paris, Norman Steinberg, and Mel Brooks on the set of When Things Were Rotten
03:11
Shows

Dean Martin Show, The

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Norman Stiles on writing for Allen & Rossi and various other comedians and going to write for Merv Griffin
07:02

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Norman Stiles on winning a Daytime Emmy for the Sesame Street  episode "Farewell, Mr. Hooper"
01:54

Fernwood 2 Night

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Norman Stiles on writing for Fernwood 2-Night and America 2-Night
10:52

Merv Griffin Show, The

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Norman Stiles on writing for Allen & Rossi and various other comedians and going to write for Merv Griffin
07:02

Muppet Show, The

View Show Page
Norman Stiles on writing The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence 
06:35

Sesame Street

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Norman Stiles on going to write for Sesame Street
03:21
Norman Stiles on the early process of writing for Sesame Street
04:41
Norman Stiles on the research department vetting his Sesame Street scripts and the curriculum of the show
04:54
Norman Stiles on the length and format of a Sesame Street segment
02:06
Norman Stiles on learning to write for Sesame Street and the basic philosophy of writing for the show
04:36
Norman Stiles on working with Joan Ganz Cooney on Sesame Street
01:30
Norman Stiles on Jim Henson's involvement in Sesame Street and creating the Muppet "The Count"
07:48
Norman Stiles on creating the character of "Forgetful Jones" on Sesame Street
02:21
Norman Stiles on creating the character of "Elmo" on Sesame Street
03:19
Norman Stiles on fine-tuning the character of "Telly Monster" on Sesame Street
05:34
Norman Stiles on the female character of "Prairie Dawn" on Sesame Street
04:37
Norman Stiles on writing for "Zoe" and "Rosita" on Sesame Street and Sesame Street's evolution in selling products
05:15
Norman Stiles on his favorite Sesame Street characters to write for
01:52
Norman Stiles on writing for the actors on Sesame Street
03:39
Norman Stiles on writing for the ensemble of Sesame Street
01:35
Norman Stiles on Ladysmith Black Mambazo performing on Sesame Street and writing songs for the show
05:00
Norman Stiles on Dulcy Singer as executive producer of Sesame Street
02:48
Norman Stiles on writing songs for Sesame Street
04:31
Norman Stiles on leaving Sesame Street and co-creating When Things Were Rotten
05:37
Norman Stiles on returning to Sesame Street in 1980
02:18
Norman Stiles on collaborating with the writers on Sesame Street as head writer of the show and what he looked for in a writer
03:14
Norman Stiles on writing the iconic Sesame Street episode "Farewell, Mr. Hooper"
09:25
Norman Stiles on winning a Daytime Emmy for the Sesame Street episode "Farewell, Mr. Hooper"
01:54
Norman Stiles on the unaired Sesame Street segment "Snuffy's Parents Get A Divorce"
03:22
Norman Stiles on dealing with Sesame Street segments that didn't test well
01:41
Norman Stiles on his favorite Sesame Street segments 
05:36
Norman Stiles on keeping his writing for Sesame Street fresh over several decades
04:06
Norman Stiles on working on international versions of Sesame Street
06:08
Norman Stiles on leaving Sesame Street in 1995 and creating Between the Lions
05:02
Norman Stiles on the legacy of Sesame Street
02:03
Norman Stiles on why "Snuffleupagus" started out as only visible to "Big Bird", but soon became visible to everyone on Sesame Street
02:31
Norman Stiles on NASA approaching Sesame Street about a storyline
02:12

Sesame Street: "Farewell, Mr. Hooper"

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Norman Stiles on writing the iconic Sesame Street episode "Farewell, Mr. Hooper"
09:25
Norman Stiles on winning a Daytime Emmy for the Sesame Street episode "Farewell, Mr. Hooper"
01:54

When Things Were Rotten

View Show Page
Norman Stiles on leaving Sesame Street  and co-creating When Things Were Rotten
05:37
Topics

Advice

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Norman Stiles on advice to an aspiring children's television writer
01:20

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Norman Stiles on winning a Daytime Emmy for the Sesame Street  episode "Farewell, Mr. Hooper"
01:54

First Big Break

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Norman Stiles on going to write for Sesame Street
03:21

Pivotal Career Moments

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Norman Stiles on going to write for Sesame Street
03:21

Television Industry

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Norman Stiles on how children's television has changed since he started in the industry
01:09
Norman Stiles on advice to an aspiring children's television writer
01:20
Professions

Writers

View Profession
Norman Stiles on the early process of writing for Sesame Street
04:41
Norman Stiles on writing for the actors on Sesame Street
03:39
Norman Stiles on writing for the ensemble of Sesame Street
01:35
Norman Stiles on collaborating with the writers on Sesame Street  as head writer of the show and what he looked for in a writer
03:14
Norman Stiles on keeping his writing for Sesame Street  fresh over several decades
04:06
Norman Stiles on the craft of writing 
03:32
Genres

Children's Programming

View Genre
Norman Stiles on writing for Sesame Street (Part 1)
40:10
Norman Stiles on writing for Sesame Street (Part 2)
29:17
Norman Stiles on writing for Sesame Street (Part 3)
16:51
Norman Stiles on writing for Sesame Street (Part 4)
28:39

Comedy Series

View Genre
Norman Stiles on co-creating When Things Were Rotten
05:37
Norman Stiles on writing for Fernwood 2-Night and America 2-Night
10:52
People

Mel Brooks

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Norman Stiles on leaving Sesame Street and co-creating When Things Were Rotten with Mel Brooks
05:37

Joan Ganz Cooney

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Norman Stiles on working with Joan Ganz Cooney on Sesame Street
01:30

Merv Griffin

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Norman Stiles on writing for Allen & Rossi and various other comedians and going to write for Merv Griffin
07:02

Jim Henson

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Norman Stiles on Jim Henson's involvement in Sesame Street  and creating the Muppet "The Count"
07:48

Will Lee

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Norman Stiles on writing the iconic Sesame Street episode "Farewell, Mr. Hooper"
09:24

Martin Mull

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Norman Stiles on writing for Fernwood 2-Night and America 2-Night
10:52

Joe Raposo

View Person Page
Norman Stiles on writing songs with Joe Raposo for Sesame Street
04:31

Fred Willard

View Interview Page
Norman Stiles on writing for Fernwood 2-Night and America 2-Night
10:52

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