Robert Mott

Sound Effects Specialist


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-hour interview, Robert Mott (1924-2016) talks about his early work in radio and television as a freelance sound technician. He discusses working in "live" television, providing sound effects. He speaks in great detail about character sounds and effects he created for the classic children's show Captain Kangaroo. Additionally, he recounts his friendship and collaboration with Dick Van Dyke, who he worked with as a writer as well as sound effects artist in Van Dyke's early career. Mott outlines doing sound effects for many shows including The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Web, The Ernie Kovacs Show, as well as working with Jack Benny late in Benny's career. He elaborates on the craft of creating sound effects and demonstrates various effects in a taped b-roll session. B-roll also consists of photos from Captain Kangaroo and a title card from The Garry Moore Show. Karen Herman conducted the interview on June 9, 2003 in in Arroyo Grande, CA.

"In my career, I was motivated by fear and pride. Fear of losing my job because jobs were very scarce. And pride because you wanted to be the best. At CBS we always felt we were the best sound effects people in the world."

Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on going to the movies as a child
09:03
On his service in World War II; on trying his hand at various aspects of radio and getting into sound effects for radio; on what attracted him to the sound effects field
20:11

Chapter 2

On favorite radio stories of his; on the power of radio in its early years; on the Hollywood Blacklist
10:35
On his earliest memories of television including the early talk show Mike and Buff with Mike Wallace; on various live television bloopers including on Studio One, Betty Furness' Westinghouse commercial, and The Web; on doing sound effects for Gang Busters
19:21

Chapter 3

On various sound effects bloopers including on Studio One, The Edge of Night, and Search For Tomorrow; on the craft of sound effects on television
14:08
On the early practice to adding sound effects to television news stories and why it was discontinued; on a sound effects blooper on The Jackie Gleason Show; on belonging to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union and AFRA and doing vocal sound effects like barking dogs and baby cries
15:11

Chapter 4

On how he would get sound effects jobs on shows; on doing sound effects for a Leonard Bernstein broadcast from Carnegie Hall
06:06
On doing sound effects for Captain Kangaroo with Bob Keeshan; on a Captain Kangaroo blooper; on how he would achieve certain sound effects
13:20
On keeping track of his sound effects library and on the tools of the trade; on using the MacKenzie cart machine on Captain Kangaroo
08:42

Chapter 5

On recording his own sound effects for shows like Days of Our Lives and various other shows; on the Kennedy assassination; on challenging sounds he had to duplicate
13:46
On working with Dick Van Dyke; on writing for various shows including The Andy Williams Show and balancing doing sound effects with writing; on doing sound effects for The Ed Sullivan Show
16:15

Chapter 6

On working on The Garry Moore Show; on working on Playhouse 90; on working on The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason
10:44
On the part reputation played in sound effects professionals getting work; on the difference between working in audio and working in sound effects and on audio and sound effects with other crew members; on working on The Jack Benny Program
09:24
On moving to Los Angeles and working on The Red Skelton Show; on working on To Tell the Truth and on working with a laugh track; on appearing on What's My Line?
10:37

Chapter 7

On appearing as a contestant on What's My Line? with host John Daly; on working on The Ernie Kovacs Show
12:11
On working on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In; on working on The Edge of Night; on working on The Frank Gifford Show
06:56
On then-current projects; on how the sound effects craft has changed since he started and the advent of Foley
09:07

Chapter 8

On sound effects pioneer John O'Donnell; on sound effects that couldn't be used on television; on advice to an aspiring sound effects professional
15:41
On b-roll- demonstrates various sound effects from his collection
13:51

Chapter 9

On b-roll- demonstrating various sound effects from his collection
10:41
On b-roll pictures from his career- Title card for the The Garry Moore Show; with his band; on the set of The Garry Moore Show; on the set of Captain Kangaroo; with Linda Darnell; the record console for Captain Kangaroo; tone arm needle; categories of sound effects records; sound effects record players; Red Skelton on the set of his show; his books
06:15
Shows

Andy Williams Show, The

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Robert Mott on writing for various shows including The Andy Williams Show and balancing doing sound effects with writing
03:18

Arthur Godfrey Show, The

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Robert Mott on doing sound effects for The Arthur Godfrey Show
01:52

Captain Kangaroo

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Robert Mott on doing sound effects for Captain Kangaroo with Bob Keeshan 
06:23
Robert Mott on a Captain Kangaroo blooper
02:22
Robert Mott on using the MacKenzie cart machine on Captain Kangaroo
08:18

Days of Our Lives

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Robert Mott on recording his own sound effects for shows like Days of Our Lives  and various other shows
06:17

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

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Robert Mott on doing sound effects for The Ed Sullivan Show 
03:17
Robert Mott on doing sound effects for The Ed Sullivan Show
03:13

Edge of Night, The

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Robert Mott on various sound effects bloopers including on Studio One, The Edge of Night, and Search For Tomorrow
10:41
Robert Mott on working on The Edge of Night
01:39

Ernie Kovacs Show, The

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Robert Mott on working on The Ernie Kovacs Show
05:24

Garry Moore Show, The

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Robert Mott on working on The Garry Moore Show
06:02

Honeymooners, The

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Robert Mott on working on The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason
03:36

Jack Benny Program, The

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Robert Mott on working on The Jack Benny Program
01:45

Jackie Gleason Show, The

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Robert Mott on a sound effects blooper on The Jackie Gleason Show
01:24

Mike and Buff

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Robert Mott on his earliest memories of television including the early talk show Mike and Buff with Mike Wallace
05:06

Playhouse 90

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Robert Mott on working on Playhouse 90
01:05

Red Skelton Show, The

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Robert Mott on moving to Los Angeles and working on The Red Skelton Show
03:07

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

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Robert Mott on working on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
01:35

Search For Tomorrow

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Robert Mott on various sound effects bloopers including on Studio One, The Edge of Night, and Search For Tomorrow
10:41

Studio One

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Robert Mott on various live television bloopers including on Studio One, Betty Furness' Westinghouse commercial, and The Web
12:46
Robert Mott on various sound effects bloopers including on Studio One, The Edge of Night, and Search For Tomorrow
10:41

To Tell the Truth

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Robert Mott on working on To Tell the Truth and on working with a laugh track
03:21

Web, The

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Robert Mott on various live television bloopers including on Studio One, Betty Furness' Westinghouse commercial, and The Web
12:46

What's My Line?

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Robert Mott on appearing on What's My Line?
02:29
Robert Mott on appearing as a contestant on What's My Line? with host John Daly
02:32
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Robert Mott on advice to an aspiring sound effects professional
04:35

Bloopers

View Topic
Robert Mott on various live television bloopers including on Studio One, Betty Furness' Westinghouse commercial, and The Web
12:46
Robert Mott on a Captain Kangaroo blooper
02:22

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Robert Mott on sound effects that couldn't be used on television 
08:42

Dwight D. Eisenhower

View Topic
Robert Mott on working on I Like Ike, a tribute to President Dwight D. Eisenhower
04:14

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Robert Mott on the Kennedy assassination
01:19

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Robert Mott on the Hollywood Blacklist
03:49

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Robert Mott on the Hollywood Blacklist
03:49

JFK Assassination and Funeral

View Topic
Robert Mott on the Kennedy assassination
01:19

Television Industry

View Topic
Robert Mott on the Hollywood Blacklist
03:49
Robert Mott on how the sound effects craft has changed since he started and the advent of Foley
05:57
Robert Mott on advice to an aspiring sound effects professional
04:35
Robert Mott on sound effects that couldn't be used on television 
08:42

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Robert Mott on working on I Like Ike, a tribute to President Dwight D. Eisenhower
04:14
Professions

Sound Editor

View Profession
Robert Mott on recording his own sound effects for shows like Days of Our Lives and various other shows
06:17

Sound Engineer

View Profession
Robert Mott on the craft of sound effects on television
03:27
Robert Mott on how he would achieve certain sound effects
04:35
Robert Mott on keeping track of his sound effects library and on the tools of the trade
02:17
Robert Mott on challenging sounds he had to duplicate
06:10
Robert Mott on the part reputation played in sound effects professionals getting work
01:35
Robert Mott on the difference between working in audio and working in sound effects and on audio and sound effects working with other crew members
06:03
Robert Mott on working on To Tell the Truth and on working with a laugh track
03:22
Robert Mott on how the sound effects craft has changed since he started and the advent of Foley
05:57
Robert Mott on advice to an aspiring sound effects professional
04:35

Sound Professionals

View Profession
Robert Mott on the craft of sound effects on television
03:27
Robert Mott on how he would achieve certain sound effects
04:35
Robert Mott on keeping track of his sound effects library and on the tools of the trade
02:17
Robert Mott on recording his own sound effects for shows like Days of Our Lives and various other shows
06:17
Robert Mott on challenging sounds he had to duplicate
06:10
Robert Mott on the part reputation played in sound effects professionals getting work
01:35
Robert Mott on the difference between working in audio and working in sound effects and on audio and sound effects working with other crew members
06:03
Robert Mott on working on To Tell the Truth and on working with a laugh track
03:22
Robert Mott on how the sound effects craft has changed since he started and the advent of Foley
05:57
Robert Mott on advice to an aspiring sound effects professional
04:35
Genres

Children's Programming

View Genre
Robert Mott on doing sound effects for Captain Kangaroo
08:45
Robert Mott on doing sound effects for Captain Kangaroo
08:18

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Robert Mott on various sound effects bloopers including on Studio One, The Edge of Night, and Search For Tomorrow
10:41
Robert Mott on working on Playhouse 90
01:06

Comedy Series

View Genre
Robert Mott on working on The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason
03:36
Robert Mott on working on The Jack Benny Program
01:46
Robert Mott on working on The Ernie Kovacs Show
05:24
Robert Mott on working on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
01:35

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Robert Mott on various sound effects bloopers including on Studio One, The Edge of Night, and Search For Tomorrow
10:41
Robert Mott on working on The Edge of Night
01:39

Game Shows

View Genre
Robert Mott on working on To Tell the Truth and on working with a laugh track
03:22
Robert Mott on appearing on What's My Line?
02:29
Robert Mott on appearing as a contestant on What's My Line?  with host John Daly
02:32

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Robert Mott on a sound effects blooper on The Jackie Gleason Show
01:24
Robert Mott on doing sound effects for The Arthur Godfrey Show
01:52
Robert Mott on doing sound effects for The Ed Sullivan Show 
03:17
Robert Mott on working on The Garry Moore Show
06:03
Robert Mott on moving to Los Angeles and working on The Red Skelton Show
03:08
People

Jack Benny

View Person Page
Robert Mott on working on The Jack Benny Program
01:46

Leonard Bernstein

View Person Page
Robert Mott on doing sound effects for a Leonard Bernstein broadcast from Carnegie Hall
03:13

John Daly

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Robert Mott on appearing as a contestant on What's My Line? with host John Daly
02:32

Dick Van Dyke

View Interview Page
Robert Mott on working with Dick Van Dyke
04:47

Dwight D. Eisenhower

View Person Page
Robert Mott on working on I Like Ike, a tribute to President Dwight D. Eisenhower
04:14

Jackie Gleason

View Person Page
Robert Mott on working on The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason
03:36

Bob Keeshan

View Interview Page
Robert Mott on doing sound effects for Captain Kangaroo  with Bob Keeshan 
06:23

Ernie Kovacs

View Person Page
Robert Mott on working on The Ernie Kovacs Show
07:57

Garry Moore

View Person Page
Robert Mott on working on The Garry Moore Show
06:03

Mike Wallace

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Robert Mott on his earliest memories of television including the early talk show Mike and Buff with Mike Wallace
05:06

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