Posts in Category: Broadcast History

This Day in Football: The Heidi Bowl

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November 17, 1968…’Heidi’ Trumps The Jets – Raiders Finale On NBC

I remember watching this…I had just turned 18. Did you see this?

For all intents and purposes, it looked like the Jets had won and with only a minute left, there was no way for an Oakland comeback…BUT, comeback they DID! Here’s a great video recap of what happened and how it happened. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

By the way, in today’s next post, we’ll see how the first down graphics magically appear on the gridiron.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/oakland-raiders/09000d5d82431c90/This-Day-in-Football-The-Heidi-Bowl

This Day in Football: The Heidi Bowl

On November 17, 1968, the Raiders scored two touchdowns in the last minute to overturn a 32-29 Jets lead and win 43-32. But nobody watching the game at home on TV saw the exciting conclusion. Find out why in the story of the “The Heidi Bowl.” For more, check out Source

The Night RFK Was Shot…Inside The Ambassador Hotel, Part 3 of 3

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The Night RFK Was Shot…Inside The Ambassador Hotel, Part 3 of 3

Final Rare Photos Of The Television Coverage…June 4, 1968

#24895974” target=”_blank”>http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nbc-news/24895974 #24895974
#24949036” target=”_blank”>http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nbc-news/24895974 #24949036
I’m including here two rare film clips that NBC aired in their live studio coverage with newsman Bob Abernathy, immediately after the shooting. I assume this was all coming from NBC Burbank, given that these filmed reports are coming just an hour or so after the events at The Ambassador Hotel.

These are the last five photos and cover mostly the trucks, but the beginning image of the Embassy Room, just hours before is quite haunting. Thanks for all the descriptive comments on the first two sets of photos. Hopefully these will answer some questions raised there, and thanks to Martin Perry for finding these Los Angeles Fire Department photos. More detail on the photos so click though them. Enjoy and share.

By the way, the color footage of Senator Kennedy leaving in the ambulance is not the KTLA video shot by Dick Watson. That would have been in black and white, and noone seems to have seen that tape since 1968 or so.






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Fantastic! An Hour Long Look At CBS Covering The NFL Live, 1977

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Fantastic! An Hour Long Look At CBS Covering The NFL Live, 1977

Sunday morning…time to settle in with a great hour of television history. To give you time to take this in, only one other post today so, enjoy and share!
-Bobby Ellerbee

Here’s how CBS covered a Redskins – Cardinals game in 1977 from Washington’s CBS station, WTOP with thanks to Tom Buckley for sharing ‘The Game Behind The Game’ with us.

This was shot in five parts and the meatiest ones to me are parts 2 and 4…those are the technical sides, but there is a lot of familiar faces and interesting background information in the other parts too.

Part one takes us inside the trucks and announcers booth and has a bit about football history…sort of.

Part 2 starts at 10:15 and gives us a good look at the Thomson cameras (six in use) and some conversations with the cameramen including Stan Gould. Director Sandy Grossman is in every part.

Part 3 takes us into the announcer’s booth with Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier and starts at 21:20

Part 4 starts at 31:35 is full of “how we do it” info in which we see the demonstrations of the vidifont, slow mo and instant replay discs. We also visit audio and the sidelines with the “red hat” man who works with the referee on network commercial breaks.

Part 5 is the wrap up and starts at 41:42. Again, enjoy and share!

http://vimeo.com/96740685DC local EMMY WINNING hour special on how a network shoots a “live event “like a football game. This inside look at TV production answers Who does What and Why.…
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November 15, 1926…The First NBC Radio Broadcast, Part 1

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November 15, 1926…The First NBC Radio Broadcast, Part 1

The Bedrock History And Timeline…Please Start Here

Below is a history of how this all started and by understanding this timeline and these events, you will better understand the parts that follow. It’s a story that I will need to tell in several parts and am composing this in my head as we discover this fascinating history together and as you will see, there is a lot of history that leads up to the November 15, 1926 debut of NBC.

AT&T had constructed and licensed radio station WEAF in New York in June of 1922. It’s first ‘network’ ‘broadcast occurred on January 4, 1923, between WEAF in New York City and WNAC in Boston, Massachusetts. In early 1924, AT&T made the first transcontinental network broadcast, between WEAF in New York City, and KPO in San Francisco. By early 1926, the “WEAF Chain” had increased to nineteen cities in the Northeast and Midwest, as it slowly spread from its base in New York City. Through these efforts, from 1922 until 1926 AT&T was the most important company in the programming side of U.S. broadcasting.

A year before AT&T began radio, Westinghouse signed on WJZ in Newark, New Jersey in 1921 and operated the station till it was sold to RCA in 1923. That year would also see the debut of WRC in Washington DC which RCA built and was their first construction.

The first network broadcast by RCA occurred in December 1923, and involved only WJZ and the General Electric Co.’s station WGY at Schenectady, N. Y. The connection was made with Western Union telegraph wires. WRC would soon be linked in too.

RCA would have have liked to have used AT&T lines, but AT&T would not make them available to a competitor. The telegraph lines were not very good but RCA did the best they could with what they had.

By late 1925, in the midst of hard-fought battles over patent rights, AT&T abruptly decided that it no longer wanted to operate stations or run a radio network. In May, 1926, AT&T transferred WEAF and the network operations into a wholly-owned subsidiary, the Broadcasting Company of America.

Then came the bombshell announcement — AT&T was selling WEAF and its network for $1,000,000 to the “Radio Group”. The sale included the right to lease from AT&T the telephone longlines that had been found to be essential for linking together a national network. Moreover, the negotiations had also given the “Radio Group” the right to sell airtime, which was the subject of the long fought court battles.

Here, we need to explain the “Radio Group” which was proposed in a June 17, 1922 memo from David Sarnoff. It suggested RCA take the lead in the organization of “a separate and distinct company… to be controlled by the Radio Corporation of America, but its board of directors and officers to include members of the General Electric Company and the Westinghouse Electric Company and possibly also a few from the outside, prominent in national and civic affairs”.

The first effort from the “Radio Group” came shortly after AT&T began organizing its radio network in 1923. The three major companies that comprised the “Radio Group” — General Electric, Westinghouse, and their jointly-owned subsidiary, the Radio Corporation of America — responded with an expansion of their own efforts, which initially would produce a small radio network centered on WJZ (now WABC) in New York City, but would ultimately develop into the most dominant broadcasting company in the country…The National Broadcasting Company.

These are photos I took on the second floor at NBC, just outside the Broadcast Operations Center that commemorate the formation of The National Broadcasting Company on September 13, 1926, and the first broadcast on the NBC Radio Network just two months later.

Much more to come in the next several parts! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee





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November 15, 1926…The First NBC Radio Broadcast, Part 2

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November 15, 1926…The First NBC Radio Broadcast, Part 2

The Basis Of The Red And Blue Networks

In part one, we laid out the important basics of how all this came to be, so if you haven’t read that, go there first and this will make a lot more sense.

Many believe that NBC created the first radio network but that is not exactly the case. As we saw in Part 1, AT&T’s first network radio broadcast was January 4, 1923 between WEAF in NYC and WNAC in Boston. RCA’s first network broadcast was in December of 1923 between WJZ in NYC and General Electric’s station WGY in Schenectady.

Below are some very interesting images from those first days of network radio. The first shows the WEAF Network which would in 1926 become the basis for the NBC Red Network. There are 17 stations on the network.

The second photo shows the performers on one of network radios first shows and was broadcast on the WEAF network. The star of the show is on the far right…that’s Will Rogers with The Waldorf Astoria Orchestra on ‘The Eveready Hour’ in 1923.

The next image shows the WJZ Network which had only four stations. This was the basis for the NBC Blue Network. The final image is a shot from the very cozy WJZ studios of one of their first network broadcasts.

More on all five of the early NBC networks in Part 3. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee





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November 15, 1926…The First NBC Radio Broadcast, Part 3

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November 15, 1926…The First NBC Radio Broadcast, Part 3

The “Color” Networks…Red, Blue, White, Gold And Orange

If you thought there was just Red and Blue, think again, but these didn’t all occur on November 15, 1926.

In the beginning, NBC operated two networks: NBC Blue, headed by station WJZ, and NBC Red, headed by WEAF. This situation arose, due to NBC then owning two stations in New York City (WEAF and WJZ). WEAF and the ‘Red’ Network became the flagship network and offered most of the established shows…and advertisers. NBC Red was the larger radio network, carrying the leading entertainment and music programs. In addition, many Red affiliates were high-powered, clear-channel stations, heard nationwide. NBC Blue offered most of the company’s news and cultural programs, many of them “sustaining” or unsponsored.

How did they arrive at the names ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’? The legend is that it was either the red and blue pencil marks on the engineering map or the red and blue push pins on the management’s maps.

NBC White was NBC’s Religious Programming network, also referred to as The Watchtower Network, and operated from about 1928 to 1936.

NBC’s Orange Network was it’s West Coast affiliates, KGO, KFI, KGW, KOMO, and KHQ, beginning operations in 1931. NBC also operated a ‘Gold Network’ comprised of KPO, KECA, KEX, KJR, and KGA, soon after disbanded and absorbed by the Orange Network in 1933.

NBC’s Blue Network became ABC in 1943, due to a landmark Supreme Court Ruling that held that NBC had specifically maintained the two parallel, Red and Blue, networks for the express purpose of stifling competition. NBC subsequently extricated itself by selling ‘NBC Blue’ to Edward Noble of the Lifesaver Candy Company, who first called his new network, simply ‘The Blue Network’. That name was followed by ‘The Blue Network of the American Broadcasting Company’ and eventually in 1945, dropped the ‘Blue Network’ appellation altogether and was simply called the American Broadcasting Company.

Below is a map that shows the Red, Blue and Orange network stations. Next up, some great audio from those early NBC days. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee




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November 15, 1926…The First NBC Radio Broadcast, Part 4

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November 15, 1926…The First NBC Radio Broadcast, Part 4

Excerpts From The First Broadcast And Amazing Stories

If this page comes up for you the way it does for me, in the upper right hand corner, click to play program 2 with Ben Grauer as our host. Around 2:20, you’ll hear parts of that first broadcast which went out on a network of 26 stations.

I think you’ll enjoy this from the very start. Radio lovers like me will want to hear all five hours of this…it’s just amazing! 50 years of NBC Radio history is packed in and edited to perfection with some of the best storytellers ever. This is Entertainment at it’s best! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://archive.org/details/OTRR_NBC_50_Years_Of_Radio_SinglesNBCs FIFTY YEARS OF RADIO November 1, 1926 The National Broadcasting Company was created when RCA purchased radio stations WEAF-New York,…
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The Night RFK Was Shot…Inside The Ambassador Hotel, Part 2 of 3

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The Night RFK Was Shot…Inside The Ambassador Hotel, Part 2 of 3

Rare Photos Of The Television Coverage…June 4, 1968

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsYLelmN6BA
At the link, I have added the ABC coverage from the next day with Frank Reynolds reporting. In it, you can see ABC’s video from the night before was shot in black and white. Also included in this clip is the voice of the Mutual reporter, Andy West who had live audio in the kitchen. It is quite chilling.

Today’s images include the network and local trucks from KTLA and KTTV and more photos from inside The Ambassador. I think it is best if I include the details of this set of photos on the pictures themselves, so please make sure you click on them individually. This is the only time and place these have been seen with any narration, so remember to share these. -Bobby Ellerbee

Many thanks to Martin Perry for finding these photos taken by the Los Angeles Fire Department. Six more pictures coming tomorrow!







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November 14, 1922…The BBC Broadcasts Its First Radio Program

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November 14, 1922…The BBC Broadcasts Its First Radio Program

First, this newsreel footage will start just a few seconds before the BBC Radio debut with some funny aircraft mishaps we’ve all seen before, but now we know when the happened and where. I’m not sure this BBC footage is of the actual debut, or a bit afterward, but it is shot in the right location.

The studio for station 2LO was in the Marconi Building in London and was the location of the first broadcast. The next day, inaugural broadcasts were heard from Birmingham’s station 5IT, and the Manchester station 2ZY as well.

By the way, NBC’s first radio broadcast was November 15, 1926 and I’ll have a story on that tomorrow. Happy anniversary to our friends at the BBC! Enjoy and share!

http://youtu.be/nCgdJCmgCfQ?t=16m36sFull title reads: “Scrapbook For 1922”. Credits read: “The pages turned by Patric Curwen, The narration spoken by John Snagge, Music Director Hal Evans, Film…
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Original Edit…’This Week With David Brinkley’, Berlin Wall Remote

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Original Edit…’This Week With David Brinkley’, Berlin Wall Remote

As we saw earlier in the week, the Berlin Wall opened on Thursday, November 9, 1989…this is the 25th Anniversary. When the Sunday talk shows rolled around that weekend, this was still the top story. Ed Eaves has been with NBC News in NY since 1998 as an editor and producer, but from ’83 till ’98, he was with ABC News and helped edit this piece. I think you’ll enjoy seeing this and the spaces left for the Washington bureau to plug in graphics, video and live feeds. The text details with the video are from Ed and quite good at letting us know what we are seeing. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://vimeo.com/111801697This is the ABC News This Week with David Brinkley on-location remote edit portion of Jack Smith’s backgrounder report produced and edited by David Verdi and Ed…
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The Latest From 3000 West Alameda…Former NBC Burbank

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The Latest From 3000 West Alameda…Former NBC Burbank

Thanks to Ray Rivera, here are some recent photos from what is now, The Burbank Studios. I think most of these were taken in the area around what was KNBC Studio 10. Except for Studio 3 which Clear Channel took over and made into the iHeart Radio studio, all of the others are intact. In Studio 1, ‘Access Hollywood’ is still in production, but I think they move next year. ‘Days Of Our Lives’ is still in Studios 2 and 4. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but it seems that perhaps some of the scenery storage areas are being converted into some other kind of space…maybe a new studio? Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee







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The Night RFK Was Shot…Inside The Ambassador Hotel, Part 1 of 3

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The Night RFK Was Shot…Inside The Ambassador Hotel, Part 1 of 3

Rare Photos Of The Television Coverage…June 4, 1968

We have all have scenes of that tragic event in our heads…the optimistic victory speech and then the horrific events in the ballroom kitchen where Sirhan Sirhan waited. I have often wondered about what else was going on in that room that night…where were the cameras, who covered this and more. Now, we’ll finally see.

Thanks to Martin Perry, I’ve located these photos taken by the Los Angeles Fire Department that night and they are quite interesting. I’m breaking these up into three parts and will post the other two parts Saturday and Sunday. There will be some interesting shots coming of all three network trucks as well as the KTLA and KTTV vans. I am still researching the events of that night and along the way, will include some of the back story in separate articles.

I think it is best if I include the details of this set of photos on the pictures themselves, so please make sure you click on them individually. This is the only time and place these have been seen with any narration, so remember to share these. -Bobby Ellerbee





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How The Ultra Rare 3M ’20 Years Of Video Tape’ Survived…

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How The Ultra Rare 3M ’20 Years Of Video Tape’ Survived…

A few days ago, I heard from Neil Gjere who told me a very interesting story and today, we get part one of the story in the form of the historic video in today’s first post and this…the backstory of how it is that this rare video survived and is seen here for the first time since the 1976 NAB convention. Below the line is Neil’s account. Many thanks to him for the rare video and for more photos and videotape history he is sending soon. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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“Back in ’79, and fresh out of school I was given the opportunity to work in the television studios of the public relations department for a “small” company known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing what we all know today as the 3M Company. The division at that time was basically responsible for providing video services to all of the various corporate sales divisions and the products they were responsible for.

One of my primary duties assigned to me was to duplicate completed programs that had been created in the studio with the intention of distribution to the corporate sales forces worldwide. One evening, I was approached by a department head clutching a two inch quad reel and a 3/4″ umatic tape and a request to dub the program for a corporate client he was wooing to get some work out of.

The title on the quad reel? ’20 Years of Videotape’ Being fresh out of school and absorbing everything television related I could find to expand my future career chances in the business, I asked the department head If he wouldn’t mind If I made a copy for myself to watch later. “Sure!” he said. “I’d like to hear your opinion, what you think of the program!”

From that moment, the request took the priority of “Rush Job” not only because it was needed for a breakfast meeting the following morning, but because I was excited to see for myself what exactly took up twenty minutes of quad tape space and had clearly taken up a large amount of studio time to produce. I grabbed a nearby 3/4″ umatic tape, shoved it into a nearby machine, and pushed record.

Well, for whatever reason, I was unable to get around to actually viewing the tape until much, much, later and I ended up carrying it around with me in the hopes that my viewing time would coincide with the availability of a 3/4″ playback deck. Once I was able to actually watch the program, I determined that it was a sales presentation used at 3M’s 1976 NAB convention sales booth to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the creation of video tape recording.

I enjoyed watching it, but clearly it was a sales presentation so technical in nature, my 19 year old brain just couldn’t appreciate the historical significance it was trying to convey. It came out of the deck and into the void that was my life at the time, never to be seen again. Until one day, 30 years later, a conversation with my high school radio/tv teacher came about. “I have a number of old video tapes from my teaching days and I’d like to see if you can tell me what’s on any of them.” These were old black and white reels in the old JEDEC helical format that was popular back in the day for educational and industrial uses. I have yet to find a deck to play these on to determine if there’s anything useful I can give back to him.

We met for lunch and he gave me a large bag of tapes that upon seeing brought me right back to his classroom in the late 70s. I told him I would see what I could do bluffing my way through lunch without the slightest idea how in fact I was going to view these things. A couple of weeks go by and I figured I’d ignored my requested missive long enough. So I began to go through the stack of now “vintage” recorded material.

After digging through case after case of 7 inch reels, I reach to bottom of the bag and discover a differently shaped case. As I go to pull it out, the label reveals: ’20 Years of Videotape’. Really.

Apparently, without truly remembering the moment, I had given the tape I’d dubbed so many years ago to my teacher who, was still teaching at the time with the thinking that maybe he could use it in one of his lectures back in the day. After he left teaching, it became another item in his career archive pile. And like some sort of time travelling boomerang, Here it ends back up on my doorstep. Weird.

As I look at the 3/4″ Umatic tape in my hand, I began to reminisce of the moment all those years ago, THIRTY years ago when I had shoved that very tape into one of the twenty five duplicating machines we had on hand to record the material that I now realize may be the only surviving recording of a Master that may have been a victim of decades of cast off departmental records purges.

A very real possibility after hearing of many of my colleagues in the department being let go shortly after my departure in 1980. And I realize, “How the HELL am I going to play this thing back?”

Considering our facility was paring back the number of 1″ machines in our inventory with the goal of eliminating all of them within a years time, and knowing the LAST 3/4″ machine departed with the parade of analog Beta machines that had just been emptied from our racks a year earlier, the likelihood of ever being reminded what was on that tape was fading quickly.

Back into the bag it went. By some divine archival intervention a few months later I overhear a conversation between a couple of colleagues regarding a freshly purchased 3/4″ machine and who was going to install it. As it turns out, a program project had paid to purchase a machine to dub needed material that was ONLY available on 3/4″ and the school had gotten rid of their machines ten years prior with no one giving any thought to future access of their programming.

It was only several weeks after that I spied the now dark machine in the equipment rack that I was reminded of my own recovery project. Out of the bag it comes. I decided if I was going to run this thing through a machine of that vintage, with a tape of that vintage, it would probably be a good idea to get it recorded on as many various digital devices that I could get stock for with the thinking I may only get one chance.

By the time I rolled tape for that pivotal moment, I had ones and zeroes flowing to no less than seven different recording devices. It played perfectly. Not one clog, not one dropout, and little if any evidence of degradation despite sitting on a reel for the better part of thirty years without so much as an inch of movement in that time.

And as I sat and watched the clearly 1976 production, I was reminded how much we gained not only in technical abilities, but in production values and capabilities as well. And the names: Ginsburg, Wetzel, Sater. Mel Sater to be exact. Mr. Sater played a prominent part in this story as you will soon discover in my next chapter.” -Neil Gjere


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ULTRA RARE! 3M’s 1976 “20 Years Of Videotape”

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This is one of only 2 or 3 surviving copies of 3M’s 1976 NAB tribute video called ’20 Years Of Video Tape’ and covers, in amazing detail, the history of video tape starting even before the unveiling of the VRX 1000 at the 1956 NAB convention and goes all the way to 1976. This was the 20th Anniversary of the introduction of videotape.

This is historical in every way and this is the only place you will see it, so please share this with your friends! You will see and hear things here that you’ve never seen or heard before!

This is 20 minutes long, so sit back, enjoy and remember to share this! It’s the only way your friends can see it. Thanks to Neil Gjere for sharing it with us!
-Bobby Ellerbee[fb_vid id=”754295234608028″]
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Television’s First Electronic Zoom Lens…The RCA Electra Zoom

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Television’s First Electronic Zoom Lens…The RCA Electra Zoom

As we saw in the article just before this, Zoomar came to television in the middle of 1949 and was the first zoom for TV use. The first use of the RCA Electra Zoom lens was at NBC New York, and I think arrived a month or so prior to the debut of the ‘Today’ show in January of 1952 for cameramen to get the feel of it’s operation. We see it in use there on the debut broadcast.

Included here is the RCA catalog listing and, an original prototype model built by it’s creator, Joseph Walker, who was a pioneer of zoom and fixed lenses at Paramount Pictures. Some of the earliest uses of a zoom lens in motion pictures are due to Walker’s work in the 1930s. In 1950, he added an electric motor to one of his earlier models for smoother action. In late 1951, RCA and Zeiss bought the invention and took over the manufacturing and sales. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee






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The Hidden History of the Zoom Lens

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The Zoom Lens And Television…The First Uses

Many have asked what the first use of the zoom lens was in television and here is your answer. It was the long, 23 element Zoomar Field lens created by Dr. Frank Back. This 3 minute video gives us a short but sweet history.

The first ever Zoomar lens for television, Serial #1, was sold to WMAR in Baltimore in 1949. WBKB in Chicago heard about this and bought one to use on their new puppet show…’Kukla, Fran and Ollie’. Although it was a long lens, meant for outside broadcasts, WBKB used it in the studio and became the first to do so. When KFO moved from WBKB to NBC’s WMAQ, a Zoomar was purchased for use on the show at WMAQ too. Up next, the first electronic zoom lens for television. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://vimeo.com/101630561

The Hidden History of the Zoom Lens

This is a video summarising the research behind my doctoral thesis on the history of the zoom lens in American film and television. It was made in response to the…
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Long Forgotten Production Tricks…

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Long Forgotten Production Tricks…

Back in the early days of television, most local stations didn’t have the money for expensive “extras” like pedestals and dollies. Instead, they mounted cameras on wheeled tripods that they could use in the studio or in their remote unit, if they had one.

Among the early staples of local daytime television were home and cooking shows. Since you can’t elevate a tripod to see the top of the counter or stove, overhead mirror systems like this were used.

I am told there were larger versions of this mirror system in use when broadcasting another staple of early local programming…wrestling. Anyone have any more old tricks up their sleeve?

By the way, this is KOTV in Tulsa in 1953. They may not have had pedestals, but the did spring for an RCA Electa Zoom lens. More on zoom lenses in today’s next few posts. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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NBC Radio City West…Now And Then

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NBC Radio City West…Now And Then

In 1938, construction began on NBC’s west coast showplace at Sunset and Vine Streets in Hollywood. A scant twenty six years later, it was torn down and replaced by a Home Savings bank. It’s now a Chase bank.

Taking it’s cue from homebase at Radio City in New York, it was named NBC Radio City West, but in actuality, the entire two block area around it was in itself “radio city”. On the other side of Vine Street and less than a block up was ABC and a block away, on the same side of the Sunset was CBS Columbia Square.

Thanks to Glenn Mack for sharing the present day photos and there is more detail on the photos, so be sure and click through them. By the way, the building was a beautiful pale green. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee








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Up Close And Personal…Vinyl Records Like We’ve Never Seen Them

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Up Close And Personal…Vinyl Records Like We’ve Never Seen Them

It still amazes me that when you put a record on the turntable and place the tone arm on it, you get sound. These are electron microscope photos at 100X and 1000X magnification. I thought you might be as fascinated by these as I was. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee




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‘Peter Pan’…ULTRA RARE! Two 1955 & One ’56 Kinescope Scenes!

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‘Peter Pan’…ULTRA RARE! Two 1955 & One ’56 Kinescope Scenes!

Make sure you open this article to see it all and the links to all three clips! I didn’t know any parts survived till now, so this was a big surprise and a real treat!

On March 7, 1955, NBC did the first live broadcast of ‘Peter Pan’ in a ‘Producer’s Showcase’ color special from NBC Brooklyn. It was such a hit that they did it again live on January 9, 1956. Like the first, it too was in color from Brooklyn with the entire Broadway cast returning for the television adaptation, starring Mary Martin as Peter Pan, Cyril Richard as Captain Hook and Sondra Lee as the incongruously blonde Indian princess Tiger Lily.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb66Sw0C9Ss
This is the first of two rare clips and is the closing scene of the original 1955 broadcast. This has part of “I’m Flying” and Mary Martin’s closing tag and the credits, which you can barely see.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_UV1CA5FUU
This is the 1955 production with Sondra Lee as the indian princes in the “Ugg-a-Wugg” number.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i5jzQDyXLI
This is the 1956 show open, cast credits and VO and also shows us the ending with the entire “I’m Flying” scene.

This was done in both studios…I and II (this is the way NBC memos always referred to them, not at 1 and 2, but I and II). I was the larger studio with 11,000 square feet, but it only had a 24 foot clearance from the floor to the grid. Studio II was the taller and had a 39 foot clearance and 9,700 square feet. I think the “I’m Flying” bedroom scenes were all (’55, ’56 and ”60) done in Studio II with it’s higher clearance. Enjoy and SHARE! -Bobby Ellerbee

Peter Pan – Mary’s “Thank You” Tag

This clip is a kinescope of the last few minutes of the LIVE broadcast from 1955, with an “enhancement” created by me!
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‘Peter Pan Live’…Camera Rehearsals Start Tomorrow…

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‘Peter Pan Live’…Camera Rehearsals Start Tomorrow…

Our friends Rob Balton, Tore Liva and Charlie Huntley are among the 14 or so camera operators that started work yesterday at The Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York, about 25 miles outside NYC. This is the same site used for last years NBC live presentation of ‘The Sound Of Music’.

Rob has two of his Techno Jibs there and there may be two more. There will be three Steadicams, four hand helds on wheels and at least two pedestal cameras spread between two studios. One is for the pirate ship set, the other for the main interiors.

Rob posted a photo of Stage 3 so I assume that will be the main stage which is a staggering 37,000 square feet. If they use Stage 2 for the pirate ship, they will have another 14,000 square feet to work with. Can you say gargantuan?

Yesterday was spent reading the “bible” and today, the cameramen will watch rehearsals, which have been going on for several weeks, and I’ll have some great footage of that in today’s next post. To all of the cast and crew…break a leg and keep us posted! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee





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November 10, 1938…First Ever Performance, “God Bless America”

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November 10, 1938…First Ever Performance, “God Bless America”

Today is Veterans Day in America, a tribute day that was originally called Armistice Day and is still observed in many countries by it’s original name and as Remembrance Day, which marked the end of World War I on November 11, 1918.

From one veteran to all the others past, present and future…Thank You for your service!

Irving Berlin had originally written the song in 1918 while serving in the U.S. Army at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York, but decided that it did not fit in a USO type revue called ‘Yip Yip Yaphank’, so he set it aside. In 1938, with the rise of Hitler, Berlin, who was Jewish, and a first-generation European immigrant, felt it was time to revive it as a “peace song”, and it was introduced on the Armistice Eve broadcast of ‘The Kate Smith Hour’ November 10, 1938. Kate Smith was the fist to sing it and this is a recording of that first ever public performance as broadcast on her CBS Radio show.

Turn it up and listen. If you are like me, you may have to wipe a tear from your eye afterward. I have also included a version of the song that is a recreation of the radio debut in the 1943 movie, ‘This Is The Army’ and you’ll see Ronald Reagan near the end. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEJo7x9y3D4 Film recreation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1rKQReqJZg Original radio

“This is the original FIRST broadcast radio performance of God Bless America by Irving Berlin as introduced by Kate Smith on November 10, 1938. She later rec…
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FANTASTIC! BEST EVER HISTORY OF AUDIO AND VIDEO TAPE!

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FANTASTIC! BEST EVER HISTORY OF AUDIO AND VIDEO TAPE!

This is a must read for anyone interested in the early days of audio and video recording! While researching today’s story on the first demonstration of videotape, I happened to find this gem…it’s from The American Heritage series on Invention and Technology.

This seven page article is as good as it gets and is more detailed than anything on the subject that I have seen anywhere! Bookmark, read, save and SHARE this! Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.inventionandtech.com/content/race-video-1

The Race To Video | Invention and Technology

Brig. Gen. David Sarnoff—chairman of the hoard of RCA, founder of NBC, radio pioneer, adviser to Presidents, and the most powerful and visible man in the business of broadcasting—made three wishes.
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A Rarity…The Ampex/ABC Hand Held Cameras

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A Rarity…The Ampex/ABC Hand Held Cameras

This was developed by Ampex for ABC Sports with ABC paying the developmental costs. There were two versions, but I think both looked just alike. One version had the BC100 color camera teamed with the VR 3000 videotape recorder in the backpack and the other backpack had a transmitter in the VR 3000 case for wireless use.

According to our friend Don “Peaches” Langford, who was one of the first to use this, it was first seen at Pebble Beach for the ABC Bing Crosby golf tour. From there, they went to the ’68 Winter Olympics in France then to Mexico City for the Summer Olympics. Don used it on ABC college football and then again in Miami where he used it at the national political convictions which were both held there in ’68.

The BC 100 camera used two tubes, one tube had a spinning wheel with red and blue filters, the other tube was green and it was also used for luminance. Don carried a Pepsi can in the case so the video man could paint it to the colors of the can he had at the console. It used a very long wound “piano wire” for the delay. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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The 1963 RCA Television Catalog…All 109 Pages

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The 1963 RCA Television Catalog…All 109 Pages

Here you’ll see everything from the TK60s and 41s to lenses, pedestals, heads, cranes, lights, control room and telecine gear and more…it’s the whole magilla.

In case you have never visited David Gleason’s American Radio History site, you should! He has almost every broadcast publication ever printed and it’s all readable and searchable. A fantastic resource and a lot of fun to browse. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Catalogs/RCA/RCA-1963-Television-Cameras.pdf

www.americanradiohistory.com

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Ultra Rare Video: NBC Studio 6B…Like You Have Never Seen It

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Ultra Rare Video: NBC Studio 6B…Like You Have Never Seen It

This video should start just before a visitor walks into the studio via the sixth floor doors, which is our way of identifying the location. This 1947 ‘Bell Telephone Hour’ radio rehearsal gives us one of the earliest looks, at this brand new studio, we have ever had. Here’s the surprising backstory…

Yes, I said brand new. But wasn’t 30 Rockefeller Plaza built in 1933? Yes, but it was not completed then. Surprisingly, the 6th and 7th floors sat unfinished and unused for over a decade…the elevators didn’t stop there and it was just a big empty space with only load bearing walls and support columns visible from a few work lights.

The short explanation for why it sat empty for so long is, television and war. In 1933, RCA and NBC were experimenting with television and wanted to reserve some space inside their new home for the medium, but progress came slowly and then came the eve of World War II. By 1939, things in Europe were already heated and fighting had started. Although we in the US didn’t enter the war till December of 1941, RCA was busy making radio and radar equipment for the British, and had been since 1939. RCA’s attention was fully focused on military hardware and not so much television.

Reporting war news on radio and producing entertainment shows for distraction had pushed the limits of NBC’s facilities and in 1945, plans were being discussed for the 6th and 7th floor. With an eye to the future, NBC wanted to make sure the big audience studios they needed for radio could be also be used for television.

No one seems to have any exact dates, but it is thought that construction on Studios 6A and 6B began sometime in 1946. We don’t know the first use of either radio studio, but many historians think that they both came on line in mid 1947. If anyone has more, and especially specific dates, please let us know.

By the way, the text with this video is quite good and gives us some details of the show in rehearsal. This was filmed for exhibition in movie theaters as a way to introduce the public to this show which endured for many years on radio and later television. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/aT6BN_GnnWI?t=2m39sSee more from the AT&T Archives at http://techchannel.att.com/archives Note that audio problems from 11:25 – 11:40 were present in the original source materi…
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November 10, 1969…’Sesame Street’ Debuts on PBS

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November 10, 1969…’Sesame Street’ Debuts on PBS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Dc_91eUUSY
At the link is video of the first episode’s open…it’s the first time we meet Big Bird, Bert and Ernie and the human cast. Kermit, Rowlf and other Muppet characters were not new to the public.

Since everyone in the world knows the show, well, almost everyone since it’s now on in 123 countries, we’ll celebrate the 45th season with a look more at the early production side.

In the photos below, we see the original home of the show which was done from the old RKO 81st Street Theater at 2248 Broadway. The theater was owned by Teletape Productions and before this, it had been the home of the first and only CBS color studio on the east coast…Studio 72 which was created in the fall of 1954. The last photo is a shot from the control room of Studio 72 in 1955.

Also shown here is an early cast and crew photo with the Marconi Mark VII color cameras. The color photo of a Mark VII shooting Grover is the one that I now have in my collection…it was Camera 2 and in the closeup, you can see that the dome tally light number is the same. There were six Mark VIIs in use on the show.

Teletape was a remote and studio video production company that merged with Reeves Sound Services in 1974 and became Reeves Teletape. Before that, Reeves had been more of a sound and video post edit company.

According to our friend Dennis Degan, who worked at Reeves Teletape, R/T moved ‘Sesame Street’ production in 1983 from 81st Street to the 55th Street studio, which was formerly WNET-TV’s studio on 9th Ave at 55th Street. They made this move because R/T sold the 81st Street studio. They originally bought it from CBS in 1967 and spent even more to renovate and modernize the building. Sesame Street was produced at 55th Street from 1983 to around 1990, first with R/T, then in 1987 with Unitel Video, as R/T went out of business. Sesame moved to Kaufman-Astoria Studios in 1990 where it has remained to this day. The RKO 81 studio was torn down in 1986. This little history lesson was brought to you by the letter B for Bobby. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee






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November 9, 1989…The Berlin Wall Opens

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November 9, 1989…The Berlin Wall Opens: 25 Years Ago Today

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snsdDb7KDkg
On the night of Nov. 9, 1989, thousands of East Berliners streamed through the once-closed border crossings after communist authorities caved in to mounting pressure and relaxed travel restrictions that had prevented their citizens from going to the west for decades. The East Germans erected the wall in 1961, claiming the barrier would protect its population from fascist elements threatening its socialist state. In fact, it was built to keep them from escaping to the west.

At the link above is the Peter Jennings news clip from the next night, reporting live from Berlin. In the photo are faces our ABC friends should remember…Stu Schutman, Annie Benjamin, Jack Smith, Peter Jennings and Steve Tello. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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Television News Directors…The Unsung Heros

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Television News Directors…The Unsung Heros

This is nice Sunday morning type piece that I think you’ll like. There are a lot of key news moments here, as well as some interesting camera shots, but more importantly…the discussion and faces of some of television’s top news producers and directors are seen here including “The Dean”, Don Hewitt. Thanks to Charles Chin for sharing this. Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://vimeo.com/38106868

Untitled

This is “Untitled” by Chapel Roberts on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.
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November 9, 1965…The Great Blackout Hits The Northeast

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November 9, 1965…The Great Blackout Hits The Northeast

On this date, 49 years ago, it was lights out in a big way! Were you there? From Ontario, Canada to Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York, and New Jersey, over 30 million people and 80,000 square miles were left without electricity for up to 13 hours.

The video below starts just before NBC’s Frank McGee, reporting from New York, asks the cameraman using a tiny RCA Walky Looky portable camera, to pan around the studio which was lit by on 2 candles, a Coleman lantern and a battery powered lab light. This was video fed to WRC in Washington where the network had to originate during this time.

I know the video signal was fed there on AT&T lines, and that even when the power goes out, landline phones still work, but with such a large area affected, it’s hard to imagine where the phone companies got enough power to operate…even with emergency generators.

http://www.musicradio77.com/images/bkoutpcm.mp3
Oddly, the power seemed to go down slowly. At this link is WABC’s Dan Ingram recalling the event and playing an air check in which you can hear the records slow down…finally it all stopped at 5:28 PM.

The only good thing about that night was the full moon, which helped a lot of people in the dark. Were you there? Got a story? Thanks to Glenn Mack for reminding me of this. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/o47VVM5riaQ?t=25m41sALSO SEE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast_blackout_of_1965
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