Seaman Jacobs

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his over three-hour Archive interview, Seaman Jacobs (1912-2008) talks about getting his start as a writer by writing copy for the Brazilian Pavilion at the 1939 World's Fair. He recalls how, after getting discharged from the Army, he wrote for radio personalities including Jack Paar, Bing Crosby, Ed Wynn and Henry Morgan. He talks about making his television writing debut in 1949 on the The Ed Wynn Show. Jacobs recounts writing for Earn Your Vacation, Bachelor Father, The Real McCoys, the pilots for The Addams Family, F-Troop, The Lucy Show, The Jeffersons, and numerous George Burns and Bob Hope specials. He concludes by discussing career highlights and regrets, and how he'd like to be remembered. Charles Davis conducted the interview on March 30, 1999 in Beverly Hills, CA.

“The most rewarding thing for me was sitting in the office with George Burns as a person, not a boss or anything. He was a collaborator, and he made us feel that way. ‘Hiya boys- I don’t know about you guys, I’m going to the club.’ I loved him.”

Highlights
Seaman Jacobs on his Here's Lucy writing partner Fred Fox, and on writing physical comedy for Lucille Ball
03:33
Seaman Jacobs on the format of The Ed Wynn Show, and on various bits that Ed Wynn did on his show
05:30
Seaman Jacobs on becoming involved with writing Bob Hope Specials
03:21
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Johnny Carson on Earn Your Vacation and Who Do You Trust?
04:00
Seaman Jacobs on being a freelance writer, and on writing with a partner
02:29
Seaman Jacobs on what makes a successful television comedy
01:29
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on attending the 1939 World's Fair, and on the first time he saw television
On writing for Fred Allen's radio show and for Ed Wynn's radio show, and later for The Ed Wynn Show on television; on the environment for the writers on The Ed Wynn Show with Hal Cantor
On writing for Johnny Carson on Earn Your Vacation and Who Do You Trust?; on the challenges of writing for 1950s sitcoms

Chapter 2

On how he met Ed Wynn; on the format of The Ed Wynn Show, and on various bits that Wynn did on his show; on being a freelance writer, and on writing with a partner
On the Hollywood Blacklist; on writing for Bachelor Father, starring John Forsythe; on writing for The Real McCoys

Chapter 3

On working with producers Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard on The Real McCoys; on writing for Oh! Those Bells; on writing for feature films starring Elvis Presley, and on writing other features
On writing the pilot for The Addams Family; on writing for No Time for Sergeants and Family Affair; on writing for F Troop

Chapter 4

On creating the characters for F Troop; on writing for The Mothers-In-Law; on writing for Here's Lucy and The Lucy Show
On favorite episodes of Here's Lucy; on writing for The Jeffersons; on writing for Maude

Chapter 5

On writing for George Burns' specials; on becoming involved with writing Bob Hope Specials; on the longevity of Bob Hope
On shooting several Bob Hope Specials on location; on the last Bob Hope special he wrote for, and on writing for high profile performers; on writing for George Burns and Pinky Lee
On writing for The Tim Conway Show; on then-current projects; on how audiences have changed since he started

Chapter 6

On mentors in his career; on the then-future of television, and on his writing process with his partner; on career highlights and regrets
On how television writers are treated, and on the importance of preserving television history; on how he'd like to be remembered
On various people with whom he's worked in his career

Chapter 7

On various people with whom he's worked in his career; on his writing partner, Fred Fox, and on his wife, Vicki Benet Jacobs
On b-roll pictures from his career- on the set of The Ed Wynn Show; with Ed Wynn; with Bob Hope and his writing staff; with John Forsythe; with Lucille Ball; with George Burns; with Bing Crosby; with Bob Hope and George Burns
Shows

Addams Family, The

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing the pilot for The Addams Family
04:14
Seaman Jacobs on The Addams Family creator Charles Addams, and on inventing various aspects of the show
04:20

Bachelor Father

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Bachelor Father, starring John Forsythe
04:39
Seaman Jacobs on getting ideas for Bachelor Father scripts, and on various plots on the show
03:50

Bob Hope Specials

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on becoming involved with writing Bob Hope Specials
03:21
Seaman Jacobs on the longevity of Bob Hope
01:03
Seaman Jacobs on shooting several Bob Hope Specials on location
01:17
Seaman Jacobs on the last Bob Hope special he wrote for, and on writing for high profile performers
03:07

Earn Your Vacation

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Johnny Carson on Earn Your Vacation and Who Do You Trust?
04:00

Ed Wynn Show, The

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Fred Allen's radio show and for Ed Wynn's radio show, and later for The Ed Wynn Show on television
05:51
Seaman Jacobs on the environment for the writers on The Ed Wynn Show with Hal Cantor
03:56
Seaman Jacobs on the format of The Ed Wynn Show, and on various bits that Ed Wynn did on his show
05:30

F Troop

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for F Troop
02:51
Seaman Jacobs on creating the characters for F Troop, and on the cast, including Larry Storch, Forrest Tucker, and Ken Berry
09:13

Family Affair

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Family Affair, and on the craft of writing for sitcoms
04:30

George Burns One-Man Show, The

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for George Burns' specials
06:09

Here's Lucy

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on Lucille Ball's role in the writing and production of The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy, and on shooting the shows
01:59
Seaman Jacobs on his Here's Lucy writing partner Fred Fox, and on writing physical comedy for Lucille Ball
03:33
Seaman Jacobs on favorite episodes of Here's Lucy
03:28

Jeffersons, The

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Jeffersons
03:54

Lucy Show, The

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy, and on working with writers Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis
01:50
Seaman Jacobs on Lucille Ball's role in the writing and production of The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy, and on shooting the shows
01:58

Maude

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Maude
04:04

Mothers-In-Law, The

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Mothers-In-Law
01:45

No Time for Sergeants

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for No Time for Sergeants, and on Nat Hiken
02:41

Oh! Those Bells

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Oh! Those Bells
01:36

Real McCoys, The

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Real McCoys
05:22
Seaman Jacobs on working with producers Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard on The Real McCoys
03:21

Tim Conway Show, The

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Tim Conway Show
01:30

Who Do You Trust?

View Show Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Johnny Carson on Earn Your Vacation and Who Do You Trust?
00:53
Topics

1939-40 World's Fair

View Topic
Seaman Jacobs on attending the 1939 World's Fair, and on the first time he saw television
05:43

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Seaman Jacobs on mentors in his career
02:45

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Seaman Jacobs on attending the 1939 World's Fair, and on the first time he saw television
05:43

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Seaman Jacobs on the Hollywood Blacklist
04:02

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Seaman Jacobs on the Hollywood Blacklist
04:02

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Seaman Jacobs on mentors in his career
02:45

Television Industry

View Topic
Seaman Jacobs on the Hollywood Blacklist
04:02
Seaman Jacobs on how audiences have changed since he started
02:46
Seaman Jacobs on the then-future of television
00:57
Seaman Jacobs on how television writers are treated, and on the importance of preserving television history
02:36
Professions

Writers

View Profession
Seaman Jacobs on being a freelance writer, and on writing with a partner
02:29
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Family Affair, and on the craft of writing for sitcoms
04:28
Seaman Jacobs on what makes a successful television comedy
01:29
Seaman Jacobs on his writing process with his partner
02:14
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Bachelor Father
08:29
Seaman Jacobs on working with producers Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard on The Real McCoys
03:21
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Oh! Those Bells
01:36
Seaman Jacobs on writing the pilot for The Addams Family
08:34
Seaman Jacobs on writing for No Time for Sergeants, and on Nat Hiken
02:41
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Family Affair, and on the craft of writing for sitcoms
04:30
Seaman Jacobs on writing for F Troop
02:51
Seaman Jacobs on creating the characters for F Troop
09:13
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy
10:51
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Jeffersons
03:54
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Maude
02:49

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Seaman Jacobs on the format of The Ed Wynn Show, and on various bits that Ed Wynn did on his show
05:30
Seaman Jacobs on writing for George Burns' specials
06:09
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Bob Hope Specials
11:03
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Tim Conway Show
01:30

Western Series

View Genre
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Real McCoys
05:22
People

Charles Addams

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on The Addams Family creator Charles Addams, and on inventing various aspects of the show
04:20

Fred Allen

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Fred Allen's radio show and for Ed Wynn's radio show, and later for The Ed Wynn Show on television
05:51

Eve Arden

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on Eve Arden
00:17

Lucille Ball

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on Lucille Ball's role in the writing and production of The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy, and on shooting the shows
01:58
Seaman Jacobs on his Here's Lucy writing partner Fred Fox, and on writing physical comedy for Lucille Ball
03:33
Seaman Jacobs on Lucille Ball
00:21

Ken Berry

View Interview Page
Seaman Jacobs on created the characters for F Troop, and on the cast, including Larry Storch, Forrest Tucker, and Ken Berry
09:13

Joey Bishop

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on Joey Bishop
00:28

George Burns

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for George Burns' specials
06:09
Seaman Jacobs on writing for George Burns
01:53
Seaman Jacobs on George Burns
00:40

Bob Carroll, Jr.

View Interview Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy, and on working with writers Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis
01:50
Seaman Jacobs on Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis
00:50

Johnny Carson

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Johnny Carson on Earn Your Vacation
04:00
Seaman Jacobs on Johnny Carson
00:47

Bing Crosby

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on Bing Crosby
01:13

Madelyn Pugh Davis

View Interview Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy, and on working with writers Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis
01:50
Seaman Jacobs on Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis
03:12

Don Fedderson

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on Don Fedderson and Eve Arden
00:52

John Forsythe

View Interview Page
Seaman Jacobs on John Forsythe
01:41

Gale Gordon

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on Gale Gordon
00:17

Everett Greenbaum

View Interview Page
Seaman Jacobs on Everett Greenbaum
01:08

Nat Hiken

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for No Time for Sergeants, and on Nat Hiken
02:41

Bob Hope

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on the talent of Bob Hope
02:12
Seaman Jacobs on Bob Hope
00:19

Milt Josefsberg

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on Milt Josefsberg and Irving Fine
01:37

Pinky Lee

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Pinky Lee
01:07

Sheldon Leonard

View Interview Page
Seaman Jacobs on working with producers Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard on The Real McCoys
03:19

Henry Morgan

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on Henry Morgan
01:42

Arthur Murray

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on Arthur Murray
00:56

Jack Paar

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on Jack Paar
01:45

Elvis Presley

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for feature films starring Elvis Presley, and on writing other features
04:59

Sherwood Schwartz

View Interview Page
Seaman Jacobs on Sherwood Schwartz
01:33

Mel Shavelson

View Interview Page
Seaman Jacobs on Mel Shavelson
00:21

Phil Silvers

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on Phil Silvers
00:21

Red Skelton

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on Red Skelton
01:05

Larry Storch

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on created the characters for F Troop, and on the cast, including Larry Storch, Forrest Tucker, and Ken Berry
09:13

Danny Thomas

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on working with producers Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard on The Real McCoys
03:19
Seaman Jacobs on Danny Thomas
00:33

Ed Wynn

View Person Page
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Fred Allen's radio show and for Ed Wynn's radio show, and later for The Ed Wynn Show on television
05:51
Seaman Jacobs on how he met Ed Wynn
02:59

All Interviews

Q
S