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."

Highlights
Stewart MacGregory on the infamous "water closet incident" from The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar
04:31
Stewart MacGregory on the atmosphere and logistics of a live television broadcast
02:55
Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager for NBC's coverage of the 1960 Presidential Elections 
06:21
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
10:15
Stewart MacGregory on what represents the best of television 
02:42
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

View Show Page
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Armstrong Circle Theatre
01:27
Stewart MacGregory on acting as stage coordinator for Armstrong Circle Theatre  and Martin Kane, Private Eye
05:30

Barney Blake, Police Reporter

View Show Page
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Americana and Barney Blake, Police Reporter
04:19

Bell Telephone Hour, The

View Show Page
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager on The  Bell Telephone Hour
05:40
Stewart MacGregory on the types of acts that appeared on The  Bell Telephone Hour
03:53
Stewart MacGregory on Ray Bolger on The  Bell Telephone Hour
01:01

Chevrolet Tele-Theater aka Chevrolet on Broadway

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Stewart MacGregory on acting as stage coordinator for Chevrolet on Broadway
07:38
Stewart MacGregory on Chevrolet on Broadway  being a live presentation 
08:13

Doctors, The

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Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for The Doctors
02:15

Jack Paar Program, The (1962-65)

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Stewart MacGregory on working with Jack Paar on The Jack Paar Program
06:55

Kraft Music Hall, The

View Show Page
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
10:17
Stewart MacGregory on working with Perry Como on The  Kraft Music Hall
01:30

Kraft Television Theatre

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Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Kraft Television Theatre  produced by David Susskind
03:46
Stewart MacGregory on live commercials for Kraft Television Theatre
03:32

Martin Kane, Private Eye

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Stewart MacGregory on acting as stage coordinator for Armstrong Circle Theatre  and Martin Kane, Private Eye
05:28

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

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Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
06:59

Saturday Night Live

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Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for Saturday Night Live  for a few weeks in 1977
04:27
Stewart MacGregory on returning to Saturday Night Live in 1981
03:16

Today

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Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for Today
11:45

Tonight Starring Jack Paar aka The Jack Paar Show

View Show Page
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar
01:24
Stewart MacGregory on the infamous "water closet incident" from The Tonight Show with Jack Paar
04:31

Wide Wide World

View Show Page
Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager of Wide Wide World
12:00
Stewart MacGregory on Dave Garroway, host of Wide Wide World
01:26
Stewart MacGregory on the technical aspects of being a unit manager on Wide Wide World
05:32
Stewart MacGregory on favorite segments from Wide Wide World
02:48
Stewart MacGregory on the cancellation of Wide Wide World
02:03

World Series

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Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for the 1966 World Series
02:36
Topics

1939-40 World's Fair

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on seeing television at the 1939 World's Fair
02:24

Advertising and Sponsorship

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on live commercials for Kraft Television Theatre
03:32

Comedy-Variety

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for NBC Television starting in 1948
05:16

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on his mentors
03:38

First Big Break

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on going to work for NBC television 
01:38

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on seeing television at the 1939 World's Fair
02:24
Stewart MacGregory on getting into radio in New York and the onset of World War II
09:24
Stewart MacGregory on his experiences in World War II
08:25
Stewart MacGregory on becoming a cryptograph specialist in World War II
04:34
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
10:17

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on the Hollywood Blacklist
04:06

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on the Hollywood Blacklist
04:06

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
10:17

John F. Kennedy

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager for NBC's coverage of the 1960 Presidential Elections 
06:21
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
10:17

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on going to work for NBC television 
01:38
Stewart MacGregory on his mentors
03:38

Richard M. Nixon

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager for NBC's coverage of the 1960 Presidential Elections 
06:21

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

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for NBC Television starting in 1948
05:16
Stewart MacGregory on the atmosphere and logistics of a live television broadcast
02:55
Stewart MacGregory on the cameras and other equipment used in the Golden Age of Television 
05:20

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on how the advent of color affected his job as stage coordinator 
03:51

Television Industry

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on live commercials for Kraft Television Theatre
03:32
Stewart MacGregory on what represents the best of television 
02:42
Stewart MacGregory on the then-current state of NBC
00:57
Stewart MacGregory on the Hollywood Blacklist
04:06

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager for NBC's coverage of the 1960 Presidential Elections 
06:21
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
10:17

War

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on getting into radio in New York and the onset of World War II
09:24
Stewart MacGregory on his experiences in World War II
08:25
Stewart MacGregory on becoming a cryptograph specialist in World War II
04:34

World War II

View Topic
Stewart MacGregory on getting into radio in New York and the onset of World War II
09:24
Stewart MacGregory on his experiences in World War II
08:25
Stewart MacGregory on becoming a cryptograph specialist in World War II
04:34
Professions

Production Professionals

View Profession
Stewart MacGregory on the duties of a stage coordinator 
04:22
Stewart MacGregory on how the advent of color affected his job as stage coordinator 
03:51
Stewart MacGregory on the technical aspects of being a unit manager on Wide Wide World
05:32
Stewart MacGregory on the difference between a unit manager and a production manager 
01:53

Stage Manager

View Profession
Stewart MacGregory on the duties of a stage coordinator 
04:22
Stewart MacGregory on how the advent of color affected his job as stage coordinator 
03:51

Unit Production Manager

View Profession
Stewart MacGregory on the technical aspects of being a unit manager on Wide Wide World
05:32
Stewart MacGregory on the difference between a unit manager and a production manager 
01:53
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on acting as stage coordinator for Chevrolet on Broadway
15:51
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Kraft Television Theatre  produced by David Susskind
03:46
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Armstrong Circle Theatre
01:27
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
06:59
Stewart MacGregory on acting as stage coordinator for Armstrong Circle Theatre  and Martin Kane, Private Eye
05:28
Stewart MacGregory on live commercials for Kraft Television Theatre
03:32
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager on The  Bell Telephone Hour
09:35

Comedy Series

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for Saturday Night Live
12:08

Commercials

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on live commercials for Kraft Television Theatre
03:32

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Americana  and Barney Blake, Police Reporter
04:19
Stewart MacGregory on acting as stage coordinator for Armstrong Circle Theatre  and Martin Kane, Private Eye
05:28

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for The Doctors
02:15

Game Shows

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Americana  and Barney Blake, Police Reporter
04:19

Late Night

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager on The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar
01:24
Stewart MacGregory on the infamous "water closet incident" from The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar
04:31
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for Saturday Night Live
12:08

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on working with Perry Como on The  Kraft Music Hall
11:48

News and Documentary

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager of Wide Wide World
12:00
Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager for NBC's coverage of the 1960 Presidential Elections 
06:21
Stewart MacGregory on acting as unit manager for Wide Wide World
11:49
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for Today
11:45

Sports

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager for the 1966 World Series
02:36

Talk Shows

View Genre
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager on The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar
01:24
Stewart MacGregory on working with Jack Paar on The Jack Paar Program
06:55
Stewart MacGregory on the infamous "water closet incident" from The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar
04:31
People

Ray Bolger

View Person Page
Stewart MacGregory on Ray Bolger on The  Bell Telephone Hour
01:01

Perry Como

View Person Page
Stewart MacGregory on working with Perry Como on The  Kraft Music Hall
01:31

Fielder Cook

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Stewart MacGregory on various people with whom he worked in his career: Fielder Cook
00:30

Gordon Duff

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Stewart MacGregory on various people with whom he worked in his career: Gordon Duff
00:31

Dave Garroway

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Stewart MacGregory on Dave Garroway, host of Wide Wide World
01:23

John F. Kennedy

View Person Page
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
10:17

Delbert Mann

View Interview Page
Stewart MacGregory on various people with whom he worked in his career: Delbert Mann
00:39

Jack Paar

View Person Page
Stewart MacGregory on being unit manager on The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar
01:24
Stewart MacGregory on the infamous "water closet incident" from The Tonight Show  with Jack Paar
04:31
Stewart MacGregory on working with Jack Paar on The Jack Paar Program
06:55

Ira Skutch

View Person Page
Stewart MacGregory on various people with whom he worked in his career: Ira Skutch
00:25

Dick Smith

View Interview Page
Stewart MacGregory on various people with whom he worked in his career: Dick Smith
00:53

David Susskind

View Person Page
Stewart MacGregory on being stage coordinator for Kraft Television Theatre  produced by David Susskind
03:46

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