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." 

Highlights
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante's Mrs. Calabash line on The Jimmy Durante Show
11:50
Sid Smith on working with host Dave Garroway on Wide Wide World
02:13
Sid Smith on directing Telstar satellite's first broadcast
06:19
Sid Smith on staging a ballet for The Bell Telephone Hour
04:14
Sid Smith on directing John Wayne on The Jimmy Durante Show
00:52
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
08:01
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
06:23
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
08:47
On the format, preparations, surveys, and announcer on Your Hit Parade
05:42

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
08:14
On directing Jimmy Durante on All Star Revue; on directing All Star Revue and The Jimmy Durante Show
20:27

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
07:16
On movie stars appearing on early television; on weekly preparations for directing The Jimmy Durante Show; on studio design, special effects, and commercials
09:13
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
06:52
On directing the 1954 situation comedy, The Duke; on differences between sitcom and variety show directing; on directing NBC's Wide Wide World
05:50

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
10:24
On location selection, technology, budgets, and the end of Wide Wide World
12:27
On the Hollywood Blacklist; on becoming one of the main directors of The Bell Telephone Hour
06:19

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
11:09
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
13:19
On directing Telstar satellite's first broadcast
06:19

Chapter 6

On working with Fred Friendly on the first Telstar broadcast; on producing and directing Elizabeth Taylor in "Hamlet" in London in 1963
07:07
On directing and producing the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants
06:56
On directing "Pinocchio" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
02:45
On directing the 1969 and 1979 New York portions of the Emmy Awards
01:51
On his seventeen years directing Bob Hope Specials 
10:52

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
15:55
On directing the first and several subsequent Circus of the Stars; on booking and training talent for the show
07:32
Sid Smith on the start of his association with Bill Moyers; on differences between working with the major networks and PBS
04:27

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
06:13
On stars he's directed; on how he'd like to be remembered; on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked
12:49
B-roll photos of people with whom he's worked
09:57
Shows

All Star Revue

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Sid Smith on directing Jimmy Durante on All Star Revue
03:00
Sid Smith on directing Jimmy Durante, technology, and the format of on All Star Revue
01:55
Sid Smith on directing Martha Raye and other comics on All Star Revue
02:31
Sid Smith on the producers, sponsors, and commercials of All Star Revue
01:57
Sid Smith on a photo of him, Jimmy Durante, and Eddie Cantor from The Colgate Comedy Hour and All Star Revue
00:35

Bell Telephone Hour, The

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Sid Smith on becoming one of the main directors of The Bell Telephone Hour
02:40
Sid Smith on staging a ballet for The Bell Telephone Hour
04:14
Sid Smith on preparations for and sponsor involvement on The Bell Telephone Hour
02:46
Sid Smith on hosts on The Bell Telephone Hour
01:37
Sid Smith on the visual appeal and song selection for The Bell Telephone Hour
02:14
Sid Smith on directing ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev's first television appearance on The Bell Telephone Hour
01:08
Sid Smith on new talent that broke through on The Bell Telephone Hour
00:48
Sid Smith on the hardest pieces he ever staged on The Bell Telephone Hour
03:28
Sid Smith on T he Bell Telephone Hour orchestra
02:01
Sid Smith on the end of T he Bell Telephone Hour 
00:42
Sid Smith on sound issues on T he Bell Telephone Hour
01:03
Sid Smith on a photo from The Bell Telephone Hour
00:38

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
04:27

Bob Hope Specials

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Sid Smith on his seventeen year association with Bob Hope, directing Bob Hope Specials
10:52
Sid Smith on directing Bob Hope Specials
05:20
Sid Smith on directing guest stars on Bob Hope Specials
00:55
Sid Smith on selecting locations for Bob Hope Specials
01:39
Sid Smith on directing Bob Hope's Christmas Specials and other Bob Hope Specials, including USO Shows
02:20
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
05:41
Sid Smith on a photo from his travels for Bob Hope Specials
00:29

Cheverolet Golden Anniversary Show, The

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Sid Smith on a photo from The Chevrolet Golden Anniversary Show
00:31

Circus of the Stars

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Sid Smith on directing the first and several subsequent Circus of the Stars
05:09
Sid Smith on recruiting and training talent for Circus of the Stars
02:23

Colgate Comedy Hour, The

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Sid Smith on directing The Colgate Comedy Hour
00:23
Sid Smith on a photo of him, Jimmy Durante, and Eddie Cantor from The Colgate Comedy Hour and All Star Revue 
00:35

Eddie Condon's Floor Show

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Sid Smith on working on Eddie Condon's Floor Show
01:17
Sid Smith on becoming an AD on Eddie Condon's Floor Show
01:16
Sid Smith on the studio and music setup on Eddie Condon's Floor Show
03:17
Sid Smith on famous jazz musicians appearing on Eddie Condon's Floor Show
01:26
Sid Smith on favorite memories from and tales of his mentor, Clark Jones, on Eddie Condon's Floor Show
01:19
Sid Smith on a photo of Louis Armstrong from Eddie Condon's Floor Show
00:58

Elizabeth Taylor in London

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Sid Smith on a photo from Elizabeth Taylor in London special
00:47

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
01:51

Hallmark Hall of Fame

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Sid Smith on directing "Pinocchio" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
02:27

Jimmy Durante Show, The

View Show Page
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante seeing him direct Your Hit Parade and wanting him to direct his show
02:56
Sid Smith on directing Jimmy Durante on The Jimmy Durante Show
02:56
Sid Smith on the puppets on The Jimmy Durante Show
01:20
Sid Smith on the format and Durante's transition from radio to television with The Jimmy Durante Show
02:04
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante's personality and signature moves on The Jimmy Durante Show
01:13
Sid Smith on the writing, producers, and talent booker on The Jimmy Durante Show
05:48
Sid Smith on weekly preparations for directing The Jimmy Durante Show; on studio design, special effects, and commercials on the show 
07:04
Sid Smith on sponsors and sponsor and network input on The Jimmy Durante Show
01:53
Sid Smith on guests and audience response to The Jimmy Durante Show
01:40
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante's Mrs. Calabash joke on The Jimmy Durante Show
00:33
Sid Smith on his tenure at The Jimmy Durante Show and changes in the show when production moved to Desilu and shot on film
03:03

Miss USA

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Sid Smith on directing and producing the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants
03:45
Sid Smith on making contestants on the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants feel comfortable on air
01:36
Sid Smith on live mishaps on the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants
01:35

Miss Universe

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Sid Smith on directing and producing the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants
03:45
Sid Smith on making contestants on the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants feel comfortable on air; on working with choreographers
01:36
Sid Smith on live mishaps on the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants
01:35
Sid Smith on a photo from a Miss Universe Pageant in Cancun, Mexico
01:21

Wide Wide World

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Sid Smith on directing NBC's Wide Wide World
02:10
Sid Smith on the format and mission of Wide Wide World
04:26
Sid Smith on Sylvester L. "Pat" Weaver's direct involvement with Wide Wide World
00:54
Sid Smith on working with host Dave Garroway on Wide Wide World
02:13
Sid Smith on "Time on Target" and complicated sequences on Wide Wide World
03:10
Sid Smith on location selection for Wide Wide World
01:21
Sid Smith on the technology used on Wide Wide World
03:38
Sid Smith on the producers, directors, and budget on Wide Wide World
02:10
Sid Smith on the end of Wide Wide World
02:08
Sid Smith on host Dave Garroway's sign-off on Wide Wide World
01:21
Sid Smith on a photo from Wide Wide World
01:05

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  
00:47

Your Hit Parade

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Sid Smith on becoming an AD on and directing an episode of Your Hit Parade
01:31
Sid Smith on the format and setup on Your Hit Parade
01:34
Sid Smith on color production on Your Hit Parade  
01:39
Sid Smith on telecasts, preparation, surveys, and the host for and Your Hit Parade  
02:27
Sid Smith on guests, regulars, and his duties on Your Hit Parade
03:19
Sid Smith on sponsor Lucky Strike's involvement with Your Hit Parade
01:59
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante seeing him direct Your Hit Parade and wanting him to direct his show
02:16
Sid Smith on a photo of Your Hit Parade
00:42
Topics

Bloopers

View Topic
Sid Smith on live mishaps on the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants
01:35

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Sid Smith on his mentor, Clark Jones, on Eddie Condon's Floor Show
00:26

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Sid Smith on recollections of the Hollywood Blacklist
03:37

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Sid Smith on recollections of the Hollywood Blacklist
03:37

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante's Mrs. Calabash line on The Jimmy Durante Show
00:33

Pop Culture

View Topic
Sid Smith on the puppets on The Jimmy Durante Show
01:20

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Sid Smith on color production on Your Hit Parade  
01:39
Sid Smith on his tenure at The Jimmy Durante Show and changes in the show when production moved to Desilu and shot on film
03:03
Sid Smith on the technology used on Wide Wide World
03:38
Sid Smith on directing Telstar satellite's first broadcast
06:19
Sid Smith on inventing spotlight discs for the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants so contestants would be well lit on stage
00:53

Television Industry

View Topic
Sid Smith on directing early television commercials while working for an advertising agency
01:36
Sid Smith on differences between working with the major networks and PBS
00:56
SiSid Smith on the future of television
00:46

War

View Topic
Sid Smith on joining the Marine Corps College Program during World War II; on transferring to the Navy
02:29
Sid Smith on directing Bob Hope's Christmas Specials and other Bob Hope Specials, including USO Shows
02:20

World War II

View Topic
Sid Smith on joining the Marine Corps College Program during World War II; on transferring to the Navy
02:29
Professions

Directors

View Profession
Sid Smith on directing early television commercials while working for an advertising agency
01:36
Sid Smith on differences between sitcom and variety show directing
00:41
Sid Smith on his directorial style
00:59
Sid Smith on advice to aspiring directors
00:31
Genres

Awards Shows

View Genre
Sid Smith on directing the 1969 and 1979 New York portions of the Emmy Awards
01:51

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Sid Smith on the format, setup, and surveys on Your Hit Parade
05:40
Sid Smith on the studio and music setup, musical guests, and favorite memories of Eddie Condon's Floor Show
06:02
Sid Smith on directing Your Hit Parade
07:34
Sid Smith on directing Jimmy Durante on All Star Revue
13:43
Sid Smith on directing Jimmy Durante on The Jimmy Durante Show
06:20
Sid Smith on the writing, format, guests and audience response to The Jimmy Durante Show
23:22
Sid Smith on becoming one of the main directors of The Bell Telephone Hour
02:40
Sid Smith on the staging of and memorable performances on The Bell Telephone Hour
22:33
Sid Smith on his seventeen year association with Bob Hope, directing Bob Hope Specials
10:52
On directing and producing the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants
06:56
Sid Smith on directing Bob Hope Specials
15:55
Sid Smith on directing Circus of the Stars
07:12

News and Documentary

View Genre
Sid Smith on the format, host, and locations of Wide Wide World
22:51
People

Charlie Andrews

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Sid Smith on host Dave Garroway's sign-off on Wide Wide World
01:21
Sid Smith on working on the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe pageants with producer Charlie Andrews
02:15

Louis Armstrong

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Sid Smith on a photo of Louis Armstrong from Eddie Condon's Floor Show
00:58

Lucille Ball

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Sid Smith on a photo with Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, and Milton Berle 
00:42

Milton Berle

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Sid Smith on a photo with Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, and Milton Berle 
00:42

Al Borden

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Sid Smith on Al Borden doing props on Bob Hope's shows
01:10

Les Brown

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Les Brown
00:17

Dick Cavett

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Dick Cavett
00:32

Tony Charmoli

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Sid Smith on working with choreographers on The Bell Telephone Hour
02:48
Sid Smith on working with director Tony Charmoli on Bob Hope Specials
00:39

Phyllis Diller

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Phyllis Diller
00:14

Sandy Duncan

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Sid Smith on directing Sandy Duncan and Paul Lynde
01:03

Jimmy Durante

View Person Page
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante wanting him to direct his show
00:43
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante seeing him direct Your Hit Parade and wanting him to direct his show
02:56
Sid Smith on directing Jimmy Durante on The Jimmy Durante Show and All Star Revue
02:37
Sid Smith on directing Jimmy Durante on The Jimmy Durante Show
06:20
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante's personality and signature moves on The Jimmy Durante Show
01:13
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante's Mrs. Calabash line on The Jimmy Durante Show
00:33

Bob Finkel

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Bob Finkel
00:22

Bob Fosse

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Sid Smith on working with choreographers on The Bell Telephone Hour
02:18

Fred Friendly

View Person Page
Sid Smith on directing Telstar satellite's first broadcast with Fred Friendly
06:19
Sid Smith on working with Fred Friendly on the first Telstar broadcast
02:24
Sid Smith on a photo from the first Telstar satellite broadcast
24:24

Dave Garroway

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Sid Smith on working with host Dave Garroway on Wide Wide World
02:13
Sid Smith on host Dave Garroway's sign-off on Wide Wide World
01:21

Larry Gelbart

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Larry Gelbart
00:28

Gerald Green

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Sid Smith on working with writer Gerald Green on Wide Wide World
01:13

Dolores Hope

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Dolores Hope
00:23

Bob Hope

View Person Page
Sid Smith on his seventeen year association with Bob Hope
02:38
Sid Smith on working with Bob Hope
04:40
Sid Smith on directing Bob Hope
03:34
Sid Smith on directing Bob Hope Specials; on Hope in the editing room and his form of comedy
07:54
Sid Smith on directing Bob Hope's Christmas Specials and other Bob Hope Specials
02:20
Sid Smith on the atmosphere on a Bob Hope set
03:50
Sid Smith on changes in Bob Hope Specials over the years; on the end of the specials
01:51
Sid Smith on a photo from his travels for Bob Hope Specials  
00:29
Sid Smith on a photo with Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, and Milton Berle 
00:42

Linda Hope

View Person Page
Sid Smith on working with writers and producers on Bob Hope Specials
02:39
Sid Smith on Linda Hope being able to wrangle her father, Bob Hope
00:12

Charles Isaacs

View Person Page
Sid Smith on the writing on The Jimmy Durante Show
01:18
Sid Smith on directing the 1954 situation comedy, The Duke
03:38

Lyndon B. Johnson

View Person Page
Sid Smith on a Bill Moyers-Lyndon Johnson story
00:56

Hal Kanter

View Interview Page
Sid Smith on working with writers and producers on Bob Hope Specials
02:25
Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Hal Kanter
00:22

Ted Knight

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Ted Knight
00:25

Mort Lachman

View Interview Page
Sid Smith on his seventeen year association with Bob Hope
02:38
Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Mort Lachman
00:20

Sheldon Leonard

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Sid Smith on directing Sheldon Leonard in the 1954 situation comedy, The Duke
01:28
Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Sheldon Leonard
00:16

Paul Lynde

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Sid Smith on directing Sandy Duncan and Paul Lynde
01:03
Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Paul Lynde
00:28

Barney McNulty

View Interview Page
Sid Smith on arranging cue cards for Bob Hope; on working with Hope
03:52
Sid Smith on Barney McNulty doing cue cards on Bob Hope's shows
01:29

Liza Minnelli

View Person Page
Sid Smith on directing the 1969 and 1979 New York portions of the Emmy Awards
01:00
Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Liza Minnelli
00:40

Bill Moyers

View Interview Page
Sid Smith on the start of his association with Bill Moyer; on Moyers' Joseph Campbell show
03:03
Sid Smith on the vision Bill Moyers brings to his shows
01:24
Sid Smith on a Bill Moyers-Lyndon Johnson story
00:56

Hermes Pan

View Person Page
Sid Smith on working with choreographers on The Bell Telephone Hour
03:06

Martha Raye

View Person Page
Sid Smith on directing Martha Raye on All Star Revue
01:03

David Sarnoff

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - David Sarnoff
00:23

Thomas W. Sarnoff

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Tom Sarnoff
00:14

George Schlatter

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - George Schlatter
00:43

Gary Smith

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Gary Smith
00:38

Elizabeth Taylor

View Person Page
Sid Smith on producing and directing Elizabeth Taylor in "Hamlet" in London in 1963
04:43
Sid Smith on a photo from Elizabeth Taylor in London special
00:47

Danny Thomas

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Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Danny Thomas
00:24

Dalton Trumbo

View Person Page
Sid Smith on recollections of the Hollywood Blacklist
01:04

John Wayne

View Person Page
Sid Smith on directing John Wayne on The Jimmy Durante Show
00:52

Sylvester L. Weaver

View Person Page
Sid Smith on NBC's Sylvester "Pat" Weaver creating Wide Wide World
00:51
Sid Smith on NBC's Sylvester L. "Pat" Weaver (creator of Wide Wide World)
06:40

Ed Wynn

View Person Page
Sid Smith on his thoughts on people with whom he's worked - Ed Wynn
00:27

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