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.
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.
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
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
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