Stewart MacGregory

Unit Manager


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-and-a-half hour Archive interview Stewart MacGregory (1917-2007) discusses his early years as a radio sound effects specialist. He remembers being called to active duty during World War II, where he served as a cryptologist for the military. He talks about starting his television career at NBC working on the production team of live shows including Chevrolet on Broadway, Kraft Television Theatre, and Philco Television Playhouse. MacGregory outlines becoming one of four unit managers for NBC's Wide Wide World, a show that consisted of live remotes from around the country hosted by Dave Garroway. He outlines his time as unit production manager on a variety of other programs and specials including The Bell Telephone Hour, the 1960 Democratic and Republican Conventions, Kraft Music Hall, Today, The Doctors, and Saturday Night Live. He recounts later joining NBC's Business Affairs Department before retiring in 1983. Michael Rosen conducted the interview on June 28, 1999 in Larchmont, NY.

"When a show was live, it was live. That was it. Then the main thing was we all had to get it right."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Stewart MacGregory on the infamous "water closet incident" from The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar
Stewart MacGregory on the atmosphere and logistics of a live television broadcast
Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager for NBC's coverage of the 1960 Presidential Elections 
Stewart MacGregory on going to work for The Kraft Music Hall with Perry Como and traveling to Dallas to film the day after John F. Kennedy was shot
Stewart MacGregory on what represents the best of television 
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on radio shows he listened to; on attending Emerson College
On seeing television at the 1939 World's Fair; on New York City in the early '40s; on getting into radio in New York and the onset of World War II

Chapter 2

On his time doing sound effects for NBC radio; on radio shows he worked at on NBC; on the process of creating sound effects for radio shows
On his experiences in World War II; on returning to NBC radio after World War II; on going to work for NBC television 

Chapter 3

On being stage coordinator for NBC Television starting in 1948; on the early attitude toward people working in the television industry; on the duties of a stage coordinator 
On acting as stage coordinator for Chevrolet on Broadway; on Chevrolet on Broadway  being a live presentation 

Chapter 4

On the atmosphere and logistics of a live television broadcast; on the cameras and other equipment used in the Golden Age of Television; on being stage coordinator for Americana  and Barney Blake, Police Reporter
On being stage coordinator for Kraft Television Theatre  produced by David Susskind; on being stage coordinator for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse;  on being stage coordinator for Armstrong Circle Theatre

Chapter 5

On acting as stage coordinator for Armstrong Circle Theatre  and Martin Kane, Private Eye; on live commercials for Kraft Television Theatre
On how the advent of color affected his job as stage coordinator; on acting as unit manager of Wide Wide World

Chapter 6

On Dave Garroway, host of Wide Wide World;  on the technical aspects of being a unit manager on Wide Wide World;  on the cancellation of Wide Wide World
On being unit manager on the Bell Telephone Hour;  on the types of acts that appeared on the Bell Telephone Hour
On acting as unit manager for NBC's coverage of the 1960 Presidential Elections; on being unit manager on The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar

Chapter 7

On Ray Bolger on The  Bell Telephone Hour;  on the infamous "water closet incident" from The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar; on going to work for The Kraft Music Hall  with Perry Como and traveling to Dallas to film the day after John F. Kennedy was shot 
On working with Perry Como on The  Kraft Music Hall;  on working with Jack Paar on The Jack Paar Program;  on becoming a unit manager for NBC Sports in 1964

Chapter 8

On being unit manager for the 1966 World Series; on being unit manager for Today;  on being unit manager for The Doctors
On being unit manager for NBC: The First Fifty Years;  on being unit manager for Saturday Night Live

Chapter 9

On joining NBC's Business Affairs department in 1978; on what represents the best of television; on the then-current state of NBC; on the Hollywood Blacklist
On the difference between a unit manager and a production manager; on his mentors; on various people with whom he worked in his career and his wife, Betty
On b-roll pictures from his career- on the set of Armstrong Circle Theater; the set of the Armstrong Circle Theater;  on location for Wide Wide World
Shows

Armstrong Circle Theatre

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Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Armstrong Circle Theatre
Stewart MacGregory on acting as stage coordinator for Armstrong Circle Theatre  and Martin Kane, Private Eye

Barney Blake, Police Reporter

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Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Americana and Barney Blake, Police Reporter

Bell Telephone Hour, The

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Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager on The  Bell Telephone Hour
Stewart MacGregory on the types of acts that appeared on The  Bell Telephone Hour
Stewart MacGregory on Ray Bolger on The  Bell Telephone Hour

Chevrolet Tele-Theater aka Chevrolet on Broadway

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Stewart MacGregory on acting as stage coordinator for Chevrolet on Broadway
Stewart MacGregory on Chevrolet on Broadway  being a live presentation 

Doctors, The

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Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for The Doctors

Jack Paar Program, The (1962-65)

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Stewart MacGregory on working with Jack Paar on The Jack Paar Program

Kraft Music Hall, The

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Stewart MacGregory on going to work for The Kraft Music Hall  with Perry Como and traveling to Dallas to film the day after John F. Kennedy was shot
Stewart MacGregory on working with Perry Como on The  Kraft Music Hall

Kraft Television Theatre

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Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Kraft Television Theatre  produced by David Susskind
Stewart MacGregory on live commercials for Kraft Television Theatre

Martin Kane, Private Eye

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Stewart MacGregory on acting as stage coordinator for Armstrong Circle Theatre  and Martin Kane, Private Eye

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

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Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

Saturday Night Live

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Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for Saturday Night Live  for a few weeks in 1977
Stewart MacGregory on returning to Saturday Night Live in 1981

Today

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Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for Today

Tonight Starring Jack Paar aka The Jack Paar Show

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Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar
Stewart MacGregory on the infamous "water closet incident" from The Tonight Show with Jack Paar

Wide Wide World

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Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager of Wide Wide World
Stewart MacGregory on Dave Garroway, host of Wide Wide World
Stewart MacGregory on the technical aspects of being a unit manager on Wide Wide World
Stewart MacGregory on favorite segments from Wide Wide World
Stewart MacGregory on the cancellation of Wide Wide World

World Series

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Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for the 1966 World Series
Topics

1939-40 World's Fair

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Stewart MacGregory on seeing television at the 1939 World's Fair

Advertising and Sponsorship

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Stewart MacGregory on live commercials for Kraft Television Theatre

Comedy-Variety

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Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for NBC Television starting in 1948

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Stewart MacGregory on his mentors

First Big Break

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Stewart MacGregory on going to work for NBC television 

Historic Events and Social Change

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Stewart MacGregory on seeing television at the 1939 World's Fair
Stewart MacGregory on getting into radio in New York and the onset of World War II
Stewart MacGregory on his experiences in World War II
Stewart MacGregory on becoming a cryptograph specialist in World War II
Stewart MacGregory on going to work for The Kraft Music Hall  with Perry Como and traveling to Dallas to film the day after John F. Kennedy was shot

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Stewart MacGregory on the Hollywood Blacklist

JFK Assassination and Funeral

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on going to work for The Kraft Music Hall  with Perry Como and traveling to Dallas to film the day after John F. Kennedy was shot

John F. Kennedy

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager for NBC's coverage of the 1960 Presidential Elections 
Stewart MacGregory on going to work for The Kraft Music Hall  with Perry Como and traveling to Dallas to film the day after John F. Kennedy was shot

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on going to work for NBC television 
Stewart MacGregory on his mentors

Richard M. Nixon

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Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager for NBC's coverage of the 1960 Presidential Elections 

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for NBC Television starting in 1948
Stewart MacGregory on the atmosphere and logistics of a live television broadcast
Stewart MacGregory on the cameras and other equipment used in the Golden Age of Television 

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on how the advent of color affected his job as stage coordinator 

Television Industry

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on live commercials for Kraft Television Theatre
Stewart MacGregory on what represents the best of television 
Stewart MacGregory on the then-current state of NBC
Stewart MacGregory on the Hollywood Blacklist

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager for NBC's coverage of the 1960 Presidential Elections 
Stewart MacGregory on going to work for The Kraft Music Hall  with Perry Como and traveling to Dallas to film the day after John F. Kennedy was shot

War

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on getting into radio in New York and the onset of World War II
Stewart MacGregory on his experiences in World War II
Stewart MacGregory on becoming a cryptograph specialist in World War II

World War II

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on getting into radio in New York and the onset of World War II
Stewart MacGregory on his experiences in World War II
Stewart MacGregory on becoming a cryptograph specialist in World War II
Professions

Production Professionals

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Stewart MacGregory on the duties of a stage coordinator 
Stewart MacGregory on how the advent of color affected his job as stage coordinator 
Stewart MacGregory on the technical aspects of being a unit manager on Wide Wide World
Stewart MacGregory on the difference between a unit manager and a production manager 

Stage Manager

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Stewart MacGregory on the duties of a stage coordinator 
Stewart MacGregory on how the advent of color affected his job as stage coordinator 

Unit Production Manager

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Stewart MacGregory on the technical aspects of being a unit manager on Wide Wide World
Stewart MacGregory on the difference between a unit manager and a production manager 
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on acting as stage coordinator for Chevrolet on Broadway
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Kraft Television Theatre  produced by David Susskind
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Armstrong Circle Theatre
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
Stewart MacGregory on acting as stage coordinator for Armstrong Circle Theatre  and Martin Kane, Private Eye
Stewart MacGregory on live commercials for Kraft Television Theatre
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager on The  Bell Telephone Hour

Comedy Series

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for Saturday Night Live

Commercials

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Stewart MacGregory on live commercials for Kraft Television Theatre

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Americana  and Barney Blake, Police Reporter
Stewart MacGregory on acting as stage coordinator for Armstrong Circle Theatre  and Martin Kane, Private Eye

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for The Doctors

Game Shows

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Americana  and Barney Blake, Police Reporter

Late Night

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager on The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar
Stewart MacGregory on the infamous "water closet incident" from The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for Saturday Night Live

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on working with Perry Como on The  Kraft Music Hall

News and Documentary

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager of Wide Wide World
Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager for NBC's coverage of the 1960 Presidential Elections 
Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager for Wide Wide World
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for Today

Sports

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for the 1966 World Series

Talk Shows

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager on The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar
Stewart MacGregory on working with Jack Paar on The Jack Paar Program
Stewart MacGregory on the infamous "water closet incident" from The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar
People

Ray Bolger

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Stewart MacGregory on Ray Bolger on The  Bell Telephone Hour

Perry Como

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Stewart MacGregory on working with Perry Como on The  Kraft Music Hall

Fielder Cook

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Stewart MacGregory on various people with whom he worked in his career: Fielder Cook

Gordon Duff

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Stewart MacGregory on various people with whom he worked in his career: Gordon Duff

Dave Garroway

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Stewart MacGregory on Dave Garroway, host of Wide Wide World

John F. Kennedy

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Stewart MacGregory on going to work for The Kraft Music Hall  with Perry Como and traveling to Dallas to film the day after John F. Kennedy was shot

Delbert Mann

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Stewart MacGregory on various people with whom he worked in his career: Delbert Mann

Jack Paar

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Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager on The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar
Stewart MacGregory on the infamous "water closet incident" from The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar
Stewart MacGregory on working with Jack Paar on The Jack Paar Program

Ira Skutch

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Stewart MacGregory on various people with whom he worked in his career: Ira Skutch

Dick Smith

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Stewart MacGregory on various people with whom he worked in his career: Dick Smith

David Susskind

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Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Kraft Television Theatre  produced by David Susskind

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