Posts in Category: Broadcast History

ULTRA RARE! JFK, Huntley-Brinkley Interview In The Oval Office

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ULTRA RARE! JFK, Huntley-Brinkley Interview In The Oval Office

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_PItl4Bk7M
At the link above are videotape outtakes, from what would be President Kennedy’s last interview on NBC.

The date is September 9, 1963, and these rare behind the scenes photos were taken by long time NBC/WRC-TV production manager, Bill Wells, and are made available to us by his friend, Tom Buckley, and the Wells estate.

As seen in these remarkable photos, NBC reporters Chet Huntley and David Brinkley sat down with the President in the White House for an exclusive interview for their program, “The Huntley-Brinkley Report”.

Kennedy stuck to outlining the policy priorities of his first term throughout the expansive interview, particularly focusing on the conflict in Southeast Asia. But he grew reflective when Huntley asked if, three years into his presidency, he found the office of the presidency unmanageable.

Kennedy gave a strikingly thoughtful, long response assessing America’s place in the world and economic issues and political roadblocks at home – essentially summing up all the challenges facing his presidency. But Kennedy ended on a hopeful and humble note, saying that the country was really managed – not by the White House, but by its citizens.

He concluded that America was making progress and said, “I think we can really look forward to the ’60s with a great deal of hope.” Tragically, of course, Kennedy would not outlive the decade for which he had so much hope, nor the the year of 1963.

In that these images are so rare, I’m sure you have friends that you would like to share them with, so please do. If you can help identify the people shown here, that would be appreciated too. -Bobby Ellerbee












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Closing a Chapter

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40 Years Later….I Graduate From The University Of Georgia

Next Friday, May 13, yours truly will finally receive a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism…40 years after I left UGA. My graduate studies application is already in, and hopefully in the fall, I will begin my Masters degree work at UGA’s Grady College of Journalism.

When I left, I had already finished all my Journalism core, and needed only six more classes in my minor, Theater, to graduate.

Having started on the radio at age 16, in 1966, 2016 marks my 50th year as a professional broadcaster. I don’t know of a better way to celebrate that, than with five A’s and one B, a degree, and a great part in a top rated cartoon series.

Here is the story in the UGA’s “Red & Black”, with one correction…my belief is that if you put 51 perecent of all your passion and effort into a desire, the universe will handle the other 49 percent. -Bobby Ellerbee

Closing a Chapter

Bobby Ellerbee believes that if a person puts 51 percent passion and effort into a goal, the universe will find a way to take care of the other 49 percent.
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May 4, 1957…America’s First Prime Time Rock n Roll Show Debuts

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May 4, 1957…America’s First Prime Time Rock n Roll Show Debuts

On this day in 1957, ABC brought radio’s top DJ, Alan Freed to television, and that made “The Big Beat”, the first nationally-televised rock ’n roll dance show. Freed’s 30 minute, Friday night show came four months before Dick Clark’s afternoon show, “American Bandstand” debuted nationally on ABC that August.

Freed’s show was a summer replacement test of sorts, and ran with the understanding, that if there were enough viewers, it would continue into the 1957-58 TV season. Early reviews in June and July were positive, and ratings for the first episodes were strong.

Freed and his show seemed to be on course for a long run…BUT…his TV show came to an abrupt end. It seems that on the episode which featured a live performance by Frankie Lymon And The Teenagers, Lymon (who had appeared with Freed in some of his films), was shown dancing with a white girl. The biracial dance scene enraged ABC’s Southern affiliates, and the network cancelled the show despite its growing popularity.

A little later, Freed struck a deal with Dumont’s WABD to televise “The Big Beat” show again locally. Even as WABD became WNEW, the show continued, until the Payola charges started, not only flying, but landing on Freed. -Bobby Ellerbee



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May 4, 1961…Network TV Preps For First US Manned Space Shot

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May 4, 1961…Network TV Preps For First US Manned Space Shot

The next day, on May 5, Alan Shepard became the first American to enter space, but long before that, the networks had flocked to Cape Canaveral with their standard remote equipment, a load of telephoto lenses, and some imagination.

This may be the first use of this wonderful counterbalanced arm system from CBS. This is a Houston Fearless cradle head with the wheel track, pan head base removed, which limited the tilt up. By drilling a hole at the center of balance of the cradle, a cross member support was installed, and an adjustable lead weighted arm was attached underneath. It looks like the wheel track base is being used to secure the rig to the tripod, via it’s Mitchell mounting nut, but is installed sideways, which would allow the cameraman to lock the swivel or pan. Very clever.

I think by the next launch, everyone was using this system, which CBS gladly shared. Notice there is even a periscope made into the custom viewfinder. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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May 3, 1948…CBS Debuts TV’s First, Live, Nightly Network News

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May 3, 1948…CBS Debuts TV’s First, Live, Nightly Network News

68 years ago today, “CBS TV News” became network television’s first daily newscast, with a live newsman…Douglas Edwards.

NBC actually had the first dialy network news broadcast, which began February 16, 1948. That was the “The NBC Television Newsreel” (later named “Esso Newsreel” and “Camel Newsreel”), which was a 10 minute weekday newsreel, and was narrated off camera by John Cameron Swayze. On February 16, 1949, Swayze moved in front of the camera, and that began “The News Caravan” as a live news show. By the summer of ’49, Camel had become the sponsor and the name changed to “Camel News Caravan”.

To go a bit further in just what the first network new broadcast was, we go again to NBC. Their Sunday afternoon, “The War As It Happens” began as a local weekly program, but NBC records indicate that in April of 1944, it was fed to Schenectady and Philadelphia on the fledgling NBC Television Network, and became the first news cast regularly seen in multiple cities. In August 1945, the war was over and the Sunday “The War As It Happens” newscast was renamed “The NBC Television Newsreel”.

Edwards joined CBS Radio in 1942, eventually becoming anchor for the network’s regular evening newscast “The World Today” as well as “World News Today” on Sunday afternoons. He came to CBS after stints as a radio newscaster and announcer at WSB in Atlanta, Georgia and WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan.

Although Lowell Thomas, on NBC, and Richard Hubble on CBS had done live TV news shows locally in New York in the late ’30s and early ’40s, Edwards was the first network anchor.

After the war, CBS began telecasting news shows locally on Saturday nights, expanding to two nights a week in 1947. These reports were delivered by CBS radio news men, who were not really interested in this “television stuff” and loathed having to do it. Edwards had a couple of turns at it, and kind of enjoyed it and let his interest be known.

On May 3, 1948, Douglas Edwards began anchoring the “CBS Television News”, a regular 15-minute nightly newscast, airing every weeknight at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and this was the first regularly scheduled, network television news program to use an anchor.

On CBS, the week’s news stories were recapped on a Sunday night TV program titled “Newsweek in Review”. The name was later changed to “The Week in Review”, and the show was moved to Saturdays. In 1950, the name of the nightly newscast was changed to “Douglas Edwards With the News”, and the following year, it became the first news program to be broadcast on both coasts, thanks to a new coaxial cable connection, prompting Edwards to use the greeting “Good evening everyone, coast to coast.”

Once the coast-to-coast connection was available, it is not clear whether both Douglas, and Swayze did a live second broadcast for the west coast, or whether it was kinescoped. There are stories that report the show was done live again, with added west coast content, and reports that say it was kine delayed, but one thing is clear…November 30, 1956, Edwards’ program became the first to use the new technology of videotape to time delay the broadcast.

Early on, NBC’s news took the lead, but by the mid 50s, CBS and Edwards were in the lead. In September 1955, “Douglas Edwards With The News” was moved from 7:30 to 6:45 p.m. ET.

On October 29, 1956, Swayze was replaced by Chet Huntley and David Brinkley and NBC’s “Huntley-Brinkley Report”. The switch helped CBS ratings as it took a while for Chet and David to gain traction. By the early ’60s, NBC’s news ratings were a good bit higher, and a decision was made to make a switch at CBS.

Walter Cronkite became anchor on April 16, 1962. On September 2, 1963, “The CBS Evening News” became network television’s first half-hour weeknight news broadcast, lengthened from its original 15 minutes, and telecast at 6:30 p.m. ET. NBC quickly followed suit and “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” expanded to 30 minutes exactly a week later on September 9, 1963. ABC followed 4 years later.

“The CBS Evening News” was broadcast in color for one evening on August 19, 1965, and made the switch permanently on January 31, 1966.

Just this week, a big change to the weekend edition of “CBS Evening News”, was announced, and that story is in today’s second post, so look for it, or better yet, visit this page by clicking on the blue EOAG address at the top of this post. Enjoy and share. -Bobby Ellerbee


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May 2, 1941…Commercial Television Becomes A Reality…ALMOST

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May 2, 1941…Commercial Television Becomes A Reality…ALMOST

On this day in 1941, the FCC set the stage for commercial television to begin, when it agreed to grant 10 stations commercial TV licenses effective July 1, 1941, which called for those stations to broadcast 15 hours per week. W2XBS (WNBT) received license number one, and W2XAB (WCBW) received license number 2. Although Dumont was on the air in NYC, it remained experimental station W2XYV until May 2, 1944, a full three years later, due to a war related licensing freeze.

It was only on March 8, 1941, that NTSC formally recommended the new broadcast standards to the FCC, calling for 525 lines and 30 frames per second. On Apr. 30, 1941, the FCC approved the NTSC standards and authorized commercial TV to begin on July 1. -Bobby Ellerbee




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April 30, 1938…Historic CBS Columbia Square Studios Dedicated

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April 30, 1938…Historic CBS Columbia Square Studios Dedicated

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wabwjum06rnxkyp/CBS%20West%20Coast%20Studios%20History.pdf?dl=0
At the link, you can download, or view, my 95 page “History Of The CBS West Coast Studios”, report, and see the full story on this, and all the CBS studios in California.

In the meantime, here are some interesting images, and articles from the day, I think you will appreciate. There is more on each pix, so click through them. -Bobby Ellerbee









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April 30, 1952…TV’s First Toy Commercial, And Other TV Ad Firsts

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April 30, 1952…TV’s First Toy Commercial, And Other TV Ad Firsts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuyG3kIgxtk Ajax
On this day, in 1952, Mr. Potato Head became the first toy advertised on national television.

At the link above is the first animated TV commercial to use identifiable characters. The spot was for Ajax cleanser, which debuted in 1948 and featured the antics of The Ajax Pixies, who not only cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, but sang a catchy jingle which many of us still remember.

Many of us will also remember the Gillette “Look Sharp, Feel Sharp” jingle and the animated Gillette parrot. The first television network sponsor of a sporting event was Gillette Razor Company with the telecast of the Joe Louis vs. Bill Conn heavyweight boxing match, on June 19, 1946. Their commercial spotlighted a line drawing of a parrot called Sharpie. Speaking of “sharp”, this event was the first ever use of the new RCA TK30 Image Orthicon camera, which made much sharper images than it’s predecessors.

The first ever TV commercial advertisement was sponsored by the Bulova Watch company on July 1, 1941. Bulova paid WNBT, $9.00 for a 10-second Bulova Watch Time announcement superimposed on the test pattern at 2:29:50 P.M..

At 2:30 P.M. the telecast began from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn with announcer Ray Forrest doing the play-by-play of a baseball game between the Dodgers & the Phillies. There were 4000 sets for the first broadcast.

Kraft Foods was the first company to sponsor an hour long drama as they lent commercial support for their dramatic anthology “Kraft Television Theater”, which ran on NBC from 1947-58. Their first drama was “Double Door” and starred John Baragrey.

The first color commercial televised in a local show was for Castro Designs (Castro Convertibles), in New York on WNBT. It was first telecast on Aug. 6. 1953.

In response from pressure from a number of concerned citizen groups, the NAB in 1958 outlawed the “Men in White” commercials which depicted actors who simulated doctors recommending medicines to the American public. To get around this ruling, one advertisement later featured a commercial that began “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.”

On January 2, 1971, a federally imposed ban on television cigarette advertisements went into effect.

In 1971, The Federal Trade Commission ruled that such euphemisms as “Leading Brand,” “Brand X” and “The Leading Foreign Import” were only confusing to the public and must be discontinued. This was the birth of the television commercials that directly attacked another product by their “brand name” such as the phrase “More people prefer Pepsi to Coke.”

In a unique collaboration of commercial marketing, the Alka-Selzer Company and H & R Block Company joined forces in the spring of 1987 to calm the queasy feeling that Americans get at tax preparation time. The commercial pitch was “Take Alka-Seltzer and call H & R Block.” This was the first time two major companies jointly pushed their products. By sharing costs, the joint venture would allow the companies to reach a larger group of consumers in both supermarket and tax offices.

In May of 1988, rock star Michael Jackson starred in five Pepsi Cola commercials aired in the Soviet Union to an audience of 150,000,000 people. The commercials were seen during a week-long series called “Posner In America” hosted by Vladimir Posner, Russian journalist/broadcaster. This was the first time in history that an American commercial was shown behind the Iron Curtain. As you read this, I know you are wondering if these are the spots he was filming when his hair caught fire, and the answer is no…that was in 1984. -Bobby Ellerbee




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April 29, 1961…ABC’s “Wide World Of Sports” Debuts

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April 29, 1961…ABC’s “Wide World Of Sports” Debuts

This video is from the last episode of ABC’s “Wide World Of Sports” debut season which started April 29, 1961. This clip highlights some firsts in football coverage.

This is the first use of a crane camera over the field, microphones on the quarterbacks and possibly, handheld sideline coverage in a professional football game. (NBC used RCA’s Walky Looky on some college games in the late 50s).

In January of ’62, WWOS was given a permanent time slot where it remained for over forty years. The show was the creation of Edgar Scherick, through his company, Sports Programs, Inc. After selling his company to the American Broadcasting Company, and joining them to run ABC Sports, he hired a young Roone Arledge to produce the show.

Around 1956, after graduating with a masters degree from Columbia College, Arlidge got a stage manager’s job at NBC’s New York City station, which was then WRCA. One of his assignments there was to help produce a children’s puppet show hosted by Shari Lewis.

Sometime in late 1960, Arledge convinced his superiors at WRCA to let him film a pilot of a show he called “For Men Only”. While his superiors liked the pilot, they told him they couldn’t find a place in the programming schedule for it. But the WRCA weatherman, Pat Hernon, who hosted the pilot, began showing it around, and Edgar Scherick was one of the people who saw it.

While Scherick wasn’t interested in “For Men Only”, he recognized the talent Arledge had. Arledge realized ABC was the organization he was looking to join. The lack of a formal organization would offer him the opportunity to claim real power when the network matured, so, he signed on with Scherick as an assistant producer for WWOS.

Several months before ABC began broadcasting NCAA college football games, Arledge sent Scherick a remarkable memo, filled with television production concepts which sports broadcasts have adhered to since. Previously, network sporting broadcasts had consisted of simple set-ups, and focused on the game itself. The genius of Arledge in this memo was not that he offered another way to broadcast the game to the sports fan. The genius was to recognize television had to take the sports fan to the game.

In addition, Arledge realized that the broadcasts needed to attract and hold the attention of women viewers. At age 29 on September 17, 1960 he put his vision into reality with ABC’s first NCAA college football broadcast from Birmingham, Alabama, between Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs. Sports broadcasting has not been the same since. Go Dawgs! -Bobby Ellerbee

1961 AFL Preseason Dallas @ San Diego

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Just For Even More Fun! David Letterman’s 10th Anniversary

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Just For Even More Fun! David Letterman’s 10th Anniversary

In case you missed it, today’s first post is Johnny Carson’s 25th Anniversary show, and it’s a hoot. So is this, and since it’s David…be prepared for anything and everything, because you are about to get it all, live from Radio City Music Hall! Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee

This video is the “Late Night with David Letterman” 10th Anniversary Special. This video showcases highlights and segments of the first ten years of David Le…
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Just For Fun, And Lots Of It! Johnny Caron’s 25th Anniversary Show

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Just For Fun, And Lots Of It! Johnny Caron’s 25th Anniversary Show

The opening billboard of famous names is just staggering, and they are all here in clips, but so are some of the show’s greatest disasters, which start at about 31 minutes in. There are also clips of first time appearances from the likes of Steve Martin, Gary Shandling, David Letterman, Jay Leno, and many more. And yes, there are animals, and you know what they say about appearing in scenes with children and animals…here is the proof for both. Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee

Original Air Date: October 1, 1987
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3 Ultra Rare Views Of The Ed Sullivan Theater…Must See!

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3 Ultra Rare Views Of The Ed Sullivan Theater…Must See!

Aside from this super rare 1936 photo of the inside of what was then CBS Radio Theater #3, we also get 4, 360 degree tours of the Letterman and Colbert sets!

First, thanks to Val Ginter for this amazing shot of the theater in it’s radio configuration. CBS took a long term lease here in 1936 and used it daily. The first radio show to come from here was “Major Bowes Amature Hour”. Interestingly, “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” radio show started here in 1946, and in 1948, it was the first television show from the newly renamed CBS Studio 50.

At this link, is a gorgeous 360 degree tour of Letterman’s set, taken just days before the show ended by Google https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7637784,-73.9829199,3a,75y,265.86h,102.33t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sF6p4b3jIFJwAAAQpmJtrQQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

At this Ad Week link, we get 3 separate 360 degree tours…a different look at the Letterman set, a 360 mid renovation tour, and a 360 tour of the Colbert set. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
http://www.adweek.com/news/television/check-out-stunning-redesign-stephen-colberts-late-show-tv-home-169306


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April 25, 1908…Edward R. Murrow Was Born

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April 25, 1908…Edward R. Murrow Was Born

Many refer to Mr. Murrow, as the founding father of American broadcast journalism. No doubt, he was a major force in shaping news, but the best read on how it all came together, is in this book by our friend Mike Conway. The title is “The Origins Of Television News In America”, and I highly recommend it.
http://www.amazon.com/Origins-Television-News-America-Visualizers/dp/1433121832

Happy Birthday Edward, and THANK YOU! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.historynet.com/edward-r-murrow-inventing-broadcast-journalism.htm
http://usa.usembassy.de/etexts/media/murrow.pdf




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Ralph Levy: Television Director Extraordinaire…

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Ralph Levy: Television Director Extraordinaire…

Ralph Levy, TV pioneer and two-time Emmy winning director, is remembered by TV historians as the man who directed the original ‘I Love Lucy’ pilot in March, 1951, which made his passing on the date of Lucy’s 50th Anniversary, all the more poignant.

Born into a family of Philadelphia lawyers, Ralph was stage-struck from an early age. Bowing to family pressures, he earned a degree from Yale University, from which he was graduated just in time to serve in the Army during World War II.

Television was then in its embryonic development stage in New York City, and Levy landed a job of assistant director at CBS. Early assignments included covering sporting events such as boxing, basketball and professional football games. If nothing else, the apprenticeship allowed him to learn all about the cameras, lenses, lights and other new video technology. Ralph was never shy about his interest in musical comedy, and within a few months CBS gave him a chance to switch from sports to entertainment. They assigned him to work on the television edition of “Winner Take All”, a question-and-answer quiz program that had proven very popular on CBS Radio.

In early May of 1949, Ralph was asked to direct a variety show called “The 54th Street Revue”, which was done a the news CBS Studio 52 on West 54th Street. Ralph managed to get the first the show on the air in only 4 days…an accomplishment that earned him both management’s attention and a reputation for working swiftly and efficiently.

That fall, CBS asked Levy to move to Los Angeles to direct a new variety series starring famed radio comedian Ed Wynn. If network TV in New York was just beginning, in Los Angeles it was virtually non-existent…

“The Ed Wynn Show”, Levy soon discovered, would be the first major network show on CBS to originate from Hollywood. It would be shown live on the West Coast every Thursday night at 9PM. A kinescope recording of the show would be made, sent to New York, and played for East Coast and Midwestern stations two weeks later. Such delays were necessary because the transcontinental cable was not yet in place, which would allow for national live telecasts to originate on the West Coast.

Wynn’s show premiered on October 6, 1949, and almost immediately ran into a talent booking problem. Big-name movie performers wanted nothing to do with the new video medium. Wynn started booking talent from the recording industry (Dinah Shore), old friends (Buster Keaton) and stars from network radio. In late December, Ed’s guests were Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

“This was one of the first times I ever did anything on TV,” Lucy recalled later. “So frightening, but so wonderful. I’d never been in such a hurried, chaotic setting with these monstrous television cameras all over the stage and not enough rehearsal. But it was great fun.”

The script that night went out of its way to spotlight 32-year-old Desi, who appeared with Wynn and Ball in a comedy sketch, and even afforded him the opportunity to sing “Babalu.”

A few weeks later, CBS asked Lucy to consider transferring her radio series, “My Favorite Husband”, to TV. They wanted her, but did not know if, or how, her Latin husband would fit in.

Levy, meanwhile, had come to be the network’s fair-haired boy in Hollywood. In April, he expanded his duties to include directing the new Alan Young Show, a weekly half-hour comedy-variety skein starring the young Canadian who today is more remembered for his role, ten years later in the sitcom “Mr. Ed”.

One of the most successful programs on CBS Radio that season was “You Bet Your Life”, starring the irrepressible Groucho Marx. The show’s sponsor, DeSoto-Plymouth Automobiles, was interested in adding a TV version, and both CBS and NBC wanted to carry it. Groucho later recalled, “You Bet Your Life shot up to Number 6 in the ratings. When both major networks, NBC and CBS, approached us about going on television, a bidding war started. Since we were already at CBS, it seemed likely we’d stay there. One of their star directors, Ralph Levy, helped us with the pilot show. When the dust settled, NBC was the high bidder. Levy stayed at CBS.”

“The Ed Wynn Show” ended its nine-month run on July 4, 1950, and Ralph headed to Mexico for a much-needed vacation. He had hardly unpacked when an emergency call came from Harry Ackerman, head of CBS’ Hollywood operations. “He asked me to come back the next day,” Ralph remembered later. “George Burns and Gracie Allen had agreed to go on television, and Harry wanted me at the first production meeting.” So much for Levy’s vacation…

A pilot was prepared and quickly sold to Carnation Milk Company, and “The George Burns – Gracie Allen Show” was scheduled for a fall premiere. George was afraid to take on a weekly show all at once, particularly one that was to be done live, so CBS agreed to air it on an alternate-week basis. Complicating matters, especially for Ralph, was the fact that the network wanted to do the first 6 shows from New York. (The show could get better media coverage there, the network reasoned.) The cast and crew were sent to New York, and Ralph became bi-coastal for three months.

Making his life even more interesting was the fact that George Burns’ best friend, Jack Benny, was toying with the idea of getting into television himself. Naturally, he wanted Ralph to direct. But Benny was even more shy about TV than George and Gracie, and agreed to do only four half-hour specials that first 1950-51 season.

Lucy and Desi Arnaz, meanwhile, spent the summer of 1950 performing a comedy act in vaudeville theatres across the country, and by late fall had convinced CBS to let them try a new TV series together. Lucy’s radio writers, Jess Oppenheimer, Bob Carroll Jr., and Madelyn Pugh, went to work to create the format. Ralph Levy was asked to direct.

“I was anxious to direct Lucy’s pilot because I had worked with her on the Wynn show,” Levy recalled later. “I remember that the script called for Lucy to parade around the living room with a lampshade on her head…trying to prove to Desi she could be a Ziegfeld Girl. I didn’t think she was walking the right way, so I showed her how it should be done, not knowing that she had been a showgirl for many years. Instead of telling me off, she simply played along with me. She was so professional and so good…she walked away with the whole show.”

The pilot was filmed on Friday evening, March 2, 1951 (Desi’s 34th birthday) in Studio A of CBS’ Columbia Square headquarters in Hollywood. It was the same stage used for the Wynn Show a year earlier. “There were only two sets,” Lucy recalled. “One was a living room and the other the nightclub where Desi worked. The show was shot live with a studio audience in attendance, as most TV shows were being done then. There was no tape yet. The images were recorded on film from a TV screen, providing us with the required kinescope.”

By the end of April the Lucy series, now titled “I Love Lucy” had sold to CBS and Philip Morris…neither of which wanted the actual series to be done like the pilot (and the Wynn Show) via kinescope. Lucy balked at moving to the East to do the show live out of New York, so plans were set in motion to have the show filmed in Los Angeles using 35mm film. Levy, CBS’s first choice to direct, begged off: he knew he already had his hands full directing the Alan Young and Burns – Allen series (plus the Jack Benny specials!). Levy also did several, live CBS “Playhouse 90” presentations when his schedule allowed.

Interestingly, a year later, after ‘I Love Lucy’ proved a quality series could be done on film, Burns and Allen decided to do their shows on film, too. Their company, McCadden Productions, moved onto the General Service Studio lot and became neighbors to Desilu and “I Love Lucy”. In 1953, Ralph retired from Burns – Allen, and with The Alan Young Show ceasing production, he concentrated his energies on the now bi-weekly Jack Benny Program. He remained at Benny’s side another four seasons, then returned in 1959 to helm two hour long Benny specials. For these shows, he won his first Emmy Award.

Ralph won a second Emmy two years later for first “Bob Newhart Show”, a weekly half-hour of stand-up comedy and variety.

When filmed sitcoms became the order of the day, Levy adapted: he directed the pilots of “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Green Acres”, and two seasons of “Petticoat Junction”, all for his friend Paul Henning, one of George Burns’ writers who had since become a successful producer. (Petticoat, reunited him with actress Bea Benaderet, who had been a regular on the Burns show.) Ralph later attempted to do dramas, programs like ‘Hawaii Five-O’, and feature films, but somehow, his heart was not in these projects: he missed the live audiences that early television and the theater had provided. The thrill of “opening night” was missing.

Levy spent several years in England in the 1970s, working for BBC Television, and taught TV production classes at Cal State Northridge and Loyola Marymount University.

Reflecting back on the various stellar performers with which he had worked, Ralph once observed, Groucho really was grouchy, probably because he suffered from an inferiority complex. Wynn was cerebral; Allen was always prepared, funny and “a doll” to work with. Ball was a top-notch clown, hard worker and tough businesswoman. Benny, he always said, was the best of all, “a marvelous man.”

As for the new breed of television comedies, he found many of the shows to be too loud, and vulgar for his taste. Working on modern shows “was not the same as working with Ed Wynn, or George and Gracie, or Jack. These people were from another era of show business; one in which you took literally years to build your comedic character… It’s very different today. The Burns – Allen show and Jack’s show were essentially one-man operations. Nowadays there are literally dozens of people grouped around TV shows, and to get a comedy idea past them, you have to run a gauntlet. And in those days we were enjoying our work. It’s not fun anymore. One guy’s there saying, ‘You’re going overtime,’ another guy’s there saying, ‘You’re over budget,’ everybody’s tensed up and nervous. Oh, sure we had plenty of our own crises, but they were usually constructive ones, based on doing the best possible show we were capable of.” Bobby Ellerbee





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April 1981…The Last Episode Of “Soap” Airs On ABC

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April 1981…The Last Episode Of “Soap” Airs On ABC

In spite of six months of controversy before it ever hit the air, “Soap” ranked #13 in the top 20 shows of the 1977-78 season and had good ratings is whole four year run. In 2007, Time Magazine, which initially panned the show, named it one of the 100 Best Shows of All-Time. This was Billy Crystal’s first big hit, but the whole cast was exceptional, and many consider the ensemble one of the best of the ’80s.

Here’s a short clip that pretty much characterizes the feel of the show. What a hoot! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwDbd4jQpkA

To me, this is one of the funniest clips from TV ever. If you were a fan of Soap, you will love this.
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Happy Birthday To The Father Wireless Communication…G. Marconi

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Happy Birthday To The Father Wireless Communication…G. Marconi

UPDATE: I just discoverd that 6 months after Nicola Tessla died, the US Supreme Court runled that Marconi had indeed infringed on Tessla’s pattens related to electoronic broadcasting.

Arguably, these two men have done more for radio and television’s development than any others. Pictured here with a transmitter, are Mr. Sarnoff (L), and Mr. Marconi.

Guglielmo Marconi was born at Bologna, Italy, on April 25, 1874, the second son of Giuseppe Marconi, an Italian country gentleman, and Annie Jameson, daughter of Andrew Jameson of Daphne Castle in the County Wexford, Ireland. He was educated privately at Bologna, Florence and Leghorn. Even as a boy he took a keen interest in physical and electrical science and studied the works of Maxwell, Hertz, Righi, Lodge and others. In 1895 he began laboratory experiments at his father’s country estate at Pontecchio where he succeeded in sending wireless signals over a distance of one and a half miles.

In 1896 Marconi took his apparatus to England where he was introduced to William Preece, Engineer-in-Chief of the Post Office, and later that year was granted the world’s first patent for a system of wireless telegraphy. He demonstrated his system successfully in London, on Salisbury Plain and across the Bristol Channel, and in July 1897 formed The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company Limited (in 1900 re-named Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company Limited). In the same year he gave a demonstration to the Italian Government at Spezia where wireless signals were sent over a distance of twelve miles. In 1899 he established wireless communication between France and England across the English Channel. He erected permanent wireless stations at The Needles, Isle of Wight, at Bournemouth and later at the Haven Hotel, Poole, Dorset.

In 1900 he took out his famous patent No. 7777 for “tuned or syntonic telegraphy” and, on an historic day in December 1901, determined to prove that wireless waves were not affected by the curvature of the Earth, he used his system for transmitting the first wireless signals across the Atlantic between Poldhu, Cornwall, and St. John’s, Newfoundland, a distance of 2100 miles.

Between 1902 and 1912 he patented several new inventions. In 1902, during a voyage in the American liner “Philadelphia”, he first demonstrated “daylight effect” relative to wireless communication and in the same year patented his magnetic detector which then became the standard wireless receiver for many years. In December 1902 he transmitted the first complete messages to Poldhu from stations at Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, and later Cape Cod, Massachusetts, these early tests culminating in 1907 in the opening of the first transatlantic commercial service between Glace Bay and Clifden, Ireland, after the first shorter-distance public service of wireless telegraphy had been established between Bari in Italy and Avidari in Montenegro. In 1905 he patented his horizontal directional aerial and in 1912 a “timed spark” system for generating continuous waves.

In 1914 he was commissioned in the Italian Army as a Lieutenant being later promoted to Captain, and in 1916 transferred to the Navy in the rank of Commander. He was a member of the Italian Government mission to the United States in 1917, and in 1919 was appointed Italian plenipotentiary delegate to the Paris Peace Conference. He was awarded the Italian Military Medal in 1919 in recognition of his war service.

During his war service in Italy he returned to his investigation of short waves, which he had used in his first experiments. After further tests by his collaborators in England, an intensive series of trials was conducted in 1923 between experimental installations at the Poldhu Station and in Marconi’s yacht “Elettra” cruising in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, and this led to the establishment of the beam system for long distance communication. Proposals to use this system as a means of Imperial communications were accepted by the British Government and the first beam station, linking England and Canada, was opened in 1926, other stations being added the following year.

In 1931 Marconi began research into the propagation characteristics of still shorter waves, resulting in the opening in 1932 of the world’s first microwave radiotelephone link between the Vatican City and the Pope’s summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. Two years later at Sestri Levante he demonstrated his microwave radio beacon for ship navigation and in 1935, again in Italy, gave a practical demonstration of the principles of radar, the coming of which he had first foretold in a lecture to the American Institute of Radio Engineers in New York in 1922.

He has been the recipient of honorary doctorates of several universities and many other international honours and awards, among them the Nobel Prize for Physics, which in 1909 he shared with Professor Karl Braun, the Albert Medal of the Royal Society of Arts, the John Fritz Medal and the Kelvin Medal. He was decorated by the Tsar of Russia with the Order of St. Anne, the King of Italy created him Commander of the Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus, and awarded him the Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy in 1902. Marconi also received the freedom of the City of Rome (1903), and was created Chevalier of the Civil Order of Savoy in 1905. Many other distinctions of this kind followed. In 1914 he was both created a Senatore in the Italian Senate and app ointed Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in England. He received the hereditary title of Marchese in 1929.

In 1905 he married the Hon. Beatrice O’Brien, daughter of the 14th Baron Inchiquin, the marriage being annulled in 1927, in which year he married the Countess Bezzi-Scali of Rome. He had one son and two daughters by his first and one daughter by his second wife. His recreations were hunting, cycling and motoring.

Marconi died in Rome on July 20, 1937. -Bobby Ellerbee


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A Tribute To…”Your Show Of Shows”, Part 2 of 2

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A Tribute To…”Your Show Of Shows”, Part 2 of 2

Rare photos from inside NBC’s first converted television theater, The International Theater, at 5 Columbus Circle. Please read the text below the photo block, but here is some of what you are looking at. In the photo at the top, we are able to see into the control room, as the work lights are on. There is a bank of monitors across the bottom of the window. On the camera ramp, on of 4 RCA TK30s is mounted on a Houston Fearless Panoram dolly and the Mole-Richardson boom is there too.

Second photo shows the orchastra area, and most live shows of this era, always had the band in the same place. Third photo down, notice the camera pit for floor level shots, used mostly on dance numbers. Forth photo down, another sound boom and in the center, a Saner Crane…one of the first made as Mr. Saner was once an NBC cameraman. Finally in the bottom photo, we see the announcer desk, and a “limbo” backdrop.  Limbo backdrops were used as places that an time filling sketch or commercial could be done while the main stage was being set for another scene.





ULTRA RARE! NBC’s International Theater…”Your Show Of Shows”

For four years, from 1950 – 1954, the biggest Saturday night show in television came from this theater at 5 Columbus Circle. Ninety minutes of weekly comedy history were made on this stage as Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Howard Morris and Carl Reiner entertained a nation like none had ever done, with the great Max Leibman producing.

Ironically, Caesar and Coca’s first show from here, “The Admiral Broadway Revue” in 1949 was so successful, the sponsor had to either pull the plug on the show they owned, or build a new plant to make Admiral TV sets, so they canceled the show that was airing live not only on NBC, but on the Dumont network as well.

There is more on the photos, so click through them and take a good look. Many thanks to Nick Van Hoogstraten for these gems! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
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A Tribute To…”Your Show Of Shows”, Part 1 of 2

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A Tribute To…”Your Show Of Shows”, Part 1 of 2

On February 25, 1950, “Your Show Of Shows” debuted On NBC, as part of a two-and-a-half-hour block that was called “Saturday Night Review.” YSOS is the great grandaddy of “Saturday Night Live”.

The first hour, was “The Jack Carter Show,” a comedy and variety affair airing at 8 Eastern live from WMAQ in Chicago. Below is a rare photo from Carter’s show with him and a new comedy team you may have heard of…Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

At 9, ninety minutes of fun on YSOS hit the air and was followed at 10:30 by “Your Hit Parade”. Jack Carter’s show was replaced the next year by “The All Star Review.” This two and a half hour block was the first time NBC VP Pat Weaver’s “participating sponsor” plan was used, which gave us the now famous phrase; “Brought to you in part by _____,”

The show debuted from NBC’s first theater converted to television, The International at 5 Columbus Circle. In Part 2, you will see rare photos from inside the International, you probably have never seen, till now.

YSOS was actually a carryover from a 1949 show that had been so popular, it was canceled!?!? What? It’s true!

“The Admiral Broadway Revue” was the start of one of television’s greatest early comedy teams…Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, with the great Max Liebman producing. The show had great ratings but unbelievably, Admiral (who “owned” the show) ended it in May of ’49. It seems that the show generated sales of Admiral TV sets that were far beyond their capacity to manufacture them. Admiral had to either end the show, or build a new plant.

Since they owned the show, it could not continue with another sponsor, and they would not sell it. Such were the sponsorship problems of the early days of television. Soon after this, NBC Vice President Pat Weaver would solve this problem by having the network own the shows and sell spots to sponsors. He is the man that brought magazine style ad sales to radio and television, which spread the cost of production among several advertisers.

On February 25, 1950, three of The International’s brightest years started with the debut of “Your Show Of Shows,” The fourth year of YSOS, would come from NBC’s Center Theater, and below is a rare printed program, given to the live audience members…this is thought to be the only television show that ever did this.

Caesar and Coca had a cast of writers that have become the “who’s who” of comedy including Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Mel Tolkin, Larry Gelbart and more.

Below is a classic clip from the show, it is The Haircuts song parody “You Are So Rare” sketch. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He4S5UdQ76Y “So Rare”









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Some Of The First RCA TK30s Delivered…KSD TV, St. Louis

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Some Of The First RCA TK30s Delivered…KSD TV, St. Louis

As I mentioned earlier this week, the first five RCA TK30 Image Orthicon cameras ever built, were delivered to NBC New York for the Lewis – Conn fight in June of 1946. Naturally, being owned by RCA, gets you to the front of the line, and NBC got the first 25 units built. Their cameras also came with electronic viewfinders, which were not available to local market broadcasters at the time, but were to network customers like CBS, and ABC.

Why, because white phosphorus was in short supply to non military users. Although WW II was over, the War Department had given military radar buildup first priority. This affected RCA’s ability to produce television sets too, but since they also built radar units for the military, they managed to come up with enough to equip the NBC, and other network’s TK30s with electronic viewfinders.

RCA’s official release date to independent broadcasters, and other networks was October 1, 1946, and in this first photo, we see the KSD cameras arriving at Lambert Field in St. Louis on September 30, 1946. The station owner, the “St. Post-Dispatch” flew to Camden to pick them up, and since there were no employees at KSD-TV yet (it went on the air February 8, 1947), these are KSD radio engineers unloading them.

All of these photos were taken in 1947, except the last one, that shows the camera with a viewfinder, which was from April of 1949. I think it took RCA about a year to work out the phosphorus issue, and supply their customers with viewfinders. Thanks to John Coleman for the photos, which can also be seen at this link. -Bobby Ellerbee

#Image” target=”_blank”>http://stltoday.mycapture.com/mycapture/enlarge.asp?image=46049560&event=1613424&CategoryID=17311&picnum=44&move=F #Image









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April 22, 1966…A Moment In Time With Sammy Davis

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April 22, 1966…A Moment In Time With Sammy Davis

This opens with a great shot of Sammy standing in front of an RCA TK41 operated by veteran cameraman Frank Gaeta. This was the fifteenth and last episode of “The Sammy Davis Jr. Show”, from NBC’s Brooklyn Studios on April 22, 1966. Notice at the end, there is a VO announcing the premier of “Sing Along With Mitch Miller”, at the same time next week.

There are some good wide shots at the end which identifies this production as coming from Studio II, as Studio I was much larger. Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee

from April 22, 1966. thanks to fromthesidelines and wmbrown6 for the great comments and info on this clip.
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Happy 68th Birthday to NBC Studio 8G…Dedicated April 22, 1948

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Happy 68th Birthday to NBC Studio 8G…Dedicated April 22, 1948

To all our friends in 8G, at “Late Night, WIth Seth Meyers”, Mike, Mike, Bryan, Wally, Bob Friend, and all the others, here’s a toast to a grand dame of television. You work on hallowed ground, and each day there, I hope you are reminded of the studio’s amazing history.

This was NBC’s second ever television studio at 30 Rock, and although April 22, 1948 is the official dedication date, it had been used for television since May of 1946, so there is almost 70 years of TV history there. Some of the earliest shows, and pictures from those days were posted here two days ago, so if you missed it, take a look at the last “Camera Rarities, 8G” article from Wednesday.

At the link is a video of 8G in those early days, and below, some very rare photos of 8G as a radio studio, and more, with more text with each photo. Now you can blow out the candles! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf0N8pWE4x4&feature=youtu.be&t=25s








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Via Kinescope…A Trip Back To April 1956 With Milton Berle

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Via Kinescope…A Trip Back To April 1956 With Milton Berle

https://archive.org/details/theMiltonBerleShow-3April1956
At the link, we go to the live “Milton Berle SHow”, from the USS Hancock in San Diego. Here’s the whole show with Elvis Presley debting “Blue Suede Shoes”, Esther Williams, Harry James and Buddy Rich filling out the bill, with Arnold Stang joining Milton for bit.

This was a color presentation, and that is why the kinescope looks a bit soft. The first five minutes of this are really fun and the Elvis intro comes around the 17 minute mark. After “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Blue Suede Shoes”, Milton becomes Presley’s twin brother, Melvin and possibly sets the stage for The Who’s, Pete Townsend by smashing his guitar. -Bobby Ellerbee


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A Brief History Of The Kinescope…Historic Images & The Machine

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A Brief History Of The Kinescope…Historic Images & The Machine

The first official use of the RCA Kinescope process was the week of June 21, 1948, at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. NBC affiliates not connected via coaxial cable or microwave would would receive the film, the next day via Rail Express.

As you will see in this video from NBC’s KNBH in Hollywood, testing had been done as early as 1938. I think this report was probably done in early 1949.

Also seen here, the kine recordings of the first broadcast using the RCA TK30 Image Orthicon cameras in June, 1946 at the Joe Lewis – Billy Conn rematch at Yankee Stadium. Near the end, we’ll get a look at RCA’s latest Kine in action. Videotape couldn’t come soon enough. – Bobby Ellerbee


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Camera Rarities 3 Of 3…The NBC Studio 8G Cameras

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Camera Rarities 3, Of 3…The NBC Studio 8G Cameras

NBC’s official grand opening date for 8G, their second ever television studio at 30 Rockefeller Plaza is listed as April 22, 1948. Actually, television had been coming from 8G long before that, while it was still designated a radio studio.

The first show ever to come from 8G was also television’s first variety show…”Hourglass”, which debuted May 9, 1946. at the link is a good story from 1948 on “Hourglass”.
#v=onepage&q&f=false” target=”_blank”>https://books.google.com/books?id=WkYEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA83&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=2 #v=onepage&q&f=false

At this link, you can see Studio 8G in action, during a broadcast of “Hourglass”.
https://youtu.be/kf0N8pWE4x4?t=25s

Later that year, “Let’s Celebrate” was done here as a one time show on December 15, 1946 with Yankee’s announcer Mel Allen as host.

“The Swift Show” (a Swift Company sponsored game show), and “Americana” (a game show about American history) started here in 1947.

NBC knew television had to grow fast after WW II, but there were still war related shortages, like phosphorus for kinescope screens and military embargos on technology like the Image Orthicon which was used in guidance systems. Believing that new cameras would come more slowly than RCA’s October ’46 promise date, NBC engineers knew they had to have more than the Iconoscope cameras in 3H to work with.

On the sly, RCA gave them four Image Orthicon tubes, and four seven inch kinescopes for the VF and they started to work building a camera I call the NBC ND-8G. The ND was an NBC engineering code that stood for New Development.

These cameras were ready for use by the spring of 1946. “Hourglass” debuted from 8G on May 9, 1946 which was six months before the TK30 scheduled release in October. NBC got their first five TK30s in June, just in time for the Billy Conn – Joe Louis rematch at Yankee Stadium.

8G, as a radio studio, did not have built in audience seating like 6A, 6B and 8H, but it was thankfully three times the size of NBC’s only other television studio, 3H. “Radio Age” states that 8G could handle four consecutive shows, which meant the often fifteen minute, and half hour shows, with only one small set, could be staged one after the other from different walls of the studio. -Bobby Ellerbee





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Camera Rarities 2 Of 3…Three Generations Of GE Cameras

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Camera Rarities 2, Of 3…Three Generations Of GE Cameras

From 1969, here is a photo of three generations of GE’s at Fort Worth’s KTVT.

Starting with the KTVT marked camera, that is a black and white GE PC11. On the left is the GE PC25, their first color camera; this one has a four lens turret while it’s sister has a Rank-Taylor-Hobson zoom lens. The two cameras at the top are GE PE350 color cameras.

The PC and PE prefix means the PC models were built before 1965 and had tubes inside. The PE prefix means, except for the image tubes, there were transistors inside. Thanks to Martin Perry and the KTVT FB page for the photo. -Bobby Ellerbee


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Camera Rarities 1 Of 3…First NBC Tests Of The RCA TK30

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Camera Rarities 1, Of 3…First NBC Tests Of The RCA TK30?

Thanks to Tom Buckley, here is a very rare photo, that I think was taken in the two week period between June 5 and June 18, 1946.

On June 19, 1946, NBC’s broadcast of the Joe Lewis-Billy Conn rematch at Yankee Stadium, was the first ever use of the RCA TK30 Image Orthicon cameras. The new truck and cameras arrived from Camden just a couple of weeks before the match.

Notice the camera art is the same as on the RCA A 500 Iconoscope cameras in NBC Studio 3H, and the RCA Model 1840 field Orthicon cameras. By the time the cameras went to Yankee Stadium, they had new NBC block letter logos, but until the new camera art could be decided on, this filled the bill.

Knowing that the Lewis-Conn broadcast would set records, and make history, I suspect NBC had the trucks out every day, field testing everything. I think that is what is going on here.

At the link is the October 1946 issue of RCA’s “Broadcast News” magazine, which introduces the TK30, and mentions 5 of them were on hand for the big fight. Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-RCA-Broadcast-News/RCA-44.pdf


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April 19, 1948…The Start Of The ABC Television Network

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April 19, 1948…The Start Of The ABC Television Network

68 years ago today, on April 19, 1948, the ABC Television Network began its broadcasts on its first primary affiliate, WFIL-TV in Philadelphia. The debut show was “On The Corner” with host Henry Morgan, which was also the name of his radio show on ABC’s Blue Network. Until WJZ-TV signed on in August, ABC programs were carried in New York by Dumont’s WABD. Other stations carrying the initial broadcast were WMAR-TV in Baltimore, and WMAL-TV in Washington, D.C.

In August 1948, the network’s flagship owned-and-operated station, WJZ-TV in New York City, began its broadcasts. That first WJZ broadcast ran for two hours on the evening of August 10, 1948. ABC’s other owned-and-operated stations launched over the course of the next 13 months.

WENR-TV in Chicago launched on September 17, 1948, while WXYZ-TV in Detroit went on the air October 9, 1948. KGO-TV in San Francisco went on the air May 5, 1949.

In early 1948, ABC bought the Durland Riding Academy at 7 West 66th Street, in preparation for network and local program production. On May 7, 1949, Billboard revealed that ABC would spend $2.5 million to convert the old Vitagraph/Warner East Annex in Hollywood into The Prospect Studios, and construct a transmitter on Mount Wilson in anticipation of the launch of KECA-TV, which went on the air on September 16, 1949.

As the rest of ABC’s fleet of owned-and-operated major market stations, in Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, came to life, that gave them some parity with CBS, and NBC in the important area of big-city presence, as well as a long term advantage in guaranteed reach over the rival DuMont Television Network, by the fall of 1949.

For the next few years, ABC was a television network mostly in name. Except for the largest markets, most cities had only one or two stations. The FCC froze applications for new stations in 1948 while it sorted out the thousands of applicants and re-thought the technical and allocation standards set down between 1938 and 1946.

What was meant to be a six-month freeze lasted until the middle of 1952. Some large cities, like Pittsburgh and St. Louis, had only one station on the air for a prolonged period, and many more of the largest cities such as Boston only had two. Many sizable cities including Denver and Portland had no television service at all until the second half of 1952 after the freeze ended.

For a late-comer like ABC, this meant being relegated to secondary status in many markets, and no reach at all in some. This was the period when local stations could cherry pick shows from as many networks as they wanted, as very few stations were exclusive affiliates.

Although ABC struggled financially for the first 15 or so years, they did catch two very lucky breaks in 1947. The first one was that they beat the freeze by filing for 5 TV licenses that year, all on Channel 7, which gave them their 5 O&O major market stations.

Thier second break came when the WFIL-TV engineers went on strike in 1947. Management locked them out and began replacing them, which allowed ABC New York to pick up a strong core of top engineers for their new broadcast center on West 66th Street. The rest, as they say, is history. Happy 68th Birthday to the ABC Television Network! -Bobby Ellerbee


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This Week In Sports TV History…Jackie Robinson Scores Again

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This Week In Sports TV History…Jackie Robinson Scores Again

In the photo, Leo Durocher welcomes Jackie Robinson to television in the brand new Shea Stadium. On April 17, 1965, Robinson became the first black network broadcaster for Major League Baseball.

In 1965, ABC provided the first-ever nationwide baseball coverage with weekly Saturday broadcasts on a regional basis. ABC paid $5.7 million for the rights to the 28 Saturday/holiday “Game Of The Week” package. ABC’s deal covered all of the teams except the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, who had their own television deals with NBC and CBS. The agreement called for two regionalized games on Saturdays, Independence Day, and Labor Day.

Each Saturday, ABC would broadcast two 2 PM. games in the east, and one 5 PM game for the west. ABC blacked out the games in the home cities of the clubs playing those games. At the end of the season, ABC declined to exercise its $6.5 million option for 1966, citing poor ratings, especially in New York. -Bobby Ellerbee


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April 18, 1964…April 18, 2012; Remembering Dick Clark

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April 18, 1964…April 18, 2012; Remembering Dick Clark

On this day in 1964, The Beach Boys performed “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “I Get Around” on “American Bandstand.” Afterward, Dick did this interview with them.

On this day in 2012, “America’s Oldest Teenager” passed away.
I had the good fortune of knowing and working with him, and once gave him a beautiful alabaster egg, for always being the “good egg” in the music business. He put it on his desk at home. There will never be another Dick Clark! -Bobby Ellerbee

Dick Clark interviews The Beach Boys on American Bandstand. License American Bandstand Clips Here: http://dickclarklicensing.com/Default.aspx?sk=DCMAq=Americ…
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April 18, 1923…Opening Day Of Yankee Stadium

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April 18, 1923…Opening Day Of Yankee Stadium

Since spring, and fly balls are in the air, I thought it would be a good time to look at this photo of the April 18, 1923 debut of a stadium that has produced more great baseball moments than any other.

On February 6, 1921, a little more than year after the Yankees had acquired Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox, a Yankee press release announced that ten acres in the West Bronx, City Plot 2106, Lot 100, land from the estate of William Waldorf Astor, had been purchased for $675,000 (around $11 million in 2016 dollars).
The site sat directly across the Harlem River, less than a mile from the home of the New York Giants.

Opening Day pitted the Boston Red Sox against the NY Yankees. A massive crowd assembled for the most exciting moment in the history of the Bronx. The day was chilly. Many in the huge assemblage were bundled up with heavy sweaters, coats, fedoras and derbies although some, in the spirit of the moment, wore dinner jackets.

The announced attendance was 74,217, but was later scaled back to 60,000. The Fire Department ordered the gates closed at 2:45 and 25,000 were denied entrance. Those unable to get inside soldiered up outside against the cold listening to the noise of the crowds and the martial beat of the Seventh Regiment Band directed by the famed John Philip Sousa.

Red Sox owner Harry Frazee walked on the field side-by-side with Yankees owner Jake Ruppert, who always claimed that his idea of a great day at the ballpark, was when “the Yankees score eight runs in the first inning, and then slowly pulled away.”

Yankees and Red Sox were escorted by the band to the flagpole in deep centerfield, where the home team’s 1922 pennant and the American flag were raised.

Ruppert then took a seat in the celebrity box where Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, New York State Governor Al Smith, and New York City Mayor John Hylan were waiting for the game to begin.

At 3:25 Babe Ruth was presented with an oversized bat handsomely laid out in a glass case.

At 3:30 Governor Al Smith tossed out the first ball to Yankee catcher Wally Schang.

At 3:35 home plate umpire Tommy Connolly shouted: “Play ball!”
The temperature was a brisk 49 degrees. Wind blew dust from the dirt road leading to the Stadium and whipped away at pennants and hats.

In the third inning with Whitey Witt and Joe Dugan on base, George Herman “Babe” Ruth stepped into the batter’s box. He had said: “I’d give a year of my life if I can hit a homerun in the first game in this new park.”

Boston pitcher Howard Ehmke threw a slow pitch. Bam! Ruth slugged the ball on a line into the right-field bleachers – the first home run in Yankee Stadium history.

The New York Times called it a “savage home run that was the real baptism of Yankee Stadium.” Sportswriter Heywood Broun remarked: “It would have been a home run in the Sahara Desert.”
Crossing home plate, removing his cap, extending it, Ruth waved to the standing, screaming crowd.

Babe Ruth always said that of all the home runs he hit, his favorite home run was the one he hit the day they opened Yankee Stadium, the ballpark that was kind of built for him.

The game moved on. Yankee stalwart “Sailor” Bob Shawkey, fanned five, walked two, allowed but just three hits, and pitched the Yankees to a 4-1 victory. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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