Sid Smith

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-hour Archive interview, Sid Smith (1921-2014) talks of his years in advertising, where he began directing television commercials. He speaks of brother-in-law Eddie Condon and becoming and AD on Eddie Condon's Floor Show and Your Hit Parade. Smith then discusses directing and/or producing several shows including: The Jimmy Durante Show, Wide Wide World, and The Bell Telephone Hour. He outlines his seventeen-year association with Bob Hope, directing his television specials, and recalls directing several variety/ award shows, including Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, Circus of the Stars, and The Emmy Awards. Smith also talks of directing Elizabeth Taylor in her Elizabeth Taylor Goes to London Special, and discusses his work with PBS' Bill Moyers. Karen Herman conducted the interview on November 12, 1997 in Los Angeles, CA.

"You've gotta have the contingencies and the right cameras ready for that contingency. It's a jigsaw puzzle game. It's fun to play." 

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante's Mrs. Calabash line on The Jimmy Durante Show
Sid Smith on working with host Dave Garroway on Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on directing Telstar satellite's first broadcast
Sid Smith on staging a ballet for The Bell Telephone Hour
Sid Smith on directing John Wayne on The Jimmy Durante Show
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his love of music; on attending the University of Minnesota; on joining the Marine Corps during World War II; on transferring to the Navy
On moving to New York; on working for an advertising agency and directing early television commercials; on becoming an AD on Eddie Condon's Floor Show and Your Hit Parade
On the early relationships between television and advertising agencies; on the studio and music setup on Eddie Condon's Floor Show; on appearances by jazz greats on the show
On the format, preparations, surveys, and announcer on Your Hit Parade

Chapter 2

On guests and duties on Your Hit Parade; on Jimmy Durante seeing him direct Your Hit Parade and wanting him to direct his show
On directing Jimmy Durante on All Star Revue; on directing All Star Revue and The Jimmy Durante Show

Chapter 3

On Jimmy Durante's personality and signature moves; on the writing on The Jimmy Durante Show; on guest bookings for early variety shows and directing John Wayne
On movie stars appearing on early television; on weekly preparations for directing The Jimmy Durante Show; on studio design, special effects, and commercials
On sponsors of The Jimmy Durante Show; on audience reaction to the show and Durante's Mrs. Calabash line; on the show moving to filmed production
On directing the 1954 situation comedy, The Duke; on differences between sitcom and variety show directing; on directing NBC's Wide Wide World

Chapter 4

On the format and mission of Wide Wide World; on NBC's Sylvester L. "Pat" Weaver; on Wide Wide World host Dave Garroway
On location selection, technology, budgets, and the end of Wide Wide World
On the Hollywood Blacklist; on becoming one of the main directors of The Bell Telephone Hour

Chapter 5

On staging a ballet for The Bell Telephone Hour; on sponsor involvement and the show's move from radio to television; on working with producer Barry Wood
On the visual appeal, song selection, guests, and difficult staging on The Bell Telephone Hour
On his directorial style; on T he Bell Telephone Hour orchestra and the end of the show
On directing Telstar satellite's first broadcast

Chapter 6

On working with Fred Friendly on the first Telstar broadcast; on producing and directing Elizabeth Taylor in "Hamlet" in London in 1963
On directing and producing the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants
On directing "Pinocchio" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
On directing the 1969 and 1979 New York portions of the Emmy Awards
On his seventeen years directing Bob Hope Specials 

Chapter 7

On directing Bob Hope's television specials; on selecting locations, working with guest stars, and some of his favorite specials; on the end of the specials
On directing the first and several subsequent Circus of the Stars; on booking and training talent for the show
Sid Smith on the start of his association with Bill Moyers; on differences between working with the major networks and PBS

Chapter 8

On Bill Moyers; on his on-set demeanor; on advice to aspiring directors; on television at its best; on the music video industry and the future of television
On stars he's directed; on how he'd like to be remembered; on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked
B-roll photos of people with whom he's worked
Shows

All Star Revue

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Sid Smith on directing Jimmy Durante on All Star Revue
Sid Smith on directing Jimmy Durante, technology, and the format of on All Star Revue
Sid Smith on directing Martha Raye and other comics on All Star Revue
Sid Smith on the producers, sponsors, and commercials of All Star Revue
Sid Smith on a photo of him, Jimmy Durante, and Eddie Cantor from The Colgate Comedy Hour and All Star Revue

Bell Telephone Hour, The

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Sid Smith on becoming one of the main directors of The Bell Telephone Hour
Sid Smith on staging a ballet for The Bell Telephone Hour
Sid Smith on preparations for and sponsor involvement on The Bell Telephone Hour
Sid Smith on hosts on The Bell Telephone Hour
Sid Smith on the visual appeal and song selection for The Bell Telephone Hour
Sid Smith on directing ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev's first television appearance on The Bell Telephone Hour
Sid Smith on new talent that broke through on The Bell Telephone Hour
Sid Smith on the hardest pieces he ever staged on The Bell Telephone Hour
Sid Smith on T he Bell Telephone Hour orchestra
Sid Smith on the end of T he Bell Telephone Hour 
Sid Smith on sound issues on T he Bell Telephone Hour
Sid Smith on a photo from The Bell Telephone Hour

Bill Moyers Journal

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Sid Smith on the start of his association with Bill Moyers; on Moyer's Joseph Campbell showand Moyers' vision

Bob Hope Specials

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Sid Smith on his seventeen year association with Bob Hope, directing Bob Hope Specials
Sid Smith on directing Bob Hope Specials
Sid Smith on directing guest stars on Bob Hope Specials
Sid Smith on selecting locations for Bob Hope Specials
Sid Smith on directing Bob Hope's Christmas Specials and other Bob Hope Specials, including USO Shows
Sid Smith on the atmosphere and staff on a Bob Hope set; on changes in his show's and specials over the years; on audience response to Bob Hope
Sid Smith on a photo from his travels for Bob Hope Specials

Cheverolet Golden Anniversary Show, The

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Sid Smith on a photo from The Chevrolet Golden Anniversary Show

Circus of the Stars

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Sid Smith on directing the first and several subsequent Circus of the Stars
Sid Smith on recruiting and training talent for Circus of the Stars

Colgate Comedy Hour, The

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Sid Smith on directing The Colgate Comedy Hour
Sid Smith on a photo of him, Jimmy Durante, and Eddie Cantor from The Colgate Comedy Hour and All Star Revue 

Eddie Condon's Floor Show

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Sid Smith on working on Eddie Condon's Floor Show
Sid Smith on becoming an AD on Eddie Condon's Floor Show
Sid Smith on the studio and music setup on Eddie Condon's Floor Show
Sid Smith on famous jazz musicians appearing on Eddie Condon's Floor Show
Sid Smith on favorite memories from and tales of his mentor, Clark Jones, on Eddie Condon's Floor Show
Sid Smith on a photo of Louis Armstrong from Eddie Condon's Floor Show

Elizabeth Taylor in London

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Sid Smith on a photo from Elizabeth Taylor in London special

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Sid Smith on directing the 1969 and 1979 New York portions of the Emmy Awards

Hallmark Hall of Fame

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Sid Smith on directing "Pinocchio" for Hallmark Hall of Fame

Jimmy Durante Show, The

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Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante seeing him direct Your Hit Parade and wanting him to direct his show
Sid Smith on directing Jimmy Durante on The Jimmy Durante Show
Sid Smith on the puppets on The Jimmy Durante Show
Sid Smith on the format and Durante's transition from radio to television with The Jimmy Durante Show
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante's personality and signature moves on The Jimmy Durante Show
Sid Smith on the writing, producers, and talent booker on The Jimmy Durante Show
Sid Smith on weekly preparations for directing The Jimmy Durante Show; on studio design, special effects, and commercials on the show 
Sid Smith on sponsors and sponsor and network input on The Jimmy Durante Show
Sid Smith on guests and audience response to The Jimmy Durante Show
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante's Mrs. Calabash joke on The Jimmy Durante Show
Sid Smith on his tenure at The Jimmy Durante Show and changes in the show when production moved to Desilu and shot on film

Miss USA

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Sid Smith on directing and producing the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants
Sid Smith on making contestants on the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants feel comfortable on air
Sid Smith on live mishaps on the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants

Miss Universe

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Sid Smith on directing and producing the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants
Sid Smith on making contestants on the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants feel comfortable on air; on working with choreographers
Sid Smith on live mishaps on the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants
Sid Smith on a photo from a Miss Universe Pageant in Cancun, Mexico

Wide Wide World

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Sid Smith on directing NBC's Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on the format and mission of Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on Sylvester L. "Pat" Weaver's direct involvement with Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on working with host Dave Garroway on Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on "Time on Target" and complicated sequences on Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on location selection for Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on the technology used on Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on the producers, directors, and budget on Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on the end of Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on host Dave Garroway's sign-off on Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on a photo from Wide Wide World

You Can't Take It With You

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Sid Smith on a photo from the sitcom You Can't Take It With You  

Your Hit Parade

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Sid Smith on becoming an AD on and directing an episode of Your Hit Parade
Sid Smith on the format and setup on Your Hit Parade
Sid Smith on color production on Your Hit Parade  
Sid Smith on telecasts, preparation, surveys, and the host for and Your Hit Parade  
Sid Smith on guests, regulars, and his duties on Your Hit Parade
Sid Smith on sponsor Lucky Strike's involvement with Your Hit Parade
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante seeing him direct Your Hit Parade and wanting him to direct his show
Sid Smith on a photo of Your Hit Parade
Topics

Bloopers

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Sid Smith on live mishaps on the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Sid Smith on his mentor, Clark Jones, on Eddie Condon's Floor Show

Hollywood Blacklist

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Sid Smith on recollections of the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Sid Smith on recollections of the Hollywood Blacklist

Memorable Moments on Television

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Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante's Mrs. Calabash line on The Jimmy Durante Show

Pop Culture

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Sid Smith on the puppets on The Jimmy Durante Show

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Sid Smith on color production on Your Hit Parade  
Sid Smith on his tenure at The Jimmy Durante Show and changes in the show when production moved to Desilu and shot on film
Sid Smith on the technology used on Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on directing Telstar satellite's first broadcast
Sid Smith on inventing spotlight discs for the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants so contestants would be well lit on stage

Television Industry

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Sid Smith on directing early television commercials while working for an advertising agency
Sid Smith on differences between working with the major networks and PBS
SiSid Smith on the future of television

War

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Sid Smith on joining the Marine Corps College Program during World War II; on transferring to the Navy
Sid Smith on directing Bob Hope's Christmas Specials and other Bob Hope Specials, including USO Shows

World War II

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Sid Smith on joining the Marine Corps College Program during World War II; on transferring to the Navy
Professions

Directors

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Sid Smith on directing early television commercials while working for an advertising agency
Sid Smith on differences between sitcom and variety show directing
Sid Smith on his directorial style
Sid Smith on advice to aspiring directors
Genres

Awards Shows

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Sid Smith on directing the 1969 and 1979 New York portions of the Emmy Awards

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Sid Smith on the format, setup, and surveys on Your Hit Parade
Sid Smith on the studio and music setup, musical guests, and favorite memories of Eddie Condon's Floor Show
Sid Smith on directing Your Hit Parade
Sid Smith on directing Jimmy Durante on All Star Revue
Sid Smith on directing Jimmy Durante on The Jimmy Durante Show
Sid Smith on the writing, format, guests and audience response to The Jimmy Durante Show
Sid Smith on becoming one of the main directors of The Bell Telephone Hour
Sid Smith on the staging of and memorable performances on The Bell Telephone Hour
Sid Smith on his seventeen year association with Bob Hope, directing Bob Hope Specials
On directing and producing the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants
Sid Smith on directing Bob Hope Specials
Sid Smith on directing Circus of the Stars

News and Documentary

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Sid Smith on the format, host, and locations of Wide Wide World
People

Charlie Andrews

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Sid Smith on host Dave Garroway's sign-off on Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on working on the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants with producer Charlie Andrews

Louis Armstrong

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Sid Smith on a photo of Louis Armstrong from Eddie Condon's Floor Show

Lucille Ball

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Sid Smith on a photo with Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, and Milton Berle 

Milton Berle

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Sid Smith on a photo with Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, and Milton Berle 

Al Borden

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Sid Smith on Al Borden doing props on Bob Hope's shows

Les Brown

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Les Brown

Dick Cavett

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Dick Cavett

Tony Charmoli

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Sid Smith on working with choreographers on The Bell Telephone Hour
Sid Smith on working with director Tony Charmoli on Bob Hope Specials

Phyllis Diller

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Phyllis Diller

Sandy Duncan

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Sid Smith on directing Sandy Duncan and Paul Lynde

Jimmy Durante

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Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante wanting him to direct his show
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante seeing him direct Your Hit Parade and wanting him to direct his show
Sid Smith on directing Jimmy Durante on The Jimmy Durante Show and All Star Revue
Sid Smith on directing Jimmy Durante on The Jimmy Durante Show
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante's personality and signature moves on The Jimmy Durante Show
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante's Mrs. Calabash line on The Jimmy Durante Show

Bob Finkel

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Bob Finkel

Bob Fosse

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Sid Smith on working with choreographers on The Bell Telephone Hour

Fred Friendly

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Sid Smith on directing Telstar satellite's first broadcast with Fred Friendly
Sid Smith on working with Fred Friendly on the first Telstar broadcast
Sid Smith on a photo from the first Telstar satellite broadcast

Dave Garroway

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Sid Smith on working with host Dave Garroway on Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on host Dave Garroway's sign-off on Wide Wide World

Larry Gelbart

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Larry Gelbart

Gerald Green

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Sid Smith on working with writer Gerald Green on Wide Wide World

Bob Hope

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Sid Smith on his seventeen year association with Bob Hope
Sid Smith on working with Bob Hope
Sid Smith on directing Bob Hope
Sid Smith on directing Bob Hope Specials; on Hope in the editing room and his form of comedy
Sid Smith on directing Bob Hope's Christmas Specials and other Bob Hope Specials
Sid Smith on the atmosphere on a Bob Hope set
Sid Smith on changes in Bob Hope Specials over the years; on the end of the specials
Sid Smith on a photo from his travels for Bob Hope Specials  
Sid Smith on a photo with Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, and Milton Berle 

Linda Hope

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Sid Smith on working with writers and producers on Bob Hope Specials
Sid Smith on Linda Hope being able to wrangle her father, Bob Hope

Dolores Hope

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Dolores Hope

Charles Isaacs

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Sid Smith on the writing on The Jimmy Durante Show
Sid Smith on directing the 1954 situation comedy, The Duke

Lyndon B. Johnson

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Sid Smith on a Bill Moyers-Lyndon Johnson story

Hal Kanter

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Sid Smith on working with writers and producers on Bob Hope Specials
Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Hal Kanter

Ted Knight

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Ted Knight

Mort Lachman

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Sid Smith on his seventeen year association with Bob Hope
Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Mort Lachman

Sheldon Leonard

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Sid Smith on directing Sheldon Leonard in the 1954 situation comedy, The Duke
Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Sheldon Leonard

Paul Lynde

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Sid Smith on directing Sandy Duncan and Paul Lynde
Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Paul Lynde

Barney McNulty

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Sid Smith on arranging cue cards for Bob Hope; on working with Hope
Sid Smith on Barney McNulty doing cue cards on Bob Hope's shows

Liza Minnelli

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Sid Smith on directing the 1969 and 1979 New York portions of the Emmy Awards
Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Liza Minnelli

Bill Moyers

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Sid Smith on the start of his association with Bill Moyer; on Moyers' Joseph Campbell show
Sid Smith on the vision Bill Moyers brings to his shows
Sid Smith on a Bill Moyers-Lyndon Johnson story

Hermes Pan

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Sid Smith on working with choreographers on The Bell Telephone Hour

Martha Raye

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Sid Smith on directing Martha Raye on All Star Revue

Thomas W. Sarnoff

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Tom Sarnoff

David Sarnoff

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - David Sarnoff

George Schlatter

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - George Schlatter

Gary Smith

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Gary Smith

Elizabeth Taylor

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Sid Smith on producing and directing Elizabeth Taylor in "Hamlet" in London in 1963
Sid Smith on a photo from Elizabeth Taylor in London special

Danny Thomas

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Danny Thomas

Dalton Trumbo

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Sid Smith on recollections of the Hollywood Blacklist

Sylvester L. "Pat" Weaver

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Sid Smith on NBC's Sylvester "Pat" Weaver creating Wide Wide World
Sid Smith on NBC's Sylvester L. "Pat" Weaver (creator of Wide Wide World)

Ed Wynn

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Ed Wynn

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