William Froug

Writer / Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, writer/producer William Froug (1922-2013) reflects on his start in broadcasting at CBS radio. He describes working as a publicist and staff writer, and becoming a junior executive at the network. He recalls becoming a producer/director on Hallmark Radio Hall of Fame, and discusses his experiences with the Hollywood Blacklist. Froug then talks of his transition to television, writing a script for Bill Asher at Fireside Theatre. He speaks of becoming a writer/producer at Screen Gems, producing Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre, and writing for Playhouse 90 and Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre. He describes his brief tenure with Goodson/Todman, and details his time as producer on The Twilight Zone. Froug also touches on his role as producer of Gilligan's Island, Bewitched, and Mr. Novak and discusses his love of teaching screenwriting at UCLA. Karen Herman conducted the interview in Sarasota, Florida on June 18, 2011.

"A friend of mine said I didn't find writing, writing found me. True. I didn't plan to be a writer, but writing certainly grabbed me by the throat. And I kept writing."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
William Froug on his radio production of "Brave New World" - the highlight of his life
William Froug on getting involved with The Twilight Zone and meeting Rod Serling
William Froug on The Twilight Zone episode "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"
William Froug on meeting Sherwood Schwartz and John Rich on the set of Gilligan's Island
William Froug on his experiences with the Hollywood Blacklist and being forced to have a copy of Red Channels on his desk to use for casting
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and influences; on being adopted; on attending the University of Missouri Journalism School; on his love of writing; on writing detective novels; on becoming a radio writer in Hollywood and working as a publicist and later staff radio writer for CBS; on seeing the first radio script for Gunsmoke
On becoming a Junior Executive at CBS; on becoming producer/director on Hallmark Radio Fall of Fame; on his experiences with the Hollywood Blacklist; on the popularity of radio waning once television came in; on transitioning to television; on writing a script for Bill Asher at Fireside Theatre
On becoming a writer/producer for Screen Gems; on his radio production of "Brave New World" - the highlight of his life; on producing Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre; on a TV movie he did with Gene Roddenberry; on producing "Natchez" and "Before I Die" - backup material for Playhouse 90; on making a deal to get Jack Lemmon in "Natchez"; on writing for Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater
On "Eddie" for Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre; on working for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman; on producing Adventures in Paradise; on producing the legal drama Sam Benedict; on getting involved with The Twilight Zone; on his friendship with Rod Serling

Chapter 2

On working with Rod Serling on The Twilight Zone; on CBS President Jim Aubrey; on producing The Twilight Zone; on specific episodes of the show: "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", "Caesar and Me", "Living Doll", "The Encounter", "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", and "Come Wander with Me"; on doing a film with Rod Serling after JFK died introducing Lyndon Johnson to the world
On producing one season of Gilligan's Island; on meeting Sherwood Schwartz and John Rich; on selecting a location for the show; on why he was brought in to produce Gilligan's Island; on being offered the job of Vice President of Programming at CBS
On his role of Executive in Charge of Drama at CBS; on leaving CBS and starting to teach at UCLA; on producing one year of Bewitched; on producing Mr. Novak; on becoming a full professor at UCLA and teaching screenwriting; on his philosophy on screenwriting; on writing books on screenwriting
On his thoughts on agents and The Writers Guild; on advice to aspiring writers; on being asked to teach screenwriting to Mel Brooks' sons
Shows

Adventures in Paradise

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William Froug on producing Adventures in Paradise

Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre

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William Froug on producing Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre
William Froug on "Eddie" for Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre and Mickey Rooney not winning and Emmy for his performance

Bewitched

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William Froug on producing one year of Bewitched

Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre

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William Froug on writing for Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater

Fireside Theatre

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William Froug on writing a script for Bill Asher at Fireside Theatre
William Froug on not getting paid initially for his script for Fireside Theatre

Gilligan's Island

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William Froug on producing one season of Gilligan's Island

Gunsmoke

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William Froug on seeing the first radio script for Gunsmoke

Hallmark Hall of Fame

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William Froug on Lionel Barrymore hosting the precursor to Hallmark Hall of Fame, Hallmark Radio Fall of Fame
William Froug on the writers of Hallmark Radio Fall of Fame, the precursor to Hallmark Hall of Fame

Mr. Novak

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William Froug on producing Mr. Novak

Playhouse 90

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William Froug on Screen Gems producing backup material, like "Natchez" for Playhouse 90

Sam Benedict

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William Froug on producing the legal drama Sam Benedict

Twilight Zone, The

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William Froug on getting involved with The Twilight Zone
William Froug on working with Rod Serling on The Twilight Zone
William Froug on producing The Twilight Zone
William Froug on production on The Twilight Zone episode "The Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"
William Froug on The Twilight Zone episode "Caesar and Me"
William Froug on The Twilight Zone episode "Living Doll"
William Froug on The Twilight Zone episode "The Encounter"
William Froug on The Twilight Zone episode "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"
William Froug on Liza Minnelli auditioning for The Twilight Zone episode "Come Wander with Me"

Twilight Zone, The: "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"

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William Froug on production on The Twilight Zone episode "The Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"
Topics

Emmy Awards

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William Froug on "Eddie" for Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre and Mickey Rooney not winning and Emmy for his performance

Hollywood Blacklist

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William Froug on his experiences with the Hollywood Blacklist and being forced to have a copy of Red Channels on his desk to use for casting

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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William Froug on doing a film with Rod Serling after JFK died introducing Lyndon Johnson to the world

Lyndon B. Johnson

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William Froug on doing a film with Rod Serling after JFK died introducing Lyndon Johnson to the world
Professions

Producers

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William Froug on learning to be a producer at Screen Gems

Writers

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William Froug on writing his first play/production in college
William Froug on writing for radio
William Froug on teaching screenwriting at UCLA and his philosophy on screenwriting
William Froug on writing books on screenwriting
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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William Froug on Screen Gems producing backup material, like "Natchez" for Playhouse 90

Comedy Series

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William Froug on producing Gilligan's Island

News and Documentary

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William Froug on doing a film with Rod Serling after JFK died introducing Lyndon Johnson to the world

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

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William Froug on getting involved with The Twilight Zone and meeting Rod Serling
People

Harry Ackerman

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William Froug on producing Dick York's last season of Bewitched

William Asher

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William Froug on writing a script for Bill Asher at Fireside Theatre
William Froug on producing Bewitched

James T. Aubrey

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William Froug on CBS President Jim Aubrey and his dislike of The Twilight Zone
William Froug on being offered the job of Vice President of Programming at CBS, Jim Aubrey getting fired, and Mike Dann coming in

Mel Brooks

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William Froug on being asked to teach screenwriting to Mel Brooks' sons

Michael Dann

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William Froug on being offered the job of Vice President of Programming at CBS, Jim Aubrey getting fired, and Mike Dann coming in

Mark Goodson

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William Froug on how he came to work for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman

Dean Jagger

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William Froug on working with Dean Jagger on Mr. Novak

Lyndon B. Johnson

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William Froug on doing a film with Rod Serling after JFK died introducing Lyndon Johnson to the world

Harris Katleman

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William Froug on how he came to work for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman
William Froug on getting involved with The Twilight Zone and meeting Rod Serling

John F. Kennedy

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William Froug on doing a film with Rod Serling after JFK died introducing Lyndon Johnson to the world

Jack Lemmon

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William Froug on making a deal to get Jack Lemmon in "Natchez" on Playhouse 90

Liza Minnelli

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William Froug on Liza Minnelli auditioning for The Twilight Zone episode "Come Wander with Me"

Elizabeth Montgomery

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William Froug on producing Bewitched

Edward R. Murrow

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William Froug on doing a film with Rod Serling after JFK died introducing Lyndon Johnson to the world, and screening it for Edward R. Murrow

Dick Powell

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William Froug on writing for Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater

John Rich

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William Froug on meeting Sherwood Schwartz and director John Rich on the set of Gilligan's Island
William Froug on why he was brought in to produce Gilligan's Island

Gene Roddenberry

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William Froug on a TV movie he did with Gene Roddenberry

Mickey Rooney

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William Froug on "Eddie" for Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre and Mickey Rooney not winning and Emmy for his performance

William Sackheim

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William Froug on William Sackheim hiring him as a writer/producer at Screen Gems; on Sackheim's temper
William Froug on "Eddie" for Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre and Mickey Rooney not winning and Emmy for his performance

Sol Saks

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William Froug on thinking Sol Saks should produce Gilligan's Island
William Froug on rejected scripts for Gilligan's Island and meeting with new writers

Sherwood Schwartz

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William Froug on meeting Sherwood Schwartz and director John Rich on the set of Gilligan's Island
William Froug on why he was brought in to produce Gilligan's Island

Rod Serling

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William Froug on getting involved with The Twilight Zone and meeting Rod Serling
William Froug on working with Rod Serling on The Twilight Zone
William Froug on Rod Serling being the reason for The Twilight Zone's success; on doing a film with him after JFK died

Bill Todman

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William Froug on how he came to work for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman

Dick York

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William Froug on producing Dick York's last season of Bewitched

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