Qty:1
  • List Price: $32.00
  • Save: $3.20 (10%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
As I Saw It: The Inside S... has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Satisfaction Guaranteed; Shipped quickly; Hardcover; Used, very good;
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

As I Saw It: The Inside Story of the Golden Years of Television Hardcover – April 14, 2009


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$28.80
$18.50 $2.01
$28.80 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Levine Mesa Press (April 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982388713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982388716
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,084,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Bad Boys From the "Golden Years"

Mike Dann, the fabled programming guru at CBS, is now 87 years old, newly married and the author of a colorful memoir titled "As I Saw It: The Inside Story of the Golden Years of Television." Dann's reign at Black Rock covered the period 1958 - 1970 and encompassed shows from the Smothers Brothers, Danny Kaye, Jackie Gleason, Lucille Ball and other luminaries.

Himself a forceful character, Dann venerated his legendary performers but also vividly recalled their foibles.

Gleason, of course, was a hardcore boozer who would simply disappear on occasion. To placate him, CBS built a "fancy circular mansion," as Dann described it, overlooking a serene wooded landscape in suburban New York. Gleason still regularly disappeared on them.

Danny Kaye always complained about the size of his dressing room, so the network built him a penthouse suite. He still complained. Judy Garland was an even tougher star to manage: A hopeless pill junkie, Garland's performances suffered so badly that the network helped her write a letter resigning from the show.

Dann's sourest memories were of the "smiling cobra," CBS president Jim Aubrey. A tall and polished Princeton man, Aubrey nonetheless exhibited violent mood swings, Dann writes: "He could be charming and warm but the next minute he could be a killer." Apart from his personality disorder, Aubrey also had terrible taste in programming, writes Dann. He fought to kill "The Defenders," one of the great shows of the early `60s, and relented only when the ratings rolled in.

Dann admits he loved TV and feasted on its competitive battles, but regrets that he didn't foster more quality shows. "I won the ratings by serving the masses," he writes. "That is what I am known for. There is no such thing as mass with class."

Having said all this, Mike Dann was nonetheless a classy guy and his memoir will be grist for TV fans and for those insiders who recall his glory days. --Peter Bart, Editor in Chief, Variety, May 5, 2009

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
1
4 star
2
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Wesley Hyatt on December 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For anyone interested in entertainment, this book is a must-have. As a programmer on NBC who became the head one on CBS in the 1960s, Dan kept the latter network at #1 and thoroughly loved doing it despite the stresses it placed on him personally. His stories about his tenure are lively and mostly little known until now, and they provide lots of fun and fascinating reading about how he related to the creative community while deciding what to put on the air. Only two quibbles: 1) It should have been even longer - there are plenty of stories Dann could have (and should have) told about his tenure as chief programmer of CBS. Such legends as Ed Sullivan, Red Skelton, Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock (among others) barely rate a mention, and it would have been instructive to hear Dann explain why he thought some of his shows failed along with the ones that clicked. 2) There are a few glaring errors he or co-writer Paul Berger should have corrected, like Dann's claim about his involvement of getting "The Virginian" on NBC as a replacement when ABC bought out "Wagon Train." That happened in 1962, when Dann already was firmly in place at CBS. Even so, this is definitely worth a purchase if you have even the slightest interest in show business.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It provided plenty of inside information about what went on at CBS Television in the 1960s. I couldn't put it down.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mediaman on May 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For over 40 years I have admired Mike Dann and his place in the history of television so just the thought of this autobiography of his years as a TV programmer got me more excited than for most books. What should have been a lengthy tell-all that includes inside stories behind the scenes of the major moments of the tube instead turns into a brief 155-page distant overview of Dann's career with too many side trips about insignificant subjects while ignoring some of the major decisions he made.

For example, Dann worked at NBC the day the Today Show went on the air. Instead of talking about his work overseeing the show, he instead focuses on NBC head Pat Weaver's philosophy behind morning television. Dann says virtually nothing about his work with the program other than that host Dave Garroway (who Weaver picked for the role over Dann's wishes) wanted to quit over the chimp co-host.

Dann was there for Mary Martin's amazing live performance of Peter Pan, but the focus was more on the new color TV broadcast than how the show came to be. He was at the network when the Tonight Show started--and it doesn't get mentioned in the book.

He helped put on some of the biggest live dramas in TV's golden age, but instead of explaining anything about the production he focuses on eating at French restaurants! That's right--his job paid him big bucks and had many perks, which he loves to discuss instead of focusing on the work. One of the longest stories involves him learning to eat caviar at lunch!

He almost treats TV like a factory where programming was just a marketing tool to get people to buy the real products--whatever the sponsor was selling. He lists major stars that he worked with (Humphrey Bogart, Ginger Rogers) but says nothing about them!
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again