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January 30, 2014 — Bob Wynn, who died last month at age 81, produced some of television’s landmark specials and worked with leading show business personalities of the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.
Materials of many of his productions and experiences can be found in the Bob Wynn papers collection at the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center.
Wynn led shows starring Tennessee Ernie Ford in Moscow and Bob Hope in China, and later produced the NBC reality hit “Real People.” A three-time Emmy Award nominee, he also guided shows starring Judy Garland, Danny Thomas, Debbie Reynolds and Sammy Davis Jr.
In 1961, after settling in Los Angeles and working for NBC, he was offered his first major television job producing a Bing Crosby special. Over the next 20 years, Wynn produced and directed variety theme shows, popular and award-winning television series, made-for-TV movies and various television specials.
In 1962, he and Alan Handley co-founded Alwynn Productions. The pair co-directed and co-produced numerous television shows, including "Alice Through the Looking Glass" (1966) and “Debbie Reynolds and the Sound of Children” (1969).
Variety shows he produced include Danny Thomas Specials (1962-1970), Tennessee Ernie Ford Specials (1969-1981), “The Monty Hall Show” (1970s) and “Opryland, U.S.A.” (1970s). Wynn also produced and directed the variety series, "The NBC Follies" (1973).
The UW collection contains materials from almost all of Wynn's productions, but the show titles with the most material are: “ABC's Wide World of Mystery Series,” “The Bob Hope Show” and specials, “The Danny Thomas Show,” Debbie Reynolds shows, “The Monty Hall Show” and specials, “The NBC Follies” and Opryland specials.
Materials from these shows and others in the UW collection include scripts, production notes, production schedules, correspondence, financial and legal documents, photographs, press releases, reviews, sheet music, films and audio tapes. Production materials for some of Handley's projects also are included. The collection also contains materials for productions not listed on Wynn’s or Handley's resumes, and were presumed to have been projects that were never fully produced or aired on television.
The American Heritage Center is UW’s manuscripts repository, university archives and rare books library. It is one of the largest and most actively used non-governmental primary source repositories in the United States. In addition to outstanding collections that document the history of most aspects of the Rocky Mountain West, the AHC has internationally acclaimed holdings in popular entertainment (TV, radio and film), aviation and aerospace, railroads, journalism, conservation, aspects of U.S. military history, economic geology and ranching. Its award-winning website is at www.uwyo.edu/ahc/.
Bob Wynn, leading the way, carries Bob Hope to the top of Coal Hill in Beijing, China, in 1979. This was the first American television special to be taped in China. (American Heritage Center)