September 26, 1960 - December 28, 1962
Dean Miller interviews Buster Keaton in his home in Woodland Hills, California where he has lived the past almost six years with his wife Eleanor and dog Elmer. Keaton explains how Paramount bought this house when they made the Buster Keaton Story with Donald O'Connor in 1955.
Buster describes his toy trains and other mechanical "toys" he has always had a fascination for. He describes to Dean Miller a modernized Chicken Coop he has made. Keaton's love for everything mechanical helped him master many of his stunts used in his films.
Buster Keaton talks about his relationship with Ed Wynn and how they met in 1905 at the Temple theater in Detroit. He mentions that today's non-stunt-oriented comedy will return. "Comedy comes and goes in cycles."
Buster Keaton remembers when he began to be a member in his father's vaudeville act, his father throwing him around at every opportunity and how Buster would get even with his dad, having props fall on him.
All physical comedy in those days and little related to sentimental.
Keaton tell Miller how Harry Houdini tagged him with the name "Buster" after he fell down a flight of stairs. He shows Dean a picture of himself dating back to 1899 when he began performing. He states that he loved every day because every day was different.
Keaton describes how his mother would school teach him and his sisters. How he attended only one day of formal school in his life after he was kicked out for misbehaving.
Concluding the interview Buster Keaton remembers coming to Hollywood in 1917 and the wildest stunt he ever performed. The plot required for Keaton to be depressed after losing his girl to Bull Montana. Buster then jumps from a high board on top of a swimming pool, only to miss the pool entirely.
This rare ("lost") television audio air check was personally recorded off the air on Phil Gries' 1949 16"Andrea Television set when is was originally broadcast, August 10, 1961. The audio track was donated to the Museum of Television & Radio in 1996 (now known as The Paley Center for Media) just prior to the major retrospective the museum was offering to the public from September 6 thru December 8, 1996, entitled THE RETURN OF THE MAN IN THE PORKPIE HAT: BUSTER KEATON ON TELEVISION.
Screened during this Buster Keaton retrospective were 42 individual clips that had been archived of Buster Keaton appearances on television, except for his HERE'S HOLLWOOD appearance which was not archived by NBC television.
At the time, Phil Gries received the following letter dated September 19, 1996, from Allen Glover, curator and researcher at the museum.
Please find enclosed your audio air check of HERE'S HOLLYWOOD with Buster Keaton. We have made a digital master of the interview and it will now become part of the Museum's collection.
Without your lifelong dedication to the practice of recording and preserving television audio tracks, we would surely have lost a vital part of Buster Keaton's legacy.
The Museum is indebted to collectors such as yourself and your work and devotion to broadcast history are greatly appreciated and admired."
HISTORY OF HERE'S HOLLYWOOD television series, produced on 2" Quad Video tape broadcast daytime on NBC TV (1960-1962).
Here's Hollywood (568 broadcasts) aired as a half-hour interview program, weekday afternoons on NBC at 4:30pm. On October 2, 1961, the show was reduced five minutes giving way to a live news broadcast with Sander Vanocur which aired at 4:55pm.
Here's Hollywood was the leading daytime show for two years. It was the first TV broadcast of its kind, using two mobile vans equipped with 2" video tape equipment which traveled to the homes of celebrities...two locations each day, one star in the morning and one in the afternoon. Most of the interviews aired were ten minutes in length. Two different interviews comprised the full length of the half hour program. Occasionally, one subject would be interviewed for the complete program. Occasionally programs were produced outside of the United States...Hawaii, Germany, France. Five color broadcasts were attempted and then the concept abandoned, due to the complexity of 2" quadruplex video tape at the time.
Dean Miller conducted interviews from September 26, 1960, to September 29, 1961. He was replaced by Jack Linkletter who conducted interviews from October 2, 1961, to December 28, 1962. Joanne Jordan conducted interviews from September 26, 1960, to June 9, 1961. She was replaced by Helen O'Connell who conducted interviews from June 13, 1961, to December 28, 1962.
Note: Only a handful of the 1,100 different interviews survive. Most were erased, discarded, misplaced. NBC Archives have only two surviving kinescopes, one with Joe E. Brown (12-2-61), and one with Linda Darnell (12-4-61). UCLA Film & TV Archive has 46 different subject interview kinescopes on separate negative film and separate optical film.
Archival Television Audio has 82 broadcasts on audio tape, originally recorded by Phil Gries at the time the broadcasts first aired. Most of them are complete interviews. These television Audio Air Checks represent the greatest number of known surviving HERE'S HOLLYWOOD broadcast episodes.
UCLA FILM & Television Archives retains, in their vaults, the greatest number of individual original HERE'S HOLLYWOOD separate 16mm Kinescopes and coinciding separate optical and magnetic soundtracks, representing approximately four dozen shows. Almost ALL these broadcasts remain in analog form, separate negative picture and separate negative soundtrack, and not view-able as composite video and audio.