Posts in Category: Broadcast History

‘CBS Sunday Morning’ Cameraman Allen Brown Retires…

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‘CBS Sunday Morning’ Cameraman Allen Brown Retires…

Yesterday was Allen’s last day as a CBS cameraman, but soon, he will return to ‘Sunday Morning’ which he has worked on from almost it’s first day on the air. Celebrating 40 years at The Tiffany network, Allen has seen more than a little television history in the making on shows like ‘The Guiding Light’ where he spent ten years and with Walter Cronkite in Studio 33. Congratulations Allen and thanks to Craig Wilson for the photos. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee





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Video Rarity #4…Inside ABC Studio TV 2, November 7, 1952

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Video Rarity #4…Inside ABC Studio TV 2, November 7, 1952

This show-within-a-show depicts a live telecast of ‘Tales of Tomorrow’, an actual ABC dramatic series, which keeps being broken into by a phantom broadcast. It’s far fetched, but it gives us a rare look at the early years of ABC’s TV 2. At 4:58, 7:16, 15:20, 20:07 and 21:58 we get some good long looks into TV 2. My guess is that the apartment scene is taking place in TV 1, just next door. Speaking of doors, that’s how we know where this is. That back door where many of the telephone calls are made from, and the location of the control room I think nail down TV 2 as the location.

There are some nice shots of the ABC TK10s in action and although there is no logo on the main camera, there is an ABC logo on the crane camera and on a few of the studio desks.

The “lover” is Rod Steiger in one of his first television roles. At the end, notice in the credits and the VO, the people in the studio are not actors…they are real ABC studio employees. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://archive.org/details/TalesOfTomorrow-LostPlanetLast one I have. Kind of cool to see a 1950’s TV studio step outside of the box. An early experiment in TV.
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Video Rarity #3…This Is About As Awkward As Live TV Gets!

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Video Rarity #3…This Is About As Awkward As Live TV Gets!

Before we get to the meat, notice the rare opening shot from the new control room ABC built for ‘The Jerry Lewis Show’ at Vine Street.

At around 3:45, we get to the original Jay Leno – Conan O’Brien moment. After a kind of cool reception from the audience, Lewis announces the show has been canceled, yet there are four more shows to go. How’s that for awkward?

The only other time I have seen this happen before this was when CBS canceled ‘The Jimmy Dean Show’ with a few weeks to go. By the way, after the cancellation, ABC put a new show in this theater and time slot…’The Hollywood Palace’, which debuted January 4, 1964, just two weeks after the last Lewis show.

Although Lewis is a brilliant talent, for some reason, he just couldn’t get this show of the ground. Even this performance seems a bit flat and stilted, but given the circumstances, maybe that is predictable. I don’t know if that’s flop sweat or he forgot his makeup, but either way, he’s pretty shiny. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GutZv_D7DKk


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Video Rarity #2…Jerry Lewis Sings On A Crane With A TK60…

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Video Rarity #2…Jerry Lewis Sings On A Crane With A TK60…MUST SEE!

This is as good as it gets and is one of my all-time favorite clips! Here, Jerry spends over three minutes on a Chapman Electra singing “Birth Of The Blues”. He gets the full treatment too, as they boom him out over the audience and up to the balcony.

This rare clip is from his short lived (13 week) ‘Jerry Lewis Show’ on ABC in 1963. It was a 90 minute Saturday night show and even though ABC had gone all out in promotion and totally redone the Vine Street Theater to make it The Jerry Lewis Theater, ratings were not good and the two year deal came to an awkward end. More on this in the next clip. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/hGIMNOtpzps?t=3m26s
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Video Rarity #1…Jerry Lewis Hosts ‘Tonight’ With TK41 Shot

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Video Rarity #1…Jerry Lewis Hosts ‘Tonight’ With TK41 Shot

This is doubly rare! First, you almost never saw the TK41s on the ‘Tonight’ show with Jack Paar or Johnny Carson, but at the 3:00 minute mark, we do! Announcer and Paar sidekick Hugh Downs is off camera in Studio 6B, but to make a point in his story, Jerry walks over to him which is where we get a good look.

Second, this Lewis appearance is one of the few surviving clips of guest hosts during the Paar – Carson transition. Jack left March 30, 1962 and Johnny took over October 1, six months later, after his ABC contact had expired. The clip itself is quite historic and entertaining. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmNF01AXI1I


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The evolution of ESPN: 35 years in the making

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The Start Of ESPN…A Hometown Newspaper Article From The Birstol Press

Today there are only seventeen of the original staffers that started with ESPN in 1979, and this story is told by three of them. Thanks to ESPN cameraman Ryan Balton for sending this along. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

By the way…Bristol, Connecticut is where ESPN is located. Until a few years back, I didn’t know where their HQ was either.

http://m.centralctcommunications.com/bristolpress/news/article_592230c6-8e32-11e4-8b55-d3b75fca33f2.html?mode=jqm

The evolution of ESPN: 35 years in the making

BRISTOL — When ESPN went on the air 35 years ago, it had one building, a trailer full of production equipment and lots of mud everywhere.
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The Start Of CNN…January – June 1980

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The Start Of CNN…January – June 1980 Photos From Jeff Jeffares

Jeff was hired January 2, 1980 at CNN to help Chief Engineer Jack Ormond put it all together, and was one of the original 200 hires. In the beginning, there was a big empty studio and boxes of new equipment everywhere. Oh, and wires….lots of wire and cable that had to be run.

Below we see the RCA TK47s that Jeff unpacked and set up. In the second photo we see what would become “the pit” with it’s switching gear in place, but with no cabinets yet. In the color photo, we see a May rehearsal less than a month before the June 1, 1980 sign on with Jeff at the TD position (nearest). Finally, the Grass Valley 1600 switcher with E Mem still in the crate.

The Cable News Network was launched at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on June 1, 1980. After an introduction by Ted Turner, the husband and wife team of David Walker and Lois Hart anchored the channel’s first newscast. Burt Reinhardt, the executive vice president of CNN at its launch, hired most of the channel’s first 200 employees, including the network’s first news anchor, Bernard Shaw.

This summer, CNN will celebrate it’s 35th Anniversary. Thanks to Jeff for sharing these rare pictures…many more are headed for the scanner, so stay tuned! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee





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76 Trombones And A Cameraman!

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Picture Parade #6…76 Trombones And A Cameraman!

Now you know the secret. Back in the early days of portable cameras, this is how they hid the cameraman in the big parades. This Macy’s shot reminds me that The Rose Parade is just a few days away. If any of you are working that, bowl game or Times Square, send us your rehearsal and facilities check pictures. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

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Picture Parade #5…It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

The Andy Williams Christmas Specials were always great, but his weekly show was also a piece of art, in every way. There were always lots of crane shots and elevated performances, like the one seen here during rehearsal at NBC Burbank. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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Recognize This? Think About Jackie Gleason…

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Picture Parade #1…Recognize This? Think About Jackie Gleason…

The building with the red facade is 328 Chauncey Street in Brooklyn as it looks today. Jackie Gleasen grew up here and later used the address as that of Ralph and Alice Kramden on ‘The Honeymooners’. Originally named Herbert Walton Gleason Jr., he was baptized John Herbert Gleason. His parents were Mae “Maisie” Kelly, a subway change-booth attendant, and Herbert Walton “Herb” Gleason, an insurance auditor. Enjoy and remember to visit the EOAG page or you will miss some posts! -Bobby Ellerbee


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Speaking Of Norelco Cameras…Here Is A Classic Ad For The PC70

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Speaking Of Norelco Cameras…Here Is A Classic Ad For The PC70



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CBS New York, Deep Studio History…Part 2

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CBS New York, Deep Studio History…Part 2

Before we start, a word on the photo. We see three brand new Norelco PC60s…so new their CBS Color logos have yet to be applied. I think this may be in Studio 43 or 44. Can anyone tell?

The following is part of an chain of emails a few months ago between myself, Game Show Network Historian David Schwartz and CBS staffer Bruce Martin. The original question was “what were the first shows at The CBS Broadcast Center”?

Before it became the CBS Broadcast Center, it was the CBS Production Center. What would later become the studios on the second floor were giant rehearsal halls and scenery storage areas. Other parts of the building were used as offices for the shows, including Ed Sullivan’s production office.

Over the summer of 1964, 524 East 57th Street was a busy place making ready for operations and programs to begin arriving in August. The transfer from Grand Central to the Broadcast Center was done in a gradual process over the course of a few weeks. Production was rolled in slowly too, as I think only Studios 43, 44, 45 and 46 were equipped with the new Norelco color cameras. 41 and 42 are the biggest studios and as you will see, they were not put into service till November of ’64.

The WCBS Radio local news may have been the first broadcast from there, and it is possible ‘The CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite’ was among the first network television shows to originate there from the new newsroom studio on the first floor. All the big new studios were on the second floor.

The Cronkite newsroom studio at the Broadcast Center, looked almost exactly like their newsroom studio in The Graybar Building. As a side note, I just found out yesterday in a conversation with CBS Floor Manager Locke Wallace, who was at CBS from 1955 till 1997, that ‘Douglas Edwards And The News’ had come from Studio 41 at Grand Central. When Cronkite took over, he too reported from Studio 41 until the move to The Graybar Building newsroom around 1959. WCBS local news was in the smaller Studio 42 at Grand Central. Early on, Douglas Edwards had come from the CBS HQ building at 485 Madison Avenue and later from Leiderkranz Hall. The Edwards move to Grand Central’s Studio 41 probably came around 1957.

Just to clear up any confusion, the first two CBS studios ever were 41 and 42 at Grand Central. When the move to The Broadcast Center came, it was decided as an honorarium, to name the two biggest studios there 41 and 42 after their historic predecessors at Grand Central. At GC, there was also Studio 43 and 44, but they were not productions studios…they were control and telecine facilities, but were called studios.

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Bruce Martin wrote:

When I first arrived at the CBS Broadcast Center in August,1964, here were the studio assignments:
Studio 41 – Election set and light for Campaign ’64 that did not air until November 3rd.
Studio 42 – basically dark until the end of November when ‘Love of Life’ and ‘Secret Storm’ came over from Leiderkranz Hall.
Studio 43 – ‘Captain Kangaroo’ and ‘Mr. Mayor’
Studio 44 – ‘Search for Tomorrow’
Studio 45 – ‘Guiding Light’
Studio 46 – WCBS-TV local news, some commercial tapings, and there was a 10:00 am Mike Wallace local news show. Also, ‘Sunrise Semester’ was here.

Outside Studios:
Studio 50 – Sullivan/Gleason/Candid Camera/Gary Moore prime time
Studio 52 – Line/Secret/Truth/Password/Ted Mack/Alumni Fun/Jack Benny when visiting
Studio 61 – ‘The Edge of Night’ – see below, it obviously came over a little later.
Studio 65 – ‘As the World Turns’

I believe World Turns and Edge both started at the DuMont TeleCenter Studios at 205 East 67th Street both on April 2, 1956. Edge moved to Studio 72 after Verdict moved to Hollywood and World Turns moved to Studio 65 around 1963. Studio 65 was reserved for a weekly Judy Garland show, but in April, 1963 she decided to do all her shows at CBS Television City in Hollywood.

Edge moved to Studio 61 after some David Susskind drama specials left. Sometimes, “Candid Camera” and “On Broadway Tonight” aired there until the end of the summer, 1965. Edge moved there in the fall of 1965. Bruce
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David Schwartz wrote:

Studio 57 was called The Peace Theater, 1280 Fifth Avenue at 109th Street. CBS used it for the original Field Sequential color broadcasts in 1951. The color shows ended in October 1951. It was used by Mike & Buff, The Egg and I, Valiant Lady, Red Brown & the Rocket Rangers and Hotel Cosmopolitan (1957-58). That appears to be the last time I find a show originating from there. Mike & Buff may have also come from another studio (there is an overlap in shows there in 1952-53)

Studio 58 was the Town Theater, 851 Ninth Avenue. It later became a studio for WNET, then Unitel. Fred Waring and Vaughn Monroe did their shows from there, as did Mama and Playhouse 90. Later Sesame Street called it home, and later it was used by Jane Pratt in the 1990’s and Emmerill Live for the Food Network. There are probably other shows that I don’t know about yet.

Studio 72 was home to The Verdict is Yours. That show was moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 1960 and I found no other shows coming from that studio. It later became Reeves Teletape, then Conran’s Dept. Store and Staples. David Schwartz

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Just to clarify things a bit, there were other CBS theater studios in use and continued for a few years after the Broadcast Center opened, namely Studio 52 and 50.

I want to add a little to the Studio 72 conversation. This was the only CBS color facility on the east coast. It had 4 RCA TK41s and 1 TK40. It went into service in the fall of 1954 after extensive remodeling of the old vaudeville theater was completed. Several color specials were done there including ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Jack And The Beanstalk’. By around 1956, CBS had cut its color programming to next to nothing from the east coast and the little color done was from Television City. Believe it or not, the studio got little use, and even when it did get used, the color cameras and tape machines there shot the a few specials and overflow shows in black and white. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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December 28, 1956…The Last ‘Ding Dong School’ Airs On NBC

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December 28, 1956…The Last ‘Ding Dong School’ Airs On NBC

‘Ding Dong School’ was developed by NBC’s Chicago station WNBQ and was first broadcast November 24, 1952. The show quickly gained popularity among young children and soon, was broadcast nationally on the NBC network, Monday through Friday. In that year, Dr. Frances Horwich, the shows host and creator, won a Peabody Award. The series is said to have garnered a 95 percent share of all preschoolers at one time. I was one of them…you too?

In 1954, NBC moved the show to New York where “Miss Francis” was put in charge all of NBC’s children’s programming. She held this position until 1956, when ‘Ding Dong School’ was canceled. Horwich owned the rights to Ding Dong School and syndicated the show until 1965.

Before starting the show, Dr. Horwich had earned her master’s degree in education at Columbia University and her doctorate at Northwestern University, and was the head of the department of education at Chicago’s Roosevelt College. She is cited as having invented the television technique of speaking to the children watching as if they were in the same room across from you. Those who subsequently adopted this style included Fred Rogers, ‘Romper Room’ and ‘Sesame Street’. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1TU3h8dQOw

In this episode of the popular, Emmy-nominated children’s television series, Miss Frances (Dr. Frances Horwich) instructs children how to make a peanut butte…
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Speaking Of Howdy Doody…Here’s A Little Something Extra!

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Speaking Of Howdy Doody…Here’s A Little Something Extra!

You never know who you’ll meet here at EOAG, and this morning I found this fun video in a message from Barry Mitchell, who many of you will recognize. Here, Barry visits Buffalo Bob Smith in his home and we get a look at one of the real and original Howdy Doody puppets who lives with Bob.

Barry also visits with Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney, Sheri Lewis’s daughter Mallory Lewis and Lamb Chop, Jimmy Nelson and Farfel, and Jim Henson’s daughter, Cheryl Henson. From Barryfunny.com.
Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfuGKnkyt3c

Barry Mitchell proves he’s no dummy while hanging out with Mallory Lewis and Lamb Chop, Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney, Buffalo Bob Smith and Howdy Doody, J…
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4…3…2…1!!! Then…Happy New Year From Times Square!

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4…3…2…1!!! Then…Happy New Year From Times Square!

Thanks to Antony Quintano, here are some shots of workmen installing 288 new Waterford Crystal triangles to the 2,688 that decorate the massive ball. It drops in just four days now.

For 15 years, Waterford crystal triangles have adorned the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball. Each year, Waterford designers introduce a new signature cut crystal pattern to become part of the current series of crystal sentiments. Premiering last year in 2014 and continuing through 2023, the “Greatest Gifts” collection marks the longest series to-date. The 2,688 crystal panels that decorate the Waterford Ball were designed in Waterford, Ireland. This year, 288 of the 2,688 crystal panels will be changed to the 2015 “Gift of Fortitude” design. Enjoy, share and Happy New Year! -Bobby Ellerbee





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Fantastic Steve Allen Video Bio!

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Yesterday, Steve Allen Would Have Turned 93…Here’s A Fantastic Salute!

With the Jack Benny tribute yesterday, I wanted to hold this till today when you would have time to watch this. Of all the bio and tribute shows I have seen, THIS IS THE BEST EVER! Really!

There is very rare footage here of Steve’s carrier and even the very first ‘Jose Jimenez’ sketch from Bill Dana who Allen discovered, along with Don Knotts, Tim Conway, Tom Poston, Louis Nye and more… you will see them ALL, and MORE here! This is just amazing! Get some coffee, click start, enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

#t=77″ target=”_blank”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4XFROzcs9k #t=77

Steve Allen Bio
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December 27, 1971…’The Sonny And Cher Show’ Debuts On CBS

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December 27, 1971…’The Sonny And Cher Show’ Debuts On CBS

It was a 1971 guest spot on the ‘The Merv Griffin Show’ that convinced CBS programming head Fred Silverman that Sonny and Cher could be the network’s next big thing.

When ‘The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour’ debuted on CBS the first day of August in 1971, it was a trial run…a five-week summer replacement series but it was an immediate ratings hit.

CBS was looking to regain the young audience they lost when they canceled ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour’ two years earlier – Sonny and Cher proved to be the show the network was looking for, and with good reason. The producers, Allan Blye and Chris Bearde and the writers were all Smothers Brothers’ alumni. Tommy Smothers once remarked, “I turned on the TV one night and there was our show. Only it starred Sonny and Cher!”

Based on the success of the summer show, ‘The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour’ was back on the air December 27, 1971, replacing ‘The Chicago Teddy Bears’ Friday nights at 8:00.

By the fall of 1972, in its Wednesday night at 8:00 time slot, the show became a consistent top-ten winner. Below is a funny outtake that shows us the kind of magnetism their personalities had in attracting audiences. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOfU5iwyL6E

I pissed my self laughing
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‘Howdy Doody’ Color Control Room…NBC Studio 3K, 1955

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‘Howdy Doody’ Color Control Room…NBC Studio 3K, 1955

This is the only known photo of the control room for NBC’s first in-house color facility, Studio 3K, which went live the afternoon of September 12, 1955. The first colorcast from 3K was ‘The Howdy Doody Show’. NBC had color at The Colonial Theater and in Brooklyn, but this was the first color studio inside 30 Rock.

Studio 3K was created by combining television’s first working studio, 3H with radio studio 3F. Although the studio was bigger, the control room stayed the same size and as you can see, was packed full of gear. These days, 3K is one of two third floor studios occupied by MSNBC. The other is 3A. Thanks to our friend Gady Reinhold for this rarity. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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‘Howdy Doody Show’…The Unforgettable Clarabell Goodbye

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‘Howdy Doody Show’…The Unforgettable Clarabell Goodbye

Until those awful days in Dallas in 1963, September 24, 1960 was television’s most memorable moment…at least for us kids who watched ‘Howdy Doody’ every Saturday morning.

The show debuted with Iconoscope cameras December 27, 1947 but by early April new RCA TK30 Image Orthicon cameras were in 3H. Although the show went color on September 12, 1955 from Studio 3K, this is the only color footage of the show I have ever seen. For many years, this tape was lost but was finally found and restored.

The final episode was a special hour long show and in this ultra rare clip, we see the beginning and end, and even hear audio from the control room crew at the very top as they prepared for Episode 2,343…the grand finale. Notice on the ending promos, ‘The Sheri Lewis Show’ was the replacement for Howdy.

Lou Anderson, the third and final actor to play Clarabell, has a surprise for us, and that was the episode title…”Clarabell’s Big Surprise”.

Just as I remember where I was on November 23, 1963, I remember this moment too. I was 10 years old, laying on the couch in our Atlanta home, still dressed in my pajamas. I cried at the end. What about you? Where were you and how did you feel that morning? Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJ6ybvlsb4s

Broadcasted on September 24, 1960. The hour-long episode was mostly a fond look-back at all the highlights of the show’s past, but in the midst of it all, Cl…
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December 27, 1932…Radio City Music Hall Opens

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December 27, 1932…Radio City Music Hall Opens

In the embedded video below from 2007, we see some rare footage from opening night and a quick shot of none other than David Sarnoff, who’s RCA/NBC building next door would lend to the name of the grand new showplace. 30 Rockefeller Plaza was still under construction and would open the next November.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6_YKYNmNGo
At this link is a in interesting look behind the scenes with a rare look at the secret apartment which is still there. Enjoy and share! Bobby Ellerbee

By the way, the first Rockettes Christmas show was the next year, in 1933.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW6QQvZWPwI

I did this film for Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular. It was a quick history of the 75 years of Radio City and the Rockettes. It’s a fascinating…
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Behind The Camera With Mark Stacy…NBC Sunday Night Football

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Behind The Camera With Mark Stacy…NBC Sunday Night Football

Here’s short but sweet look at how Mark shoots Sunday Night Football. Although the trucks are marked NBC, they are owned by NEP. I think that is John Howard in the TD position with the cap. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=879344075451886&set=vb.112955302090771&type=2&theater[fb_vid id=”879344075451886″]You can’t start the show without camera 1…
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Elton John…The Central Park Concert, September 13, 1980

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Elton John…The Central Park Concert, September 13, 1980

We don’t see the RCA TK46 often, but thanks to John Senuta’s recent email of this great shot of Elton, it’s time to take another look. The other photos here are from our friend Dennis Degan, who I think was still working at Reeves Teletape at the time. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee





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ABC, Color College Football…Texas Tech, 1971

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ABC, Color College Football…Texas Tech, 1971

Back in the TK41 days, brute strength was part of the requirement for assignment to the sports trucks. The camera weighed about 260 pounds and the viewfinder, another 60 for a total of around 320. And then there is the cable, but at least these are single cable TK41s…on the original three cable models, the cables weighted over three pound per foot.

Here’s what the day before the game looked like back then. This was a two truck shoot with 6 TK41s on the camera truck and the second truck had four or five huge quad video tape machines inside. The third truck is the utility truck and doubled as the graphics studio with a black and white TK60 shooting score cards in the back of it. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee










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Some Television Firsts In Football…Pro and College

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Some Television Firsts In Football…Pro and College

With the college bowl games starting and the Super Bowl now in view, here are some interesting firsts in the coverage of the game. The video is from ABC’s first season of what would become a juggernaut in television sports coverage…’Wide World Of Sports’.

Here, in a preseason game between the Dallas Texans and the San Diego Chargers, we will see the first use of an overhead camera with a platform suspended by a 130 foot crane. There are also microphones on the quarterbacks, which was another first. Finally, there is a portable camera on the sidelines. We have seen NBC do this in 1956. They seem to have not followed through but Roone Arledge did. For some associated photos, see the comments section.

By the way, it is thought the first overhead camera use in an NCAA game came at The Liberty Bowl in 1964. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvgnv7xJidY


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Deep CBS Studio History…Part 1, The Dumont Camera Mysteries

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Deep CBS Studio History…Part 1, The Dumont Camera Mysteries

Occasionally, we see Dumont cameras in use on some early CBS soap operas. Some of us had thought CBS may have had a half dozen at Leiderkrantz Hall, but in fact, they were at the Dumont studios where CBS leased space for for daytime programs.

Due to a building freeze during WW II and the rapid advance of television after that, studio space in New York was very tight. From what I can piece together, before the Dumont Tele Center was built in 1954, their programs came from 515 Madison Ave., Wanamakers, The Adelphi and the Ambassador Theaters.

The first and second photo with the old CBS logo is ‘The First Hundred Years’ which debuted on CBS December 4, 1950. The next two photos are from ‘Love Of Life’ with Larry Auerbach directing, in 1951. I think these either came from 515 Madison or The Ambassador Theater.

Even with Leiderkrantz Hall coming on line around 1949, ‘As The
World Turns’ and ‘The Edge Of Night’ both started at the DuMont Tele Center Studios at 205 East 67th Street, both on April 2, 1956.

‘The Edge Of Night’ moved to Studio 72 after ‘The Verdict Is Yours’ moved to Hollywood and ‘As The World Turns’ moved to Studio 65 around 1963. Studio 65 was reserved for a weekly Judy Garland show, but in April, 1963 she decided to do all her shows at CBS Television City in Hollywood. ‘The Edge Of Night’ moved to Studio 61 after some David Susskind drama specials left. Sometimes, ‘Candid Camera’ and ‘On Broadway Tonight’ aired there until the end of the summer of 1965.

More to come tomorrow in Part 2. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee





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One Of The Best, True Holiday Stories Ever…

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One Of The Best, True Holiday Stories Ever…By Mark Evanier

Our friend Mark, has been blogging on entertainment since 2000 and may be best known for this great oldtvtickets.com site, but here’s a great story he tells of a classic encounter with Mel Tormé. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
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I want to tell you a story. The scene is Farmers Market — the famed tourist mecca of Los Angeles. It’s located but yards from the facility they call, “CBS Television City in Hollywood”…which, of course, is not in Hollywood but at least is very close.

Farmers Market is a quaint collection of bungalow stores, produce stalls and little stands where one can buy darn near anything edible one wishes to devour. You buy your pizza slice or sandwich or Chinese food or whatever at one of umpteen counters, then carry it on a tray to an open-air table for consumption.

During the Summer or on weekends, the place is full of families and tourists and Japanese tour groups. But this was a winter weekday, not long before Christmas, and the crowd was mostly older folks, dawdling over coffee and danish. For most of them, it’s a good place to get a donut or a taco, to sit and read the paper.

For me, it’s a good place to get out of the house and grab something to eat. I arrived, headed for my favorite barbecue stand and, en route, noticed that Mel Tormé was seated at one of the tables.

Mel Tormé. My favorite singer. Just sitting there, sipping a cup of coffee, munching on an English Muffin, reading The New York Times. Mel Tormé.

I had never met Mel Tormé. Alas, I still haven’t and now I never will. He looked like he was engrossed in the paper that day so I didn’t stop and say, “Excuse me, I just wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed all your records.” I wish I had.

Instead, I continued over to the BBQ place, got myself a chicken sandwich and settled down at a table to consume it. I was about halfway through when four Christmas carolers strolled by, singing “Let It Snow,” a cappella.

They were young adults with strong, fine voices and they were all clad in splendid Victorian garb. The Market had hired them (I assume) to stroll about and sing for the diners — a little touch of the holidays.

“Let It Snow” concluded not far from me to polite applause from all within earshot. I waved the leader of the chorale over and directed his attention to Mr. Tormé, seated about twenty yards from me.

“That’s Mel Tormé down there. Do you know who he is?”

The singer was about 25 so it didn’t horrify me that he said, “No.”

I asked, “Do you know ‘The Christmas Song?'”

Again, a “No.”

I said, “That’s the one that starts, ‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…'”

“Oh, yes,” the caroler chirped. “Is that what it’s called? ‘The Christmas Song?'”

“That’s the name,” I explained. “And that man wrote it.” The singer thanked me, returned to his group for a brief huddle…and then they strolled down towards Mel Tormé. I ditched the rest of my sandwich and followed, a few steps behind. As they reached their quarry, they began singing, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” directly to him.

A big smile formed on Mel Tormé’s face — and it wasn’t the only one around. Most of those sitting at nearby tables knew who he was and many seemed aware of the significance of singing that song to him. For those who didn’t, there was a sudden flurry of whispers: “That’s Mel Tormé…he wrote that…”

As the choir reached the last chorus or two of the song, Mel got to his feet and made a little gesture that meant, “Let me sing one chorus solo.” The carolers — all still apparently unaware they were in the presence of one of the world’s great singers — looked a bit uncomfortable. I’d bet at least a couple were thinking, “Oh, no…the little fat guy wants to sing.”

But they stopped and the little fat guy started to sing…and, of course, out came this beautiful, melodic, perfectly-on-pitch voice. The look on the face of the singer I’d briefed was amazed at first…then properly impressed.

On Mr. Tormé’s signal, they all joined in on the final lines: “Although it’s been said, many times, many ways…Merry Christmas to you…” Big smiles all around.

And not just from them. I looked and at all the tables surrounding the impromptu performance, I saw huge grins of delight…which segued, as the song ended, into a huge burst of applause. The whole tune only lasted about two minutes but I doubt anyone who was there will ever forget it.

I have witnessed a number of thrilling “show business” moments — those incidents, far and few between, where all the little hairs on your epidermis snap to attention and tingle with joy. Usually, these occur on a screen or stage. I hadn’t expected to experience one next to a falafel stand — but I did.

Tormé thanked the harmonizers for the serenade and one of the women said, “You really wrote that?”

He nodded. “A wonderful songwriter named Bob Wells and I wrote that…and, get this — we did it on the hottest day of the year in July. It was a way to cool down.”

Then the gent I’d briefed said, “You know, you’re not a bad singer.” He actually said that to Mel Tormé.

Mel chuckled. He realized that these four young folks hadn’t the velvet-foggiest notion who he was, above and beyond the fact that he’d worked on that classic carol. “Well,” he said. “I’ve actually made a few records in my day…”

“Really?” the other man asked. “How many?”

Tormé smiled and said, “Ninety.”

I probably own about half of them on vinyl and/or CD. For some reason, they sound better on vinyl. (My favorite was the album he made with Buddy Rich. Go ahead. Find me a better parlay of singer and drummer. I’ll wait.)

Today, as I’m reading obits, I’m reminded of that moment. And I’m impressed to remember that Mel Tormé was also an accomplished author and actor. Mostly though, I’m recalling that pre-Christmas afternoon.

I love people who do something so well that you can’t conceive of it being done better. Doesn’t even have to be something important: Singing, dancing, plate-spinning, mooning your neighbor’s cat, whatever. There is a certain beauty to doing almost anything to perfection.

No recording exists of that chorus that Mel Tormé sang for the other diners at Farmers Market but if you never believe another word I write, trust me on this. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect.


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The Job Of Producing ‘The Twelve Days Of Christmas’ For TV News In 1982

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The Job Of Producing ‘The Twelve Days Of Christmas’ For TV News In 1982

KNXT (now KCBS) decided to see if they could find all the elements of the song in “present day” Los Angeles. As you’ll see, it wasn’t as easy as you may think but they made a good story of it. Enjoy, share and Merry Christmas! -Bobby Ellerbee

#t=271″ target=”_blank”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9Y2nLz_X9o #t=271

We found in Los Angeles all the elements for the song “12 Days of Christmas.”
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Merry Christmas! The Whole Phil Spector Christmas Albm

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Merry Christmas! Here’s The Whole Phil Spector 1963 Album Classic

Here’s how “Rolling Stone” describes this album…

“Not just the greatest Christmas record ever, but a bona fide pop classic in its own right. (Rolling Stone named it Number 142 in our list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time). Spector’s wall of sound production adds grandeur and drama, while the Philles Records crew lights up the holiday hit parade with rock & roll fire. The Crystals party under the chimney on “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”; Ronnie Spector turns “Frosty the Snowman” into a puddle in the front yard; and on the classic Brill Building original “Christmas Baby, Please Come Home,” Darlene Love throws herself into an epic ballad of romantic affliction, turning winter wonderland into teenage wasteland. No wonder Brian Wilson has called it his favorite album of all time.”

Enjoy, share and Sing Along! I know you know the words! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL18s2oxUqoMamfF0LjTHGs-CFzAamJhmu

Phil Spector Christmas

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December 25, 1937…Toscanini Debuts The NBC Symphony Orchestra

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December 25, 1937…Toscanini Debuts The NBC Symphony Orchestra

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdQGa94GhJY
At the link is an audio recording of that night’s performance.

Tom Lewis, in the Organization of American Historians Magazine of History, described NBC’s plan for cultural programming and the origin of the NBC Symphony:

David Sarnoff, the president of RCA who had first proposed the “radio music box” in 1916 so that listeners might enjoy “concerts, lectures, music, recitals,” felt that the medium was failing to do this. By 1937, RCA had recovered enough from the effects of the Depression for it to make a dramatic commitment to cultural programming. With the most liberal terms Sarnoff hired Arturo Toscanini to create an entire orchestra and conduct it. On Christmas night, 1937, the NBC orchestra gave its first performance…Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso in D Minor in NBC’s Auditorium Studio, or what we now call Studio 8H.

Sarnoff devoted considerable resources to create an orchestra of the first rank for NBC. Artur Rodziński, a noted orchestra builder and musical task master in his own right, was engaged to mold and train the new orchestra in anticipation of the arrival of Toscanini. It offered the highest salaries of any orchestra at the time and a 52-week contract. Prominent musicians from major orchestras around the country were recruited and the conductor Pierre Monteux was hired as well to work with the orchestra in its formative months.

The orchestra’s first broadcast concert aired on November 13, 1937 under the direction of Monteux. Toscanini conducted ten concerts that first season, making his NBC debut on December 25, 1937. In addition to weekly broadcasts on the NBC Red and Blue networks, the NBC Symphony Orchestra made many recordings for RCA Victor of symphonies, choral music and operas. Televised concerts began in March 1948 and continued until March 1952. In the fall of 1950, NBC converted Studio 8H into a television studio, and moved the broadcast concerts to Carnegie Hall, where many of the orchestra’s recording sessions and special concerts had already taken place.

Toscanini led the NBC Symphony for 17 years. Under his direction the orchestra toured South America in 1940 and the United States in 1950.

Leopold Stokowski served as principal conductor from 1941-1944 on a three-year contract following a dispute between Toscanini and NBC. During this time Toscanini continued to lead the orchestra in a series of public benefit concerts for war relief. He returned as Stokowski’s co-conductor for the 1942-43 and 1943-44 seasons, resuming full control thereafter. Upon Toscanini’s retirement in the spring of 1954, NBC officially disbanded the orchestra, much to Toscanini’s distress, though it continued for several years as the Symphony of the Air. Toscanini’s final broadcast concert with the orchestra (recorded in both mono and stereo) took place at Carnegie Hall on April 4, 1954, and his final recording sessions were completed in early June 1954.

Thanks to Doug Gerbino for sharing this rare program from that night. Enjoy, share and Merry Christmas! -Bobby Ellerbee


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December 24, 1822…Clement Moore Pens ‘The Night Before Christmas’

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December 24, 1822…Clement Moore Pens ‘The Night Before Christmas’

Twas the day before Christmas, December 24, the day in 1822 that Clement Moore is thought to have composed the classic poem that was then called “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” You probably know it as “The Night Before Christmas.” While traveling home from Greenwich Village, in Manhattan, where he had bought a turkey to donate to the poor during the holiday season, Moore penned the story for the amusement of his six children, with whom he shared the poem that evening.

It is said that he was inspired by the plump, bearded Dutchman who took him by sleigh on his errand through the snow-covered streets of New York City. Moore’s vision of St. Nicholas draws from Dutch-American and Norwegian traditions of a magical, gift-giving figure that appears at Christmas time. It’s also is based on the German legend of a visitor who enters homes through chimneys. Clement Moore knew of such folklore as a learned man of literature. He was born into a well-respected New York family in 1779. His father, Benjamin Moore, had served as president of Columbia University and Episcopal bishop of New York and even participated in the inauguration of George Washington as the nation’s first president.

Clement Moore graduated from Columbia. As a scholar, he is said to have been embarrassed by the light-hearted holiday poem, which somehow made its way into the public without his knowledge in December 1823. Moore did not publish it under his name until 1844.

Below is a most excellent reading by actor Lorne Greene. Enjoy, share and may your night before Christmas be joyous! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G72ZBW60xy0

Lorne Greene, best known as Ben Cartwright on the long running series “Bonanza” reads Clement Moore’s “A Visit From St. Nicholas” which also goes under the t…
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