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King of the Half Hour
Nat Hiken and the Golden Age of Comedy

David Everitt

Cloth $29.95    |   0-8156-0676-1    |   2001

This book places television pioneer Nat Hiken in broadcast history and in the larger story of TV’s early years.

"Everitt has written a carefully researched biography of one of the smartest and funniest writer-producers who ever worked in televsion, Nat Hiken. . . . Everitt not only chronicles Hiken's multi-Emmy-winning career . . . but convincingly frames Hiken’s ups and downs in the larger context of the changing face of the medium in which he toiled."
Television Quarterly

"Any student of television will want to read this book. Taking a journalistic approach (using interviews and popular works on the subject), Everitt spells out the life of the humorist whom TV producer James Burrows called a ‘founding father of situtation comedy’"

Regarded by his contemporaries as one of television’s premier comedy creators, Nat Hiken was the driving creative force behind the classic 1950s and 1960s series Sgt. Bilko and the hilarious Car 54, Where Are You?

King of the Half Hour, the first biography of Hiken, draws extensively on exclusive first-hand interviews with some of the well-known TV personalities who worked with him, such as Carol Burnett, Fred Gwynne, Alan King, Al Lewis, and Herbert Ross. The book focuses on Hiken’s immense talent and remarkable career, from his early days in radio as Fred Allen’s head writer to his multiple Emmy-winning years as writer-producer-director on television. In addition to re-establishing Hiken's place in broadcast history, biographer, David Everitt places him in the larger story of early New York broadcasting. Hiken’s career paralleled the rise and fall of television’s Golden Age. He embodied the era’s best qualities—craftsmanship, a commitment to excellence and a distinctive, uproariously funny and quirky sense of humor. At the same time, his uncompromising independence prevented him from surviving the changes in the industry that brought the Golden Age to an end in the 1960s. His experiences bring a fresh and until now unknown perspective to the medium’s most extraordinary period.

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David Everitt is a free-lance writer who lives in Huntington, New York. He is the author of Film Tricks: Special Effects in the Movies and For Reel. He has also contributed to such publications as Entertainment Weekly, Television Quarterly, and the New York Times.

6 x 9, 224 pages, appendixes, notes, bibliography, index

King of the Half Hour

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