E. Jack Neuman Papers, 1935-1982

Scope and Content Note

This E. Jack Neuman collection is organized in three parts. Part 1, the Original Collection, dates 1961-1965 and includes information on Neuman's television series and on the motion picture The Venetian Affair. Part 2, the 1978 Additions, was received in the Archives in 1972 and 1977 and was organized in 1978. These additional papers date 1945-1976 and include information on his work in Television, Motion Pictures, and Radio. Part 3, the 1982 Additions, dates 1932-1982 and completely concerns Neuman's production of Inside the Third Reich.

Part 1, Original Collection, 1961-1965

Part 1 contains much material on the research and preparation necessary in creating a pilot for a television series (laying, thereby, the format for the entire series). Included are pilots for Dr. Kildare, Sam Benedict, Mr. Novak, and The Mayor. The work E. Jack Neuman did for these pilots and series earned him a reputation for accurate and well-researched productions.

Neuman is also known for the importance he places on a show's social content and relevance. This is especially evident in the Mr. Novak show, which dealt responsibly with such topics as teenage pregnancy, teenage drug addiction, high school dropouts, and racism. There is considerable and very informative material concerning the show “The Rich Who Are Poor,” a two-part show on venereal disease; this show, written by Neuman, was to have begun on Mr. Novak and concluded on Dr. Kildare. The show was cancelled just before the beginning of production, creating a furor and making the show one of the most publicized cases of disputed network censorship. The collection contains a tape of a health clinic interview with a venereal disease patient, as well as a great volume of material collected for research, showing how Neuman gained a thorough knowledge of his subject before he wrote on it.

The bulk of this part of the collection deals with the weekly, show-by-show production of two seasons of Mr. Novak, and one season of Sam Benedict. For Mr. Novak, Neuman began as executive producer and then during the first season, also took over as producer. For the second season, Neuman was the executive producer. He was also the executive producer of the Sam Benedict series. This series material has been left in the original studio folders; and the order in which it was kept by Neuman's secretary, Mrs. Mary Jane Middleton, has been preserved, with correspondence, communications, and memos together chronologically. The folders also contain scripts, photographs, credits, schedules, and contracts.

The Sam Benedict material contains research Neuman did on Jake Ehrlich, the famous trial lawyer on whose life the show is based. The Mr. Novak material contains tapes (many of which have been transcribed) of interviews Neuman held with high school teachers and administrators when researching background for the show, as well as the written reports of the special panel of teachers who reviewed every script and commented on its realism and authenticity. The entire series was created and produced with the cooperation of the National Education Association. The Mr. Novak material also contains the fan mail received by Neuman's office concerning the show, many of its awards, and a scrapbook of news clippings, now on microfilm.

There is in the collection considerable evidence of Neuman's skill as a writer, since he contributed many scripts to the shows as well as producing them. In some cases, the script transitions and revisions show the progression from the earliest draft to the final script.

The collection contains scripts and related material by the following people who have donated collections to the Wisconsin Center for Theater Research: Art Wallace, Emmet Lavery, David Harmon, and Alvin Boretz.

Part 1 also contains material on the feature length film, The Venetian Affair. Neuman wrote the screenplay and produced the movie. Included are communications, correspondence, memos, scripts, production reports, photographs, and preview comments.

Part 2, 1978 Additions, 1945-1976

Part 2 of the E. Jack Neuman papers provides additional documentation of his career as a writer-producer for television and motion pictures. In addition to revealing the production techniques and procedures in both industries, Part 2 also contains information on the development of television programs, their sale to networks, and the research and programming used to maximize ratings. Part 2 has been arranged in three sub-series reflecting the medium for which Neuman wrote: Motion Pictures, Television, and Radio. The two largest sub-series, Motion Pictures and Television, have been further divided into produced and unproduced works. Those writings which did not fall into one of these categories have been organized as Other Writings. A General Subject File serves as a catchall series for those files which were either general in nature or not specifically related to one production.

The GENERAL SUBJECT FILE contains correspondence, appointment books, schedules, financial records, lists, surveys, and miscellany. Appointment schedules document Neuman's contacts with teachers and various educational associations during his involvement with Mr. Novak. Letters discussing the purchase of rights to Sam Spade, story ideas and script submissions for potential series, New York Arbitron and Nielsen national ratings for several MGM programs, and trends in programming and production for the 1965-1966 season are included. Charts of accounts list various financial accounts used in the production of films, television programs, cartoons, and commercials and also lists specific production titles and their producers. Miscellany includes an interview with Neuman and a speech (April 5, 1965) he delivered before the Association of National Advertisers in which he discusses the effects that censorship, ratings, and time constraints have on quality television programming. The File also contains popularity polls, prepared by the MGM Research Department and based on audience questionnaires, which ranked hundreds of actors and actresses; a Neuman memorandum (April 8, 1963) which proposed that MGM do a two-hour feature for television that would exclude the traditional, expensive host--a concept now popularized as made-for-TV movies; production data and file guides that provide information and credits for several episodes of Sam Benedict and Mr. Novak; and lists of Neuman's radio and television credits. The file is arranged alphabetically by folder title and thereunder chronologically.

MOTION PICTURES-PRODUCED is composed of production files which contain information on casting, financing, writing, and technical production. Included are correspondence, research materials, budgets, outlines, variant scripts, and production reports. Files are most extensive for A Company of Killers, The Guardians, and The Most Dangerous Game. A small file on The Singing Nun includes script revisions by Neuman, who did not receive screen credit, plus two letters from the film's religious advisor, in which she offers script suggestions and expresses her disappointment with the final work. The majority of the MOTION PICTURES-UNPRODUCED files are small and consist of individual scripts or miscellaneous correspondence. Included in this series is the script for “Ready for Tiger” written by Sam Peckinpah.

Playscripts, story synopses, and typescripts authored by Neuman comprise OTHER WRITINGS. Among these are “The Gopher Man” and “Whittier County.”

TELEVISION-PRODUCED is the largest file in the collection and is composed of production files for both made-for-TV movies and regular television series. Included are The Blue Knight, The Cable Car Murder, Dr. Kildare, Kate McShane, Law and Order, The Mayor, Mr. Novak, The Name of the Game, Petrocelli, Police Story, The Richard Boone Show, Sam Benedict, The Twilight Zone, and The Untouchables. Materials on Kate McShane, Petrocelli, and Police Story include both the initial made-for-TV movie, which served as a pilot, and the later series which resulted from it. Of particular interest in this section are Blue Knight files, which contain several scripts authored by Rod Serling plus a letter and notes by Joseph Wambaugh, in which he discusses his book The Centurians and Serling's scripts; a file on broadcast standards in Law and Order, which notes the removal of objectionable words and racial and ethnic stereotypes from the script; correspondence that documents the active support that teachers and the National Education Association gave Mr. Novak; a letter from Raymond Chandler (December 13, 1957), in which he praises Neuman's Philip Marlowe script for capturing the essence of his characters; and Sam Benedict files, which include research on audience reaction to the program and discuss efforts to schedule strong and weak shows to obtain the best ratings.

TELEVISION-UNPRODUCED contains scripts for episodes of Kate McShane and Richard Diamond, Private Detective.

Two scripts for episodes of Jeff Regan, Investigator comprise the RADIO series and complete Part 2.

Part 3, 1982 Additions, 1932-1982

The 1982 additions document the preparation and production of Inside the Third Reich. The collection is arranged under the following three headings: Research, Production Files, and Scripts.

Concerned with authenticity and historical accuracy, Neuman conducted extensive RESEARCH into Speer's rise to power in Nazi Germany. Neuman spent many hours in Heidelberg and Rettenberg interviewing Speer before the former Nazi died in September 1981. Included are transcripts of the Speer-Neuman conversations; interrogations of Speer at Glucksburg (May 19 and 22, 1945) regarding his thoughts on total war mobilization, German reconstruction, and the effectiveness of Allied air attacks upon German industry; and Speer's personal letters written to his wife and parents while imprisoned at Cransberg and Nuremberg. An assortment of newspaper clippings and magazine articles document the Nazi era and Hitler's rise to power. Additional research materials used by Neuman and contained in the collection are copies of interviews with Speer printed in Playboy and Quadrant, and a chapter from Joachim C. Fest's biography entitled Hitler. A bibliographical listing of books consulted for the film, general research notes, maps of Germany, and a short chronological file of the feature films and hit tunes for the years 1932-1945 are also included.

PRODUCTION FILES are arranged in five subcategories: Agreements, Operations, General Correspondence, Broadcast Response, and Miscellany. Agreements consist of contractual arrangements made with Albert Speer regarding the acquisition of rights to his memoirs; with Karlin Enterprises, Inc. for the musical score for the film; and with Hungarofilm relating to the filming of portions of Inside the Third Reich in Hungary.

Operations comprise cue sheets, call sheets, cast lists, location lists, staff and crew lists, shooting schedules, musical scores, production reports, budgetary information, work orders, editorial revisions and remarks concerning Neuman's scripts, as well as information regarding the use of stock footage and film titles and credits. Also included is information on ABC standards and practices, outlining the network standards for nonfiction programming.

Neuman's difficulties with NBC are documented in General Correspondence. Also included is correspondence relating to all facets of the eventual ABC televised docu-drama: costumes, shooting schedules, contracts, tax matters, etc.; and Neuman's correspondence with such noted authorities on the Nazi era as Stefant Lorrant, John Toland, William Shirer, H. R. Trevor-Roper, and Simon Wiesenthal.

Broadcast Response includes fan mail and critical reviews of the mini-series.

Miscellany comprises air freight shipment forms, production insurance questionnaires, and a newspaper article about the restoration of Herman Goering's automobile--a Horch 853 convertible built in 1935. Herman Goering served as commander of Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe.

The bulk of these additions consists of SCRIPTS. Neuman reworked his script many times in an effort to lend the production authenticity. Although he spent long hours interviewing Speer, Neuman found him an exceedingly enigmatic man. “I realized that these enigmatic qualities had to be put on the screen,” said Neuman. “I rewrote my script a dozen times to capture that experience.”