Charles and Ray Eames Interviewed by Arlene Francis Posted August 3, 2009 by Daniel Ostroff

Alice Rawsthorn takes a look at Charles and Ray’s 1956 interview on The Arlene Francis Show in her recent article featured in The New York Times. 

Here is an excerpt from Alice Rawsthorn’s August 3, 2009 article in The New York Times, titled Gems from the Design-Hero Archives:

LONDON — Perhaps I should call it a “guilty pleasure,” though I can’t pretend to feel the least bit guilty about it. One of my favorite occupations is scouring the Internet for film clips of design heroes and heroines—past and present—on YouTube, Google Video and so on. Nothing beats seeing and hearing them talking about their work.

1. THE Eameses on “Today”

Any self-respecting woman could be forgiven for throwing a tantrum or two (maybe more) if she was introduced to a television audience with “when there is a very successful man there is an interesting and able woman behind him.” Yet Ray Eames smiled bravely when she was “welcomed” on to NBC’s “Today” show with that line in 1956.

Her husband, Charles, cringed, but the couple plowed on, describing the furniture and toys they’d designed together, as well as their home. (“It’s gotten to be an old cave to us,” as Charles put it.) They then showed off their latest design, the opulent leather and rosewood Lounge Chair, which was soon to become a must-have accessory for socially mobile Americans. “Well, that is quite a departure, Charles, and it looks wonderfully comfortable,” purred the presenter. “Thank you very much for being here and showing us your thing this morning.”

In one part of the video, Arlene Francis asks, “How did you happen to get started with chairs?” Charles replies: “Well, Ray was a painter. Ray worked here in New York with Hans Hofmann for a long time. That’s a pretty good start.”

 

The end of the interview includes a film that Charles and Ray made the week before their appearance on TV, to show the new chair in a meaningful way:

To read the entire article from The New York Times, click here.
To order your own Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman visit the Eames Shop.