Posts in Category: Broadcast History

Very Rare! Johnny Carson Stand Up & Impressions, 1958


Very Rare! Johnny Carson Stand Up & Impressions, 1958

On this episode of “The Polly Bergen Show” from NBC’s Century Theater, he guest is host of ABC’s new show “Do You Trust Your Wife” (later known as “Who Do You Trust”. At this first link, you can see the intro and a long spoof on the Academy Awards. http://youtu.be/ZWCNMMMWsdc?t=2m40s

At this second link to the same show, Johnny starts a nice long stand up and impressions routine. His Sullivan – Allen bit is great, but the Murrow part is priceless! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
http://youtu.be/ZWCNMMMWsdc?t=12m56sAn episode of NBC’s variety series “The Polly Bergen Show”. Her guest in this episode is Johnny Carson, star of ABC’s “Do You Trust Your Wife”, who provides …

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Even More From NBC Burbank…Yet Another Singing Tour, 1959


Even More From NBC Burbank…Yet Another Singing Tour, 1959

This is the opening of a Gene Kelly special. It begins in one of the two main hallways that provided access for the huge studios. I’ve been told that the wall at the end of the hallway is Studio 1 and that about two thirds of the way down is where the KNBC local news was broadcast. I think their destination is Studio 4 and they enter through the “elephant” doors and you get a good impression of the size of the studio! Please remember to click on the blue text above to visit the page so you can see all of today’s stories! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx04DP6TEcw

Begining of PSP, 1959

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More From NBC Burbank…A Great Singing Tour, With UPDATES


More From NBC Burbank…A Great Singing Tour, With UPDATES

Some wonderful soul has inserted a present day video trip down the same path of Steve Allen’s original 1958 singing stroll through the halls of NBC Burbank.

The original clip was part of an Allen special taped there and is performed to an Allen composition, “This Could Be The Start Of Something Big”. In this clip he is joined by Ann Sothern, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme, Dinah Shore and a special mystery guest.

In one great long shot, they sing and stroll from Studio 1 (Steve Allen Show, & Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show Studio) and end the song over at Studio 4, (Dinah Shore Show, Laugh In, Dean Martin, Midnight Special), today it is home to ‘Day’s of Our Lives’. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbxoF4F0TrY

This is a special version of a YOUTUBE clip uploaded by goldenvmedia of This Could Be the Start of Something Big-Steve Allen Show clip as video taped at NBC …

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The Final Days Of ‘Tonight’ With Johnny Carson…


The Final Days Of ‘Tonight’ With Johnny Carson…

Since so many of you enjoyed our trip to Burbank yesterday, I though we would take another day there.

This clip ran in Johnny’s last week on the air. I have seen a version of this from the show and in his intro, he said what we all know to be true…that he allowed very little coverage of the backstage elements of the show, which makes this one of those rare times. The studio is Burbank’s Studio 1.

I think this ran on May 19th, just four days before the last broadcast on May 22, 1992. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDB_mE5uN7k

Now THIS is what it means to be in show business!

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February 11, 1960…Jack Paar Walks Off The “Tonight” Show


February 11, 1960…Jack Paar Walks Off The “Tonight” Show

55 years ago today, Jack Paar turned television upside down with a remarkable act of integrity. That I know of, this short audio recording is the only version of the departure segment in its entirety, starting with the NBC announcement at the beginning of the show that was added for the tape’s broadcast that night.

What was the joke the NBC censor took out the night before? Here it is….

“An English lady, while visiting Switzerland, was looking for a room, and she asked the schoolmaster if he could recommend any to her. He took her to see several rooms, and when everything was settled, the lady returned to her home to make the final preparations to move. When she arrived home, the thought suddenly occurred to her that she had not seen a “W.C.”, (short for “water closet”, British for bathroom). So she immediately wrote a note to the schoolmaster asking him if there were a “W.C.” around.

The schoolmaster was a very poor student of English, so he asked the parish priest if he could help in the matter. Together they tried to discover the meaning of the letters “W.C.,” and the only solution they could find for the letters was “Wedding Chapel.” The schoolmaster then wrote to the English lady the following note:

Dear Madam: I take great pleasure in informing you that the W.C. is situated nine miles from the house you will occupy, in the center of a beautiful grove of pine trees surrounded by lovely grounds. It is capable of holding 229 people and it is open on Sunday and Thursday only. As there are a great number of people and they are expected during the summer months, I would suggest that you come early, although there is plenty of standing room as a rule. You will no doubt be glad to hear that a good number of people bring their lunch and make a day of it. While others who can afford to go by car arrive just in time, I would especially recommend that your ladyship go on Thursday when there is a musical accompaniment.

It may interest you to know that my daughter was married in the W.C. and it was there that she met her husband. I can remember the rush there was for seats. The newest attraction is a bell donated by a wealthy resident of the district. It rings every time a person enters. A bazaar is to be held to provide plush seats for all the people, since they feel it is a long felt need. I shall be delighted to reserve the best seat for you if you wish, where you will be seen by all. Hoping to have been of service to you, I remain, Sincerely, The Schoolmaster.”

On March, 7th 1960, Jack, having calmed down in Hong Kong for two weeks, returned to the show to the largest legitimate ovation any host of that show ever received. He came on stage, looked at the audience and stated, “As I was saying when I was interrupted….(Huge Laugh) “When I walked off I said that there must be a better way to making a living than this. Well, I’ve looked, (laugh builds), and there isn’t.” (Another huge laugh).

The night he walked out, the walked into Hurley’s Bar at the corner of 6th Avenue and 49th Street. While he was away, Hurley’s kept a picture of Jack in their window for the duration. I’ll add that rare photo in the Comment section below. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4mq19SYNoE

When Steve Allen departed from Tonight! in Jan. 1957, the program underwent numerous changes. NBC attempted to transform The Tonight Show into a late-night n…

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TeleTales #72…Speaking Of Johnny Carson And Studio 1

TeleTales #72…Speaking Of Johnny Carson And Studio 1

Here’s a nice color shot of the set with an RCA TK44 in the shot, probably a tour group stopping in. Notice the star on the floor…Johnny’s monologue marker. I don’t think this is the ’72 set, so this pix may be from around ’76. Please remember to visit this page to make sure you see everything…just click on the blue text at the top of this post. -Bobby Ellerbee

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TeleTales #71…NBC Burbank Studio 1

TeleTales #71…NBC Burbank Studio 1: If These Wall Could Talk

I would venture to say, that between 1952 and 2013, every major personality in America has been on this stage at one time or another. Between Bob Hope and Johnny Carson’s shows here…well, the list of guests boggles the mind. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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TeleTales #70…NBC Burbank Studio 1: The Start Of Something Big

TeleTales #70…NBC Burbank Studio 1: The Start Of Something Big

As NBC’s new Color City was coming to completion, CBS was in the final stages of completing Television City. In September, David Sarnoff announced that Burbank would go on the air earlier than planned. He said the new start date would be October 4, 1952 and that on November 8, NBC would open their first full color studio at the Colonial Theater in New York.

As you can see here in this photo taken shortly after it opened, Studio 1 was originally equipped as a black and white studio and was pressed into service early as KNBH’s studios at Radio City West were very overcrowded.

CBS didn’t want NBC to beat them by going on the air from Burbank first, so they rushed an episode of “My Friend Irma” into production and televised their first program from an unfinished Television City on the evening of October 3rd of 1952, one day before the first telecast from NBC. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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TeleTales #69…NBC Burbank Studio 1: A Star Is Born

TeleTales #69…NBC Burbank Studio 1: A Star Is Born

Here’s the studio under construction in 1952. The legend is, Bob Hope helped design this studio and may have been responsible for the massive audience area and it’s steep incline so that no seat had an obstructed view of the stage. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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TeleTales #68…NBC Burbank Drive By, 1958


TeleTales #68…NBC Burbank Drive By, 1958

It looks like today is Burbank day, so lets take it all in! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

#t=11″ target=”_blank”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us2flcoPut0 #t=11

This is a 1958 videotape of NBC Burbank as recorded on 2″ Quad in a mobile unit. The show opens as the camera travels down California Street, takes a right t…

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ULTRA RARE 2! NBC Burbank, Studio 1…360 Degree Video


ULTRA RARE 2! NBC Burbank, Studio 1…360 Degree Video

This is where Johnny Carson’s “Tonight” show came from. Now, it is the “Access Hollywood” stage, but this is not that set which has four sides. This has only three and you can see the audience seating on the open wall. By the way, you can use your mouse to stop and go back and view this manually by dragging the mouse. Be sure to enlarge the screen to see this at it’s best. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.dermandar.com/p/cRYgKD/inside-studio-1-upperDermandar

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ULTRA RARE 1! Inside NBC Burbank Studio 3…360 Degree Video


ULTRA RARE 1! Inside NBC Burbank Studio 3…360 Degree Video

Just the other day, someone asked about the seating in Studio 3, wondering if it was like the huge Studio 1 audience area. Well, here’s your answer. There’s a lot of history here as this was home to “The Dean Martin Show”, “The Jerry Lewis Show” and countless others, including much of ‘Tonight’ with Jay Leno. By the way, you can use your mouse to stop and go back and view this manually by dragging the mouse. Be sure to enlarge the screen to see this at it’s best. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.dermandar.com/p/bwWhwM/studio-3Dermandar

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TeleTales #67…A HUGE Beatles SURPRISE!

TeleTales #67…A HUGE Beatles SURPRISE!

CBS sent one of their prototype hand held video cameras from Cape Kennedy to Miami to get shots for the February 16, 1964 Beatles appearance on Ed Sullivan.

The man responsible for their creation, Dr. Joe Flaherty, who’s still Senior VP of Technology at CBS, told me a few years back that CBS had teamed up with Ikegami to come up with these cameras.

Their effort had started just the year before in 1963 and this is one of three prototypes Ikegami sent to CBS for use on space mission coverage.

This is the first time one of these cameras was used on anything other than space shots. This photo was taken at the morning sound check which was followed by a dress rehearsal and finally that night’s show.

By late 1964, I think about a dozen had been built and sent out for field tests. Two were sent to CBS O&Os KMOX in St. Louis, two to WBBM in Chicago, two to KNXT in LA, three to WCBS and three were on the CBS mobile units assigned to Cape Kennedy.

Unlike the RCA/NBC portables, I think this has an Image Orthicon tube and not a Vidicon. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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51 Years Ago Today…The Beatles Debuted On Ed Sullivan

51 Years Ago Today…The Beatles Debuted On Ed Sullivan

From last year’s big 50th Anniversary coverage, here is my story on how to tell which scenes are from which shows, which were all taped the same day. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee





Beatles 50th Sullivan Anniversary Count Down…15 Days

Today, A Primer In: How to tell which performance is which.
With the anniversary approaching, you’ll see a lot of photos and clips and with this guide, you can tell which performance is which. The Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan these three consecutive Sunday nights…February 9, 16 and 23 1964. The February 16th show was done live from Miami, but all four of their other performances were done at CBS Studio 50 on February 9, with the first performances of the day taped for air on the 23rd. The Beatles appeared twice in each show and each time, the song set and stage set was different. From left to right, here are the Studio 50 stage sets in order of air dates. The first live performance set featured big arrows and the second live performance set featured hanging stripes. The first appearance of the taped February 23 show was the only use of a flat wall set with a wedge facade, which was widely used on many Sullivan shows and matched his hosting corner backdrop. The final set of the February 23 show featured the free standing art nouveau columns. Now you know!

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TeleTales #67…The Art Of Shooting Live Drama

TeleTales #67…The Art Of Shooting Live Drama

Before videotape, there were only kinescopes, so shows had to be done live. Just take a moment and study the photo below from Television City…that’s tight in every way. The floor camera is shooting the actor on top (Edmond O’Brien), the crane is shooting the other, the boom is there for sound and there’s even a hand held face light.

This takes choreography…a well laid plan and skilled crew. John Frankenheimer was one of the best ever live directors and did many of these shows. If you never have, take a look at “The Comedian” at the link below. Frankenheimer directed this “Playhouse 90” presentation that takes places behind the scenes at Television City…TK11s are everywhere. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9vdpFeiS2A

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TeleTales #66…NBC Chicago Class Picture

TeleTales #66…NBC Chicago Class Picture

With Chicago on my mind from the ABC story, I wanted to share this picture from around 1950. There are a lot of familiar faces and names here that went on the New York. Among those that did, but are not seen here are Hugh Downs, Mrs. Francis from “Ding Dong School” and Jack Lescoulie. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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TeleTales #64…Speaking Of The EMI 2001 Cameras


TeleTales #64…Speaking Of The EMI 2001 Cameras

Here is a followup on the BBC remote story from yesterday that showed us the EMI 2001 cameras in the field. Thanks to Andy Rose for the find. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGvO29NQ8xs

EMI 2001 Broadcast Camera Training Video 1970’s (BBC)

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February 9, 1953…The REAL Beginning Of ABC!

February 9, 1953…The REAL Beginning Of ABC!

That was the day United Paramount, led by Leonard Goldenson, came to the rescue and saved the company from bankruptcy.

On October 12, 1943, Edward John Noble, the owner of Life Savers candy, the Rexall drugstore chain, and the radio station WMCA in New York, bought NBC’s Blue Network for $8 million.

In much the same way NBC was forced to sell the Blue Network,
the movie theater operator United Paramount Theaters (UPT) was forced to become an independent entity, separating itself from the film studio Paramount Pictures in 1949.

For its part, ABC was on the verge of bankruptcy, with only five stations and nine full-time affiliates. Its revenues failed to compensate for its heavy investments in buying and building stations. In 1951, Noble held a 58% stake in ABC, giving him $5 million with which to prevent ABC from going bankrupt with a loan from the Prudential Insurance Company of America.

Leonard Goldenson, the president of UPT, approached Noble in 1951 and proposed that UPT purchase ABC. Noble received further offers, including one from Bill Paley of CBS, but that would have forced CBS to sell at least its New York and Los Angeles stations. Goldenson and Noble reached a tentative agreement in the late spring of 1951 that ABC would become a subsidiary of UPT, but would remain autonomous in its management.

On June 6, 1951, UPT’s board of directors validated their tentative agreement. However, the transaction had to be approved by the FCC. Insofar as the Paramount Pictures film studio was already a shareholder of the DuMont Television Network, the FCC conducted a series of hearings to ensure whether Paramount was truly separated from United Paramount Theaters, and whether it was violating antitrust laws.

In 1952, when the FCC ended its freeze on applications for new stations, among the issues to be addressed was the approval of the merger between UPT and ABC.

On February 9, 1953, the FCC authorized UPT’s purchase of ABC in exchange for $25 million in shares, and the company was renamed American Broadcasting-Paramount Theaters, Inc.

The new company was based in Paramount’s headquarters at 1501 Broadway in New York, and owned six AM radio stations and many FMs, as well as five TV stations and 644 cinemas in 300 cities throughout the United States.

In consideration of this merger, UPT sold its television station in Chicago, WBKB-TV, to CBS for $6 million. CBS changed the calls to WBBM-TV. They kept ABC’s existing Chicago station, WENR-TV but moved the WBKB call letters to channel 7, which would eventually become WLS-TV. Goldenson began to sell some of the old theaters to finance the new television network.

On May 1, 1953, ABC’s flagship stations – WJZ, WJZ-FM and WJZ-TV in New York – adopted the callsigns of WABC, WABC-FM and WABC-TV, and moved to 7 West 66th Street, one block from Central Park.

At the same time, Goldenson had been trying to convince his movie studio friends to provide content for the network. ABC’s merger with UPT led to the creation of relationships with Hollywood’s film production studios, breaking a long quarantine that had existed between film and television.

Goldenson’s efforts paid off, and on October 27, 1954, the network was able to launch a “New ABC” campaign with the productions of several studios, including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Bros., and 20th Century Fox.

However, the most iconic (and ironic) of ABC’s relationships with Hollywood producers was its agreement with Walt Disney. Walt and his brother Roy contacted Goldenson at the end of 1953 to ask ABC to finance part of the Disneyland project in exchange for Disney’s production of a television series.

Walt wanted ABC to invest $500,000 and a guarantee of $4.5 million in additional loans, a third of the budget intended for the park. Around 1954, ABC agreed to finance Disneyland in exchange for the broadcasting of a new Sunday television program, Disneyland, which debuted on the ABC network on October 27, 1954 as the first of many anthology TV programs that Disney would broadcast over the course of the next fifty years. We all know the rest of the story! Thanks to Maureen Carney for the image and reminding me of this anniversary! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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TeleTales #63…Groovy! KHJ At The Beach, 1967


TeleTales #63…Groovy! KHJ At The Beach, 1967

Thanks to Dave Miller, here’s a home movie shot at Santa Monica Beach in ’67 showing the taping of “Groovy” which was a local teen dance show. Notice the big silver connector on the side of the new Norlco PC60s…that is a converter box that takes the camera from it’s usual 2 cable configuration to a single TV 88 cable.

By the way, when you see The Standells perform, sing along with their hit “Dirty Water” and you’ll see they are in perfect sync. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

#t=35″ target=”_blank”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsEP8HE-aZc #t=35

Rare 8mm footage taken in 1967 in California during the filming of KHJ-TV’s Groovy. In addition to host Michael Blodgett, guest bands for the day included Th…

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TeleTales #60…The CBS Censors And The Smothers Brothers

TeleTales #60…The CBS Censors And The Smothers Brothers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqriMwc53es

Thanks to Randy West, here is a perfect example of the kind of censorship and restraint CBS applied to Tom and Dick Smothers. Can you say petty?

The bigger issue was politics and Tom and Dick discuss that at the link above. The best discussion on this topic is from the 2002 documentary from Maureen Muldaur called “Smothered: The Censorship Struggles of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”.
It’s online, but you have to sign up to see it, but it’s worth it.
Enjoy and share. -Bobby Ellerbee

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TeleTales #59…By Request, The Andy Griffith Opening

TeleTales #59…By Request, The Andy Griffith Opening

This rare photo is one of the most shared images ever posted here, and to answer the many requests to see it again, here it is. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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TeleTales #58…Hauling Ass Into History! A Dream Of Jeannie?

TeleTales #58…Hauling Ass Into History! A Dream Of Jeannie?

What does this picture of a donkey in the backseat have to do with television history? Actually, quite a lot.

This is a publicity shot for a 1964 movie called “The Brass Bottle” which costarred Barbara Eden. Although she did not play the genie that lived in the bottle, her appearance in the film led to her being cast in the television show that was a spin off of this movie…”I Dream Of Jeannie” which debuted in 1965. Please remember to visit the main page to see all of today’s stories…just click on the blue text at the top of this post! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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TeleTales #57…A Two Bird, One Stone Surprise

TeleTales #57…A Two Bird, One Stone Surprise

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0vggMCiJfs
First, at the link is a song that many people think was a Beatles original, but it’s not…it’s from “The Music Man”. The performance is by opera star Barbra Cook on “The Bell Telephone Hour” which began April 29, 1940 on NBC Radio and was heard there until June 30, 1958 when it moved to television for a nine year run.

Below is nice shot of Barbara Cook from one one of her many appearances on the Bell Hour which originated at NBC Brooklyn. The Bell hour was one of the first shows to be broadcast exclusively in color. I think “The Howdy Doody Show” was the first daily color broadcast starting September 12, 1955. To make sure you are seeing all the stories, please visit the main page by clicking on the blue text at the top of this post -Bobby Ellerbee

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TeleTales #56…Network Television’s First News Program

TeleTales #56…Network Television’s First News Program

In 1947, CBS began experimenting with a news show which was broadcast on Saturday night, but soon afterward they added a Wednesday night edition too. As far as I know, this was newsreel show with no on camera talent, but there was a live announcer narrating.

On May 3, 1948 introduced “CBS Television News” with a live host…Douglas Edwards. I say host, because use of the word “anchor” did not come about till 1952, when Walter Cronkite was deemed anchor man of the 1952 political conventions.

This was television’s first live news show and ran weeknights from 7:30 till 7:45. I think the one camera show originally came from a small newsroom office at the CBS headquarters building at 485 Madison Avenue with the film being rolled from Studio 43 at Grand Central. It later moved to Leiderkrantz Hall and finally to Studio 42 at Grand Central. To see all of todays stories, please remember to visit the main page by clicking on the blue text at the top of this post. -Bobby Ellerbee

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TeleTales #55…VIII Winter Olympics From Squaw Valley

TeleTales #55…VIII Winter Olympics From Squaw Valley

In February of 1960, CBS televised the events live from California in glorious black and white, but at least by then, there was video tape. As a matter of fact, this is one of the first times videotape was used to help officials officials judge an event. There was a question if one of the skiers had touched a flag and the tape was used to help the judges see what had really happened. Thanks to Kevin Vahey for the great picture. Please remember to visit the main page to see all of todays articles…just click on the blue text at the top of this post. -Bobby Ellerbee

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RCA’s First Experimental Color Television Cameras

RCA’s First Experimental Color Television Cameras

By request, here is more on RCA’s first color efforts. Shown here are the first two RCA color cameras made. The photo was taken at NBC/RCA’s Wardman Park Studio in Washington DC around 1949.

The camera on the left has the lens cowl removed and notice that the color splitting mirrors are mounted in front of the fixed lens. Although the b/w RCA TK10 and TK30 had come to market in 1946 with turret lenses, this camera was not quite ready for that yet and, as with the old Iconoscope cameras, had to dolly in and out to get close ups or long shots.

In late 1950, these cameras were basically abandoned when RCA moved color testing to NBC Studio 3H in New York. The Washington color veterans were sent there, but these cameras went back to Princeton. The new experimental color cameras in 3H were the black “coffin cameras” which had the first hint of the now famous rounded viewfinder. Color tests began in 3H in early 1951 and stayed there till early ’53 when the Colonial Theater came into service with the prototype RCA TK40s. Please remember to visti the main page…just click on the blue text at the top of this post! -Bobby Ellerbee

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Television Milestones…1939 – 1940 Historical Events Timeline

Television Milestones…1939 – 1940 Historical Events Timeline

Sometimes, it’s good to put things is perspective with a big picture overview of how television developed. Here is a look at the early milestones of the new media…baby steps along the way. By the way, W2XBS became WNBT or what we now know as WNBC. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

Apr. 30, 1939. President Roosevelt is the first President to appear on television, from the New York World’s Fair on W2XBS, now transmitting on 45.25 MHz visual and 49.75 MHz aural.

May 17, 1939. A Princeton-Columbia baseball game is telecast from Baker Field in New York by W2XBS, making this the first sports telecast 4 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Bill Stern was the announcer.

June 1, 1939. First heavyweight boxing match televised, Max Baer vs Lou Nova, form Yankee Stadium on W2XBS.

Aug. 26, 1939. First major league baseball game telecast, a double-header between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, announcer Walter L. “Red” Barber on W2XBS.

Sept. 30, 1939. First televised college football game, Fordham vs Waynesburg, at Randall’s Island, New York, on W2XBS.

Oct. 22, 1939. First NFL game is televised by W2XBS: the Brooklyn Dodgers (correct, there was such a team) beat the Philadelphia Eagles 23-14 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Play by play announcer was Allen (Skip) Walz.

Nov. 10, 1939. W2XB in Schenectady NY goes on the air (became WRGB in 1942). This GE property (W2XB) was the first experimental station licensed and RCA (W2XBS) was second. The XB stand for Experimental Broadcast…the S in W2XBS is for South, as NYC was to the south of the first licencee.

Jan. 1940. The FCC holds public hearings on television.

Feb. 1, 1940. The first NBC network television program was broadcast (with help from AT&T) from W2XBS NYC to Schenectady.

Feb. 25, 1940. First hockey game televised, Rangers vs Canadians, on W2XBS, from Madison Square Garden.

Feb. 26, 1940. The first quiz show, “Spelling Bee”, on W2XB (WRGB).

Feb. 28, 1940. FCC announces a limited commercial television service will be authorized beginning on September 1. Standards were not set, pending further research until the best system could be determined. Two days later the FCC suspended its authorization for commercial service, declaring that the marketing campaign of RCA disregarded the commission’s findings and recommendations.

Feb. 28, 1940. First basketball game televised, from Madison Square Garden, Fordham vs The University of Pittsburgh, by W2XBS.

Mar. 10, 1940. W2XBS utilizes the Metropolitan Opera to broadcast a scene from the opera “Pagliacci” from NBC Studio 3H. The audio portion is carried over radio station WJZ.

Mar. 15, 1940. Broadcasting reports RCA cuts price of television sets, starts sales drive intended to put a minimum of 25,000 in homes in service area of NBC’s W2XBS.

Apr. 1, 1940. Broadcasting reports FCC suspends order for “limited commercial” operation of TV, censures RCA for sales efforts which are seen as an attempt to freeze TV standards at present level, calls new hearing; critics call move “usurpation of power.”

Apr. 13, 1940. W2XWV (WABD) licensed to DuMont.

June 1940. W2XBS (NBC) covers the Republican National Convention from Philadelphia for 33 hours over five days. Broadcast to NYC, Schenectady and Philadelphia as first three city NBC network feed. W3XE (WPTZ) was the Philadelphia station.

Aug. 5, 1940. W9XBK (WBKB) Chicago goes on the air (Balaban & Katz/Paramount).

Aug. 29, 1940. Peter Goldmark of CBS announces his invention of the Field Sequential color TV system.

Sept. 3, 1940. First showing of color TV, by W2XAB, (WCBS) transmitting from the Chrysler Building, using 343 lines. This was the first telecast of any kind from CBS since the closing of their scanner station February 2, 1933.



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Just For Fun…”The Frank Sinatra Show”, ABC 1957

Just For Fun…”The Frank Sinatra Show”, ABC 1957

From October of ’57 through June of ’58, ABC broadcast this show, usually live, from the El Captain Theater in Los Angeles, which was also home to “Queen For A Day”.

Notice above, I said “usually live”…actually only a few of the shows were supposed to be live variety shows with the bulk being filmed dramas that either starred Sinatra or had him hosting the drama. As it turned out, Sinatra hated to rehearse and tried to film 11 shows in 15 days. They were so bad, ABC settled for the live variety shows and cut it’s losses with a short season.

Below are a couple of clips with Frank, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby and Mitzi Gaynor. With this Chesterfield ad, we are reminded of the old red and white ABC camera colors. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqGPtwvsh6A
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQgHV9OFazE

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A Primer On The History Of Chroma Key In Television


A Primer On The History Of Chroma Key In Television…

Was this Milton Berle chroma key sketch the first? No, but it is one of the most sophisticated early uses of the technology as it employs both chroma key and video tape editing. This was quite a feat in 1959!

Motion picture production had been using compositing for years prior to the invention of television, but it was an involved process requiring optical printers and intermediate film mattes, hardly suitable for the immediacy of live television.

In July of 1957, chroma key had its first on-air test on one of NBC Burbank’s more ambitious projects, ‘Matinee Theater’ that ran from 1955 to 1958. Every weekday afternoon, a one-hour live dramatic production was presented. The source material varied, but often it was an adaptation of some famous literary work.

A television version of the H.G. Wells classic “The Invisible Man,” lent itself perfectly for the first live use of chroma key. When the title character’s hands and head were wrapped in blue and he stood in front of a blue screen, the chroma key amplifier would replace the blue parts of the video with an image from another camera. All that would be seen in the composite shot was the man’s clothing in front of scenery being shot by the background camera, thus making him appear to be invisible.

Chroma key was developed by Frank Gaskins, NBC Burbank’s technical operations supervisor and Milt Altman, graphics arts supervisor. Together, they pooled their talent to develop what has become standard equipment on live video switchers throughout the world and now can be launched on any home computer. Today, blue has been largely replaced by the use of green, but is the same process. The key color change became necessary when video started to be compressed and primary colors began to be sampled at the ratio of 4:2:2, with luminence and green being the only fully sampled channel in most cases. -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoLi3MFMS6c&feature=youtu.be

Milton Berle satirizes himself in a 1959 special comparing the old slapstick Berle with his new more sophisticated image in dual appearances that utilizes an…

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NBC Tour Time #2…30 Rock As Only David Letterman Can Show It


NBC Tour Time #2…30 Rock As Only David Letterman Can Show It

Just for fun, here a clip from around 1985, just before the GE sale, with Dave bring out some of the many selling points. I particularly like the trip to the Tom Brokaw news set;>) Thanks to David Crosthwait for the clip. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6RKlrq5sbs

Ghosts and headlocks.

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