Posts in Category: Broadcast History

The Long And Short Of ‘Star Wars’

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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




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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Oz

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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


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The Universal Court House Square

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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


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A Behind The Scenes Visit To ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ With Pat Sajak

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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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTe6NUSLcNg

This clip is from a segment of the short-lived Pat Sajak Show which aired nightly on CBS. Here, Pat takes a break from hosting and visits one of the first ta…
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ULTRA RARE! CBS Color Test Footage, August 19, 1949

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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

#t=15″ target=”_blank”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5tf6SQjFlQ #t=15

Link to order this clip: http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675075009_color-television-broadcast_Columbia-Broadcasting-Systems_Color-Television-Monitor-Tube…
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On The Set Of Television’s Oldest Scripted Drama…

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On The Set Of Television’s Oldest Scripted Drama…

“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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InvK3f9czpg

September 2011 – Days of Our Lives – Returning Cast Special Fan favorites returned to Salem to usher in a new season of storylines featuring cast members we …
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Early Color Testing Days At The Colonial Theater

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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.


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The Red Barber Baseball Box

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Picture Parade #4…The Red Barber Baseball Box

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


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‘On The Town’, First Musical Shot On Location

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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


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NBC New York’s Air Cushion Studio Floors

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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


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CBS Studio 42 At Grand Central Terminal, 1950

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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



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CBS Studio 41 At Grand Central Terminal, 1944

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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



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SNL And NBC Studio 8H…February 10, 1979

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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










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January 5, 1970…’All My Children’ Starts A 41 Year Run On ABC

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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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYj4F4DUjGw

http://www.waltwilleyworld.com Walt Willey (Jackson Montgomery) takes us behind the scenes of All My Children. Kelly Ripa also appears many years before her …
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Meet The Voice Of ‘Mr. Ed’…Allan “Rocky” Lane

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Meet The Voice Of ‘Mr. Ed’…Allan “Rocky” Lane

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

http://youtu.be/riqbWwblgJw


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January 5, 1961…’Mr. Ed’ Debuts In Syndication…The Unaired Pilot

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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…
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The Real, Original Bozo The Clown…Pinto Colvig

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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


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Who Knew? The ‘Playboy Penthouse’ Show

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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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4oSB4-Mt9s


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The First Color Tape Production, 1958

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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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSSCFuJTX1c


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Quite Possibly, The First Photo Of ABC Studio TV 1

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Picture Parade #3…Quite Possibly, The First Photo Of ABC Studio TV 1

This is the ‘Look Photo Crime’ show, sponsored by Look Magazine in September of 1949. The crime busting series, based on real stories, aired on ABC Radio five days a week and the TV series once a week. TV 1 and TV 2 (adjoining) on West 66th Street were ABC’s first New York studios. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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First CBS Color Special, ‘Ford Star Jubilee’ 1955

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Picture Parade #2…First CBS Color Special, ‘Ford Star Jubilee’ 1955

Information is hard to come by, but it is thought that for CBS, this was their first full scale color broadcast using the RCA/NTSC Dot Sequential color system. The show came from CBS Television City’s Studio 43.

The event on September 24, 1955 was a double debut of sorts. It was the debut of ‘The Ford Star Jubilee’ anthology series, but was also called ‘The Judy Garland Special’, as she was the star. This show was telecast live in color from Los Angeles, but only the East Coast saw it in color. Other time zones saw a black and white kinescope, most of which survives today. Here is a clip of Judy singing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” from the show. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDOBZIyGV1U

By the way, this was the first TV special to have what amounted to a “soundtrack album”, since most of the songs on the Capitol recording “Miss Show Business”, released two days after the broadcast, were what Judy had sung on this special.


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ULTRA RARE! ‘Toast Of The Town’, CBS 1949

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Picture Parade #1…ULTRA RARE! ‘Toast Of The Town’, CBS 1949

This is one of only four or five pictures of Ed Sullivan’s ‘Toast Of The Town’ show from CBS Studio 51, also known as The Maxine Elliott Theater at 109 West 39th Street.

Studio 51 is believed to the be the first theater CBS converted to television use, but when this show started here, I think it was covered as a remote for the first six months. After the show caught on, only then did CBS spend the money on the conversion by adding a control room. I’ll add two more pix from the Maxine Elliott years below in the comments section. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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CBS NY Master Studio List, New And Updated…1937- Present

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CBS NY Master Studio List, New And Updated…1937- Present

First compiled by David Schwartz in April 1999, here is the updated list from David with some revisions by Tom Coughlin. In the next few days, I will add the NBC and ABC studios list. Many thanks to David and Tom for this great outline of the CBS New York studios history. Enjoy, comment, share and SAVE! -Bobby Ellerbee

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CBS Studios 1937 – 1964

Radio Studios 1-9, 485 Madison Ave. Studio 21 to 28 CBS Radio Building, 49 East 52nd Street

Studio 31 & 32 485 Madison Ave., TV Studios 1948-1964. This is where ‘Douglas Edwards With The News’ originally began, them moved to Leiderkrantz Hall and later Studio 41.

Studio 41 to 44 Grand Central Studios, 15 Vanderbilt Avenue (3rd floor) used from the 1937 to 1964. Only 41 and 42 were production studios…43 and 44 were “control studios” used for switching, telecine and video tape.

Studio 50 (Ed Sullivan Theater) 1697 Broadway

Studio 51 (Maxine Elliott Theater) 109 West 39th Street. Used by CBS 1944-1959

Studio 52 (New Yorker Theater) 254 West 54th Street. Used by CBS from 1949 until 1975. Later became “Studio 54” nightclub.

Studios 53 to 56 Liederkrantz Hall, 111 East 58th Street. Used from 1950 to 1964.

Studio 57 (Peace Theater) 1280 Fifth Avenue

Studio 58 (Town Theater) 851 Ninth Avenue

Studio 59 (Mansfield Theater) 256 West 47th Street

Studio 60 (Lincoln Square) 1947 Broadway

Studio 61 (Monroe Theater) 1456 First Avenue CBS-Edge of Night (1956)

Studio 62 (Biltmore Theater) 261 West 47th Street

Studio 63-64 205 East 67th Street (DuMont /Metromedia Channel 5 studios 1 and 5) CBS. Shows from here were ‘First Hundred Years’ (1948), ‘Bilko’ (1955-56), ‘Edge of Night’ (1956 -1960) Wrestling show (studio 5) (Dumont, 1955),

Studio 65 (Hi Brown Studios) 221 West 26th Street

Studio 71 (Radio Studio 1) 485 Madison Ave.

Studio 72 (RKO 81st Street Theater) 2248 Broadway

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CBS TV Studios-1964 to mid 70’s

Studio 41-46 Broadcast Center. Began operation in 1964, radio on July 26; TV in August or September.

Studio 50 (Ed Sullivan) 1697 Broadway

Studio 51/54 (Hi Brown Studios) 221 West 26th Street

Studio 52 (New Yorker Theater) 254 West 54th Street. Used until 1975.

Studio 53 (Monroe Theater) 1456 First Ave

Studio 54 (Cort Theater). Used for the late night Merv Griffin show.

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CBS TV Studios Mid 70’s-present

Studio 41-46 Broadcast Center

Studio 50 Ed Sullivan Theater

Studio 51 New York Production Center, 222 East 44th Street (MPO, later EUE/Screen Gems)

Studio 52/53 Hi Brown Studios (also called Studio 51/54) unknown when numbering changed.

Studio 54 was originally a film studio. Patty Duke Show (ABC,1963-5) Bilko (CBS ,1956-9)

Studio 52 402 East 76th Street (used in the 1980’s)

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CBS Radio Playhouses

CBS Radio Playhouse #1 242 West 45th Street

CBS Radio Playhouse #2 251 West 45th Street

CBS Radio Playhouse #3 1697 Broadway (became Studio 50)

CBS Radio Playhouse #4 254 West 54th Street (became Studio 52)

CBS Radio Playhouse #5 109 West 39th Street (became Studio 51)

Notes:

CBS Studio 51 from the 1970s aka “The New York Production Center” at 222 East 44th Street, is EUE/Screen Gems (1973 to Present) Prior to 1973—it was used by MPO productions (as flim stage, though it was used sporadically for videotape work). EUE/Screen Gems purchased the studio from MPO, and installed Fernseh KCU-40 video camera chains early 1970s, and it has been used for video since then.

CBS and ABC studios located at 205 East 67th Street, were actually the Dumont (Metromedia) studios.

CBS studio based at 2248 Broadway ultimately became Teletape “Stage 2” early 1970s (Sesame Street, Electric Company).

Himan Brown Studios (W. 26th St.) was used for both film and video production at various times, the Patty Duke Show (ABC, 1963-5) was filmed there as well as Bilko (CBS, 1955-59-second season). Currently owned by All Mobile Video.

Biograph Studio NY (807 East 175th St, The Bronx) Studio had been abandoned, but was revived around 1967. Car 54 (NBC, 1961-3), East Side/West Side (CBS, 1963-4), and Naked City (ABC, 1958-63)—all are filmed shows. This studio was also known as “Gold Medal Studios” in the late 1950s. Studio was abandoned in the 1970s, and burned in 1980.

Filmways Studios NY (246 E. 127th St.–built in a former MTA transit garage building in the late1950s.) The Defenders (CBS, 1961-5), and The Doctors and the Nurses (CBS, 1962-5), Hawk (ABC 1966), and Trials of O’Brien (CBS 1965-6) (All filmed productions). Films shot there include Butterfield 8, The Godfather, The Wiz. Studio was demolished in the 1980s.

Fox Movietone studios (460 W. 54th St at 10th Ave.) Two sound stages—the large one with a cyclorama and swimming pool under the deck. Three small scoring stages. UPI Movietone News operated in upstairs offices into the 1980s. Stages on ground floor operated as Fox until 1964, Manhattan Sound Studios until about 1968. Operated by F&B/CECO and Camera Mart (film equipment rental companies) in the 1970s and 1980s. Norby (NBC,1955), (strangely, shot on color film. Kodak was a sponsor) Adams Chronicles (PBS, 1976, recorded by EUE Video Services), Best of Families (PBS, 1977, recorded by Reeves Teletape). Later Sony Music Studios, demolished 2008. The original ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ was shot there in 1999 (at the time, ABC was contemplating purchasing the building). Notable films shot there: The Exorcist (1972), Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), Starting Over (1979), Sophie’s Choice (1982).

The Town Theatre at (either 840 or 851) 9th Ave was converted to a television stage and used by CBS, WNET-13 in the 1970s, and Teletape in the 1980s, Later Unitel. It was demolished and replaced by the Alvin Ailey Citigroup theater a few years ago.


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The World’s First Practical Tape Recorder

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Picture Parade #4…The World’s First Practical Tape Recorder

Here are two prototype models of the AEG Magnetophone which was developed in Germany in the early 1930s. This is the K1 model which soon came down to a more manageable size. Captured Nazi machines were sent back to the US and was what Ampex based it’s early work on. At this link is an amazing live recording from April, 1935. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OA1oDxRo_lI

Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee



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Another ‘Tonight’ Rarity, Two Birds…One Stone

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Picture Parade #3…Another ‘Tonight’ Rarity, Two Birds…One Stone

It’s not often that we see the TK41s in NBC Studio 6B, but even more rare is this shot with band leader and Musical Director, Milton Delugg.

The band was formed in 1954 for the debut of ‘Tonight’ with Steve Allen by its first long-term director, Skitch Henderson. When Jack Paar, took over Jose Melis became the leader in late 1957.

Henderson returned in 1962 when Johnny Carson took over after Carson increased the band budget, which allowed Henderson to hire some of the best musicians from the touring big bands which were going out of business at the time. The new band included Clark Terry, Bobby Rosengarden, Doc Severinsen, Urbie Green, Ed Shaughnessy, and Ernie Royal, among others.

In 1966, Henderson left the show and was replaced by Milton DeLugg, who in 1967 was replaced by Doc Severinsen. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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Who Knew? Two Stunners From ‘Perry Mason’

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Picture Parade #2…Who Knew? Two Stunners From ‘Perry Mason’

Yes, it’s true. Hamilton Burger actually beat Perry Mason. Over the course of the nine year run of the show, it happened twice. While checking my facts, I came across this second stunner from the Associated Press.

“Williiam Talman was one of several arrested at a Hollywood party. Not only were drugs found in the house, but according to the raiding police officers, everyone including Talman was nude.” -Associated Press

Sheriff’s deputies, suspicious of marijuana use, raided a party on March 13, 1960, in a private home in Beverly Hills at which Talman was a guest. All were arrested for possession of marijuana (which was later dropped) and lewd vagrancy, but municipal judge Adolph Alexander dismissed the lewd vagrancy charges against Talman and the others on June 17 for lack of proof.

Despite this Talman was fired by CBS which refused to give a reason. Talman was later rehired after ‘Perry Mason’ producer Gail Patrick Jackson made a request to CBS following a massive letter-writing campaign by viewers. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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ULTRA RARE! ‘Peter Pan’, 1955 Backstage Shot

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Picture Parade #1…ULTRA RARE! ‘Peter Pan’, 1955 Backstage Shot

This is the only photo of it’s kind I have ever seen. Here is Mary Martin with Cyril Ritchard posing with Nana at NBC Brooklyn in 1955 during rehearsals for the original television presentation. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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BACKSTAGE AT THE FOX 1929: PART II: AUDIO AND ELECTRO-MECHANICALS

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Now, For Something Completely Different! Audio Buffs Will Love This!

This is not just a tour of Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox…this is how these grand theaters worked in an electro-mechanical sense in the 1920s. Our friend Robert Foreman has covered everything from the live microphones to the marquee with some very interesting and rare history on the first talking movie and sound amplification systems.

At the time of its construction, the 4462-seat Atlanta Fox was the sixth largest theater in the world and counted among its original equipment a permanent public address or sound reinforcement system forty years before Broadway credited the first audio designer. Enjoy and share!

http://backstagefox1929.blogspot.com/2014/03/part-ii-audio-and-electro-mechanicals.html

BACKSTAGE AT THE FOX 1929: PART II: AUDIO AND ELECTRO-MECHANICALS

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A Rare Look At The WNEW Control Room…Sonny Fox ‘Wonderama’ Tour

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A Rare Look At The WNEW Control Room…Sonny Fox ‘Wonderama’ Tour

This clip is from the early 1960s and was sent to us from Barry Mitchell with this interesting note. “I’ve had this rare clip for years: it was on a reel of 2” tape that had been donated to my college, most likely by WNEW-TV. ‘Wonderama’ host Sonny Fox guides us through the Channel 5 control room at the Metromedia Telecenter, 205 East 67th Street, New York City. Last time I passed by the studio a couple of years ago, the front door handles still bore the old “MM” emblems.”

Thanks for the clip Barry! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfo5wCwai2Q

Sonny takes his young viewers into the control room of his Sunday morning WNEW-TV program to see how a television show is made. Check out the 1950s DuMont br…
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You Mean That’s Not A Real Mountain There In Virginia City?

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You Mean That’s Not A Real Mountain There In Virginia City?

Nope. Hollywood and the ‘Bonanza’ producers have fooled us again.

The “mountain” at the rear of the Western Street was actually constructed of a chicken-wire framework covered over by plaster and was immobile. I have highlighted in purple where I think it was.

In March of 1959, ‘Bonanza’ producer David Dortort selected Paramount Studios in Hollywood to film the series. They had the largest soundstages and a good western street which was built for ‘Whispering Smith’ in 1947 starring Alan Ladd.

The reason the fake mountain was erected was to hide a construction mill and sawdust collection tower built by Desilu in 1957. Another painted backdrop was located near the Western Street, for other shots, of a blue sky, with clouds. In the large photo from the early 70s, you can see the “sky” behind the water set…the same one used in the parting of the waters in ‘The Ten Commandments’.

The Western Street was much smaller than seen on ‘Bonanza’; wide-angle camera lenses made it appear much larger than in real-life. The local pigeons would frequently land and perch atop the fake mountain, shattering the illusion of distance and filming would be stopped until one of the crew members scared them away.

Other TV series made at the Western Street for exterior filming while ‘Bonanza’ was being made there were ‘Have Gun-Will Travel’, ‘Branded’, and ‘The Guns of Will Sonnet’.

In 1979, a demolition team demolished the Western Street for an executive parking lot. The only building that was saved was the barn which was first seen in Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Squaw Man” the first feature film ever made in 1914. On the ‘Bonanza’ series it is infrequently seen as the freight station. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee




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