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." 

Highlights
Ted Bergmann on DuMont's coverage of the 1952 political conventions
02:25
Ted Bergmann on the fixed game show Twenty-One
01:48
Ted Bergmann on Paramount's involvement with DuMont
05:24
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
02:16
Ted Bergmann on casting Don Knotts on Three's Company
00:47
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
12:34
On attending the 1939 World's Fair; on selling advertising time for DuMont
11:46
On the DuMont building in New York; on the studio and early lighting; on early DuMont shows
04:07

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
17:49
On the early DuMont shows Magic Cottage, Charade Kids, and Cavalcade of Stars
10:40

Chapter 3

On commercial placement and the stars on Cavalcade of Stars; on memories of The Arthur Murray Party and Rocky King, Detective
16:59
On the DuMont shows Down You Go, The Goldbergs, Life Begins at Eighty, The Television Department Store, and Life Is Worth Living
11:27

Chapter 4

On Bishop Fulton Sheen and sponsorship on Life Is Worth Living
16:54
On what sponsors looked for in a show; on how DuMont stayed competitive
01:49
On the importance of sports for DuMont
10:48

Chapter 5

On arrangements to televise boxing and football for DuMont
11:55
On his rise and job titles at DuMont; on Dr. DuMont
15:19
On DuMont's work with color television
01:35

Chapter 6

On DuMont and RCA's color television systems
04:12
On DuMont's coverage of the Army-McCarthy Hearings and the 1952 political conventions
06:06
On the Telecenter and the opening ceremony from the new studio
03:41
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
14:18

Chapter 7

On the evolution of video tape
05:03
On the FCC's Sixth Report and Order; on DuMont selling its Pittsburgh station and Paramount's involvement with DuMont
17:02
On ABC competing with NBC and CBS; on Leonard Goldenson's interest in merging ABC with DuMont
06:55

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
06:48
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
02:28
On becoming president of Parkson Advertising; on how the Quiz Show Scandals affected the advertising agencies
04:33
On working with Revlon's Charles Revson; on the Hollywood Blacklist
05:30
On establishing Charter Producers Corporation and producing Leave It To The Girls and The Best On Record, the precursor to The Grammys
09:14

Chapter 9

On working with Arthur Godfrey on his radio show; on working for Ted Bates Advertising and running TV programming for Colgate
07:18
On becoming a partner at Herman Rush Associates
01:39
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
20:05

Chapter 10

On casting John Ritter and the female leads on Three's Company; on contract negotiation troubles with Suzanne Somers
12:03
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
05:01
On retiring from television; on how he'd like to be remembered
01:28
Shows

Army-McCarthy Hearings

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Ted Bergmann on DuMont's coverage of the Army-McCarthy Hearings
03:40

Arthur Murray Party, The

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Ted Bergmann on his memories of The Arthur Murray Party
04:18

Birthday Party

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show, Birthday Party
00:41
Ted Bergmann on the sponsor for Birthday Party
01:20

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
05:06

Cavalcade of Stars

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Cavalcade of Stars
02:47
Ted Bergmann on commercial placement on Cavalcade of Stars
00:44
Ted Bergmann on Jack Carter leaving Cavalcade of Stars and replacing him with Jackie Gleason
06:51
Ted Bergmann on memories of Art Carney from Cavalcade of Stars
00:42
Ted Bergmann on stars who appeared on Cavalcade of Stars
01:27
Ted Bergmann on the relationship between MCA and Cavalcade of Stars
00:58
Ted Bergmann on why Cavalcade of Stars   went off the air
00:55

Charade Quiz

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Charade Quiz
06:21

Coke Time

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Ted Bergmann on running Coca Cola's television interests, including Coke Time With Eddie Fisher
00:45

Colgate Comedy Hour, The

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Ted Bergmann on managing Colgate's television interests, including Colgate Comedy Hour
00:36

Doctors, The

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Ted Bergmann on managing Colgate's television interests, including The Doctors
02:05
Ted Bergmann on managing Colgate's television interests, including The Doctors
00:27

Down You Go

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Ted Bergmann on his memories of the game show Down You Go
02:05

Fashions on Parade

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Fashions on Parade
03:35

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)
02:16

Grammys, The

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Ted Bergmann on producing the precursor to The Grammys, original titled The Best On Record
08:12

Honeymooners, The

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Ted Bergmann on selling the Electronicam System to Jackie Gleason and Gleason using it on The Honeymooners
05:36

It's Shopping Time at A&S

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Ted Bergmann on memories of The Television Department Store
01:57

Leave It to the Girls

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Ted Bergmann on producing Leave It To The Girls
00:24

Life Begins at Eighty

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Ted Bergmann on the sponsorship of Life Begins at Eighty
01:56

Life Is Worth Living

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Ted Bergmann on memories of Bishop Fulton Sheen's Life Is Worth Living
03:09
Ted Bergmann on Bishop Fulton Sheen and sponsorship on Life Is Worth Living
12:28
Ted Bergmann on the first episode of Life Is Worth Living
04:27

Magic Cottage

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Magic Cottage
01:10

Morey Amsterdam Show, The

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Ted Bergmann on memories of Art Carney from Cavalcade of Stars
00:42

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
03:10
Ted Bergmann on how Original Amateur Hour was lured away by other networks
02:59

Rocky King, Detective

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Ted Bergmann on his memories of Rocky King, Detective
01:04

Ropers, The

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Ted Bergmann on the Three's Company's spin-off, The Ropers, starring Norman Fell and Audra Lindley
00:31

Small Fry Club

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Small Fry Club
00:50

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
01:06

Three's Company

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Ted Bergmann on his association with Three's Company
01:57
Ted Bergmann on Larry Gelbart adapting and producing the pilot for Three's Company
07:54
Ted Bergmann on the initial success of Three's Company
00:39
Ted Bergmann on recasting the female leads in Three's Company
01:24
Ted Bergmann on the producers of Three's Company
05:41
Ted Bergmann on the writers and on-set producers of Three's Company
01:11
Ted Bergmann on casting John Ritter on Three's Company
01:08
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
02:16
Ted Bergmann on casting the female leads on Three's Company
00:42
Ted Bergmann on how the public and industry responded to Three's Company and some advertisers refusing to advertise in it
01:56
Ted Bergmann on how the popularity of Three's Company affected the stars
00:47
Ted Bergmann on contract negotiation troubles with Suzanne Somers on Three's Company and Somers leaving the show
06:23
Ted Bergmann on Three's Company's Norman Fell and Audra Lindley
01:08
Ted Bergmann on casting Don Knotts on Three's Company
00:47
Ted Bergmann on the syndication deal on Three's Company
01:29
Ted Bergmann on the end of Three's Company and the beginning of Three's A Crowd
01:06

Twenty One

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Ted Bergmann on the fixed game show Twenty-One
01:48
Topics

Advertising and Sponsorship

View Topic
Ted Bergmann on early TV's relationship between the network, sponsor, and ad agency
02:41
Ted Bergmann on what sponsors looked for in a show and how DuMont stayed competitive 
01:49

Coverage

View Topic
Ted Bergmann on the importance of sports to DuMont
10:48
Ted Bergmann on arrangements to televise boxing for DuMont
02:10
Ted Bergmann on arrangements to televise football for DuMont
09:46

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Ted Bergmann on the Hollywood Blacklist
03:44

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Ted Bergmann on the fixed game show Twenty-One
01:48
Ted Bergmann on how the Quiz Show Scandals affected the advertising agencies
00:43
Ted Bergmann on the Hollywood Blacklist
03:44

Quiz Show Scandals

View Topic
Ted Bergmann on the fixed game show Twenty-One
01:48
Ted Bergmann on how the Quiz Show Scandals affected the advertising agencies
00:43

Sports

View Topic
Ted Bergmann on the importance of sports to DuMont
10:48
Ted Bergmann on arrangements to televise boxing for DuMont
02:10
Ted Bergmann on arrangements to televise football for DuMont
09:46

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Ted Bergmann on DuMont's work with color television
01:35
Ted Bergmann on DuMont and RCA's color television systems
04:13
Ted Bergmann on technological innovations at DuMont, including television transcription
03:07
Ted Bergmann on technological innovations at DuMont, including the Electronicam System
11:06
Ted Bergmann on the evolution of video tape
05:04

Television Industry

View Topic
Ted Bergmann on early TV's relationship between the network, sponsor, and ad agency
02:41
Ted Bergmann on what sponsors looked for in a show and how DuMont stayed competitive 
01:49
Ted Bergmann on the fixed game show Twenty-One
01:48
Ted Bergmann on how the Quiz Show Scandals affected the advertising agencies
00:43
Ted Bergmann on the Hollywood Blacklist
03:44
Professions

Executives

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Ted Bergmann on his rise and job titles at DuMont
05:14

Television Executive

View Profession
Ted Bergmann on his rise and job titles at DuMont
05:14
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Ted Bergmann on his association with Three's Company
20:05
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
17:05

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Ted Bergmann on commercial placement and the stars on Cavalcade of Stars
11:37
Ted Bergmann on producing the precursor to The Grammys, original titled The Best On Record
08:12

News and Documentary

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Ted Bergmann on DuMont's coverage of the Army-McCarthy Hearings
03:40

Sports

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Ted Bergmann on the importance of sports to DuMont
10:48
People

Jack Barry

View Person Page
Ted Bergmann on the fixed game show Twenty-One
01:48

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)
02:16

Eddie Cantor

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Ted Bergmann on being a page for Eddie Cantor's show
03:15

Art Carney

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Ted Bergmann on memories of Art Carney from Cavalcade of Stars
00:42

Jack Carter

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Cavalcade of Stars
00:22
Ted Bergmann on Jack Carter leaving Cavalcade of Stars and replacing him with Jackie Gleason
04:54

Joyce DeWitt

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Ted Bergmann on casting Joyce DeWitt on Three's Company
00:09
Ted Bergmann on how the popularity of Three's Company affected the stars
00:47

Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Ted Bergmann on McCann Erickson's TV program for President Eisenhower's birthday
01:12

Bob Emery

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Ted Bergmann on the early DuMont show Small Fry Club
00:50

Dan Enright

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Ted Bergmann on the fixed game show Twenty-One
01:48

Norman Fell

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Ted Bergmann on Three's Company's Norman Fell and Audra Lindley
01:39

Larry Gelbart

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Ted Bergmann on Larry Gelbart adapt the pilot for Three's Company
03:15

Jackie Gleason

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Ted Bergmann on Jack Carter leaving Cavalcade of Stars and replacing him with Jackie Gleason
05:59
Ted Bergmann on selling the Electronicam System to Jackie Gleason
05:36

Arthur Godfrey

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Ted Bergmann on working with Arthur Godfrey on his radio show
03:56

Leonard H. Goldenson

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Ted Bergmann on ABC competing with NBC and CBS
02:12
Ted Bergmann on Leonard Goldenson's interest in merging ABC with DuMont
03:45

Roscoe Karns

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Ted Bergmann on his memories of Rocky King, Detective
01:04

Don Knotts

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Ted Bergmann on casting Don Knotts on Three's Company
00:47

Audra Lindley

View Person Page
Ted Bergmann on Three's Company's Norman Fell and Audra Lindley
01:39

Joseph McCarthy

View Person Page
Ted Bergmann on DuMont's coverage of the Army-McCarthy Hearings
03:41

Allen B. Du Mont

View Person Page
Ted Bergmann on meeting and working with Dr. DuMont
10:05
Ted Bergmann on DuMont's work with color television
01:35
Ted Bergmann on DuMont and RCA's color television systems
04:13
Ted Bergmann on Paramount's involvement with DuMont
05:24
Ted Bergmann on Leonard Goldenson's interest in merging ABC with DuMont
03:45

Arthur Murray

View Person Page
Ted Bergmann on his memories of The Arthur Murray Party
04:18

Don Nicholl

View Person Page
Ted Bergmann on the producers of Three's Company
05:41
Ted Bergmann on the writers and on-set producers of Three's Company
01:11

John Ritter

View Person Page
Ted Bergmann on casting John Ritter on Three's Company
01:08
Ted Bergmann on how Ethel Winant suggested John Ritter for the lead role on Three's Company, as "the next Jack Lemmon"
02:16
Ted Bergmann on how the popularity of Three's Company affected the stars
00:47

David Sarnoff

View Person Page
Ted Bergmann on DuMont's work with color television
01:08
Ted Bergmann on DuMont and RCA's color television systems
04:13
Ted Bergmann on the evolution of video tape
05:04

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
00:18

Fulton J. Sheen

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Ted Bergmann on memories of Bishop Fulton Sheen's Life Is Worth Living
03:09
Ted Bergmann on Bishop Fulton Sheen and sponsorship on Life Is Worth Living
12:28
Ted Bergmann on the first episode of Life Is Worth Living and the lighting difficulties
04:19

Fred Silverman

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Ted Bergmann on Fred Silverman's interest in Three's Company
00:27
Ted Bergmann on developing Three's Company and ABC picking up the show
07:54

Suzanne Somers

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Ted Bergmann on recasting the female leads in Three's Company
01:05
Ted Bergmann on casting Joyce DeWitt on Three's Company
00:23
Ted Bergmann on how the popularity of Three's Company affected the stars
00:47
Ted Bergmann on contract negotiation troubles with Suzanne Somers on Three's Company and Somers leaving the show
06:23

Barbra Streisand

View Person Page
Ted Bergmann on not being able to book Barbra Streisand for The Best on Record (the precursor to The Grammys)
00:51

Anthony D. Thomopoulos

View Person Page
Ted Bergmann on the end of Three's Company and the beginning of Three's A Crowd
00:48

Bernard West

View Person Page
Ted Bergmann on the producers of Three's Company
05:41
Ted Bergmann on the writers and on-set producers of Three's Company
01:11

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"
02:16

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