Posts in Category: Broadcast History

Who Knew Atlanta, GA and Mayberry, NC were so close?

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Who Knew Atlanta, GA and Mayberry, NC were so close?

Below in pink, you see Tara from ‘Gone With The Wind’ and under it, the Mayberry set for the ‘Andy Griffith Show’ on the ‘Back Forty’.

Forty Acres was a film studio backlot that belonged to RKO Pictures and later Desilu Productions, located in Culver City, and is best known as Forty Acres, or “the back forty”. It had other names such as “Desilu Culver”, the “RKO backlot” and “Pathé 40 Acre Ranch” depending on which studio owned the property at the time.

For nearly fifty years it was famous for its outdoor full-scale sets such as Western Street and Atlanta Street or Main Street and was used in films like King Kong (1933) and Gone with the Wind (1939), and television shows like Bonanza and Star Trek. In 1976 it was razed for re-development.

Forty Acres is best remembered for providing the backdrop for the town of Mayberry on the television series The Andy Griffith Show. Many of the street scenes and buildings on the backlot were seen regularly on television screens across America and became quite familiar with viewers. The original Town of Atlanta set, comprising a New York style street, a town square and a residential area to the east, was situated in the center of the property and was used on shows like Adventures of Superman, Ozzie and Harriet, Batman, The Green Hornet, and Mission: Impossible. It was also used on Star Trek in three episodes entitled “Miri”, “The Return of the Archons” and “The City on the Edge of Forever”.

The Tara set, which sat on a sloping rise at the north western corner of the property, was torn down in 1959 to eventually become the Stalag 13 set for Hogan’s Heroes. Most of the sets, which included Camp Henderson on Gomer Pyle, were situated primarily in the center, south and west end of the property.


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This is Red Barber with something few have ever seen…

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INCREDIBLY RARE PHOTO!

This is Red Barber with something few have ever seen before. Of Red’s own invention, this panel is connected to the remote truck and shows the director areas of the field Red wants to comment on. This gives the director a heads up so he can get a camera on the position in advance and gives Red’s ‘color commentary’ video support. He’s not trying to direct the play by play action, but as a single announcer, wanted a bit of extra help when he told stories or noticed things the guys in the truck could not see.

For instance, home plate has 3 lights, operated by toggle switches. If a left handed batter is up, Red would let him know by flipping the left switch so the director can get the best shot. If he wanted to tell the director to watch the catcher, he would use the center light. There were also combinations of lights that signaled that he wanted a shot of people in the stands. Very Cool!


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State Of The Art: Video Tape Delay

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State Of The Art: Video Tape Delay

Until sometime in the mid to late 60s, this is the way you got a 6 second delay for live television events. In this photo, you would have recorded on the left machine, thread the tape over a few homemade spendels and play it back on the machine on the right for air. In case of bloopers, cut to live action before the image gets to the playback head and pray there are no more till you can get to a station break and re sync.


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1913: State Of The Art Sports Reporting

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1913: State Of The Art Sports Reporting

Check out these two long rows of telegraph operators and reporters. That’s how the 1913 World Series was covered from The Polo Grounds in NYC. The series pitted the New York Giants against the Philadelphia Athletics.

(NY Giants became the SF Giants in 1957)


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The Great, Van Cliburn

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The Great, Van Cliburn and, some not so great news…

In 2005, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Van Cliburn, who was a frequent guest of a good friend of mine in Miami. Although his background is classical, he’s very down to earth and can tell some great jokes. I had heard his name since I was a kid, and frankly, to my ear, it seemed everyone called him ‘Vancliburn’. I remember thinking it odd that he had a one word name like ‘Liberace’, but figured it was some ‘piano thing’. There is some sad news below.

The only classical pianist who has received a ticker-tape parade in New York City, Van Cliburn has announced through his publicist that he has been diagnosed with advanced bone cancer.

Raised in Texas and educated at Juilliard, Harvey Lavan “Van” Cliburn earned global fame at age 23 when he won the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958, which occurred at the height of the Cold War.

Cliburn performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and his later recording of the latter was the first classical recording to sell 1 million copies and eventually went triple-platinum.

Cliburn eventually gave his name to the quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1962, and despite retiring in 1978 he has performed for every American president since Harry Truman. Cliburn received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2001 and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.


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RCA Color Television: January 1954

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RCA Color Television: January 1954

In this special issue of RCA Broadcast News, everything you always wanted to know about early color TV, and more is here. Color cameras, film, lighting, transmission…all of it. From the highly technical to the simple stuff, it’s all covered in this issue. Enjoy!

http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-RCA-Broadcast-News/RCA-77.pdf


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New York Worlds Fair: Summer 1964

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New York Worlds Fair: Summer 1964

I remember visiting the RCA Exhibit and the how much I hated leaving it. I was 13 and my parents had to threaten me to get me out of there. This singing duo was there along with a guy playing an electronic accordion. Sprite had a brand new commercial running that had the same kind of new, electronic keyboard sounds that were coming our of his instrument. I think there were only 2 TK41s there, but I looked at every inch of both of them. I was fascinated by all of it.


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RCA Color Comes To Japan: 1957

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Color Comes To Japan: 1957

On Sunday, I had a story about Expo ’58 and the RCA color exhibit at the Brussels’ World’s Fair. In it, I also mentioned that RCA had sent a mobile color unit to Japan in 1957 to give them a first look at color television and here is the other part of that story. The Japanese were impressed and within a year of the visit, these 5 RCA TK41s arrived at Nippon Broadcasting.


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CLASSIC: ‘Person To Person’

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CLASSIC: ‘Person To Person’ History

Below, Norm Hannin prepares his specially branded TK30 for a live interview at the home of Bobby and Ethyl Kennedy. Notice the cut out on the bottom of the viewfinder hood. Good idea. Here’s an edited clip of Murrow and Frank Sinatra on ‘Person To Person’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddQZsvAv1z0

‘Person to Person’ ran from 1953 to 1961 and all the segments were live. The moves were rehearsed and questions were scripted but not strictly scripted so adlibs and surprises from guests did happen. Edward R. Murrow hosted it until 1959, interviewing celebrities in their homes from a comfortable chair in his New York studio. In the last two years of its original run, Charles Collingwood took over as host.

Although Murrow is best remembered as a reporter on programs such as ‘Hear It Now’ and ‘See It Now’ and for publicly confronting Senator Joseph McCarthy, on ‘Person to Person’ he was a pioneer of the celebrity interview.

The program was well planned, with as many as six cameras and TV lighting installed to cover the guest’s moves through his home, and a microwave link to transmit the signals back to the network. The guests wore wireless microphones to pick up their voices as they moved around the home or its grounds. Each episode had two live guests each week and the two 13 minute interviews in each program were typically with very different types of people, such as a movie star and a scientist.

Murrow wanted the series “in spite of television,” to “revive the art of conversation”. This was an historical step to building the cult of the personality on television. The personalities were divided into two camps, with the entertainment and sports figures in one, and the second containing all others, including artists, writers, politicians, lawyers, scientists, and industrialists.


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Reagan, Carter, Anderson

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Reagan, Carter, Anderson

This is election night, 1980 at ABC New York. The big camera is an Ikegami HK 312E with the big Triax box on it’s right side. The ENG camera may be an Ikegami 77, but I’m not sure. Do you know?


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August 27, 1968…44 Years Ago Today, Dan Rather Manhandled In Chicago

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August 27, 1968…44 Years Ago Today

Dan Rather was manhandled at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Classic footage of a well remembered event.

For more presidential election videos go to electionwall.org
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RCA TK30 ‘Gun site’

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RCA TK30 ‘Gun site’

This is a screen capture from an introductory article on the RCA TK30 from RCA Broadcast News in 1946. Here we have an explanation of the mysterious gun sight that attached to the top of the viewfinder hood. I think there were two types…this one with a polarized lens and a very simple, slotted metal version that looked like Mickey Mouse ears set very close together.


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New Year’s Eve At Times Square: A History Lesson

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New Year’s Eve At Times Square: A History Lesson

Here’s a brand spanking new RCA TK30 above the entrance to the Hotel Astor in Times Square in 1946 shooting the merry makers below. Since the mid 1800s, Trinity Church was the gathering point, but the celebration moved to Times Square in 1904 as part of a promotion of the New York Times to celebrate their new building and headquarters.

New York in 1904 was a city on the verge of tremendous changes – and, not surprisingly, many of those changes had their genesis in the bustling energy and thronged streets of Times Square. Two innovations that would completely transform the Crossroads of the World debuted in 1904: the opening of the city’s first subway line, and the first-ever celebration of New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

The NY Times building was the focus of an unprecedented New Year’s Eve celebration. Alfred Ochs, owner of The Times, spared no expense to ensure a party for the ages. An all-day street festival culminated in a fireworks display set off from the base of the tower, and at midnight the joyful sound of cheering, rattles and noisemakers from the over 200,000 attendees could be heard, it was said, from as far away as Croton-on-Hudson, thirty miles north along the Hudson River.

The New York Times’ description of the occasion paints a rapturous picture: “From base to dome the giant structure was alight – a torch to usher in the newborn year…”

The night was such a rousing success that Times Square instantly replaced Lower Manhattan’s Trinity Church as “the” place in New York City to ring in the New Year. Before long, this party of parties would capture the imagination of the nation, and the world.
Two years later, the city banned the fireworks display – but Ochs was undaunted. He arranged to have a large, illuminated seven-hundred-pound iron and wood ball lowered from the tower flagpole precisely at midnight to signal the end of 1907 and the beginning of 1908. The rest as they say, is history.


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TV SHOWS ON THE AIR IN 1960:

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TV SHOWS ON THE AIR IN 1960:

77 Sunset Strip
Adventures in Paradise (20th Century Fox)
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Angel
Bachelor Father
Bat Masterson (Ziv)
Bonanza
Bringing Up Buddy (Kayro Prod.)
Bronco (Warner Bros.)
Checkmate (Jamco Prod. / filmed at Universal)
Cheyenne (Warner Bros.)
Dan Raven
Dante
Death Valley Days (filmed at numerous ranches)
Dennis the Menace (CBS)
Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater
Father Knows Best (Rodney-Young Productions / Screen Gems)
Guestward, Ho! (Desilu)
Gunsmoke (Arness Prod. / CBS / filmed at several studios & ranches)
Harrigan and Son (Desilu)
Have Gun – Will Travel (CBS / exteriors filmed at numerous ranches)
Hawaiian Eye
Hennessey
Hong Kong
Klondike
Laramie (Revue / filmed at Universal and on several ranches)
Lassie
Lawman (Warner Bros.)
Leave it to Beaver (Gomalco / filmed at Republic & Universal)
Maverick (Warner Bros.)
My Sister Eileen
My Three Sons
Naked City
National Velvet (MGM)
One Step Beyond (ABC Films, filmed at MGM for first two seasons, final season filmed in Great Britain)
Outlaws (NBC / filmed at Bronson Canyon and MGM per IMDB)
Perry Mason (CBS)
Pete and Gladys (CBS / filmed at Paramount)
Peter Gunn (Spartan Productions / filmed at Universal)
Peter Loves Mary
Rawhide (CBS / filmed at MGM, then CBS Studio Center)
Riverboat (Meladare Company / filmed at Universal)
Route 66 (Lancer-Edling Productions / Screen Gems)
Stagecoach West
Sugarfoot (Warner Bros.)
Surfside 6 (Warner Bros.)
Tales of Wells Fargo (Overland Productions / filmed at Universal)
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
The Andy Griffith Show
The Ann Sothern Show
The Aquanauts
The Barbara Stanwyck Show (ESW Productions / filmed at Desilu-Culver)
The Danny Thomas Show
The Deputy (Top Gun Prod. / filmed at Universal)
The Detectives
The Donna Reed Show
The General Electric Theater (MCA / Revue)
The Islanders (MGM)
The Jack Benny Program (CBS)
The Law and Mr. Jones (Four Star Productions)
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (Wyatt Earp Enterprises)
The Loretta Young Show (drama anthology)
The Many Loves of Doby Gillis (20th Century Fox Television)
The Real McCoys
The Red Skelton Show
The Rifleman (Four Star Productions)
The Roaring 20’s (Warner Brothers Television)
The Tab Hunter Show (Famous Artists)
The Tall Man (Lincoln County Prod. / filmed at Universal)
The Twilight Zone (Cayuga Productions / filmed at MGM)
The Untouchables
The Westerner (Four Star Productions)
The Witness
Thriller
To Tell The Truth
Wagon Train (Revue / Universal)
Wanted: Dead or Alive (CBS / Four Star)
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But you knew that Green Acres wasn’t really shot outside, right?

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But you knew that Green Acres wasn’t really shot outside, right?


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London: THIS JUST IN! From the International Broadcast Center

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London: THIS JUST IN!

From the International Broadcast Center, here is NBC’s Daytime Studio. Hosts from this location are Al Michaels and Dan Patrick. Thanks to Todd Palladino who runs on of these cameras for sending this. Hopefully, more to follow soon.


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London Olympics Coverage…From Studio 8H

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London Olympics Coverage…From Studio 8H

This is where most of the commentary marries the video…on the floor of Studio 8H at 30 Rock. With SNL on summer break, the studio is transformed to the Announce Center. Each of these eight or so sound proof booths has 2 sides…a small producer’s side and a larger talent side that can accommodate up to three announcers.

The commentators watch the live feed and with the help of producers on each end, give us the ‘play by play’ on each event. This is really an ingenious system and the photo below is actually from the 08 Summer games in China when NBC used the same set up. I don’t know how far back this off site system goes, but would like to hear from those that have ‘been there and done that’.


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Jim McKay on NBC? CBS Too?Actually, Yes!

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Jim McKay on NBC? CBS Too?

Actually, yes! With the Olympics upon us, I thought you may like to know that NBC was classy enough to include Jim McKay three times in it’s Olympics coverage over the years. In 2002, ABC “loaned” McKay to NBC to serve as a special correspondent during the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. The NBC broadcast of the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was dedicated to McKay, per a message at the closing of the broadcast. NBC also dedicated the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony to him.

Although Jim was with ABC for 37 years, he has covered the Olympics 12 times for all three networks starting with the 1960 Summer games from Rome, which he anchored for CBS from the Grand Central Terminal studios. Gone, but not forgotten. Thanks Jim!


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1955: NBC Burbank Color

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1955: NBC Burbank

This is the control console for an RCA TK41. The camera control unit is on the left and the colorplexer on the right with the double rows of red, blue and green knobs. You need one of these consoles for each TK41. So many knobs, so little time.


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The Red Skelton Hour: Production History

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The Red Skelton Hour: Production History

Every Tuesday night, from 1954 to 1970 most of America was watching Red Skelton on CBS…I know my family did. The show as mostly done at Television City, but at some point in the late 50s, Red moved the show out of TVC.

Red was a very smart guy and very well paid by CBS for his show,even when it was at TVC. He was one of the first and few independent producers and for a few years, did his show at his own facility on the old Charlie Chaplin lot in Hollywood where KTLA and others also had studios.

Skelton had become fascinated with the way he looked on color television but frustrated with CBS because they did so few color broadcasts. When TVC opened in ’52, it was all black and white but on September 7, 1954, “Life with Father” was colorcast from Studio 43C with RCA TK40 cameras.

A second studio, Studio 41, was converted in 1956 with TK-41’s. By the early 60’s, CBS colorcasting had decreased to only a few shows per year. The last studio 43 production with RCA equipment was the in late 1964 taping of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Even though TVC had color, they weren’t broadcasting in color much.

Thinking that if he delivered the show in color it would help, he bought his own equipment from RCA and Ampex and began selling CBS his color video tapes. On the days they were not taping the Red Skelton Show, the theory was they would rent out the 3 production units for color production there in Los Angeles and make big dollars on that too. That did not work out, but Red still won on the deal.

CBS wanted more control of the Red Skelton Show, and the amount of money they paid for it, so around 1962, they made a deal with Skelton that moved him back to CBS Television City. As part of the deal, CBS bought RED-EO Video’s production buses and used the units for studio and remote work for a year or so before the whole 3 unit ensemble was sold to KTLA in late 1964. KTLA put the cameras in their studios, but still did remote work with them too.

This is Red back at Television City in 1965.


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A Funny Story…WTVT Tampa

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A Funny Story…

This shot of a TK11 is from WTVT in Tampa, but listen to the story that the cameraman posted along with this old photo of him.

“It was my first day on camera and I was nervous. Very nervous, and alone with only the newsman and me in the studio on a weekend. The director kept telling me to pull back…pull back.

Well, I pulled the camera so far back that Karl Wallenda could have walked that cable! If I had let go of the camera, it would probably have killed the anchor.”

Thanks to Mike Clark’s www.big13.net site for this.


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An Interesting Story…

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An Interesting Story…

I’ve had this photo of these 10 cameras that were built by WFBM in Indianapolis for a long time and have often wondered why these guys built so many of them. Now I know.

Operating now at WRTV, the station signed on the air on May 30, 1949 under the call sign WFBM-TV with a film documentary entitled ‘Crucible of Speed’ covering the history of the Indianapolis 500. Here’s where it gets interesting…that documentary was followed by the inaugural live television broadcast of the event. If anything is a 10 camera shoot, it’s the Indy 500! Kudos and congratulations to the engineering pioneers at Indiana’s oldest television station.


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1955: Up, Down and Sideways…

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1955: Up, Down and Sideways…

in ’55, the Vinten Heron crane was developed for the BBC, which bought models for its London and regional studios. The biggest innovation in the crane was it’s ability to crab, thus allowing it to move freely in any directions, giving it the flexibility of a pedestal with increased height range and speed. The Heron also came west to Canada, South America and the US.


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1947: Year Of The Candle

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1947: Year Of The Candle

This historic magazine ad zeros in on the need for 90% less studio light (and heat) with the brand new RCA TK10, equipped with the recently perfected Image Orthicon tube. This, and the sister TK30 field version, were the first cameras that could actually make a good pictures using only a single candle as a light source.


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Camera Operator 101, Rule 1:

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Camera Operator 101, Rule 1:


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THE BIG REVEAL! Why Norelco instead of Phillips?

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THE BIG REVEAL! Why Norelco instead of Phillips?

Many have wondered and asked this question, so here is the answer. From some point in the early 1940s, Philco was legally able to prevent Philips from using the name “Philips” on any products marketed in the USA, because the two names were judged to sound similar and that it may cause litigation. As a result, Philips instead used the name Norelco, an acronym for “North American Philips [electrical] Company.”

When Philips bought Philco in 1981, Philips was able to freely use the Philips name for all of their US products, but they chose to retain the Norelco name for personal care appliances, and the Magnavox name for economy-priced consumer electronics.

One reason to keep the Norelco name was all the money the spent on Christmas advertising. Remember the old ‘Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer’ stop action special that still runs? They all were brought to you by Norelco. Below is on of the spots from the early 60s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVk6JKDa3zI

By the way, the camera is a PC 72.


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WOW! Love This!

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WOW! Love This!

Just in from long time NBC Burbank engineer Bob Meza. This is a beautiful photo of the Rose Parade and TK41, and unlike any I have seen before. Most of the shots show the parade approaching, but this shows the passing and the huge crowds further down the route. Remember…please send me you pictures! edition4@comcast.net


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Remember The Small White Blinking Boxes, Top Right Screen?

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Do You Remember This? I do…

In the screen shot below from ‘Art Linkletter’s House Party’ on CBS, you can see a small, white square in the upper right corner (click to enlarge). If you were watching the show, and paying attention, you may have noticed that soon after it appeared, a commercial would miraculously appear too.

At CBS, this electronically inserted square was called an EPSQ. It stood for Extended Program Que and would appear solid 30 seconds prior to a commercial as a warning to stations along the network, and then just prior to going into the break it blink on and off a few times.

During a live show, as most things were in the 50s and early 60s, this was the signal for a station break, and if I am not mistaken, the number of blinks about 15 seconds out would tell stations how many network sponsor spots were in the break.

NBC also did this electronically but may have called their system something else. ABC would just superimpose an art card with a small white circle in the corner. This stopped when most shows went to tape and the information could be teletyped to the stations.

Thanks to Gady Reinhold for his help with this story.


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Dale Walsh 1

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Dale Walsh 1

I love these two shots Dale sent of him at work with the TK41s. This one is in Fort Worth at the Colonial Country Club shooting golf in 1968. Go ahead Dale…stand on the box if you need to.

Dale is such a veteran cameraman that when he retired from ABC in Hollywood after 45 years, they calculated that he had an extra…get ready…15 years of time! Would that then equal a total of 60 years at ABC?


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Dale Walsh 2

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Dale Walsh 2

Another great shot of Dale on location in Lincoln, Nebraska getting ready for some Corn Husker football in 1969! By the way, I’m almost positive that these two photos were taken by another ABC cameraman…why? Although it would have been nice to see the front of the TK41C camera in both, notice that the human subject, Dale, is precisely centered in each one.


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