Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A living archive of U.S. tv history

If you are already interested in the history of Television in the U.S. (or would like to know something about it), here is the place for you: the Archive of American Television blog. Here is a regularly updated listing of interviews on (the site formerly known as) Google Video by the organization that runs the Emmy Awards. From directors ( James Burrows, Jay Sandrich) to writers (Bob Schiller & Bob Weiskopf, Lucille Kallen) to actors (Ron Howard, Alan Alda, Dennis Weaver, James Arness) to...well, almost Everybody (Jim McKay, Bob McGrath, Dick Wolf, Sid Caesar), it's an incredible resource & a helluva lot of fun.

There are over 500 interviews of from 2 to 6 hours in length which, since they were all done using cameras utilizing 30 minute long tape, are in 28-30 minute segments.
It's an interviewer (who also runs the one camera, set on a tripod & primarily motionless) and the interviewee in a room in the interviewees home. Period. No mementos, no stills, no production: just someone asking basic questions (albeit someone who has done some research) of another person who has lived an extraordinary life. The interviewees range in age from young (well, Ron Howard IS less than a year older than me :lol) to their 90's. They worked as Stage Managers, Makeup Artists, & Producers. Their work in TV spanned the pre-WWII era (didja Know there was TV in the U.S. back then?) through today.

Their stories are entertaining & enlightening. The interview series began in the mid-90's (and continues today), so a number of these folks have passed away. This isn't old-style talk show banter ("but I wanna tell ya..."). It's the stories of their lives in and around Television. And it's very cool.

(Btw, you can, of course, stream the interviews through Google Video online, or download the Google Video client & then d/l the interviews in Google's DRM'd format...OR , if you use the Firefox browser, you can install UnPlug, a Firefox extension that allows you to, once the video starts streaming, click a button & d/l the video as a Flash (.flv) file. You then use a Flash player (I use FLV Player - free, open source, & simple to use) to play the video whenever you want! Of course, this could be used on other sites that use Flash video to d/l material, & it could lead to the possibility of some sort of copyright infringement, so you should not do such a thing. Nope, shouldn't do it at all.)
UnPlug - http://unplug.mozdev.org
FLV Player - http://www.martijndevisser.com/blog/flv-player/
Love and Peace, Clarence

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