What? No retakes?
That’s right! Can you imagine flubbing your line in front of the whole country without a chance to try again to make it right?
That’s what it was like back in the 1940s and 1950s. Week after week we saw these brave actors and actresses take on the challenge, and they did an amazing job.
Wright King was there on our screens in such shows as Studio One, Robert Montgomery Presents, and Kraft Television Theatre, and has fond memories of those exciting days. He and his fellow actors tell us the circumstances that led them to their first live television production, what it was like on the set as the time of the broadcast drew nigh, and the reactions they got from people on the street when they left the studio.
So come on in and relive with us the days of yore when everything we saw on television was being broadcast live and absolutely anything could – and did – happen.
In August and September 2008, Sandra Grabman and Wright King joined radio host Joel Blumberg for a three-part discussion of No Retakes on his weekly program, Silver Screen Audio, airing each Monday night over WGBB Radio 1240 AM, out of Freeport, New York.
Sandra’s interview aired Aug. 16, 2008. Wright’s interviews aired Aug. 25 and Sept. 2, 2008.
Laura Wagner, Classic Images, “Book Points”, July, 2009:
Sandra Grabman (profiled last month [June, 2009] in “Book Talk”) and actor Wright King have written a breezy, unorthodox television memoir called No Retakes!: Actors & Actresses Remember the Era of Live Television ($14.95, BearManor softcover). Studio One, Robert Montgomery Presents, Kraft Television Theatre, Captain Video, etc., they’re all chronicled here. The layout, too, is eye-catching, very different, and user-friendly.
This is simply an entertaining book. Wright (probably best known for Johnny Jupiter), who appeared in many live productions, gives us an insider’s look at breaking into the medium, staying there and all the problems that could arise. His passages are told in bold-face type, and give the book a tone that is distinctively of the time. Sandra, who proficiently organizes these reminisces of Wright’s, adds valuable facts and figures from these early years, while also interviewing other performers and gathering quotes from other sources. The story quoted from director Kenneth Whelan about a baby that looked “like a well-basted turkey” was very amusing, as is an animal story by Alan Young. I must admit I’ve always been partial toward reading about on-set flubs and disasters, and this book has a fair share of these experiences. I’m a sucker for a good on-the-air problem!
This nostalgic book was so enjoyable, so readable, I regretted when it finished. If anything, this book is just too short. But, then, that could well be the beauty of it. The writers leave us wanting more. If you buy any anecdotal book, this should be it. There’s not a boring part in here, no need to skim through passages that are of no interest. Rare, behind-the-scenes photos are great. Give this one a try.
No Retakes!, by Sandra Grabman and Wright King, is available through these on-line booksellers: