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Guide to the George A. Sunga Television Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Biographical Information:
  • Access Terms
  • Administrative Information
  • Arrangement of Materials:
  • Scope and Contents

  • Overview of the Collection

    Collection Title: George A. Sunga Television Collection
    Dates: 1964-1996
    Identification: MS-0493
    Creator: Sunga, George, c. 1932-
    Physical Description: 14.42 linear ft
    Language of Materials: English
    Repository: Special Collections & University Archives
    5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
    San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
    URL: http://library.sdsu.edu/scua
    Email: scref@rohan.sdsu.edu
    Phone: 619-594-6791

    Biographical Information:

    George Sunga is a successful Filipino-American television producer known for his work on successful shows like Three's Company, Good Times, The Jeffersons, and All in the Family. His work received numerous accolades, including several People’s Choice Awards, an Emmy nomination, and honors from the Academy for Television Arts and Sciences.
    Sunga grew up in San Diego and attended San Diego State College in the early 1950s. He was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity's Gamma-Lambda chapter, and in 1954-1955 he served as president of the Associated Students. As part of his studies in television production at San Diego State, Sunga helped to compile the anthology series, Climax, which exposed him to the directing techniques of John Frankenheimer. Sunga graduated in 1955 with an AB in Speech and Television Production. Shortly thereafter, he began working in the mailroom of CBS Television City in Los Angeles. Over the next decade, Sunga worked in various departments, eventually ascending to a position as the first official production supervisor for CBS West Coast. In this position, he served as the liaison between CBS Television City and outside clients. The network promoted him to associate producer of Carol Channing and Dick Van Dyke’s first television specials respectively.
    In 1966, Sunga landed his first serial associate producer job for the controversial and satirical Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour . In 1969, he was nominated for an Emmy for his work on the show. That same year the show was abruptly cancelled. During the 1970s, Sunga produced numerous successful series, specials, and pilot episodes, primarily for situational comedies (sitcoms) including Three’s Company, The Jeffersons, The Ropers, All in the Family, and Good Times. In 1986, he joined Paramount and produced a television adaptation of the film Gung Ho, a show about the takeover of an American automobile manufacturing plant by a Japanese corporation. The show was one of the first to feature a predominately Japanese-American cast. After the show’s director, Dick Martin, became ill, Sunga took over as the show’s director, launching him into his first formal directorial role.
    In 1989, Sunga became an officer of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He also served on the Producers’ Guild of America board for twenty years and became chairman of the Guild’s Diversity Committee. His commitment to diversity in television led to the creation of an award in his honor distributed yearly at the Media Access Awards.

    Access Terms

    This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

    Topical Term:

    Television comedies
    Television producers and directors -- California -- San Diego -- Biography -- Sources
    Television programs -- United States

    Administrative Information


    2012-006, 2013-013, 2012-015

    Separated Materials:

    Archive of American Television Interview with George Sunga: http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/george-sunga">http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/george-sunga

    Conditions Governing Use:

    The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    This collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation:

    Identification of item, folder title, box number, George A. Sunga Television Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

    Related Materials:

    Drama Department Records
    American Federation of <span class="highlight0 bold">Television</span> and Radio Artists (AFTRA), San Diego Chapter Records
    Desi Arnaz Papers
    Art Linkletter Collection

    Arrangement of Materials:

    I.   Production Files, 1964-1996
    II.  Photographs and Artwork, 1968-1990
    III. Awards, 1966-1985

    Scope and Contents

    The George A. Sunga Television Collection documents the evolution of Sunga’s four-decade career as a television producer at CBS, ABC, and Paramount. The collection consists of production binders, scripts, production notes, correspondence with network executives, photographs, schedules, invoices, awards, and other materials related to Sunga’s various producing credits, including Dear John, The Dick Van Dyke Special, The Jeffersons, The Ropers, and Three’s Company, as well as others. The collection is arranged into three series: Production Files, Photographs and Artwork, and Awards.
    The Production Files document the development and production of television series and specials produced by Sunga. Materials in this series span from some of Sunga’s earliest producer projects in the 1960s to later series in the mid-1990s, with an emphasis on the production of Three’s Company during the mid-1970s through the early 1980s. Of particular interest are network feedback and concerns over broadcast regulations. The notes from ABC’s Department of Broadcast Standards and Practices, for example, indicate that network executives sought to limit gay stereotypes and homophobic jokes in Three’s Company, as well as avoid dialogue and costumes which were deemed to be too sexually explicit. Elsewhere, as in the production binder for The Redd Foxx Show, the network expressed disapproval for racially-based jokes as well as for the potential glorification of gambling. Primarily arranged alphabetically by show title, the Production Files include scripts, production binders, correspondence, notes, as well as actual video footage from many of the series, including Gung Ho, Pacific Station, The Good Life, and Hardball. Please note that only footage transferred to DVD is available for research. U-matic and Betamax footage have not yet been transferred due to limited resources.
    The Photographs and Artwork (1968-1990) series document the casts and logos of various television shows produced by Sunga. This series includes cast photographs, photographic logos for the Smothers Brothers shows as well as a copy of a cartoon by Paul Conrad. Highlights include a signed photograph of the Three’s Company cast with personal inscriptions addressed to Sunga. This series is arranged alphabetically by production title.
    Lastly, the Awards (1966-1985) series contains plaques, certificates, and letters of appreciation for Sunga’s work on various television projects, including the Smothers Brothers, Three’s Company, and The Ropers.