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GUEST BLOG #52: Tom Brinkmoeller On a New Way to Appreciate Old TV
September 17, 2009  | By Tom Brinkmoeller
[Bianculli here: With the new fall TV season about to arrive, contributing columnist Tom Brinkmoeller checks out the revamp of a website devoted to old TV, and the preservation of its oral history. Warning: The site, like the columnist, may prove addictive...]


Repackaged Website Provides User-Friendly Access to Priceless Interviews

A premise of which I'm so sure, I'm smug about it:

If you're a regular visitor to this site, your interest in television stretches way past buying vowels or Atlanta housewives. If that's correct, and you love and are fascinated by good television, go to this site soon: emmytvlegends.org


Been there before? You'll be pleased with the improvement. New to you? If you're a fan of TV WORTH WATCHING, you'll think you've discovered a new mother lode.

More than a decade ago, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation started recording interviews with most of the people who have contributed to television's history. To date, more than 600 interviews have been completed.Not the talk-show-interview type, which can last about five minutes, including the obligatory clip for the product being promoted. No, there are interviews of depth and interest, with intelligent questions prompting interesting answers.

In essence, you're part of a wonderful chat. Not since Dick Cavett's show ended has this kind of interviewing been seen so easily.


In 2005, the interviews started showing up on the Web. But finding what you were looking for was clumsy, and interest in tapping into this collection easily could be deflated. The just-launched, redesigned site lets visitors search by people, shows, professions and topics. The former labyrinth has been dismantled. Ease of use clearly is the successful main motivator of the redesign.

Go to the site and click on Interviews in the menu bar, and then on People in the sub-menu, to get an idea of the diverse collection of people, from in front of and behind the camera, who have shared their time and wonderfully explored reflections and opinions.

Some of the interviews have yet to be added to the site, and their names don't link to the interviews. But a spokesman for the Foundation, asked about this, says, "They're working to get everything uploaded as quickly as possible." And though there is no time line, completing the site is an obvious high priority.

Sid Caesar to Milton Berle. Grant Tinker to Ted Turner. Leonard Nimoy to Mary Tyler Moore. And many more, enough to tailor-fit any taste. And those whose interviews offer a longtime insight into their extraordinary lives, lives which have, sadly, recently come to an end: Walter Cronkite, Don Hewitt, Larry Gelbart, Tim Russert and others.

The interviews have been around for a while, but this repackaging is so, so much more than regifting. Visit, explore, and enjoy.



Tom Brinkmoeller wishes the content of commercial television were as imaginative as the Web site that gives such great insights into its history.


Eileen said:

Thanks for the heads-up, Tom. I just saved this site to my computer. I have a feeling I'll be a regular visitor.

I started to scan the alphabetical list of interviewees and barely got midway through the A's. Right off the top, there are four I'll be sure to view/read: Edie Adams, Alan Alda, Steve Allen & Julie Andrews.

At a time when celebrity is nothing more than bad behavior and over exposure, it's nice to have a "safe" place to go with real stars who achieved success in multiple mediums.

So, thanks Tom, from your friends at TVWW.

Comment posted on September 17, 2009 12:23 PM

Diane Werts said:

Couldn't agree with you more, Tom. It's TV history for the ages, told by the people who made it. So glad it's finally more readily accessible!

I was honored when the Archive asked me to conduct the interview with Mary Tyler Moore at her Manhattan penthouse in 1997.

As the home page notes, all 2 hours of it are brand-new online -- you can watch here.

Comment posted on September 17, 2009 2:28 PM
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