Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy birthday, Paul Bogart!

We’re celebrating a real broadcast communications pioneer in today’s TDOY spotlight—veteran director Paul Bogart, who turns ninety-one today and was born on this date in New York City, is one of only a few individuals whose career touched upon the live productions of TV’s “Golden Age,” TV-movies and feature films.  Quite an achievement for a man who broke into show business as an actor and puppeteer with a marionette troupe in 1946.

Bogart broke into television as a stage manager and associate director at the National Broadcasting Company, employed at many of the popular dramatic anthology programs such as Kraft Television Theater, Goodyear Playhouse, Armstrong Circle Theater and The U.S. Steel Hour.  His work on those prestigious shows—specifically an episode of Goodyear entitled “The Confidence Man”—brought him into contact with a producer named Herbert Brodkin.  Brodkin’s television reputation would be cemented with such high-quality 1960s shows as The Nurses (The Doctors and the Nurses), Coronet Blue and The Defenders, and Paul’s association with him would result in his winning one of his first of five Emmy Awards for directing a Defenders two-parter, “The 700-Year-Old Man.”

For Bogart, Emmy #2 and #3 came about for two productions he helmed under the CBS Playhouse banner, “Dear Friends” (1967) and “Shadow Game” (1969).  It was around this time that Paul branched out into theatrical film assignments; he directed two very good films that starred James Garner, Marlowe (1969) and Skin Game (1971)—but he also had his share of disappointments, like Cancel My Reservation (1972), which boasts the distinction of being Bob Hope’s last theatrical film in a starring role, and Class of ’44 (1973), the sequel to the previous year’s box office smash Summer of ’42.

Bogart once mentioned in an interview that he preferred directing theatrical films to television productions because of the time element—a director enjoyed the luxury of having more time to prepare with feature films.  But he continued his work for the small screen, helming TV-movies like Look Homeward, Angel (1972) and The War Widow (1976)—and found steady employment directing beaucoup episodes of All in the Family, a series that allowed him to put one more Emmy on the mantle with the groundbreaking episode “Edith’s 50th Birthday.”  He directed a handful of episodes of Family’s spin-off, Archie Bunker’s Place, as well as episodes of series like Mama Malone, The Golden Girls and Bagdad Café.  His fifth and final Emmy award came when Girls won for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1986; as supervising producer he shared it with five others, including executive producers Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas.

In 1991, Paul was awarded the French Festival Internationelle Programmes Audiovisuelle at Cannes—again, being one of the few television directors to receive such an honor for his work.  So happy ninety-first natal anniversary to you, Mr. Bogart…but let’s not leave out these fellow birthday celebrants, either:

François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire) – French writer, historian, philosopher and all-around smart guy who was one of the chief forces of the Enlightenment

Henrietta “Hetty” Green (1834-1916) – “The Witch of Wall Street”

Corinne Griffith (1894-1979) – Silent and sound film actress whose films include Black Oxen, Three Hours, The Garden of Eden and The Divine Lady; became an author after retiring from acting—her book, Papa’s Delicate Condition, was brought to film in 1963

Jobyna Ralston (1900-1967) – Stage and screen actress who’s best known as Harold Lloyd’s “replacement” leading lady in such films as Girl Shy, The Freshman, For Heaven’s Sake and The Kid Brother

Alice Calhoun (1900-1966) – Silent film actress whose oeuvre includes The Man Next Door, The Man from Brodney’s, Flowing Gold and Pampered Youth

Coleman Hawkins (1904-1969) – Jazz musician known as “the father of the tenor sax”

Ted Ray (1905-1977) – British radio and television comedian popular in the 50s/60s with such programs as Ray’s a Laugh and The Ted Ray Show

Eleanor Powell (1912-1982) – Film actress-dancer who excelled at tap dancing in such films as Born to Dance, Broadway Melody of 1940, Lady Be Good and I Dood It

Dorothy Granger (1912-1995) – TDOY character actress goddess who appeared in scores of comedy two-reelers for Hal Roach, Columbia and R-K-O; her other films include When the Daltons Rode, The Jade Mask and the 1948 serial Dangers of the Canadian Mounted

Roy (1913-2001) and John Boulting (1913-1985) – Twin British motion picture writer-director-producers whose films include Seven Days to Noon, Man in a Cocked Hat, Heavens Above! and The Family Way

Steve Brodie (1919-1992) – Ubiquitous character actor seen in tons on TV programs and in films including Desperate, Out of the Past, Station West and Winchester ‘73

Ralph Meeker (1920-1988) – Stage, screen and television character actor whose vehicles include The Naked Spur, Kiss Me Deadly, Paths of Glory, The Dirty Dozen and TV’s Not for Hire

Vivian Blaine (1921-1995) – Stage, screen and television singer-actress best known for her memorable performance as Miss Adelaide in the hit Broadway musical (which she reprised in the 1955 film version) Guys and Dolls

Joseph Campanella (1927-     ) – Television icon known for his many guest roles on a gazillion TV shows and regular gigs on such series as Mannix, The Bold Ones: The New Lawyers, One Day at a Time, The Colbys, That’s Life and The Bold and the Beautiful

Stanley Myron Handelman (1929-2007) – Standup comedian who made many appearances on variety programs during the 60s/70s

Jean Shepard (1933-     ) – Country music great known for being one hell of a yodeler and is also the longest-living female member of the Grand Ole Opry (as of this post)

Laurence Luckinbill (1934-     ) – Stage, screen and television actor who if you asked me what he did for a living I’d tell you he was married to Lucie Arnaz

Marlo Thomas (1937-     ) – Um…she turns seventy-three today—can we stop referring to her as “that girl”?

Ingrid Pitt (1937-     ) – Polish-born film and television actress whose films include Where Eagles Dare, The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula and The Wicker Man

Robert Drivas (1938-1986) – Stage, screen and television actor-director whose vehicles include Cool Hand Luke, The Illustrated Man and the classic Hawaii Five-O episode (one of a trilogy) “V for Vashon: The Son”

Jeannot Szwarc (1939-     ) – Veteran television director who’s also helmed a few theatrical features including Bug, Jaws 2, Somewhere in Time and Supergirl

Rick Lenz (1939-     ) – Stage, screen and television actor best remembered here at TDOY as the sheriff on the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie segment Hec Ramsey

Malcolm (Dr.) John Rebennack Jr. (1940-     ) – Singer-songwriter and pianist/guitarist

Juliet Mills (1941-     ) – Stage, screen and television actress best known for her roles on the TV shows Nanny and the Professor and Passions; older sister of Hayley and daughter of Sir John

David Porter (1941-     ) – Soul musician and writing-producing partner of Isaac Hayes at Stax Records in the 1960s

John Hough (1941-     ) – Veteran British film and television director whose oeuvre includes The Legend of Hell House, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, Escape to Witch Mountain and Return from Witch Mountain

Tweety (1942-     ) – Mischievous yellow cartoon canary prone to seeing puddy tats

Harold Ramis (1944-     ) – Second City alumnus who has acted, written and/or directed such vehicles as Animal House, Caddyshack, Stripes, Vacation, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day

Marcia “Marcy” Carsey (1944-     ) – Television producer whose hits include The Cosby Show, A Different World, Roseanne, Grace Under Fire, 3rd Rock from the Sun and That 70’s Show

Goldie Hawn (1945-     ) – Academy Award-winning actress whose early career was established on TV’s Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In before graduated to films like Cactus Flower, Butterflies are Free, The Sugarland Express, Private Benjamin and Overboard

Deborah Shelton (1948-     ) – Smokin’ hot film and television actress best known as Mandy Winger on TV’s Dallas; her movies include Body Double and Hunk

Lorna Luft (1952-     ) – Stage, screen and television actress-singer whom, if you asked me what she’s been in, I’d tell you Grease 2 and then draw a blank; half-sister of Liza Minnelli

Nicollette Sheridan (1963-     ) – Film and television actress known for her roles as Paige Matheson on Knots Landing and Edie Britt on Desperate Housewives

Björk (Guðmundsdóttir) (1965-     ) – Icelandic singer-songwriter and actress often described as eclectic…which I guess is sort of a polite way of saying “fruit loopy”

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quizshowbob said...

But I love 'That Girl'. It doesn't even bother me when my friends make fun of me for having all 5 seasons on DVD.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

But I love 'That Girl'. It doesn't even bother me when my friends make fun of me for having all 5 seasons on DVD.

Brother are not alone.

Scott said...

MST3K fans will recall Steve Brodie from his "Out of the Past was a long, long time ago" turns in the Comedy Central episode The Wild World of Batwoman and the Sci-Fi Channel ep The Giant Spider Invasion.

And in a bit of teeny tiny trivia: s.z. was inspired by Steve's eccentric performance in the Jerry Warren flick Frankenstein Island to write a humorous review, setting a precedent and establishing a tone which eventually snowballed, through leaps, bounds, and bumps, into Better Living Through Bad Movies.

And now you know...the rest of the story.

Linda said...

Paul Bogart directed one of my favorite pieces of television ever, The House Without a Christmas Tree and two of its three sequels.