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   William Friedberg Papers, 1950-1965.

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); William “Billy” Friedberg Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information

Abstract

William “Billy” Friedberg (1916-1965) is best remembered as a television comedy writer, although he also wrote plays, musicals, variety reviews, short stories, and radio programs. Among his best-known works are episodes of "Car 54, Where Are You?", "As Time Goes By", and "The Phil Silvers Show". Friedberg's work represented in this collection spans many genres, including comedy review sketches, TV dramas, short stories, plays, and musicals.

At a Glance

Bib ID:6796315 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Friedberg, William, 1916-1965.
Title:William Friedberg Papers, 1950-1965.
Physical description:5.72 linear feet ( 11 document boxes, oversize box).
Language(s):In English
Access: This collection has no restrictions. This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in two series.

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Description

Scope and Content

Friedberg's work represented in this collection spans many genres, including comedy review sketches, TV dramas, short stories, plays, and musicals. The vast majority of the collection consists of typed scripts, either drafts or “shooting scripts” used for production, which Friedberg wrote or produced. Production files for some of the scripts are the second-largest group of material, including casting ideas, budgets, contracts, advertising records, and intra-staff memos. The collection also contains documents which Friedberg used in his creative process, including typed or handwritten notes and ideas for future works, and newspaper clippings that he used for inspiration. Three sketchbooks of pencil drawings are also present, which may be the work of Friedberg's wife Hope Cameron. Finally, there are a small number of family snapshots and personal papers.

Series I: Writings and Work of Billy Friedberg, 1950-1965, undated

This series consists of Friedberg’s writings, organized by genre, and documents that supported the creative process and production of his dramatic work (drafts, notes, contracts, budgets, etc.). Also included are production documents of the television programs that he produced. Material in this series is arranged alphabetically. When multiple episodes of a program are included, they are arranged in chronological order.

Subseries I.1: Television, 1950-1965

This subseries contains Friedberg’s television scripts arranged in alphabetical order by the show’s title, together with documents such as Friedberg’s notes, intra-staff memos, budgets, and other records of production.

Subseries I.2: Radio, 1950-1951

Included in this subseries are the scripts of fifty-one episodes of the radio serial “The Magnificent Montague” in chronological order. These aired in 1950-1951, and several years later (circa 1957) Friedberg wrote a pilot script for an adaptation of the series into a television program, included in Subseries I.1. The series title is also the name of a popular African-American disc jockey of the late 1950s and the 1960s; however, they seem to be unrelated.

Subseries I.3: Other Writings and Work, 1953-1963, undated

This subseries comprises all other genres of writing by Friedberg, including plays, musicals, and short stories, and unidentified writings and fragments, in alphabetical order by genre. Included are writings generated in the creative process: ideas for future projects that either did not come to fruition or are not included here in their finished form, and clippings that he used for inspiration. The subseries contains a group of memos from director Robert Soderberg, who collaborated with Friedberg on the television programs “Peter Loves Mary” and “McKeever and the Colonel.” Also present is the text for a course on acting in commercials, titled “TV Commercials University” -- it is unclear whether Friedberg taught this class (and thus, wrote this text) or participated as a student.

Series II: Personal, circa 1950-1965

This series holds a folder of letters from Neil Simon, written circa 1964 when Simon was in London; most of the contents are personal, chronicling Simon’s experience living in England, but he also occasionally touches on various professional projects, both his own and Friedberg’s. This series contains a “General” folder of personal papers such as letters, contracts, clippings about Friedberg, and a resume. Series II also includes two unidentified photos, probably of Friedberg, and a caricature of him by an unknown artist. Lastly, it houses three sketchbooks of pencil drawings, artist unknown, although two are marked “Hope” on the cover, suggesting that they may have belonged to Friedberg’s wife, Hope Cameron. Items are arranged alphabetically by material type, after the General folder.

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Using the Collection

Offsite

Access Restrictions

This collection has no restrictions.

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

      offsite requestMore information and link to off-site request form

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); William “Billy” Friedberg Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Anne Holt, GSAS 2013.

Finding aid written by Anne Holt in June 2008.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion November 7, 2008 Finding aid written in English.
    2008-11-07 File created.
    2009-05-22 xml document instance created by Patrick Lawlor

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Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Subjects

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Dramatists, American--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Friedberg, William, 1916-1965.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hiken, Nat.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
King, Alan, 1927-2004.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Liebman, Max.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Radio programs--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Radio serials.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Raye, Martha.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Screenwriters--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Simon, Neil.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Television authorship.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Television scripts.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Television--Production and direction.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Theater--United States--History--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

William “Billy” Friedberg (1916-1965) was a New York theatre publicity agent who began writing and then producing television during the 1950s and early 1960s. He is best remembered as a television comedy writer, although he also wrote plays, musicals, variety reviews, short stories, and radio programs. Among his best-known works are episodes of "Car 54, Where Are You?", "As Time Goes By", and "The Phil Silvers Show". In 1957 and 1958, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded Friedberg the Emmy for Best Comedy Writing of a Variety or Situation Comedy, for "The Phil Silvers Show"; he was nominated for the same award again in 1959. He collaborated on a few television scripts with writer Neil Simon, worked on various television programs with producers Nat Hiken and Max Liebman, and wrote routines for comedians such as Alan King and Martha Raye. His television work began in the period of review and variety programs sponsored by large corporations, and evolved into the era of the long-running serial drama or sitcom. Later in his career he served as a producer for a few television series, including "Harry's Girls". He was married briefly in 1945 to actress Jane Hoffman, and then from 1950-1965 to actress Hope Cameron. Friedberg died of a heart attack at the age of 49.

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