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."

Interviewee(s)
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on going to the movies as a child
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

Chapter 2

On favorite radio stories of his; on the power of radio in its early years; on the Hollywood Blacklist
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

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
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

Chapter 4

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

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
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

Chapter 6

On working on The Garry Moore Show; on working on Playhouse 90; on working on The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason
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
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?

Chapter 7

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

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
On b-roll- demonstrates various sound effects from his collection

Chapter 9

On b-roll- demonstrating various sound effects from his collection
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
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

Arthur Godfrey Show, The

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Robert Mott on doing sound effects for The Arthur Godfrey Show

Captain Kangaroo

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Robert Mott on doing sound effects for Captain Kangaroo with Bob Keeshan 
Robert Mott on a Captain Kangaroo blooper
Robert Mott on using the MacKenzie cart machine on Captain Kangaroo

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

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

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Robert Mott on doing sound effects for The Ed Sullivan Show 
Robert Mott on doing sound effects for The Ed Sullivan Show

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
Robert Mott on working on The Edge of Night

Ernie Kovacs Show, The

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Robert Mott on working on The Ernie Kovacs Show

Garry Moore Show, The

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Robert Mott on working on The Garry Moore Show

Honeymooners, The

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Robert Mott on working on The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason

Jack Benny Program, The

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Robert Mott on working on The Jack Benny Program

Jackie Gleason Show, The

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Robert Mott on a sound effects blooper on The Jackie Gleason Show

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

Playhouse 90

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Robert Mott on working on Playhouse 90

Red Skelton Show, The

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

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

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

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

Studio One

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

To Tell the Truth

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

Web, The

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

What's My Line?

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

Advice

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Robert Mott on advice to an aspiring sound effects professional

Bloopers

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Robert Mott on various live television bloopers including on Studio One, Betty Furness' Westinghouse commercial, and The Web
Robert Mott on a Captain Kangaroo blooper

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Robert Mott on sound effects that couldn't be used on television 

Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Robert Mott on working on I Like Ike, a tribute to President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Historic Events and Social Change

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Robert Mott on the Kennedy assassination

Hollywood Blacklist

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Robert Mott on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Robert Mott on the Hollywood Blacklist

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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Robert Mott on the Kennedy assassination

Television Industry

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Robert Mott on the Hollywood Blacklist
Robert Mott on how the sound effects craft has changed since he started and the advent of Foley
Robert Mott on advice to an aspiring sound effects professional
Robert Mott on sound effects that couldn't be used on television 

Television and the Presidency

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Robert Mott on working on I Like Ike, a tribute to President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Professions

Sound Editor

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

Sound Engineer

View Profession
Robert Mott on the craft of sound effects on television
Robert Mott on how he would achieve certain sound effects
Robert Mott on keeping track of his sound effects library and on the tools of the trade
Robert Mott on challenging sounds he had to duplicate
Robert Mott on the part reputation played in sound effects professionals getting work
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
Robert Mott on working on To Tell the Truth and on working with a laugh track
Robert Mott on how the sound effects craft has changed since he started and the advent of Foley
Robert Mott on advice to an aspiring sound effects professional

Sound Professionals

View Profession
Robert Mott on the craft of sound effects on television
Robert Mott on how he would achieve certain sound effects
Robert Mott on keeping track of his sound effects library and on the tools of the trade
Robert Mott on recording his own sound effects for shows like Days of Our Lives and various other shows
Robert Mott on challenging sounds he had to duplicate
Robert Mott on the part reputation played in sound effects professionals getting work
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
Robert Mott on working on To Tell the Truth and on working with a laugh track
Robert Mott on how the sound effects craft has changed since he started and the advent of Foley
Robert Mott on advice to an aspiring sound effects professional
Genres

Children's Programming

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Robert Mott on doing sound effects for Captain Kangaroo
Robert Mott on doing sound effects for Captain Kangaroo

Classic Anthology Series

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Robert Mott on various sound effects bloopers including on Studio One, The Edge of Night, and Search For Tomorrow
Robert Mott on working on Playhouse 90

Comedy Series

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Robert Mott on working on The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason
Robert Mott on working on The Jack Benny Program
Robert Mott on working on The Ernie Kovacs Show
Robert Mott on working on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

Daytime/Primetime Serials

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

Game Shows

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

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Robert Mott on a sound effects blooper on The Jackie Gleason Show
Robert Mott on doing sound effects for The Arthur Godfrey Show
Robert Mott on doing sound effects for The Ed Sullivan Show 
Robert Mott on working on The Garry Moore Show
Robert Mott on moving to Los Angeles and working on The Red Skelton Show
People

Jack Benny

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Robert Mott on working on The Jack Benny Program

Leonard Bernstein

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Robert Mott on doing sound effects for a Leonard Bernstein broadcast from Carnegie Hall

John Daly

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

Dick Van Dyke

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Robert Mott on working with Dick Van Dyke

Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Robert Mott on working on I Like Ike, a tribute to President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Jackie Gleason

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Robert Mott on working on The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason

Bob Keeshan

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Robert Mott on doing sound effects for Captain Kangaroo  with Bob Keeshan 

Ernie Kovacs

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Robert Mott on working on The Ernie Kovacs Show

Garry Moore

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Robert Mott on working on The Garry Moore Show

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

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