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Ret Turner

Costume Designer

Ret Turner on dressing Cher in her infamous Academy Awards dress

01:02

Back then it was all so spectacular. We were given a format and we did a lot of clothes and those dancers changed outfits sometimes eight times during a four-minute musical number, and they were all incredible looking. The costumes added an interesting element to the show. People now feel they get in the way of the show and I can understand that. That's why they don't do them anymore.  

About this interview

In his two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Ret Turner (1929-2016) describes his two-decade-long association with NBC that began in the mid-1950s. He talks about several of the shows he worked on in the early years, including The Spike Jones Show (where he was a dresser), The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show and The Andy Williams Show (where he was a costume designer). Turner recalls his work for the other networks on many variety series and specials, describes the clothes he designed for the stars of Donny and Marie and The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, and discusses some of the skits and guest stars from these shows. He remembers working with many other stars, including Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, Shirley Booth, Jean Stapleton, and scores of others. Additionally, he outlines his work on Mama's Family, Make Your Own Kind of Music, the pilot of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, and numerous musical specials. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview on June 17, 2003 in West Hollywood, CA.

Back then it was all so spectacular. We were given a format and we did a lot of clothes and those dancers changed outfits sometimes eight times during a four-minute musical number, and they were all incredible looking. The costumes added an interesting element to the show. People now feel they get in the way of the show and I can understand that. That's why they don't do them anymore.  

Interview Highlights

Embedded thumbnail for Memorable Moments on Television

Ret Turner on dressing Cher in her infamous Academy Awards dress

Memorable Moments on Television01:02
Embedded thumbnail for Ret Turner on costume designing for The Sonny & Cher Show post their divorce

Ret Turner on costume designing for The Sonny & Cher Show post their divorce

Ret Turner on costume designing for The Sonny & Cher Show post their divorce01:03
Embedded thumbnail for Ret Turner on Bob Mackie as someone he looks up to; on his work ethic

Ret Turner on Bob Mackie as someone he looks up to; on his work ethic

Ret Turner on Bob Mackie as someone he looks up to; on his work ethic01:00
Embedded thumbnail for Billy Crystal

Ret Turner on dressing Billy Crystal for The Academy Awards

Billy Crystal00:53
Embedded thumbnail for Ret Turner on doing wardrobe at NBC for 20 years

Ret Turner on doing wardrobe at NBC for 20 years

Ret Turner on doing wardrobe at NBC for 20 years02:29