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Banner on Banner, through the years

Bob Banner is not a spellbinder. You won’t find his aphorisms along side of Oscar Wilde’s. But there’s a straightforwardness, and a wisdom in what he says that bears repeating.

Following is a smattering of Banner philosophy:

  • About his being more of a generalists than a specialist:

    “I’ve always tried to do a diversity of programming. I think if I’d done 45 years worth of sitcoms, I’d be half-crazed–or 45 years of any one kind of programming. We tried to do a little bit of everything. We’ve done comedy, variety and MOWs. I know I don’t think I’d have been as happy if I’d done just one program type.”

  • About his aspirations as a young man:

    “I started out to do drama.That’s what I was trained to do at Northwestern’s drama school.”

  • Why he didn’t take Bob Banner Associates public:

    “I just never felt any reasons to. I always made enough to be happy and that’s all I cared about.”

  • About keeping abreast of the times and not living in the past:

    “‘Solid Gold’ was a ground-breaking show and it was exciting because it was the first Operation Prime Time series. ‘Solid Gold’ also was the first syndicated series that could be run in prime time. And, I found that exciting because, when we first started, people said: ‘How’s that ever going to work, an ad-hoc network?’ Now, some of the ad-hoc networks are doing better than the Big Three.”

  • About giving due credit:

    “Al Masini said about ‘Solid Gold,’ ‘We’d like to do a Hit Parade-type show, with pop music.’ I learned everything I know about syndication from Al Masini. He was terrific. When he first said, ‘Do you know what Operation Prime Time is?’ and you know ‘we’re go-ing to make up a television network,’ I thought what kind of craziness is this? But Al made so much sense and was so persuasive that I thought it was exciting. And I think we made a good decision. If it had been on a network, I don’t thinkit would’ve run for 9 A-years.”

  • About disappointments in life:

    “If there was any disappointment of things I wish I could have done, I wish I could have spent a little more time writing, because I really love writing. But what I really wanted to do when I was in high school and college is: I wanted to direct an MGM musical. By the time I got to Hollywood, the MGM musicals were a thing of the past. But the thing that I wish that I could have done was to have worked with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.”

  • About happiness:

    “I’ve always felt that I was blessed, not by what I did, but the fact that what I did made me happy. I get so grieved over people that have jobs that they don’t really like. I think one of the saddest phrases in our business is ‘the happy hour.’ To think that when they finish work, then they can be happy. I just think that’s the saddest term I know because I’m happy when I’m working.”

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