Posts in Category: Broadcast History

October 10, 1957…’Zorro’ Debuts On ABC

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October 10, 1957…’Zorro’ Debuts On ABC

This video is from the first ever episode, but don’t be fooled like I was…this was shot in black and white, but colorized (and quite well) in 1992 for The Disney Channel.

Despite good ratings, the series ended after two seasons due to a financial dispute between Disney and ABC over ownership of ‘Zorro’, ‘The Mickey Mouse Club’, and the Disney anthology television series ‘Disneyland’. The final network broadcast was July 2, 1959. Seventy-eight episodes were produced, and four hour-long specials were aired on the Walt Disney anthology series between October 30, 1960 and April 2, 1961. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVqFbWvDVjw&list=PLD9BF76C13FC75853

The very first episode of Disney’s Zorro
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The Uncropped, Hi Res Version…

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The Uncropped, Hi Res Version…

Yesterday I changed one of the profile pictures on this page. Here is the original that shows from left to right, the nose of an RCA TK10 from WGN, an RCA TK11/31, an RCA TK60, my RCA TK41C, an RCA TK44 and up top is the Marconi Mark IV.

There are 10 more cameras on display in this room and 80 more in the garage, but 70 of those are ENG cameras. If you like this, I’ll post more soon. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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Great Tour Of Radio Row In Hollywood…Lot Of Television Here Too

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Great Tour Of Radio Row In Hollywood…Lot Of Television Here Too

Many early radio studio were converted to television use, and networks usually had co locations for both studios. Here’s tour of some of the earliest broadcast centers in Los Angeles including CBS Columbia Square and 1313 Vine Street studios, The Lux Radio Theater, the former sites of NBC Radio City West, ABC and more! Feel free to skip around, but take a look at this rare history. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/6SVaA8raLzI?t=1m10sRaul Moreno takes us on a tour of historic radio row in Hollywood. Highlights include KHJ-AM, KABC-AM, NBC Radio City, The Paladium, The Aquarius Theater, an…
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The Last Joan Rivers Late Show On Fox…

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The Last Joan Rivers Late Show On Fox…

Below is a photo from the last night of ‘The Late Show With Joan Rivers’ which aired on May 15, 1987. The final guests were Chris Rock, Pee Wee Herman, Howie Mandel and Wendy O. Williams. Joan wore the dress she wore on the debut show.

This was Chris Rock’s first time on television. As for Pee Wee Herman, he had been on the debut show, just five months earlier but what a hard and hellacious five months they were for Rivers.

After a moderate start, ratings for the talk show soon sagged which was quite upsetting to Fox who had chosen this Late Night show to launch their new network. The prime time launch for the network was scheduled for April 5, 1987. The ratings struggles made it hard for Fox to attract affiliates for its primetime launch and tensions were high.

A month or so before the final show in May, Joan’s husband Edgar Rosenberg, who was the show’s producer, was fired by Fox. Shortly after, he had a nervous breakdown and in August of ’87, he committed suicide. In tapes he left behind, he said he blamed himself for the split between Joan and Johnny Carson and urging her into the Fox venture.

The behind-the-scenes relations between Rivers and network executives quickly eroded, and Rivers was fired. For the final show, which aired May 15, 1987, the set was trashed with toilet paper, slime, and shaving cream. Good For Joan! -Bobby Ellerbee


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October 9, 1986…’The Late Show With Joan Rivers’ Debuts On Fox

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October 9, 1986…’The Late Show With Joan Rivers’ Debuts On Fox

Here is the rare video of that first show with David Lee Roth, Pee Wee Herman, Elton John and Cher. In the story, some surprises I had never known about till now. Read on!

We all know that the Fox announcement of the show caught Johnny Carson by surprise and caused him never to speak with Joan again, BUT…as you will see, Rivers had some pretty good reasons for playing her cards close to her chest.

Rivers had been Carson’s permanent guest host since 1983, and as 1986 neared, some executives at NBC thought it was possible that Johnny Carson would retire after reaching his 25th anniversary on October 1, 1987, as it was such a logical cut-off point. In the spring of 1986, a confidential memo went out to top NBC executives listing about 10 possible replacements in the event of Carson’s retirement. Rivers was shocked to see that she was not on the list.

In an article she wrote for People Magazine, Rivers said that NBC offered her only a one year contract in 1985 as permanent guest host while Carson’s contract had been renewed for two years, which signaled to her that her future was uncertain as her previous one year contracts had run the same length as Carson’s. In addition, Rivers noted numerous snubs from NBC executives over the years, such as not being invited to the annual Carson party until recently, and taking the fall for a controversial joke that management approved during rehearsal.

Rivers had received higher-paying offers from other networks in prior years but declined them out of her loyalty to Carson, but in 1986 as NBC was unwilling to give assurances on her future and negotiations were fruitless, this was the impetus for Rivers to seriously consider the Fox offer.

Fox was looking for a host for a late-night talk show for the network’s launch in October 1986 and offered Rivers the job at a salary higher than what NBC was paying. She accepted, and Carson was blindsided by the news when he saw the press conference on television.

Carson was furious and said that he felt betrayed by Rivers – not because she dared to compete with him, but because she was not honest with him beforehand about her intentions and did not ask him for advice and his blessing.

For her part, Rivers was adamant that her problem was with NBC and not with Carson, who was like a father figure to her. She stated that she didn’t want to tell Carson before the announcement was made because she was afraid Fox would cancel the deal if word leaked out. She had previously been ordered by Carson’s producers and lawyers not to go to him with her problems, as they kept Carson completely insulated since he was a major source of NBC profits. Carson had been completely unaware of Rivers’ problems with NBC.

In the next post, we’ll cover the very sad end of this show that proved tragic for Rivers in so many ways. In the video, the guests are Pee Wee Herman, David Lee Roth, Elton John and Cher! Enjoy and please share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MckrtLdSIxs Part 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHFHuARH0g0 Part 2

Here is the part 1 of the premiere of “The Late Show with Joan Rivers”, as broadcast on October 9, 1986. Joining Joan are guests David Lee Roth, Pee Wee Herm…
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Now For Something Completely Different…And HILARIOUS!

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Now For Something Completely Different…And HILARIOUS!

Had Ellen not stayed in character, this wouldn’t have worked…but it did! The drag queen roll call of names is hysterically funny, especially the last one. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee [fb_vid id=”10152864205197240″]Facebook made a public apology on my show. I talked to one of their VPs, definitely not my Executive Producer Andy.
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October 8, 1956…Lawrence Welk Adds Second Weekly ABC Show

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Follow Up #3… ‘Lawrence Welk Presents Top Tunes and New Talent’

In today’s first post on events that happened on this day in television history, this show is listed as debuting October 8, 1956. I’m adding this to clear up any confusion…you’ll see why as you read on.

On May 11, 1951, ‘The Lawrence Welk Show’ began as a local program on KTLA-TV in Los Angeles. The original show was broadcast from the since-demolished Aragon Ballroom at Venice Beach.

Welk made his national television debut on ABC Television on July 2, 1955 and the show was called ‘The Dodge Dancing Party’. Then, due to huge ratings, on October 8, 1956, ABC added a second weekly Welk show called ‘Lawrence Welk Presents Top Tunes And New Talent’.

Both shows were an hour and had good ratings, but in ’59, ABC merged the two shows into a once a week prime time show called ‘The Lawrence Welk Show’. The photo below is thought to be from 1956 at the ABC Television Center at the Prospect lot. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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The Jerry Lewis – Bing Crosby Feud

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Follow Up #2…The Jerry Lewis – Bing Crosby Feud

Yesterday, I posted video of Jerry taking over the camera at the 1952 Olympic Telethon hosted by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. I mentioned that Crosby was avoiding Lewis because he was afraid Jerry would dislodge his hair piece.

Little did I know that that was the start of a huge feud between the two stars! Thanks to João Antonio Franz, here is a short video story on the origin with Jerry Lewis telling the story. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0YdQLrR-0Q

NEW EDIT WITH ADDED MATERIAL — In a series of clips, Jerry Lewis recounts what sparked off his decades-long feud with Bing Crosby — which unfortunately was…
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‘I Love Lucy’ 3 Headed Monster…Came From ‘Truth Or Consequences’

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‘I Love Lucy’ 3 Headed Monster…Came From ‘Truth Or Consequences’

In researching the story I posted just before this on the first television game show with a live audience to be shot on film, I came across this interesting fact. The excerpted paragraph below is from ‘I Love Lucy’ editor Dann Cahn on the problem of editing film from 3 cameras and how the solution came from Ralph Edwards’ earlier pioneering efforts in this area.

“The amount of footage overwhelmed editors at the time, and they located a cutting-edge device that had been created for the quiz show ‘Truth Or Consequences’. When it was delivered to Desilu, Cahn called it a “monster” because it wouldn’t fit into the editing room so they put it in the prop room. “It was a Moviola with four heads — three for picture and one for sound,” Cahn told Editors Guild Magazine in 2006.”

This information is sadly from Mr. Cahn’s obituary with is at the link below. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://deadline.com/2012/11/dann-cahn-dead-editor-of-i-love-lucy-multicamera-tv-pioneer-376730/


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Historic Revelation! Ralph Edwards Sets The Record Straight!

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Historic Revelation! Ralph Edwards Sets The Record Straight!

Two days ago, I posted an article from 1950 that claimed ‘You Bet Your Life’ was the first game show to be filmed before a live studio audience. Some had suggested here that ‘Truth Or Consequences’ was the first. I’ve done more research and it seems that Ralph Edwards was indeed the first to use a 3 camera, 35MM system to record his show.

This video is set to start at the point where Edwards describes this process and for the next 12 minutes, goes on to reveal not only the details, but how Desi Arnaz came to him for help with how to shoot ‘I Love Lucy’. For once and for all, this puts to rest the claim by many that ‘I Love Lucy’ was the first to do this.

http://youtu.be/nzNLH3ohatQ?t=1m14s
At this link, you can see part of a 1950 episode of ‘Truth Or Consequences’ which was shot on the 3 camera film system created by Al Simon. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/rvQ2yjPPNbY?t=12m32sFull interview at: http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/ralph-edwards
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Photos From The First Ever Network Telethon

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Speaking Of Telethons…Here Are Photos From The First Ever

After posting the Martin & Lewis video from the 1952 Olympic Telethon, it occurred to me that it’s been a few years since we’ve seen these rare pictures from the first telethon in May of 1949.

Milton Berle hosted the 16 hour event on NBC and raised $100,000 for The Damon Runyon Memorial Cancer Fund. Among the celebrity guests…Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. I think it’s safe to say that no one in the world has more experience and ability with teletoons than Mr. Lewis. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee





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More Classic Camera Fun…Jerry Lewis Takes Over…1952

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More Classic Camera Fun…Jerry Lewis Takes Over…1952

When Jerry walks toward the camera and looks in the lens, you just know something else is about to happen…and it does, just a few seconds later when he takes over the RCA TK30.

This is from the same theater that NBC used for the Hollywood broadcasts of ‘The Colgate Comedy Hour’…The El Capitan Theater on Vine Street. The event was the 1952 Olympic Telethon to raise money for the teams to travel. It was hosted by Hope and Crosby, BUT…Bing would not appear on stage with Lewis! He was afraid Jerry would grab or dislodge his hair piece! Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/7HOL0n3GdrY?t=3m46sDean Martin & Jerry Lewis on Bob Hope Bing Crosby US Olympic team telethon 22 June 1952. A lost treasure! This was filmed (kinescoped) while it was broadcast…
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Why This Is An Interesting Photo For Camera Buffs…

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Why This Is An Interesting Photo For Camera Buffs…

Over the past few weeks, I’ve posted some photos taken by television veteran Peter Katz. This is Peter behind an RCA TK30 at The Hudson Theater in New York which was home to ‘Tonight’ and ‘The Kate Smith Show’.

There are three things that stick out to me here…the viewfinder hood, the door vents and the RCA meatball and Television badges.

For some reason, RCA never made, or offered a third party movable viewfinder hood for the TK30s. RCA’s were immovable and rigid.
The TK10s had an adjustable hood, but they would not fit on a TK30. CBS made their own and I think this is a custom hood made in the NBC shop.

This is only the second time I have seen this kind of rectangular door vents. As not to detract from this photo, I’ll post the other photo of these vents in the comment section. RCA made a kit with round screen vents…they were installed on each door with 10 rounds at the top and 10 rounds at the bottom. This is an NBC NY modification.

This brings us to the RCA badge placement. These have been moved to accommodate an oversized NBC Chime logo. Usually the RCA meatball and Television badge is about where the chime mallet is. This camera had lot of custom work done on it. To me, that shows a great deal of care and attention to not only the functionality of the camera, but in it’s appearance too.

By the way, we often see the access doors open on network cameras, but not so much at the local station level. That is because the network cameras have a lot more hours on them…the are almost always in use all day long and deep into the night. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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Unknown Production History Of ‘You Bet Your Life’…

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Unknown Production History Of ‘You Bet Your Life’…

Did you know this was the first television show to be filmed before a live audience? Me either till I read pages 31 and 32 of this August 1952, Television Magazine story.
http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Television-Magazine/Television-1952-Aug.pdf

It’s written by Isidore Lindenbaum who owned Film Craft Productions, the studio that filmed the NBC series for it’s entire run from 1950 till 1960. This is very interesting and even discloses that they used 8 35mm cameras on the show, 4 for the first half hour and 4 for the second half hour. And yes, they shot an hour of film to get a half hour show. I think you’ll also find the sound synchronization process interesting too. There’s a lot of great information here so take a look and share it! -Bobby Ellerbee


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October 5, 1950…’You Bet Your Life’ Debuts On NBC + Special Insights

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October 5, 1950…’You Bet Your Life’ Debuts On NBC + Special Insights

We’re a day late with this, but it was on purpose as this pilot was directed by none other than Ralph Levy, who we just met in the article before this.

This the unaired pilot to the show that was kinescoped around the first of August in 1950 at CBS Columbia Square. Notice it is almost an hour long, yet the radio and TV show were only half hour shows. This is because Marx did so much ad libbing in trying to get contestants to say the “secret word” that each show had to be edited down on audio tape for the radio show and on film for the television show.

Unlike the NBC television show which was on film, this was shot with RCA TK30 television cameras as the radio show was recorded for editing and delayed broadcast, which explains the casual dress for Groucho.

Notice a few things. At the start, we have about 1:45 seconds of video before the start of the radio show. As we go, there are several times we do pickups of intros and extros. and at 51:35, Groucho pitches to Myron Wallace who we all now know as Mike Wallace. The pitch to Wallace was a blank space into which and Elgin Watch radio spot would be added as Wallace had been their spokesman beginning when this show was on ABC radio in 1947.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__lg74jm3Zs


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Director Ralph Levy…A CBS Superstar

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Director Ralph Levy…A CBS Superstar

You may not know the name, but you know his work. Among other things, Ralph Levy directed the ‘I Love Lucy’ pilot, ‘The Jack Benny Show’, ‘Burns And Allen’ and as we just learned in today’s first article, ‘The Ed Wynn Show’.

A few months back, I posted a story on the vaudeville and radio stars Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson. They were most famous for their hit broadway show and movie called ‘Hellzapoppin’. As it turns out, CBS had tried to bring Olsen and Johnson to television in early 1949 and Ralph Levy was the assistant director. The show turned out to literally be too big for television because Olson and Johnson’s style was to have action not only play out on stage, but going on in the theater at the same time and often overlapping. The show ended after 13 weeks, but immediately after that, Levy was given a show of his own. It was a summer replacement called ‘The 54th Street Revue’ and came from CBS Studio 52 on 54th and Broadway.

Ralph managed to get the first of the shows on the air in only 4 days… an accomplishment that earned him both management’s attention and a reputation for working swiftly and efficiently. That fall, the network asked Levy to move to Los Angeles to direct a new variety series starring radio comedian Ed Wynn. If network TV in New York was just beginning, in Los Angeles it was virtually non-existent…

The Ed Wynn Show, Levy soon discovered, would be the first major network show to originate from Hollywood. It would be shown live on the West Coast every Thursday night at 9PM. A kinescope recording of the show would be made, sent to New York, and played for East Coast and Midwestern stations two weeks later. Such delays were necessary because the transcontinental cable was not yet in place that would allow for national live telecasts to originate on the West Coast.

In late December, Ed’s guests were Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and this was the first time Ralph met them. The script that night went out of its way to spotlight 32-year-old Desi, who appeared with Wynn and Ball in a comedy sketch, and even afforded him the opportunity to sing “Babalu.”

A few weeks later, CBS asked Lucy to consider transferring her radio series, ‘My Favorite Husband’, to TV. Levy, meanwhile, had come to be the network’s fair-haired boy in Hollywood…in April, he expanded his duties to include directing the new ‘Alan Young Show’, a weekly half-hour comedy-variety skein starring the young Canadian who today is more remembered for his role ten years later in the sitcom ‘Mr. Ed’.

One of the most successful programs on CBS Radio that season was ‘You Bet Your Life’, starring Groucho Marx. The show’s sponsor was interested in adding a TV version…both CBS and NBC wanted to carry it. When both major networks became interested, a bidding war started. Since Marx was already at CBS, it seemed likely he would stay, but Levy helped with a pilot show. When the dust settled, NBC was the high bidder, but Levy stayed at CBS.

The Ed Wynn Show ended its nine-month run on July 4, 1950, and Ralph headed to Mexico for a much-needed vacation. He had hardly unpacked when an emergency call came from CBS’ Hollywood operations. Levy was asked to come back the next day as George Burns and Gracie Allen had agreed to go on television, and CBS wanted him at the first production meeting.

A pilot was prepared and quickly sold to Carnation Milk Company and ‘The Burns & Allen Show’ was scheduled for a fall premiere. George was afraid to take on a weekly show all at once, particularly one that was to be done live, so CBS agreed to air it on an alternate-week basis.

Making his life even more interesting was the fact that George Burns’ best friend, Jack Benny, was toying with the idea of getting into television himself. Naturally, he wanted Ralph to direct. But Benny was even more shy about TV than George and Gracie, and agreed to do only four half-hour specials that first 1950-51 season.

Lucy and Desi Arnaz, meanwhile, spent the summer of 1950 performing a comedy act in vaudeville theatres across the country, and by late fall had convinced CBS to let them try a new TV series together. Lucy’s radio writers, Jess Oppenheimer, Bob Carroll Jr., and Madelyn Pugh went to work to create the format. Ralph Levy was asked to direct.

The pilot was filmed on Friday evening, March 2, 1951 (Desi’s 34th birthday) in Studio A of CBS’ Columbia Square headquarters in Hollywood. It was the same stage used for the Wynn Show a year earlier. The show was shot live with a studio audience in attendance, as most TV shows were being done then. There was no tape yet. The images were recorded on film from a TV screen, providing us with the required kinescope.Levy, CBS’s first choice to direct, begged off: he knew he already had his hands full.

In 1953, Ralph retired from ‘Burns & Allen’, and with ‘The Alan Young Show’ ceasing production, he concentrated his energies on the now bi-weekly Jack Benny program. He remained at Benny’s side another four seasons, then returned in 1959 to helm two hour long Benny specials. For these shows, he won his first Emmy Award. Ralph won a second Emmy two years later for first ‘Bob Newhart Show’, a weekly half-hour of stand-up comedy and variety.

When filmed sitcoms became the order of the day, Levy adapted: he directed the pilots of ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ and ‘Green Acres’, and two seasons of ‘Petticoat Junction’, all for his friend Paul Henning, one of George Burns’ writers who had since become a successful producer.

Ralph later attempted to do dramas…programs like ‘Hawaii Five-O’ and feature films, but somehow, his heart was not in these projects: he missed the live audiences that early television and the theatre had provided. The thrill of “opening night” was missing.

Levy spent several years in England in the 1970s, working for BBC Television, and taught TV production classes at Cal State Northridge and Loyola Marymount University. Levy relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1981 and passed away October 15, 2001 at his home…he was 81. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee




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You’ll Be Surprised To See Who This Lady Is!

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Just For Fun…You’ll Be Surprised To See Who This Lady Is

This was a special edition of ‘I’ve Got A Secret’ from 1958 that featured family members of famous stars. You will be shocked and wildly surprised by who the lady is. The video is cued to start at the head of her segment, but if you skip around here and especially at the front, you’ll see some of CBS Studio 59 in the background. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/RCKQvZWy8r0?t=7m11s

A 1958 episode of “I’ve Got a Secret”, with host Garry Moore and panelists Bill Cullen, Jayne Meadows, Henry Morgan, and Betsy Palmer, on which talented but …
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October 5, 1951…’The Honeymooners’ Debut…Ultra Rare Pix & Video

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October 5, 1951…’The Honeymooners’ Debut…Ultra Rare Pix & Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hy5POuCBDog
Before we get to some of the early history of ‘The Honeymooners’, let’s take a look at these very rare pictures and video. In the first photo, we see Jackie Gleason with Art Carney in a screenshot from the very first sketch done on this day in 1951. At that time, there was only Ralph and Alice, who was originally played by Pert Kelton. Carney played a policeman that Ralph had hit with a bag of flour he tossed out the apartment window in an argument with Alice.

The second photo shows the first time we see Norton’s wife Trixie who was originally played by Elaine Stritch, but only for one episode. In Stritch’s portrayal, Trixie’s character was a burlesque dancer, but Gleason changed his mind and made her a more believable housewife and brought in Joyce Randolph for that part. We’ll see her first appearance in the video.

In the video linked above, we see ‘The Honeymooners’ seventh ever appearance in a sketch called “The Ring Salesman” which aired on December 7, 1951. Alice is played by Pert Kelton and this is Joyce Randolph’s debut as Norton’s wife Trixie. This is the only the second time Trixie has appeared, but the first time, Elaine Stritch was in that role.

Now, to the origins of ‘The Honeymooners’. In July of 1950, Jackie Gleason took over as host of Dumont’s ‘Cavalcade Of Stars’. The original hosts were Jack Carter and then Jerry Lester with Morey Amsterdam filling in occasionally. By the middle of ’51 Gleason and his writing staff developed an idea for a sketch based on the popular radio show ‘The Bickersons’.

Gleason wanted a realistic portrayal of life for a poor husband and wife living in Brooklyn. The couple would fight almost constantly, but ultimately show their love for each other. After rejecting titles like The Beast, The Lovers, and The Couple Next Door, Gleason and his staff settled on ‘The Honeymooners’ for the name of the new sketch.

The debut sketch on October 5, 1951 was six-minutes and the tone of these early sketches was much darker than the later series, with Ralph exhibiting extreme bitterness and frustration with his marriage to an equally bitter and argumentative middle-aged woman. By the way, Kelton was nine years older than Gleason.

Due in part to the success of these sketches, ‘Cavalcade of Stars’ became a huge success for DuMont. It increased its audience share from nine to 25 percent. Gleason’s contract with DuMont expired in the summer of 1952, and the financially struggling network was unable to re-sign him. That’s when he moved to CBS and ‘The Jackie Gleason Show’ debuted September 20, 1952 from CBS Studio 50, now known as The Ed Sullivan Theater. The rest as they say is history! Enjoy and SHARE! -Bobby Ellerbee



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October 5, 1947…First Televised Presidential White House Address

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October 5, 1947…First Televised Presidential White House Address

On this day in 1947, President Harry S. Truman delivered the first televised presidential address from the White House. As far as we know, this was the first White House pool feed and was handled by NBC.

Television was still in its infancy and there were only about 44,000 TV sets in U.S. homes, concentrated in a few cities, compared with some 40 million radios.

Though Truman pioneered the now-familiar ritual of a White House telecast to the nation, he was not the first president to appear on television. President Franklin Roosevelt was telecast from the New York World’s Fair on April 30, 1939, but FDR’s remarks on the fair’s opening day were seen only on receivers at the fairgrounds and at Radio City Music Hall, in midtown Manhattan. The next day, TV sets went on sale to the public, as RCA and NBC, began broadcasting on a daily basis. Telecasts were then largely suspended for the duration of World War II.

In his speech, Truman called on Americans to conserve food to help hard-pressed Europeans, still recovering from the devastation caused by the war and threatened with a massive winter famine. He asked the agricultural industry and distillers to reduce grain use. He asked Americans to forgo eating meat on Tuesdays and eggs and poultry on Thursdays and to consume one fewer slice of bread every day. The food-saving initiative was short-lived, however, as the Marshall Plan spurred Western Europe’s economic revitalization. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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The Perils Of Covering Live Sports…A Knockout Blow

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The Perils Of Covering Live Sports…A Knockout Blow

Many will tell you soccer is a kinder and gentler game than American football, but not for this cameraman. These low angle sideline cameras give viewers a great look at the action, but this is not the first time these run ins have happened. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/vRcxtQWWMag

Hoffenheim captain Andreas Beck goes over the hoardings in his side’s game against Mainz 05 and spectacularly takes out a cameraman, who temporarily lost con…
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EOAG Exclusive Photos…’The Doctors’, NBC Studio 3B

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EOAG Exclusive Photos…’The Doctors’, NBC Studio 3B

Thanks to Bob Batsche, we have these these two color photos that he took on the set in 3B, and thanks to Chuck Snitchler, we have a shot of the slate from the first color episode which would air December 4, 1967, but was taped almost a month before.

On April 1, 1963, ‘The Doctors’ replaced Merv Griffin’s first daytime talk show in the 2:30 timeslot, where it remained for nearly sixteen years. This is an extraordinary feat considering its competition, which included long-running favorites such as ‘House Party with Art Linkletter’ on CBS and ABC’s ‘Dating Game’. On occasion, it was also up against one of the longest-running soap operas in television history,’The Guiding Light’ on CBS.

In a move the proved fatal, NBC moved ‘The Doctors’ to 12 noon eastern on March 29, 1982. The show aired its final episode on December 31, 1982, some three months before it would have celebrated its 20th anniversary on NBC.

Frankly, I am stunned that NBC, or any network, would offer any programing at noon on a weekday in the 80s. I grew up in the Atlanta area and as best I remember, there was always a noon news show. In the early 60s, they were not half hour shows, but by the mid 70s they were. Somewhere, I have seen a mid 70s CBS daytime schedule that leaves open the 12 – 12:30 block for local programing. I wonder why NBC didn’t do that? Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee




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October 4, 1957…’Leave it to Beaver’ Debuts On CBS

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October 4, 1957…’Leave it to Beaver’ Debuts On CBS

First, let me mention something VERY RARE at the start of this video…it’s a MUST SEE moment.

About 15 seconds in, you will see an NBC network ID that I have only seen once before…it’s an RCA TK60 black and white camera in a motion much like that of the NBC color production logo with the TK41. This is similar to the ABC ID that was a slide of a TK60 in silhouet.

Now, with that out of the way, this the first of an eight part ‘Leave It To Beaver’ Retrospective hosted by Jane Pauley on MSNBC’s ‘Time And Again’. All the other parts are on Youtube and it’s quite good. The “Eddie Haskell” parts will surprise you. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/Ula11gmeeOY

….more to come
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October 4, 1976…Barbara Walters Co Anchors ABC Evening News

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October 4, 1976…Barbara Walters Co Anchors ABC Evening News

38 years ago today, Walters became the first female anchor for a US network evening news program. On her move from NBC’s ‘Today’ show, she was teamed with ABC anchorman Harry Reasoner and the sparks immediately started to fly!

This short clip goes directly to the heart of the conflict and includes footage from that first night. Morbid curiosity was the main reason most viewers tuned in. Sad but true. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/qJgVvZTNJzw

Barbara Walters interviews with Harry Smith and reveals her early ambitions of becoming an actress.
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Exclusive New Photos From NBC Brooklyn…4 of 4

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Exclusive New Photos From NBC Brooklyn…4 of 4

Thanks to Peter Katz, here is another of four photos taken on the set of ‘Amahl And The Night Visitors’ at NBC Brooklyn.

This was first performed on December 24, 1951 in Studio 8H where it was broadcast live as the debut production of the ‘Hallmark Hall of Fame’. It was the first opera specifically composed for television in America and became a holiday staple at NBC.

For its first three telecasts, the program had been presented in black-and-white, but beginning in 1953, it was telecast in color. Because it was an opera, it later began to be scheduled as an afternoon television program, rather than shown in prime time as had been done in its first few telecasts. For years, Amahl was presented live annually, but in 1963 it was videotaped, but accidentally erased and redone in 1964. This series of four photos were taken in 1954 during the rehearsals at NBC Brooklyn, shortly after it went into service on November 12, 1954.

Thanks to Peter Katz for sharing these with us. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee


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October 4, 1954 – ‘December Bride’ Debuted On CBS

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October 4, 1954 – ‘December Bride’ Debuted On CBS

Spring Byington starred not only in the television version, but in the CBS Radio version as well which began in 1952 with a cast of stars that included Hal March and Doris Singleton as her daughter and husband, and Hans Conrad as neighbor Pete Potter.

‘December Bride’ was produced by Desilu and Desi Arnaz personally chose the cast. Desi liked all of the radio actors and all were eventually guests on ‘I Love Lucy’, but he wanted Byington to shine in her own light, so he chose a new cast of relatively unknown actors.

One interesting casting choice Arnaz made to hire Harry Morgan as neighbor, Pete Potter…this was Morgan’s first job in television. At the end of this show’s successful six year run, Morgan’s character was spun off into ‘Pete And Gladys’. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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

Miniepisode of “December Bride” “The Grandfather Clock”
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Rare Early Photo From The ‘Captain Kangaroo’ Set

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Ultra Rare…An Early Photo From The ‘Captain Kangaroo’ Set

Thanks to our friend Albert McGilvray, we have a photo from very early in the history of ‘Captain Kangaroo’ which debuted October 3, 1955.

The show started in CBS Studio 53 in Liederkranz Hall. At least two of the four Liederkranz studios had Dumont cameras and I think this is the Dumont 5098A model.

This show premiered on CBS the same day Walt Disney’s ‘Mickey Mouse Club’ debuted on ABC. This was US network television’s longest running children’s series, until it was surpassed in 1999 by PBS’s ‘Sesame Street’ (1969). It is still the longest running children’s series on US commercial television history. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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October 4, 1956…’Playhouse 90′ Debuts on CBS

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October 4, 1956…’Playhouse 90′ Debuts on CBS

Thursday nights at 9:30 eastern, television’s most distinguished dramatic anthology series was anxiously awaited in most American living rooms. Below is a full episode of the show that you will want to see…it’s full of RCA TK11s and many studio shots all the way through. This is “The Comedian” starring Mickey Rooney and Mel Torme. It was directed by the great John Frankenheimer and live ran on February 14, 1957. This is a kinescope copy of Season 1’s, Episode 20.

From it’s inception in 1956, everyone knew that this 90 minute weekly presentation was a big bite for any production schedule…even the new CBS Television City facility. So, that first year, three out of four episodes were done live with every fourth episode being done on film at another location.

Remember, the worldwide debut of video tape was in April of 1956 and it took nearly a year to get some machines built and in use, but soon after CBS TVC got theirs, they began to experiment with using them on ‘Playhouse 90’. Although the were live to tape, with no editing, having this ability helped a lot, and in early ’57, the show moved completely to videotape.

The move to tape allowed the show to keep it’s live look and best of all, it allowed them to break the 90 minute show into segments and gave them the ability to retake scenes and move sets without the urgency of the live clock against them.

In the final ’59 – ’60 season, the pressures and cost of this truly ambitious effort proved overwhelming and ‘Playhouse 90’ cut back to alternate weeks and rotated with ‘The Big Party’, which was a 90 minute celebrity talk and variety show. Enjoy and Share! -Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9vdpFeiS2A

Mickey Rooney plays hated TV clown Sammy Hogarth in a ‘ Playhouse 90” drama..Teleplay by Rod Serling.
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1944 RCA Television Milestone Ad

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Just For Fun…1944 RCA Television Milestone Ad

I thought you may find this interesting. The cameras in the photo are the pre war Orthicon cameras and this was most likely taken at Madison Square Gardens where RCA sponsored and broadcast several events for servicemen. The USO shows that RCA cosponsored were broadcast for wounded soldiers in the NY area hospitals that were watching on RCA donated receivers. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee


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An Exclusive Eyewitness Account…Billy Crystal & The Debut Of SNL

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An Exclusive Eyewitness Account…Billy Crystal & The Debut Of SNL

Last week, with the debut of the 40th season of ‘Saturday Night Live’, we looked at the history of the show’s missed start date and the first episode. As you know, Billy Crystal was scheduled to appear, but he didn’t. You are about to learn the real story of why he didn’t from someone who was there…Joel Spector, who was on the audio crew for the first 17 years of SNL.

Many, including me, were curious about how this happened…was it a last minute thing or did it come earlier in the week? In later years, Billy had talked about the disappointment of being bumped but thanks to Joel, we’ll hear what really happened. Here is his account…

“This is the real story. Billy did indeed appear in the dress rehearsal and got big laughs. I was at the post-dress rehearsal production meeting. For this week only, every staff and crew member attended this meeting, held right in the middle of the studio. There were three “new young comedians” scheduled to appear that week, in addition to host George Carlin. They were Andy Kaufman, Billy Crystal and Valri Bromfeld. Lorne announced that the show was very long and that only two of the three new comedians could be on the air show: Andy (with two spots) worked to recorded music, “which couldn’t be cut.”

“Billy was set to do his “Late Show” routine, in which he did all of he sounds for the typical late movie show on a local station, complete with badly spliced film hiccups. He said that he had been doing this routine for some time and that it had already been refined to be “just right.” “I understand that this might rule me out,” he said.”

“Valri piped up: “I can cut down my piece…no problem.” Lorne then wished Billy well and promised him a spot during the next few weeks. He then was cast on “Soap” and became a big star. We didn’t see him on SNL until 1984. Andy went on to the comedy stratosphere until his untimely demise. Valri did her shortened and not very funny routine and then resumed her career as a comic actor and writer.”
– Joel Spector

To follow up on Joel’s account, as Lorne had promised, Billy returned on April 17, 1976 on Season 1’s 17th Episode which was hosted by President Ford’s Press Secretary, Ron Nessen with musical guest Patti Smith.

Thanks to Joel, we now know that it was only after the dress rehearsal that Crystal was cut. Till now, that part had never been known. Many thanks to Joel for this missing piece of history and to the many that share similar first hand information on this page.

In the photo below we see our friends Joel Spector (L) and Gady Reinhold (R)…friends since childhood and television veterans extraordinaire. Joel joined NBC in 1965 and Gady joined CBS a year later. Both have been a tremendous help to this site and their passion for television’s history and friendship is greatly appreciated! Enjoy and Share! – Bobby Ellerbee




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Saturday Night Live Transcripts

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A Treasure For SNL Fans…Save And Bookmark This Site

http://snltranscripts.jt.org/
This is the most complete and interesting ‘Saturday Night Live’ sites I’ve ever seen. If you want a full account of the show’s history, you’ll find it here. Enjoy and Share! – Bobby Ellerbee

Saturday Night Live Transcripts

Saturday Night Live Transcripts contains over 4,000 transcripts of SNL’s most popular sketches. Updated weekly with new transcripts, from the early days of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players to its current incarnation.
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