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."

Highlights
William Froug on his radio production of "Brave New World" - the highlight of his life
01:03
William Froug on getting involved with The Twilight Zone and meeting Rod Serling
01:54
William Froug on The Twilight Zone episode "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"
02:14
William Froug on meeting Sherwood Schwartz and John Rich on the set of Gilligan's Island
01:09
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
06:07
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
13:06
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
13:43
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
16:48
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
14:19

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
24:01
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
15:07
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
16:30
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
02:26

Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre

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William Froug on producing Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre
00:37
William Froug on "Eddie" for Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre and Mickey Rooney not winning and Emmy for his performance
02:13

Bewitched

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William Froug on producing one year of Bewitched
05:50

Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre

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William Froug on writing for Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater
02:26

Fireside Theatre

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William Froug on writing a script for Bill Asher at Fireside Theatre
02:04
William Froug on not getting paid initially for his script for Fireside Theatre
01:48

Gilligan's Island

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William Froug on producing one season of Gilligan's Island
09:55

Gunsmoke

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William Froug on seeing the first radio script for Gunsmoke
01:20

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
01:49
William Froug on the writers of Hallmark Radio Fall of Fame, the precursor to Hallmark Hall of Fame
00:36

Mr. Novak

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William Froug on producing Mr. Novak
02:55

Playhouse 90

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William Froug on Screen Gems producing backup material, like "Natchez" for Playhouse 90
07:27

Sam Benedict

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William Froug on producing the legal drama Sam Benedict
02:50

Twilight Zone, The

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William Froug on getting involved with The Twilight Zone
01:54
William Froug on working with Rod Serling on The Twilight Zone
01:30
William Froug on producing The Twilight Zone
08:04
William Froug on production on The Twilight Zone episode "The Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"
01:34
William Froug on The Twilight Zone episode "Caesar and Me"
01:38
William Froug on The Twilight Zone episode "Living Doll"
00:37
William Froug on The Twilight Zone episode "The Encounter"
01:28
William Froug on The Twilight Zone episode "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"
02:14
William Froug on Liza Minnelli auditioning for The Twilight Zone episode "Come Wander with Me"
00:33

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"
01:34
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
00:14

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
06:07

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
11:23

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
11:23
Professions

Producers

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William Froug on learning to be a producer at Screen Gems
03:12

Writers

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William Froug on writing his first play/production in college
00:45
William Froug on writing for radio
02:09
William Froug on teaching screenwriting at UCLA and his philosophy on screenwriting
04:18
William Froug on writing books on screenwriting
00:19
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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William Froug on Screen Gems producing backup material, like "Natchez" for Playhouse 90
07:27

Comedy Series

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William Froug on producing Gilligan's Island
09:55

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
11:23

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

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William Froug on getting involved with The Twilight Zone and meeting Rod Serling
01:54
People

Harry Ackerman

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William Froug on producing Dick York's last season of Bewitched
03:19

William Asher

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William Froug on writing a script for Bill Asher at Fireside Theatre
02:04
William Froug on producing Bewitched
05:04

James T. Aubrey

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William Froug on CBS President Jim Aubrey and his dislike of The Twilight Zone
02:39
William Froug on being offered the job of Vice President of Programming at CBS, Jim Aubrey getting fired, and Mike Dann coming in
03:14

Mel Brooks

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William Froug on being asked to teach screenwriting to Mel Brooks' sons
01:28

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
03:14

Mark Goodson

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William Froug on how he came to work for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman
03:49

Dean Jagger

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William Froug on working with Dean Jagger on Mr. Novak
02:55

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
11:23

Harris Katleman

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William Froug on how he came to work for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman
03:49
William Froug on getting involved with The Twilight Zone and meeting Rod Serling
01:54

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
11:23

Jack Lemmon

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William Froug on making a deal to get Jack Lemmon in "Natchez" on Playhouse 90
06:10

Liza Minnelli

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William Froug on Liza Minnelli auditioning for The Twilight Zone episode "Come Wander with Me"
00:33

Elizabeth Montgomery

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William Froug on producing Bewitched
05:04

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
00:49

Dick Powell

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William Froug on writing for Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater
02:26

John Rich

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William Froug on meeting Sherwood Schwartz and director John Rich on the set of Gilligan's Island
01:09
William Froug on why he was brought in to produce Gilligan's Island
00:52

Gene Roddenberry

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William Froug on a TV movie he did with Gene Roddenberry
00:57

Mickey Rooney

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William Froug on "Eddie" for Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre and Mickey Rooney not winning and Emmy for his performance
02:41

William Sackheim

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William Froug on William Sackheim hiring him as a writer/producer at Screen Gems; on Sackheim's temper
03:54
William Froug on "Eddie" for Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre and Mickey Rooney not winning and Emmy for his performance
02:41

Sol Saks

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William Froug on thinking Sol Saks should produce Gilligan's Island
00:27
William Froug on rejected scripts for Gilligan's Island and meeting with new writers
00:57

Sherwood Schwartz

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William Froug on meeting Sherwood Schwartz and director John Rich on the set of Gilligan's Island
01:09
William Froug on why he was brought in to produce Gilligan's Island
00:52

Rod Serling

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William Froug on getting involved with The Twilight Zone and meeting Rod Serling
01:54
William Froug on working with Rod Serling on The Twilight Zone
01:30
William Froug on Rod Serling being the reason for The Twilight Zone's success; on doing a film with him after JFK died
11:38

Bill Todman

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William Froug on how he came to work for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman
03:49

Dick York

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William Froug on producing Dick York's last season of Bewitched
03:19

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