Ted Bergmann

Network Executive / Advertising Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his five-hour Archive interview, Ted Bergmann (1920-2014) talks about his early years breaking into the business at NBC radio, working as a page before World War II, then as an announcer/ producer after the war. He then describes in great detail his primary association in television, working for the DuMont Television Network. Bergmann talks about his work rising through the ranks at DuMont, as a staff member in the Sales Department up until becoming the Managing Director of the Broadcast Division. Bergmann describes in detail several series that appeared on the network (many of which he was responsible for selling), including: The Original Amateur Hour, Fashions on Parade, Captain Video and His Video Rangers, The Arthur Murray Party, Cavalcade of Stars, and Life Is Worth Living. He also talks about sports on the DuMont network— one of their staples in programming. Bergmann reminisces about Dr. Allen B. DuMont, who ran the network, and Thomas Goldsmith, the Chief of Research who pioneered such innovations as the color tube in television. Bergmann describes the FCC rulings regarding UHF and VHF stations that greatly contributed to the network's downfall. Bergmann also talks about his later work as an advertising executive, as well as his association on an executive-producing level for The Best on Record specials (the first Grammy Awards shows) and the hit sitcom Three's Company. B-roll consists of over a dozen photographs from his days at the Dumont network as well as a few from Three's Company. Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview on March 17, 2004 in Pacific Palisades, CA.

"Just being in on the start of television, that was the luckiest break I ever had in my life. Even though it was DuMont, it was still television in all its forms and facets and I was able to polish them and learn about them and be equipped to handle any kind of show." 

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Ted Bergmann on DuMont's coverage of the 1952 political conventions
Ted Bergmann on the fixed game show Twenty-One
Ted Bergmann on Paramount's involvement with DuMont
Ted Bergmann on how Ethel Winant suggested John Ritter for the lead role on Three's Company, as "the next Jack Lemmon"; rest of cast
Ted Bergmann on casting Don Knotts on Three's Company
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on attending prep school and not finishing college; on becoming an NBC page in New York; on producing shows in Spanish
On attending the 1939 World's Fair; on selling advertising time for DuMont
On the DuMont building in New York; on the studio and early lighting; on early DuMont shows

Chapter 2

On the early DuMont shows Birthday Party, Small Fry Club, Original Amateur Hour, Fashions on Parade, and Captain Video and His Video Rangers
On the early DuMont shows Magic Cottage, Charade Kids, and Cavalcade of Stars

Chapter 3

On commercial placement and the stars on Cavalcade of Stars; on memories of The Arthur Murray Party and Rocky King, Detective
On the DuMont shows Down You Go, The Goldbergs, Life Begins at Eighty, The Television Department Store, and Life Is Worth Living

Chapter 4

On Bishop Fulton Sheen and sponsorship on Life Is Worth Living
On what sponsors looked for in a show; on how DuMont stayed competitive
On the importance of sports for DuMont

Chapter 5

On arrangements to televise boxing and football for DuMont
On his rise and job titles at DuMont; on Dr. DuMont
On DuMont's work with color television

Chapter 6

On DuMont and RCA's color television systems
On DuMont's coverage of the Army-McCarthy Hearings and the 1952 political conventions
On the Telecenter and the opening ceremony from the new studio
On technological innovations at DuMont, including television transcription and the Electronicam System; on selling the Electronicam System to Jackie Gleason and Gleason using it on The Honeymooners

Chapter 7

On the evolution of video tape
On the FCC's Sixth Report and Order; on DuMont selling its Pittsburgh station and Paramount's involvement with DuMont
On ABC competing with NBC and CBS; on Leonard Goldenson's interest in merging ABC with DuMont

Chapter 8

On the DuMont board's reaction to the ABC deal; on leaving DuMont for McCann Erickson; on the demise of DuMont and the network's legacy
On his role as a Director of Television at McCann Erickson; on running Coca Cola's television interests and producing McCann Erickson's TV program for President Eisenhower's birthday
On becoming president of Parkson Advertising; on how the Quiz Show Scandals affected the advertising agencies
On working with Revlon's Charles Revson; on the Hollywood Blacklist
On establishing Charter Producers Corporation and producing Leave It To The Girls and The Best On Record, the precursor to The Grammys

Chapter 9

On working with Arthur Godfrey on his radio show; on working for Ted Bates Advertising and running TV programming for Colgate
On becoming a partner at Herman Rush Associates
On his association with Three's Company; on the first show and finding the female leads; on the show's producers; on casting John Ritter on Three's Company

Chapter 10

On casting John Ritter and the female leads on Three's Company; on contract negotiation troubles with Suzanne Somers
On Three's Company's Norman Fell and Audra Lindley; on casting Don Knotts; on the end of Three's Company and the beginning of Three's A Crowd
On retiring from television; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Army-McCarthy Hearings

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Ted Bergmann on DuMont's coverage of the Army-McCarthy Hearings

Arthur Murray Party, The

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Ted Bergmann on his memories of The Arthur Murray Party

Birthday Party

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show, Birthday Party
Ted Bergmann on the sponsor for Birthday Party

Captain Video and His Video Rangers

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Ted Bergmann on camera mishaps and tricks discovered on Captain Video and His Video Rangers

Cavalcade of Stars

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Cavalcade of Stars
Ted Bergmann on commercial placement on Cavalcade of Stars
Ted Bergmann on Jack Carter leaving Cavalcade of Stars and replacing him with Jackie Gleason
Ted Bergmann on memories of Art Carney from Cavalcade of Stars
Ted Bergmann on stars who appeared on Cavalcade of Stars
Ted Bergmann on the relationship between MCA and Cavalcade of Stars
Ted Bergmann on why Cavalcade of Stars   went off the air

Charade Quiz

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Charade Quiz

Coke Time

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Ted Bergmann on running Coca Cola's television interests, including Coke Time With Eddie Fisher

Colgate Comedy Hour, The

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Ted Bergmann on managing Colgate's television interests, including Colgate Comedy Hour

Doctors, The

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Ted Bergmann on managing Colgate's television interests, including The Doctors
Ted Bergmann on managing Colgate's television interests, including The Doctors

Down You Go

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Ted Bergmann on his memories of the game show Down You Go

Fashions on Parade

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Fashions on Parade

Goldbergs, The

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Ted Bergmann on The Goldbergs being picked up by the DuMont network (following its run on CBS, then NBC)

Grammys, The

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Ted Bergmann on producing the precursor to The Grammys, original titled The Best On Record

Honeymooners, The

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Ted Bergmann on selling the Electronicam System to Jackie Gleason and Gleason using it on The Honeymooners

It's Shopping Time at A&S

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Ted Bergmann on memories of The Television Department Store

Leave It to the Girls

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Ted Bergmann on producing Leave It To The Girls

Life Begins at Eighty

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Ted Bergmann on the sponsorship of Life Begins at Eighty

Life Is Worth Living

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Ted Bergmann on memories of Bishop Fulton Sheen's Life Is Worth Living
Ted Bergmann on Bishop Fulton Sheen and sponsorship on Life Is Worth Living
Ted Bergmann on the first episode of Life Is Worth Living

Magic Cottage

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Magic Cottage

Morey Amsterdam Show, The

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Ted Bergmann on memories of Art Carney from Cavalcade of Stars

Original Amateur Hour, The

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Original Amateur Hour and changes from the radio to TV version of the show
Ted Bergmann on how Original Amateur Hour was lured away by other networks

Rocky King, Detective

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Ted Bergmann on his memories of Rocky King, Detective

Ropers, The

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Ted Bergmann on the Three's Company's spin-off, The Ropers, starring Norman Fell and Audra Lindley

Small Fry Club

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Small Fry Club

Three's A Crowd

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Ted Bergmann on the end of Three's Company and the beginning of Three's A Crowd

Three's Company

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Ted Bergmann on his association with Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on Larry Gelbart adapting and producing the pilot for Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on the initial success of Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on recasting the female leads in Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on the producers of Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on the writers and on-set producers of Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on casting John Ritter on Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on how Ethel Winant suggested John Ritter for the lead role on Three's Company, as "the next Jack Lemmon"; rest of cast
Ted Bergmann on casting the female leads on Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on how the public and industry responded to Three's Company and some advertisers refusing to advertise in it
Ted Bergmann on how the popularity of Three's Company affected the stars
Ted Bergmann on contract negotiation troubles with Suzanne Somers on Three's Company and Somers leaving the show
Ted Bergmann on Three's Company's Norman Fell and Audra Lindley
Ted Bergmann on casting Don Knotts on Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on the syndication deal on Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on the end of Three's Company and the beginning of Three's A Crowd

Twenty One

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Ted Bergmann on the fixed game show Twenty-One
Topics

Advertising and Sponsorship

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Ted Bergmann on early TV's relationship between the network, sponsor, and ad agency
Ted Bergmann on what sponsors looked for in a show and how DuMont stayed competitive 

Coverage

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Ted Bergmann on the importance of sports to DuMont
Ted Bergmann on arrangements to televise boxing for DuMont
Ted Bergmann on arrangements to televise football for DuMont

Hollywood Blacklist

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Ted Bergmann on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Ted Bergmann on the fixed game show Twenty-One
Ted Bergmann on how the Quiz Show Scandals affected the advertising agencies
Ted Bergmann on the Hollywood Blacklist

Quiz Show Scandals

View Topic
Ted Bergmann on the fixed game show Twenty-One
Ted Bergmann on how the Quiz Show Scandals affected the advertising agencies

Sports

View Topic
Ted Bergmann on the importance of sports to DuMont
Ted Bergmann on arrangements to televise boxing for DuMont
Ted Bergmann on arrangements to televise football for DuMont

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Ted Bergmann on DuMont's work with color television
Ted Bergmann on DuMont and RCA's color television systems
Ted Bergmann on technological innovations at DuMont, including television transcription
Ted Bergmann on technological innovations at DuMont, including the Electronicam System
Ted Bergmann on the evolution of video tape

Television Industry

View Topic
Ted Bergmann on early TV's relationship between the network, sponsor, and ad agency
Ted Bergmann on what sponsors looked for in a show and how DuMont stayed competitive 
Ted Bergmann on the fixed game show Twenty-One
Ted Bergmann on how the Quiz Show Scandals affected the advertising agencies
Ted Bergmann on the Hollywood Blacklist
Professions

Executives

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Ted Bergmann on his rise and job titles at DuMont

Television Executive

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Ted Bergmann on his rise and job titles at DuMont
Genres

Comedy Series

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Ted Bergmann on his association with Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on casting John Ritter and the female leads on Three's Company; on contract negotiation troubles with Suzanne Somers; on Three's Company's Norman Fell and Audra Lindley; on casting Don Knotts; on the end of Three's Company and the beginning of Three's A Crowd

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Ted Bergmann on commercial placement and the stars on Cavalcade of Stars
Ted Bergmann on producing the precursor to The Grammys, original titled The Best On Record

News and Documentary

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Ted Bergmann on DuMont's coverage of the Army-McCarthy Hearings

Sports

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Ted Bergmann on the importance of sports to DuMont
People

Jack Barry

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Ted Bergmann on the fixed game show Twenty-One

Gertrude Berg

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Ted Bergmann on The Goldbergs being picked up by the DuMont network (following its run on CBS, then NBC)

Eddie Cantor

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Ted Bergmann on being a page for Eddie Cantor's show

Art Carney

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Ted Bergmann on memories of Art Carney from Cavalcade of Stars

Jack Carter

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Cavalcade of Stars
Ted Bergmann on Jack Carter leaving Cavalcade of Stars and replacing him with Jackie Gleason

Joyce DeWitt

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Ted Bergmann on casting Joyce DeWitt on Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on how the popularity of Three's Company affected the stars

Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Ted Bergmann on McCann Erickson's TV program for President Eisenhower's birthday

Bob Emery

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Small Fry Club

Dan Enright

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Ted Bergmann on the fixed game show Twenty-One

Norman Fell

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Ted Bergmann on Three's Company's Norman Fell and Audra Lindley

Larry Gelbart

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Ted Bergmann on Larry Gelbart adapt the pilot for Three's Company

Jackie Gleason

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Ted Bergmann on Jack Carter leaving Cavalcade of Stars and replacing him with Jackie Gleason
Ted Bergmann on selling the Electronicam System to Jackie Gleason

Arthur Godfrey

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Ted Bergmann on working with Arthur Godfrey on his radio show

Leonard H. Goldenson

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Ted Bergmann on ABC competing with NBC and CBS
Ted Bergmann on Leonard Goldenson's interest in merging ABC with DuMont

Roscoe Karns

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Ted Bergmann on his memories of Rocky King, Detective

Don Knotts

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Ted Bergmann on casting Don Knotts on Three's Company

Audra Lindley

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Ted Bergmann on Three's Company's Norman Fell and Audra Lindley

Joseph McCarthy

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Ted Bergmann on DuMont's coverage of the Army-McCarthy Hearings

Allen B. Du Mont

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Ted Bergmann on meeting and working with Dr. DuMont
Ted Bergmann on DuMont's work with color television
Ted Bergmann on DuMont and RCA's color television systems
Ted Bergmann on Paramount's involvement with DuMont
Ted Bergmann on Leonard Goldenson's interest in merging ABC with DuMont

Arthur Murray

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Ted Bergmann on his memories of The Arthur Murray Party

Don Nicholl

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Ted Bergmann on the producers of Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on the writers and on-set producers of Three's Company

John Ritter

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Ted Bergmann on casting John Ritter on Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on how Ethel Winant suggested John Ritter for the lead role on Three's Company, as "the next Jack Lemmon"
Ted Bergmann on how the popularity of Three's Company affected the stars

David Sarnoff

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Ted Bergmann on DuMont's work with color television
Ted Bergmann on DuMont and RCA's color television systems
Ted Bergmann on the evolution of video tape

George Schlatter

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Ted Bergmann on George Schlatter serving as line producer on the precursor to The Grammys, original titled The Best On Record

Fulton J. Sheen

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Ted Bergmann on memories of Bishop Fulton Sheen's Life Is Worth Living
Ted Bergmann on Bishop Fulton Sheen and sponsorship on Life Is Worth Living
Ted Bergmann on the first episode of Life Is Worth Living and the lighting difficulties

Fred Silverman

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Ted Bergmann on Fred Silverman's interest in Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on developing Three's Company and ABC picking up the show

Suzanne Somers

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Ted Bergmann on recasting the female leads in Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on casting Joyce DeWitt on Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on how the popularity of Three's Company affected the stars
Ted Bergmann on contract negotiation troubles with Suzanne Somers on Three's Company and Somers leaving the show

Barbra Streisand

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Ted Bergmann on not being able to book Barbra Streisand for The Best on Record (the precursor to The Grammys)

Anthony D. Thomopoulos

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Ted Bergmann on the end of Three's Company and the beginning of Three's A Crowd

Bernard West

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Ted Bergmann on the producers of Three's Company
Ted Bergmann on the writers and on-set producers of Three's Company

Ethel Winant

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Ted Bergmann on how Ethel Winant suggested John Ritter for the lead role on Three's Company , as "the next Jack Lemmon"

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