Posts in Category: Broadcast History

TeleTales #79…”The Rope” From Alfred Hitchcock, 1948

TeleTales #79…”The Rope” From Alfred Hitchcock, 1948

There are only 10 edits in this unusual film which was shot in scenes that lasted from 4 minutes to over 10 minutes. In order for the huge Technicolor camera to follow the action, set wall were suspended on rails so walls could open to let the camera pass through. Below left is Jimmy Stewart with Hitchcock just in front of him, but notice the gap above the camera where the set walls have opened for it to pass. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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TeleTales #77…Giants Of The Silver Screen

TeleTales #77…Giants Of The Silver Screen

Just for fun, Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman on the miniature set of “All That Heaven Allows”. A well done mini set is almost impossible to tell from the real thing sometime. The 007 film series is full of them. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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TeleTales #77…Hereeeeeeeeeeees Johnny!

TeleTales #77…Hereeeeeeeeeeees Johnny!

Just for fun, here’s The Great Carsoni on a unique set of water skis at Cypress Gardens, Florida from a 1968 special. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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One Of TV’s Most Memorable Moments…Clarabell’s Goodbye


One Of TV’s Most Memorable Moments…Clarabell’s Goodbye

Until those awful days in Dallas in 1963, September 24, 1960 was television’s most memorable moment…at least for us kids who watched ‘Howdy Doody’ every Saturday morning.

Although the show went color on September 12, 1955 from Studio 3K, this is the only color footage of the show I have ever seen. For many years, this tape was lost but was finally found and restored.

The final episode was a special hour long show and in this ultra rare clip, we see the beginning and end, and even hear audio from the control room crew at the very top as they prepared for Episode 2,343…the grand finale. Notice on the ending promos, ‘The Sheri Lewis Show’ was the replacement for Howdy.

Lou Anderson, the third and final actor to play Clarabell, has a surprise for us, and that was the episode title…”Clarabell’s Big Surprise”.

Just as I remember where I was on November 23, 1963, I remember this. I was 10 years old, laying on the couch in our Atlanta home, still dressed in my pajamas. When Clarabell spoke, there was tear in my eye. Some good friends were gone.

What about you? Where were you and how did you feel that morning?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJ6ybvlsb4s

Broadcasted on September 24, 1960. The hour-long episode was mostly a fond look-back at all the highlights of the show’s past, but in the midst of it all, Cl…

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Rare Classic! Ed Sullivan Taping Holiday On Ice With TK41s


Rare Classic! Ed Sullivan Taping Holiday On Ice With TK41s

Here is some great home movie footage of the taping at Madison Square Gardens in 1967. This link is to the air version of the show so you can see how it came out. #t=94″ target=”_blank”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjSsctTLovY #t=94

I notice Producer Bob Precht and Floor Manager Eddie Brinkmann are wearing different clothes in later shots, but I think this was all shot in one day. They may have changed after rehearsal and cut ins when an audience was brought in. I understand part of the budget included spiked golf shoes for the crew so they could walk on the ice without slipping.

Although the RCA TK41s have CBS Color logos, they are not from a CBS mobile unit, as there were no CBS owned color mobile units before the Norelco cameras came along. The cameras are most likely from a truck rented from either WOR or Video Tape Center.

I see Director Tim Kiley at the front (blue shirt white pants) of this and I think I see AD John Moffitt too. Producer Bob Precht is the tall blond man (red shirt blue pants). At around 4:20, there is a very familiar looking man in glasses. Do you know who that is? I think he is a comedian, but I can’t call his name. Enjoy and share. -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afvi0gitInQ

Holiday On Ice 1967 (U. S. A)….At Madison Square Garden for afternoon taping for The Ed Sullivan Show….cameos of Lighting Director Don Watson, Company Ma…

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The Debut Of “Playhouse 90″…October 4, 1956


The Debut Of “Playhouse 90″…October 4, 1956

This is how television’s most distinguished anthology series started. Although the weekly 90 minute series only ran for four years, it is still held as the gold standard for live television drama.

Jack Palance is the host of this debut show, but the next week, he would star in “Requiem For A Heavyweight” which won Emmys for Best Director (Ralph Nelson) and Best Teleplay (Rod Serling) as well as a Peabody Award.

This debut broadcast was done from Studio 31 at CBS Television City and was directed by the renown John Frankenheimer. The script written by Rod Serling was an adaptation of the book by Pat Frank. To relieve the pressure of producing four 90 minute live shows a month, every third week a filmed episode was aired.

In the comments section, I have included a page of this first script that was used by John Frankenheimer. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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

Director: John Frankenheimer ***** Stars: Charlton Heston, Vincent Price ,Richard Joy — Playhouse 90 is an American television anthology series that aired …

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ULTRA RARE! First Ever Look At NBC Studios 6A And 6B

ULTRA RARE! First Ever Look At NBC Studios 6A And 6B

When RCA and NBC moved into 30 Rockefeller Plaza in November of 1933, the sixth and 7th floor studio space was left unfinished and sat empty for almost exactly eight years as managers tried to gauge television’s progress.

If TV progressed rapidly, they would build television studios there, but if it lagged, they would build radio studios. With the advent of WW II, television went on the back burner, so they built radio studios, but…with television in mind.

There is no known first date use, but in this rare “RCA Review” article from 1942, we now know that the studios went into service in early November of 1941. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-RCA-Review/RCA-Review-1942-Jan.pdf

www.americanradiohistory.com

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The First Television Show From NBC Studio 6B…

The First Television Show From NBC Studio 6B…

A couple of weeks back, I showed you a rare, pristine photo of the “Texaco Star Theater” which was the first television show to come from Studio 6B. That was the first and only photo I had ever seen, but Val Ginter sent me the image of the show. The quality is not as good, but it’s still historic and shows Milton Berle on stage in a turban.

Studio 6B and Berle debuted the same night…June 8, 1948. When the show stared, Berle was hosting the radio version and his television debut was only a trial run as he had not yet been named the permanent host. NBC gave comedian Jack Carter a one month trial as host too in August. By the end of the month, the choice was clear and Berle took over in September.

Up next, a very rare history of Studios 6A and 6B! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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A Fuller History Of NBC Television News…Some New Surprises!

A Fuller History Of NBC Television News…Some New Surprises!

After further research, I now realize that last week’s story on this subject only scratched the surface or a much deeper history. Today, we set the record straight.

The most widely celebrated dates in NBC news history are February 16, 1948 and February 16, 1949. In ’48 “The Camel Newsreel Theater” debuted as a 10 minute weekday newsreel from Fox Movietone News which was narrated off camera by John Cameron Swayze.

The next year, Swayze moved in front of the camera and that began “The Camel News Caravan” as a live news show. CBS had put Douglas Edwards on camera May 3, 1948.

BUT…this was not the start of news at NBC. In fact, almost immediately after their first regular TV service began April 30, 1939, news had begun to be reported on W2XBS (WNBT).

Newscaster Lowell Thomas had occasionally simulcast his NBC Radio show locally from Studio 3H as early as December 1939 and from February till July of 1940, he regularly simulcast his “Sunoco News” show to New York viewers.

There was also the weekly “Esso Television Reporter” from March until May of 1940 hosted by William Spargrove, who narrated off camera. The Esso program used live organ music and on camera was a mix of newswire photos, maps and graphic miniature depictions of news event locations.

In the photo below, we see one of those Esso mini sets in use. This scene depicts the first use of aircraft to attack warships. Remember, although WW II had not come to our shores yet, Europe was fully engulfed in 1940. As we will see, the war severely curtailed television in every way, but there is more to the pre war story below.

From July of 1941 till May of 1942, Sam Cuff hosted a weekly news commentary called “Face The War”, but the show ended as RCA and NBC cut television operations down to next to nothing five months after Pearl Harbor.

On February 23, 1944, things started to stir a bit as “The War As It Happens” came to television, and NBC News has been on the air more-or-less continuously since then.

“The War As It Happens” began as a local 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.

At the time, even the great NBC Radio news department was tiny compared to the wire services and newspapers and newsreels. Television was even less able to gather news because they didn’t even have local film crews. The first breakthrough came in 1944 when John Royal, the first head of television at NBC, acquired the rights to Army Signal Corps film.

Using this footage, “The War As It Happens” followed what was basically a newsreel format, using the film with Paul Alley narrating and Ray Forrest in the studio with commentary, maps and wire photos.

In August 1945, the war was over and the Sunday “The War As It Happens” newscast was renamed “The NBC Television Newsreel”.

In mid 1946, it gained a sponsor and became “The Esso Newsreel” and was rescheduled to two nights a week, Monday and Thursday.

On February 16, 1948 Esso bowed out and a new sponsor came to the show which became “The Camel Newsreel Theater”. The next year, it went live with Swayze on camera, but surprisingly there are reports of background music throughout the broadcast until the early 1950s. That was a remnant of the old newsreel shows. In 1956, Swayze was replaced by Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. I think you know the rest of the story. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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President’s Day Special…First Live Presidential News Conference


President’s Day Special…First Live Presidential News Conference

January 25, 1961, President Kennedy held the first ever live presidential news conference. It originated from the auditorium of the State Department and was carried live on both radio and television. It was the first of sixty three he would give.

Prior to this, live radio broadcasts by a President were scripted speeches. In press conferences prior to Kennedy, questions were submitted in advance and were not asked by reporters nor broadcast live, but were recorded on film for television and on audio tape for radio news.

Instead of presenting the historical footage, I’ve included a short compilation that reminds us of JFK’s easy style in these press conferences. He was the first American president to really understand television and how to use it to his advantage, which started during the campaign. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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

The wit and humor of President John F. Kennedy is revealed in this series of clips from his various press conferences.

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President’s Day Special…First President On Color Television On May 22, 1958,…


President’s Day Special…First President On Color Television

On May 22, 1958, President Eisenhower was the first President to be broadcast in color from the new WRC TV facilities in Washington.

If you go to 14:02 on the video, Bob Sarnoff will list some interesting Presidential media firsts before changing the black and white broadcast to color with the touch of a button.

This is an amazing video from the start too! NBC’s David Brinkley is the narrator for the TV audience of the dedication and there are plenty of shots of the studio with the new RCA TK41s in service. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.veoh.com/watch/v191020606nr3MbJGOn May 22, 1958, Pres. Eisenhower became the first president to be recorded in color on videotape as he helped dedicate NBC’s brand-new 4001 Nebraska Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. facilities (which housed network and WRC Radio/WRC-TV studios)in a live afternoon broadcast fed to the NBC Television n…

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President’s Day Special…First President, Coast To Coast


President’s Day Special…First President, Coast To Coast

Not only is President Truman the first President to be broadcast cost to coast, he was the first person to do this! The first coast to coast broadcast, September 4, 1951 was made by President Harry Truman who made the principal speech at the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in San Francisco. The video is below.

AT&T was close to inaugurating their new cross country coaxial and microwave relay, but when it was announced that Truman would be the attending instead of his Secretary of State, AT&T pushed hard to get it finished and did, just in time. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

#52919436” target=”_blank”>http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/52919436 #52919436Video on msnbc.com: The first coast to coast broadcast, September 4, 1951 was made by President Harry Truman who made the principal speech at the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in San Francisco.

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President’s Day Special…First President On Television, FDR

President’s Day Special…First President On Television, FDR

Franklin Roosevelt was the first American President to appear on television at the dedication ceremonies of the New York World’s Fair on April 30, 1939.

When Roosevelt made history he was watched by a couple of hundred viewers in the RCA pavilion as well as a few dozen more back at the NBC in Manhattan. More people likely saw FDR live at the fair than in front of TV sets.

RCA president David Sarnoff actually beat FDR on TV by ten days as he dedicated the RCA Pavilion. Enjoy and share!



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February 16, 1948…”NBC Television Newsreel” Debuts


February 16, 1948…”NBC Television Newsreel” Debuts

This was television’s first news program. The 10 minute show aired once a week and this was the same version of Fox Movietone News that was shown in movie theaters weekly. It was voiced by Lowell Thomas.

Some months later, NBC added their own narrator…John Cameron Swayze who did the voice live. At the same time, a new sponsor was added and the show became “The Camel Newsreel Theater”

On February 14, 1949, the weeknight “Camel News Caravan” debuted with Swayze live on camera. I think the show came from Studio 3B at 30 Rock, but by 1952, it had moved to Studio C at NBC’s Uptown Studios at 106th Street. Below is an example of the Fox Movietone Newsreel features from 1938. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWD3Z3GCY8U

Following the events of Kristallnacht, Nov. 9-10, 1938, in which mobs rampaged through German and Austrian cities assaulting and killing Jews, burning synago…

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SNL 40 Breaks Records And Millions Of Funny Bones! BRAVO!

SNL 40 Breaks Records And Millions Of Funny Bones! BRAVO!

STUNNING is about the only word that works to describe the show last night. The video montages, the opening, the presentation…everything was flawless! TD Steve Cimino and Director Don King did a great job, as did everyone behind the lenses last night.

And the live sketches…WOW! Jeopardy, Weekend Update, Chevy and Garret’s news for the deaf, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Bass O Matic, ALL OFF IT was just amazing and had to be done in a much smaller space than usual.

Just look at the extra seating added here. That took up a lot of valuable floor space. I didn’t see a single camera last night and suspect the crane must have spent most of the night tucked into the center tunnel.

I laughed all the way through and have never seen have never seen a show with more iconic moments! It was just Awesome! THANK YOU to all that helped bring this to us! There will be more as people decompress from this week’s activities and pictures and stories start to emerge. -Bobby Ellerbee

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An Exclusive Eyewitness Account…Billy Crystal & The Debut Of SNL

An Exclusive Eyewitness Account…Billy Crystal & The Debut Of SNL

In an earlier post today, we looked at the history of the show’s missed start date and the first episode. As you know, Billy Crystal was scheduled to appear, but he didn’t.

You are about to learn the real story of why he didn’t from someone who was there…Joel Spector, who was on the audio crew for the first 17 years of SNL.

Many, including me, were curious about how this happened…was it a last minute thing or did it come earlier in the week? Did he appear in the dress rehearsal? In later years, Billy had talked about the disappointment of being bumped but thanks to Joel, we’ll hear what really happened. Here is his account…

“This is the real story. Billy did indeed appear in the dress rehearsal and got big laughs. I was at the post-dress rehearsal production meeting. For this week only, every staff and crew member attended this meeting, held right in the middle of the studio.

There were three “new young comedians” scheduled to appear that week, in addition to host George Carlin. They were Andy Kaufman, Billy Crystal and Valri Bromfeld. Lorne announced that the show was very long and that only two of the three new comedians could be on the air show: Andy (with two spots) worked to recorded music, “which couldn’t be cut.”

“Billy was set to do his “Late Show” routine, in which he did all of he sounds for the typical late movie show on a local station, complete with badly spliced film hiccups. He said that he had been doing this routine for some time and that it had already been refined to be “just right.” “I understand that this might rule me out,” he said.”

“Valri piped up: “I can cut down my piece…no problem.” Lorne then wished Billy well and promised him a spot during the next few weeks. Soon after, he was cast on “Soap” and became a big star. Andy went on to the comedy stratosphere until his untimely demise. Valri did her shortened and not very funny routine and then resumed her career as a comic actor and writer.” – Joel Spector

To follow up on Joel’s account, as Lorne had promised, Billy returned on April 17, 1976 on Season 1’s 17th Episode which was hosted by President Ford’s Press Secretary, Ron Nessen with musical guest Patti Smith.

Thanks to Joel, we now know that it was only after the dress rehearsal that Crystal was cut. Till now, that part had never been known. Many thanks to Joel for this missing piece of history and to the many that share similar first hand information on this page.

In the photo below we see our friends Joel Spector (L) and Gady Reinhold (R)…friends since childhood and television veterans extraordinaire. Joel joined NBC in 1965 and Gady joined CBS a year later. Both have been a tremendous help to this site and their passion for television’s history and friendship is greatly appreciated! Enjoy and Share! – Bobby Ellerbee



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George Carlin: First-ever monologue on ‘Saturday Night Live’

SNL Debut Show…The Opening Minutes With George Carlin

In case you missed the encore performance of the debut show on NBC last night, here is opening and Carlin’s monologue. I have been told that the original closing credits on this debut show listed all of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players as “Bud”.

It seems the sketch comedy didn’t get ramped up until the Candice Bergen episode, which I believe is the fourth. Lorne has said he considers that one to be the first episode of the show in what became its standard format. Even in the Richard Pryor episode, Don Pardo only announced them as a group.

Up next…AN EXCLUSIVE EYE WITNESS ACCOUNT OF THE DEBUT SHOW’S BILLY CRYSTAL CONTROVERSY! Enjoy and share! Bobby Ellerbee

https://screen.yahoo.com/george-carlin-classic-monologue-1-000000814.html

George Carlin: First-ever monologue on ‘Saturday Night Live’ | Saturday Night Live – Yahoo Screen

Happy birthday, George Carlin. The late comedian would have turned 77 on May 12. To honor him, we take a look back at his historic ‘SNL’ monolgue — the show’s first ever. “Talk about a live show! It’s nice to see you, welcome, and thanks for joining us — live.” That’s how the comedy icon started t…

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The Television Debut Of The SNL Original Cast…Rare & Surprising!


The Television Debut Of The SNL Original Cast…Rare & Surprising!

As it turns out, “The Not Ready For Prime Time Players” were not even ready for late night television! Really! Here’s the story…

NBC’s new 90 minute, live comedy show “NBC Saturday Night” was scheduled to debut at 11:30 on October 4, 1975. The plane truth is, they just could not get the show ready in time for a number of reasons, with timing and blocking among the biggest hurdles to overcome.

Although Tom Snyder’s ‘Tomorrow’ show was a one hour, Monday – Friday production, NBC called on him at the last minute to do special 90 minute Saturday show to cover the SNL hole in their schedule. Fortunately, Jerry Lewis was in town and agreed to do the show. For the first 85 minutes, he was the single guest. The last five minutes were reserved for the introduction of the SNL cast and it’s producer Lorne Michaels.

In this clip, you will see the first ever network appearance of the original cast of “NBC Saturday Night”. Break a leg tonight SNL and happy 40th Anniversary! Enjoy and SHARE! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/2xQP_Kdt2gEBefore the first show had aired, a bunch of nobodies went on the Tomorrow Show to talk about this weird little show they were starting up – SNL.

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SNL Debut Promo During The World Series…October 11, 1975


SNL Debut Promo During The World Series…October 11, 1975

The 1975 World Series was between the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds. ESPN calls it the second-greatest World Series ever played. Cincinnati won the series four games to three. Enjoy and share! Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNlBzzbtN1U

During a pitching change in the bottom of the 7th inning of Game 1 of the ’75 Series Curt Gowdy reads a promo live on the air about NBC’s Saturday Night’s de…

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SNL Opening Titles And Home Base Sets…1975 Till Now


SNL Opening Titles And Home Base Sets…1975 Till Now

The current home base set is so familiar, its hard to remember the look of the older versions, but this is a great trip down memory lane starting on Day 1. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

#t=339″ target=”_blank”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZBdOwsXQBo #t=339

each SNL title from 1975 to present

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Saturday Night Live Studio 8H…360 View

SNL Studio 8H…360 Degree Panorama View

Here’s unique look at 8H. Just click on the image and watch. By the way…the silence from 8H is deafening. Not a word or picture from tonight’s blockbuster, but tomorrow is another story. I hope that after the show, we’ll get to hear some of what has been going on during this weeks blackout. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.thesphere.com/251605

Saturday Night Live Studio 8H

#sphere by Brian Duffy

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The Untold Story Of SNL’s EDGIEST SKETCH EVER

The Untold Story Behind SNL’s Edgiest Ever Sketch…

The long version of this fascinating story is in the Salon Magazine article linked at the bottom of this page. This is the short version with a two track story line…the video delay and the Chase – Prior sketch. One of the only clips of this famous video that is still available on the web is below.

On December 13, 1975 Richard Pryor was to become the seventh person to guest host the brand new ‘Saturday Night Live’ show on NBC. Producer Lorne Michaels had jumped through a lot of hoops to get Pryor on the show, but that was on Pryor’s end…the bigger hoops would come on NBC’s end.

NBC was bound and determined to not let Pryor anywhere near a live camera and demanded a 10 second delay in case the wildly unpredictable comedian took of on a rant filled with “the seven forbidden words”. Lorne knew Pryor would never go for it but managed to get both sides to settle for a 5 second delay.

As an aside, this story came to me via SNL crew member Louis Delli Paoli, but by coincidence, in a conversation with NBC veteran John Schipp, some details of this video delay blowup came to light.

John was in the 5th floor tape room early in this week and noticed all kinds of brass from RCA and NBC engineering. It seems the dozens of big quad videotape recorders in the room were built into the wall and there was a huge effort afoot to get a couple of them out on the floor where it could be determined just how far apart the two delay machines had to be to get the desired 5 second delay between the record head on unit one and the playback head on unit 2.

This was a massive effort and the interesting thing is, no one knows if the show even had a delay that night. They tested and tested but given the physical circumstances, this was hard to do but the only way to do it in 1975. Sometimes the loop worked, sometimes it didn’t.

Now, back to the Chase – Pryor word association sketch. One of the hoops Pryor had put Michaels through was adding Paul Mooney to the writing staff for this show. NBC didn’t want him in the mix and even gave him a “job interview” type interrogation which both Mooney and Pryor resented deeply.

Mooney had written sketches for Richard and several other cast members but Chase was not in any of them. As one of the top talents in the cast, pressure built on Mooney to come up with a sketch for Chevy and Richard and the job interview Mooney had endured came to life as one of the most memorable moments in television. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.salon.com/2013/11/03/saturday_night_live_and_richard_pryor_the_untold_story_behind_snls_edgiest_sketch_ever/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

https://screen.yahoo.com/word-association-000000441.html

Word Association | Saturday Night Live – Yahoo Screen

Richard Pryor’s cutting-edge racial satire from 1975

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“Saturday Night Live”…Behind The Scenes Of A Typical Week

“Saturday Night Live”…Behind The Scenes Of A Typical Week

From a few months back, here is my article on some of the production detail of the show! Please remember to visit the EOAG page to see ALL today’s articles…just click on the blue text above! Enjoy and share. -Bobby Ellerbee






‘Saturday Night Live’…Behind The Scenes Of A Typical Week

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi3018960153
This is the 8H studio map, the rehearsal and run sheets for the April 12, 2014 show with Seth Rogen as host. At the link above is a clip of the Undercover Sharpton sketch you should watch for context.

Notice on the map that sketch sets are often set in front of other sketch sets. For instance, in the Sharpton sketch, on the left in front of Stage 6 we see where the van was and across the floor in front of Stage 4B, we see the Sharpton Mob Bar interior location. As you can see on the blue sheet, some of the Sharpton effects shots were videotaped on Friday.

By having the 8H stage map we can more easily see the complexity of the production and the importance of camera blocking and rehearsals. The hand written notations from the cameramen show them where they need to be. TNG is the abbreviation for the retractable tongue on the front of the HB, or home base stage where the monologue and Weekend Update are done.

Stage 1 – 6 are constant week to week production areas. Stage 2 is always for musical guests only and homebase is for always for the house band, but everything else is always in flux.

As you can see on the white Thursday sheet, one of the first orders of business is loading in the guest band, sound check and then shooting promos. After that, camera blocking with the actors starts.

On the blue Friday sheet, you can see how the blocking and rehearsals continue with pre taping going on for scenes with a lot of effects.

The pink sheet is the Saturday dress rehearsal with the first audience entering around 7PM and the runthrough starts about 8 and runs till 10 or so. After that, Lorne Michaels and the writers huddle to cut the some sketches. They have been watching from Lorne’s perch under the bleachers near the center door.

On the green air rundown, you can see on the right which sketches were cut and how the order has changed from dress rehearsal. Remember…everybody has to be on the same page. Literally! The actors, the 30 or so stage hands moving scenery and the six cameras and two sound boom teams all have to be at the right spot at the right time.

I have had the pleasure to see this up close and personal and there is not a more impressive ballet of men and machines, art and artists and sets and scenery than at ‘Saturday Night Live’! This is a time lapse video of the show just two weeks before Seth Rogan hosted!

Thanks to ALL the SNL casts and crews for 40 year of unforgettable memories! Enjoy and SHARE! -Bobby Ellerbee

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SNL Classic! Behind The Scenes Of “The Continental” Sketches


SNL Classic! Behind The Scenes Of “The Continental” Sketches

Whenever Christopher Walken hosts, he does a recurring character…”The Continental” which is always shot from the woman’s Point Of View by a hand held camera. I wonder if they will do this tomorrow night?

Here is “The Continental” sketch from February 22, 2003. This special video shows us what the studio audience is seeing as well as the home audience by way of a box insert from the hand held.

I think the cameraman maybe Michael Bennett. Wally Feresten is the Q card man. As a matter of fact, Wally’s company does all the Q cards for NBC’s live shows both in New York and in LA. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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

The Making Of S*N*L’s “The Continental” – enjoy!

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An Updated Report On My Night At SNL…May 3, 2014

An Updated Report On My Night At SNL…May 3, 2014

I’m re-posting my report from the next morning with some updates and added comments.

New: I originally only mentioned this is passing, but I was fortunate enough to spend six hours in 8H on Friday afternoon watching rehearsals. I had come directly from a two hour tour of The Ed Sullivan Theater and at the end of my day in 8H, I went to dinner with a friend from the “Tonight” show. It was quite a day, as was each of my seven days in New York. I had wanted to see the 8 o’clock dress rehearsal (and I did) instead of the live show…it’s a half hour longer and I could go back to the hotel and watch the live version to see what was cut. This was the weekend the new Spider Man movie debuted and the host was Andrew Garfield, the movie’s star with musical guest Cold Play.

At the dress rehearsal that night, there was a great “gotch ya” moment. Weekend Update host, Colon Jost did the warm up and said we (the audience) were going to play Stump The Band and he asked for someone to shout out an obscure song title. I couldn’t resist and shouted out “Boogaloo Down Broadway by the Fantastic Johnny C”. The band hit a few familiar notes like they were about to play it and then…they all shouted out “Yeah, we know it”, and that was it…it was funny.

One last thing. About 60 second before the show started, I turned to see Lorne Michaels standing next to me…two feet away. I knew he was deep in thought and it was best not to bother him, but I was dying to say “Excuse me, but aren’t you Max Liebman?”. I wish I had said it. If you don’t know who Max is, read on in the original part below. Enjoy!

LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT!

Last night, I was an eyewitness to live television’s only living legacy of the art of live variety show production…”Saturday Night Live”.

I sat on the front row of the floor seats. Looking at the stage, I was on the left side in the corner seat…only three seats on the front row and to my left was the other half of the 8H floor space…the perfect place to see everything.

I’m going into some detail this morning, but believe me…there will me much more on this! Before I go anywhere though, I must first thank the SNL crew for their incredible hospitality, especially John Pinto and Phil Pernice.

These are the pros that do the work: On Camera 1, our friend John Pinto. This is the Chapman Electra crane camera and his long time driver is Phil Pernice, with Louis Delli Paoli and Robert Mancari handling the boom arm duties.

On Camera 2, Paul Cangialisoi. On Camera 3, Len Weshlel. On Camera 4, Carl Eckert. On Camera 5, our old friend Eric Eisenstein. These are pedestal cameras, but when a portable is needed, one of them will handle that.

These are two more men that need to be acknowledged…Ed Ruotolo and Pete Phrane. In a way, these two are “the last of the Mohicans”. Ed and Pete are the only two sound boom operators in live network television!

Knowing what I know now, we really have to thank Lorne Michaels too for keeping the show true to the way it would have been done when live entertainment television was in it’s heyday. Max Liebman and Lorne have a lot in common and it seems that Mr. Michaels goes the extra mile to acknowledge that in a way.

Liebman produced NBC’s first ninety minute Saturday night hit… “Your Show Of Shows” with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. That show was done the same way, with ped cameras, a studio crane, two sound booms and a live audience.

To his credit, Michaels has taken this a step further. Like last night, I and forty or so others get to sit in the floor seats each week. This adds intimacy to the presentation, but also a few more degrees of difficulty for the crew and stage hands.

Sketches take place everywhere, on both ends of the studio and in the middle too, on all four walls, which means four ped cameras, the Chapman and two sound booms have to move there, set up and be ready for the start of each sketch. But remember…there’s scenery too and lots of it!

Sage hands are constantly in motion setting up the next scene and striking the last and some of the set pieces are quite large and elaborate, but everything has to move at the same time while staying quiet and out of each others way. This is a huge 3D chess game that is beyond fascinating to watch.

On top of all this is the Q card team which has to be in place with the cards over the lens of the correct camera. At times, the cards have to be held in three or four different places at once and kept in sync.

There are kings, and then there are Kings of Kings. The crews at “Saturday Night Live” are Kings of Kings, and then some! In each one of them, from the floor to the control room to the dressing rooms and beyond, both talent and technical…all of them are living legacies. The art of live variety show production, in all of the world, has only one true home; NBC Studio 8H!

With all due respect to all the other live network crews, especially the brilliant New York video artists behind the cameras at Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman and Seth Meyers, you are also Kings of Kings, but you have to admit that SNL is in a class by itself as the format and conditions are very different from any other show. It’s apples and oranges.

Now…to the dance. There is a magical coordination and flow of choreography that goes largely unseen that is absolutely stunning to watch in person. The great shots you see on screen are the product of the dance, but the dance itself is a true sight to behold!

One level of this dance is exclusive to SNL. All live shows have floor traffic but SNL has overhead traffic too, and lots of it! Here, we have Louis and Robert swinging John Pinto’s crane camera over head AND two sound booms! It was very interesting in Friday’s camera blocking rehearsal to hear a discussion of boom shadows. This is one of the elements exclusive to SNL that the pros there have to deal with, and they do it well.

Another part of this “level one” dance is the move…the migration of men and machines from one end of 8H to the other, or somewhere in between. There are utility men and women with each camera to handle the cable which is absolutely necessary, and when they move, it’s done with care, calm and efficiency and is a thing of beauty to behold in itself.

The second level of the dance is most pronounced during the musical guest performances. Frankly, I can not begin to express the art of this dance any more than I can describe the art of this kid in the clip dancing to “Happy” on SNL a few weeks back. He “has the music in him” and it is joyous to watch him turn it loose! It’s not overdone…just tasty and cool! You can see it in him through out the clip. This is qued to his part. Take a look.
http://youtu.be/qFHzmDZcL34?t=1m44s

What does this have to do with the SNL camera crew? Every one of them “have the music in them” and express it visually with a ballet of moves that will bring tears to your eyes should you be lucky enough to see it done.

During the musical performances, all four ped cameramen are peding up and peding down, trucking left and right, in and out, back and forth…all constantly in fluid motion. They trade places with each other on the in and outs and in the center, with Pinto and company booming up and down, and over the heads of the others the whole time.

This is true art and these are video artist at work!

Speaking of art…watching Phil, Louis and Robert handle the Chapman Electra is a thrill! World wide, this is the only true studio crane in operation in live television. Everything else that flies is a jib, and with all due respect to the jib operators…there is no comparison.

The Electra boom is in perfect balance on the up and down and should Louis and Robert turn loose of the boom arm, it will not move and is rock steady. Seeing Phil back the whole thing into the tunnel under the seats is a sight to behold.

In closing, my sincere thanks to everyone at SNL that have made me feel so welcome this week. I am deeply touched and truly honored to have been able to see all of you, and be a witness to the extraordinary work you do.

8H IS the home of the Kings of Kings! Thank you all for continuing the legacy of live television at it’s best! -Bobby Ellerbee

Here’s a clip of the promos.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH138ntieE8





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The Most Amazing Crowd Of Comics Ever…Until Tomorrow!


The Most Amazing Crowd Of Comics Ever…Until Tomorrow!

Here is the star packed 8H hallway just before the SNL 25th Anniversary show, September 25, 1999. At this link is the super jam after the show with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and the SNL Band with Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, Paul Shaffer and more. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOeCU50T6T8 Jam video

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

A fly-on-the wall look backstage at 30 Rock’s studio 8H hallway on the night of the SNL 25th anniversary show. Mine was the only camera to catch all the star…

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SNL with Eli Manning – Behind The Scenes


SNL with Eli Manning – Behind the scenes Courtesy of Giants.com

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Double Bonus Video…Letterman Tour Of Studio 8H & Linda Ellerbee


Double Bonus Video…Letterman Tour Of Studio 8H & Linda Ellerbee

While SNL was on summer break in 1986, it seems NBC did some updates in Studio 6A and moved Letterman to 8H for the duration.

Here’s Dave’s backstage tour of 8H, which was still using RCA TK47s. The cameraman is NBC veteran Carl Eckert.

At 25 minutes in, we get part of Dave’s interview with NBC Over Night’s Linda Ellerbee who’s contract has just expired. Since Over Night left the air in ’84, Linda had worked with “Today”.

This is the debut of her new book “And So It Goes”. Just after this, she would join ABC and ‘Good Morning America’. Thanks to good friend Jodie Peeler for sharing this with us. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/W_aXnCB7JhM?t=4m47s

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More SNL Rarities…The Original SNL With Howard Cosell


More SNL Rarities…The Original SNL With Howard Cosell

You may be surprised to know that the original “Saturday Night Live” on ABC had more in common with SNL than just the name! It also had “The Prime Time Players” which were Bill Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Christopher Guest!

As we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the 90 minute late night sketch show on NBC, we have to remember that in the beginning the show as titled “NBC’s Saturday Night”.

“Saturday Night Live” would have been a much better name, but that title was already in use at ABC. Below is a rare clip of the show’s opening with host Howard Cosell. Fortunately for everyone, the show only aired for 18 weeks. It was actually canceled just three weeks into the run, but ABC kept it on to fill the hole in it’s schedule.

ABC’s show ran from September 1975 till January 1976 and was produced by Roone Arledge. The show was later remembered by its director Don Mischer as “one of the greatest disasters in the history of television”, largely due to the fact that Cosell and Arledge, both veterans of sports broadcasting, were entirely unfamiliar with comedy and variety programming.

The show taped 15 new episodes at The Ed Sullivan Theater and it was Arledge’s idea to try and recapture the family show appeal of Sullivan who had been off the air for about three years.

The premiere episode featured celebrity guests Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, Paul Anka, Siegfried and Roy, the cast of the Broadway version of The Wiz, tennis pro Jimmy Connors, and John Denver. The episode’s musical guest was the Bay City Rollers who performed live via satellite from the UK.

The shows also featured Bill Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Christopher Guest as regular comedy performers, dubbed “The Prime Time Players”. Later, when “NBC Saturday Night” was granted use of the SNL name by ABC, we also got “The Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Players” which ironically also counted the three “Prime Time Players” as cast members over the years. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS2BtthZOug

This is from the original Saturday Night Live, hosted by Howard Cosell, Mark Wilson had just won his second Magician of the Year awards, and finished his Las…

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Just For Fun…Some Of The Slickest Video Edits And Effects Ever!


Just For Fun…Some Of The Slickest Video Edits And Effects Ever!

Zack King has been doing these for a while, but if you have never seen his work, be ready to be AMAZED! Really! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153077956897943

Il top delle illusioni

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