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An Evening with Robert Butler

January 24, 2014 @ 7:30 PM

IN-PERSON: Robert Butler

Without a hint of overstatement, Emmy-award winning director Robert Butler is responsible for helping to launch some of the most iconic television series ever to air on the cathode ray tube. In a remarkably golden career spanning decades, Butler helmed the pilot episodes of landmark TV series such as Hogan’s HeroesStar TrekBatman, andHill Street Blues. Butler’s seemingly endless list of notable directing credits also includes episodes of the cult classics The Twilight ZoneKung-Fu and Columbo. In further evidence of Butler’s expertise across genres, he also directed the baby boomer-favorite Disney comedies, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969) and The Barefoot Executive (1971).

The Archive honors this unparalleled career with a selection of two beloved TV classics helmed by Mr. Butler and a lively conversation with the master director himself.

Cost: Free Admission


Star Trek: “The Cage”

Unaired original series pilot episode, 1965

Directed by Robert Butler

Director Robert Butler was hand-selected by series creator Gene Roddenberry to helm this first incarnation of what would become an infinite Star Trek universe. While Butler’s pilot debuts the seminal character of Mr. Spock as well as numerous flourishes that would appear throughout the epochal series, NBC reportedly found the drama “too cerebral” and the pilot would not air until 1988.

Producer/Screenwriter: Gene Roddenberry. Cinematographer: William E. Snyder. Editor: Leo H. Shreve. Cast: Jeffrey Hunter, Susan Oliver, Leonard Nimoy, Majel Barrett, John Hoyt.

Digital video, color, 64 min.

Star Trek: “The Cage” courtesy of CBS Television Studios.


Columbo: “Publish or Perish”

NBC, 1/18/74

Directed by Robert Butler

From its first regular series episode (directed by Steven Spielberg) and throughout its original run, Columbo frequently elevated the medium of television high above most network programming of the 1970s. Director Robert Butler’s superb entry here is no exception, from its artful split frames to cover parallel action to the sly interplay between a villainously preening Jack Cassidy and series stalwart, Peter Falk.

Screenwriter: Peter S. Fischer. Cinematographer: William Cronjager.  Editor: Robert L. Kimble. Cast: Peter Falk, Jack Cassidy, Mickey Spillane, Mariette Hartley, James Aubuchon.

Digital betacam, color, 73 min.

Episode of Columbo courtesy of NBCUniversal.


January 24, 2014
7:30 PM
Event Category:


Billy Wilder Theater
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90024 United States