Segments in this Video

Norman Lear: Man of Good Ideas (01:20)


Cast members of Lear productions reflect on his work.

Archie Bunker: Indigenous American (08:06)

Norman Lear produced some of TV's greatest comedy--and did so in new ways. "All in the Family" confronted society with it's own problems. Cast members reflect on the character of Archie Bunker and the show's influence.

Norman Lear on Writing and Collaboration (03:02)

Norman Lear shares the writing process--his wife Frances reflects on how that was for home life. Lear was instrumental in bringing the now common practice of bringing writers and actors together to brainstorm for television productions.

Norman Lear's "Madness" (01:25)

Lear brought his own ideas into production despite pushback from others. He was willing to let ideas fail in the interest of getting production members thinking and collaborating.

Rehearsals: Trial and Error (02:06)

In rehearsals for Norman Lear shows all members of a production were encouraged to offer input. Lear says nothing is written in concrete--that a work is "always in progress, until it's on the air."

Writing Process: Revision, Editing, Rewrite (00:44)

Lear believed in constantly improving his productions.

What Does Norman Lear Do Exactly? (02:38)

Bonnie Franklin describes Lear as someone who makes people think, argue, doubt and express themselves. Lear, Bonnie Franklin, Marla Gibbs and Sherman Hemsley reflect on creative differences and the value of sharing perspective.

The Pleasure of Being Norman Lear: Making America Laugh (07:19)

Actresses Bonnie Franklin and Marla Gibbs and actor Carroll O'Connor reflect on their respective characters. Lear and O'Connor remember a particularly challenging episode of "All in the Family," and Archie's infamous malaprops.

Credits: Part 1: Creativity with Bill Moyers: Norman Lear (00:56)

Credits: Part 1: Creativity with Bill Moyers: Norman Lear

Norman Lear on Ratings-Driven Interests (03:08)

Lear says networks focus too much on competition with one another and not enough on what is good--resulting in a cookie cutter approach to television programming. He points out that excellence and commercial success are not mutually exclusive.

Experience: The Writer's Notebook (02:02)

Lear productions, "The Jeffersons," "Good Times," "Maude," "All in the Family," and "One Day at a Time" were controversial--and made America laugh. Lear credits the unconscious with being a creative partner on whom one can always rely.

Norman Lear's Road to Television (04:40)

A child of the Depression, Lear came to Hollywood to market an ashtray he invented. After that failed he worked for a photographer. A serendipitous event brought him to writing; he and a partner sold a piece to Danny Thomas, launching his career.

"All in the Family" (02:19)

Norman Lear adapted "All in the Family" from a BBC production. Archie Bunker's famous "Stifle yourself!" was taken from Lear's own father. Lear says his family lived at the "top of their lungs and the edge of their nerves."

Norman Lear's Father (04:13)

Lear shares one of his father's "grandstand moments." A poignant scene from "Maude" parallels the feeling Lear had for his father, and his father's grand gestures of love.

Celebration of American Family Life in Lear Productions (06:00)

Lear took scenes from wife Frances Lear's life, for "Maude." Americans can relate to the interpersonal challenges represented in his shows. His characters are committed to one another as shown in a touching scene from "All in the Family."

Norman Lear on Tragedy & Comedy (04:27)

Lear says people will laugh harder if they are caring; "A good clown can make you scream with laughter, and cry with despair--and do them almost immediately adjacent." Lear helped us laugh through our tears at serious issues.

Credits: Part 2: Creativity with Bill Moyers: Norman Lear (00:55)

Credits: Part 2: Creativity with Bill Moyers: Norman Lear

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Creativity with Bill Moyers: Norman Lear

Part of the Series : Creativity with Bill Moyers
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



In this lively, far-ranging Bill Moyers interview, students receive a firsthand look at the creative mind and collaboration that gave birth to All in the Family, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, and other groundbreaking TV comedies. Moyers talks with producer Norman Lear about inspiration, writing, working with actors, and the ratings-driven interests with which any network television creator must contend. Combining soulful behind-the-scenes conversations with Carroll O’Connor, Bonnie Franklin, Marla Gibbs, and other performers, the film also features Lear’s wry recollections of his youth and equally telling impressions from his wife—all of which emphasize the place of memory and family in a storyteller’s imagination. (58 minutes)

Length: 58 minutes

Item#: BVL42077

ISBN: 978-1-62102-070-7

Copyright date: ©1982

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video customers.