A Story Of TV History Treasure…LOST
For a year and a half, on what was then WRCA, Bill Cullen hosted a local (New York) fifteen minute television show called “Inside NBC”. Here is a description of just a few of the shows. It would be fantastic to see all of this backstage stuff, BUT…sadly, as far as I know, all of this is gone. If you know more, please tell us.
Monday, December 12, 1955 [DEBUT] Bill Cullen hosts this 15-minute program which spotlights NBC’s personnel, history, features, and entertainment. NBC cameras pick up rehearsals in progress, previewing shows to appear the same evening or later that week.
Monday, December 19, 1955 Viewers see a “Playwrights 56” rehearsal in action. Bill Cullen interviews producer Fred Coe, director Arthur Penn, and stars Kim Stanley and Louis Jean Heydt.
Friday, December 23, 1955 Bill Cullen visits David Aiken as he is made up for his role in Sunday’s “Alcoa Hour” production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors”. The cameras also pick up a rehearsal of “Babes in Toyland” to be seen on Max Liebman Presents.
Monday, December 26, 1955 Bill Cullen tours the “Home” show studios. Guest: Dick Linkroum, Home’s exec. producer.
Friday, December 30, 1955 Bill Cullen’s guest, Mary Martin, discusses the forthcoming “Peter Pan”.
Friday, January 6, 1956 The operation of the NBC news department is explained through interviews and films. The cameras pick up a rehearsal Ken Banghart’s news program.
Monday, January 9, 1956 Bill Cullen visits NBC’s special effects dept. to show how fog, rain, snow, etc. are made for TV.
Friday, January 13, 1956 Les Colodny, director of NBC’s comedy development program, explains and tells of plans for ’56. He introduces an act by some new talent.
Monday, January 23, 1956 Tex Antoine explains the preparation of his weather programs. Bill Cullen interviews Henry Salomon, producer of Circle Theater’s “Nightmare” in Red, to be repeated tomorrow evening.
Friday, January 27, 1956 Bill Cullen takes viewers behind the scenes of radio’s “Monitor”. Guest will be Gene Rayburn.
Monday, January 30, 1956 The NBC Technical Operations Department demonstrates the transmission of a TV picture from coast to coast. Cameras pick up a rehearsal of Milton Berle’s show from Hollywood.
Friday, February 3, 1956 Host Bill Cullen and Maurice Evans discuss this Sunday’s “Hallmark Hall of Fame” production of “The Good Fairy”, starring Julie Harris. Chet Huntley of the NBC News Department previews “Outlook”, a news program which debuts this Sunday. Special guest: J. Fred Muggs.
Monday, February 6, 1956 Bill Cullen visits Sid Caesar at his office and studios.
Friday, February 10, 1956 Bill Cullen reviews the first NBC telecast, April 30, 1939. This was the NBC special events pickup of the opening of the World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows.
Monday, February 27, 1956 The cameras switch to Hollywood to pick up a rehearsal of Tuesday’s Matinee Theater production, “A Tall Dark Stranger”. Its star, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and host John Conte are guests. Bill Cullen, in New York, does a feature on the early days of NBC news coverage.
Friday, March 2, 1956 The cameras switch to the RCA Hall of Progress in Camden, N.J., which holds electronics equipment developed during the past century. Bill Cullen hosts.
Monday, March 5, 1956 Guest: Stockton Hellfrich of NBC’s Continuity Acceptance Dept. Bill Cullen shows “The Martha Raye Show” in rehearsal, via film.
Friday, March 9, 1956 Host Bill Cullen highlights NBC’s coverage of the Presidential campaign. He also interviews Laurence Olivier.
Monday, March 12, 1956 Ike Kleinerman, film editor of Wednesday’s “Project 20″ production, explains how the film was procured and edited.
Friday, March 16, 1956 Host Bill Cullen discusses the presentation of the TV “Emmy Awards” show.
Monday, April 16, 1956 Bill Cullen conducts a remote program with WRCA-TV’s new mobile unit.
Monday, May 7, 1956 Host Bill Cullen and his special guest, Lee Ann Meriwether, conduct a quiz show. Contestants are the five finalists of the “Miss NBC” contest.
Friday, May 18, 1956 Bill Cullen is host to Thomas B. McFadden, general manager of WRCA-TV and Ray Owen from the reporting staff of WRCA’s Pulse. Owens discusses Pulse’s technique for covering news.
That is a pretty amazing trove of treasure…and only a small sample of the “Inside NBC” shows Cullen hosted. I think these are all gone but hope someone knows if they survive. – Bobby Ellerbee
Below, Eddie Cantor hosting “The Colgate Comedy Hour”.