Scope and arrangement
The papers of Max Liebman contain correspondence, scripts, drafts of scripts and rewrites, production files, production notes, clippings, legal documents, and personal papers including bills, photographs, and artwork that document his television and theater production career from 1949 to 1977.
The collection contains 127 scripts from Your Show of Shows, and others from such television productions as Admiral Broadway Revue, Stanley starring Buddy Hackett and co-starring Carol Burnett, and The Jackie Gleason Show. The collection also contains several scripts from his Special Series productions with NBC-TV that ran for two seasons from 1954 to 1956, and starred such entertainers as Milton Berle and Perry Como. Richard Rodgers is credited as having worked on a few productions, and the then unknown Neil Simon was a frequent co-writer for several shows. There is also significant correspondence with the William Morris Agency regarding contract negotiations for such celebrities as Frank Sinatra, Judy Holliday, and Steve Allen.
The bulk of the collection consists of 127 scripts for the celebrated television production Your Show of Shows, that Liebman produced and directed from 1949 to 1954. Carl Reiner was featured as a regular player, and Mel Brooks was a permanent member of the writing staff with Liebman contributing on occasion. Famous personalities, such as Charlton Heston, Arlene Francis, and Eddie Albert, were featured to host the show each week.
The Max Liebman papers are arranged in four series:
- 1952-197737 folders
Files cover a wide range of topics regarding both Liebman's personal and business communications. Personal items include correspondence and receipts regarding charity organizations and membership affiliations, documentation on private real estate, and photographs of artwork. The majority of Series I deals with business issues, such as correspondence regarding the City Center Theatre, the Liebman Foundation, Stanley, Ten From Your Show of Shows with Joseph Siegman, Inc., and documentation concerning a legal suit brought against Max Liebman Productions et al. by Harold F. Green. Correspondence more specifically related to show productions and/or celebrities include contract negotiations with William Morris Agency, cast lists, running orders, and miscellaneous text of songs and lyrics. Notable items include an 8 x 10 color photo of Liebman, handwritten letters from Imogene Coca, correspondence between him and Carl Reiner, two issues of TV Guide dated 1950 and 1954, and an officially stamped patent order for Your Show of Shows. A notable item in the series not directly connected to Max Liebman is a telegram to Buddy Hackett from Sammy Davis, Jr. inviting him to a civil rights rally in New Jersey with Martin Luther King, Jr.
- 1949-196611 boxes 3 folders
Television scripts primarily consist of episodes for the television program Your Show of Shows. There are also individual scripts from a variety of other television programs.
- 1954-1965; undated10 folders
Contains correspondence, scripts, treatments, outlines, and lyrics of theater and television shows either conceived by or submitted to Max Liebman from external sources. None of the text appears to have gone into production for theater or television broadcast.
- 1949-19605 ledgers
Ledgers contain payroll information and general transfer journal entries for subject areas such as cash received, check disbursements, assets, and capital, for theater and television productions produced by Max Liebman Productions, Inc. and Stan Productions, Inc. The ledgers were originally cataloged as MWEZ.