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Me & My Emmy
January 04, 2017

Me and My Emmy: George Schlatter

  • Corey Nickols

Emmy Tally: Three

How He Got the Gold: Two for NBC’s Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1968) — one for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special and one for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series — and one more for Sammy Davis, Jr.’s 60th Anniversary Celebration on ABC (1990), also named Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special.

Now for the Noms: Eighteen nominations in all, for producing and/or writing Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, the NBC reality series Real People and specials starring the likes of Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine and Cher.

Act Up: “Rowan & Martin were a very funny nightclub act that I booked as the opening act for Edie Adams at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas — they scored big time. When I sold Laugh-In, NBC wanted a host for the show. The combination of Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, who were older and wore tuxedos, with young, talented character performers worked very well.”

Origin Story: “In 1968 there was very little feel-good television. Comedy was limited to variety shows, sitcoms and stand-ups. Laugh-In came on the air as a totally new form of zany, brief bits of topical character comedy. There had never been anything like it.”

Fave Rave: “My favorite Emmy is the one for the Sammy Davis, Jr., special. It started as an hour-long show, then went to two-and-a-half hours. It was a tribute to a dear friend who was one of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with and who had made a major contribution to our industry.”

Close for Comfort: “I keep my Emmys on a shelf behind my desk so that I don’t look at them all the time. But when I begin to doubt what I am doing, I look over my shoulder so I can remind myself that I have been right more than I have been wrong.”

George Schlatter’s Real People is now available for streaming on Amazon; Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In debuted on the service in December.

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 10, 2016

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