Posts in Category: Broadcast History

Great Behind The Scenes Footage…”Let’s Make A Deal” 1977

Great Behind The Scenes Footage…”Let’s Make A Deal” 1977

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AZGIlzlz3c
At the link is a 6 minute clip from the 1977 documentary “Deal” that gives us a good look at the show in ABC’s Studio 54 at the Prospect lot in Los Angeles.

I’ve added this photo, so you can more easily identify 40 year camera vet Jan Lowery, in this video. The announcer is Jay Stewart, but aside from Monty Hall, Jan and Jay, I can’t identify the other people…can you fill in the blanks? The cameras are Norelco PC60s, and this clip come from our friend James Shea. Thanks James! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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August 27, 1968…Dan Rather’s Floor Fight


August 27, 1968…48 Years Ago Today

Dan Rather was manhandled at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. For us Boomers, this is classic footage of a well remembered event. -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wItUjFU1i4M

For more presidential election videos go to electionwall.org

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The “TONIGHT” Show’s Oldest Surviving Color Video…Sept 1, 1964

The “TONIGHT” Show’s Oldest Surviving Color Video…Sept 1, 1964

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eg-R9tnEXso
At the link above is a very rare piece of tape, that survived only because Stan Zabka, a former AD on the show, and a musical guest on this occasion, had a pal roll tape on his segment. A few years ago, he had our friends at DC Video in LA transfer the tape to a digital format.

This was in NBC’s Studio 6B in New York, just three years after Johnny and Ed took over. The cameras were the great RCA TK41s, which for that day and age, made very good color pictures.

As I write this, I am reminded of a story told to me by NBC’s John Pinto, who came to “Saturday Night Live” the year it started, and is now Camera 1, on the crane. John started in the summer, just before the show started, and to give him something to do for a few weeks, NBC sent him to New Jersey, where he spent a whole week bulk erasing “Tonight” show tapes. John said “his heart hurt” every time he hit the button. So glad the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service had archived many years of the show, or all of it would be gone! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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August 26, 1939…First MLB Game On TV + Other Sports TV Firsts

August 26, 1939…First MLB Game On TV + Other Sports TV Firsts

The first ever Major League Baseball game was televised on August 26, 1939 on experimental station W2XBS, which is now WNBC. With Red Barber announcing, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds played a doubleheader at Ebbets Field. The Reds won the first, 5–2 while the Dodgers won the second, 6–1.

Barber called the first game on NBC Radio and moved to TV for the second game which he did without the benefit of a monitor, and with only two cameras capturing the game. One camera was close to Barber who had to sit in the stands near home base. The other was on the first base side up high. During the game, Red’s headset also went out so he was winging more than just the play by play action.

At the time, the New York World’s Fair was in full swing, as was RCA and NBC’s first big television push. Including the sets RCA had installed at the fair and around town, there were only about 400 receivers in the NYC area.

The first-ever televised baseball game had actually come four months earlier on May 17, 1939. That was a college game between Princeton and Columbia; Princeton beat Columbia 2–1 at Columbia’s Baker Field. The contest was aired on W2XBS and was announced by Bill Stern. Stern almost did not make the opening pitch of that game as he rushed home to get his hair piece.

On May 20, 1939, the first television picture was sent over telephone lines as NBC sent television images from Madison Square Gardens, to 30 Rockefeller Plaza via AT&T lines. Over the course of the six day bicycle race event, three broadcasts were done, with each being a little better than the last, due to some tweaking along the way by both AT&T and NBC.

On June 1, NBC would go on to bring boxing to television for the first time with the Lou Nova-Max Baer fight at Yankee Stadium.

September 30, NBC broadcast the first college football game, followed on October 22, by the first pro football game. Hockey made it television debut on NBC February 25, 1940, and basketball came to TV February 28th, with track and field events debuting on March 2, from MSG.

Remember, all this activity started in April of 1939 with the opening of The World’s Fair, when David Sarnoff told the nation that RCA had “added radio sight to sound”, and officially kicked off the age of television. -Bobby Ellerbee




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August 25, 1968…NBC Debuts Color Portables In Chicago

August 25, 1968…NBC Debuts Color Portables In Chicago

The day before the riotous Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago, NBC broadcast color images from the convention floor, using these new cameras.

Although not a product of the RCA Broadcast Electronics Division, this portable color mini camera, as it turns out, was developed by RCA’s Astro Electronics Division.

The Astro Electronics Division of RCA was formed in 1958 and was responsible for building SCORE…the world’s first communications satellite, five years before Telstar. Project SCORE (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) was launched on December 18, 1958, and placed the United States at an even technological par with the Soviet Union as a highly functional response to the Sputnik satellites.

This camera was developed in 1967 for use on the moon missions. It used three one inch Vidicon tubes, the same electrostatic types used in the RCA TK-27 film chain cameras to reduce power consumption. – Bobby Ellerbee





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August 25, 1958…”Concentration” Debuts On NBC

August 25, 1958…”Concentration” Debuts On NBC

The original network daytime series, “Concentration”, appeared on NBC for 14 years, 7 months. With 3,796 telecasts, this was NBC’s longest running game show. Hugh Downs was the original host and served from ’58 till ’69. During this time, Hugh was also Jack Paar’s side kick on “Tonight” but in ’63, Downs became the new anchor on “Today”. In ’85, The Guinness Book Of Records recognized Hugh Downs for holding the record for the greatest number of hours on network television.

“Concentration” had a lot of homes, but the daytime version was always inside 30 Rock. From ’58 till ’65 Studio 3A was home. 1965 till 1967, it was 3B, and 8G from ’67 till ’73. This was the last show on the NBC roster to go color and that happened November 7, 1966.

There were two short lived night time versions…one was hosted by Jack Barry in 1958 for four weeks from Studio A at NBC’s 67th Street location, which was where the “Home” show was done. The second primetime version was April to September of ’61 from the Ziegfeld Theater on Monday nights with Bob Clayton as host.

When Downs left in ’69, Bob Clayton took over, but three months later Ed Mcmahon hosted for six months during Clayton’s leave of absence for an illness.

The show ended in ’73, but six months later, it was back on NBC as a Goodson – Todman syndicated production from the west coast with Jack Narz as host, and ran till ’78. Art James was the original announcer. By the way, the girl in the photo is PA Patty Prebble who later married Jack Barry. -Bobby Ellerbee

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“The Tonight Show” Crew In Action…A Behind The Scenes Look


“The Tonight Show” Crew In Action…A Behind The Scenes Look

In the embedded video below, you’ll see what the audience in Studio 6B saw, when Jimmy Fallon and Jon Hamm did a fast paced blackout routine live. At this link, you can see how it looked to us at home, which is quite different. https://youtu.be/TcKT0vbMhkU

Our friends on camera include Kurt Decker on #1 (far left), Pat Casey #2, Mike Cimino #3 (baseball cap), Bruce Dines #4, Rich Carter #5 (the Merlin mini jib) and Edward Pladdys who runs the 4 remote robo cameras, one of which shot this scene. One of the best camera crews in the business! Thanks to Bob Sewvello for these fun links! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwXQRhZsIIg&feature=youtu.be

A peek at what happens behind the scenes during a taping of Jimmy and Jon Hamm’s ’80s TV show. Subscribe NOW to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: http:…

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Remember This? I Had One, Who Else Had One? “Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy”…

Remember This? I Had One, Who Else Had One?

“Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy”! Sound familiar? Ever seen it said in COLOR? No? Then click this link for a surprise, and read on for more surprises. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9pPFCjRPvM

I watched “Andy’s Gang” on NBC, which ran from August 20, 1955, to December 31, 1960. It was hosted by actor Andy Devine and was the successor to the radio and television programs “Smilin’ Ed McConnell And His Buster Brown Gang”, later shortened to “Smilin’ Ed’s Gang”. Devine took over the television program when Ed McConnell died suddenly from a heart attack in 1954. McConnell took it to TV in 1951. Devine inherited a number of the characters on the show and the sponsor, Buster Brown shoes.

When Devine took over, some episodes of the show began to be shot in color at The Nassour Studios in Los Angeles, which later became Metromedia Square. This was the first television job for a lady that would become one of the top cartoon voices in the business…June Foray (voice of Rocky on “Rocky & Bullwinkle”, among many others).

Thanks to Barry Mitchell for sending this picture of Froggy, which is in the window at Antiques & Collectibles at 40 West 25th Street, New York, in case you need another. Froggy squeaks and sticks his tongue out when you squeeze him…much like Arch Presby, the show’s announcer and voice of Froggy. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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Behind The Scenes…NBC Sports Olympic Coverage Wrap Up


Behind The Scenes…NBC Sports Olympic Coverage Wrap Up

Two years of planning, 102 shipping containers of gear, 1000 cameras, 2700 monitors, and 3000 people, all came together for NBC to televise 11,000 athletes competing in 28 sports over 37 venues.

Thanks to Andrew Jackson at NBC’s Englewood Cliffs NJ facility, the master control, transmission and uplink HQ for all NBC cable channels, for sharing the video with us. -Bobby Ellerbee

Relive the magic… Go behind the scenes of NBC’s 2016 Rio Olympic Games coverage, from the host site in Brazil to the NBC Sports offices in Stamford, Connecticut. NBC Olympics

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A Musical Trip Down Memory Lane With The Great Johnny Mercer.


A Musical Trip Down Memory Lane With The Great Johnny Mercer…

If you’ve ever heard “Moon River”, “The Days Of Wine And Roses”, “Autumn Leaves”, “Hooray For Hollywood”, “That Old Black Magic”, “Laura”, “Something’s Gotta Give”, “Birth Of The Blues”, “Jeepers Creepers”, “To Marvelous For Words”, “I’m An Old Cowhand From The Rio Grande”, “Blues In The Night”, “You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby”, you’ve heard at least 13 of the hundreds of huge songs he wrote.

Everybody from Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald to Louis Armstrong, Andy Williams and well…you name it, have recorded his songs, that still live in our memories.

In this 8 minute clip, Steve Alan and Johnny run through a dozen or more of his songs in a kind of “sing off” that will amaze you.

By the way, I’ve added a new Facebook page to share some of my favorite music from my 50 years in radio and television. It’s called Ears Of A Generation, so if you like music that makes you feel good, stop in and take a listen at the link below! -Bobby Ellerbee
https://www.facebook.com/Ears-Of-A-Generation-295938424114838/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YFT8MixHSE

Songwriting. legend JOHNNY MERCER performing some of his classics…

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Creating The SNL Title Sequences…A Detailed Look At The Process

Creating The SNL Title Sequences…A Detailed Look At The Process

This is heaven for the many pro photographers and videographers among us, but even for laymen, this is quite interesting. Here is the detailed and technical description of the photographic process from the man who did it Alex Buono.

From the lens tricks and cameras used, to the special effects, it’s all here. The most experimental footage was relegated to the interstitial bumpers, watch out for them during the commercial breaks. The one I like best is the custom bokeh technique. This one looks like a magic trick…as the main shot goes out of focus, the background lights come into focus as tiny SNL logos.Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.alex-buono.com/how-we-did-it-snl-titles-sequence/

Alex Buono | HOW WE DID IT — SNL Title Sequence

…And we’re back! After a much-needed summer hiatus, it’s that time of the year again when my comrades in the SNL Film Unit all reconvene on the 17th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza for another season of filmmaking speed-drills.

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Great Tour Of Radio Row In Hollywood…Lot Of Television Here Too


Great Tour Of Radio Row In Hollywood…Lot Of Television Here Too

Here’s a great tour of some of the earliest broadcast centers in Los Angeles including CBS Columbia Square, 1313 Vine Street studios, The Lux Radio Theater, the former sites of NBC Radio City West, ABC and more! Feel free to skip around, but take a look at this rare history. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SVaA8raLzI

Raul Moreno takes us on a tour of historic radio row in Hollywood. Highlights include KHJ-AM, KABC-AM, NBC Radio City, The Paladium, The Aquarius Theater, an…

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Meet “Miss Patience”…Television’s First Stand In (+ Rare Video)

Meet “Miss Patience”…Television’s First Stand In (+ Rare Video)

This is inside television’s first studio…3H at NBC in New York in May 1936. If you look closely, you can see that “Miss Patience” is actually a mannequin, which is why she was so “patient”.

Miss Patience came to be, when Betty Goodwin, television’s first female announcer ( who you’ll hear in the video), and first fashion show consultant, developed blisters on her cheeks from modeling clothes and makeup for hours of camera tests, under the scorching heat of the 1000 foot candles of light it took for the Iconoscope cameras to get the picture.

Betty had been a newspaper reporter in Seattle, but moved to NYC in the depths of the depression to take a job in radio with NBC. After working as a production assistant at the 1936 political conventions, she was reassigned to kind of the same position in the new Television Department, which as the time was very hush-hush.

When RCA set up the experimental Studio 3H in 1935, they had kept it under wraps as competition for tech secrets was fierce. By July of ’36, RCA had decided to go public with their project, and on July 7, their first public broadcast was made from this studio for a group of radio station owners, which were NBC affiliates, watching on the 62nd floor of 30 Rock.

In this video, cued to start at Betty’s narration of a fashion show, you will see historic footage from Studio 3H, captured by a Pathe newsreel cameraman. Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee

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Doug Quick Interview…Veteran CBS Stage Manager, “Price Is Right”

Sunday Matinee #2…Veteran Stage Manager Doug Quick, BTDT

BTDT = Been There, Done That, and where television is concerned, that pretty much sums it up for 45 year veteran Stage Manager Doug Quick, who’s been running “The Price Is Right” for 35 years. There are lots of great war stories in nearly 7 hours of video.

In a career spanning 45 years, Doug Quick has stage managed a variety of programs for both NBC and CBS and has worked with such legendary figures as Red Skelton, Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, Bob Barker, and Carroll O’Connor.

Doug Quick began his production career in the prestigious NBC Page Program in 1969, which included training as Carson’s personal page on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”, and as a page on “The Dean Martin Show”. Quick’s enthusiasm, determination and strong work ethic secured him a PA job on Martin’s show, which led to a position as an NBC staff stage manager, where he worked alongside respected stage managers Jerry Masterson and Ted Baker.

Transitioning to freelance in the mid-1970s, Quick worked on “Sanford and Son”, “The Redd Foxx Show”, “The Flip Wilson Show”, “The Dinah Shore Show” and more before becoming a CBS staff stage manager in 1976. Other notable programs he was assigned to include “Archie Bunker’s Place” and a myriad of now classic game shows including “Match Game”, “Family Feud”, “The $25,000 Pyramid”, and the longest running game show in television history, “The Price is Right”, which he has stage managed for more than 35 years. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.dga.org/Craft/VisualHistory/Interviews/Doug-Quick.aspx?Filter=Full+Interview

Doug Quick – Visual History Interview

Veteran stage manager Doug Quick (The Price is Right; Archie Bunker’s Place; The Young and the Restless) discusses his creative contributions to episodic programming, daytime serials and variety shows, and the extensive rehearsal and planning that goes into the production of game shows.

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GREAT WEST COAST TV HISTORY VIDEO

Sunday Matinee #1…GREAT WEST COAST TV HISTORY VIDEO

In this KTLA 40th Anniversary presentation, there are so many firsts, they are nearly impossible to list, but Bob Hope, Steve Alan, Dinah Shore, Betty White, and many others do a remarkable job of narrating this 2 hour show. Filled with rare film and kinescopes, this is the story of how television developed on the west coast, and includes not just KTLA’s history, but other early stations there too. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://mediaburn.org/video/ktla-anniversary-show/

[KTLA anniversary show] – Media Burn Archive

Anniversary show for the station with clips from classic programs. Continue reading →

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August 19, 1906…The Father Of Electronic Television Was Born

August 19, 1906…The Father Of Electronic Television Was Born

110 years ago today, Philo Taylor Farnsworth was born in Beaver, Utah. By age 14, he had worked out the principles for the Image Dissector tube which occurred to him while plowing back and forth on the family farm.


The video at this link was done by his great granddaughter, Jessica Farnsworth and is full of rare color film of some of Philo’s first demonstrations in San Francisco and Philadelphia and is well worth the ten minutes it takes to watch.

The photo below was taken after Farnsworth’s only appearance on the technology he created. In June of 1957, he was a guest on ‘I’ve Got A Secret’ and this clip is loaded to start at the beginning of his segment. http://youtu.be/3cspYZyGp1A?t=13m21s

The lady is his wife and assistant, Pem Farnsworth. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

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August 19, 1949…First CBS Color Test Footage Shot


August 19, 1949…First CBS Color Test Footage Shot

The day before this, CBS did their first experimental color broadcast in Washington, D.C. for the FCC using the system they were building for Smith, Kline & French which was to be used in operating rooms for medical teaching.

The next week, on August 25, RCA announced their Dot Sequential color system which is the one we used today. CBS was making color with a system that used a spinning red, blue and green color wheel on the cameras and receivers, so the CBS system was mechanical where the RCA system was all electronic. For more of the chronology on the early days of color systems, here is a link to Ed Reitan’s great research. http://www.earlytelevision.org/Reitan/CBS_Chronology_rev_h_edit.html

Below is three minutes of the oldest known color recording (on film, but not a kinescope) of a CBS Field Sequential color television test featuring a lady holding colorful scarves. A small low quality sample of this footage has been on the web for many years, this version is full 3 min worth in HD. Thanks to Troy Walters in Australia for bringing this to us. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

#t=15″ target=”_blank”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5tf6SQjFlQ #t=15

Link to order this clip: http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675075009_color-television-broadcast_Columbia-Broadcasting-Systems_Color-Television-Monitor-Tube…

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Come Play Along With A Special Episode Of “To Tell The Truth”


Come Play Along With A Special Episode Of “To Tell The Truth”

Can you guess which one is the real Ken Whalen? I’ve read his book and I couldn’t guess, so play along, and there is a surprise for Gary Moore at the end.

Ken was a director and associate director in the Golden Age and worked with Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, Red Buttons, Gary Moore, Perry Como and lot of early game shows like “Strike It Rich” and many more.

His book “How the Golden Age of Television Turned My Hair to Silver: The Mad Memories of an Ex-Television Director”, is a must read. It is loaded with behind the scenes memories, bloopers and very interesting stories of live television in the 1950s.

Thanks to Barry Mitchell for sharing the link. Let us know if you guess the right one. Peggy Cass has some great questions, as do most of the panel members. Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://youtu.be/Dlvzggh_NYg?t=10m42sIn the 2nd half of this episode of To Tell the Truth, we get a partial reunion of several cast members from Garry Moore’s old variety series the Garry Moore …

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August 18, 1948…Vine Street Studios Debut & TV’s Top Shows Follow

August 18, 1948…Vine Street Studios Debut & TV’s Top Shows Follow

Did you know this was originally the home of The Don Lee – Mutual Network? Or, that this is the first place Johnny Carson ever went on network television? This was also the home of “The Dating Game”, “The Joey Bishop Show”, and more.

The building, at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood, was constructed in 1948 as a radio and television studio facility at a cost of $3 million. The dedication of the Don Lee-Mutual Broadcasting building was held on August 18, 1948. It is the oldest surviving structure in Hollywood that was originally designed specifically with television in mind. As you can see from the layout image, it was huge and very well planned.

Cadillac dealer Don Lee got into broadcasting to stay competitive with his friend Earle C. Anthony, a Packard dealer, who bought radio station KFI as a method of appealing to his customers. Lee bought KFRC in San Francisco and KHJ in Los Angeles, ultimately building the chain to 12 West Coast stations. Though named for him, Lee, who had died 14 years earlier, never saw this building.

The building was the original home of Los Angeles Channel 2, which is now KCBS-TV, through the 1950s. KCBS-TV is one of the oldest television stations in the US. It was signed on by Don Lee Broadcasting, and was first licensed by the FCC as experimental television station W6XAO in June 1931. The station went on the air on December 23, 1931, and by March 1933 was broadcasting programming one hour each day only on Monday through Saturdays.

During World War II, programming was reduced to three hours, every other Monday. The station’s frequency was switched from Channel 1 to Channel 2 in 1945 when the FCC decided to reserve Channel 1 for low-wattage community television stations. The station was granted a commercial license (the second in California, behind KTLA) as KTSL on May 6, 1948, and was named for Thomas S. Lee, the son of Don Lee.

Don Lee’s broadcasting interests were placed for sale in 1950 following the death of Thomas S. Lee. General Tire and Rubber agreed to purchase all of Don Lee’s stations, but General Tire chose to sell KTSL, and the building at 1313 Vine Street to CBS. On October 28, 1951, KTSL changed its call-sign to KNXT to coincide with CBS’ Los Angeles radio outlet, KNX (1070 AM). In April of ’84, it became KCBS.

These are the studios where Johnny Carson’s earliest mid-’50s television appearances, including “Carson’s Cellar” and “The Johnny Carson Show” were done.

ABC bought the building from CBS around 1967, installed GE color cameras and produced shows like “The Joey Bishop Show”, “The Dating Game” and “The Newlywed Game” from 1313 Vine Street.

Today, it is the home of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study. It was dedicated in honor of legendary silent film actress Mary Pickford in 2002. Pickford was one of the founding members of the Academy. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee




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The Sound Effects Genius Behind The Looney Tunes And Merrie Melodies

If It Sounds Funny…You Can Thank Treg Brown!

For all of us that grew up with the great cartoons of the 40s, 50s and 60s, here’s a nice story on the man behind the silly sounds, that were such a big part of the fun. The two videos in the attached artilce are full of thing’s you’ve heard all your life…now you know who to thank. Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.neatorama.com/neatogeek/2016/02/11/The-Sound-Effects-Genius-Behind-The-Looney-Tunes-And-Merrie-Melodies/

The Sound Effects Genius Behind The Looney Tunes And Merrie Melodies

Back in the good old days of showbiz, sound effects were created by foley artists who made a racket and recorded their sounds right on the spot, without any digital help or enhancement.And when it came to cartoon sound effects there was one man who made that madcap racket we all know and love from t…

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‘The Larry Sanders Show’ reruns returning to HBO this fall

Mark You Calendar! “The Larry Sanders Show” Returns September 23!

It doesn’t appear that the show will have a time slot on the broadcast schedule, but it will at finally be available “on demand”. Hey Now! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.ew.com/article/2016/07/30/larry-sanders-show-hbo-return-premiere-date

‘The Larry Sanders Show’ reruns returning to HBO this fall

The entire six-season run of The Larry Sanders Show will return to HBO on Sept. 23, the network announced Saturday, making good on its promise in…

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A Rare Look Inside CBS Studio 33…The Cronkite Newsroom


A Rare Look Inside CBS Studio 33…The Cronkite Newsroom

Although Dan Rather was now the anchor, Studio 33 is where Walter Cronkite first reported from, when they moved to the Broadcast Center in 1964.

Prior to the move, the newsroom and set was on the 23rd floor of the Graybar Building which was next to Grand Central, and the show was switched out of the old Studio 42. About a year after this video, the news moved to Studio 47.

The cameras here are Hitachi SK 110s and show us how frantic the pace is just before and during air. Stuffing a day of the world’s news into 22 minutes is not an easy task, and back then, the news was real news…not what we settle for now. By the way, this space is now occupied by CBS Radio. -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaLwvDsplMI

It’s Hari Kari Time

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“Rocket Rangers”…The First Show With A Purposely Wiped History

“Rocket Rangers”…The First Show With A Purposely Wiped History

In 1953 and ’54, CBS had a Saturday morning show called “Rocket Rangers” that starred Cliff Robertson as Commander Rod Brown, in 58 episodes of the show. It was done live in New York, and given that Pye cameras were used, I would say this was done in one of the four CBS studios at Leiderkranz Hall. I think that is the only place CBS had Pye cameras, perhaps they only had them in one studio there.

CBS had “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet” for only a couple of months before it moved to ABC, then later DuMont, then later NBC. With space adventure shows at their peak of popularity in 1953, CBS hired Tom Corbett’s original director, John Haggott, and commissioned him to create a clone.

He did, and the result was Rod Brown (Cliff Robertson) of the Rocket Rangers. With the same director, same special effects gizmos, and many of the same writers, this was a somewhat livelier version of Space Cadet. Aliens were very rarely seen on Space Cadet, so Rod Brown gave us virtually a new alien every week. It was an interesting program and it is a shame that no kinescopes survive. Why not?

Well, it seems there was a “Perry Mason” moment in the show’s history. There are no surviving kinescopes of this show, because they were ordered by the court to be destroyed. Seems that the producers of “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet” on Dumont sued, because the characters and premise was too close to their story line. This is thought to be the first event of its kind in television.

Cliff Robertson was on Broadway at the time, and would rise on Saturdays at 4 a.m., drive to the CBS studios, go through dress rehearsal, and do the live broadcast at 11:30 a.m. EST. After the program he went over to the theater where he was performing in “Late Love” with Elizabeth Montgomery for a matinee, and then an evening show. By the end of the day, he would be “stumbling around”, as he later said. Robertson was also attending the Actors Workshop at the time. His salary for the part of “Rod Brown” was approximately $175 week. -Bobby Ellerbee



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August 16, 1977…The King Is Dead! Long Live The King!


August 16, 1977…The King Is Dead! Long Live The King!

It was late afternoon in the east when scattered radio reports began to surface on the death of Elvis Presley. It was after 4 PM Eastern time when news reports began to confirm the rumors. Many didn’t know till they got home and watched the evening news.

Here is the start of that night’s broadcast on NBC, with David Brinkley. Do you remember where you were when you heard that the King was gone? -Bobby Ellerbee

Newscast of Elvis death 1977

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Larry Wilmore’s ‘Nightly Show’ Cancelled at Comedy Central

“Nightly Show” Canceled…Last Show Airs Thursday

Larry Wilmore’s ‘Nightly Show’ Cancelled at Comedy Central

“The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” will call it a day after Thursday’s episode. Comedy Central has canceled the half-hour series that replaced “The Colbert Report” on Jan. 19, 2015, making…

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August 15, 1948…CBS Debuts First, Live Nightly News Broadcast


August 15, 1948…CBS Debuts First, Live Nightly News Broadcast

On this day in 1948, Douglas Edwards became the first, live daily anchor of a network news show. In the 3 minute video below, Dan Rather tells the story nicely, so take a look.

Just to be clear, there was news on CBS and NBC before this, but CBS was first do go with a live, daily 15 minute report. Before this at CBS, Edwards and others had done a live news show twice a week.

NBC was actually first with a daily network news show, but theirs was not live. The most widely celebrated dates in NBC news history are February 16, 1948, and February 16, 1949.

In February ’48 “The NBC Television Newsreel” debuted as a 10 minute weeknight newsreel which was narrated off camera by John Cameron Swayze. The next year, on February 16, Swayze moved in front of the camera and that began “The Camel News Caravan” as a live 15 minute nightly news show.

CBS had put Douglas Edwards on camera on May 3, 1948 in the twice-weekly days of the newscast, making him the permanent host, as the prior “revolving” host format was abandoned.

Both networks had done earlier local news that goes back to 1939, but that is a story for another day. -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzCjp8JAAgc

From CBS, an Evening News piece on the retirement of Douglas Edwards, the first CBS anchorman.

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August 15, 1992…”The Larry Sanders Show” Debuts On HBO


August 15, 1992…”The Larry Sanders Show” Debuts On HBO

It’s hard to believe that it was 24 years ago this week, but it was.

Out of the box, they knew they had a hit with Garry Shandling’s new show. It took us behind the scenes of late night television in a way no one ever has, before or since. With sidekick Jeffrey Tambor as Hank Kingsley, and Rip Torn as the show’s producer as the key cast members, the list of guest stars that came to the show was a who’s who that rivaled the real late night shows.

The show was done at CBS Studio Center on Radford Avenue in Los Angeles and won more awards than you can shake a stick at! There were Writers Guild, Directors Guild, Golden Globes, Emmys, Cable Ace, Peabody, Critics awards and more given in the US, and even more from the UK and international committees. During its six-year run, The Larry Sanders Show won 24 major awards including three Emmys.

After the show ended (May 31,1998), the show received a spot on Time Magazine’s 100 Greatest Shows of All Time. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly ranked The Larry Sanders Show the 28th Greatest Show of the past 25 years. TV Guide named it the 38th Greatest Show of All Time.

Below is a clip from Season 1, Episode 1 called “The Garden Weasel”. In re release, the name of this debut episode was changed to “What Have You Done For Me Lately”. Hey Now! – Bobby Ellerbee

Clips of Larry Sanders reluctantly doing in-show advertisements for the Garden Weasel taken from the first episode of The Larry Sanders Show starring Garry S…

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A Rare Grand Tour Of America’s Early Television Facilities…


A Rare Grand Tour Of America’s Early Television Facilities…

This 12 minute feature is basically, the only grand tour of television as it existed in America in June of 1945. This very rare presentation takes us inside GE’s WRGB in Schenectady, NY., NBC’s first mobile unit and into the CBS television studios at Grand Central Station.

Some of the film is from earlier years, like the NBC mobile unit footage which is from 1941, and I think the WRGB footage is pre-war too, but the CBS footage is from either late ’44, or early ’45. The three cameras in NBC’s Studio 3H would have been the same silver RCA Iconoscope models we see at CBS.

In order to prepare millions of men in uniform for a return to civilian life, the military made films like this to show to the troops.

Victory in Europe came May 8, 1945, but the war with Japan did not end until August 15, 1945, so when this film on new occupational opportunities in television was shown, the military was still near full strength as there was still a lot of sorting out to do after the end of hostilities.

This was shown in camps of all branches of the services and if you listen to the CBS head of production, you can appreciate the huge numbers of new hires that will be needed to produce the expanded peacetime television schedules anticipated. Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee

more at http://showbiz.quickfound.net/ Shows mid-1940s production of TV shows by New York NBC station WNBT (now WNBC) using RCA gear, and Includes an intervi…

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Jack Hopko Shatters Camera Behind Plate

AGAIN? Little League World Series Batter Smashes Camera Lens

Since around 2006, this is the third or fourth time this has happened. Somehow, the Little League World Series playoffs have become he most dangerous place on earth for a home plate camera. You would think by now, someone would have added a Plexiglas shield to shoot through. If you’ve never seen a picture shot through a broken lens, you are about to. -Bobby Ellerbee

Jack Hopko Shatters Camera Behind Plate

Jack Hopko hits a foul ball that shatters the camera positioned behind home plate in the bottom of the 3rd inning

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Time Machine! 25th Anniversay Issue, RCA Broadcast News

Time Machine! 25th Anniversay Issue, RCA Broadcast News

http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-RCA-Broadcast-News/RCA-91.pdf
This October 1956 issue gives us stories, all the way back to the first issue in October of 1931, with tons of “new” stories too, on color television, new TV studios for several stations, and much more.

For many of our viewers, this will be a real education as in some articles, they can see parts of television operations they may not be familiar with, like the telecine rooms (film chains) and too much more to even try to list, so click the link, and enjoy the trip back in time!
-Bobby Ellerbee

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