From My Three Sons To Major Dad

Overview

Over the course of his five-decade career in television, John Stephens produced many hit shows, including My Three Sons, Family Affair, Gunsmoke, How the West Was Won, and Simon & Simon. He also produced a number of failures, including The Smith Family (starring Henry Fonda and Ron Howard) and arguably the worst Movie of the Week, the pilot to Wonder Woman (starring Cathy Lee Crosby). Along the way, Stephens encountered the usual—and not so usual—difficulties that accompany work on such projects. While others...

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Overview

Over the course of his five-decade career in television, John Stephens produced many hit shows, including My Three Sons, Family Affair, Gunsmoke, How the West Was Won, and Simon & Simon. He also produced a number of failures, including The Smith Family (starring Henry Fonda and Ron Howard) and arguably the worst Movie of the Week, the pilot to Wonder Woman (starring Cathy Lee Crosby). Along the way, Stephens encountered the usual—and not so usual—difficulties that accompany work on such projects. While others may have seen these events as obstacles, Stephens regarded them as opportunities. And when an opportunity did not yield the most favorable outcome, he made the most of it by rendering the experience into an amusing anecdote. It is with this lighthearted approach that Stephens recounts his lengthy career in From My Three Sons to Major Dad: My Life as a TV Producer. From Arness to Zsa Zsa, the author reveals everything about the making of episodic television: casting stars and guest stars, handling actors in various states of inebriation, fixing scripts, hiring and firing directors, and filming on location. From Brian Keith's colorful vocabulary to Fred MacMurray's well-known frugality; from Jimmy Stewart's guest appearance at scale to the rising egos—and subsequent demands—of Simon and Simon's pair of stars, it's all here. Beginning in the 1950s, Stephens chronicles five decades of work in the television industry—from his early days as a casting director to his triumphant swan song, creating and producing the hit series Major Dad. Whether you're an industry professional or one of the many millions of Americans glued to their TV sets every night, you'll enjoy this informative and entertaining memoir.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810852792
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 1/1/2005
  • Series: The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series, #118
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

John G. Stephens began his television career in 1953 as a story reader. He worked his way up to casting director, then producer. In five decades of work, he produced some of television's most popular series.

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Table of Contents

Part 0 Acknowledgments Part 0 Preface Chapter 1 Martinis and Quaker Oars with Bill Frawley Chapter 2 Thanks for the Job, Dad!-Barbara Stanwuck and George Sanders Chapter 3 New York Moves West-Dickie Widmark and Charles Bronson Chapter 4 Katy Jurado Needs a Job and Tommy Kirk Gets His Start Chapter 5 The Great Gildersleeve-Unchained and Hall Bartlett Chapter 6 I Ruin a Preview Chapter 7 "Why Did You Bring That Bum in Here?" Chapter 8 Aaron Spelling, Chuck Connors, and Angie Dickinson Chapter 9 Encounters with Betty White and Tallulah Bankhead Chapter 10 Keenan Wynn, the Actor and the Writer Chapter 11 Good Days and Bad Nights on The Millionaire Chapter 12 Las Vegas with Bob Altman Chapter 13 How We Filmed My Three Sons Chapter 14 Casting My Three Sons Chapter 15 Fred's Frugality Chapter 16 From Bill Frawley to Bill Demarest Chapter 17 Three Sons Directors Chapter 18 Jimmy Stewart at Scale Chapter 19 My Toughest Show: Family Affair Chapter 20 Sebastian Cabot and Trailer Sizes Chapter 21 Ann Sothern, Ethel Merman, and Zsa Zsa Chapter 22 Henry Fonda and Ron Howard: Bullets and Brownies Chapter 23 John Forsythe and Walter Brennan in Rome Chapter 24 Lunch with Ray Walston-I Make a Few Mistakes Chapter 25 Twenty-Five Girls with Beautiful Whats? Chapter 26 Don Fedderson Chapter 27 Fred Henry-Brian Keith to the Rescue Chapter 28 "Garry Marshall's Italian, Brian" Chapter 29 I Produce TV's Worst Ninety-Minute Movie of the Week Chapter 30 If the Script is Bad, Filming It Doesn't Make It Better Chapter 31 Premier Sadat-Gunsmoke's Last Season Chapter 32 I Help to Put 60 Minutes into Prime Time Chapter 33 Jim Arness and How the West Was Won Chapter 34 Season Two of West Chapter 35 Season Three-Burgess Meredith Needs Toilet Paper Chapter 36 Marciano and Working with Boxers Chapter 37 Meeting with Brandon Tartikoff Chapter 38 Elizabeth Montgomery as Dorian Gray?-I Enter the 25th Century Chapter 39 The Start of Simon & Simon Chapter 40 Simon Season Two: Where the Cheapest Becomes the Best Chapter 41 The Stars Become STARS Chapter 42 The Enquirer Catches Up with Simon & Simon Chapter 43 The Stars Strike Back Chapter 44 A Good Script to Start the Season Chapter 45 Universal's Suits-the Simon "Bible" Chapter 46 The Agony and the Ectasy of Locations Chapter 47 Lucky Luciano: "A True American Hero" Chapter 48 Gangster Chronicles Goes Down Chapter 49 Computers, Corey, and Max Gail's Ponytail Chapter 50 Don Bellisario: A Complicated Genius Chapter 51 The Nonunion Experience Chapter 52 I Finally Sell a Show: Major Dad Chapter 53 The Sitcom World of Today: Not Desi's or Lucy's Chapter 54 I Become a Pitchman and Strike Out Chapter 55 My Swan Song Chapter 56 In Conclusion Part 57 Index Part 58 About the Author

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