Tom Poston

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, Tom Poston (1921-2007) talks about his first television appearances, including his stint as a regular on Hawkins Falls and Population 6200, which originated in Chicago. He chronicles his work on a local New York daytime show, which led to appearances as a regular on The Steve Allen Show in the "Man on the Street" sketches with Don Knotts and Louis Nye. He discusses his work with colleague Bob Newhart, including his recurring role on The Bob Newhart Show, and his regular role as handyman "George Utley" on Newhart. Other topics he discusses include his original consideration for the lead in Get Smart (before the project changed networks, nullifying his contract), his regular role on Mork & Mindy, and his relationship and marriage to actress Suzanne Pleshette. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview on February 9, 2006 in Beverly Hills, CA.

"I did the 'Steve Allen Show' playing a bloke who couldn't remember his own name. The next day, the nation knew of my work. Guys in cabs would drive by and see me and yell, 'Hey, hey, dummy!' So that's how powerful 'The Steve Allen Show' was as far as recognition was concerned."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Tom Poston on working with Louis Nye on The Steve Allen Show
Tom Poston on acting as a panelist on To Tell the Truth and other Goodson-Todman game shows
Tom Poston on playing "Franklin Delano Bickley" on Mork & Mindy
Tom Poston on the final episode of Newhart
Tom Poston on guest starring on Murphy Brown
Tom Poston on advice to an aspiring actor
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on getting into show business; on his first jobs in show business
On his service in World War II; on appearing on various live television shows; on the Hollywood Blacklist

Chapter 2

On being cast on The Steve Allen Show; on working with the cast of The Steve Allen Show
On appearing as a panelist on the Goodson-Todman game shows; on almost playing "Maxwell Smart" on Get Smart and appearing on various variety shows; on his recurring role on The Bob Newhart Show

Chapter 3

On appearing on Mork & Mindy; on being cast as "George Utley" on Newhart; on the cast of Newhart
On the final episode of Newhart; on guest-starring on numerous shows including ER, Home Improvement, That '70s Show, Bob and others

Chapter 4

On acting on the series Committed; on his longevity
On career highlights and regrets; on advice to aspiring actors; on how he'd like to be remembered 
Shows

Bob

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Tom Poston on guest-starring on Bob

Bob Newhart Show, The (1972-78)

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Tom Poston on his recurring role on The Bob Newhart Show

Coach

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Tom Poston on guest-starring on Coach

ER

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Tom Poston on guest-starring on ER

Get Smart

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Tom Poston on almost being cast as "Maxwell Smart" in Get Smart

Hallmark Hall of Fame

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Tom Poston on acting on a production of "The Tempest" on Hallmark Hall of Fame

Hawkins Falls

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Tom Poston on appearing on Hawkins Falls

Home Improvement

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Tom Poston on guest-starring on Home Improvement

Match Game

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Tom Poston on acting as a panelist on To Tell the Truth and other Goodson-Todman game shows

Mike Stokey's Pantomime Quiz aka Stump the Stars

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Tom Poston on acting as a panelist on To Tell the Truth and other Goodson-Todman game shows

Mork & Mindy

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Tom Poston on playing "Franklin Delano Bickley" on Mork & Mindy
Tom Poston on working with Robin Williams and the cast of Mork & Mindy

Murphy Brown

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Tom Poston on guest starring on Murphy Brown

Newhart

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Tom Poston on being cast on Newhart
Tom Poston on his Newhart character "George Utley"
Tom Poston on working with the cast of Newhart
Tom Poston on the final episode of Newhart

Newhart: "The Last Newhart"

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Tom Poston on the final episode of Newhart

Password

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Tom Poston on acting as a panelist on To Tell the Truth and other Goodson-Todman game shows

Phil Silvers Show, The aka You'll Never Get Rich aka Sergeant Bilko

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Tom Poston on appearing on The Phil Silvers Show

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

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Tom Poston on appearing on the Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse production of "Cyrano de Bergerac"

Steve Allen Show, The (1956-61)

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Tom Poston on being cast on The Steve Allen Show
Tom Poston on differences between Steve Allen's Tonight  and The Steve Allen Show
Tom Poston on working with Louis Nye on The Steve Allen Show
Tom Poston on working with Don Knotts on The Steve Allen Show
Tom Poston on working with Bill Dana on The Steve Allen Show

That '70s Show

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Tom Poston on guest-starring on That '70s Show

To Tell the Truth

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Tom Poston on acting as a panelist on To Tell the Truth and other Goodson-Todman game shows

Tom Corbett, Space Cadet

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Tom Poston on appearing on Tom Corbett, Space Cadet

Tonight

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Tom Poston on differences between Steve Allen's Tonight  and The Steve Allen Show

What's My Line?

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Tom Poston on acting as a panelist on To Tell the Truth and other Goodson-Todman game shows
Topics

Advice

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Tom Poston on advice to an aspiring actor

Classic TV series episodes

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Tom Poston on the final episode of Newhart

Comedy

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Tom Poston on the final episode of Newhart

Historic Events and Social Change

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Tom Poston on his service in World War II

Hollywood Blacklist

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Tom Poston on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Tom Poston on the Hollywood Blacklist

Memorable Moments on Television

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Tom Poston on the final episode of Newhart

Pop Culture

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Tom Poston on the final episode of Newhart

Television Industry

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Tom Poston on the Hollywood Blacklist
Tom Poston on advice to an aspiring actor

War

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Tom Poston on his service in World War II

We Laughed

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Tom Poston on the final episode of Newhart

World War II

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Tom Poston on his service in World War II
Professions

Actor

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Tom Poston on advice to an aspiring actor

Performers

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Tom Poston on advice to an aspiring actor
Genres

Comedy Series

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Tom Poston on his recurring role on The Bob Newhart Show
Tom Poston on playing Franklin Delano Bickley on Mork & Mindy
Tom Poston on playing "George Utley" on Newhart

Talk Shows

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Tom Poston on being a regular player on The Steve Allen Show
People

Bill Dana

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Tom Poston on working with Bill Dana on The Steve Allen Show

Pam Dawber

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Tom Poston on working with Robin Williams and the cast of Mork & Mindy: Pam Dawber

Julia Duffy

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Tom Poston on working with the cast of Newhart: Julia Duffy

Mary Frann

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Tom Poston on working with the cast of Newhart: Mary Frann

Mark Goodson

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Tom Poston on acting as a panelist on To Tell the Truth and other Goodson-Todman game shows

Conrad Janis

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Tom Poston on working with Robin Williams and the cast of Mork & Mindy: Conrad Janis

Don Knotts

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Tom Poston on working with Don Knotts on The Steve Allen Show

Bob Newhart

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Tom Poston on his recurring role on The Bob Newhart Show
Tom Poston on working with the cast of Newhart: Bob Newhart

Louis Nye

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Tom Poston on working with Louis Nye on The Steve Allen Show

Suzanne Pleshette

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Tom Poston on his recurring role on The Bob Newhart Show
Tom Poston on his wife Suzanne Pleshette

William Sanderson

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Tom Poston on working with the cast of Newhart: William Sanderson

Peter Scolari

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Tom Poston on working with the cast of Newhart: Peter Scolari

Phil Silvers

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Tom Poston on appearing on The Phil Silvers Show

Bill Todman

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Tom Poston on acting as a panelist on To Tell the Truth and other Goodson-Todman game shows

Robin Williams

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Tom Poston on playing "Franklin Delano Bickley" on Mork & Mindy
Tom Poston on working with Robin Williams and the cast of Mork & Mindy

Jonathan Winters

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Tom Poston on working with Robin Williams and the cast of Mork & Mindy: Jonathan Winters

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