Mega Version! Behind The Scenes At…’The Price Is Right’ 2013
This is a one hour, real time, look at the show in production…it’s VERY interesting and fun to watch. Notice the cameras are all cable free and are now wireless. The yellow and white boxes on the pedestals are batteries that run the RF, and you can occasionally see the transmitting gear on each camera.
This is a great hour inside Studio 33, but we’ll see every aspect of the show including the control room, back stage prize set ups and more. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
A 1982 Behind The Scenes Look At…’The Price Is Right’
Continuing with today’s ‘Price Is Right’ theme, here’s a quick look at the show in production in 1982. When this was shot at CBS Television City’s Studio 33, Norelco cameras had been around for 17 years and Bob Barker had been the host for 10 years. Bless his heart, Johnny Olson was a great announcer, but as a dancer…not so much! You’ll see. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Rare…’Price Is Right’ Color Photo And NYC Studio Locations
Since we are on the ‘Price Is Right’ path today, I think we’ll stay there for a while with this, and more PIR stories to follow. The daytime version of ‘The Price Is Right’ began in black and white from NBC’s Hudson Theater (which was never a color facility) in 1956. In the fall of ’57, the show moved to The Century Theater for a while, but then returned to the Hudson, where it stayed till moving to The Colonial Theater in 1959. The daytime show made it’s final move to The Ziegfeld Theater in 1960.
The primetime version of the show was always at The Colonial and always in color and ran from 1957 till 1963. Information on the color broadcast of the daytime show is sketchy as best, but I think ’59 may have been the first daytime color from The Colonial. I think this photo is from The Ziegfeld Theater days. Thanks to David Schwartz for help on the timeline and locations. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Time Capsule…1960 ‘Price Is Right’ Technical Director’s Script
Thanks to our friend Gady Reinhold, here is part of the July 4, 1960 script for ‘The Price Is Right’, from the Colonial Theater in New York. First thought, click the video link for a cool shot of one of the Colonial’s original prototype RCA TK40s in action on the set of a January 1960 ‘Price Is Right’ with Buddy Girrard at the controls. This episode lays out a lot like this script.
The director was Paul Alter who was a longtime Goodson-Todman director and stayed with the show when in went to CBS in Hollywood.
This script is the Technical Director’s, who was most likely Michael Rosar. In his hand written notes, on the opening page F1 refers to a film chain at 30 Rock, as it was labeled on the switcher. E1 stands for effects row 1 on the switcher which is set for a an effect shot between camera 3 and film chain 2. Two of the pages show prize descriptions and on them, you can see how many shots were used.
One page shows the end of a film commercial and then a film roll on F2 which is followed on the next page by the start of another prize description using the clip on F2 with the jewelry.
December 8, 1980…Stunning John Lennon Announcement Backstory
From ESPN, here is the amazing backstory of how it came to be that Howard Cosell broke the news of John Lennon’s death to the nation during the last seconds of a tied football game in Miami. There is even audio of the conversation about whether to announce it between Cosell and Frank Gifford in the booth recorded during a commercial break. ABC broke the news after one of their producers was taken to the emergency room in NY after a motorcycle accident…he was there when Lennon arrived and saw him come in. Thanks to Glenn Mack for the share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade 5…Seasons Greetings From The ‘Kukla, Fran & Ollie’ Crew
Thanks to John Schipp, here’s card from the men that brought the nation one of the top shows of the day, live from WMAQ in Chicago. I think Bruce Berquist is on Camera 3 in the top left corner. This was one of the first Zoomar lenses used in television and although it is the 27 element field lens, made for outdoor use, it worked just fine on KFO. Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade 4…I’ll Tell You A Secret If You Promise Not To Tell
This is a shot from the Control Room of CBS Studio 72 in New York…the only color facility the network had in the east. On stage, we see four RCA TK41 color cameras, but can you spot the fifth one?
Yes, that’s it at the side of the stage with a dust cover. Here’s the secret. That camera is the TK40 that CBS asked Philco to buy for them on the sly. After RCA won the color war, CBS was mad as hell, but knew that color was coming and like it or not, they had to see what was under the hood, but didn’t want to give RCA the satisfaction of becoming one of their first color customers so they paid Philco to buy it and a few color monitors. Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee
Picture Parade 2…Who Wants One Of These For Christmas?
This is a beautifully restored sound truck from Warner Brothers. In the 1930s and 40s, it was garaged at what would later become the NBC Brooklyn Studios. Back then, Warner owned the property which they had bought from Vitograph. NBC bought it in 1953. Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee
Why Fully Automated Television Is A BAD IDEA! Anywhere!
The good news is, this blooper reel was put together by human hands. The bad news is, that’s about all they get to touch at BBC News, as the whole system is automated, and here are some of the embarrassing results of that decision.
The biggest problem at the BBC isn’t the camera robotics…it’s the fact that they are using full control room automation! Producers have to put computer code in the scripts that tells the cameras where to be, whose microphone is on, what clips to play, what supers to lay in, etc. It’s pretty remarkable when it works, but all it takes is one forgotten cue or mistaken code number to screw everything up. And once one thing gets screwed up, it tends to snowball.
Thanks to Andy Rose for the clip and help. Can “Sky Net” be far behind? Let’s hope not, and that the BBC “innovation” isn’t contagious. It’s like Ebola for TV. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
The evening of December 6, 1964, kids across the country tuned into NBC for the debut of ‘Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer’ in living color. It’s aired every year since.
The Christmas television special was produced in stop motion animation by Rankin/Bass Productions, and was sponsored by General Electric under the umbrella title of ‘The General Electric Fantasy Hour’. The GE commercials in the first two years also featured the Rankin/Bass characters.
Below is a clip of the Burl Ives “Holly Jolly Christmas” segment. I watched…did you? Happy Birthday Rudolph! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Remembering ‘The Munsters’…And MUCH MORE! A ’60s Time Capsule
This is a fantastic and very broad look at the show, as well as everything going on at the time on all three networks. There is a ton of great rare footage here from all around Hollywood and a list of names that is hard to believe…even Rocky and Bullwinkle! This is very well done, and even if you are not a big Musters fan, I think you enjoy the wide scope of topics and history captured here. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
December 6, 1923…First Presidential Speech On Radio
The White House was brought fully into the modern age of communication when Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929) made the first presidential radio broadcast from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on this day in 1923. The next year, he made history again in by appearing in the first sound film of an American President.
During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) used a telegraph to keep in touch with his battlefield generals which was across the street from the White House at the War Department.
In 1877, President Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881) spoke on the telephone to the instrument’s inventor, Alexander Graham Bell. Two years later, Hayes had his own telephone in the White House, but the invention was so new that very few homes or offices in Washington had phones, so Hayes had few people to talk to. In fact, the president’s telephone number was “1”.
Men who were campaigning to be president used another invention, the phonograph. Recordings were made of campaign speeches, to get the word out about a candidate and his political views before the election. In the presidential race of 1908, for instance, disks of William Howard Taft and William Jennings Bryan could be purchased and then played at a church, or other gathering place, in towns which these presidential candidates could not visit by train. The records would come with a photograph of the candidate, so voters knew what he looked like.
Compare the number of people presidents could reach before and after radio. President Andrew Jackson (1829-1837), a very popular leader, spoke to only 10,000 people at his inauguration. Less than one hundred years later, President Coolidge broadcast an address to 23 million radio listeners as his voice was carried through telephone lines across the nation.
No one knows exactly how many people saw George Washington on his carriage tours, but even if he saw 1,000 people every day lined up on the streets, or at ceremonies, only about 100,000 Americans would have seen him — and this was after three months of traveling! In just an instant, 23 million Americans heard Coolidge speak. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
At 100 Billion Feet Per Second…Speed Of Light Captured
With today’s post celebrating the anniversary of Thomas Edison’s first sound recording, I can’t help wondering what he would think of this new camera. The embedded link shows a moving image of a pulse of light that happened in 300 trillionths of a second. This linked article http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141203142418.htm
has the real scientific lowdown on how it’s done and what uses the camera will have. Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee
Slow-motion photography is cool and all, but now a team of scientists has decided to use high-speed photography to track light as it travels through space. In this GIF, you’re looking at a pulse of light hitting and bouncing off of a mirror. Really.
December 6, 1877…Thomas Edison Makes First Sound Recording
Edison’s recitation of “Mary Had A Little Lamb” was the first voice recording ever made, but on the tin foil cylinder it was recorded on, it is preceded by a few seconds of music, and followed by a person laughing, then “Old Mother Hubbard” and more laughing. You are about to hear the whole thing.
The video here will start just before the disc is played in public for the first time since 1879. For audiophiles, this entire video is just amazing and reveals the science behind these earliest ever recordings, as well as how they have been restored and captured digitally. The notes on the You Tube post are quite good too. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
http://youtu.be/NL9-PrmeG7g?t=34m11sThe recording was originally made on a Thomas Edison-invented phonograph in St. Louis in 1878. At a time when music lovers can carry thousands of digital son…
There’s a little of everything in this batch, but we’ll start with a thanks to all the people both on stage and off that did such a great job last night. The first couple of photos here are screen shots of the credits for the stage managers and utility crew. Arrrrrrr Mates…well done, and no one had to walk the plank! Thanks again to the many who’s pix are here. More to come later and more on the photos, so click through, enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Most of these pix are from our friend Charlie Huntley, who was on Camera 11 last night. As we’ll see, 11 is hidden behind the wall in Wendy’s bedroom which was a 360 degree set that opened up for the flying scenes. I think that was the only true 360 set, but the the Jolly Roger set was close with only the front side open.
We’ll start with a great look at the Jolly Roger and how that was shot. In the first big picture, you see the camera wall that got all of the head on shots like the one we see of the Hook crew dancing. More details on the pictures so be sure and click through. That’s all for now, but later in the day, I am expecting more pix. Thanks to Charlie, Rob and all the others who have contributed. Everyone did a great job last night and we ALL thank you! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
What a wonderful, one of a kind, shot to open with…Chris Walken’s Captain Hook coat and hat at his resting chair on the set. All that hoofing and singing takes a lot out of a guy, but it was worth it! Thanks to Rob Balton for these great shots. More on the photos, so click on each one. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Williams Flies…Walken Soars! ‘Peter Pan’ Behind The Scenes #1
The sight, the sound, the splendor…it was live television magic! The first reviews are out and although many a snarky line from critics were waiting to be penned, they weren’t. Even the critics agree, everyone wanted this to work…and it DID!
There are a lot of great pictures from the set coming in and I will be posting them in batches today so stay tuned. More on the way.
It seems the main criticisms are about the length of the production and that it dragged in a few places. When Mary Martin was ‘Peter Pan’, the first two productions were two hours and the third, the 1960 video taped version, was about ten minutes longer. Making each minute of a 180 minute production dazzle, is a big job and in my opinion, the camera work, sets and effects DID DAZZLE! The names of the camera crew are on two screen shots from the closing credits…these twelve men, along with the entire crew are among the best in the business. More on the pix! Enjoy and share! Many Thanks to Rob Balton for most of these pix…more coming! -Bobby Ellerbee
‘Peter Pan’…Exclusive Behind The Scenes Video, Post #2
This is our friend Rob Balton (who just went to bed at 4AM ET) with his Techno Jib rehearsing a flying scene. Here you can see the relative positions of the sets in this studio with Wendy’s room in the distance, the miniature set in the middle and what I think may be the edge of Neverland behind them. Thanks for sharing this Rob! More pictures coming up next! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee[fb_vid id=”763637833673768″]
A Preview From Never Never Land…’Peter Pan’, Live Tonight
Below is a link to the great New York Times story on tonight’s live blockbuster from NBC. These photos are from that article and here are a few interesting tidbits on some of the production techniques and surprises to watch for.
First, unlike ‘The Sound Of Music’ last year, many of the sets will be 360 degree wraparounds that will be shot with Steadicams and jibs.
All told, Pan includes roughly ten times as many technical components as last years live SOM event with lots of live special effects, including flying. So far the flying has been smooth, but some other things have been a little nerve wracking…like “the shadow dance”.
The shadow — actually a computerized projection — is one of dozens of complex technical elements intended to boost the wow factor in NBC’s three-hour broadcast. In this segment, the shadow squats when Peter crossed his arms, and crossed its arms when Peter squats…or, that’s the way it should work. During the Times reporter’s visit, the shadow took on a mind of it’s own and wasn’t minding it’s handler.
In addition to the rebellious shadow, other complicating factors include a live, computer-generated Tinker Bell; moving sets; a contraption-heavy pirate ship; and a talented mutt named Bowdie who plays Nana the dog.
The producers are embracing showy theatricality with an eye toward establishing such live productions as a holiday tradition for NBC. The network has already secured the rights to ‘The Music Man’ as its 2015 offering, though it won’t commit until they see how this one comes off.
“Break A Leg” everyone! Among our friends on the camera crew are Charlie Huntley, Rob Balton and Tore Livia. We wish cast and crew alike our best. A little more on the photos, so chick on each.
Tomorrow, back stage shots! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Thanks to John Schipp, here’s a shot from 1966. The trucks are N3 and there’s a TK41 in the center of the shot. The tree lighting used to be carried locally on channel 4 on tape delay. The crowds were so thick that It would take John 30 minutes to carry the videotape from the truck to the tape room on the fifth floor.
Today, there are no mobile units used. The audio and video are linked directly to the Studio 8H control room. Dennis Degan tells me it’s been done this way for several years now. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
Keep your eyes peeled here…there is a lot of interesting equipment passing by. We’ll see everything from RCA TK41a and TK60s to Norelcos, GE PE350s and the rare Ampex portable. There’s also some interesting tape and delay equipment here and I hope some of you can call that out. Not sure of the date, but given the cameras, I think this is from the late ’60s. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee[fb_vid id=”762899533747598″]
ABC’s First Series…’Hollywood Screen Test’, April 1948
The “television magic” starts with the name of the show…it was actually done in New York. ABC didn’t have a television property in Los Angeles till September of 1949.
Debuting on 15 April 1948, and hosted first by Bert Lytell and then Neil Hamilton (who we know best as Commissioner Gordon on ‘Batman’). The idea behind ‘Hollywood Screen Test’ was to give exposure to many up-and-coming actors who were looking for their big break. Relative unknowns would be picked to guest star on the show with a half-hour scenes of dialogue from a couple of different plays with established stage and screen actors.
Among the stars discovered on ‘Hollywood Screen Test’ were Grace Kelly, Jack Klugman, Pernell Roberts, and Jack Lemmon.
Originally the show aired on Sundays at 8 ET. Across the dial, it’s Sunday night competitors were ‘Toast Of The Town’ with Ed Sullivan on CBS, ‘Meet The Press’ and ‘Admiral Revue’ with Sid Caesar on NBC and ‘The Original Amateur Hour’ on Dumont.
This was the first network series broadcast on ABC-TV, which started TV broadcasting in April 1948. 1948 was the first season in which all four networks, then in operation in the US, offered nightly prime time schedules. By the way, the dog named JJ Morgan got a job too. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
December 3, 1968…NBC Airs ‘Elvis’, The Year’s Top Special
At the link is a great nine minute outtake clip from the show with the Elvis we all like to remember…funny and playful, except at the 3:00 mark, but he’s only human. Notice the great color…this was one of the last big shows done with the RCA TK41s at Burbank.
In the photo below, we see a rarity…Burbank’s modified TK41 viewfinder. I’ve heard the original VF was damaged on a remote and since production stopped in 1966, Burbank engineers make their own VF using a Conrac monitor and building a new housing for it. You may have seen this camera before and wondered…now you know.
This 90 minute special was taped in Studio 4 over a period of four nights starting June 26 and ending June 30 with two shows a night with an hour break between so eight audiences saw the show and all of them were taped. The first shows each night were the sit down performances in the round. The second shows were the stand up performances.
These were the first live shows Elvis had done in four years. The show was a smash hit and after it aired, Elvis returned to the road with a record breaking sting of sold out shows and to the charts with “Suspicious Minds” and “The Wonder Of You”. Enjoy and Share! Bobby Ellerbee
Macy’s Parade History Followup…First Network TV Coverage, CBS
Thanks to historian David Schwartz and friends, we’ve been able to verify that the first network television coverage of the Macy’s Parade was on CBS. From The New York Times, we have a small news item, and the television listings.
At this link is raw newsreel footage of the 1948 parade and it starts with the Howdy Doody float with a real TK30 on board. Notice there is no NBC signage on the camera or float since CBS is the official network, but that changed in 1952 to NBC. Notice that WNBC and WPIX are offering coverage too, but that is local only. The photo is from that year and notice the broadcaster on top of the marquee with a microphone…I think he is a radio host. The annual festivities were broadcast on local New York radio from 1932 through 1941,and resumed in 1945 through 1951. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
‘Tis The Season! Rockefeller Plaza Tree Lighting Tomorrow…
Although the official Christmas tree tradition at Rockefeller Center began in 1933 with the opening of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, here is the start of the unofficial tradition which began during construction. Workers decorated a 20 foot fir tree with “strings of cranberries, garlands of paper, and even a few tin cans” on Christmas Eve in 1931. Some accounts have the tree decorated with the tin foil ends of blasting caps. There was no Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in 1932.
Also shown here are photos from the tree lighting events of 1949, 1963 and 1975. Thanks to Ed Eaves, there’s nice shot from across 6th Avenue showing the new marquee and some holiday spirit. Happy Holidays! -Bobby Ellerbee
‘Peter Pan’…How To Fly And Get Audio At The Same Time
This is Director Jerome Robbins flying with Mary Martin in March of 1955 at NBC Brooklyn. When Robbins directed the show on Broadway, he didn’t have to worry about audio, but when it came to the television production he did. How do you mic a flying Mary Martin?
Booms were used for most of the show, but for the flying sequences, something special was called for. In 1953, Shur had introduced “The Vagabond” wireless mic which was used by Marlin Monroe when she was interviewed by Edward R. Murrow on ‘Person To Person’ in 1955.
They tried a Vagabond, but it was not strong enough, so NBC engineers came up with a stronger unit. The mic was on Martin’s chest under her costume and the transmitter was under her arm. The antenna was in a special belt she wore. In order to receive the signal, wires were embedded in the floor of the set, and strung from the lighting grid. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
As we just read in this morning’s first story, the first television production of ‘Peter Pan’ was March 7, 1955. On January 9, 1956, NBC Brooklyn did it again…live and in color. Here is a promo for the second broadcast that fortunately was captured from inside a kinescope of the January 6, 1956 ‘Ernie Kovacs Show’. Thanks to Ben Model for the capture and to Randy West for bringing this to my attention. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee
10 years ago today, NBC anchor Tom Brokaw made he final appearance as anchor on ‘NBC Nightly News’. He began his run on the show in April 1982.
Although he has already coined the phrase “the greatest generation”, he does not use the term when he talk about them with great respect. At the end, Bob Hope sings a short custom version of “Thanks For The Memories”. Thanks Tom! I remember you from your days at WSB in Atlanta. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee