Posts in Category: Broadcast History

RARE! Laugh Tracks, Black Box Found

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Laugh Tracks: RARE Black Box Found!

A couple of years ago, this piece of television history popped up on ‘Antiques Roadshow’. Here is the video of the Charlie Douglas ‘Laff Box’ which was discovered among the items sold in a storage locker sale. Thankfully the new owner was curious, other wise, it would have gone into the dumpster like so much other TV history has.

Back in the 50s and 60s, Charlie Douglas was ‘The Man’ for laugh tracks in Los Angeles and traveled with his top secret black box to sweeten the tracks on many famous shows. He would wheel his black box of pre-recorded laughs into the post audio room, plug in to the mixing console, and proceed to treat the soundtrack with everything from chuckles to knee-slapping fits to applause.

Understandably, Charlie and his son Bobby were very protective of the technology and the library of carefully categorized audience reactions inside that black box. Now remember, this was before cart machines, but when the close up comes, you’ll see the loops rotating and I think this technology was called the Mckinzie tape loop system. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee

Watch now: Antiques Roadshow | Appraisal: 1953 Charlie Douglass “Laff Box” | PBS Video

Appraisal: 1953 Charlie Douglass “Laff Box”, from San Diego Hour 2
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Classic Ed Sullivan…Zippy And The Cameramen

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Classic Ed Sullivan…Zippy And The Cameramen

In this short but sweet piece from April of 1961, Zippy the chimp gives the Sullivan camera crew a workout as they try to follow him. Notice Camera 2 is Zoomar equipped. All are RCA TK11/31s. Typically, there were three cameras on stage, one at floor level at the edge of the stage and one in the balcony for long shots. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW5gP25NBlE

http://goo.gl/n8f54 – Zippy The Chimp roller skating on the Ed Sullivan Show on April 9th, 1961.
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How NFL Games Are Covered…A Close Up Look At The Technology

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How NFL Games Are Covered…A Close Up Look At The Technology

This excellent video gives us a detailed look at what goes into bringing football to the nation, including a very good look at the aerial camera systems. Some of the processes mentioned in today’s first post, on ESPN’s college bowl game coverage, is shown in depth here. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

#t=739″ target=”_blank”>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_V8IlitveE #t=739

The NFL’s most exciting game isn’t played on the field. It happens behind the scenes, as hundreds of cast and crew come together to turn a football game into…
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How ESPN Covered The Rose & Sugar Bowl Games

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How ESPN Covered The Rose And Sugar Bowl…A Massive Effort

Amazingly, they used two separate aerial camera systems, 400 people, 5 Game Creek trucks and 32 cameras just at the Rose Bowl. In today’s next post, there is some great video of how all this gets done, although it is for NFL coverage. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://sportsvideo.org/main/blog/2014/12/espn-goes-all-out-in-surrounding-new-college-football-playoff-semifinals/

ESPN Goes All Out In Surrounding New College Football Playoff Semifinals : Sports Video Group

Bringing viewers extensive coverage of the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl is nothing new for production and operations crews at ESPN, but make no mistake about it; this isn’t just any other year in Pasadena and New Orleans for the “Worldwide Leader.”
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January 1, 1965…50 Years Ago Tonight! Television History Was Made!

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January 1, 1965…50 Years Ago Tonight! Television History Was Made!

At 6:55 PM, New Years Day night, Soupy Sales did a one minute adlib that is still talked about. It was the famous “Green Pieces Of Paper” incident. Here, thanks to Barry Mitchell, is Soupy telling the story of the gag that almost cost him his job, but earned him a place in television history. Enjoy and SHARE! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-OGy3Kh7yM&google_comment_id=z12swnshttztyxo2i23yebbjsoactji3m&google_view_type

Legendary TV host Soupy Sales tells a nightclub audience about the New Years’ Day 1965 ad-lib that got him kicked off the air for a week.
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Ultra Rare Photo Of The First RCA TK60

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Picture Parade #5…Ultra Rare Photo Of The First RCA TK60

This was taken at the NAB convention in early 1961 and shows the camera that was then known as the RCA TK12. It’s a little hard to see, but the side doors are made of the same ventilating metal mesh used on the top of the TK42s.

They were soon replaced with hard doors because these dented to easily. That created heat problems and the heat caused the IO sled to move when the camera was pointed up or down sharply. A top vent was added and the sled fixed for re release in 1963 as the TK60. It was named after the year it was created. Enjoy, share and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee


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Commercial Television’s First News Program, 1941

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Picture Parade #4…Commercial Television’s First News Program, 1941

This picture of Lowell Thomas looks a lot like the one in #3, but there is a big difference. WNBT began commercial television operations on July 1, 1941 as the first fully-licensed commercial television station in the United States. That day, the call letters were changed from W2XBS, and the first commercially sponsored program on the air was ‘Lowell Thomas With The News’ sponsored by Sun Oil.

There were three fifteen minute shows that night and the evening began with a spot announcement from Bulova Watches (below in comments) which was the face of a clock and a voice over. Other spot ads that evening were for Botany ties (a series of art cards featuring the cartoon lambs then featured in Botany’s print ads) and Adam Hats (a slow camera pan of a simulated window display). Enjoy, share and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee


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Television’s First News Cast, 1939

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Picture Parade #3…Television’s First News Cast, 1939

W2XBS would not become WNBT until 1941, but in 1939, Lowell Thomas began to simulcast his NBC Radio news report there. Since sponsors were not allowed on experimental television, he continued with news stories on TV while radio inserted an ad in the middle.

This is in NBC’s experimental Studio 3H. Notice the pith helmet on the back of the center camera dolly, the hat on top of the right camera and the towel on top of the left camera…they were all used to protect the cameramen’s heads from the immense heat the lights generated. This show was not too bad, light wise, but dramatic productions had to have a lot more hot lights for the Iconoscope cameras. Enjoy, share and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee


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Carol Burnett Accepting Her First Emmys

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Picture Parade #2…Carol Burnett Accepting Her First Emmys

This is either 1962 or 1963, but either way, she won! In ’62 she won for her work on ‘The Gary Moore Show’ and in ’63, she won for ‘Julie And Carol At Carnegie Hall’, her special with Julie Andrews. Enjoy, share and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee


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Classic! Behind The ‘Laugh In’ Joke Wall

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Picture Parade #1…Classic! Behind The ‘Laugh In’ Joke Wall

If you ever wondered what was behind the wall, wonder no more. Enjoy, share and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee


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Everything Is Coming Up Roses!

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Everything Is Coming Up Roses!

At 4 AM Pacific Time, rehearsals for the opening numbers begin in Pasadena. At 8 the, 126th Rose Parade starts (11 Eastern) and will be broadcast live on ABC, NBC, HGTV, KTLA5, Univision, Red TV, Family Net, Sky Link, and the Hallmark Channel.

Below are a few shots from yesterday’s facilities check sent by ESPN/ABC Senior Video Engineer Roger Crawford. Hopefully, there will be more as the day progresses, but I know Roger will be busy in the truck which today is NEP SS 17. There is more on the photos, so click through and enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee






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My New Year’s Resolution…Carpe Diem! Will You Join Me?

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My New Year’s Resolution…Carpe Diem! Will You Join Me?

Looking at these “after” photos of Times Square is a reminder of just how fast life can change. Thank you for being a part of the family here…one of the most generous and appreciative groups of people I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of. Happy New Day! -Bobby Ellerbee

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
― Henry David Thoreau

“Dream as if you will live forever; Live as if you will die today.”
― James Dean

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.”
― Walt Whitman

“Life is a helluva lot more fun if you say yes rather than no”
― Richard Branson

“They are not long, the days of wine and roses. Out of a misty dream, our path emerges for a while, then closes, within a dream.”
― Ernest Dowson,

“Oh, now, now, now, the only now, and above all now, and there is no other now but thou now and now is thy prophet.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“You look ridiculous if you dance. You look ridiculous if you don’t dance, so you might as well dance.”
― Gertrude Stein

“Forever is composed of nows.”
― Emily Dickinson



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Times Square…Preparing For NBC’s Carson Daly Countdown Show

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Times Square…Preparing For NBC’s Carson Daly Countdown Show

It’s 33 degrees in Manhattan right now,and getting colder, but the action in Times Square is heating up as the afternoon wears on and show prep continues. Here are some great pictures just in from Dan and Rob Balton on the Carson Daly set.

If any of the CBS, CNN and ABC crews are with us, we’d like to see what you are up to. You can email me pix at edition4@comcast.net or message me with them via Facebook. Thanks to Dan and Rob for these…stay warm and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee






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For The Young At Heart And Strong Of Bladder…Times Square

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For The Young At Heart And Strong Of Bladder…Times Square

The good news is, they have a front row seat for America’s biggest party. The bad news is, once you are there, you can’t leave and get back in. I’ll bet there are some mighty long restroom lines. Thanks to Geoffrey DeVoe, Eric Eisenstein, Craig Haper and Anthony Quintano for these Time Square pix. Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee






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The First Rose Parade Color Cast…NBC, January 1, 1954

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The First Rose Parade Color Cast…NBC, January 1, 1954

This was the first ever national west coast – to east coast colorcast using the newly approved National Television System Committee (NTSC) standards. Special permission for the colorcast was obtained from the FCC which, in its December 17, 1953 approval, allowed colorcasting to start 30 days later.

AT&T Long Lines had hurriedly configured a color capable network of 21 television stations across the United States (list included below). RCA Broadcast had rushed transmitter modification equipment to the affiliates on the Bell color network path.

RCA had also built a small pre-production run of 200 color receivers. This set was designated as the “Model 5”, the fifth in their series of experimental color sets. The Model 5 was provided to NBC affiliates and RCA Victor distributors for the Rose Parade and each location had a full house for the event.

The “Model 5” was the prototype for the first RCA production Color Receiver…the Model CT-100. Starting March 25, 1954, 5,000 CT-100’s were manufactured in RCA’s Bloomington, Indiana plant. The set was named, “The Merrill”.

Below is the story The New York Times wrote about the color cast a few days later….

“Color television’s most exacting test came with the National Broadcasting Company’s outdoor pickup of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena California. The New Years Day Program was the first prolonged presentation of color video under circumstances where, unlike a studio show, neither lighting, nor movement could be controlled. All things considered, the results were exceedingly good.

The Tournament of Roses parade had the largest audience thus far, probably several thousand persons to see color TV at one time. The American Telephone and Telegraph Company, in a amazingly speedy engineering accomplishment, put together a color network of twenty-two cities to which the Radio Corporation of America had rushed equipment. A number of set manufacturers also held demonstrations of color receivers in different cities.

With so many sets in operation, each subject to relatively critical tuning controls and possible vagaries of electronics, the quality of the tinted images from Pasadena undoubtedly varied on some receivers. But, overall, there is no question that the essence of the parades panorama of color was projected successfully on home screens some 3000 miles away. In comparison the monochrome pictures seen on existing receivers seemed virtually meaningless.

As the two NBC color cameras scanned a succession of elaborate floats, assorted military units, and other parade features, the scene was a veritable bevy of hues and depth; at other times the close-up was better. Occasionally there were overcasts of one tint or another but these disappeared with movement of the camera.

To concentrate so much color information within the frame of a small screen would be difficult for even the most gifted artist doing a “still” painting. To do it with constantly moving pictures seemed pure wizardry. Especially interesting from a technical standpoint was the remarkable stability of the individual colors as the NBC camera moved quickly from left to right and back again. On one set at least there was no perceptible streaking.

The Tournament of Roses parade, received locally from 12:15 to 1:45 P.M., did emphasize several problems for the home viewer. In the broad daylight and sunshine, it was necessary to draw the shades and cut out all glare if the colors on the TV screen were not to be washed out. This frankly, was a nuisance.

Another difficulty related to the size of the picture. The disadvantage of a small color image – roughly 12 1/2 inches – was much more noticeable with the parade than with earlier studio programs. And, since it is necessary to sit much farther away than from a black and white set, one wonders how big a color tube will be practical. Finding a happy compromise between picture size and viewing distance could be tricky for the engineer and the viewer, particularly if the latter must start rearranging furniture again.”

Much of this information and the photos are thanks to our friend Ed Reitan and his great color site http://www.novia.net/. Enjoy, share and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee





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KCOP Los Angeles…Behind The Scenes Rose Parade 1979

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KCOP Los Angeles…Behind The Scenes Rose Parade 1979

Using what look like Norelco PC72 cameras and some very odd camera art, we see how KCOP covered the parade. There’s also at least one familiar face which belongs to David Crosthwait of DC Video. Enjoy and remember to visit the EOAG page to see all of today’s stories…just click on the blue lettering at the top of this post. Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee

#t=15″ target=”_blank”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jtd7yVKmJVs #t=15

KCOP coverage of the 1979 Tournament of Roses Parade. This is a short clip featuring the technical facilities used to get the show on the air. This excerpt w…
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KTLA…Covering The Rose Parade Since 1947

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KTLA…Covering The Rose Parade Since 1947

Covering the Rose Parade has been a great KTLA tradition that continues today. Bill Welsh and Dick Lane announced the first telecast in 1947.

In 1953, before videotape made such things easy, KTLA found a way to air the parade twice. They televised the parade once at the beginning and once as it neared the end. KTLA also did this with a twist starting in 1955 when they broadcast the parade in both black and white and color. The black and white unit was at the top of the parade and the color unit at the end. By the time the parade had passed the black and white cameras, it was in front of their color cameras.

Stations were extremely competitive in those years, each trying to find the best camera locations. KTLA scooped them all in 1959, having Tom Hatten ride a camera equipped station wagon (seen below) televising live pictures from the very front of the parade as it moved down Colorado Boulevard. New rules went into effect the following year-cameras were never allowed to precede again.

Also in 1959, KTLA was the first to cover the parade by helicopter. The “Telecopter” was the first ever flying television station featuring a minicam that gave viewers a remarkable overview of the festivities.

The Rose Parade came of age when color television became a reality. The first KTLA colorcast was in 1955, but NBC had done a nation wide colorcast of the parade the year before. KTLA’s colorcast was almost a washout. The skies were so gray and overcast that the temperamental new cameras had trouble reproducing the bright, vivid colors of the parade but Klaus Landbreg’s engineers were only partially successful that historic day.

There is more on the photos, so please click though them and there is more of how KTLA covers the parade for Los Angels at the link below. Enjoy, share and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.tvnewscheck.com/article/79849/ktlas-rose-parade-heritage-keeps-growing









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Pasadena…Preparing For Today’s Rose Parade

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Pasadena…Preparing For The Rose Parade

The good news is, today’s weather will be a lot dryer than yesterdays…tomorrow’s too. These were taken yesterday and in the first picture, we see ABC reporting in the rain from the grandstands. From the press area, we see covered cameras and behind the stands, the trucks for ABC, NBC, KTLA, HGTV, Univision and RFD TV.

Our friend Roger Crawford is the senior video man in the ESPN/ABC truck and writes that the rehearsals take place early Thursday morning at the start line at about 4 AM. These are mostly for the opening number. The ABC booth is next to HGTV and RFD-TV. KTLA is around the corner and NBC is across the street.

Later today we should be able to see some of the many cranes, jibs and other camera platforms as well as the talent areas and, who knows what else? Maybe a peek inside the truck too! Thank you Roger! We appreciate the effort! Enjoy, share and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee





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New York…Preparing For NBC’s Carson Daly Countdown Show

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New York…Preparing For NBC’s Carson Daly Countdown Show

Thanks to Rob Balton, here are a couple of shots from yesterday’s rehearsal of Carson Daly’s New Year’s show from Times Square. I think that’s Rob’s jib there on the left. The truck is All Mobile Video’s “Resolution” with TD John Pretnar at the controls. The monitor shot is from John Roche. Thanks for the pix and we’ll be looking forward to seeing more later today! Enjoy, share and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee

By the way…if you are working today, send us some pix of where you are and what you are doing, especially those of you in Times Square, The Rose Parade and at bowl games.




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December 31, 1965…Johnny Carson & Ben Graurer Welcome 1966

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December 31, 1965…Johnny Carson & Ben Graurer Welcome 1966

As mentioned in the Guy Lombardo article just before this, NBC usually welcomed the new year with a live ‘Tonight’ show which started with Steve Allen and continued through the Paar years and into Johnny Carson’s tenure.

I think Ben Grauer was the Times Square reporter every year for ‘Tonight’ until Carson moved the show to Los Angeles in 1972. Here, as 1965 passes into history, Ben is at his best with a remarkable billboard of the biggest stories of the year and it was straight off the top of his head. Enjoy, share and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/Tus0p8vkZUYAS IT SAIDS, 1966 NEW YEARS EVE IN NEW YORK CITY FROMT THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON (GREAT MAN) P.S. YOU NOTICE THE BALL HE SAIDS IS ON TOP OF THE…
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The Final Guy Lombardo New Year With Ben Grauer Reporting Live

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The Final Guy Lombardo New Year With Ben Grauer Reporting Live

By the next new year, both Guy and Ben would have passed away, but this was the night of December 31, 1976. Below is some history on the Lombardo broadcast years and some things about Ben Grauer that you may never have known.

The band’s first New Year’s Eve radio broadcast was in 1928; within a few years, they were heard live on the CBS Radio Network before midnight Eastern Time, then on the NBC Radio Network after midnight.

On December 31, 1956, the Lombardo band did their first New Year’s TV special on CBS; the program (and Lombardo’s 20 subsequent New Year’s Eve TV shows) included a live segment from Times Square that during the early years were hosed by pioneer broadcast journalist Robert Trout . In later years, another longtime newsman, Ben Grauer, reported from Times Square, though Grauer worked for NBC.

Grauer’s greatest fame lies in his legendary 40-year career in radio. In 1930, the 22-year-old Benjamin Franklin Grauer joined the staff at NBC. He quickly rose through the ranks to become a senior commentator and reporter. He was the designated announcer for the popular 1940s ‘Walter Winchell’s Jergens Journal’. Perhaps, most importantly, he was selected by Arturo Toscanini to become the voice of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Grauer took over as announcer in 1940 and remained until the orchestra was disbanded in June 1954. Toscanini said he was his favorite announcer.

Starting in 1932, Grauer covered the Olympic Games, presidential inaugurations and international events. During his radio career, Grauer covered nearly every major historic event, including the Morro Castle fire, the Paris Peace Conference and the US occupation of Japan.

Millions remember his NBC coverage of the New Year’s celebrations on both radio and TV. Between 1951 and 1969, Grauer covered these events 11 times live from New York’s Times Square. He continued covering New Year’s Eve for Guy Lombardo’s New Year’s Eve specials on CBS in the 1970s, with his last appearance on December 31, 1976, the year before both he and Lombardo died.

From the mid-1950s until the mid-1960s, Grauer’s reports were part of the ‘Tonight’ show, where he worked with Johnny Carson and prior to that, Jack Paar, and Steve Allen. Grauer was also one of NBC Radio’s Monitor “Communicators” from 1955 to 1960.

Grauer provided the commentary for NBC’s first television special, the opening in 1939 of the New York World’s Fair. In 1948, Grauer, working with anchor John Cameron Swayze, provided the first extensive live network TV coverage of the national political conventions.

In 1954, NBC began broadcasting some of their shows in living color, and in 1957, the animated Peacock logo made its debut. It was Grauer who first spoke the now famous words, “The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC,” behind the Peacock graphic. Enjoy, share and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBD1yHHgaEk

From Dec. 31, 1976, here is the CBS coverage of New Years Eve at Times Square with Ben Grauer (who passed away a few months later) and Guy Lombardo, who also…
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This Will Bring Back Some Memories! 1976 – 2012 Countdowns

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This Will Bring Back Some Memories! 1976 – 2012 Countdowns

On December 31, 1972, the first edition of ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve’ show aired on NBC. The special featured pre-recorded musical performances from the ballroom of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California by Blood, Sweat & Tears, Helen Reddy, Al Green, and Three Dog Night. Clark served as a reporter from Times Square for live coverage of the ball drop and arrival of 1973.

The second special, ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 1974′, also on NBC, was hosted by comedian George Carlin and featured musical performances by The Pointer Sisters, Billy Preston, Linda Ronstadt and Tower of Power – once again pre-recorded on the Queen Mary with Clark live in New York.

Beginning with the 1975 edition, the program moved to ABC and
Clark assumed hosting duties of the show that was now done live from Times Square. Enjoy, share and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee

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

All of them
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The Rose Parade…A Uniquely American Tradition And Color Spectacular

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The Rose Parade…A Uniquely American Tradition And Color Spectacular

First, if you are working Times Square, Bowl Games or other holiday shows, please remember to send us some pictures via a Facebook message to me or send them to edition4@comcast.net.

I just heard from our friend Roger Crawford, senior video for ESPN/ABC. He and the other network mobile units are at Orange Grove and Colorado in Pasadena. Roger is going to get us some pictures of one of the most amazing parades in the world and how it’s covered. Of course the parade itself is January 1 but we hope to see some rehearsal and set up pix tomorrow.

Below, we see two color shots from 1961 and 1959. The original NBC Color mobile units did their first ever broadcast from here January 1, 1954 and we see them here in a Los Angeles publicity shot. The final photo is a screen shot taken in 1940 when Don Lee’s W6XAO did the first ever television broadcast to some 200 set owners in LA. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee





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The Three Headed Monster From ‘I Love Lucy’ UPDATE:

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Picture Parade #5…The Three Headed Monster From ‘I Love Lucy’

UPDATE: Daniel Cahn, son of Lucy editor Dann Cahn, has added new information and photos in the comments section! Be sure to see this.

One of the first obstacles to overcome on ‘I Love Lucy’ was how to edit the show. Pictured here is editor Dann Cahn (jacket) and Bud Molin with the custom machine originally built for ‘Burns And Allen’. Below is part of a Motion Picture Editors Guild article describing a typical week. Many thanks to Daniel Cahn for the extended remarks and photos in the comments section. He is the son of Dann Cahn and a third generation editor.

The schedule was tight, Cahn related, especially compared to the more familiar pace of feature film editing. A new episode had a table read on Monday, rehearsal on Tuesday, camera rehearsal on Wednesday, and a full camera run-through on Thursday. On Friday evening in front of a live audience, the episode was filmed, in scripted scene order; the film was processed, printed, and in the cutting room on Monday morning usually by eight AM. Dann marked with a grease pencil, Bud made the cuts (with scissors) and pasted; cut scenes were then adjusted and fixed. The editor’s cut was ready to screen with the director by the time rehearsals for the next episode were already under way. Very quickly, due to demands on set, and with Cahn’s natural ability at cutting comedy and working fast, the director’s cut dissipated. A pattern of six-day work weeks and 14-hour days was unavoidably established.

In the context of the high-pressure schedule, he recalled, “They thought that the Monster would enable me to do everything, but it was just a tool, like the Avid is today; we couldn’t do everything within the time constraints! It’s expected today that picture editors do temp sound and music work.” The crew quickly increased to include an apprentice and an additional editor for sound effects and music. Dann remembered Desi’s remark to him, “Danny you want a crew bigger than my band? But that that’s exactly what eventually happened as Desilu expanded its productions as well as Cahn’s role in the company.

Inevitably, just as the workload seemed more manageable with his expanded crew working on the first episode, it was decided that the second episode would air first. The reaction to the second episode was so strong, the sponsor and CBS decided to the switch the air dates. The six-day editorial work week immediately shifted to seven days, and within four weeks all the editing and sound work, opticals, negative cutting and answer print was completed and delivered within hours of airtime. In addition to these unforeseen shakeups, Cahn also had to think creatively and act fast, especially when things didn’t run as smoothly as planned.

The first serious technical issue the editing team confronted was one still familiar to assistant editors today; fixing out of sync dailies. The three-camera setup used a “blue light” system instead of the traditional clapper; as the camera rolled at the start of a scene, all the film rolls were buzzed and flashed with a light that was exposed onto a frame of film and soundtrack. The three-camera setup was interlocked so that the flash would occur on all three cameras simultaneously. However, the flash from the three different cameras never actually wound up in the same place, as intended, so the task of eye synching most of the footage was added to the crunched schedule. After the first few shows, Cahn decided to go to the studio mill and make a giant sized wooden clapper that would cover all three cameras, and the sync problem was resolved. He then recalled Karl Freund’s wisecrack to Jess Oppenheimer, “We’ve got a bright boy here; with this giant clapper he’s reinvented the wheel!”

I asked Dann about music cues and how that developed. “Director Marc Daniels’ experience was in live theater, and that kind of spontaneity was great for the show, but not to get the music cues I needed for a cut,” he explained. I’d get music with dailies, but they were never the right length and nothing ever matched. So to get around this, I’d cut the episode and take the timings to the set on Friday, just like we did in features; the band was set up, and I’d give them my list of cues to record. They had to learn that not everything could happen all at once in the cutting room; it wasn’t like live TV or theater. The show had to be scored just like a movie and I was always adapting motion picture techniques to everything we did!”

There is more at the link. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.editorsguild.com/FromTheGuild.cfm?FromTheGuildid=119


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Can You Spot The Hidden Camera Portal?

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Picture Parade #4…Let’s Play This ‘Match Game’ Style OK?

The square behind Lucy’s right shoulder is a _________________.
Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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The First Electronic Color Cameras, 1949

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Picture Parade #3…The First Electronic Color Cameras, 1949

In the large picture, we see RCA’s lead color engineer Richard C. Webb with one of the cameras with the housing off. I think the center channel is green with red on the right and blue on the left. Notice the dichroic mirrors are in front of the lenses.

In the next photos, we see some of the constant early testing and a photo of the monitor. These two shots are from NBC Studio 3H where testing moved around 1950. The final photo is from the original color test facility in Washington DC at the Wardham Park Hotel studio. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee





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Classic Jackie Gleason

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Picture Parade #2…Classic Jackie Gleason

This is early afternoon, Saturday February 5, 1955. Camera blocking is still going on and CBS veteran Pat McBride is just behind Jackie. This is Studio 50, or what we now call The Ed Sullivan Theater, although Gleason was the first big show from here.

This is the variety show in rehearsal for that night’s broadcast which would include a Honeymooners sketch called “Cupid”. In the sketch, Ralph tries to help out a lonely old friend by setting him up with a blind date, but the gossip grapevine leads Alice to believe that Ralph is trying to land dates for himself. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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WCBW TV, New York, 1946

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Picture Parade #1…WCBW TV, New York, 1946

This is a rare picture of the RCA A500 Iconoscope cameras at CBS Grand Central Terminal, but this is not a network show and it may surprise you to know that there was no CBS Television Network till 1948. This looks like a game show, but what ever it is is local. Only Dumont and NBC had television networks at this point.

By the way, these early pedestals had electric motors in the base to raise and lower them and the cable went down inside the lift column to keep it out of the way. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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Who Knew? Charlie Chaplin Was A Keystone Cop! Take A Look…

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Who Knew? Charlie Chaplin Was A Keystone Cop! Take A Look…

As I watched the Chaplin bloopers posted just before this, I was thinking how great it would be to see Keystone Cop bloopers, but I found something ever better.

This is a very interesting short bio piece on the Keystone Cops…Chaplin’s appearance is only one of several surprises. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVNSQ72wvlc

This tribute to the Keystone Cops was produced by authors Lon and Debra Davis and video editor Barry Thompson.It tells the heretofore unknown story of Robert…
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Just For Fun…Charlie Chaplin Blooper And Outtake Reel

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Just For Fun…Charlie Chaplin Blooper And Outtake Reel

Did you know that one of Chaplin’s first jobs for Max Sennett was as a Keystone Cop? I’ll have that story in today’s next post. Did you know that along with D W Griffith, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, that Chaplin was one of the founders of United Artists? Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

#t=80″ target=”_blank”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A_xERLt-2U #t=80

Chaplin was a perfectionist, but he wasn’t always perfect. Check out these bloopers or outtakes from the sets of his films.
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