In the clip, we see Dave Garroway visiting with KFO just before their trip to RCA’s Wardman Park Hotel experimental color studio, where on October 10, 1949 they did a special closed circuit colorcast for the FCC. Later that same day, they did the regularly schedulded black and white network show from NBC’s WRC studios.
KFO actually started on Chicago’s WBKB around 1948, but moved to NBC owned WNBQ later in 48 and was a huge Chicagoland hit. The NBC network heard about it and decided to air it afternoons nation wide and the first network broadcast, live from Chicago, was on this day in 1949.
By the way, the laughter in the clip is form the crew and the seven member band which was just to the left of the set and hidden by the RCA TK30. FYI, when the show was at WBKB, they were the ones that began shooting it with the Zoomar Field Lens…it looked so good, NBC continued with it. Oh…one more thing…at the time, Garroway was hosing ‘Garroway At Large’ which was a popular Chicago show. January 14, 1952, he began hosting ‘Today’ when it debuted on NBC from New York. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
By the way, this was one of the only primetime shows ever to air twice a week. The first show to do that was ‘Shindig’ and it’s interesting to note that ABC filled the two empty half hours with ‘Batman’. It aired in the same day and time slots as ‘Shindig’ who’s last episode ran a week before the caped crusaders took over. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
After an eight year break, ‘Dragnet’ returned to television with this episode. In updating the story lines, Webb was particularly aware of the wave of teenage drug use, and a fair number of episodes have a “narko” theme. To differentiate it from the earlier Dragnet series, the year in which each season aired was made part of the on-screen title, so the series started as ‘Dragnet 1967’ and ended as ‘Dragnet 1970′. The entire series aired Thursdays at 9:30-10:00 pm and was directed by Jack Webb.
Here’s some interesting trivia about the show…
The pair of hands seen hammering the Mark VII logo at the end of every episode belong to Jack Webb.
For the sake of continuity, Friday and Gannon always wore the same outfits in every episode. According to Harry Morgan, he and Jack Webb decided to switch coats for one scene to see if anyone noticed. Because only Morgan was in the scene, no one on the set realized it until the scene had been shot. In the next scene, Morgan has on the correct coat. This is the only incident of faulty continuity in the series’ run.
When the revival was in the planning stages, Jack Webb had originally planned on bringing in his former co-star Ben Alexander to reprise his role as Officer Frank Smith. However, Alexander was appearing on the ABC series ‘Felony Squad’ and that network would not let him out of his contract to appear on the revival. Webb then chose Harry Morgan to play the new character of Officer Bill Gannon.
As you can tell by the three pilot episodes listed above, launching the American version of the hit BBC show ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ was not a simple task for Norman Lear.
All three pilots start with the same opening song, and Carol O’Connor and Gene Stapelton were always Archie and Edith, but not Bunker…not yet anyway. The family name was originally Justice, and the original title was ‘Justice For All’.
Only in the last pilot to we finally meet Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner as Gloria and Michael. In pilot one, those parts were played by Kelly Jean Peters and Tim McIntire and in pilot two, by Candice Azar and Chip Oliver. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
The first original Pilot of All in the Family called Justice for All. It contains different cast members and a younger Archie and Edith.
In Case You Missed This…The Restoration Of ‘The Wizard Of Oz’
This is a follow up on the Oz picture posted yesterday and a reminder that here at EOAG…the comments are the MOST AMAZING you will find anywhere! If you are not paying attention to them, you are missing A LOT! Many comments are from industry pros that were or are involved with these shows and events, and others come from people with a deep knowledge and interest on our subject matter. THANKS to ALL that share these rare insights, anecdotes and experiences with us, and to Glenn Mack for this great clip. Enjoy, share and read the comments! -Bobby Ellerbee
On Several Levels…One Of The MOST INTERESTING Videos I’ve Seen
You are in for some big surprises! More than I can account for here in the text, so I urge you to just see for yourself. This is a whole episode of ‘Steve Allen’s Music Room’ that ran in syndication from ’84 till ’86.
I’ve started it at the place were Steve asks Doc about his early days in music. You will never guess who interrupts them and why, but you’ll be surprised to see who Steve’s sidekick/announcer (Bill Maher) was AND, by the awesome clip he introduces from ‘Tonight’. PLUS, just after that, Doc plays something most of us have never heard before…the original ‘Tonight’ show sign off song. Doc was in the band then and was featured on it every night during Allen’s stint as host. By the way, Steve wrote the song.
Later, Patty Page and Ann Jillian are guests. It good from start to finish, but the featured part I’ve written about here is just amazing on many levels. ENJOY AND SHARE! -Bobby Ellerbee
December 15, 1965…WSB Atlanta Goes Color With First RCA TK42
At the link above is a story I just got from our friend Bob Foreman. The article he sent is from the Saturday paper, just after the Thursday surprise Atlanta viewers got when ‘Today In Georgia’ debuted in color, making WSB the first station in Georgia with live local color. They were also the first station here able to broadcast color and I think that ability goes back to around 1956. WSB was one of the original NBC affiliates on both the radio and television networks.
I’ve had this photo for a long time of that first “colorvised” show, but never had a firm date or back up to the fact that WSB got the very first TK42. The story was, that RCA wanted to field test the new camera on ‘The Popeye Club’. It was the country’s top local kids show and RCA thought the colorful clothing of the 30 or so “clubhouse gang” members for each show would be a good color test.
An RCA engineer came to Atlanta with the camera to set it up and tweak it, and was still doing that when the second one arrived in mid January. I think he stayed in Atlanta for about three months doing tests.
Georgia legend Ruth Kent who hosted ‘Today In Georgia’ is seen here on that first day with some of the WSB management and engineering people. Notice the cameraman is not using pan handles, but the built in D handles (zoom and focus) on the back of the camera. That’s what they were designed for, but the ergonomic idea by our friend Harry Wright, at RCA, turned at to be a not so good idea after all. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Congratulations To NBC’s Rick Fox…Retired Friday After 31 Years
Several people have asked about the unusually long hold on the opening shot of Friday’s ‘Nightly News’ broadcast and the single technical credit to a cameraman at the end of the show (below in Comments).
The cameraman in this screen capture is Rick Fox who’s been with NBC since 1984. Although he has worked a lot of other shows, I think he had been on the ‘Nightly News’ crew since the Brokaw days. Well done Mr. Fox! Enjoy and share. -Bobby Ellerbee
January 11, 1958…’Sea Hunt’ Debuts On 100 Stations In Syndication
Filming began September 23, 1958 and ended exactly four years later on September 23, 1961. The series was created and produced by Ivan Tors and ZIV Television. Initially, the under water scenes were shot in Southen California, but soon moved to South Florida and The Bahamas where Tors later created ‘Flipper’.
Pioneering underwater cinematographer Lamar Boren shot nearly all the underwater footage and would later shoot ‘Flipper, and the underwater sequences of three James Bond films…’Thunderball’, ‘You Only Live Twice’, and ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’. Below is the first episode of ‘Sea Hunt’. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade #5…’Gone With The Wind’ Technicolor Closeup
Having seen one of these huge Technicolor camera blimps in the Oz photo earlier, I wanted to give you a feel for how big they really were.
On the set of ‘Gone With The Wind’, here is director Victor Fleming looking into the viewfinder. Behind him is camera operator Arthur Arling and cinematographer Ernest Haller.
The actual camera inside the soundproof blimp was about the size of a regular 35mm Mitchell, but it used three reels of film simultaneously and a larger than average motor, so it was fairly noisy. Remember to visit the EOAG page to see all of today’s stories by clicking on the blue title text above. -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade #4…Heaving and Hoeing, Heavy Metal And Manpower
This is a location shot from the 1938 hit musical ‘Girls Of The Golden West’ staring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy and a ton of new comers, like Buddy Ebson who you’ll see in the trailer. You’ll also see a lot crane shots made with this two and a half ton behemoth.
By the way, the rope is not for pulling the crane, but it is for pulling distance. Knots in the rope let them know when they got to the marks they had rehearsed. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade #3…The Long And Short Of ‘Star Wars’
Here’s Peter Mayhue (L) and Kenny Baker taking a break. As you may have guessed, Mayhue played Chewbacca and Baker was R2D2 . Althouhg James Earl Jones was the voice of Darth Vader, the actor under the helmet was David Prowse. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade #2…A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Oz
A few weeks back, I watched ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ for the umteenth time on TCM. It’s still a fascinating spectacle…especially for those of us who grew up watching it on black and white sets and never knew till much later that most of it was in color. Here’s one of the huge Technicolor cameras shooting Margret Hamilton atop a house, just before she disappears in a beautiful orange smoke cloud. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade #1…The Universal Court House Square
Most recognize this set from ‘Back To The Future’, but it’s been used in more productions than you can shake a stick at. The first time we saw is was with Ma and Pa Kettle in 1949. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
A Behind The Scenes Visit To ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ With Pat Sajak
At the time, 1989, Pat was hosting the CBS late night show and the primetime version of WOF. In this fun clip, he leaves a guest on the couch in the middle of taping his late show and, with a camera in tow, makes his way to Studio 33 where the daytime version is being taped.
This is quite good and about the best look you’ll ever get of how Wheel is done, short of being there. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
ULTRA RARE! CBS Color Test Footage, August 19, 1949
The day before this, CBS did their first experimental color broadcast in Washington, D.C. for the FCC using the system they were building for Smith, Kline & French which was to be used in operating rooms for medical teaching.
The next week, on August 25, RCA announced their Dot Sequential color system which is the one we used today. CBS was making color with a system that used spinning red, blue and green color wheels on the cameras and receivers, so the CBS system was mechanical where the RCA system was all electronic.
Here’s three minutes of the oldest known color kinescope of a CBS Field Sequential color television test featuring a lady holding colorful scarves. A small low quality sample of this footage has been on the web for many years, this version is full 3 min worth in excellent HD quality! Thanks to Troy Walters in Australia for bringing this to us. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
“Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives”. That praise has opened ‘Days Of Our Lives’ since November 8, 1965 and this year the show celebrates it’s 50th Anniversary.
Here is a rare look at raw footage on the set shot at NBC Burbank where the show is still in production, even though NBC has “left the building”. John Sizemore is on Camera 1. This looks great in full screen view too. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade #5…Early Color Testing Days At The Colonial Theater
It was late November 1952 when the four RCA TK40 prototype cameras arrived at The Colonial. There was a year of almost around the clock testing of cameras, monitors, switching and transmitting equipment. The first production models of the TK40, twenty five in all, were shipped from Camden on March 4, 1954.
Notice in this photo from January ’54, there is no big cradle head…only a friction head under the camera. One thing the production crew learned in 1953 was that there was a need for a bigger, better pan head for the 325 pound camera. Houston Fearless sent a prototype cradle head in the summer of 53 and when the TK40s shipped in ’54, they all came with the new custom cradle head. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
By the way, the crane is the Houston Fearless 30B model.
Red Barber was the first announcer to broadcast baseball on television. He knew a lot about how to help get the best out of a game and developed this box to “talk” to the director in the truck.
When he thought play action was going to be in a certain area, or there was some player or position he wanted to talk about, he would flip one of the switches to alert them to have a camera ready. Red’s position requests were solid red lights. When the truck wanted him to talk about a position or player, they flipped a switch on their board and Red’s board light there blinked. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade #2…’On The Town’, First Musical Shot On Location
This 1949 film starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Betty Garrett was the first musical to be shot on location. Not all of it, but all of the outside scenes, were shot over a five day period in Manhattan.
It rained three of those days, but that was not the biggest problem. Both Sinatra and Kelly were at the peek of their fame and keeping fans away was the real problem. To help camouflage things, taxis and not limousines were used to get to locations, and the camera was hidden in a station wagon for street scenes. A broom handle was used as sound boom on the street.
When the movie debuted at Radio City Music Hall, the lines were the longest in the theater’s history. Oh… and Sinatra was so skinny, he had to wear butt pads to fill out the seat of his sailor suit. He tried very hard to keep this a secret, but word got out on the set and Gene Kelly teased him relentlessly. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade #1…NBC New York’s Air Cushion Studio Floors
Most never knew that under each studio floor at 30 Rock, there are air cushions to prevent vibration from the subway that runs directly under the building.
When Rockefeller Plaza was built in 1933, there was an elevated train that ran down 6th Avenue. In later years, it was moved underground and that’s when the problems started. I don’t know much about the when and where this began, but I remember reading about this around 1963. I thought it was fascinating, but remember something about big coil springs in the floors too.
I think this drawing is from the early ’60s and shows how inflated rubber bags were used to suspend the studio floor from the sub floor. If you know more, please chime in! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade #4…CBS Studio 42 At Grand Central Terminal, 1950
This is Faye Emerson on her fifteen minute daily show the CBS Network. In 1947, CBS bought the RCA TK10s and 30s for their studios. These are TK30s with the exclusive CBS striped band on the viewfinder. Do you know why they were there?
Here’s the answer…these are actually handy gray scale charts that cameramen can use to keep their adjustments in line as the tubes tended to drift some. Without having to go to a test pattern chart, they could quickly swing to the camera next to them and adjust their gain, shading and alignment. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade #3…CBS Studio 41 At Grand Central Terminal, 1944
These photos are from 1944 and show us WCBW, Studio 41 which was the larger of the two Grand Central studios. Officially there were Studios 41- 44 there, but 43 and 44 were “control” studios and not production studios like 41 and 42. As a reminder, this was local programming as there was no CBS Television Network until 1948. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade #2…SNL And NBC Studio 8H…February 10, 1979
When Bryan Durr was in high school, he and some buds would occasionally cut class and go on adventures in the city. These great photos are from one of those days. Bryan is now the senior video engineer for Seth Meyers in NBC’s Studio 8G.
His mention of the musical guest, The Talking Heads, puts this a day or so before their only appearance on SNL. The guest host was Cecily Tyson. MUCH MORE on the photos including excellent comments and more pix, so be sure and click on each. Thanks for digging these out of the garage Bryan! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
January 5, 1970…’All My Children’ Starts A 41 Year Run On ABC
This 1993 video is a fantastic look behind the scenes of the show in ABC’s TV 23, but more on what you can see and where in a moment.
From 1970 to 1990, ‘All My Children’ was recorded at ABC’s TV 18 at 101 West 67th St, now a 50-story apartment tower. From March 1990 to December 2009, it was taped at ABC’s television studio TV 23 at 320 West 66th Street. In December 2009, the show moved to Los Angeles and was produced on Stages 1 and 2 at the Andrita Studios.
The show aired on ABC for 41 years, from January 5, 1970, to September 23, 2011. Created by Agnes Nixon, ‘All My Children’ is set in Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, a fictional suburb of Philadelphia. The original series featured Susan Lucci as Erica Kane, one of daytime’s most popular characters. This was the first new network daytime drama to debut in the 1970s. Originally owned by Creative Horizons, Inc., the company created by Nixon and her husband, Bob, the show was sold to ABC in January 1975. The series started at a half-hour in per-installment length, then was expanded to a full hour on April 25, 1977.
The first 4 minutes of the video are quite good, as is the whole thing as we spend a lot of time on the set with what look like Ikegami 377s. Camera blocking starts around 11:30 with props at 14:30. Around 16:50 we get into the control room and into sets around 22:48. There’s a lot of good stuff here, so skip around, enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
This is Rocky Lane and his faithful horse Black Jack, which he rode in over 30 B movie westerns between 1947 and 1953. This was his most notable “credited” success…but not his biggest. See, he never got credit for being the voice of ‘Mr. Ed’.
At first, he didn’t want his name on the credits because he had been a successful screen actor, and being the voice of a horse was, well…a step or two down. But, once ‘Mr. Ed’ caught on, he changed his mind. By then, children had also caught on to the show and the credits listed Ed as played by “Himself”. Producers were afraid putting Lanes name there would “pop the bubble” so to speak and gave him a hefty raise instead.
From 1929 through 1936, he appeared in twenty four films. In 1937 his career began to soar as the star in 1938’s ‘The Law West of Tombstone’. In 1940, he portrayed “RCMP Sergeant Dave King”, the role becoming one of his most notable successes in a half dozen “Mountie” movies In 1946 and 1947, he portrayed “Red Ryder” in seven films. The following year, he became “Rocky Lane” in Western films.
Between 1940 and 1966, Lane made eighty two film and television series appearances, mostly in westerns. His last roles were in voice over acting, providing the voice for Mister Ed (1961–1966).
Here’s a trailer of a western with him as Rocky Lane. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
January 5, 1961…’Mr. Ed’ Debuts In Syndication…The Unaired Pilot
This is one of only a few shows ever released in syndication that was later picked up by a network for prime time. Produced by Filmways, ‘Mr. Ed’ first aired in syndication from January 5 to July 2, 1961, and then on CBS from October 1, 1961, to February 6, 1966.
After the pilot was sold, a few things changed. Wilber and Carol Pope, played by Scott McKay and Sandra White in the pilot, became the Posts played by Alan Young and Connie Hines but the voice of Ed stayed the same, and there is more on this in today’s next story. The unaired pilot below will start with Wilber and Ed’s first exchange.
By the way, the director Arthur Lubin, was also the director of the first six ‘Francis The Talking Mule’ movies in the ’40s. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
http://youtu.be/-RK99bXOrJ0?t=8m21s“Mr. Ed Original unaired pilot” This pilot does not have Alan Young or Connie Hines, but it does Allan “Rocky” Lane as the voice of Mr. Ed who remained the v…
Picture Parade #6…The Real, Original Bozo The Clown…Pinto Colvig
It’s time to set the record straight! Larry Harmon may be a Bozo, but he’s not the original Bozo, even though he’s claimed otherwise.
If Bozo has a father, that man is Alan Livingston, former president of Capital Records, who created ‘Bozo At The Circus’ in 1946. It was the first read-along record…a milestone in children’s entertainment and sold more than a million copies. Here is the original book, voiced by Pinto Colvig. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlPhoqRxmEE
It was so successful, Livingston branched out into TV in 1949. ‘Bozo’s Circus’ debuted on KTTV, Channel 11 in Los Angeles and Pinto Colvig, who provided Bozo’s voice, stepped in front of the camera. Livingston was the writer and producer. Harmon had nothing to do with it.
“Larry Harmon was just an out-of-work actor when I hired him to do some promotional work,” says Livingston. “Years later, when Capitol got out of the children’s entertainment business, we sold the rights to Bozo to Harmon and some partners. But he’s been misleading everyone and taking credit for Pinto’s work.”
Colvig is probably best known as the original voice of Disney’s Goofy and you can certainly understand why when you listen to his voice at the link above. He played the original Bozo The Clown part for a full decade beginning in 1946. He did the KTTV show from ’48 till ’58.
He is also the second known voice of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Other notable characters he voiced include Practical Pig, the pig who built the “house of bricks” in Disney’s ‘Three Little Pigs’, as well as both Sleepy (who originally was supposed to be voiced by Sterling Holloway) and Grumpy in ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, and the barks for Pluto the dog. In 1939, Pinto also provided the voice of one of the Munchkins in ‘The Wizard Of Oz’. Now you know. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade #5…Who Knew? The ‘Playboy Penthouse’ Show
This show, shot at WBKB in Chicago, was a syndicated production that aired late nights in some major markets for a little over a year. Below is a clip from the debut episode, October 24, 1959 with Hugh Hefner as host…his first guest was the great Lenny Bruce.
Did you know about this? I didn’t until I found this picture a few days ago. Of course I was only nine years old then, but I had seen a Playboy magazine and liked what I saw. The first centerfold picture I ever saw was a bunny naked in the snow. I remember wondering why she didn’t have goosebumps. Kids! Got a Playboy story? Tell us. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade #4…The First Color Tape Production, 1958
Below is a photo of Fred Astaire and dancer Barrie Chase in dress rehearsal for ‘An Evening With Fred Astaire’ at NBC Burbank on October 17, 1958. Further below is a clip of the opening.
The show was broadcast live in the east, but was recorded on color video tape for playback to the west…this was a first! The year before, CBS had done the same with ‘The Edsel Show’, but that was a black and white videotape performance.
As mentioned in today’s earlier story on the ‘Ford Star Jubilee’, CBS and NBC could broadcast live color from Los Angeles to the east cost, but until now, the west coast playbacks were always via black and white kinescopes. This is one reason that color production in the west, as well as color set sales always lagged the east coast. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee