Golden Globe Awards and Emmy Awards producer Al Schwartz, a UW-Madison alum, expounded on his life as a producer and his years studying theater at UW-Madison in front of communication arts students Monday at Vilas Hall.
Schwartz was part of the first television class held in Science Hall in 1953. When the first TV station, WKOW Channel 27, began in Madison, its producers looked to UW-Madison's TV class for people with experience. Schwartz took his first TV job at WKOW on a show called Club 27.
""When I was in front of the camera, I would notice that the cameramen, the stage managers, whoever were on the headsets, seemed to be having a lot more fun than I was,"" Schwartz said. ""And then when I got to do my turn in the booth, I found that I really enjoyed the camaraderie and the work that it takes to put on a television show. I said to myself, ‘this is really what I want to do.'""
Soon after, Schwartz moved to Chicago and took a summer job at CBS as a stage manager, eventually working there full-time. While moving back and forth between Chicago and Hollywood, Schwartz continued to produce shows, documentaries and even a political commercial.
""This business of TV takes you into so many different places and experiences that every project is a learning experience,"" Schwartz said. ""It's not like having a job that you go to from 9-5 and you go to the same desk and do the same things day in and day out.""
While producing shows in Hollywood, Schwartz met Dick Clark and began a 30-year professional relationship with him. Today, Schwartz is most famous for the shows he produced with Clark and his work on the Golden Globes.