Marc Daniels - Rotten Tomatoes

Marc Daniels

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Most directors achieve major professional renown in feature films; this is a fact of life even for those who've made most of their mark on television. For all of the series and miniseries that a Joseph Sargent, a Boris Sagal, or a Marvin Chomsky might have directed, and the Emmy nominations they racked up, it's their movies, such as Sargent's superb The Taking of Pelham, One, Two, Three, Sagal's not-bad actioner The Omega Man, and Chomsky's well-intentioned but ultimately ludicrous Tank, that define the level of respect they achieve. The exception to that rule was Marc Daniels, who managed to become a giant among his colleagues, based on a career confined exclusively to television. A director for 30 years on the small screen, he was there long before the likes of John Frankenheimer or Fielder Cook, writing the book that would make their jobs as dramatically acclaimed television directors possible. He helped invent, develop, and perfect a lot of the techniques that became standard to the industry. And he was one of the few directorial giants to make his career exclusively in television, never setting foot on a feature film soundstage in a career of more than 40 years. Marc Daniels was born Danny Marcus in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1912, and attended the University of Michigan, earning a B.A.; he later studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, where he trained as an actor and director. Daniels began his career in New York theater as the assistant stage manager on the Sidney Kingsley drama Dead End and later played small roles in that production and became a director in a stock company run by Jane Cowl. During World War II, he served in the United States Army and was the company manager on Irving Berlin's This Is the Army, as well as spending two years in combat. He worked as a publicist and in various other capacities in entertainment after the war, but his most important relationship was at the American Academy in New York, where he and also studied the new technology of television. In 1948, following his successful direction of a stock theater play, Daniels was asked to direct CBS's first one-hour dramatic anthology series, Ford Theater. In the years that followed, his specialty was in the staging for television of cut-down versions of classic Broadway shows, such as Twentieth Century, On Borrowed Time, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Arsenic and Old Lace (the latter starring William Prince), and Little Women. In those days, because the film rights had long since been sold on such works, the television productions had to be done live to circumvent legal problems. In many instances, to avoid conflict with the holders of the film rights, they couldn't even be preserved or reshown on kinescope. Through working on such telecasts, Daniels mastered live dramatic broadcasting early, and well. In 1951, Daniels was brought together with Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, and veteran cinematographer Karl Freund to work on I Love Lucy. Between them, Arnaz, Daniels, and Freund devised the three-camera technique that helped make I Love Lucy a technically revolutionary production, retaining the sharpness, clarity, and longevity of film and the spontaneity of live performance (with a studio audience present), which helped make it one of the most successful sitcoms in television history. Daniels directed the first 38 shows in the series, and was also responsible for getting Vivian Vance, a longtime friend, onto the show as a co-star. His relationship with the show ended with the conclusion of the first season. According to some sources, he chose to move on to two other series (I Married Joan, The Goldbergs), while others say that Daniels and Lucille Ball had a parting of the ways professionally. In the mid-'50s, Daniels was a senior vice president of Theater Network Television, presenting closed-circuit broadcasts featuring the ranking executives of corporations such as General Electr

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Vengeance: The Story of Tony Cimo
  • Director
1989
No Score Yet Special People
  • Director
1984
No Score Yet Lucy Calls the President
  • Director
1977
No Score Yet Planet Earth
  • Director
1974
No Score Yet Star Trek - The Mudd Pack
  • Director
1966

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Star Trek
1966-1969
  • Director
  • 1968
  • 1967
  • 1966

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