Seaman Jacobs

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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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.”

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Seaman Jacobs on his Here's Lucy writing partner Fred Fox, and on writing physical comedy for Lucille Ball
Seaman Jacobs on the format of The Ed Wynn Show, and on various bits that Ed Wynn did on his show
Seaman Jacobs on becoming involved with writing Bob Hope Specials
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Johnny Carson on Earn Your Vacation and Who Do You Trust?
Seaman Jacobs on being a freelance writer, and on writing with a partner
Seaman Jacobs on what makes a successful television comedy
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

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Seaman Jacobs on writing the pilot for The Addams Family
Seaman Jacobs on The Addams Family creator Charles Addams, and on inventing various aspects of the show

Bachelor Father

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for Bachelor Father, starring John Forsythe
Seaman Jacobs on getting ideas for Bachelor Father scripts, and on various plots on the show

Bob Hope Specials

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Seaman Jacobs on becoming involved with writing Bob Hope Specials
Seaman Jacobs on the longevity of Bob Hope
Seaman Jacobs on shooting several Bob Hope Specials on location
Seaman Jacobs on the last Bob Hope special he wrote for, and on writing for high profile performers

Earn Your Vacation

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for Johnny Carson on Earn Your Vacation and Who Do You Trust?

Ed Wynn Show, The

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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
Seaman Jacobs on the environment for the writers on The Ed Wynn Show with Hal Cantor
Seaman Jacobs on the format of The Ed Wynn Show, and on various bits that Ed Wynn did on his show

F Troop

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for F Troop
Seaman Jacobs on creating the characters for F Troop, and on the cast, including Larry Storch, Forrest Tucker, and Ken Berry

Family Affair

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for Family Affair, and on the craft of writing for sitcoms

George Burns One-Man Show, The

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for George Burns' specials

Here's Lucy

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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
Seaman Jacobs on his Here's Lucy writing partner Fred Fox, and on writing physical comedy for Lucille Ball
Seaman Jacobs on favorite episodes of Here's Lucy

Jeffersons, The

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Jeffersons

Lucy Show, The

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy, and on working with writers Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis
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

Maude

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for Maude

Mothers-In-Law, The

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Mothers-In-Law

Oh! Those Bells

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for Oh! Those Bells

Real McCoys, The

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Real McCoys
Seaman Jacobs on working with producers Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard on The Real McCoys

Tim Conway Show, The

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Tim Conway Show

United States Steel Hour, The: "No Time for Sergeants"

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for No Time for Sergeants, and on Nat Hiken

Who Do You Trust?

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for Johnny Carson on Earn Your Vacation and Who Do You Trust?
Topics

1939-40 World's Fair

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Seaman Jacobs on attending the 1939 World's Fair, and on the first time he saw television

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Seaman Jacobs on mentors in his career

Historic Events and Social Change

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Seaman Jacobs on attending the 1939 World's Fair, and on the first time he saw television

Hollywood Blacklist

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Seaman Jacobs on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Seaman Jacobs on the Hollywood Blacklist

Pivotal Career Moments

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Seaman Jacobs on mentors in his career

Television Industry

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Seaman Jacobs on the Hollywood Blacklist
Seaman Jacobs on how audiences have changed since he started
Seaman Jacobs on the then-future of television
Seaman Jacobs on how television writers are treated, and on the importance of preserving television history
Professions

Writers

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

Comedy Series

View Genre
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Bachelor Father
Seaman Jacobs on working with producers Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard on The Real McCoys
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Oh! Those Bells
Seaman Jacobs on writing the pilot for The Addams Family
Seaman Jacobs on writing for No Time for Sergeants, and on Nat Hiken
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Family Affair, and on the craft of writing for sitcoms
Seaman Jacobs on writing for F Troop
Seaman Jacobs on creating the characters for F Troop
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Jeffersons
Seaman Jacobs on writing for Maude

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
Seaman Jacobs on writing for George Burns' specials
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Bob Hope Specials
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Tim Conway Show

Western Series

View Genre
Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Real McCoys
People

Charles Addams

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Seaman Jacobs on The Addams Family creator Charles Addams, and on inventing various aspects of the show

Fred Allen

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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

Eve Arden

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Seaman Jacobs on Eve Arden

Lucille Ball

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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
Seaman Jacobs on his Here's Lucy writing partner Fred Fox, and on writing physical comedy for Lucille Ball
Seaman Jacobs on Lucille Ball

Ken Berry

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Seaman Jacobs on created the characters for F Troop, and on the cast, including Larry Storch, Forrest Tucker, and Ken Berry

Joey Bishop

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Seaman Jacobs on Joey Bishop

George Burns

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for George Burns' specials
Seaman Jacobs on writing for George Burns
Seaman Jacobs on George Burns

Bob Carroll, Jr.

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy, and on working with writers Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis
Seaman Jacobs on Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis

Johnny Carson

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for Johnny Carson on Earn Your Vacation
Seaman Jacobs on Johnny Carson

Bing Crosby

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Seaman Jacobs on Bing Crosby

Madelyn Pugh Davis

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy, and on working with writers Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis
Seaman Jacobs on Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis

Don Fedderson

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Seaman Jacobs on Don Fedderson and Eve Arden

John Forsythe

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Seaman Jacobs on John Forsythe

Gale Gordon

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Seaman Jacobs on Gale Gordon

Everett Greenbaum

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Seaman Jacobs on Everett Greenbaum

Nat Hiken

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for No Time for Sergeants, and on Nat Hiken

Bob Hope

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Seaman Jacobs on the talent of Bob Hope
Seaman Jacobs on Bob Hope

Milt Josefsberg

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Seaman Jacobs on Milt Josefsberg and Irving Fine

Pinky Lee

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for Pinky Lee

Sheldon Leonard

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Seaman Jacobs on working with producers Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard on The Real McCoys

Henry Morgan

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Seaman Jacobs on Henry Morgan

Arthur Murray

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Seaman Jacobs on Arthur Murray

Jack Paar

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Seaman Jacobs on Jack Paar

Elvis Presley

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for feature films starring Elvis Presley, and on writing other features

Sherwood Schwartz

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Seaman Jacobs on Sherwood Schwartz

Mel Shavelson

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Seaman Jacobs on Mel Shavelson

Phil Silvers

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Seaman Jacobs on Phil Silvers

Red Skelton

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Seaman Jacobs on Red Skelton

Larry Storch

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Seaman Jacobs on created the characters for F Troop, and on the cast, including Larry Storch, Forrest Tucker, and Ken Berry

Danny Thomas

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Seaman Jacobs on working with producers Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard on The Real McCoys
Seaman Jacobs on Danny Thomas

Ed Wynn

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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
Seaman Jacobs on how he met Ed Wynn

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