Wed, 05/01/2019

From the Collection: May 2019

The Daytime Emmys, hosted by our sister organization the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), are being held on May 5. This year’s ceremony marks 20 years since Susan Lucci broke her 19 year losing streak and won her first Emmy. Lucci reflected on this moment in our interview with her:

May 3rd of this year marks the 100th anniversary of folk singer and activist Pete Seeger’s birth. Seeger made a memorable appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968, his first on television since being blacklisted in the 1950s. Tom and Dick Smothers recall Seeger’s appearance on their show:

15 years ago, on May 6, 2004 Friends aired its final episode. The hit sitcom went out on top – according to the New York Times, at the time it was the fourth most watched finale of a sitcom, behind M*A*S*H, Cheers, and Seinfeld. Be sure to watch our interviews with creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, Kevin Bright, star Lisa Kudrow and more!

On May 20, 1989 comedian Gilda Radner passed away at the age of 42. Writer Alan Zweibel was her close friend and collaborator, and he shared his memories of Radner, including how she continues to influence him, even after all this time: “To this day, I find myself writing for her.”

Jim Henson passed away on May 15, 1990. Though we never had the opportunity to interview him, we have interviews from many of his friends and collaborators, including Sesame Street’s Roscoe Orman (better known as Gordon) who had this to say about made Henson so special:

“Jim Henson was obviously a visionary. … By the time he brought those creations to Sesame Street he had become probably you know, without peer among puppet creators. He had established his own vision and style of what puppetry was. And especially for television."

Some of our interviewees celebrating their birthdays this month include actor Louis Gossett, Jr., writer/show creator John Wells, producer/show creator Diane English, actor Anthony Geary, performer Leslie Uggams, and writer/producer Winifred Hervey, who had this advice for aspiring writers and producers:

“Don’t try to be the boss the first day. You know, realize that you have to pay your dues and work your way up and that there’s a benefit to that. Because you learn as you go. There’s so many things that you learn in every different situation you learn something different. So, listen, don’t always talk.”

15 years ago, in May 2004, we had the honor of interviewing Dynasty creators Richard and Esther Shapiro.

10 years ago, in May 2009, we interviewed one of the original writers on Saturday Night Live, Anne Beatts.

- Jenna Hymes