King of the Half Hour: Nat Hiken and the Golden Age of TV Comedy

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
"Any student of television will want to read this book. Taking a journalistic approach (using interviews and popular works on the subject), Everitt spells out the life of the humorist whom TV producer James Burrows called a 'founding father of situtation comedy."
Television Quarterly
"Everitt has written a carefully researched biography of one of the smartest and funniest writer-producers who ever worked in televsion, Nat Hiken. . . . Everitt not only chronicles Hiken's multi-Emmy-winning career . . . but convincingly frames Hiken's ups and downs in the larger context of the changing face of the medium in which he toiled."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A television pioneer is revived in David Everitt's King of the Half Hour: Nat Hiken and the Golden Age of TV Comedy. Formerly Fred Allen's radio writer, Hiken moved to TV in 1950 as a head writer for NBC's Four Star Revue and went on to create Sergeant Bilko and Car 54, Where Are You? Working with the likes of Mel Brooks and Woody Allen throughout the '50s and early '60s, Hiken won eight Emmy Awards and wrote material for Milton Berle, Bette Davis, Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball. Everitt (For Reel) portrays Hiken in his New York and, later, Hollywood contexts, sketching the inception and early childhood of television. ( Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Everitt (Film Tricks: Special Effects in the Movies and for Reel) delves into the early years of TV comedy, here writing a sensitive biography of writer-producer Nat Hiken, who died of a heart attack in 1968 as he was in the process of editing The Love of God. Hiken was the comedic genius behind television's You'll Never Get Rich with Phil Silvers and Car 54, Where Are You? He had a knack for creating hilarious situations and zany characters that had depth and feeling. He worked with the top stars of the day, even managing to turn boxer Rocky Graziano into a comedy star on The Martha Raye Show. Everitt has included anecdotes about stars Hiken wrote for and interviews with people who worked for this innovative Hollywood figure. Photos would have been a nice complement to the text. Still, this well-written biogaphy the first on Hiken nicely blends his professional career with a look at what television was like in the early years. Recommended for all libraries. Rosalind Dayen, Broward Cty. South Regional Lib., FL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Everitt (a free-lance writer, no university affiliation) situates television pioneer Nat Hiken in broadcast history and in the larger story of TV's early years. He discusses Hiken's creative role in classics like and This biography draws extensively from interviews with the television personalities who worked with Hiken, including Carol Burnett, Fred Gwynne, Alan King, Al Lewis, and Herbert Ross. Appendixes list the shows Hiken worked on and the awards he won. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815606765
  • Publisher: Syracuse University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2000
  • Series: Television Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction xi
1. Milwaukee Boy 1
2. The Grouchmaster 11
3. Fred Allen Writes His Own Material 22
4. Not Quite Mr. Television 44
5. Book Shows 61
6. Clown Queen 78
7. You'll Never Get Rich 98
8. Burnout 124
9. Between Engagements 136
10. The Last Stand 150
11. Content Is Out 177
12. Hollywood Bound 191
Appendixes
A. The Nat Hiken Shows 209
B. Emmy Awards Won by Nat Hiken 213
Notes 215
Bibliography 233
Index 239
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