Posts in Category: Broadcast History

Bob Hope Special Shot With RCA TK60s, Excellent Crisp Video

Just For Fun…Bob Hope Special Shot With RCA TK60s, Excellent Crisp Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkntHZ91WJI
At the link above is a Hope special from September 25, 1964. Although it was shot in black and white, it looks spectacular! This was also done in Studio 1 at NBC Burbank, like the first color special he did there as seen in the post just before this.

Below are some rare photos of the TK60s in Studio 1. This camera used the new 4.5 inch Image Orthicon tube. The TK60 actually debuted in 1960 as the TK12, but had a few issues. By ’63, RCA had fixed the problems and re-released it as the TK60. By this time though, color was making great headway and broadcasters were reluctant to buy monochrome cameras, but many did.

It was an excellent camera and it’s only rival was the Marconi Mark IV which used the same tube. By the way, Milton Berle, Phyllis Diller, Dean Martin, and Jack Benny are Bob’s guests on the special which is quite good. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee



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Bob Hope’s First Color Special…Christmas 1965


Bob Hope’s First Every Color Special…Christmas 1965

Even though NBC had wanted him to do color shows earlier, Hope resisted because he was not only the star…he was the producer too, and color had higher production costs.

This special with Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, Janet Leigh and Nancy Wilson was shot in Studio 1 at NBC Burbank and as always, has beautiful color form the RCA TK41s. Just for fun, I am also going to post one of his specials shot with the RCA TK60s. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4ezCmeiefM

‘This Is Bob (For The First Time In Living Color) Hope’ on NBC December 15th, 1965 With Bing Crosby, Jack Benny, Janet Leigh, and Nancy Wilson join Bob for t…

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December 1932…The First Ever, Technicolor Christmas Feature


December 1932…The First Ever, Technicolor Christmas Feature

Walt Disney’s ‘Santa’s Workshop’ was released to theaters on December 10, 1932 and was a huge hit. This was only the third ever technicolor feature done, with the first being Disney’s ‘Flowers And Trees’ which debuted in July of ’32 and won an Academy Award.

Disney’s Silly Symphonies cartoon features were doing well and when he saw the new three strip technicolor process, he had to have it. As a matter of fact, his deal with Technicolor was a three year exclusive which allowed only Disney to use the process for animation. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAlGg5q62vQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAlGg5q62vQThis is number 33 of the 75 Silly Symphonies made by Walt Disney Productions. All 75 short symphonies were made between 1929 and 1939 while the studio was lo…

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December 22, 1931…NBC’s First Empire State Building Broadcast

December 22, 1931…NBC’s First Empire State Building Broadcast

On this day in 1931, NBC made it’s first experimental television broadcast from the new Empire State Building transmitter. RCA’s first experimental television transmissions began in 1928 on station W2XBS at a location in Van Cortland Park, but soon moved to the top floor of The New Amsterdam Theater building, transmitting 60 line pictures in the new 2-3 mHz band allocated to television.

A 13″ Felix the Cat figure made of paper mache was placed on a record player turntable and was broadcast using a mechanical scanning disk to a scanning disk receiver. The image received was only 2 inches tall, and the broadcasts lasted about 2 hours per day. Below is a 1930 broadcast schedule…quite possibly the first ever.

By 1931 W2XBS became part of NBC and on December 22, began to transmit from The Empire State Building. These early broadcasts consisted of objects like Felix the Cat or early test patterns and photographs.

The Empire State Building was completed in May 1931 and, at the time the tallest building ever built, towered 1,250 feet over New York City. The top of the building was designed to be a mooring for dirigibles, but that was soon abandoned as impractical because of excessively high wind currents. David Sarnoff, President of the Radio Corporation of America, had a vision that was to include the top of that building for a different purpose. He foresaw the future of television; and what better location for an antenna from which to broadcast television, than the top of the then tallest building in the world!

RCA leased the 85’th floor of the Empire State Building for a studio and transmitter location for experimental television broadcasts. RCA, through its broadcasting division NBC, applied to the Federal Radio Commission on July 1, 1931 for construction permits for the sight and sound channels of a television station, which were issued on July 24, 1931. The call sign W2XF was issued in December 1931 for the “sight” channel of that station on an assigned frequency of 44Mc.

The transmitter had an input power to the final stage of about 5Kw, giving an estimated power output to the antenna of about 2Kw. The sound channel of the TV station was separately licensed as W2XK for a 2.5Kw transmitter to operate on 61Mc. Both transmitters were located on the 85’th floor and used separate vertical dipole antennas extending from the top of the building. Previously the W2XF call sign, and it’s predecessor 2XF, belonged to the Western Electric Company and Bell Laboratories, respectivly, which later became a part of the RCA group. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee



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Keeping “Warm” This First Day Of Winter…NBC Studio 1A Control Room

Keeping “Warm” This First Day Of Winter…NBC Studio 1A Control Room

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An Ironic (And Moe-ronic) Christmas Wish From The Three Stooges…

An Ironic (And Moe-ronic) Merry Christmas Wish From The Three Stooges…

Moses Harry Horwitz, Louis Feinberg and Jerome Lester Horwitz. No matter the holiday you celebrate, may it be filled with joy! -Bobby Ellerbee

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‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’…1966 Original Version

‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’…1966 Original Version

https://archive.org/details/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas
At the link is a very good online version of the 1966 classic that debuted on CBS on December 18, 1966. Below (l-r) is Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss with Boris Karloff and Chuck Jones.

Jones was the man responsible for convincing Geisel to bring this to television. He and Ben Washam co-directed the production. Karloff was the narrator and the voice of the Grinch. Famous for being the voice of Rocky The Flying Squirrel, June Foray was the voice of Cindy Lou Who. The voice of Tony The Tiger, Thurl Ravenscroft was the singer of “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch”. The voice of Max was done by Dal McKennon.

Thanks to Brandon Lori for the rare photo. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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New ‘Saturday Night Live’ Time Lapse…From The Page Desk


New ‘Saturday Night Live’ Time Lapse…From The Page Desk

This is from the Halloween show this year with Jim Carry hosting. You will be quite surprised around the 1:40 mark! That’s when a pedestal camera leaves Studio 8H. So, either the studio is getting crowded or there will be a later live shot in the hallway. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oRRYJs-Ec0

Take a seat at the Studio 8H page desk and watch Saturday Night Live in action. Shot during the October 25 show, hosted by Jim Carrey with musical guest Iggy…

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‘Saturday Night Live’…Behind The Scenes Of A Typical Week

‘Saturday Night Live’…Behind The Scenes Of A Typical Week

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi3018960153
This is the 8H studio map, the rehearsal and run sheets for the April 12, 2014 show with Seth Rogen as host. At the link above is a clip of the Undercover Sharpton sketch you should watch for context.

Notice on the map that sketch sets are often set in front of other sketch sets. For instance, in the Sharpton sketch, on the left in front of Stage 6 we see where the van was and across the floor in front of Stage 4B, we see the Sharpton Mob Bar interior location. As you can see on the blue sheet, some of the Sharpton effects shots were videotaped on Friday.

By having the 8H stage map we can more easily see the complexity of the production and the importance of camera blocking and rehearsals. The hand written notations from the cameramen show them where they need to be. TNG is the abbreviation for the retractable tongue on the front of the HB, or home base stage where the monologue and Weekend Update are done.

Stage 1 – 6 are constant week to week production areas. Stage 2 is always for musical guests only and homebase is for always for the house band, but everything else is always in flux.

As you can see on the white Thursday sheet, one of the first orders of business is loading in the guest band, sound check and then shooting promos. After that, camera blocking with the actors starts.

On the blue Friday sheet, you can see how the blocking and rehearsals continue with pre taping going on for scenes with a lot of effects.

The pink sheet is the Saturday dress rehearsal with the first audience entering around 7PM and the runthrough starts about 8 and runs till 10 or so. After that, Lorne Michaels and the writers huddle to cut the some sketches. They have been watching from Lorne’s perch under the bleachers near the center door.

On the green air rundown, you can see on the right which sketches were cut and how the order has changed from dress rehearsal. Remember…everybody has to be on the same page. Literally! The actors, the 30 or so stage hands moving scenery and the six cameras and two sound boom teams all have to be at the right spot at the right time.

I have had the pleasure to see this up close and personal and there is not a more impressive ballet of men and machines, art and artists and sets and scenery than at ‘Saturday Night Live’! This is a time lapse video of the show just two weeks before Seth Rogan hosted!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i72I9NNTTM0

Thanks to ALL the SNL casts and crews for 40 year of unforgettable memories! Enjoy and SHARE! -Bobby Ellerbee





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December 21, 1937…’Snow White’ Debuts


December 21, 1937…’Snow White’ Debuts + TCM Disney Special News

First…tonight on Turner Classic Movies, nine hours of Disney treasures are rolled out starting at 8 PM Eastern. More at this link…set your DVRs.
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment/tv/tv-guy/os-disney-treasures-get-tcm-showcase-20141219-post.html

This great 8 minute clip tells a lot of the story of the making of the film and at 5:20, we see the Hollywood debut footage. At 7:00, we see the original 1937 trailer. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65SfVyE7Y3E

Premier footage, as well as a behind-the-scenes look of the making, of Walt Disney’s first feature-length animated film: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. www…

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December 20, 1954…Jackie Glea$on & Buick $ign Large$t Ever TV Deal

December 20, 1954…Jackie Glea$on & Buick $ign Large$t Ever TV Deal

Sixty years ago today, General Motors Buick brand signed Jackie Gleason to one of the largest contracts ever entered into with an entertainer at that time.

Buick had just dropped their sponsorship of Milton Berle on NBC and were looking for a big play. Gleason’s one hour live show on Saturday night was their target, and especially The Honeymooners sketches which, since 1949, had been an audience favorite even when the show was at Dumont. Gleason moved to CBS in 1951 and until ’54, was the one hour variety format which returned immediately after the filmed Honeymooners episodes ended.

The three-year contract, reportedly valued at $11 million, was one of the largest in show business history. It called for Gleason to produce 78 filmed episodes of ‘The Honeymooners’ over two seasons, with an option for a third season of 39 more.

He was scheduled to receive $65,000 for each episode ($70,000 per episode in the second season), but had to pay all production costs out of that amount. Art Carney received $3,500 per week, Audrey Meadows received $2,000 per week, and Joyce Randolph (who did not appear in every episode) received $500 per week. Production for The Honeymooners was handled by Jackie Gleason Enterprises, Inc., which also produced the show’s lead-in, ‘Stage Show’, starring The Dorsey Brothers. Reportedly, only Audrey Meadows, who later became a banker, received residuals by inserting language to that effect into her contract.[citation needed]

The first episode of the new half-hour series aired Saturday, October 1, 1955, at 8:30 pm Eastern Time (during prime time), opposite ‘Ozark Jubilee’ on ABC and ‘The Perry Como Show’ on NBC. As it was sponsored by Buick, the opening credits originally ended with a sponsor identification by announcer Jack Lescoulie (“Brought to you by … Your Buick Dealer. And away we go!”), and the show concluded with a brief Gleason sales pitch for the company. All references to the car maker were removed when the show entered syndication in 1957.

In February 1956, the show was moved to the 8 pm time slot, but had already started to lose viewers to the hugely popular ‘Perry Como Show’. Gleason’s writers had also begun to feel confined, and Gleason felt that they were starting to run out of original ideas.

After just one season, Gleason and CBS agreed to cancel ‘The Honeymooners’, which aired its 39th and last original episode on September 22, 1956. In explaining his decision to end the show with $7 million remaining on his contract Gleason said, “the excellence of the material could not be maintained, and I had too much fondness for the show to cheapen it”. Gleason later sold the films of the “Classic 39” episodes of the show to CBS for US$1.5 million. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee



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Just For Fun…Best Version Of “Winter Wonderland” Ever


Just For Fun…Best Version Of “Winter Wonderland” Ever

Andy Williams was a huge talent by every measure, but his brothers taught him how to sing. Together, it’s like listening to a quad version of Andy…and about the best you’ll ever hear. By the way, before Andy went solo, The Williams Brothers were one of the biggest acts in the business and in their day, were as big as The Osmonds became and set the pace for them. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3zk1aNTQ3c

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December 20,1938…Vladimir Zworykin Patented The Iconoscope

December 20,1938…Vladimir Zworykin Patented The Iconoscope

Although there was controversy over a lot of patents and inventions in electronic television between Philo Farnsworth and Zworykin and RCA, there is no contention over the development of the Iconoscope.

Zworykin had built one as early at October 1931. At the 1936 Berlin Olympic games, two of the three cameras there were using Iconoscope tubes and one used the Farnsworth Image Dissector tube.

Below we see Zworykin with some of his earliest Iconoscope models. Next is a rare photo of one of NBC’s first cameramen, Don Pike operating one of the three prototype Iconoscope cameras in NBC Studio 3H around 1936. For good measure, I’ve also included at photo of Philo Farnsworth with one of his early Image Dissector cameras. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee



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Stephen & Friends – “We’ll Meet Again”

BEST SEND OFF EVER! Final Minutes Of Colbert Video! Must See!

There are more famous faces here than you can count, and 5 times as many as we saw in the photo from earlier this morning! Enjoy and SHARE! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/964kg3/stephen—friends—-we-ll-meet-again-

Stephen & Friends – “We’ll Meet Again”

Stephen’s newfound immortality inspires a show-stopping sing-along with his former guests.

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It’s A Wonderful “Snowy” Life

Picture Parade #5…It’s A Wonderful “Snowy” Life

This Frank Capra classic was shot from April 15 – July 27, 1946. The Bedford Falls Main Street sets were at the RKO Encino Ranch and for the Winter scenes, 3000 tons of shaved ice was for the snow pack on the ground.

Films made prior to this used white cornflakes for the falling snow effect, but because the cornflakes were so loud, dialogue had to be dubbed in later. Frank Capra wanted to record the sound live, so a new snow effect was developed using foamite (a fire-fighting chemical) and soap and water. This mixture was then pumped at high pressure through a wind machine to create the silent, falling snow. 6000 gallons of the new snow were used in the film. The RKO Effects Department received a Class III Scientific or Technical Award from the Motion Picture Academy for the development of the new film snow. Happy Holidays! Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee







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Stella!

Picture Parade #4…Stella!

On the New Orleans location shoot for ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, Vivian Leigh relaxes in the chair preparing to become her character, Blanche DuBois in 1951. Leigh had a bi polar disorder and is said to have had trouble distinguishing her real life from Blanche’s. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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First Sideline Camera Used, October 1957

Picture Parade #3…First Sideline Camera Used, October 1957

From the October 1957 edition of “Radio Age” magazine, here’s a shot of the first use of a portable camera on the sidelines. RCA and NBC had these cameras since 1952 and why it took so long for this to happen is a mystery. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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Two Ultra Rare Sights In One Photo

Picture Parade #2…Two Ultra Rare Sights In One Photo

I think this photo is from 1945 when Norma Jeane Mortenson was becoming one of Blue Book Modeling Agency’s top models in Los Angeles. In 1946, she (yes, Marilyn Monroe) would bleach her hair blonde to look more like her favorites Gene Harlow and Lana Turner.

The camera is an RCA Orthicon model which came out around 1943 and is owned by Don Lee’s LA station, KTSL. This is the only picture of this camera I have seen that was not owned by either the NBC or CBS networks. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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‘Let’s Make A Deal’ ABC 1968 – 1976

Picture Parade #1…’Let’s Make A Deal’ ABC 1968 – 1976

Here’s a photo I just got from Chuck Pharis. This was in ABC Hollywood Studio 54 and that’s Jan Lowery on Camera 1, which is a Norelco PC60. This looks a lot like it did when it was on NBC from Burbank before the move to ABC. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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Rare New Video…Inside NBC Radio Studio 6B, 1945


Rare New Video…Inside NBC Radio Studio 6B, 1945

We’ve seen a similar film in the past, but this seems to be a new addition to the AT&T archives. In the beginning, we meet the people in the studio, but at 6:00, we get a couple of minutes behind the scenes and see how the program is distributed on the nation wide NBC network by AT&T. Remember, back then, everything had to go through Ma Bell, including television.

Notice how well lit this is. When 6A and 6B were built around 1947, they were built with TV in mind. I’ll have more on the early TV broadcasts from these radio studios soon. Thanks to Steve Finkelmeyer for sharing this. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

#t=383″ target=”_blank”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ddkcx2mZHBQ #t=383

Beginning in 1940, the Bell System sponsored The Telephone Hour, a music-oriented radio show. The program was actually only a half-hour long, and ran on Mond…

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December 19, 1971…’The Waltons’ Debuts on CBS


December 19, 1971…’The Waltons’ Debuts on CBS

The series began as a television movie entitled ‘The Homecoming: A Christmas Story’ and was broadcast on December 19, 1971 and is included here without any commercials, either web or broadcast.

There is a scene here with the family gathered around the radio listening to Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy…notice that Edgar Bergen is playing the role of Grandpa Walton.

The TV movie did well and plans were made to develop it into a series. CBS thought that a big star in the John Walton role would be good, and Henry Fonda was asked to audition, but after reading the script, he said, “What do you need me for? The kids and family are the stars.”

The Walton House was actually located in the northern section of the Jungle area of Warner Brothers studios in Burbank. Walton’s Mountain, which could be seen from the house’s front porch, was actually a slope of the Hollywood Hills directly south of the Warner Bros. Studios. Interiors of the house were filmed on Stage 26.

When the show premiered on CBS at the beginning of the 1972-73 season, most media pundits felt it didn’t have a chance, airing as it did opposite two longtime ratings powerhouses, ‘The Flip Wilson Show’ on NBC, had been the number one show in America for the previous two seasons, and ABC’s ‘Mod Squad’ was a long-standing favorite, as well.

Surprisingly, ‘The Waltons’ out-performed both shows in the ratings by a wide margin. ‘Mod Squad’ was canceled by the end of the season, and Flip Wilson, rather than have the same thing happen to his show, announced that the 1973-74 season would be his last. All this happened just a year after CBS felt that rural shows were “out,” and set out to prove it, in a highly controversial move, as Fred Silverman canceled several long-running series, like ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ and ‘Green Acres’ which were still very popular and doing well on televisions weekly ratings. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umEEnFtmV0I

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December 19, 1973…Johnny Carson Sparks Toilet Paper Shortage Really!

December 19, 1973…Johnny Carson Sparks Toilet Paper Shortage

Really! Remember this? You can read the whole story at the link below, but here’s the short version. 1973 was a hard economic year in the US with a recession, the Arab oil embargo and shortages of a few items.

Carson took a news paper report of possible toilet paper shortages to a whole new level when he made a joke about it in his monologue. Seems his 20 million viewers spread the word and went out and stocked up. For three months, the rush and hording kept store shelves hard to keep full. A little potty humor goes a long way, which is more than you can say for a roll of toilet paper. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://priceonomics.com/the-great-toilet-paper-scare-of-1973/

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‘The Late Show With David Letterman’…Final Christmas Picture

‘The Late Show With David Letterman’…Final Christmas Picture

Taken last night, here’s the “class” picture of the staff and crew, complete with Darlene Love who appears tonight for the 28th year in a row.

I understand she told Dave that she wouldn’t perform “Baby Please Come Home” on TV again. Hopefully, this leaves the door open for her to appear on the show when Colbert takes over and sing what I think is her best Christmas song, “Winter Wonderland” produced by Phil Spector. Thanks to Rick Scheckman for the photo and to all the Letter-men and women for so many years of great television! Happy Holidays to ALL! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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‘The Colbert Report’…How’s This For A Parting Shot?

‘The Colbert Report’…How’s This For A Parting Shot?

There were A LOT MORE than we see here…see the new video I just posted!

What a line up for the grand finale! To name just a few, I see John Stewart, Barry Manilow, Sam Waterson, Willie Nelson, Big Bird, Ben Affleck, Charlie Rose, REM lead Michael Stipe, James Franco, Patrick Stewart, Henry Kissinger and Bob Costas. Can you name the rest?

This pix and more in the article below. Thanks to Stephen and the great staff and crews for these last 10 years! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://variety.com/2014/tv/news/stephen-colbert-colbert-report-final-sign-off-comedy-central-1201383118/

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Video Vault: Happy 67th birthday WEWS

December 17, 1947…Cleveland’s WEWS Becomes 11th TV Station In US

The first seven or eight minutes of this 1977 Anniversary special are packed with shots of the station’s early Dumont and later, RCA equipment. This was Ohio’s first station and for those that grew up in the area, this is a treasure trove. For the rest of us, it’s an interesting time capsule. Thanks to Eric Braun for sending it. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.newsnet5.com/news/news-archives/video-vault-happy-67th-birthday-wews

Video Vault: Happy 67th birthday WEWS

To celebrate 67 years on the air, here’s the WEWS 30th anniversary of show from 1977.

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One Of A Kind In Every Way…Shooting ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Open

One Of A Kind In Every Way…Shooting ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Open

Yesterday was the first time I had seen this rare shot and wanted to share it with you. It is the only one I have ever seen of the title sequence of the show being filmed. I can hear the theme playing now.

In case you have never heard the lyrics to “The Fishin Hole”, here is Andy singing them. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drnykHuHw7M

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Letterman Pulls Curtain on Holiday Tradition

Later Today…Some Letterman Christmas Traditions Come To An End

If the usual “twofer Thursday” taping schedule holds true today, Dave’s Friday show will be taped this afternoon, a couple of hours after they tape the episode for tonight. On tomorrow night’s show, we’ll see Darlene Love, Jay Thomas and the Christmas tree target practice traditions for the last time.

Whether we see it on camera or not, there will be a lot of emotions flowing in Studio 50 today. All our best wishes to the many that make this show, and to the many that, since day one, have helped make it a landmark. There’s more in this ABC News article. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/letterman-pulls-curtain-holiday-tradition-27636370

Letterman Pulls Curtain on Holiday Tradition

With the curtain soon to fall on David Letterman’s late-night television career, the end comes Friday for an odd and emotional holiday tradition that involves comic Jay Thomas, the Lone Ranger, a giant meatball and, most indelibly, singer Darlene Love. Love will sing “Christmas (Baby Please…

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Stephen Colbert Prepares Final ‘Colbert Report’

Later Today…Stephen Colbert’s Final Report On Comedy Central

Over these last nine years, there has been a lot of water under the comedy bridge at 512 West 54th Street at NEP’s Studio 54. Stephen Colbert’s time there ends today with their last live to tape show. Speculation is he will take over for David Letterman in the fall. Here’s an interesting story from The New York Times on the persona Colbert leaves behind. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/17/business/media/stephen-colbert-prepares-final-colbert-report.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Stephen Colbert Prepares Final ‘Colbert Report’

After nine years nurturing his TV persona of a conservative blowhard talk show host, Stephen Colbert will bid farewell to the other Stephen Colbert on Thursday.

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December 18, 1956…’To Tell The Truth’ Debuts On CBS…Rare Pilot Episode


December 18, 1956…’To Tell The Truth’ Debuts On CBS…Rare Pilot Episode

AMAZING! Here is the pilot for the show and you won’t believe the host and panel! The host was Mike Wallace. On the panel…Dick Van Dyke, John Cameron Swayze, Polly Bergen and actress Hildy Park.

The show was created by Bob Stewart and produced by Goodson-Todman Productions and was to have premiered on Tuesday, December 18, 1956, in CBS prime time as ‘Nothing But The Truth’, but the program title was changed to ‘To Tell The Truth’ the day before the show’s debut. The show originated from CBS Studio 52, moving to Studio 50 late in its run.

After CBS bought the show, but before it debuted, Bud Collier was chosen to host as Wallace had begun to feel he had rather rather become a news man and needed to get away from entertainment and commercial roles.

Mark Goodson and Bill Todman were seeking to replicate the success of their ‘What’s My Line’ show, but ‘To Tell the Truth’ was unique in that this was one of the few shows where the home audience didn’t know the answer as the panel asked questions. We at home could play right along.

An odd “vibe” must have been present on the set for some years there. Host Collyer was one of the more outspoken pro-blacklisting voices in AFTRA, the TV performers’ union. He was all for purging TV of performers and staffers with “pinko” connections…but a lot of those folks worked on TTTT. Mark Goodson was among the few producers willing to stand up to demands that he drop performers who’d been fingered as unAmerican by Red Channels or other such institutions. He’d resisted demands that he fire Henry Morgan off ‘I’ve Got a Secret’ and he often hired panelists like Orson Bean and John Henry Faulk who’d crossed Red Channels or AWARE. Bean and Faulk won a union election over a Collyer-backed slate on these issues and Faulk later won a major lawsuit over his blacklisting. Still, from all reports, Collyer was a professional and a gentleman to all on ‘To Tell the Truth’.

The original TTTT ended its prime-time run on May 22, 1967. A daytime version which had started in June of ’62 continued on until September of ’68. That was the end of the Collyer version but others would follow. You must see some of this video! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji9m4acZLck

Mike Wallace in 1956, hosting Nothing But The Truth, an unaired pilot for what would become the classic guessing game To Tell The Truth. Panelists are Dick V…

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December 18, 1953…First Color Commercial Airs On WPTZ, Philadelphia

December 18, 1953…First Color Commercial Airs On WPTZ, Philadelphia

In yesterday’s post, we learned of the FCC’s December 17, 1953 decision adopting RCA’s Compatible Color System. On Friday, December 18, 1953 at about 11:15 am, the FCC issued to WPTZ, Channel 3, its official color experimental license which authorized the transmission of color video on the station.

Three hours later, color television hit the airwaves in Philadelphia with a color commercial made up of slides. George Skinner hosted a show there weekdays between 2 pm and 2:30 called ‘Skinner’s Spotlight’…it was during this time that WPTZ’s first color telecast under an official FCC license took place. It was the first color commercial broadcast in the nation and it was on Channel 3 at about 2:20 pm. At the time, there were only about 100 color sets in Philadelphia.

The day before, the NBC Network had broadcast the first color image under the new NTSC standards when at 5:31 PM, it broadcast a color slide of the NBC chimes logo. At the time, only a few stations had any color equipment and it was all telecine. Only NBC had live color cameras which were the four RCA TK40 prototypes at The Colonial Theater.

The first shipment of the TK40 production model cameras was made on March 4, 1954. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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