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WCFTR Radio and Television Collections

Kirk Douglas photo
Television promotional still of Robert Reed and E.G. Marshall in "The Defenders," ("The Seven Hundred-Year Old Gang"). CBS Sep. 1964.

Radio and television production from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s is best represented in the WCFTR collection, but significant holdings in more contemporary media can be found here too.  The era of anthology dramas telecast live from New York City is well documented in the moving image and manuscripts portions of the Fred Coe and David Susskind Collections. Numerous episodes of Armstrong Circle Theatre, Philco Television Playhouse, Goodyear Playhouse, Playhouse 90, Playwrights '56, and many of the other weekly drama series are available for viewing on original kinescope.

The largest of WCFTR television collections is comprised of 3500 shows produced by Ziv Television, the most successful producer of action-adventure programming filmed for first-run syndication from 1948 to 1962. The Ziv library includes viewing copies and printing elements for every episode of Boston Blackie, I Led Three Lives, Mr. District Attorney, Highway Patrol, Sea Hunt, Bat Masterson, and 32 other series. Scripts, production and promotional materials for these and additional Ziv series can also be examined at the WCFTR.

Other collections contain viewing prints, scripts, production and legal information from the immensely popular television documentary series Victory at Sea, Project XX, The 20th Century and The 21st Century. The Center's Ed Sullivan Collection holds copies of many episodes from The Ed Sullivan Show, as well as manuscripts and photographs documenting his entire career. The WCFTR also holds film and manuscripts documentation of other television variety shows such as The Bell Telephone Hour and The Martha Raye Show.

Nearly complete runs of the early 1960s groundbreaking dramatic programs Eastside/Westside and The Defenders, popular programming like Bonanza, and seminal comedies such as You'll Never Get Rich and Car 54, Where Are You? can be viewed at the Center. Again, the viewing prints of these programs are accompanied by complete pre- and post-production and broadcast information in the collections of David Susskind, Reginald Rose, Nat Hiken, and others. The MTM Enterprises Collection consists of film and videotape copies of pilots and selected episodes from series such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Paris and Lou Grant. Scripts for the entire run of virtually all of the MTM series, from St. Elsewhere to Remington Steele, can be studied in the Archives Research Room.

Documentation of television milestones and the evolution of entire broadcast genres can be found in the manuscript collections of pioneer television writers and producers Alvin Boretz, Paddy Chayevsky, Hal Kanter, Loring Mandel, E. Jack Neuman, Irna Phillips, Howard Rodman, Sy Salkowitz, Rod Serling, and many others.  More recently, the center has received collections documenting television and video production in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s in the Papazian-Hirsch Entertainment collection, and in the papers of documentary producer Saul Landau and of Al Schwartz, longtime producer with Dick Clark Productions.

The main access point for television programs held by the WCFTR is by series and episode title. Information about television programs, documentaries, cartoons and short subjects can be accessed by title using ARCAT, on-line Archival Finding Aids or the card catalogues, printed lists, indexes and other manual finding aids available at the WCFTR office.

Information about WCFTR manuscript collections is available in ARCAT, our online catalog, and the Archival Finding Aids.

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