Posts in Category: Broadcast History

Super Bowl Surprise…Lady Gaga & The 300 Intel Drones??


The Super Bowl Half Time Show…How It All Comes Together

This should start at 48:01, with 2 minutes of the game left to play before Katy Perry takes the stage in 2015. This hour and ten minute documentary is exceptional in the way every element of the show is examined and executed, so feel free to watch from the start (as I just did) and think about all the things that have to go right today as Lady Gaga prepares to take the stage tonight!

Thanks to our friend and webmaster Dave Donaldson, WTOL Television director for the video! Go Falcons! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://youtu.be/QFttH_etf4Y?t=48m1sThe Super Bowl XLIX halftime show took place on February 1, 2015, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona as part of Super Bowl XLIX. It fe…

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50th Anniversary…”Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” Debut


50th Anniversary…”Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” Debut

On February 5, 1967, the Smothers Brothers debuted on CBS and went head to head with the Cartwright brothers on NBC’s Sunday night ratings giant “Bonanza”. To everyone’s (even CBS’s) amazement, in less than a month, they had taken the ratings lead!

“The rest” as they say, “is history”…but it was a history that was as unusual as their start. The more successful they became, the more CBS tried to hold them back.

To tell the story, here is our friend Maureen Muldaur’s great documentary “Smothered” from 2002. Tom and Dick tell a lot of the story, but just about everyone involved is here too, including another friend of ours, producer George Sunga. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnnmcP6FkWk

The Censorship Struggles of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour…

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An Hour With Rocky & Bullwinkle…The Whys, Hows & Whos Of The Show


An Hour With Rocky & Bullwinkle…The Whys, Hows & Whos Of The Show

The Wayback Machine is set for 1963 and everybody is here! On top of tons of cartoon footage, we meet the voices, writers and masterminds – Bill Scott and Jay Ward – of the most beloved TV cartoon characters of our generation.

Rocky, Bullwinkle, Dudley, Nell, Snidely, Mr. Peabody, Sherman, Boris, Natasha, the Fractured Fairy Tales, the inside jokes, fun with the censors, and even a real life story involving President Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis are all part of this trip down memory lane. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://youtu.be/z83q1NYWIyQ?t=1m55sBehind the scenes of the greatest animated cartoon series ever created. Though reflecting the innocence of the country during the early sixties, Rocky & Bull…

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Meet The Voice Of The “Law & Order” Franchise…Steve Zirnkilton

Meet The Voice Of The “Law & Order” Franchise…Steve Zirnkilton

How many times have you heard “In the criminal justice system”, and wondered just who that great voice belongs to? Well the answer is Steve Zirnkilton.

There are a lot of stories about how he happened to get the job, but here is his version, as told to Backstage Magazine in 2014.

“As it happened, Dick Wolf was buying a house up here in Maine, and at that time, I had my real estate brokers license and my insurance license. I approached him and asked if I could act as his buyer’s representative to make sure that everything would go smoothly.

When the transaction was complete he said, “What do I owe you?” I immediately passed him a cassette tape which was my VO demo. I handed it to him and he wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I didn’t hear anything and then some months later, his secretary called saying that he wanted me to do the bumpers for a show called “Nasty Boys,” a spring launch for NBC.

That lasted about six episodes. I figured I’d had my shot. Then I got a call from Mr. Wolf’s secretary saying that Mr. Wolf has a show called “Law & Order,” and he’d like you to play a detective in the show. I played a detective in the pilot and shared a trailer with William H. Macy.

Nobody wanted the show. CBS and Fox both passed. Nearly a year went by and then Brandon Tartikoff at NBC decided to give it a try. Mr. Wolf’s secretary called me again and said, “Please meet Mr. Wolf at the recording studio. He has something he’d like you to read.” And that was the opening. I had no idea if the show would have any legs, but happily it hung around for a while.”

For uniformity’s sake, Dick Wolf has used his voice on all of the other Law & Order shows and Zirnkilton is the only person, other than Wolf, to appear in the credits for every episode of every show. Although the pilot episode of “Law & Order” did not have the voice over opening, he got screen credit for his role as an on camera detective. Since then, he has been listed as the narrator.

If his residuals are anything like what Paul Anka and Johnny Carson split for their authorship of Johnny’s “Tonight Show” theme, this is one very fat cat! Well done Steve! -Bobby Ellerbee


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Fox Sports Kicks Off Super Programming Plans from Houston

The Technology of Super Bowl 51…Hard To Wrap Your Head Around

One of the technical highlights promises to be the “Be The Player” enhancement. With the help of multiple cameras and massive computer processing courtesy of Intel, the system will allow viewers at home to see a POV from any player on the field without the need for a physical camera to be attached to the player.

Fox Sports is also stepping up the use of augmented reality and next-generation stats. Seven enhanced augmented-reality cameras will be used, including one on the Skycam, and a live first-down line can be placed on the field and flown around in real time. And RF/IF transceivers in players’ helmets will allow meaningful stats to be delivered within shots from the Skycam.

With feeds starting today there are over 40 cameras at the Discovery Green offsite broadcast area, but at the stadium, there are 13 mobile units in the broadcast compound along with 15 temporary structures, offering a combined work space of more than 29,000 sq. ft.; more than 34 miles of cable has been laid.

Among other stadium highlights are 70 cameras, including two high-speed 4K cameras shooting at 240 fps, four Sony Super Motion cameras shooting at 180 fps, two Super Motion cameras shooting at 360 fps, and the high-speed cameras shooting at 480 fps. There are also one 8K camera and 24 pylon cameras (eight pylons with three cameras each).

What still amazes me is how the Super Bowl halftime show stages are wheeled in and out, and work so well. Hopefully there will be video of Lady Gaga’s staging soon. Go Falcons! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.sportsvideo.org/2017/01/30/fox-sports-kicks-off-super-programming-plans-from-houston/

Fox Sports Kicks Off Super Programming Plans from Houston

The Super Bowl countdown has begun in earnest for Fox Sports as today marks the beginning of a pre-event programming run that will deliver more than 20 …

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Meet “Blackbird”…Via CGI, It Is Any Car You Want It To Be (2 Videos)


Meet “Blackbird”…Via CGI, It Is Any Car You Want It To Be (2 Videos)

Had this technology been available in the ’60s, George Barris would never have had to build the Batmobile, the Munster’s car or the Beverly Hillbillies truck, because this car can become any car!

Here is another short video that shows how adding a “skin” or real car look works. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arzWhLMAiGw

In essence, the Blackbird is a mobile camera rig designed to morph into any car in the world. At the push of a button the fully adjustable chassis can modify its length by 4 feet and width by 10 inches. It can fit any wheel set and be altered for any type of suspension and chassis design. You can see all this and more demonstrated in the second video below.

Two years in development, the Blackbird was hand built by the world’s top technicians from JemFX in the same hangar that the Blackbird SR-71 supersonic jet was once manufactured. The car rig’s name is a nod to this legacy of stealth design.

Although this is very cool, so is seeing the original Batmobile in person. These days, its hard to believe your own eyes. -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJhn1OPO3Ig

Special effects company The Mill has come up with a technology so intruiging, we just had to give it a go. Meet the ‘Blackbird’, which is all about taking mo…

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50 years of memories behind-the-scenes with Tom Brokaw

“Tom Brokaw At NBC News…The First 50 Years”

The two hour special airs tonight, but in the meantime, here is a great wall of war stories from the people he worked with, and some are even about what happened in real wars. From producers and cameramen, to fellow reporters, this is a behind the scenes article from dozens that were on the ground with Tom around the world.

So glad he is still in the mix at NBC…we need his seasoned professionalism. Thank you Mr. Brokaw! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.nbcnews.com/dateline/50-years-memories-tom-brokaw-n712481

50 years of memories behind-the-scenes with Tom Brokaw

During his more than 50 years at NBC News, Tom Brokaw has been woven into the lives of all those in the news division. Dozens of his colleagues share their most memorable moments with the TV legend.

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The Chaplin Studios…A Mega Magical Place In Time (Multi Video & Articles)


The Chaplin Studios…A Mega Magical Place In Time (Multi Video & Articles)

It is hard to know where to start, because we have a rare opportunity to see this historic landmark as is is now, and as it was when it was first built at 1416 N. La Brea Avenue in Hollywood.

I’ve written a short history here which comes to life in these three videos and there is more detail in these two very good articles

http://patch.com/california/echopark/historic-chaplin-studio-still-stands-in-hollywood-e7630558
http://dearoldhollywood.blogspot.com/2009/02/chaplin-studios.html

In 1919, construction was completed on the land bought in 1917 by silent screen icon Charlie Chaplin, including his personal residence on the site. Many of Chaplin’s classic films were shot at the studios, including “The Kid” (1921), “The Gold Rush” (1925), “City Lights” (1931), “Modern Times” (1936), “The Great Dictator” (1940), “Monsieur Verdoux” (1947), and “Limelight” (1952).

The embedded video here shows the studio site in 1917, when it was just an orange grove and includes a rare time lapse of the studio being built. It continues with Chaplin “making a movie” which gives us a look at almost every part of the lot, including his office, the sound stage, the Barn, film lab and much more…even Fatty Arbuckle plays a part. This is fascinating!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhsbrDKzkXA

For comparison, here is a recent tourist video that kind of gushes, but is none the less quite detailed and shows us some things verified in the first video, like the door Charlie used, which is not a door anymore. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPFvv5uxZQk

In that in the tourist video we didn’t see inside the sound stage, here is a KABC story on the property from a few years back that takes is inside. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS2HKf75V8s

Now…back to our history.

In 1953, a New York real estate investor bought the studio from Chaplin, who had left America permanently in October 1952. The new owner had planned to tear down the studio, but instead, leased it to a television production company and it became known as Kling Studios. This is where the first couple of years of “The Adventures Of Superman” were shot. When the series went from B/W to color, the production moved.

In 1959, Red Skelton began producing his CBS television series at the facility, and in April 1960 Skelton purchased the studio. Skelton also purchased three large mobile units for taping color television shows, making a total investment estimated at $3.5 million. Skelton had a large “Skelton Studios” sign erected over the main gate on La Brea Avenue. Here is an article on the Skelton Studios color mobile unit on page 18.
http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-RCA-Broadcast-News/RCA-110.pdf

Skelton sold the studio to CBS in 1962, and CBS shot the Perry Mason television series there from 1962–1966.

In 1966, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss purchased the studio from CBS to serve as a headquarters for A&M Records.

In 1985, the hit single and video “We Are the World” was recorded in A&M’s Studio A.

From 1981 to 1985, Soul Train taped at The Chaplin Stage.

In February 2000, Jim Henson’s children purchased the studio for $12.5 million to serve as the new home of The Jim Henson Company.

There is a lot here to take in, but I hope you will take the time to see all the attached video and read the articles. It is not often that you get a chance to really understand the history of such important places, and this is one indeed sacred ground in the world of entertainment. Enjoy and share. -Bobby Ellerbee

Chalie Chaplin produced this film in 1918 to show the First National Picture Corporation when he signed with them, how to produce movies with them. Chaplin w…

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Welcome To Eyes Of A Generation! – Eyes Of A Generation…Television’s Living History

You Don’t Have To Use Facebook To See Eyes Of A Generation!

I know a lot of us are tired of FB, but the daily posts and stories are always available on the main web site, plus MUCH MORE! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://eyesofageneration.com/

Welcome To Eyes Of A Generation! – Eyes Of A Generation…Television’s Living History

This is the home of television’s living history… This is television’s story, built one article at a time over a period of 10+ years. In writing and posting each of these, almost every story has bloomed to near perfection, thanks to the contributions lost details, comments and first hand reports from…

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February 1, 1982…”Late Night With David Letterman” Debuts


February 1, 1982…”Late Night With David Letterman” Debuts

On this date in 1982, Dave’s show replaced Tom Snyder’s ‘Tomorrow’ show, and at the end of the first week, the ratings were 30% better than Snyder’s.

These three clips are from the debut night and show us the start, a tour of Studio 6A which ends in the control room with Director Hal Gurney leading the singers (you’ll see) and Dave’s first guest Bill Murray.

There are too many thing to list that made the show a hit and “different”, but here’s an example from that first week that had everyone talking. On the third night, baseball great Hank Arron was on and after his time with Dave, a camera followed him backstage where Marv Albert did a “post interview, interview” to see how it had gone, just like a post game interview.

We love you and miss you Dave, and thank you for all the laughs along the way! Enjoy your retirement…you’ve earned a rest. -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNplNAjlEz8 Open
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uebc1Mtq2c Studio Tour
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GR4ltdzKfmY&t=28s Murray

Monologue

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ABC, CBS, NBC Anniversary Shows…Saturday Through Tuesday!

ABC, CBS, NBC Anniversary Shows…Saturday Through Tuesday!

Over the next four days, we’ll have the commercial free anniversary shows from the Big 3! Tomorrow, we start with the oldest network, NBC. On Sunday, it’s CBS and on Monday, ABC. Then on Tuesday, we’ve got Television City’s 50th anniversary show for you. Be ready for some great history and many major memories! -Bobby Ellerbee

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NBC 60th Anniversay Show…Mega Memory Tour #1


NBC 60th Anniversay Show…Mega Memory Tour #1

From now through Tuesday, we’ll have the NBC, CBS and ABC network anniversary shows for you here, plus a couple of surprises, but now, it’s time for tour #1.

This is 2 1/2 hours of NBC’s glorious history without commercials…well, almost. Ed Herlihy is here to tell you about the Kraft commercials he did, and we’ll see him in this NBC Tour themed production that has kind of a clunky intro, but all through this, there are a lot of looks at 30 Rock and Burbank, where it was all shot.

NBC has presented more recent anniversary specials, but none of those are available in their entirety like this one. As part of the tour, Milton Berle stands outside Studio 6B and confirms that the first TV show from that studio was his “Texaco Star Theater”.

Hope, Paar, Carson, Jolsen, Vallie, Chancelor, Allen, Huntley, Brinkley, Pauley, Cantor, Martin, Lewis, Abbott, Costello, Landon…westerns, dramas, soaps, sitcoms, news, radio, milestones, sports…it’s all here! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiQT81Pe0uY

On May 12, 1986, more than 100 stars celebrated the National Broadcasting Company’s 60 years on the air in this special that features the debut of the new (a…

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CBS 75th Anniversay Show…Mega Memory Tour #2


CBS 75th Anniversay Show…Mega Memory Tour #2

From now through Tuesday, we’ll continue NBC, CBS and ABC network anniversary shows for you here, plus a couple of surprises, but now, it’s time for tour #2.

This is 2 hours of CBS’s glorious history as it was presented in 2003, and like NBC, CBS has presented more recent anniversary specials, but none of those are available in their entirety like this one.

Gleason, Benny, Burnett, Cronkite, Griffith, Sullivan, Newhart, MTM, Barker, Skelton, Letterman and all the great shows from westerns, dramas, soaps, sitcoms, news, radio, milestones, sports are all here! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9AVTRRvHWY

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ABC 50th Anniversay Show…Mega Memory Tour #3


ABC 50th Anniversay Show…Mega Memory Tour #3

Today and tomorrow, we’ll continue NBC, CBS and ABC network anniversary shows for you here, plus a couple of surprises, but now, it’s time for tour #3.

This is 3 hours of ABC’s glorious history as it was presented in 2003, and like NBC and CBS, ABC has presented more recent anniversary specials, but none of those are available in their entirety like this one.

Dick Clark, Barbra Walters, Hugh Downs, John Trivolta, The Beaver, The Fonz, Cosel, Luke and Laura, and all the great shows from westerns, dramas, soaps, sitcoms, news, milestones, sports are all here! Even a nice TK41 as a backdrop. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5OSbgbmo6Y

Includes commercials and a WFTV news open (seen on sister channel OTownNews). All copyrights are acknowledged. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED! SOLELY FOR…

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January 30, 1950…NBC Studio 8H Debuts As A Television Studio


January 30, 1950…NBC Studio 8H Debuts As A Television Studio

Actually, “The Voice Of Firestone” radio show had been simulcast from Studio 8H on September 5, 1949, and before that, at least two simulcasts of Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra were done from 8H as early as 1943. All of those broadcasts had all been handled as remotes though, as there were no television facilities in the studio then.

Around the end of August of ’49, 8H was closed and totally redone at a cost of over a million dollars.

The first show that we know of that came from the new television studio was NBC’s new one hour anthology series, “Robert Montgomery Presents”, with the debut episode “The Letter” being broadcast at 8 PM January 30, 1950, for a double debut of sorts.

At the link below is a 1954 episode of the show, and in that first minute, we see the camera pan Studio 8H as the live production is about to begin after Montgomery’s introduction.

When NBC began broadcasting from it’s new 30 Rockefeller Plaza location on November 11, 1933, the first radio show came from 8H, or as it was called then, The Auditorium Studio. It was the largest of the 27 studios in the building with 8G, also known as The Radio Guild Studio, second in size.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY 8H! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://youtu.be/wCknH47-pfk?t=59sThe conflict between generations is played out between an old railroad man (Ed Begley) and his son over steam powered trains versus the new diesel engine. Or…

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Inside Breaking News…Live At CNN For The Challenger Disaster


Inside Breaking News…Live At CNN For The Challenger Disaster

On January 28, 1986, about a half hour before the Challenger space shuttle was launched, a CNN tape crew had come into the main news studio to shoot a feature on how the news is covered. What their camera recorded in Atlanta was the same kind of chaos erupting across the country in other news rooms. Where were you when you heard the news? -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvIKue2NOSo

A crew just happened to be in the CNN Newsroom/ Studio shooting promotional/documentary footage of a random day’s work at the network. This is their montage …

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January 27, 1991…Whitney Houston Mesmerizes America


January 27, 1991…Whitney Houston Mesmerizes America

The Story Of The Best Ever Version Of “The Star Spangled Banner”

Here is our national anthem sung like never before, and the backstory of how it came to be. Please watch it with the volume high and don’t be surprised if you tear up to, what most consider, the most moving rendition ever.

Few know that the entire performance was prerecorded…music and voice. In order to keep the performance from sounding thin, as most stadium performances tend to be, Houston wanted the great arrangement, to be as powerful and moving as it was when she first heard it ten days earlier.

This performance was the opening of Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium, January 27, 1991…10 days into the Persian Gulf War. Whitney was backed by the Florida Orchestra along with music director Jahja Ling, before 73,813 fans, 115 million viewers in the United States and a worldwide television audience of 750 million.

When asked to perform, Houston knew instantly how she wanted to interpret the tune. Rickey Minor, her longtime musical director, and later Jay Leno’s band leader, said that in a crowd that large and loud, it would be impossible for Houston to hear herself, so in order to have the most powerful performance, the decision was made to prerecord both the music and vocals.

Although there was no audio from her mic, there is no question that she sang this with all her heart live, but it was her pre-recorded voice that the audience heard. She did it in one take in the studio!

The NFL had no qualms about the song being prerecorded, even if Houston would be criticized for it. The NFL’s issue was with the meter. “The Star-Spangled Banner” is written in 3/4 time — not quite brisk, but waltzy. Houston and vocal arranger Minor, as well as bassist-arranger John L. Clayton, changed it to 4/4, slowing it down.

“All was in place for what many of us thought would be one of the greatest versions of the national anthem ever performed,” said Jim Steeg, who for 25 years had been in charge of the Super Bowl for the NFL.

“Then on Jan. 17,” as Steeg further recalled it, “senior executives with the NFL asked to hear the recording. A tape was overnighted to Buffalo, where the AFC championship game was played. The next day I was told the version was viewed as too slow and difficult to sing along with. Could I ask to have it redone.” Perhaps the NFL was afraid there would be discontent in the stands, as there had been when Jose Feliciano dared to stray in the anthem before Game 5 of the 1968 World Series. So Steeg called John Houston, Whitney’s father and her manager at the time. “The conversation was brief,” Steeg said. “There would be no rerecording.”

Houston’s performance electrified the stadium and soon after, popular demand prompted Houston’s record label to release a single of her national anthem performance that hit the top 20 on the Billboard charts.

“I think it might well be the best Super Bowl performance of all time, ” said Billboard Magazine editor Danyel Smith. I AGREE! God Bless America! -Bobby Ellerbee

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

Among the annals of national anthems as a prelude to sporting events, few have topped the one delivered by Whitney Houston before Super Bowl XXV in 1991 in T…

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January 26, 1939…”Gone With The Wind” Starts In Ernest


January 26, 1939…”Gone With The Wind” Starts In Ernest

This was the day in 1939 that principal photography began for one of history’s most epic films…when the stars (or principals) went before the cameras.

Actually, the first scenes were shot on December 10, 1938 when the MGM backlot was set of fire to depict the burning of Atlanta. If you click this link, you will see rare raw footage of the fire scene being shot. https://youtu.be/bW7ZWIJVZFc?t=26m38s

There is also a lot of very interesting background in the video linked above and I hope you’ll have time to take it all in.

In this clip, Katie Couric takes a look at then, newly discovered color home movies taken on the set in 1939.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E4-KR86LnY

Finally, in this embedded clip, we get a rare look at where the film was shot, and how it looks today. At one point, notice that the Atlanta street looks a lot like Mayberry, because it later was. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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

A nostalgic look at the back lot of one of Hollywood’s most famous studios. Using aerial photographs from past and present times has enabled us to see the ex…

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January 26, 1992…First Successful Super Bowl Counter Programming


January 26, 1992…First Successful Super Bowl Counter Programming

CLASSIC! Men On Football…’In Living Color’

This link is queued up to just before one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on television which hits a few seconds before 5:00. The whole thing is hilarious, but this is my favorite part.
http://youtu.be/2OKwRsnWO84?t=4m38s

This was a special live episode (usually it was prerecorded) that aired on Fox, Sunday, January 26, 1992 and was broadcast opposite the Super Bowl XXVI halftime on CBS. It drew about 25 million of those viewers. After the half hour live special, most returned to CBS which had an audience estimated at 79.6 million viewers.

This was the first time that a major television network successfully scheduled Super Bowl counter-programming. The ‘In Living Color’ Super Bowl halftime special was branded by the network as ‘The Doritos Zaptime-In Living Color Super Halftime Party’.

During the “Men on Football” sketch, Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier adlibbed a suggestion that Richard Gere and track and field star Carl Lewis were gay. Lawsuits were filed and the tape was edited for reruns and syndication. This is the original unedited version! Enjoy and share! -Bobby EllerbeeThis is the uncensored version, recorded live during the Super Bowl halftime show.

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January 25, 1961…Television’s First Live Presidential News Conference


January 25, 1961…Television’s First Live Presidential News Conference

There are three videos with this article; the embedded footage is of President Kennedy hosting the first live news conference, and notice at 10:05, a reporter asks if taking questions live is a good thing given that live there is the occasion to mis-speak and rile international tensions (hint, hint), and the second video shows Kennedy’s amazing grace and humor. The third is part of Eisenhower’s first televised news conference that was shot on film.

On this day in 1961, President Kennedy held the first ever live presidential news conference. It originated from the auditorium of the State Department and was carried live on both radio and television.

In the period preceding the Kennedy presidency, the rules governing press conferences favored the president. The sessions were off-the- record events, from Woodrow Wilson through Harry Truman. If the president said something he believed unwise, he could alter the quote.

President Truman, for example, was able to back away from a comment about Senator McCarthy that he made in a March 30, 1950, press conference. Truman said: “I think the greatest asset that the Kremlin has is Senator McCarthy.” When one of the reporters commented that the president’s observation would “hit page one tomorrow,” Truman realized he had better soften the statement. He “worked” with reporters and allowed the following as a direct quotation: “The greatest asset that the Kremlin has is the partisan attempt in the Senate to sabotage the bipartisan foreign policy of the United States.”

When the rules governing press conferences were off the record, chief executives held them once or twice a week. In fact, Calvin Coolidge, who held the most press conferences for the number of years he was in office, had 521 sessions or an average of 93 a year. But once they went on the record in the Eisenhower administration, the numbers dropped drastically. Now they had to take time preparing for the sessions and then be careful what they said when answering questions. Eisenhower and Kennedy respectively had 24 and 23 press conferences a year.

The first televised (film footage) press conference was held January 19, 1955. President Eisenhower came into the Indian Treaty Room, a room with poor acoustics and limited seating and announced the “experiment” they were about to be part of. https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4480322/president-eisenhowers-first-televised-press-conference

In fact, television made an enormous difference in the significance of press conferences in presidential publicity. It has been a “disturbing influence”—presidents have made mistakes though only rarely—but the sessions also have been an enormous resource for presidents as they seek to explain policy and themselves to the public.

President Kennedy was able to assimilate the new technology into an invigorated presidency, much as he had during the campaign and in the presidential debates. Kennedy’s press conferences were in many ways a symbol of his successful use of television to promote his active agenda.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXDLLUOxmsY At this link is a video that reminds us of JFK’s easy style in these press conferences. He was the first American president to really understand television and how to use it to his advantage, which started during the campaign.

The image of a fast-paced presidency was not an illusion in the Kennedy years. It was real. Take the pace of their public speeches. President Eisenhower and President Kennedy had a few more than 700 speeches and remarks, big and small, during their presidencies. For President Eisenhower those public remarks covered eight years and for Kennedy, it was less than three years. Many of those speeches got to the public either through their being televised or through news broadcasts.

Because of the high demand by reporters for seats, the conferences had to be moved from the White House compound where they were held first in the president’s office – Wilson through to Truman – and then moved to the larger Indian Treaty Room in the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. Even that room turned out to be a cramped space. Kennedy moved them here in the State Department auditorium where there was more space for the 200+ reporters covering him and his press conferences.

Reporters were more willing to challenge the new president than was true in the Eisenhower years when the goodwill from World War II was still in the air. At the end of the Eisenhower administration, reporters lost their willingness to take at face value the government’s accounting of events.

The U2 spy plane incident changed the relationship for many reporters with their government. It was an incident where the US government was caught in a lie – it was a spy plane the Soviets shot down, not the weather plane the White House said it was. When reporters found out they were lied to, they became wary of the accounts they received from White House officials.

The incoming team of reporters, many of whom followed Senator Kennedy as he campaigned for the presidency, caught the public eye as did the new president. They all prospered from press conferences where each side sought to establish control in its relationship with the other. And so it goes. -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFde6u-OPj8

President Kennedy begins the press conference with a statement concerning the scheduling of the Geneva negotiations for a nuclear test ban. He then announces…

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Welcome To Eyes Of A Generation! – Eyes Of A Generation…Television’s Living History

Tired Of Facebook? Remember EOAG Is Available On Line Too!

All the Daily Posts and MUCH MORE is always available and up to date at his address. http://eyesofageneration.com/

I’ve noticed that some of you are “taking a break” from FB, which I can appreciate, but you can still see what we are posting on FB by visiting the main Eyes Of A Generation web site.

I know that slogging through all the crap on FB is becoming aggravating which is why I subscribed to The New York Times yesterday. -Bobby Ellerbee

Welcome To Eyes Of A Generation! – Eyes Of A Generation…Television’s Living History

This is the home of television’s living history… This is television’s story, built one article at a time over a period of 10+ years. In writing and posting each of these, almost every story has bloomed to near perfection, thanks to the contributions lost details, comments and first hand reports from…

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70 Years Of Billboard Magazine…Massive Memory Lane Archive

70 Years Of Billboard Magazine…Massive Memory Lane Archive

At this link, are full copies of every weekly Billboard Magazine from 1940 through 2010. Although from the mid ’60s on, Billboard’s main focus was records, radio and music, the late ’40s through the late ’50s issues have a good bit of television news at the start of each issue.

https://books.google.com/books/about/Billboard.html?id=KwsEAAAAMBAJ

On the page, use the sliding bar under the covers to pick a date, like your birthday to see what was happening then and click on the image. Just under the cover image that pops up, there is a “Preview this magazine” option in blue..click that to see the whole issue. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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January 23, 1975, 1977 & 2015…Debuts And Milestones


January 23, 1975, 1977 & 2015…Debuts And Milestones

“The Bold And The Beautiful”, “Roots” And “Barney Miller”

On January 23, 2015 CBS celebrated the 7000th episode of
“The Bold And The Beautiful” with a special milestone episode that broke format and featured a retrospective that showcased the most iconic moments and the history of the show’s creation.

In addition, CBS Television City dedicated Studio 31 to the show’s executive producer and head writer Bradley P. Bell. Here is a time lapse video of Studio 31 being dressed for the show.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kIJYrkmgF0

40 years ago today, “Roots” began airing on ABC for eight consecutive nights from January 23 to January 30, 1977. Over half of the country tuned in to watch and soon after, a wave of awards washed in. In this video from “The Wendy Williams Show” the stars talk about some interesting things that happened on the set.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EqO1680evM

Today in 1975, “Barney Miller” Debuted On ABC. The series was born out of an unsold television pilot, “The Life and Times of Captain Barney Miller”, that aired on August 22, 1974 as part of an ABC summer anthology series, “Just for Laughs”.

In the pilot, Linden and Vigoda were cast in their series roles, but no other other eventual cast members were present. That pilot was shot on film at CBS Studio Center, where the sets of the 12th Precinct and the Miller apartment were originally built.

When the regular series went into production in late 1974, the series went to videotape, and the sets were moved to the ABC Television Center in Hollywood, and later to ABC at Sunset Gower, where they remained until production ended on the series in 1982.

At this link, https://youtu.be/lnn1jQmAGzk?t=46s Hal Linden talks about how the show was shot. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

The Bold and the Beautiful time-lapse video of The Bradley P. Bell Stage 31 at CBS Television City, in honor of 7,000 episodes, is a behind-the-scenes look a…

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[KTLA anniversary show] – Media Burn Archive

MUST SEE HISTORY OF EARLY LOS ANGELES TELEVISION!

KTLA’s 70th Anniversary Is Today! January 22, 1947 – 2017

This amazing video is packed with ultra rare historical footage of not only KTLA, but from the early days of all the Los Angeles television stations!

The show is hosted by Bob Hope, Betty White, Steve Allen, Dinah Shore, Dick Enberg and MANY more! This 40th Anniversary broadcast video even has a very good timeline of what comes where on the video, but if you can, make the time to see it ALL!

It is one of the very best historical presentations you will ever see!

ENJOY AND SHARE! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://mediaburn.org/video/ktla-anniversary-show/

[KTLA anniversary show] – Media Burn Archive

Anniversary show for the station with clips from classic programs. Continue reading →

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Eye Trickery…A Five Video Look At Special Effects & Stunts


Eye Trickery…A Five Video Look At Special Effects & Stunts

From the mundane scenes where you would not expect green-screen and Computer Generated Images, to the magnificent and miraculous scenes, like Moses parting the seas, we’ll look at how it was done and how the scenes look with and without effects. We’ll also see how some amazing stunts were done.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCbOId8zwNU
In this first video, we see the “mundane” use of CGI in with-and-without scenes, that would have stunned producers of the past.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utmgNd1sAqU
Who would have thought CGI was used in “Broke Back Mountain” and “The Great Gatsby”? Also faces are transposed to make actors twins, babies are “made” and Jessica Alba becomes naked.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4H5tjx2Zpg
This not only shows us how Charlton Heston parted the waters in “The Ten Commandments”. but the history of the scene in earlier versions of the classic story.

https://youtu.be/oVm1qoGWGxk
Now we move to stunts and go all the way from crashing cars in “Fast And Furious” to Yakima Canutt’s famous “Stagecoach” scene, plus unseen photos of the chariot race in “Ben Hur”, in which Canutt’s son doubles for Heston in the chariot jump.

https://youtu.be/NHS2TnTdSBs
Finally, we head back to the ’50s and an episode of “You Asked For It” to see some of the old school visual effects. After seeing this, I finally know how they always manage to shoot the stunt man with an arrow in just the right place…I think you’ll be surprised too!

Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

Check out some of the amazing visual effects behind the scenes of popular tv series!

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A Day In The WABC TV News Room…1973


A Day In The WABC TV News Room…1973

In an a year that has been so tumultuous for the television news business, when even fair and accurate reporting has come under attack, I thought this would be a good time to take a look back at how the process actually unfolds at a big local news department.

This great video is nearly a half hour long, and takes us through a full day of activity at the WABC news room, and studio. From assignment editors handing out local stories to crews and reporters, including Geraldo Rivera, to rushing film via motorcycle couriers back for editing, and finally to air with anchors Bill Beutel and Roger Grimsby.

According to the address above the door, this newsroom was at 77 West 66th Street, at the corner of Columbus Avenue, where the WABC news studio is now. The street numbers, and the ABC campus have changed a bit over the years and I think the live studio they were running to is in what is now 77 West 66th.

As you will see, the studio is a few buildings down, and was perhaps in 7 West 66th. Every piece of film and graphics, and talent had to make the mad dash down the street to the studio building.

You may have noticed the redundant use of the word “film”, but in ’73…that was still the main medium for news. At least it was color though, and took 40 minutes to develop.

The process of getting the script to teleprompters starts at around 18.5 minutes in and the broadcast shots come soon after.

Some nice shots of the editing process here, and the Norelco cameras have the extra tall dome tally lights…interestingly, only the very top of the tube light illuminates and you’ll hear the anchors discuss that at the very end, after the broadcast. Those tall tally lights were after-market-add-ons and were made to be taller than the teleprompters most mounted above the lens, but WABC is using and under lens setup.

Even for those of us not from New York, there are a lot of memories here like the Vietnam war protest Geraldo is covering, Burt Reynolds and Dianne Canon who are making “Shamus”, and for New Yorkers, a lot of drive by memories from the news cars.

Thanks to long time ABC cameraman Howie Ziedman for the video link. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cX0BHG91WnU

Grantham University Curated Theater presents a moment in history TV News behind the scenes documentary. Shows the tight editorial and technical teamwork resp…

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January 18, 1929…CBS Becomes A Broadcaster

January 18, 1929…CBS Becomes A Broadcaster

Until this day in 1929, the Columbia Broadcasting System was merely a program service providing radio entertainment features to a string of 16 stations connected by an AT&T line. With the purchase of the A.H. Grebe, Atlantic Broadcasting Company’s Manhattan based station, WABC…CBS itself was on the air. (November 2, 1946, WABC call letters changed to WCBS).

There is an interesting story on why this happened, which involves WOR, but first, here is my brief history of The Columbia Broadcasting System.

In early 1927 Arthur Judson, the impresario of the Philadelphia and New York Philharmonic orchestras, approached the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), which at the time was America’s only radio network, with an idea to promote classical music by airing orchestra performances. NBC declined.

Undaunted, Judson founded his own broadcasting company, which he named United Independent Broadcasters, Inc. (UIB).

Lacking a strong capital base, UIB struggled to stay afloat. However, in the summer of 1927, Judson found a rich partner in the owner of Columbia Phonograph Company, Louis B. Sterling. Columbia Phonograph bought UIB’s operating rights for $163,000. The new company was named the Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System.

Columbia Phonographic took over on September 18, 1927, with a presentation by the Howard Barlow Orchestra with network affiliate WOR in Newark, New Jersey, feeding fifteen other UIB network stations. Operational costs were steep, particularly the payments to AT&T for use of its land lines, and by the end of 1927, Columbia Phonograph wanted out.

In early 1928, Judson sold the network to brothers Isaac and Leon Levy, owners of the network’s Philadelphia affiliate WCAU, and their partner Jerome Louchenheim. Soon after, the Levy brothers had involved their soon to be relative, 26 year old William S. Paley, who’s sister was engaged to Leon Levy. Paley was the son of a well-to-do Philadelphia cigar maker.

With the record company out of the picture, Paley quickly streamlined the corporate name to Columbia Broadcasting System. Paley had come to believe in the power of radio advertising since his family’s La Palina cigars had doubled their sales after young William convinced his elders to advertise on radio the year before.

Although the network was growing, it did not own a radio station of its own…yet. In December of 1928, CBS bought A.H. Grebe’s Atlantic Broadcasting Company in New York City with the call letters WABC (no relation to the current WABC), which would become the network’s flagship station.

Now, here’s the story behind why CBS bought WABC.

It was Grebe’s hope to expand the Atlantic Broadcasting Company into a network operation, now that NBC has shown the way. But in September 1928, an opportunity arose that would make this station one of the major players in radio history.

The Columbia chain did not own an outlet in New York. Its local affiliate was WOR, which became convinced they could produce local programs of equal quality to the CBS shows.

When WOR refused to clear additional time for the CBS network, WABC stepped in to become the second NYC affiliate, a move it hoped would justify a power increase. For a few weeks in late 1928, WABC was the CBS station on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, with WOR carrying the network on the other four days, but soon WOR dropped CBS completely.

In November 1928, Columbia offered to buy either of its New York area affiliates, and President William S. Paley negotiated with both Grebe and Bamberger. WOR’s facilities were superior, but Paley chose the less-expensive WABC, and in December the sale was completed.

The sale price was $390,000, though the appraised value of the studios and transmitter was just $130,000. Grebe had apparently let the WABC studios go to seed, for Paley reported a mess on the seventeenth floor of Steinway Hall. Among the assets were goods accepted as payment from sponsors; jewelry, kitchenware, and reportedly even some live chickens.

WABC came with a bonus though…it was located in the brand new Steinway Hall at 109 West 57th Street in Manhattan, across the street from the Carnegie Hall.

Concerts were broadcast from the Steinway concert halls downstairs, but upstairs, there were only 4 rooms. In need of studios and offices, the network moved in July 1929 into the bottom six floors of a new building at 485 Madison Avenue at 52nd Street, in the heart of the advertising community.

Initially, six studios were built on the 4th, 5th and 6th floors of the CBS space, and the bottom three floors were the CBS sales and programming offices. Eventually, CBS would take over the building and occupy if for the next 35 years.

Within a few years, CBS had nearly 50 stations in its network. Since the number of affiliates a network possesses determines the number of people it can reach, which in turn determines what a sponsor is charged, CBS was soon on firm financial ground. By 1930 CBS had 300 employees and total sales of $7.2 million. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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Television & The Presidential Inaugurations…Part 1

Television & The Presidential Inaugurations…Part 1

President Harry Truman’s January 20,1949 inauguration was the first to be televised to the 2,000,000 sets in use in the US, but television did not reach the west coast until Truman’s 1952 speech from San Francisco was telecast.

In the photo, the raised platform is for the radio reporters, newsreel cameras, and two pool TV cameras, with at least one more live camera in use on the ground, and perhaps more. I think this was the only televised part of the day, with no live TV coverage attempted on the parade portion.

At the link is a rare kinescope recording of Truman’s Inaugural Address. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gytbJo_bmxA

Here are some mass media firsts associated with covering the inaugurations over the centuries.

First ceremony to be reported by telegraph: James Polk, 1845.
First ceremony to be photographed: James Buchanan, 1857.
First motion picture of ceremony: William McKinley, 1897.
First electronically-amplified speech: Warren Harding, 1921.
First radio broadcast: Calvin Coolidge, 1925.
First recorded on talking newsreel: Herbert Hoover, 1929.
First television coverage: Harry Truman, 1949.
First live Internet broadcast: Bill Clinton, 1997.

Here is the first inauguration to ever be captured on motion picture film. It is that of Willam McKinley on March 4, 1897.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pO_aOe_FM2Q

In 1937, Franklin Roosevelt took the oath of the Presidency for the second time, but for the first time on January 20th. The 20th Amendment changed the date from March 4 to January 20 when it was ratified in 1933.

More on soon! -Bobby Ellerbee

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Television & The Presidential Inaugurations…Part 2

Television & The Presidential Inaugurations…Part 2

(–Before commenting, please see the note at the bottom–)
Today, pictures from President Eisenhower’s first and second inaugurations in 1953 and ’57, and the inauguration of President Kennedy in 1961. Although the Kennedy oath and speech was in glorious black and white, the parade was the first to be broadcast in color.

The first two images are from 1953 and show Edward R. Murrow reporting from in front of the White House and the second, Walter Cronkite, who is most likely in a backstage area of the parade viewing stand.

Image 3 and 4 are from the 1957 Eisenhower parade with a CBS camera car, complete with microwave and Cronkite again in the parade reviewing stand.

From image 5 on, we see President Kennedy’s inauguration, starting at the White House with he and Eisenhower preparing to leave for the ceremony. Anchoring the Capitol ceremonies, are Chet Huntley and David Brinkley for NBC and Walter Cronkite for CBS. Both are in the newly added anchor booths of the elevated press grandstand, which was the first time mini studios were built into the press position.

The color shot is of the first use of color at an inauguration. I think NBC had 4 TK41s there to cover the parade at the VIP review area. Next we see the camera cars, first NBC’s Cadillac limo and ABC’s white Plymouth stationwagon, and then NBC’s limo with the CBS Mercury behind it.

Dave Garroway started the day for NBC with a live edition of “Today” and a preview of what would come and last, we see NBC reporter Ray Scherer being shot with RCA’s new B/W vidicon camera, the Ultra Cam.

A NOTE ON COMMENTS: In order the archive all of your comments at the main http://eyesofageneration.com/ site (in the Daily Post section), please comment only on this main page, and not on the photo pages. Unfortunately, there is not a way to archive either my descriptive narration or your comments on those photo pages, but comments on this main Facebook page are archived. Replies are not able to be saved either, but we are working on that. -Bobby Ellerbee












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Television & The Presidential Inaugurations…Part 3 of 3

Television & The Presidential Inaugurations…Part 3 of 3

In photos 1,2 and 3, we see images from the inauguration of President Johnson and VP Hubert Humphrey in January 1965. For NBC the anchors were Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, with help from Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters. Peter Jennings was there for ABC with Marlene Sanders.

As they did in for the Kennedy inauguration, NBC color cast the parade, but not the capitol ceremonies. As we find out in this very good article on the LBJ television coverage, CBS was testing a new long lens with gyroscopic stability features which worked very well. NBC won the ratings battle by starting at 7 AM with “Today” hosts Downs and Walters, and ending coverage at 5:20, which was longer than ABC or CBS. This was the first time Telstar was used for the event and CBS videotape was broadcast to Europe on the new bird.
http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-IBEW/IBEW-1965-02.pdf

Pictures 4 and 5 are from Nixon’s first inauguration in January 1969, which was the first time all three networks broadcast the whole thing in color. Seen here are Nixon and wife Pat at the White House preparing to leave for the capitol with a Norelco camera behind them. In the color photo, Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters are handling the early day coverage for NBC’s “Toady”. At the link is a Chicago Tribune story on the day.
http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1969/01/17/page/53/article/tv-today

In image 6, Gerald Ford is sworn in August 9, 1974 in the East Room of The White House. Nixon’s resignation was tendered at 11:35 AM, and Ford sworn in at 12:05 PM. Although there were not grand capitol steps ceremonies, parades or balls, I felt President Ford deserved a place here.

Pictures 7 and 8 are from the Jimmy Carter inauguration in 1977 and show one of NBC’s mobile unit Norelcos in action with John Chancellor and David Brinkley in the booth.

On the eve of the inauguration, the Carter family attended a Kennedy Center concert where Shirley Maclaine, Leonard Bernstein, James Dickey, John Wayne, Aretha Franklin and John
Lennon contributed to the festivities.

On the gleaming inaugural platform the temperature was below freezing as the formal events commenced, but an audience of 150,000 braved the chill and gathered on the lawn of the Capitol, including my mother and dad, who were there as guests of the Carters.

Perhaps the highlight of the day came when the presidential limousine stopped at Constitution Avenue, where the new President and his wife stepped out and began to walk at the head of the
inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, following the example of Thomas Jefferson.

The final three shots are from Reagan’s first inauguration in 1981. With Walter Cronkite is Bill Moyers and a CBS Thomson camera in image 9. In image 10, that is NBC’s John Chancellor and Roger Mudd at the capitol. At the Washington “Today” set, host Tom Brokaw stays in the studio to watch the coverage, including the announcement that the US Embassy hostages in Iran were on a plane bound for Germany. President Carter, who had been working 24 hours a day for his last two days in office, left the next day to meet them in Weisbaden Germany.

I wish there were more and better behind the scenes shots to show you, but it seems that the more inaugurations were covered – the mystic of how it was all done wore off. From here on, most of the available photos are quite boring, so with this, we bring this three part series to an end with the hopes you enjoyed this look back in time. -Bobby Ellerbee

By the way, starting tomorrow and running through Saturday, The Decades channel will be airing all of the Presidential inauguration speeches back to back from Kennedy through Obama. Here’s a link for more.

http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwtv/article/Decades-TV-Network-to-Broadcast-Every-Presidential-Inaugural-Speech-Since-1961-20170106











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