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Old 07-25-2016, 11:21 AM   #1
jharison
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Default Bill Bixby Interview from 1969

Here is an exert from Jack Major's interview with Bill Bixby in the Providence Journal, Oct 12, 1969:

Unlike many TV stars, Bixby claimed he isn't using his show as a stepping stone to movies. He likes television. As is.

"To me, television is where it's at. This is THE medium. And don't give me all that stuff about the good old days of 'Playhouse 90.' For every good show 'Playhouse 90' presented, it had nine dogs."

He thinks movies especially those that rely heavily on sex and violence are making a desperate attempt to stay competitive with television. While some say movies generally offer more "sophisticated" entertainment, Bixby is likely to substitute the word "sensational."

He called his series of labor of love about love the love of a widower for his seven-year-old boy. "The love is real," he said. "The relationship I have with Brandon Cruz (his TV son) is very special."

Bixby wants very much for that relationship to be felt by the audience, so the dialogue at the beginning and end of each episode is taken from actual conversations he has with Cruz, and these snippets are dubbed over scene filmed at random at beaches, zoos amusement parks, and other places a father might take his son.

Bixby is a 35-year-old confirmed bachelor who has several ideas about raising children. These ideas will be evident in the series.

"I don't think people should lie to their children, and I won't lie in the series. I think parents should be frank and recognize there are times they can talk with their children on an adult level."

A sampling of the program so far indicates Bixby is sincere. The show has covered familiar ground in an unfamiliar way. "Eddie's Father" is pleasantly low key and apparently geared for smiles and small laughs. It is a refreshing show, though perhaps unlikely to gain a large following quickly.

"We try to put things in perspective," said Bixby. "One of the ideas behind the show, of course, is that my son wants me to remarry, and occasionally he tries to fix me up with ladies he thinks would make good mothers. But this is not going to be a show about a seven-year-old pimp."

Bixby and producer James Komack want to take full responsibility for the show.

"We've succeeded in getting most of what we want," he said. "Originally ABC wanted to put us on in the middle of last season, but we held out. And because he had an early start we began shooting the series last November we've been able to work out the bugs. We've got the kind of show we wanted. There'll be no excuse if we fail."

He also said he wanted to do "Eddie's Father" as soon as his earlier series, "My Favorite Martian," was canceled in 1966. "But they said I wasn't mature enough to play a widower."

He aged enough in three years to get the part.

While old enough to be a TV widower, Bixby tries to think young, which is why "Eddie's Father" is screened for young audiences several times before it goes on the air. He even hired a group of UCLA students to act as advisors.
The ultimate decision about lines that may be too corny or trite for today's kids is often left in the hands of young singer-composer (Harry) Nilsson, who provides title and background music for the series.

"If Harry says, 'Change it,' we change it," said Bixby. "Harry is a genius."

Bixby says he wants a series people won't ridicule when they look at it ten years from now. But he wants them to laugh with it now, but only because they see a reflection of themselves and not just another television boob.

http://major-smolinski.com/NAMES/BIXBY.html
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Old 07-25-2016, 06:05 PM   #2
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A very nice article.
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Old 07-26-2016, 04:47 PM   #3
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As much as I thought Tom was often too lenient and prioritized being 'best friends' with Eddie too much, I DID like that he ALWAYS told the truth to his son even if it wasn't always a happy or pleasant outcome for one of both of them.
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Old 09-14-2016, 03:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jharison
Here is an exert from Jack Major's interview with Bill Bixby in the Providence Journal, Oct 12, 1969:

Unlike many TV stars, Bixby claimed he isn't using his show as a stepping stone to movies. He likes television. As is.

"To me, television is where it's at. This is THE medium. And don't give me all that stuff about the good old days of 'Playhouse 90.' For every good show 'Playhouse 90' presented, it had nine dogs."

He thinks movies especially those that rely heavily on sex and violence are making a desperate attempt to stay competitive with television. While some say movies generally offer more "sophisticated" entertainment, Bixby is likely to substitute the word "sensational."

He called his series of labor of love about love the love of a widower for his seven-year-old boy. "The love is real," he said. "The relationship I have with Brandon Cruz (his TV son) is very special."

Bixby wants very much for that relationship to be felt by the audience, so the dialogue at the beginning and end of each episode is taken from actual conversations he has with Cruz, and these snippets are dubbed over scene filmed at random at beaches, zoos amusement parks, and other places a father might take his son.

Bixby is a 35-year-old confirmed bachelor who has several ideas about raising children. These ideas will be evident in the series.

"I don't think people should lie to their children, and I won't lie in the series. I think parents should be frank and recognize there are times they can talk with their children on an adult level."

A sampling of the program so far indicates Bixby is sincere. The show has covered familiar ground in an unfamiliar way. "Eddie's Father" is pleasantly low key and apparently geared for smiles and small laughs. It is a refreshing show, though perhaps unlikely to gain a large following quickly.

"We try to put things in perspective," said Bixby. "One of the ideas behind the show, of course, is that my son wants me to remarry, and occasionally he tries to fix me up with ladies he thinks would make good mothers. But this is not going to be a show about a seven-year-old pimp."

Bixby and producer James Komack want to take full responsibility for the show.

"We've succeeded in getting most of what we want," he said. "Originally ABC wanted to put us on in the middle of last season, but we held out. And because he had an early start we began shooting the series last November we've been able to work out the bugs. We've got the kind of show we wanted. There'll be no excuse if we fail."

He also said he wanted to do "Eddie's Father" as soon as his earlier series, "My Favorite Martian," was canceled in 1966. "But they said I wasn't mature enough to play a widower."

He aged enough in three years to get the part.

While old enough to be a TV widower, Bixby tries to think young, which is why "Eddie's Father" is screened for young audiences several times before it goes on the air. He even hired a group of UCLA students to act as advisors.
The ultimate decision about lines that may be too corny or trite for today's kids is often left in the hands of young singer-composer (Harry) Nilsson, who provides title and background music for the series.

"If Harry says, 'Change it,' we change it," said Bixby. "Harry is a genius."

Bixby says he wants a series people won't ridicule when they look at it ten years from now. But he wants them to laugh with it now, but only because they see a reflection of themselves and not just another television boob.

http://major-smolinski.com/NAMES/BIXBY.html


Reading this and realizing it was Bill Bixby talking about how things were in 1969, (I was 8 or 9 years old then) it makes me realize how much has changed and yet is the same
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Old 09-14-2016, 04:10 PM   #5
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Kind of amazing how many of these shows debuted on ABC in a very short time: first year of Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Nanny and the Professot, Courtship, Brady Bunch, Partridge Family. It's interesting that the quieter shows in the group seem to have failed sooner and disappeared, while the brassier ones seem to have remained popular.
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Old 09-14-2016, 07:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Brady's Hair
Kind of amazing how many of these shows debuted on ABC in a very short time: first year of Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Nanny and the Professot, Courtship, Brady Bunch, Partridge Family. It's interesting that the quieter shows in the group seem to have failed sooner and disappeared, while the brassier ones seem to have remained popular.

I wonder what you mean by "quieter" and "brassier."
It can be a matter of opinion. I was very young when "Courtship of Eddie's Father" was on TV and I think I was already watching it strictly in reruns and it had recently gone off the air as far as new episodes, but I remember some of the episodes quite well.

I think that "Courtship" might have lasted three years or so considering what I recall of the character "Eddie" who seemed to be a boy of about 5 in the earliest episodes and then he got as old as about 9 in the later episodes.

I heard of the Ghost and Mrs Muir and might have seen some episodes but did not understand that show much. It was years before I knew it was a TV series based on a movie of the same name and had a strange plot in which a widow has the ghost of a sea captain in her house (or that is what I best understand). I think that must have lasted a short time on TV.

I think that in all the times I saw Nanny and The Professor it was strictly in reruns. I may just not have tuned into the channel it was broadcast on during the time new episodes were still being made, and then a few years later, I only saw it on "Channel 11" in NYC which is where a lot of TV shows that had gone off the air were sent to continue only in reruns. That show seems to have lasted on TV about 3 years again considering how the youngest characters grew from the newest episodes to the last episodes.

The Brady Bunch and Partridge Family both lasted about the same amount of time on the air, about four years which I guess is significantly longer than the other shows mentioned, or seemingly. Are you saying that those two shows were "Brassier" than "Nanny" and "Courtship" and "Mrs Muir" ?

It seems to me that "Brady Bunch" and "Partridge Family" lasted longer because they were attractive to a certain tween and teen audience than the other shows.

Greg Brady did date girls, so did Keith Partridge. Did that make "The Brady Bunch" and "Partridge Family" "brassier"?
But then "The Professor" of "Nanny and The Professor," and "Eddie's" dad in "Courtship of Eddie's Father" both dated women too.

Explain please
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:56 PM   #7
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By "brassy" I mean the definition "very confident and aggressive in a loud and sometimes annoying way." I think people on the Brady Bunch and Partridge Family talk louder than on the other shows, the lighting is brighter, the exchanges are coarser and cornier. "Nanny" and "Courtship" are quieter, the sets use more muted colors and shadow, the exchanges tend to be gentle and shoot for sweetness. "Ghost," I think, may sit somewhere in the middle.

As I mentioned in another thread, I think this quieter thing may have been a little bit of a trend then. Jimmy Stewart's sitcom was similar, as were My World and Welcome to It and Bill Cosby's early sitcom.
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Old 09-15-2016, 07:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
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By "brassy" I mean the definition "very confident and aggressive in a loud and sometimes annoying way." I think people on the Brady Bunch and Partridge Family talk louder than on the other shows, the lighting is brighter, the exchanges are coarser and cornier. "Nanny" and "Courtship" are quieter, the sets use more muted colors and shadow, the exchanges tend to be gentle and shoot for sweetness. "Ghost," I think, may sit somewhere in the middle.

As I mentioned in another thread, I think this quieter thing may have been a little bit of a trend then. Jimmy Stewart's sitcom was similar, as were My World and Welcome to It and Bill Cosby's early sitcom.
It is something how you take notice of the "lighting" on the background of TV-shows.
For that matter TV shows before the 1960s such as "Father Knows Best" and "The Donna Reed Show" and "Leave It To Beaver" and "The Governess"and also "I Love Lucy" ( and the other "Lucy" shows) had dim lighting because the shows (apparently) depicted the surroundings of common middle-class American people and back then the lighting in suburban homes and even non-suburban homes (The Honeymooners) were muted because of the kind of lamps that existed then and the interior of homes were of course, "older fashioned" and of that era and "modern art" was not yet the way people designed their living quarters ( or not commonly yet). That did not always have something to do with how "loud" or "soft" the conversations and interactions were between the household members or visitors or the adventures of the main characters when they go elsewhere.
According to what you describe, "The Bradys" and "The Partridges" had loud conversations and shouted a lot, etc. Well both those shows depicted life as it was for younger people during late 1960s into the 1970s when teenagers were "louder" more outspoken and political, and did not just say "Yes ma'm " to their mothers and sat quietly at the dinner table. And even at that, the "Brady" children and the "Partridge" children still were, or could be considered good, mild-mannered , and innocent even in their own time (the 60s and 70s) compared to what a lot of young people were becoming during the 60s and 70s, such as gang members, and drug addicts, and doing things such as running away to be prostitutes, or drug dealers, etc.
(On "Good Times" the children were depicted as being far more brash and loud than the kids on "Brady Bunch" or "Partridge Family" because the series depicted a family from the inner city ghetto).
But also, (I have said this before in a different post) the way that "Beaver" and "Wally" interacted was about as "loud" as the way that "Danny" and "Keith" interacted since TV shows got a lot of mileage out of having a younger brother annoy and get his older brother into trouble.

In "The Honeymooners" the lighting could be said to be "dim" rather than "bright" but that could be due to the kind of film and filming methods used at that time, which were probably not as technological as methods that were developed by the late 60s , but you know how loud "Ralph Kramden" got with his wife and with "Norton." Also in "I Love Lucy" Lucy and Ricky often got into loud arguments with each other or their neighbors.
Of course you point out that there was a pattern of "loud and brightly lighted" shows lasting longer than "soft and muted" TV shows.
Well sure "The Partridge Family" and "Brady Bunch" did last longer than
"Courtship of Eddie's Father" and "Nanny and The Professor" and a few others, but I am not sure of the "evidence' that it was because "Partridge" and "Brady Bunch" were "Brassy."
"The Monkees" definitely could be said to have had "bright lighting" and "loud conversations and interactions" and it did last fairly long on the air compared to the "muted" shows you mentioned, but it lasted as long as it did (partially) because in the mid 1960s , the Beatles were very popular and "The Monkees" seemed to be a group just like The Beatles that fans could watch every week on TV.
"Gilligan's Island" lasted less than 3 years on the air. I am not too sure of the "lighting" but it was a "loud" show in which the characters argued and got into brash interactions with each other such as "The Millionaire and his Wife" trying to make a business on the island and charge the rest of the castaways, or when "Ginger" boasts about how beautiful and glamorous she is to "Mary Ann" who envies her, or "Gilligan" and "The Skipper" getting into arguments and the "Skipper" always hitting "Gilligan" on the head with his Skipper's hat, etc.
What about "All In The Family" which lasted ten years on the air?
The interior of the Bunker household was out of the 1950s even though the lighting might have been a bit brighter than that of "Father Knows Best."

Even though you have a certain point about "quieter" shows lasting a short time on TV, it is probably because "quieter" shows depict too much of an idyllic and unrealistic type of life such as a husband coming home to a well kept suburban home and his wife has dinner ready and the kids are home from school and there aren't serious domestic or social problems. As the world was transitioning into the 1960s and 1970s, things were changing and so did the content of TV shows. After all , what could be cornier than such perfect domestic bliss?

"Julia" (which I only remember to a certain extent) depicted a single black mother raising a young son, and the background was about as muted as that of "The Courtship of Eddie's Father."

"One Day At A Time" depicted a single mother raising two teen daughters, one of which was more political and rebellious than the other.

"The Honeymooners" "The Monkees" "The Partridge Family" "The Brady Bunch" "Gilligan's Island" "One Day At A Time" "All In The Family" "The Jeffersons" "Good Times" and various other TV shows all have had their share of being "corny" since that is the way TV shows tend to be.

"Coarse"?
The "Bradys" and "The Partridges" were definitely not "coarse" if you mean vulgar. They were too sugary in fact.
"Archie Bunker" and "George Jefferson" were a bit more "coarse" and there might have been other TV characters who I cannot recall now , or I am not familiar with them.
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