Sherwood Schwartz

Show Creator/Producer/Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his six-hour Archive interview, Show creator/writer/producer Sherwood Schwartz (1916-2011) whose creations include Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch, speaks in depth about these shows and the many others he worked on in his long career. Mr. Schwartz also candidly describes writing for comedic legends Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Red Skelton. He recounts working on shows including I Married Joan, It's About Time and My Favorite Martian. Dan Pasternack conducted the interview on September 17, 1997 in Beverly Hills, CA.

"'Mom said don't play ball in the house.' These things are just said once, but they reverberated through generations."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Sherwood Schwartz on how much Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch influenced pop culture
Sherwood Schwartz on the genesis of The Brady Bunch
Sherwood Schwartz on seeing evidence of the power of television when a Red Skelton Show comic sketch was taken seriously by certain viewers
Sherwood Schwartz on the importance of sticking with a premise
Sherwood Schwartz on seeing evidence of the power of television when viewers sent telegrams calling for the rescue of the Gilligan's Island castaways
Sherwood Schwartz on the use of the laugh track
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years growing up in New Jersey; his dream to be a doctor; and his decision to move to California 
On meeting Bob Hope through his brother, and starting to write jokes for Hope

Chapter 2

On writing for Bob Hope's radio show
On serving in the U.S. Army and writing for Armed Forces Radio during World War II
On working as a writer on radio's Ozzie and Harriet and Beulah
On writing comedy for radio and first seeing television
On his first television writing job on I Married Joan

Chapter 3

On laugh tracks; leaving I Married Joan for other projects
On working on The Red Skelton Show

Chapter 4

On leaving The Red Skelton Show; and the Emmy he won for his work on the show
On his dealings with CBS and his work on My Favorite Martian
On his approach to storytelling
On the genesis of Gilligan's Island and how he sold the show to CBS (part 1)

Chapter 5

On selling the concept of Gilligan's Island to CBS (part 2) and the financing behind the show
On the casting of the pilot of Gilligan's Island

Chapter 6

On casting Tina Louise as Ginger on Gilligan's Island
On bringing Gilligan's Island to air
Sherwood Schwartz on the production details of Gilligan's Island (he also displays the last piece of the lagoon)

Chapter 7

On producing Gilligan's Island and its eventual cancellation
On producing It's About Time
On network programming strategies at CBS

Chapter 8

On the genesis of The Brady Bunch
On the casting of The Brady Bunch and his difficulties with Robert Reed

Chapter 9

On casting Ann B. Davis and Florence Henderson, and his continuing difficulties with Robert Reed on The Brady Bunch

Chapter 10

Sherwood Schwartz on the last episode of The Brady Bunch and the reunion specials and movies that followed it
Sherwood Schwartz on loading... and Gilligan's Island reunions and feature films

Chapter 11

On difficulties getting a Gilligan's Island feature made
On learning that Red Skelton had passed away the day of the interview
On the disappearance of "Tiger" on The Brady Bunch  and the legacy of his shows
On his current view of television
On how he'd like to be remembered and his thoughts on some of his colleagues

Chapter 12

On the impact of his shows and recollections of some of the individuals he has worked with
Shows

Adventures Of Ozzie and Harriet, The

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Sherwood Schwartz on working for Ozzie Nelson as a writer for the Ozzie and Harriet radio show

Beulah

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Sherwood Schwartz on working as a writer on the radio show, Beulah

Brady Bunch Hour, The

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Sherwood Schwartz on the Brady Brunch feature film

Brady Bunch, The

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Sherwood Schwartz on the genesis of The Brady Bunch
Sherwood Schwartz on Ann B. Davis, Florence Henderson and Robert Reed
Sherwood Schwartz on the last episode of The Brady Bunch and the reunion specials and movies that followed it
Sherwood Schwartz on the fate of "Tiger" on The Brady Bunch

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Sherwood Schwartz on winning an Emmy for writing on The Red Skelton Show

Gilligan's Island

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Sherwood Schwartz on seeing evidence of the power of television when viewers sent telegrams calling for the rescue of the Gilligan's Island castaways
Sherwood Schwartz on the concept of Gilligan's Island
Sherwood Schwartz on trying to sell the Gilligan's Island concept to CBS
Sherwood Schwartz on the difficulty of selling the concept of Gilligan's Island to CBS executives
Sherwood Schwartz on the entities that have owned stakes in his series Gilligan's Island
Sherwood Schwartz on casting Gilligan's Island  
Sherwood Schwartz on casting Tina Louise as Ginger on Gilligan's Island
Sherwood Schwartz on the Gilligan's Island theme song
Sherwood Schwartz on the shooting of the pilot and the series premiere Gilligan's Island 
Sherwood Schwartz on the production details of Gilligan's Island (he also displays the last piece of the lagoon)
Sherwood Schwartz on the sets of Gilligan's Island
Sherwood Schwartz on the directors of Gilligan's Island
Sherwood Schwartz on the cancellation of Gilligan's Island
Sherwood Schwartz on the Gilligan's Island reunion specials
Sherwood Schwartz on the yet-unproduced Gilligan's Island feature film
Sherwood Schwartz on Tina Louise's refusal to participate in subsequent Gilligan's Island shows and the impact of the series on the public

I Married Joan

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Sherwood Schwartz on his first TV writing job on I Married Joan
Sherwood Schwartz on the cancellation of I Married Joan

It's About Time

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Sherwood Schwartz on producing It's About Time

My Favorite Martian

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Sherwood Schwartz on trying to fix script issues on the first season of My Favorite Martian

Red Skelton Show, The

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Sherwood Schwartz on agreeing to work on The Red Skelton Show
Sherwood Schwartz on seeing evidence of the power of television when a Red Skelton Show comic sketch was taken seriously by certain viewers
Sherwood Schwartz on Red Skelton's pantomiming abilities
Sherwood Schwartz on his difficulties working with Red Skelton
Sherwood Schwartz on leaving The Red Skelton Show
Sherwood Schwartz on winning an Emmy for writing on The Red Skelton Show

Very Brady Christmas, A

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Sherwood Schwartz on Robert Reed returning to the Brady cast on A Very Brady Christmas
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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Sherwood Schwartz on how he chose the name "Gilligan" for Gilligan's Island

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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Sherwood Schwartz on hearing of JFK's assassination while filming the Gilligan's Island pilot

LGBTQ

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Sherwood Schwartz on knowing early on that Brady Bunch actor Robert Reed was gay

Studio and Network Management

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Sherwood Schwartz on the classic network script note, "no martian would ever say a thing like this"
Sherwood Schwartz on FCC Chair Newton Minow's "vast wasteland" speech and his naming of the Gilligan's Island boat the S.S. Minnow
Sherwood Schwartz on network programming strategies at CBS

TV Theme Songs

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Sherwood Schwartz on the Gilligan's Island theme song
Sherwood Schwartz on The Brady Bunch theme song

World War II

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Sherwood Schwartz on  serving in the U.S. Army and writing for Armed Forces Radio during World War II
Professions

Writers

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Sherwood Schwartz on the writer's, director's and producer's role in a production
Sherwood Schwartz on his approach to storytelling
Genres

Comedy Series

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Sherwood Schwartz on using comedy in his series Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch
Sherwood Schwartz on seeing evidence of the power of television when a Red Skelton Show comic sketch was taken seriously by certain viewers
Sherwood Schwartz on seeing evidence of the power of television when viewers sent telegrams calling for the rescue of the Gilligan's Island castaways
Sherwood Schwartz on the success of Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

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Sherwood Schwartz on the classic network script note, "no martian would ever say a thing like this"
People

Rod Amateau

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Sherwood Schwartz on the directors of Gilligan's Island

James T. Aubrey

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Sherwood Schwartz on trying to sell the Gilligan's Island concept to CBS
Sherwood Schwartz on the difficulty of selling the concept of Gilligan's Island to CBS executives
On network programming strategies at CBS
Sherwood Schwartz on Jim Aubrey

Jim Backus

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Sherwood Schwartz on casting Jim Backus on Gilligan's Island
Sherwood Schwartz on convincing Jim Backus to be on Gilligan's Island

Red Barber

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Sherwood Schwartz on his difficulties working with Red Skelton

Imogene Coca

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Sherwood Schwartz on Imogene Coca

Scatman Crothers

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Sherwood Schwartz on working as a writer on the radio show, Beulah

Dorothy Dandridge

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Sherwood Schwartz on working as a writer on the radio show, Beulah

Ann B. Davis

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Sherwood Schwartz on casting Florence Henderson and Ann B. Davis on The Brady Bunch

Joan Davis

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Sherwood Schwartz on his first TV writing job on I Married Joan
Sherwood Schwartz on the cancellation of I Married Joan

Bob Denver

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Sherwood Schwartz on casting the role of the Skipper on Gilligan's Island

Barry Diller

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Sherwood Schwartz on the genesis of The Brady Bunch

Richard Donner

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Sherwood Schwartz on the directors of Gilligan's Island

Jerry Van Dyke

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Sherwood Schwartz on offering Jerry Van Dyke the title role in Gilligan's Island

Michael Eisner

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Sherwood Schwartz on the genesis of The Brady Bunch

Alan Hale, Jr.

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Sherwood Schwartz on casting the role of the Skipper on Gilligan's Island

Florence Henderson

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Sherwood Schwartz on casting Florence Henderson on The Brady Bunch
Sherwood Schwartz on casting Florence Henderson and Ann B. Davis on The Brady Bunch

Bob Hope

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Sherwood Schwartz on being offered a contract with Bob Hope
Sherwood Schwartz on Bob Hope
Sherwood Schwartz on writing for Bob Hope's radio show

Hal Kanter

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Sherwood Schwartz on Hal Kanter

Paul L. Klein

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On network programming strategies at CBS

Perry Leff

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Sherwood Schwartz on trying to sell the Gilligan's Island concept to CBS
Sherwood Schwartz on the difficulty of selling the concept of Gilligan's Island to CBS executives

Tina Louise

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Sherwood Schwartz on casting Tina Louise as Ginger on Gilligan's Island
Sherwood Schwartz on Tina Louise's refusal to participate in subsequent Gilligan's Island shows and the impact of the series on the public

Hattie McDaniel

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Sherwood Schwartz on working as a writer on the radio show, Beulah

Newton N. Minow

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Sherwood Schwartz on FCC Chair Newton Minow's "vast wasteland" speech and his naming of the Gilligan's Island boat the S.S. Minnow

Ozzie Nelson

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Sherwood Schwartz on working for Ozzie Nelson as a writer for the Ozzie and Harriet radio show

William S. Paley

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Sherwood Schwartz on the difficulty of selling the concept of Gilligan's Island to CBS executives
Sherwood Schwartz on the cancellation of Gilligan's Island

Robert Reed

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Sherwood Schwartz on casting and working with Robert Reed on The Brady Bunch
Sherwood Schwartz on working with Robert Reed on The Brady Bunch
Sherwood Schwartz on Robert Reed returning to the Brady cast on A Very Brady Christmas

John Rich

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Sherwood Schwartz on the directors of Gilligan's Island

Lloyd J. Schwartz

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Sherwood Schwartz on the Brady Brunch feature film

Al Schwartz

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Sherwood Schwartz on being offered a contract with Bob Hope
Sherwood Schwartz on his brother's firing from The Red Skelton Show

Mel Shavelson

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Sherwood Schwartz on the Gilligan's Island theme song

Phil Silvers

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Sherwood Schwartz on the entities that have owned stakes in his series Gilligan's Island

Red Skelton

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Sherwood Schwartz on agreeing to work on The Red Skelton Show
Sherwood Schwartz on Red Skelton's pantomiming abilities
Sherwood Schwartz on leaving The Red Skelton Show

Frank Stanton

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Sherwood Schwartz on the difficulty of selling the concept of Gilligan's Island to CBS executives

Ted Turner

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Sherwood Schwartz on the entities that have owned stakes in his series Gilligan's Island

George Wyle

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Sherwood Schwartz on the Gilligan's Island theme song

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