How I Escaped from Gilligan's Island: And Other Misadventures of a Hollywood Writer-Producer (Ray and Pat Browne Book)

How I Escaped from Gilligan's Island: And Other Misadventures of a Hollywood Writer-Producer (Ray and Pat Browne Book)

William Froug

Language: English

Pages: 360

ISBN: 0879728736

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

    In the early 1950s writers were leaving radio en masse to try their hand at another promising medium—television. William Froug was in the thick of that exodus, a young man full of ideas in a Hollywood bursting with opportunities. In his forty-year career Froug would write and/or produce many of the shows that America has grown up with. From the drama of Playhouse 90 and the mind-bending premises of The Twilight Zone to the escapist scenarios of Adventures in Paradise, Gilligan’s Island, Bewitched, and Charlie’s Angels, Froug played a role in shaping his trade. He crossed paths with some of the memorable personalities in the industry, including Jack Benny, Lucille Ball, Agnes Moorehead, Elizabeth Montgomery, Robert Blake, Rod Serling, Gene Roddenberry, Aaron Spelling, and Sherwood Schwartz.

    Froug reveals a post-WWII America giddy with the success of its newest medium—yet sobered at moments by strikes and union politics, McCarthyism and anti-Semitism. It was a world of hastily written scripts, sudden firings, thwarted creativity, and fickle tastes. And yet, while clearly exasperated with many aspects of Hollywood, Froug was a man utterly in his element, his frustration with the industry ultimately eclipsed by his dedication to his craft.

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witnesses. McCarthy was, in fact, a reckless alcoholic, primarily dedicated to making those headlines and indulging in political showboating while boasting that he alone was saving America from the communist. (Today the present administration substitutes “The terrorists are coming! The terrorists are coming!” Fear always seems to work.) For all the committee’s investigating, it never found a single instance where anyone inserted any communist propaganda in any American movie or radio program.

considering doing any work on them, which was precisely what he had told me to do the first day I reported for work. My next-door office neighbor was an impeccably dressed middleaged gentleman named Gene Rodney, the producer of the popular Father Knows Best series. Gene and I began walking to lunch together through the Columbia lot and out onto Gower (known in Hollywood as Gower Gulch, because that’s where the cowboy extras working on Columbia pictures used to hang out). Just off the corner of

and the like. Not far away, around the corner was a lovely neighborhood with a tree-lined street, which I recognized immediately as where Andy Hardy lived. There was his house, fronted by a white picket fence, lawn and garden, ready to move in. “We call this the Andy Hardy Street,” said Lou, proudly, “there’s been many a picture shot here, not just for Andy Hardy. It’s the ideal neighborhood for Everytown, USA. Did it ever occur to you,” Lou continued, “that a few Jewish immigrants from the old

space on whichever lot gave them the best deal. Hollywood was undergoing radical changes and was not entirely comfortable with the brave new world it faced. Jack Neuman remained in his huge office most of the day, a dark brooding figure smoking while hunched over his typewriter; pecking away behind his gargantuan desk, working on his own script about which we knew little. At the end of each day Jack, suddenly jovial, would insist that Doc and I come into his office for drinks. Jack made certain the

off Sunset Boulevard in the Pacific Palisades, showed me his large swimming pool and beautifully furnished poolside office suite at the western end of the pool, where his secretary typed his scripts. Entering the reception room, a visitor is greeted by six highly polished Emmy statuettes standing like golden sentinels on a glass shelf, guarding his private office, the inner sanctum. Other plaques and honors, including four Writers Guild awards, were tastefully placed about the deeply carpeted offices

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