Posts in Category: Broadcast History

Quite Possibly, The First Photo Of ABC Studio TV 1

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


First CBS Color Special, ‘Ford Star Jubilee’ 1955

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

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.


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

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


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

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


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


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.


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)


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)


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.


The World’s First Practical Tape Recorder

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.

Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


Another ‘Tonight’ Rarity, Two Birds…One Stone

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


Who Knew? Two Stunners From ‘Perry Mason’

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


ULTRA RARE! ‘Peter Pan’, 1955 Backstage Shot

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



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!



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

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

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…


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

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


RARE! Laugh Tracks, Black Box Found

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


Classic Ed Sullivan…Zippy And The Cameramen

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 – Zippy The Chimp roller skating on the Ed Sullivan Show on April 9th, 1961.


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

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

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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…


How ESPN Covered The Rose & Sugar Bowl Games

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

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.”


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

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

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.


Ultra Rare Photo Of The First RCA TK60

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


Commercial Television’s First News Program, 1941

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


Television’s First News Cast, 1939

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


Carol Burnett Accepting Her First Emmys

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


Classic! Behind The ‘Laugh In’ Joke Wall

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


Everything Is Coming Up Roses!

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


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

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


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

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 or message me with them via Facebook. Thanks to Dan and Rob for these…stay warm and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee


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

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


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

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 Enjoy, share and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee


KCOP Los Angeles…Behind The Scenes Rose Parade 1979

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

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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…


KTLA…Covering The Rose Parade Since 1947

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


Pasadena…Preparing For Today’s Rose Parade

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


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

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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