Tony Verna

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In this three-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Tony Verna (1933-2015) talks about breaking into the business in local television at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, where he worked on local show Big Top and the original version of American Bandstand, then titled Bandstand. He recalls his groundbreaking invention - instant replay for sporting events - created in the wake of the Kennedy Assassination for the 1963 Army/Navy football game. He outlines his continued work as a director in network television for CBS television sports, directing football, baseball, and horse-racing events for TV. Verna talks about several global television events with which he was involved: Live Aid, Sport Aid, and Global Prayer for World Peace, in which he worked with and directed Pope John Paul II. He talks about working on the 1960 & 1984 Olympics and the 1990 Goodwill Games. He also recalls working with legendary sports announcers, including Pat Summerall, Jack Whitaker, Dizzy Dean, and Vin Scully. Finally, he envisions the future of television technology, and speaks of shifting audiences and modes of delivery for programming. Karen Herman conducted the interview on June 17, 2004 in Century City, CA.

"What I wanted to do was control and harness the videotape."

Highlights
Tony Verna on creating the instant replay for the Army/Navy football game in December of 1963
02:38
Tony Verna on working with Pope John Paul II on the Global Prayer for World Peace
04:40
Tony Verna on directing Live Aid
03:07
Tony Verna on the audience reaction to the instant replay and subsequent uses of it
01:35
Tony Verna on directing Super Bowl XII in 1978
02:07
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on working on the original local version of American Bandstand; on working with Dick Clark on Live Aid
On working in local Philadelphia television and the equipment he used; on serving as assistant director on Edward R. Murrow's Person to Person; on getting into sports broadcasting

Chapter 2

On directing sports for CBS; on the post-game show; on directing CBS's Baseball Game of the Week and working with sports announcers
On traveling with various camera lenses for broadcasts; on directing the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome; on the creation of the instant replay

Chapter 3

On inventing the instant replay; on coming up with the term "instant replay"; on the plays instant replay was first used for and the audience reaction
On how the instant replay has changed sports; on directing television coverage of horse races; on the first satellite television broadcast from London in 1965

Chapter 4

On directing the "Ice Bowl"; on dealing with live television disasters and censorship issues; on directing various Super Bowl broadcasts and the advent of color television
On directing Super Bowl XII in 1978; on working with the NFL; on directing various other sports events for television

Chapter 5

On directing boxing broadcasts; on directing winter sports and dealing with sports injuries on camera; on various specials and ESPN
On serving as the head of Ceasar's Palace Productions; on directing the 1984 Summer Olympics; on directing Live Aid

Chapter 6

On directing Live Aid and his favorite Live Aid moments; on directing the Global Prayer for World Peace
On directing Pope John Paul II; on directing The Goodwill Games and working with George H.W. Bush; on his company Praxis Limited

Chapter 7

On his company Praxis Limited; on changes in the television industry; on the craft of directing and producing television
On choosing shots, his directing style, and challenges in the control room; on how television audiences have changed since he started in television; on advice to people getting into television, highlights and regrets, and how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

American Bandstand

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Tony Verna on one day working on the original local version of American Bandstand when it was titled Bandstand
02:48

Global Prayer for World Peace

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Tony Verna on directing the Global Prayer for World Peace
05:23
Tony Verna on working with Pope John Paul II on the Global Prayer for World Peace
04:40

Goodwill Games

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Tony Verna on directing The Goodwill Games
04:35

Live Aid

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Tony Verna on working with Dick Clark on Live Aid
02:29
Tony Verna on directing Live Aid
03:07
Tony Verna on the technical set up for Live Aid
01:38
Tony Verna on directing Live Aid
02:17
Tony Verna on his favorite Live Aid moments and the biggest challenge of Live Aid
02:27

Mike Douglas Show, The

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Tony Verna on directing The Mike Douglas Show from Moscow
02:04

Monday Night Football

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Tony Verna on directing Monday Night Football
02:21

Olympics

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Tony Verna on leaving WCAU to cover The 1960 Rome Olympics
01:38
Tony Verna on the process of getting the tapes to America during The 1960 Rome Olympics
01:53
Tony Verna on directing the 1984 Summer Olympics
01:57

Person to Person

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Tony Verna on assistant directing Person to Person with Edward R. Murrow
03:47

Super Bowl

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Tony Verna on directing Super Bowl XII in 1978
02:07
Tony Verna on directing various Super Bowls
04:04
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Tony Verna on censorship issues with live television
02:24

Coverage

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Tony Verna on directing CBS's Baseball Game of the Week
03:33
Tony Verna on the advent of the post-game show
02:00
Tony Verna on directing Monday Night Football
02:21
Tony Verna on working with the NFL and Pete Rozelle on football broadcasts
02:03
Tony Verna on directing hockey
03:10
Tony Verna on directing basketball
00:47
Tony Verna on directing television coverage of boxing
02:05
Tony Verna on directing winter sports for television and dealing with injuries on television
04:45
Tony Verna on directing the 1984 Summer Olympics and athletes promoting sponsorship
03:51
Tony Verna on directing The Goodwill Games
04:35

George H.W. Bush

View Topic
Tony Verna on directing George H.W. Bush in Public Service Announcements
01:43

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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Tony Verna on broadcasting the 1963 Army/Navy game in the wake of the Kennedy Assassination
03:07

Network Creation

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Tony Verna on working with ESPN and how they've changed sports broadcasting
02:16

Olympic Games

View Topic
Tony Verna on covering the 1960 Rome Olympics
03:31
Tony Verna on directing the 1984 Summer Olympics and athletes promoting sponsorship
03:51

Ronald Reagan

View Topic
Tony Verna on directing an interview with then President-elect Ronald Reagan
02:48

Sports

View Topic
Tony Verna on covering the 1960 Rome Olympics
03:31
Tony Verna on directing CBS's Baseball Game of the Week
03:33
Tony Verna on the advent of the post-game show
02:00
Tony Verna on directing Monday Night Football
02:21
Tony Verna on working with the NFL and Pete Rozelle on football broadcasts
02:03
Tony Verna on directing Super Bowl XII in 1978
02:07
Tony Verna on directing hockey
03:10
Tony Verna on directing basketball
00:47
Tony Verna on directing various Super Bowls
04:04
Tony Verna on directing television coverage of boxing
02:05
Tony Verna on directing winter sports for television
04:45
Tony Verna on directing The Goodwill Games
04:35

Super Bowl

View Topic
Tony Verna on directing Super Bowl XII in 1978
02:07
Tony Verna on directing various Super Bowls
04:04

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Tony Verna on creating the instant replay for the Army/Navy football game in December of 1963
02:38
Tony Verna on the advent of the instant replay
18:58
Tony Verna on directing the first satellite feed from London
01:30
Tony Verna on using the "action track" in sporting events and the advent of color television 
01:49
Tony Verna on the "Ice Bowl"
03:17
Tony Verna on his company, Praxis Limited and "instant instant replay"
04:58

Television Industry

View Topic
Tony Verna on censorship issues with live television
02:24
Tony Verna on working with ESPN and how they've changed sports broadcasting
02:16
Tony Verna on how television audiences have changed since he started in the business
01:42

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Tony Verna on directing an interview with then President-elect Ronald Reagan
02:48
Tony Verna on directing George H.W. Bush in Public Service Announcements
01:43
Professions

Directors

View Profession
Tony Verna on his directing style and challenges in the control room
03:00
Tony Verna on advice to aspiring television directors
02:36
Tony Verna on choosing shots while directing
03:36

Technology Innovators

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Tony Verna on the rise of DVR
03:27
Genres

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Tony Verna on directing Live Aid and Sport Aid
08:46

Religious Programming

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Tony Verna on working with Pope John Paul II on the Global Prayer for World Peace
10:03

Sports

View Genre
Tony Verna on covering The 1960 Rome Olympics
03:31
Tony Verna on creating the instant replay for the Army/Navy football game in December of 1963
02:38
Tony Verna on inventing the instant replay and some of its early uses
29:00
Tony Verna on directing the "Ice Bowl"; on dealing with live television disasters and censorship issues; on directing various Super Bowl broadcasts and the advent of color television
14:52
Tony Verna on directing Super Bowl XII in 1978; on working with the NFL; on directing various other sports events for television
13:39
Tony Verna on directing the 1984 Summer Olympics and athletes promoting sponsorship
03:51
Tony Verna on directing winter sports for television and dealing with injuries on television
04:45
Tony Verna on directing television coverage of boxing
02:05
People

Roone Arledge

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Tony Verna on directing the 1984 Summer Olympics and athletes promoting sponsorship
03:51

Dick Clark

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Tony Verna on working with Dick Clark on Live Aid
02:29

Howard Cosell

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Tony Verna on Howard Cosell
01:16

Pope John Paul II

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Tony Verna on working with Pope John Paul II on the Global Prayer for World Peace
04:40

John F. Kennedy

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Tony Verna on broadcasting the 1963 Army/Navy game in the wake of the Kennedy Assassination
03:07

Ernie Kovacs

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Tony Verna on Ernie Kovacks' early days in local television
01:11

Edward R. Murrow

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Tony Verna on assistant directing Person to Person with Edward R. Murrow
03:49

Ronald Reagan

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Tony Verna on directing an interview with then President-elect Ronald Reagan
02:28

Rod Serling

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Tony Verna on directing Monday Night Football
02:21

Pat Summerall

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Tony Verna on getting the equipment and coming up with the term "instant replay"
02:01

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