Delbert Mann is one of the people who helped shaped the roots of television, which was once a high-brow medium.
Though born in Lawrence, Kansas in 1920, Mann grew up in Nashville, where his father taught at Scarritt College (Harwell). He got his first exposure to theater in Hume-Fogg High School and participated largely in the productions of the school's drama club (Gelman). Mann went on to study political science in Vanderbilt University, where he met his future wife. Mann was also actively involved in the Nashville Community Playhouse, where he worked closely with Fred Coe, the man who was to influence his career as a television director later on.
During World War II, Mann was drafted in the U.S. Air Force and was assigned to missions in Europe. While in Europe, he immersed himself in the theater scene of London and watched as much theater as he can. His solid commitment to pursue directing in theater, however, only solidified when a man named Rupert Burns, also a pilot in the Air Force, died right after he spoke with Mann about becoming a poet after the war. Mann relayed in the interview with Gelman that the incident convinced him that life is short and that he ought to do what he wanted to do with it.
After the war, Mann pursued an M.F.A. at Yale Drama School. ...
It was with these television anthologies that Mann became most identified (Gibberman). Mann is also the director who helmed the first ever domestic situation comedy Mary Kay and Johnny (1949), and Marty, the first television drama ever to receive major press coverage and the most popular anthology of its time (Gibberman).
There are quite a few things notable about Delbert Mann and his works in television. These are: 1) that Mann is very much one of the proponents of the live television telecast; 2) that Mann mainly drew the material that he used for his programs from historic and classical sources and that he is an expert in bringing out and highlighting small personal stories against the backdrop provided by overall history and events around which these small stories revolve; 3) that Mann's career was largely shaped and influenced by his association with Fred Coe; and 4) that Mann himself holds so much passion for his work, a passion that drove him to strive for excellence in his productions.
Delbert Mann can be said to be one of the proponents of the live television telecast, but that is perhaps because the technology available to the television industry then called for nothing else but live telecasts. The tape was not yet invented then, so every episode of the early television anthologies and dramas that he directed were all done live. But this perhaps did not prove to be difficult for Mann, as all his cast and crew had extensive background in the theater, and early studio for television is somehow parallel to the atmosphere of the theater. Mann himself had broad experience with the theater, given his early exposure with that medium, his M.F.A. degree from the Yale Drama School and that