KET Arts


Poof!

The Director

Fred Barzyk

Poof! Director Fred Barzyk

Director Fred Barzyk on the Poof! set with Viola Davis

Fred Barzyk's drama programs are distinguished by his well-known skill with actors, his humor, and his gift for translating theater into television drama. These are the skills he brought to American Shorts as director of both The Ryan Interview and Poof!.

Barzyk directed The Lathe of Heaven, a science-fiction classic. Other dramas include: Charlie Smith and the Fritter Tree, written by National Book Award winner Charles Johnson and starring Morgan Freeman and Richard Ward; Jenny's Song, with Ben Vereen; Tender Places, with Jean Stapleton; Secrets, with Christian Slater; and The Letters of Calamity Jane, with Jane Alexander.

His collaborations with humorist Jean Shepherd include The Star-Crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowksi, The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters, and The Phantom of the Open Hearth. Barzyk is regarded as one of the more experimental figures in the early days of public broadcasting.

In 1969, he created The Medium is the Medium, the series that introduced the work of Nam June Paik and other video artists to television. Awards for his work include three Emmys and three Television Critics Circle awards, as well as Ace and Peabody awards. He won the Venice Film Award as "Best Director of Television Drama" for the political thriller, Countdown to Looking Glass, starring Michael Murphy. Barzyk, who lives near Boston, has been one of the mainstays of educational programming for WGBH and Annenberg/CPB, serving as executive producer for such series as Destinos, French in Action, and Western Tradition.