Stan Dreben Papers

Finding aid created by Writers Guild Foundation Archive staff using RecordEXPRESS
Writers Guild Foundation Archive
7000 West Third Street
Los Angeles, California 90048
(323) 782-4680

Descriptive Summary

Title: Stan Dreben Papers
Dates: 1950-1979
Collection Number: WGF-MS-097
Creator/Collector: Dreben, Stan (1918-1980)
Extent: 7 Boxes, 6.5 linear feet
Repository: Writers Guild Foundation Archive
Los Angeles, California 90048
Abstract: The Stan Dreben Papers, 1950-1979 and undated, contain scripts, sketches and development materials created by comedy writer Stan Dreben. The bulk of the collection represents Dreben’s work in television and includes produced and unproduced game shows, variety programs, specials and episodic series. In addition, the collection consists of manuscripts and development materials for film and theatrical projects, as well as jokes and skits written for popular comedy performers.
Language of Material: English


Majority of materials stored off site. One week advance notice required for retrieval.

Publication Rights

The responsibility to secure copyright and publication permission rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

Stan Dreben Papers. Writers Guild Foundation Archive

Acquisition Information

Donated by David Dreben on 2/22/2018.

Biography/Administrative History

Stan Dreben (1918–1980) was a comedy writer and producer for over 35 years, primarily known for incorporating jokes and other comedic material into television game shows, such as The Hollywood Squares, Funny You Should Ask, Treasure Hunt and Letters to Laugh-In. His writing credits comprised popular television variety shows, specials and situation comedies, including The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, The Andy Griffith Show, McHale’s Navy and The Facts of Life. In addition to his television’s work, Dreben developed several motion picture projects, plays and musical revues. Throughout his career he wrote material for many of the entertainment industry’s top comedians, namely Red Skelton, Milton Berle, Joey Bishop, Jan Murray, Jackie Gleason and Phyllis Diller. Dreben died February 16, 1980 at his home in Northridge, California at the age of 61.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Stan Dreben Papers are organized into five series and predominately reflect Dreben’s career in the 1960s and 1970s, demonstrating his varied work writing comedy and jokes for popular television entertainers. Series I: Television Game Shows 1952-1979 and undated, includes scripts and shooting details for produced game shows, such as contestant evaluations, quiz questions, jokes, celebrity guest information and competition scenarios. Titles include The Amateur’s Guide to Love, Bedtime Stories, Funny You Should Ask, Jackpot Bowling Starring Milton Berle and The Newlywed Game. This series also consists of numerous ideas and treatments for game show projects, conceived by Dreben and other collaborators. Series II: Television Variety Shows, Specials and Series 1955-1979 and undated, represents other television genres that Dreben worked in. Materials primarily date from the 1960s and early 1970s and comprise completed scripts, drafts and other writing for produced shows, some of which Dreben is named as a writer. Titles include The Morning Show with Dick Van Dyke, The Andy Griffith Show, Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, The Dean Martin Show, The Pat Boone Show, The Red Skelton Hour, Temperatures Rising and The Facts of Life. Also contained in this series are several folders dedicated to outlines, ideas, treatments and scripts for pilots and other unproduced television projects. Series III: Film and Theatrical Projects 1973-1978 and undated, consists of screenplays and story outlines for motion pictures, as well as scripts for stage plays and musical revues. This series consists of mostly unproduced work. Series IV: Joke Material 1950-1976 and undated, primarily includes comedy writing for unknown projects; a few sketches for Milton Berle, Jackie Gleason, Phyllis Diller and other comedians; joke files alphabetized by subject; and 17 issues of comedy newsletters, The Comedian (Fun-Master Monthly) and Gay’s Gags, which are compilations of jokes, humorous stories, one-liners and satire. Series V: Professional Papers 1968-1978 and undated, contains miscellaneous items related to Dreben’s career in the entertainment industry: resumes, published interviews and souvenir theater programs. Also included in this series are materials that indicate possible research interests, such as personality and Rorschach inkblot tests.

Indexing Terms

Television game shows
Variety shows (Television programs)
Comedy sketches
Television scripts
Television writers