Marc Daniels

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  • One of the most important directors in TV history.

    10
    Marc Daniels is one of televison's best, most innovative directors ever...but yet, curiously underrated and relatively unknown considering his many historical accomplishments! His career spans from almost the very dawn of the medium, almost up to the day he died in the late 1980s.

    After his training in both theater and early televison, Daniels practically invented live TV drama with Ford Theater in 1948. This experience helped greatly when Daniels was tapped to be the first director of the I Love Lucy series in 1951. Him, Desi Arnaz, and cinematographer Karl Freund proceeded to invent the way sitcoms would be filmed for the next 50 years. Daniels particular contribution was the setting up of the way a multi camera sitcom would be rehearsed and set up. Daniels also happened to be responsible of the 'discovery' of Vivian Vance for the role of Ethel Mertz.

    After directing Lucy for its first season, DAniels left to direct other 50's sitcoms like My Little Margie, spreading the Desilu Gospel throughout. He also did more quality live TV drama like Philco Playhouse, and also pioneered the idea of corporations using closed circuit broadcasts for motivational purposes. He also worked heavily with David Susskind, directing the highly acclaimed The Power and the Glory for Susskind.

    In the 1960's, he became of one television's most sought after dramatic directors, directing multiple episodes of such staples as Ben Casey, Bonanza and Gunsmoke.

    It is his work on STAR TREK, however, where Daniels did some of his notable work. Nobody directed more episodes of the classic sci-fi show, and almost every episode he directed is a classic. In the episode, "The Naked Time", for example, the long, slow dolly shot during Spock's 'breakdown' from the space virus, is simply magnificent - made even more so by the fact it was done in one take at the end of the shooting day, with no chance for a retake. The performance he elicited from Leonard Nimoy did nothing less than make Spock THE character of the show. In fact, the entire last act of the episode is considered by many to be one of the finest moments in TREK history. After TREK, Daniels continued to work throughout the 70s and 80s, with many shows benefitiing from his talent. Almost fittingly, one of his last jobs was a reunion with Lucy in the ill-fated LIFE WITH LUCY, and oddly, he passed away just a few days before Lucy passed away in 1989 - probably just in time to her marks ready for her entrance!