Vince Calandra

Talent Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his over four-hour Archive interview, Vince Calandra talks about working his way up from the mailroom at CBS to working in production and handling the cue cards for The Ed Sullivan Show. He describes his promotion to talent coordinator for the series and mentions some of the guests he booked, including Jim Henson, Jackie Mason, Alan King, Irving Berlin and Bob Dylan. He also speaks in detail about one of the show's historical highlights: the first American television appearance of The Beatles. Calandra discusses his later work as a talent executive on the syndicated Mike Douglas Show, and later, on The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers. He speaks of his current projects, including working as a talent executive for AFI specials and the American Teacher Awards. B-roll consists of photos highlighting his years on The Ed Sullivan Show (including the Beatles' rehearsal where Mr. Calandra stood in for George Harrison), favorite guests, including Fred Astaire and Frank Sinatra, and a photo from The Mike Douglas Show. Jeff Abraham conducted the interview on December 4, 2003 in Woodland Hills, CA.

"You realize that, being in that position, you're on the ground floor for a lot of good things that happen to people you know."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Vince Calandra on doing cue cards for The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on how he booked the Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964
Vince Calandra on the Beatles' historic performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on controversy over Jim Morrison not changing his lyrics for a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on his uneasy relationship with Mike Douglas during his time on The Mike Douglas Show
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on being raised by his grandparents and getting drafted by the New York Giants (baseball)
On returning from the service and working his way up from the mailroom at CBS; on handling CBS' syndication vaults; on transferring to The Ed Sullivan Show to handle cue cards

Chapter 2

On working on cue cards on The Ed Sullivan Show; on working for the CBS film department; on Ed Sullivan's son-in-law Bob Precht taking over production of The Ed Sullivan Show and Calandra doing cue cards again
On Ed Sullivan selecting talent for The Ed Sullivan Show; on Sullivan's skill set and learning from him; on getting African-American talent on The Ed Sullivan Show
On his responsibilities as a production coordinator under Bob Precht on The Ed Sullivan Show

Chapter 3

On a typical work week on The Ed Sullivan Show; on determining the order of acts
On the reason Ed Sullivan continued to bring old Vaudevillian acts on The Ed Sullivan Show; on Ed Sullivan and Jimmy Durante doing performances for soldiers returning from war
On Ed Sullivan's contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and putting African-Americans on television; on moving from production into talent coordinating on The Ed Sullivan Show

Chapter 4

On being promoted to talent coordinator for The Ed Sullivan Show; on how he scouted talent; on booking meetings and pay scales for The Ed Sullivan Show
On the backstory of The Beatles' first American television appearance (on The Ed Sullivan Show); on security for the Beatles' appearance

Chapter 5

On first meeting The Beatles; on The Beatles' historic first performance on The E d Sullivan Show
On controversial performances by The Rolling Stones, The Doors, and Bob Dylan on The E d Sullivan Show

Chapter 6

On Jackie Mason giving Ed Sullivan "the finger" on The Ed Sullivan Show and the subsequent lawsuit
On some of the comics and guests on the show: Alan King, John Byne, Topo Gigio, Senor Wences, Alan King, Fred Astaire, and more
On the cancellation of The Ed Sullivan Show

Chapter 7

On the cancellation of The Ed Sullivan Show
On working with Billy Joel; on becoming a talent executive for The Mike Douglas Show; on some of the show's guests and working with Mike Douglas
On his work with AFI

Chapter 8

On consulting as a talent executive for John Davidson's talk show and Alan Thicke's talk show; on his talent contacts
On consulting as a talent executive for Joan Rivers', and Vicki Lawrence's talk shows
On his work booking talent for the American Teacher Awards

Chapter 9

On working on Entertainment Tonight; on booking an interview with Frank Sinatra for the show
On his work with the American Film Institute
On highlights from his career; on talent he was not able to book; on advice to aspiring talent executives

Chapter 10

On his mentors and his longevity; on how he would like to be remembered
B-roll of photos from his career
Shows

Brady Bunch, The

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Vince Calandra on coming up with the idea to make a Brady Bunch record

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

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Vince Calandra on getting hired to handle cue cards for The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on who he did cue cards for on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on doing cue cards for The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on how his social scene changed when he started working on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan's son-in-law Bob Precht taking over production of The Ed Sullivan Show and Calandra doing cue cards again
Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan selecting talent for The Ed Sullivan Show; on Sullivan's skill set and learning from him 
Vince Calandra on getting African-American talent on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on his responsibilities as a production coordinator under Bob Precht on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on a typical work week and dress rehearsal on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on determining the order of acts on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on the reason Ed Sullivan continued to bring old Vaudevillian acts on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on moving from production into talent coordinating on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on how he booked the Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964
Vince Calandra on security for the Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964
Vince Calandra on the Beatles' arrival in America for their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964
Vince Calandra on being promoted to talent coordinator and how he scouted talent for The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on booking talent for The Ed Sullivan Show and bribes/perks he was offered
Vince Calandra on booking meetings for The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on how pay scales for talk shows compared to that of The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on acts that were banished from The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on how his relationship with Ed Sullivan changed when he became talent coordinator for The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on first meeting the Beatles' at rehearsal the day before their historic performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on the Beatles' dress rehearsal the day of their historic performance on The Ed Sullivan Show (February 9, 1964) and celebrities wanting to meet the group
Vince Calandra on the Beatles' manager Brian Epstein not being pleased with a couple things the day of the Beatles' historic first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show (February 9, 1964)
Vince Calandra on the excitement and response to the Beatles' historic first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on his thoughts on the Beatles' historic first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on controversy over a Rolling Stones performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on controversy over Jim Morrison not changing his lyrics for a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on controversy over a Bob Dylan performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on trying to get Jimi Hendrex to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on problems with Jackie Mason on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on Jackie Mason getting cut off by President Johnson on The Ed Sullivan Show; how the "fickle finger" came about
Vince Calandra on comics that appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on the popularity of Topo Gigio on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on The Muppets' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on Senor Wences on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on Victor the Bear on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on animal mishaps on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on memorable guests on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on his favorite and least favorite guests on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on a rehearsal with comic Jackie Leonard for The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on the cancellation of The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on the cancellation of The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on a photo of the Beatles' rehearsal the day before their first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on a photo of Ed Sullivan and staff on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on a photo of him standing in for George Harrison for the Beatles' first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on a photo of Topo Gigio on The Ed Sullivan Show

Entertainment Tonight

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Vince Calandra on booking interviews for Entertainment Tonight

Mike Douglas Show, The

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Vince Calandra on how he got an offer to work for The Mike Douglas Show
Vince Calandra on his work schedule on The Mike Douglas Show
Vince Calandra on the challenges of booking talent for a daytime program, The Mike Douglas Show
Vince Calandra on why The Mike Douglas Show moved from Cleveland to Philadelphia
Vince Calandra on talent he booked on The Mike Douglas Show
Vince Calandra on Woody Fraser's antics on The Mike Douglas Show
Vince Calandra on his uneasy relationship with Mike Douglas during his time on The Mike Douglas Show
Vince Calandra on the end of The Mike Douglas Show and consulting for The John Davidson Show
Vince Calandra on working with producer Brad Lachman and how Lachman was mistreated on The Mike Douglas Show
Vince Calandra on a photo with Gerald Ford from The Mike Douglas Show

Pat Sajak Show, The

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Vince Calandra on consulting as a talent executive for The Pat Sajak Show

Solid Gold

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Vince Calandra on going to work for producer Brad Lachman on Solid Gold
Topics

Advice

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Vince Calandra on advice to aspiring talent executives - return phone calls and don't book through email

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Vince Calandra on controversy over a Rolling Stones performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on controversy over Jim Morrison not changing his lyrics for a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Vince Calandra on his mentors and his longevity

Diversity in Television

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Vince Calandra on getting African-American talent on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan's contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and putting African-Americans on television

First Big Break

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Vince Calandra on his big break into entertainment - getting a job in the CBS mailroom without having an Ivy League degree

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Vince Calandra on getting African-American talent on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan's contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and putting African-Americans on television

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
Vince Calandra on the Beatles' arrival in America for their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964
Vince Calandra on security for the Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964
Vince Calandra on how he booked the Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964
Vince Calandra on the Beatles' historic performance on The Ed Sullivan Show and the backstage scene, getting them through the crowd into the studio

Minorities

View Topic
Vince Calandra on getting African-American talent on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan's contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and putting African-Americans on television

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Vince Calandra on his big break into entertainment - getting a job in the CBS mailroom without having an Ivy League degree
Vince Calandra on his mentors and his longevity

Television Industry

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Vince Calandra on controversy over a Rolling Stones performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on controversy over Jim Morrison not changing his lyrics for a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on advice to aspiring talent executives - return phone calls and don't book through email
Professions

Talent Coordinator

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Vince Calandra on moving from production into talent coordinating on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on advice to aspiring talent executives - return phone calls and don't book through email

Talent Professionals

View Profession
Vince Calandra on moving from production into talent coordinating on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on advice to aspiring talent executives - return phone calls and don't book through email
Genres

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Vince Calandra on getting hired to handle cue cards for The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on doing cue cards and being production coordinator on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on moving from production into talent coordinating on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on being promoted to talent coordinator for The Ed Sullivan Show; on how he scouted talent; on booking meetings and pay scales for The Ed Sullivan Show; on how he booked the Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964
Vince Calandra on first meeting The Beatles; on The Beatles' historic first performance on The E d Sullivan Sh; on controversial performances on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on some of the comics and guests on the show: Alan King, John Byne, Topo Gigio, Senor Wences, Alan King, Fred Astaire, and more; on the cancellation of the show
Vince Calandra on the cancellation of The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on becoming a talent executive for The Mike Douglas Show; on some of the show's guests and working with Mike Douglas

Talk Shows

View Genre
Vince Calandra on consulting as a talent executive for John Davidson's, Alan Thicke's, Joan Rivers', Vicki Lawrence's, and Pat Sajak's talk shows
People

Louis Armstrong

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Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan's contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and putting African-Americans on television

Fred Astaire

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Vince Calandra on one of his favorite guests on The Michael Douglas Show - Fred Astaire
Vince Calandra on a photo of Fred Astaire

George Burns

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Vince Calandra on his favorite guests on The Ed Sullivan Show - George Burns

John Byner

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Vince Calandra on John Byner's imitation of Ed Sullivan on The Ed Sullivan Show

Johnny Carson

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Vince Calandra on his work booking talent for the American Teacher Awards

Ray Charles

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Vince Calandra on Woody Fraser's antics on The Mike Douglas Show

John Davidson

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Vince Calandra on the end of The Mike Douglas Show and consulting as a talent executive for The John Davidson Show

Mike Douglas

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Vince Calandra on Mike Douglas not being a part of the Philadelphia community during The Mike Douglas Show
Vince Calandra on his uneasy relationship with Mike Douglas during his time on The Mike Douglas Show

Jimmy Durante

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Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan and Jimmy Durante doing performances for soldiers returning from war

Gerald Ford

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Vince Calandra on a photo with Gerald Ford from The Mike Douglas Show

Woody Fraser

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Vince Calandra on a "Planet of the Apes" sketch on The Mike Douglas Show
Vince Calandra on Woody Fraser's antics on The Mike Douglas Show

Jackie Gleason

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Vince Calandra on Jackie Gleason co-hosting The Mike Douglas Show

Jim Henson

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Vince Calandra on The Muppets' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show

Charlton Heston

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Vince Calandra on a "Planet of the Apes" sketch on The Mike Douglas Show

Billy Joel

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Vince Calandra on working with Billy Joel

Alan King

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Vince Calandra on comics that appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show

Brad Lachman

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Vince Calandra on working with producer Brad Lachman and how Lachman was mistreated on The Mike Douglas Show
Vince Calandra on booking interviews for Entertainment Tonight

Vicki Lawrence

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Vince Calandra on consulting as a talent executive for the pilot of Vicki Lawrence's talk show
Vince Calandra on a his reunion with Paul McCartney on Vicki Lawrence's talk show

Lee Marvin

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Vince Calandra on his least favorite guests on The Ed Sullivan Show - Lee Marvin

Jackie Mason

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Vince Calandra on problems with Jackie Mason on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on Jackie Mason giving Ed Sullivan "the finger" on The Ed Sullivan Show

Peter O'Toole

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Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan's duet with Peter O'Toole

Frank Oz

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Vince Calandra on The Muppets' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show

Robert Precht

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Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan's son-in-law Bob Precht taking over production of The Ed Sullivan Show and Calandra doing cue cards again
Vince Calandra on determining the order of acts on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on moving from production into talent coordinating on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on how his relationship with Ed Sullivan changed when he became talent coordinator for The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on the lawsuit that resulted from Jackie Mason giving Ed Sullivan "the finger" on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on his mentors and his longevity

Burt Reynolds

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Vince Calandra on Woody Fraser's antics on The Mike Douglas Show

Joan Rivers

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Vince Calandra on consulting as a talent executive for Joan Rivers' talk show
Vince Calandra on trouble booking talent for Joan Rivers' talk show and his relationship with Rivers
Vince Calandra on getting fired from Joan Rivers' talk show

Pat Sajak

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Vince Calandra on consulting as a talent executive for The Pat Sajak Show

Fred Silverman

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Vince Calandra on Alan Thicke and Fred Silverman not getting along

Frank Sinatra

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Vince Calandra on his favorite guests on The Ed Sullivan Show - Frank Sinatra
Vince Calandra on booking an interview with Frank Sinatra for Entertainment Tonight
Vince Calandra on a letter from Frank Sinatra

Jimmy Stewart

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Vince Calandra on booking Jimmy Stewart 
Vince Calandra on a photo with Jimmy Stewart

Ed Sullivan

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Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan taking a liking to him and going out to eat together
Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan's use of cue cards on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan's use of a teleprompter and cue cards on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan's son-in-law Bob Precht taking over production of The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan selecting talent for The Ed Sullivan Show; on Sullivan's skill set and learning from him 
Vince Calandra on getting African-American talent on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on a typical work week and dress rehearsal on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on determining the order of acts on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on the reason Ed Sullivan continued to bring old Vaudevillian acts on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan and Jimmy Durante doing performances for soldiers returning from war
Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan's contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and putting African-Americans on television
Vince Calandra on how his relationship with Ed Sullivan changed when he became talent coordinator for The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on how he booked the Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964
Vince Calandra on the Beatles' historic performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on the Beatles' manager Brian Epstein not being pleased with a couple things the day of the Beatles' historic first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show (February 9, 1964)
Vince Calandra on Jackie Mason giving Ed Sullivan "the finger" on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on Victor the Bear on The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan's duet with Peter O'Toole
Vince Calandra on a rehearsal with comic Jackie Leonard for The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on the cancellation of The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on the cancellation of The Ed Sullivan Show
Vince Calandra on the naming of the Ed Sullivan theater and Sullivan's emotional side; on Mrs. Sullivan
Vince Calandra on Ed Sullivan's routine after a Sunday show and Sullivan's poor business sense
Vince Calandra on his mentors
Vince Calandra on a photo of Ed Sullivan and staff on The Ed Sullivan Show

Alan Thicke

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Vince Calandra on consulting as a talent executive for Alan Thicke's talk show

Robert D. Wood

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Vince Calandra on the cancellation of The Ed Sullivan Show

All Interviews

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