Sunday, February 25, 2007

Huggins’ Writing Workshop

Now, here’s something that’s just downright cool.

Apparently, author-blogger Lee Goldberg had a chance to talk with screenwriter-producer Roy Huggins--the prolific creator of such TV series as Maverick, The Fugitive, 77 Sunset Strip, The Outsider, The Rockford Files, and City of Angels--in 1998, less than four years before his death. That six-hour interview, conducted and taped on behalf of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Archive of American Television, is now available online.

Their 10-part exchange covers everything from Huggins’ growing-up years and his idolization of his older brother, to the birth of 77 Sunset Strip and his blacklisting as a “former communist,” to his creation of Maverick and the “Movies of the Week” concept, his habit of driving out into the California desert and dictating seasons’ worth of TV episodes into a tape recorder, and his respect for fellow TV writer Juanita Bartlett. I haven’t yet finished watching all six hours (hey, I do have other things to do, even on a weekend), but already I’m utterly charmed. Huggins was a TV-writing master, and Goldberg does an exceptional job of ... well, not drawing him out exactly, since Huggins pretty much runs away with the interview, but inviting his subject to relive some of the seminal and little-understood experiences from his 87-year-life.

Go here to read Goldberg’s recollections of how this interview came about; and the first installment of the Huggins interview can be viewed here. Any fan of Roy Huggins’ work over the years would be a fool to miss this. Fantastic stuff!

READ MORE:R.I.P., Adele Mara,” by Ivan G. Shreve Jr. (Thrilling Days of Yesteryear); “What’s a Turn-On?” by David Thomson (Salon); “Black List, White Wash,” by Stephen Bowie (The Classic TV History Blog).

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