Oral Histories

Interview of Albert Obregon

Scenic artist at NBC Studios from 1958 to 1987. Began work at ABC Studios after a time as head of own company, Premiere Scenery, which did work for the Golden Globes and other productions.
The Crafts in Hollywood: Production Design
Film and Television
Collings, Jane
Obregon, Albert
Persons Present:
Obregon and Collings.
Place Conducted:
Obregon's home in Sunland, California.
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. Obregon was given the opportunity to review the log in order to supply missing or misspelled names and to verify the accuracy of the content but made no changes.
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 in Los Angeles--The Belvedere neighborhood--The World War II period-- Introduced to art at high school--Grows up with sense of self as “second-class citizen”-- Does artwork for military base while stationed in Germany during Korean conflict-- Begins work at NBC and joins Scenic, Title and Graphic Artists Local 816.
The working environment at NBC--Had low expectations for his career development at the time--Ethnic makeup of art department-- More on the working environment at NBC-- The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson--Works at ABC--Scenic artists’ tendency to not reveal their techniques.
A labor dispute while at NBC--Protocol for advancement when Obregon joined the union--Struggle over issues of jurisdiction as digital tools become more prevalent--A labor dispute centering around exposure to asbestos--A racialized hiring practice in the case of an African American custodial worker--Works with Steve Ehler’s Shooting Gallery--Continuation of own artwork into retirement.