Sheldon Leonard

Actor/Director/Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Sheldon Leonard (1907-97) shares his fondest memories about the pioneering programs he produced such as The Danny Thomas Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show and I Spy. He also speaks highly of the talented group of people he worked with, like Danny Thomas, Mary Tyler Moore, Bill Cosby, Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner and Andy Griffith. Not only is Leonard's interview significant to the Archive because of his death just six months after the interview but because of the warmth, candor and vivid storytelling apparent throughout the interview as well. Sam Denoff conducted the interview in Beverly Hills, CA on July 11, 1996.

"The producer has to present a series of playable scripts, a bunch of literary material, that's got to be ready to shoot week after week. And, it's got to have the integrity of character from one script to another. You have to respect the history of the show. It's a very complicated thing."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Producer Sheldon Leonard on his work producing and directing The Danny Thomas Show
Producer Sheldon Leonard on Andy Griffith's willingness to subdue his comedy talents being the secret of The Andy Griffith Show's  success
Sheldon Leonard on how The Dick Van Dyke Show came about
Producer Sheldon Leonard on the impact of casting of Bill Cosby in I Spy
Sheldon Leonard on his role as a Producer
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and his early career as an actor in film and radio; on his introduction to television
On partnering with Danny Thomas; on working on The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy); on the role of a producer

Chapter 2

On his role in producing multiple series; on the business of television production
On the genesis and production of The Andy Griffith Show
On how The Dick Van Dyke Show came about

Chapter 3

On the genesis of The Dick Van Dyke Show (continued); on network censorship issues; on the classic episode "That's My Boy?"
On the impact of casting of Bill Cosby in I Spy
On his favorite episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show; on TV comedy; on the short-lived The Don Rickles Show (1972)
On the genesis, production and series ending of I Spy
On Good Morning World, My World and Welcome to It, and Big Eddie

Chapter 4

On time periods and reviews
On the Hollywood Blacklist; how he got some writers reinstated
On dealing with network notes (on I Spy ); on some memorable moments on The Danny Thomas Show and Lassie; on his views of the television industry
On individuals he worked with in his career

Chapter 5

On some of the individuals he worked with in his career (continued)
On some photographs in his collection
Shows

Andy Griffith Show, The

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on Andy Griffith's willingness to subdue his comedy talents being the secret of The Andy Griffith Show's  success
Producer Sheldon Leonard on the genesis and production of The Andy Griffith Show

Big Eddie

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Sheldon Leonard on starring in Big Eddie

Danny Thomas Show, The aka Make Room for Daddy

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on his work producing and directing The Danny Thomas Show
Sheldon Leonard describes his favorite moment from The Danny Thomas Show  (aka Make Room for Daddy )

Dick Van Dyke Show, The

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Sheldon Leonard on how The Dick Van Dyke Show came about
Sheldon Leonard on how The Dick Van Dyke Show got on the air; why it was not successful at first; on network censorship issues; on the classic episode "That's My Boy?"

Don Rickles Show, The

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Executive Producer Sheldon Leonard on the failure of The Don Rickles Show (1972)

I Spy

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on the impact of casting of Bill Cosby in I Spy
Producer Sheldon Leonard on the genesis, production and series ending of I Spy
Producer Sheldon Leonard gives an example of network script notes on I Spy

Lassie

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Sheldon Leonard on directing a Lassie episode featuring a lion

My World ... and Welcome to it

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Sheldon Leonard on the short-lived My World and Welcome To It
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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The Dick Van Dyke Show producer Sheldon Leonard on the network rules regarding separate beds and Mary Tyler Moore's capri pants

Characters & Catchphrases

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on Andy Griffith's willingness to subdue his comedy talents being the secret of The Andy Griffith Show's  success

Comedy

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on the classic Dick Van Dyke Show episode "That's My Boy?" (airdate: September 25, 1963)

Hollywood Blacklist

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on the Hollywood Blacklist; how he got some writers reinstated

Minorities

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on the classic Dick Van Dyke Show episode "That's My Boy?" (airdate: September 25, 1963)
Producer Sheldon Leonard on the impact of casting of Bill Cosby in I Spy

Studio and Network Management

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Producer Sheldon Leonard gives an example of network script notes on I Spy

We Laughed

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on the classic Dick Van Dyke Show episode "That's My Boy?" (airdate: September 25, 1963)
Professions

Producers

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Sheldon Leonard on his role as a Producer
Producer Sheldon Leonard gives an example of network script notes on I Spy
Genres

Comedy Series

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on Andy Griffith's willingness to subdue his comedy talents being the secret of The Andy Griffith Show's  success
People

Jack Benny

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Sheldon Leonard on pitching a sitcom to a network with Jack Benny and Benny's frustration in dealing with the executives 

Bill Cosby

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on the genesis, production and series ending of I Spy

Robert Culp

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on the genesis, production and series ending of I Spy

Dick Van Dyke

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Sheldon Leonard on how The Dick Van Dyke Show came about

Andy Griffith

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on Andy Griffith's willingness to subdue his comedy talents being the secret of The Andy Griffith Show's  success
Producer Sheldon Leonard on the genesis and production of The Andy Griffith Show

Ron Howard

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on the genesis and production of The Andy Griffith Show

Sheree North

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Sheldon Leonard on starring in Big Eddie

Carl Reiner

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Sheldon Leonard on how The Dick Van Dyke Show came about

Aaron Ruben

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on the genesis and production of The Andy Griffith Show

Fouad Said

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on the genesis, production and series ending of I Spy

Danny Thomas

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Producer Sheldon Leonard on his work producing and directing The Danny Thomas Show
Producer Sheldon Leonard on the genesis and production of The Andy Griffith Show

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