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Edward Bleier Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University


Finding aid created by: SB
Date: 2007



Biographical History

Ed Bleier (1929- ) is an American radio and television executive. His career has paralleled the history of electronic media, with important roles in "new media" creation for Warner Bros., Warner Communications, and Time Warner. As of 2007 he was a board member of Blockbuster Inc., CKX Inc, and of RealNetworks, whose focus is streaming media over the Internet.

Bleier began his professional career with WNEW's "High School Hour" and The Long Island Press. He wrote for the Syracuse (New York) Herald Journal and for several Syracuse-area radio stations, and managed promotion for the DuMont Television Network and New York's Channel 5. In the early 1950s, while working at New York's Channel 7 and later at ABC, he instituted television-time sales to movie companies.

While studying at Syracuse University he worked as a copyboy for ABC News, and by the 1960s he was a senior executive there, having worked as Vice President for Daytime and Children's Programming and Sales; General Sales Management; and Marketing, Public Relations and Strategic Planning. Among his "firsts" at ABC were the first integration of African-American characters in daytime dramas and establishing ABC's first Saturday morning children's block, built around Warner Bros. Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes cartoons. Over 40 years he oversaw some 100 variations of Looney Tunes programming on ten different cable and broadcast networks, propelling the characters into the top slots in both television and licensing/retail.

Bleier left ABC (succeeded there by Disney executive Michael Eisner) to become President of Warner Bros. Domestic Pay-TV, Cable and Network Features division, where he worked closely with Warner's cable systems to develop basic and pay-tv networks including MTV, Nickelodeon, TMC and others; co-created the corporate plan for home video; drove after-market sales of TV series and feature films to record-breaking levels; and pioneered new digital media markets such as content-on-demand and pay-per-view. From 2002 to 2005, Bleier served as Senior Adviser to the company.

In 2003 Bleier wrote the New York Times best-seller The Thanksgiving Ceremony, a work which grew out of his own first-generation American experiences (the book's foreword was written by well-known columnist and Syracuse University alumnus William Safire).

Bleier's pro bono work has included serving as steering committee chairman for 13 of the Aspen Institute's Communications Leaders Conferences, meetings which encourage dialogue between the communications industry's senior creative and business executives and their counterparts in government, economics and science. He was chairman of the Center for Communication, President of the International Radio and Television Society, Vice-Chairman of the International Television Council, Chairman of the Academy of the Arts of East Hampton's Guild Hall, and a former board member of the Keystone Center for Science and Environment and the Martha Graham Dance Company. He has participated in two United Nations World TV Forums and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a trustee of the Charles Dana Foundation.


Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Edward Bleier Papers consist of 50 years of accumulated professional memorabilia and material covering the history of television (including books, industry, references, business plans, etc.) and animation (the classic Looney Tunes), various movies, posters, art books and pictures, architecture, audio tapes, etc. The collection is divided into nine series.

Animation files consist of professional working papers, documents and contracts about Warner Brothers animation characters: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Road Runner. This series includes correspondence with the animator Chuck Jones on various projects. There are also folders of deal work for all three television networks regarding cartoon programming. Of particular interest are a copy of the complete movie storyboards for Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island.

Cable files consist of internal documents and correspondence relating to the development of basic and pay-TV networks and pay-per-view digital media markets.

Licensing files comprise the bulk of the collection, and center on the licensing of Warner Brothers movies on network, cable and pay-per-view television channels. The documents with each movie vary but consist mainly of ratings analysis, negotiations, sales pitches, and general correspondence. Many films include notes from Bleier's office to movie directors on editing "objectionable" material, such as nudity or foul language, to allow for presentation on network television. Also included are documents regarding an appeal to the Motion Picture Association of America regarding the rating of the popular film, All the President's Men.

Media consist mainly of videotapes of lectures given by Bleier and his television appearance on Martha Stewart Living. There are also various Warner Brothers screeners and copies of speeches by Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick.

Memorabilia contains miscellaneous commemorative industry "thank you" gifts, most commemorating conferences, anniversaries, and cable networks functions. There are also a few photographs and clippings.

Miscellaneous material contains an assortment of papers, clippings, brochures, and other miscellaneous material.

Printed material contains network TV program reports from 1987-1993 on cable television development and Warner Brothers TV movie distribution. This series also contains material and programs for awards and parties, such as the Guild Hall.

Project files contain a broad collection of working papers and projects throughout Bleier's career, including correspondence, deal work, contracts and working documents for individuals such as Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Greg Ford, Hal Geer, Jeff Bergman and Terry Lennon. Other projects include the creation of home video VCRs, the New York Cosmos Soccer Team revival, and facility information on Rockefeller Center/Radio City Music Hall.

Thanksgiving Ceremony files center on the preparation and publication of Bleier's book The Thanksgiving Ceremony published in 2003. There is extensive research on Thanksgiving recipes and research on the holiday as well as partial and full drafts of the book, e-mail correspondence and sales agreements. Events surrounding the book's publication are represented by book release party information, invitations and book reviews.


Arrangement of the Collection

Aside from licensing files, which have been alphabetized, material in each series remains in original order, roughly grouped according to topic.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.


Related Material

Published books in the collection have been transferred to Rare Books or to the general collections for cataloging. Please search the Classic Catalog for "Gift of Edward Bleier" for these items.

Special Collections Research Center has a large number of manuscript collections relating to television, radio, film, and popular culture. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.


Subject Headings

Persons

Bleier, Edward

Corporate Bodies

ABC News.
Time Warner Cable.
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution (Firm).

Associated Titles

Looney tunes.

Subjects

Cable television -- Marketing.
Cable television -- Planning.
Cable television -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Executives -- United States.
Popular culture United States.
Subscription television.
Telecommunication.
Television broadcasting -- Archival resources.
Warner Bros. Cartoons -- History.

Genres and Forms

Books.
Correspondence.
Manuscripts for publication.
Pamphlets.
Photographs.
Proposals.
Reports.
Videotapes.

Occupations

Businessmen.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Edward Bleier Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Edward Bleier, 2007.


Table of Contents

Animation files

Cable files

Licensing files

Media

Memorabilia

Miscellaneous

Printed material

Project files

Thanksgiving Ceremony files


Inventory