Oral Histories

Interview of Molly Joseph

Assistant art director at NBC. Notable shows include The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and the Rose Bowl Parade live broadcast.
The Crafts in Hollywood: Production Design
Film and Television
Biographical Note:
Assistant art director at NBC. Notable shows include The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and the Rose Bowl Parade live broadcast.
Collings, Jane
Joseph, Molly
Persons Present:
Joseph and Collings.
Place Conducted:
Session one was conducted in Joseph's office at Universal Studios in Hollywood, California. Because of the necessity of restricting personal contact during the COVID-19 pandemic, the second session was conducted by phone.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Jane Collings, principal editor and interviewer, UCLA Center for Oral History Research; Ph.D., Critical Studies in Film and Television, UCLA.
Processing of Interview:
The interviewer prepared a timed log of the audio recording of the interview. Joseph was given the opportunity to review the log in order to supply missing or misspelled names and to verify the accuracy of the content. The corrections made were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff. Joseph supplied the biographical information.Some months after the oral history interview was completed, the UCLA Center for Oral History Research recontacted Joseph to invite her to participate in another interview session documenting the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film and television industry. The final session thus focuses primarily on the personal, professional, and industry-wide effects of the pandemic.
2.5 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series of interviews was undertaken in collaboration with the Art Directors Guild. Its aim is to document the lives and work of Guild members and staff who have made a significant contribution to film and television history. Interviews capture the work of title artists, set designers, art directors, production designers, and many other categories. The contribution of labor unions in shaping the conditions of the work is also addressed.
Early life and arts education--Moves to Los Angeles and begins work in exhibits and animation--Studies production design at the American Film Institute--Begins work at NBC--Daughter's work in production design--Does some production design in film--The hectic pace of work in production design--Work at NBC begins to revolve around oversight of NBC branding--The rapid adoption of computer technologies in production design work--Does the set for the NBC coverage of the Rose Parade every year--A freelance, contractor-based working model is now the norm in production design.
First impact of COVID-19 pandemic--Precautions taken--Adaptation to new normal--Participates in a Black Lives Matter protest--Socializes outdoors with mask and social distancing--Concern about upcoming presidential election—Volunteers as poll worker--Demographics of Glendale--Relies on medical expertise of a family member--Intention to restrict public activities until a vaccine.