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. ...