Tad Mosel

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his six-hour Archive interview, Tad Mosel (1922-2008) talks about his early years growing up in the Great Depression and his experience in World War II. He describes his education at Amherst College and the first original plays he got published or produced. He chronicles the very first script he sold for television, and talks about adapting a James Thurber short story for Omnibus. He recounts the many adaptations and original teleplays he wrote for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, Medallion Theater, Playhouse 90, and Studio One. In particular, Mosel recalls adapting "The Petrified Forest" for Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Henry Fonda on Producers' Showcase. He outlines adapting James Agee's novel "A Death in the Family" for the stage with a play titled "All the Way Home," for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. He speaks of the death of live television, and sums up his feelings about the Golden Age of Television. He concludes by detailing several people with whom worked in his career. Michael Rosen conducted the interview on October 18, 1997 in Concord, NH.

"It's hard for young people today to realize what it was like to grow up before television. Television, I think, is the most revolutionary event of the 20th century....The television camera reduced the world to your living room, literally. You knew things when you were six that I didn't know till I was 40." 

Highlights
Tad Mosel on writing "The Haven" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse  produced by Fred Coe and on Coe's contribution to television 
05:24
Tad Mosel on the camaraderie among writers during the Golden Age of Television
03:23
Tad Mosel on writing "The Out of Towners" (starring E.G. Marshall and Eileen Heckart) for Studio One
04:09
Tad Mosel on adapting James Agee's novel "A Death in the Family" to the Pulitzer Prize wining play "All the Way Home," and the show being saved by a plug from Ed Sullivan
07:54
Tad Mosel on what the Golden Age of Television means to him 
04:13
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on growing up in the Great Depression and his experience in World War II 
On enjoying going to the theater as a child and books he enjoyed growing up
On what he learned from the plays he read as a child; on learning to write as a child

Chapter 2

On acting in high school; on being editor of his school paper; on the importance of finishing projects he started
On his education at Amherst College; on directing plays at Amherst College and on writing plays while in the Air Force; on finding his writing style and on his influences 
On the first plays he got published and produced; on writing an adaptation as opposed to writing an original piece

Chapter 3

On acting while at the Yale School of Drama and on Broadway; on becoming a teacher and winning a Pulitzer 
On taking his first jobs in television; on early television shows he watched and the first script he sold for television, "The Haven"; on adapting a James Thurber short story for Omnibus

Chapter 4

On writing for Ominbus; on a typical episode of Omnibus and adapting a James Thurber short story for the show; on writing "The Decision at Arrowsmith" for Medallion Theater starring Henry Fonda
On writing for the series Jamie and on working with producer David Susskind; on how a writer got work in television in the '50s; on writing "The Haven" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse produced by Fred Coe and on Coe's contribution to television; on the studios where live television was produced in the '50s

Chapter 5

On how the technological advances in camera work affected writing for television and on the challenges of writing to accommodate costume changes; on writing to commercial breaks for live television and on adapting "A Death in the Family" for the stage; on his first meeting with Fred Coe and on his fondness for Coe
On writing "The Haven" for Fred Coe's Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse;  on the first scripts he wrote that were produced for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

Chapter 6

On working with director Delbert Mann; on writing "Other People's Houses" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on working with various directors on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse including Arthur Penn and Delbert Mann
On his involvement in production with shows like "The Haven" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on casting Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on writing "The Morning Face" and "The Lawn Party" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and "The Play Room" for Playhouse 90

Chapter 7

On working with Eileen Heckart and various other actors including Kim Stanley; on writing "The Presence of the Enemy" for Studio One and working with E.G. Marshall; on writing "The Out of Towners" (starring E.G. Marshall and Eileen Heckart) for Studio One
On writing "The Waiting Place" for Playwrights '56; on writing "Guilty is the Stranger" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; on writing "My Lost Saints" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

Chapter 8

On his writing process
On working with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Henry Fonda on Producers' Showcase: "The Petrified Forest"
On working in Hollywood as opposed to working in New York; on working with Martin Manulis on Playhouse 90

Chapter 9

On writing "The Five Dollar Bill" for Studio One; on writing for Playhouse 90 for producer Martin Manulis; on the differences between producers Martin Manulis and Fred Coe
On writing "If You Knew Elizabeth" for Playhouse 90; on how Playhouse 90 handled the time difference between the East Coast and the West Coast with the use of kinescopes; on writing "The Play Room" and "The Innocent Sleep" (featuring Buster Keaton) for Playhouse 90
On casting for Playhouse 90; on watching Playhouse 90 go live

Chapter 10

On watching Playhouse 90 and other live dramas of his be performed; on the pressures of writing and performing for live television and the decline of live television
On the advent of video tape and its impact on television; on writing "The Invincible Teddy Roosevelt" for Our American Heritage; on adapting James Agee's novel "A Death in the Family" into the Pulitzer Prize wining play "All the Way Home"

Chapter 11

On adapting James Agee's novel "A Death in the Family" into the Pulitzer Prize wining play "All the Way Home," and on the show being saved by a plug from Ed Sullivan; on the experience of winning the Pulitzer for "All the Way Home "
On writing "Three Roads to Rome" starring Deborah Kerr for ITV Play of the Week; on adapting various novels into feature films including "Up the Down Staircase"; on writing The Adams Chronicles 

Chapter 12

On his work on The Adams Chronicles;  on what the Golden Age of Television means to him and on camaraderie among writers in that era
On the programs that have represented the best of television; on the then-future of television; on dealing with network censorship on an NBC adaptation of All the Way Home
On various people he worked with in his career; on his mentor, Kurt Canfield

Chapter 13

On individuals he worked with over the course of his career
On the Archive of American Television
Shows

Adams Chronicles, The

View Show Page
Tad Mosel on his work on The Adams Chronicles 
09:57

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

View Show Page
Tad Mosel on adapting James Agee's novel "A Death in the Family" to the Pulitzer Prize wining play "All the Way Home," and the show being saved by a plug from Ed Sullivan
07:54

Medallion Theater

View Show Page
Tad Mosel on writing "The Decision at Arrowsmith" for Medallion Theater starring Henry Fonda
06:48

Omnibus

View Show Page
Tad Mosel on adapting a James Thurber short story for Omnibus
03:38
Tad Mosel on writing for Ominbus
02:56
Tad Mosel on a typical episode of Omnibus and adapting a James Thurber short story for the show
03:52

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

View Show Page
Tad Mosel on writing "The Haven" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse produced by Fred Coe and on Coe's contribution to television 
05:24
Tad Mosel on writing "The Haven" for Fred Coe's Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
03:26
Tad Mosel on the sponsors of Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
01:08
Tad Mosel on the process of writing "The Haven" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
01:33
Tad Mosel on the first scripts he wrote that were produced for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
04:40
Tad Mosel on writing "Other People's Houses" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
06:53
Tad Mosel on working with various directors on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse including Arthur Penn and Delbert Mann
02:46
Tad Mosel on his involvement in production with shows like "The Haven" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
02:09
Tad Mosel on casting Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
02:01
Tad Mosel on writing "The Morning Face" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and "The Play Room" for Playhouse 90
04:41
Tad Mosel on writing "The Lawn Party" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
02:46
Tad Mosel on writing "Guilty is the Stranger" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
04:16
Tad Mosel on writing "My Lost Saints" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
06:15

Playhouse 90

View Show Page
Tad Mosel on writing "The Morning Face" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and "The Play Room" for Playhouse 90
04:41
Tad Mosel on working with Martin Manulis on Playhouse 90
01:50
Tad Mosel on writing for Playhouse 90 for producer Martin Manulis
02:36
Tad Mosel on writing "If You Knew Elizabeth" for Playhouse 90
04:13
Tad Mosel on how Playhouse 90 handled the time difference between the East Coast and the West Coast with the use of kinescopes
02:13
Tad Mosel on writing "The Play Room" and "The Innocent Sleep" (featuring Buster Keaton) for Playhouse 90
06:36
Tad Mosel on casting for Playhouse 90
03:02
Tad Mosel on watching Playhouse 90 go live
01:38
Tad Mosel on watching Playhouse 90 and other live dramas of his be performed
10:14

Playwrights '56

View Show Page
Tad Mosel on writing "The Waiting Place" for Playwrights '56
03:35

Producers' Showcase

View Show Page
Tad Mosel on working with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Henry Fonda on Producers' Showcase: "The Petrified Forest"
13:05

Studio One

View Show Page
Tad Mosel on writing "The Presence of the Enemy" for Studio One and working with E.G. Marshall
04:09
Tad Mosel on writing "The Out of Towners" (starring E.G. Marshall and Eileen Heckart) for Studio One
04:09
Tad Mosel on writing "The Five Dollar Bill" for Studio One
07:16
Topics

Anthology Drama

View Topic
Tad Mosel on writing for Ominbus
06:48
Tad Mosel on writing for Medallion Theater
06:48
Tad Mosel on writing "The Haven" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse  produced by Fred Coe and on Coe's contribution to television 
05:24
Tad Mosel on writing for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
10:47
Tad Mosel on writing for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
21:16
Tad Mosel on writing for Studio One
04:09
Tad Mosel on writing "The Waiting Place" for Playwrights '56
03:35
Tad Mosel on writing for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
10:31
Tad Mosel on working with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Henry Fonda on Producers' Showcase: "The Petrified Forest"
13:05
Tad Mosel on working with Martin Manulis on Playhouse 90
01:50
Tad Mosel on writing "The Five Dollar Bill" for Studio One
07:16
Tad Mosel on writing for Playhouse 90
21:51
Tad Mosel on watching Playhouse 90 and other live dramas of his be performed
10:14
Tad Mosel on what the Golden Age of Television means to him 
04:13
Tad Mosel on the camaraderie among writers during the Golden Age of Television
03:23

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Tad Mosel on dealing with network censorship on an NBC adaptation of All the Way Home
01:55

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Tad Mosel on finding his writing style and on his influences 
04:47
Tad Mosel on his mentor, Kurt Canfield
01:34

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Tad Mosel on growing up in the Great Depression and his experience in World War II
04:03

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

View Topic
Tad Mosel on writing for Ominbus
06:48
Tad Mosel on writing for Medallion Theater
06:48
Tad Mosel on writing "The Haven" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse  produced by Fred Coe and on Coe's contribution to television 
05:24
Tad Mosel on writing for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
10:47
Tad Mosel on writing for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
21:16
Tad Mosel on writing for Studio One
04:09
Tad Mosel on writing "The Waiting Place" for Playwrights '56
03:35
Tad Mosel on writing for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
10:31
Tad Mosel on working with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Henry Fonda on Producers' Showcase: "The Petrified Forest"
13:05
Tad Mosel on working with Martin Manulis on Playhouse 90
01:50
Tad Mosel on writing "The Five Dollar Bill" for Studio One
07:16
Tad Mosel on writing for Playhouse 90
21:51
Tad Mosel on watching Playhouse 90 and other live dramas of his be performed
10:14
Tad Mosel on what the Golden Age of Television means to him 
04:13
Tad Mosel on the camaraderie among writers during the Golden Age of Television
03:23

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Tad Mosel on how the technological advances in camera work affected writing for television and on the challenges of writing to accommodate costume changes
08:19
Tad Mosel on the advent of video tape and its impact on television
07:08

Television Industry

View Topic
Tad Mosel on the pressures of writing and performing for live television and the decline of live television
02:28
Tad Mosel on the programs that have represented the best of television 
02:40
Tad Mosel on dealing with network censorship on an NBC adaptation of All the Way Home
01:55

War

View Topic
Tad Mosel on growing up in the Great Depression and his experience in World War II
04:03

World War II

View Topic
Tad Mosel on growing up in the Great Depression and his experience in World War II
04:03
Professions

Writers

View Profession
Tad Mosel on finding his writing style and on his influences 
04:47
Tad Mosel on writing an adaptation as opposed to writing an original piece
05:16
Tad Mosel on how the technological advances in camera work affected writing for television and on the challenges of writing to accommodate costume changes
08:19
Tad Mosel on writing to commercial breaks for live television and on adapting "A Death in the Family" for the stage
02:56
Tad Mosel on his writing process
10:28
Tad Mosel on working in Hollywood as opposed to working in New York
02:34
Tad Mosel on the pressures of writing and performing for live television and the decline of live television
02:28
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Tad Mosel on adapting a James Thurber short story for Omnibus
03:38
Tad Mosel on writing for Ominbus
06:48
Tad Mosel on writing for Medallion Theater
06:48
Tad Mosel on writing "The Haven" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse  produced by Fred Coe and on Coe's contribution to television 
05:24
Tad Mosel on writing for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
10:47
Tad Mosel on writing for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
21:16
Tad Mosel on writing for Studio One
04:09
Tad Mosel on writing "The Waiting Place" for Playwrights '56
03:35
Tad Mosel on writing for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
10:31
Tad Mosel on working with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Henry Fonda on Producers' Showcase: "The Petrified Forest"
13:05
Tad Mosel on working with Martin Manulis on Playhouse 90
01:50
Tad Mosel on writing "The Five Dollar Bill" for Studio One
07:16
Tad Mosel on writing for Playhouse 90
21:51
Tad Mosel on watching Playhouse 90 and other live dramas of his be performed
10:14

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Tad Mosel on writing The Adams Chronicles 
00:18
Tad Mosel on his work on The Adams Chronicles 
09:57
Tad Mosel on dealing with network censorship on an NBC adaptation of All the Way Home
01:55
People

Fred Allen

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on adapting a James Thurber short story for Omnibus  (featuring Fred Allen and Margaret Hamilton)
03:38

Robert Alan Aurthur

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on Robert Alan Aurthur
01:08

Lauren Bacall

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on working with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Henry Fonda on Producers' Showcase: "The Petrified Forest"
13:05
Tad Mosel on Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart
01:49

Humphrey Bogart

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on working with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Henry Fonda on Producers' Showcase: "The Petrified Forest"
13:05
Tad Mosel on Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart
01:49

Shirley Booth

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on writing "If You Knew Elizabeth" for Playhouse 90 (written for Shirley Booth but played by Claire Trevor)
04:12

Fred Coe

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on writing "The Haven" for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse  produced by Fred Coe and on Coe's contribution to television 
05:24
Tad Mosel on his first meeting with Fred Coe and on his fondness for Coe
05:32
Tad Mosel on the differences between producers Martin Manulis and Fred Coe
01:34

Gordon Duff

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on Gordon Duff
01:18

Sumner Locke Elliott

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on Sumner Locke Elliott
03:04

Henry Fonda

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on writing "The Decision at Arrowsmith" for Medallion Theater  starring Henry Fonda
06:48
Tad Mosel on working with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Henry Fonda on Producers' Showcase: "The Petrified Forest"
13:05

Margaret Hamilton

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on adapting a James Thurber short story for Omnibus  (featuring Fred Allen and Margaret Hamilton)
03:38

Eileen Heckart

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on writing "Other People's Houses" starring Eileen Heckart for Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
06:53
Tad Mosel on working with Eileen Heckart and various other actors including Kim Stanley
05:55
Tad Mosel on writing "The Out of Towners" (starring E.G. Marshall and Eileen Heckart) for Studio One
04:09

Buster Keaton

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on writing "The Play Room" and "The Innocent Sleep" (featuring Buster Keaton) for Playhouse 90
06:36

Delbert Mann

View Interview Page
Tad Mosel on working with director Delbert Mann
06:12
Tad Mosel on Delbert Mann
03:05

Martin Manulis

View Interview Page
Tad Mosel on working with Martin Manulis on Playhouse 90
01:50
Tad Mosel on writing for Playhouse 90 for producer Martin Manulis
02:36
Tad Mosel on the differences between producers Martin Manulis and Fred Coe
01:34

E. G. Marshall

View Interview Page
Tad Mosel on writing "The Presence of the Enemy" for Studio One  and working with E.G. Marshall
04:09
Tad Mosel on writing "The Out of Towners" (starring E.G. Marshall and Eileen Heckart) for Studio One
04:09

JP Miller

View Interview Page
Tad Mosel on JP Miller
00:42

Franklin J. Schaffner

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on Franklin Schaffner
00:47

Rod Serling

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on Rod Serling
02:00

Kim Stanley

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on working with Eileen Heckart and various other actors including Kim Stanley
05:55

Ed Sullivan

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on adapting James Agee's novel "A Death in the Family" to the Pulitzer Prize wining play "All the Way Home," and the show being saved by a plug from Ed Sullivan
07:54

David Susskind

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on writing for the series Jamie  and on working with producer David Susskind
03:16

Vaughn Taylor

View Person Page
Tad Mosel on Vaughn Taylor
02:02

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