Don Lee Broadcasting…Pioneering West Coast Television
KTLA and Klaus Landsberg were not the only ones innovating in Los Angeles in the 1930s. There was also Don Lee who’s station (now KCBS) is credited with airing the first movie and the first news film on television.
Here is an interesting pictorial history and article I thought you would enjoy from my friend Steve McVoy at the Early Television Museum. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
One of the most interesting stories in the history of early television is that of Don Lee Broadcasting. Don Lee was a Cadillac dealer in Los Angeles who entered the broadcasting business in 1926 with the purchase of a radio station. In November, 1930, Don Lee engaged the services of 24-year-old Harr…
65 years ago today, WML began a 17 year run which reportedly makes it the longest running prime time network game show ever.
Produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, the show was initially called “Occupation Unknown” but the day before air, the name was changed. The show debuted on Thursday, February 2, 1950 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. It originally aired alternate Thursdays, the alternate Wednesdays till October 1, 1950 when it settled into its weekly Sunday 10:30 p.m. ET slot where it would remain until the end of its network run on September 3, 1967.
Here is the debut episode and it’s a good thing they made a lot of changes to the show, and quickly. Dorothy Kilgallen was the only original panel member to survive the line up shifts until her death in 1965. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Helen Ready was the first host, but instead of playing that clip, I wanted to share this one…I was there for this. My best friend wrote this song, formed the band and played the drums; his name was Robert Nix, but I called him Robotussen. He called me Robustus.
I bought the cowboy shirt lead singer Ronnie Hammond is wearing at Nudie Cohen’s Western Wear that day in Los Angles. About four in the afternoon, we went to NBC Burbank to tape the show.
What people don’t know about this song is that the “imaginary lover” Robert wrote about was Jo Jo Billingsly who was a backup singer for Lynyard Skynyard. Rob and Jo were more than just friends. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
http://youtu.be/gQJm1F7VEEENo infringement of copyright is intended in any way under DMCA, under the terms of fair use for education. The Midnight Special More 1979 – 11 – Atlanta Rhyt…
Amazingly, they have only 6 minutes to set up and 6 to tear down these incredibly complex stages. I hear there are 600 on the stage crew to carry and assemble all this on the field. Enjoy and share!
Super Bowl Run Up…From The Booth To The Trucks & More
Here, we’ll see and hear from today’s announcers as well as the producer and director on how things have changed over the years and how they go about their jobs on this super day. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Watch the video Behind the scenes of NBC’s Super Bowl XLIX production on Yahoo Sports . NFL Media’s Melissa Stark takes you inside the NBC Super Bowl broadcast with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth.
Super Bowl Technical Primer…Sports Video Group Magazine
There is a lot of very detailed info in the articles of this magazine. If you are not familiar with it, you should be. Here’s a link to their story on how the world feed is done, but there is a lot more here for die hard techies at all levels. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
The Super Bowl’s impact beyond the U.S. continues to grow and this year 18 countries are on site with productions that range from commentary only to three-camera shoots in studio booths. And for Jeff Lombardi, NFL, senior director of international production operations, and his team the goal is to m…
At the time this episode aired, the show was about a year into production and holding its ground from 4:15 – 4:30 weekdays, even though it was up against “American Bandstand”.
The show originated from CBS Studio 65, The Hi Brown Theater at 221 West 26 Street. On June 18, 1962, CBS extended “The Secret Storm” to a half hour and moved it to the 4:00 PM time slot, where it ran for six years against NBC’s “The Match Game”.
In 1966, “Dark Shadows” premiered against it on ABC, and CBS moved the show forward an hour to 3:00 PM on September 9, 1968, facing NBC’s fast-rising “Another World”.
“The Secret Storm” went to color broadcasts on September 11, 1967. In all the turmoil of its later years, the main reason for the show’s demise may have been CBS’s choice to buy the show from the original sponsor/packager, American Home Products, in 1969. Ever since CBS purchased the show, it suffered from numerous headwriter and producer changes. The show was canceled in 1974 and replaced with a less-expensive game show, “Tattletales”.
You may remember that in 1968, Joan Crawford, who at the time was over 60 years old, filled in for her ailing daughter, Christina, who played the role of Joan Borman Kane, a character who was only 28. The episodes were broadcast on October 25, 28, 29 and 30. The 1981 film “Mommie Dearest” portrayed Crawford’s appearance without specifying the name of the series. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
[fb_vid id=”10200462127141865″]Ellerbee Camera Collection Video Tour
For those of you that have never seen this, here it is again. I shot this a couple of years back with a small 35mm photo camera and it shows all of the 16 cameras I have on display here in my home. At the time, I had about 25 cameras, now, with the addition of the 70+ ENG cameras, there are about 100 cameras in the collection. Enjoy!
Thanks top Bettina Levesque for this picture of her behind the camera at the Metro Media Square Studios where the last two seasons of “Three’s A Crowd” were shot in ’84 and ’85. The camera is an RCA TK45. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Our New Camera Collecting Friend In Germany…Liam O’Hainnin
We met just this morning and Liam has some very nice Fernseh cameras, including the very camera that shot President Kennedy’s famous speech in Berlin. Donka Shane Liam! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Building The Sets For “Saturday Night Live”…A Visit To Brooklyn
This a good story on how, where and when the sets for SNL are built each week, BUT…make sure to click on the slide show button at the bottom of the page to see the 16 pictures. The work they do on such short notice is just amazing! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
As one of the few women in television at this level, she got some interesting assignments outside the studio too. Here she is in 1973 ready to get the aerial shots from the Goodyear Blimp in Los Angeles. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Ultra Rare! Meet Television’s Top Late Night Directors!
Thanks to Vinnie Favale, here is a one of a kind photo. From left to right is “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” director Dave Diomedi, “The Colbert Report” director Jim Hoskinson, “Late Night With David Letterman” director Jerry Foley and “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” director Chuck O’Neil. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
In Case You Missed This…NBC Super Bowl Camera Location Chart
There are 51 cameras inside the stadium to cover the game action. I understand, a separate set of cameras and trucks are covering half time in the stadium.
This does not count all the pregame show cameras that will be used outside the stadium, so we are probably talking about around 120 to 130 total. There were 104 used on the National Championship college game a few weeks back. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
On January 30, 1951,Studio 8H was dedicated as a television studio.
On November 7, 1933, 8H was the home of the first NBC Radio broadcast from the new 30 Rockefeller Plaza headquarters and was then known as the Auditorium Studio.
As early as April 19, 1944, television had occasionally come from here with occasional broadcasts/simulcasts of “The Voice Of Firestone”. The 1944 occasion was only a local event, but in 1949 there were a few network television simulcasts of Firestone. All were covered as remotes, even thought they were in the building.
The story continues on the many pages of very rare historical documents and photos, so please click on each. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee
TeleTales #40…The Super Bowl’s First Celebrity Half Time Performer
At Super Bowl IV in 1970, Carol Channing became the first celerity to entertain at half time at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. Al Hirt was actually the first celebrity to perform at a Super Bowl, as he played the National Anthem at Super Bowl I.
Before this, half time entertainment was from the great Florida A&M Marching Band and the next year by Grambling State’s Marching Band, both of which were black colleges with great dancing bands.
TeleTales #39…Four Camera Bowl Game, NBC 1960
It may not have been much of a surprise in yesterday’s post that ABC only used four cameras for a college football game in 1949, but in 1960…guess what…it was still four cameras.
This was the 1960 Senior Bowl, hosted by Red Grange and Lindsey Nelson from Mobile Alabama. NBC was using an RCA mobile color unit for this. There were several of these on the east and west coasts for broadcasters to rent for special or extended coverage. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
TeleTales #38…Watch For These At The Super Bowl
This is probably the most unique camera platform ever. I think this configuration debuted about five years ago when ESPN asked Chapman for something different for sideline coverage. According the NBC’s camera chats, there will be two of these on the sidelines this Sunday for the Super Bowl. If any of you are at the arena and can get us some new pictures of these, I know we would all appreciate it. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
TeleTales #37…Three Strip Technicolor; How It Was Done
At the link is the best description and detail I have ever seen on this landmark color technology. It’s a well written article that’s not overly technical. “Gone With The Wind” and “The Wizard Of Oz” were some of the fist big films to use this new process. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
ABC Election Coverage, November 1980, Studio TV 2 New York
Here are a dozen or so great pictures from John Schmidt of the election set. The candidates were incumbent Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Independent John Anderson. In some of these, you can see reporters Frank Reynolds, Ted Koppel, Max Robinson and Barbara Walters.
The cameras are shooting toward the back of TV 2 and the white wall behind the cameras is the door that separates TV 1 and TV 2. In one of these, the door is up. Our friend Bob Franklin at ABC wanted to see some of his old friends, and Ryan Balton mentioned his dad, Bruce was on the crane in some of these elections.
Please help identify people, places and equipment as you click through these. I know there are some rare goodies in the graphics, audio and control room shots. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee
TeleTales #36…A Super Bowl Fact You Won’t Believe!
Did you know the real grass field in the stadium “goes outside for sun”? It’s true! It takes about 45 minutes for the grass surface to travel back inside and is the only retractable grass field in the US. It’s only brought inside for football. The rest of the time, while concerts, tennis, basketball and other events happen on the concrete floor, the lawn is outside soaking up the sun.
In the last pix, we see some of the Chapman sideline dollies being set up. Thanks to Guy Jones for the pix! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
TeleTales #35…Oldest Complete MLB Color Broadcast, 1967
Hopefully this will bring some warmth our friends in Boston!
At the link is the September 30, 1967 game between Boston and Minnesota at Fenway Park. This was one of the closest pennant races in the American League ever with the Twins one game ahead of Boston and Detroit on the last weekend of the season.
The game was covered by WHDH with RCA TK41s. At the start, you can see Boston’s mayor with VP Hubert Humphrey from Minnesota, Senator Ted Kennedy and what looks like Sen. Mike Mansfield from Montana, who was Senate Majority Leader at the time. Thanks to Alec Cumming for sharing this. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Earlier today, we saw this same stage in the story of Elvis Presley’s first network television appearance on this day in 1956.
Here’s a great shot of Ed Sullivan in the theater now named after him. Behind him is a scaffold with a camera up top, but with space so tight on this stage, some of the props for each broadcast were kept here for easy access. You can see the layout, production and technical information of Studio 50 in these other three pages. Thanks to Gady Reinhold for this info from the CBS 1960 Production book. Notice the Zoomar on the RCA TK11. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
TeleTales #33…A Stunning Piece Of Real Television History
Stunning? How so? If you think back on all the years of color test broadcasts in the early 1950s, including NBC’s coast to coast colorcast of the Rose Parade on January 1, 1954, you suddenly realize that no one could see it! Well…all but a few.
If you wonder why they did all that color testing without the public being able to see it, the reason lies in this term “compatible color”.
RCA and NBC had to make sure their Dot Sequential System of color was also sharp and clear in black and white, as well as color. It was also a test for the stations that had installed the color transmitters.
For the Rose Parade, RCA had built about 200 color receivers that were shipped to the 21 markets that had color capable stations for the broadcast. In each of the 21 markets, the receivers were on display at local dealers where large crowds came to watch.
By the way, when I say “color capable stations”, I mean they were only able to broadcast color programs that came in from NBC. The first shipments of live TK40 color cameras and studio equipment from RCA began on March 4, 1954, just 21 days before this announcement of the start of production on the granddaddy of color sets, the CT 100. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
TeleTales #32…NBC Television Network: July 1, 1948
For a bit of perspective on how much things have changed, here is a map of NBC’s network in the middle of 1948. At the time, there were only seven stations, with nine to be added in 1949.
Of course the NBC Radio network was much bigger and was coast to coast, but AT&T was the driving force in where and when television could go. TV took coaxial cables or microwave relays and all that had to be built or laid. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
When Jackie Gleason brought his half hour, filmed version of “The Honeymooners” to CBS in the 1955-56 season, he decided to produce the half hour lead in show too. For that, he chose The Dorsey Brothers, Jimmy and Tommy, with their great bands, and called the production “Stage Show”.
Like the live Gleason shows of the past and future seasons, it originated at CBS Studio 50…now called The Ed Sullivan Theater.
On this particular Saturday night, Elvis Presley made his first ever network television appearance and you can see this rare performance at the link above. This is a photo from that night and CBS legend Pat McBride is behind the camera.
Elvis was paid $1,250 for each of the six ‘Stage Shows’ on which he appeared. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee