World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Nat Hiken

Nat Hiken
Born (1914-06-23)June 23, 1914
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died December 7, 1968(1968-12-07) (aged 54)
Los Angeles
Nationality American
Occupation Writer, producer, director, songwriter

Nat Hiken (June 23, 1914 – December 7, 1968) was an American radio and television writer, producer, and songwriter who rose to prominence in the 1950s.[1]

Biography

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Hiken worked for Warner Bros. as a screenwriter beginning in 1940 for the studio's short-subject films. Hiken is best known for a number of popular TV series during the 1950s and 1960s, including Car 54, Where Are You?[1] and The Phil Silvers Show, a situation comedy set on a US Army post in which Silvers played Sergeant Ernest G. "Ernie" Bilko; the show was also often referred to as Sgt. Bilko (Hiken had originally titled it You'll Never Get Rich).

Hiken was one of TV's first writer-producers, and he had begun originally in radio by writing for Fred Allen's hit radio show and as the head writer for NBC's Four Star Revue. He moved from radio to TV as a writer for Milton Berle's radio show, which preceded his legendary TV variety show Texaco Star Theater. As a writer for Car 54, Where Are You? and the The Phil Silvers Show, he exhibited a comic flair, and his capacity for spoofing such entities as the United States Army, the U.S. government, and police forces was exceptional. TV historians attest to Hiken's talent to create zany but lovable characters and also to his ability to draw strong comedic performances from such unlikely celebrities as boxer Rocky Graziano on NBC's The Martha Raye Show.

As a producer, Hiken also had an eye for spotting new talent. He is credited with discovering, and advancing the TV careers of, such future stars as Fred Gwynne (1955), Alan Alda (1958)—both made their TV debuts on The Phil Silvers Show—and Dick Van Dyke (1958). A television pioneer, Hiken worked with Mel Brooks and Woody Allen throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. Hiken won eight Emmy Awards and wrote material for Milton Berle, Bette Davis, Carol Burnett, and Lucille Ball. Larry David, in DVD extras to season 1 of Curb Your Enthusiasm, has spoken about his love of the Bilko series.

Hiken also displayed his musical talent by working with composers Gordon Jenkins on music and theme songs for TV series, and among the songs Hiken himself wrote and composed are "Close to Me", "Irving", and "Fugitive from Fifth Avenue". He also wrote and composed the theme song and music for the TV series, Car 54, Where Are You?

Hiken's career, talents, and contributions to the early years of commercial radio and TV are documented in the book King of the Half Hour: Nat Hiken and the Golden Age of TV Comedy, written by David Everitt and published by Syracuse University Press in 2001.

Hiken's career was cut short when he died of a heart attack on December 7, 1968 in Brentwood, California at the age of 54. His last project was the Don Knotts comedy The Love God?, released the year following Hiken's death.

References

  1. ^ a b "Nat Hiken".  

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.