Groundbreaking television duo to visit Brant Lake, talk of their careers

WARRENSBURG The careers of Austin and Irma Kalish span the course of television history and beyond. Considered a groundbreaking television writing/producing team, the Kalishes have earned a spot in broadcasting history for their accomplishments. The duo will be presenting an overview of their careers in an appearance this week in Brant Lake. The Kalishes notoriety began in 1950, when they collaborated on scripts for the Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Hour. They then moved to television, and in 1955 had their first teleplay aired. Their careers gained momentum when they penned the pilot episode for Gilligans Island in the early 1960s. The Kalishes work became a dominant force in television comedy during the 1960s, as they wrote for or produced such popular, long-running series as Gidget, Gunsmoke, My Three Sons, and The Flying Nun. Their influence continued well into the 1970s with F-Troop, All in the Family and the Bob Newhart Show, and into the 1980s and beyond with Facts of Life, Good Times and 227. Add up these credits and hundreds more from a five-decade career, and you'll discern why Austin Rocky Kalish and Irma Kalish have been called one of the most prolific and honored writing/producing teams ever in entertainment industry. Working independently as a writer for "Good Times," Irma Kalish became the first woman to be made producer and eventually executive producer of a television series, a distinction which secured her spot in broadcasting history. She also became the chief writer for "227" and executive producer of "The Facts of Life," among other shows. The Friends of Horicon Free Public Library are bringing this duo to the region Tues. Aug 19 at 7 p.m. in the Horicon Town Hall in Brant Lake. Noted author Henry Denker will moderate the program as the Kalishes talk about people they have worked with, as well as the screenplays, programs, plays and books they have been involved with. The Kalishes are just as busy as they have been in the last half century, according to their web resume. Having been the first female producer in television, and past president of Women In Film, Irma Kalish now serves on several professional boards, including the Motion Pictures and Television Fund, and is past Vice President of the Writers Guild of America. Irma recently turned her talent to writing novels, with her latest being A Few Good Murders. Rocky, is co-author of 12 books on comedy, and directs community theater productions in Los Angeles and Palm Springs. In 1993 he was awarded the Desert Stars Award, Outstanding Director of Comedy, for Plaza Suite. In 2008, Syracuse University honored the Kalishes with Doctorates in Speech and the Dramatic Arts. Together they teach comedy and screenplay writing at the University of Southern California and UCLA. Through the years, according to Syracuse faculty peers, they have launched the careers of many successful writers in television. This winter the Kalishes will be teaching a Master Class at Syracuse University, the Newhouse School of Communication and the Visual Performing Arts Center. Irma and Rocky have two grown children and reside in Encino and Rancho Mirage, California. This event promises to be stimulating and "standing room only" so the audience is encouraged to be prompt. This program is part of an ongoing series, sponsored by the Friends of Horicon Free Public Library.

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