Program number 1 of 18 programs.
Myrna Loy introduces this unique series. Francis X. Bushman hosts a fond and humorous recollection of the little town of Hollywood, California, in the days when comedies were made in the streets, actors rode to work on horseback and orange groves were everywhere. Recalling these pioneer days are Cecil B. DeMille, Harold Lloyd, Nita Naldi, Charlie Ruggles, George K. Arthur, screenwriter Frances Marion, director Eddie Sutherland and historian Leo Rosten. Most of the interviews were originally recorded in 1959 by producers Joan and Robert Franklin.
NOTE: Robert C. Franklin (1920-1980), inspired by a 1958 newspaper story he read about Columbia University's POPULAR ARTS ORAL HISTORY PROJECT, approached Dr. Louis Starr, then director of the oral-history collection, with a proposal to interview and tape record, on to 1/4" reel to reel audio tapes, movie people as they passed through New York. The objective would be to document, through personal recollections, the era of the silent era in films, the impact of sound, the triumphs and inequities of the major studios, and life in the glittering film capital...a firsthand account revelation of how silent movies were actually made.
Robert and his wife, Joan Franklin went on to record 200 reels of audio tape, recording celebrities mostly in New York City hotel rooms in 1958 and 1959. Transcripts of interviews were made available at the time to students and researchers.
In 1961 excerpts/highlights from these audio tapes were edited into a 16 part radio series titled, MEMOIRS OF THE MOVIES. Myrna Loy provided a standard opening. A different celebrity host/hostess was employed to introduce each episode. All of the 90 celebrities interviewed have since passed away with the exception of Joanne Woodward. Two additional episodes were later produced, "Style of the 70's," and "Rush To Reality," both hosted by Ben Gazzara and added, subsequently, to re-issues of the series which were syndicated in the 1960's and 1970's airing in New York (WINS), Boston (WBZ), Philadelphia (KYW), Baltimore (WJZ), Fort Wayne (WOWO), Chicago (WIND), San Francisco (KPIX), and Los Angeles (KFWB).
The original 200 unedited reels of 1/4" audio tape interviews recorded by Joan and Robert Franklin are no longer known to exist. However, audio cassette transfers from these original tapes were donated by Joan Franklin many decades ago to Columbia University's Oral History Research Office where they exist today.
Confirmed during a 2009 phone conversation with Mary Marshal Clark, archivist at Columbia at that time, who stated that the first on file communication from Robert Franklin to Columbia University related to his proposal to do an oral history audio recorded project is dated, July 31, 1958.