John Forsythe on doing live television – TelevisionAcademy.com/Interviews


I was a leading man and as such a
leading man can do anything he can be a heavy he can be a comedian he can be not
a comedian a comedian and it was a varied thing that then one attempted and
it was good for me too it was like being in summer stock so you didn’t feel
typecast early on at all I mean no not at all no what was the woody what did
you consider to be the most unusual role that you had in those first years on
live television you had in particular well there were a couple of wrongs that
I had well I had to play a killer I think it was unsuspended off to do was
to show the false side of a killer and the true side of a killer so it gave me
someplace to go from the beginning to the to the end and it was worked out
very successfully what were the most difficult technical challenges being in
front of that live camera it was a horror because as I said you were always
running across the stage with two or three people after you peeling off
clothes getting in I thought that the biggest thing the most the greatest
achievement that I ever made was getting out of a baseball uniform I was playing
a major league pitcher getting out of that and getting into a dinner jacket
and we did that in about 35 seconds while running across jumping cables pushing our way through the cameras and
whatever and it was a trick putting life and live in danger right did have
problems people missing their lines and or saying the wrong thing that was a
hazard that took but fortunately I never had any problem in their mind but that
that was always a hazard people forgetting lines and then everything
stopped just clean stopped and so you ad libs or
tried to ad-lib and it didn’t turn out too well
I can’t much rehearsal time for live television it was surprising a large
amount of rehearsal time because it was a new medium and everybody was wanted it
to be what it turned out to be important and the importance came from the writers
because the fellas it turned out shows on television were remarkable writers
for most part who had started out working in the theater and you know the
paddy Chayefsky over the you know there were five or ten
of them that were just outstanding as well as the producers and directors who
were do it’s the actors that then had to make the big adjustment though well
you’ve done so much film and tape television what’s the difference between
film and tape and live as far as blocking out a scene I mean it is it
pretty much the same or is it very different well you see in television it
was different because the the camera swung quite a bit from side to side it
was hard to get close-ups you there were a lot of two shots over
the shoulder shots were very hard to get to because say this was me and I was
doing a scene with you what they would do is this the camera this way and
should pass me or include me in the shot or just got to a close-up there
so technically it was a it was an achievement now in motion pictures you
can if there’s no need to do that they stopped the camera they turn around and
do closer over the shoulder shots masks crowd shots everything well as an actor
what was the most important thing that you had to remember before the broadcast
not to shake because it was a scary experience just a terror of that light
of that live camera it was very very tough really was and my heart went out
to an awful lot of people who couldn’t remember their lines well how was the
atmosphere before before you ever beiie winner immensely tense because he you
know you were at the mercy of of the elements that a television show
encompasses and that was very very difficult technically it’s always been
difficult television has I think it’s the most difficult of all of all the
medium I think the stage is it’s the easiest in many many ways even though
it’s more demanding than any other because the risks are greater that
Gamble’s are greater people have to extend themselves more

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