Posts in Category: Broadcast History

September 4, 1951…America’s First Coast To Coast TV Broadcast

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September 4, 1951…America’s First Coast To Coast TV Broadcast

63 years ago yesterday, the first live television signals were transmitted from San Francisco to the east coast. On that day in 1951, President Harry S. Truman’s opening speech before the Japanese Peace Conference was broadcast across the nation, marking the first time a television program was broadcast from coast to coast. The speech focused on Truman’s acceptance of a treaty that officially ended America’s post-World War II occupation of Japan.

The broadcast, via then-state-of-the-art microwave technology, was picked up by 87 stations in 47 cities. In his remarks, Truman lauded the treaty as one that would help “build a world in which the children of all nations can live together in peace.” As communism was threatening to spread throughout Pacific Rim nations such as Korea and Vietnam, the U.S. recognized the need to create an ally in a strong, democratic Japan.

Since the end of World War II in 1945, Japan had been occupied and closely monitored by the American military under the leadership of General Douglas MacArthur. By 1951, six years later, Truman considered the task of rebuilding Japan complete. Truman praised the Japanese people’s willingness to go along with the plan and expressed his pride in having helped to rebuild Japan as a democracy. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

#52919436” target=”_blank”>http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/52919436 #52919436Video on msnbc.com: The first coast to coast broadcast, September 4, 1951 was made by President Harry Truman who made the principal speech at the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in San Francisco.
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ULTRA RARE! Joan Rivers Debuts Her Own Show…September 1968

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ULTRA RARE! Joan Rivers Debuts Her Own Show…September 1968

Until yesterday, Joan Rivers was a pioneer in every way and we will miss her! 46 years ago this month, ‘That Show With Joan Rivers’ debuted as one of daytime television’s first ever syndicated talk shows. Like Joan, the show was a bit ahead of it’s time and only lasted one season. This was her first solo enterprise on television.

This video is the debut episode…the topic is one that opens itself to “a river” of double entendres and puns, nudism. Joan’s guests are a lady who owns a nudist camp and her great friend, Johnny Carson. Her emotional intro of Johnny comes around 4:40.

This was shot at NBC New York and I think was done on the third floor in either 3A, 3B or 3K. It could have also come from 8G as at the time, I don’t think there was permanent seating in these studios. Anyone know?

The show’s producer, JEM Productions was owned by Joan and her husband Edgar Rosenberg. Joan often made fun of Edgar for being so cheap, and in this case, the story is true! It takes a lot of expensive video tape to syndicate a show and as the story goes, every couple of days, Edgar and company went dumpster diving for old video tape at the networks and production houses in New York.

Sorry for all the commercials here, but this Hulu video is the only place on the net this rare gem is available. In the monologue, you can see a couple of the RCA TK41s, but later in the Q&A session there are some good shots of the cameras around 17 minutes in. Enjoy and share because this is the only place you’ll ever see this! – Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.hulu.com/watch/258804This episode’s subject is nudism with expert guest, Lucy Hannson. Johnny Carson appears as a celebrity guest.
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Frame Sizes With Fixed Focal Length Lenses…

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Frame Sizes With Fixed Focal Length Lenses…

In the days before Zoom lenses, cameras had rotatable turrets which usually held four fixed length lenses. Here is a scene that shows the difference between the frame sizes each lens gave.

In those early days, cameraman and technical directors would go over the lenses needed for a production on each camera. Part of the set up process was manually adjusting the F stops on each lens. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee


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Priceless! Look closely…

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Priceless!

Look closely…this is very interesting on two counts. First, this is the hard way to do a mat shot…holding the Lucky Strike transparency still for the camera to shoot through is no easy trick, especially in a crowded football stadium.

Second, take a look at the top of the camera door. See the tubes glowing inside? This must have been one of the RCA TK30s permanently assigned to one of the NBC mobile units. It seems that instead of adding the round screen vents, they have cut a piece out of the top of the door for ventilation. Even if the camera was hot, it would usually keep making pictures…the real problem was the heat transfer into the viewfinder and if that got too hot, it would go out and the operator would be blind.

As in the ‘America’s Got Talent’ post just before this, we have a 1950s example of Field Innovation 101. Thanks to Reno Bailey for the photo! Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee


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Humphrey Bogart Bloopers

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Even Bogie Blew His Lines…And Cussed Like A Sailor!

Just for fun, here’s clip of the great Humphrey Bogart making movies…trying to deliver the right lines, the right way at the right time and place. As you’ll see, this doesn’t always go smoothly! Bless his heart. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMlySgdl54w

Humphrey Bogart Bloopers

Very rare to find bloopers from the Hollywood classics. I’ve edited all the bits in which Humphrey Bogart appeared in the “Warner Bros Breakdowns” of 1936, 1…
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Christina Skaggs And ‘Tattletales’…Photo And Video

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Christina Skaggs And ‘Tattletales’…Photo And Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srt9BVd5lc4
At the very start of this video clip of ‘Tattletales’, you’ll see the crane shot from this camera operated by Christina Skaggs. Here she in high on her Chapman Electra behind the set for that opening shot.

There is better quality video of this show, but this is a wildly unique clip from ‘Tattletales’. The show’s regular host was Bert Convy, but in this episode, Jack Narz is hosting with Bert playing the game with other daytime game show hosts, Richard Dawson and Bob Barker and…their wives.

I have not seen this show since it was on (’74-78 and ’82-84) and had forgotten how much fun it was to see these husband and wife teams together. Thanks for the pictures Christina and for reminding us of ‘Tattletales’! Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee


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Christina Skaggs…CBS Veteran And Pioneer Female Camera Op

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Christina Skaggs…CBS Veteran And Pioneer Female Camera Op

A few days back, we met Christina in videos of her work on ‘The Match Game’. As promised, she’s sent us a few new photos and this the first one…the second one will follow in a separate post with video.

Although camera work has mostly been a “mans world”, there were some highly skilled women along the way who joined in this fraternity and several of them are our friends, like ABC’s Donna Quante.

Here’s what Christina wrote as a caption for this photo…

“This is me on the crane camera on ‘Tattletales’, a Goodson-Todman game show at CBS TV City that aired in the seventies. With me is Jim Riley, my arm operator and a great cameraman who shot Red Foxx and the old Playhouse 90’s way back when. I was so lucky that I came in at a time when big variety shows were the norm and I worked with the men who came from radio and started TVC when it was nothing but an orange grove. A lot of great talent on this show – one of the very friendliest who sat on my crane arm and told me stories about shooting Playhouse 90’s on that very stage many years before was Robert Blake”

Thanks for the pix and background Christiana, and thanks for reminding us of ‘Tattletales’…more on that in today’s next post! Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee


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Seth Meyers Debuts The New Set…NBC Studio 8G

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Seth Meyers Debuts The New Set…NBC Studio 8G And It’s History

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyIe8XeCglc
Be sure and take a look at this video clip from last night…it’s Seth introducing his new set and at the end, clips of him making a leap of faith onto the old moving desk. In Studio 8G, that desk platform was called “the shoe”. There are photos of the new set below and a shot of 8G from 1948 with it’s unique NBC built cameras.

Bob Friend and his electrical crew had a very busy couple of weeks rewiring and relighting this space, as did the set designers. Our other friends there, Mike Knarre and Bryan Durr got the time off but as camera and video men, probably had some catch up practicing to do to get used to the new layout.

NBC Studio 8G was 30 Rock’s second studio conversion from radio to television, with the first being NBC’s 3H which was created in 1935. Although the official 8G dedication was April 22, 1948, television had been done there since May of 1946. The “official dedication” date marks the date the studio was self sustaining with permanent lights, it’s own control room and cameras. As a side note, NBC Burbank was actually in operation two years before it was “officially dedicated”.

The first show ever to come from 8G was also television’s first variety show…’Hourglass’, which debuted May 9, 1946 when 8G was still officially a radio studio. Later that year, ‘Let’s Celebrate’ was done here as a one time show on December 15, 1946 with Yankee’s announcer Mel Allen as host. Contestants competed in stunts for prizes. ‘The Swift Show’ (a Swift Company sponsored game show), and ‘Americana’ (a game show about American history) started here in 1947.

I don’t think 8G, as a radio studio, had built in audience seating but it was thankfully three times the size of NBC’s only other television studio, 3H. “Radio Age” states that 8G could handle four consecutive shows, which meant the often fifteen minute and half hour shows, with only one small set, could be staged one after the other from different walls of the studio. Congratulations on the new digs guys!

When the studio floors were redone in 8G and 6B last year, I wish I had thought to ask for a few pieces of the concrete that got jackhammered and dumped. Some amazing history has happened on those floors! Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee





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The One And ONLY…Mel Blanc

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The One And ONLY…Mel Blanc

Often called “The Man Of 1000 Voices”, here Mel admits to David Letterman that he really only has about 400, which by any measure is still stunning. This is one of the best interviews I’ve seen Mel do…they have a lot of fun and many of your favorite characters will show up here! Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeAM1vwEcFg

Mel Blanc did over a 1000 different Voices in over 5000 CARTOONS ! – UNIQUE GENIUS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnmJALXh_sI Melvin Jerome “Mel” Blanc (May …
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The State Of Television In 1952…Hosted By Dave Garroway

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The State Of Television In 1952…Hosted By Dave Garroway

This is a film made by RCA for use in theaters…a kind of “short subject” infotainment project designed to sell the virtues of that new thing called television, and more directly, RCA television sets.

Until Milton Berle came to television as host of ‘The Texaco Star Theater’ in June of 1948, television set sales moved at a snail’s pace. After that, sales took off, but the sets were still expensive. RCA and others manufacturers ate a lot of the costs and had to be aggressive in their marketing and going into theaters to sell their wares was part of the game.

As this opens, we see Garroway of the set of ‘Today’ in it’s first year, with an RCA TK30 and a huge lavalier mic. You’ll notice that a lot of the subject matter revolves around sports…that was one of the few areas that networks had for bringing immediacy to their broadcasts. All four, Dumont, ABC, CBS and NBC depended heavily on boxing and in particular, wrestling as a draw for the male demo in those early years. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s84AUSFbWIw

From 1952, here is the first host of the “Today” Show, Dave Garroway, talking about the relatively new medium of Television, showing many of the shows that w…
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Memories Are Made Of This! 1959 Tour Of KOA TV, Denver

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Memories Are Made Of This! 1959 Tour Of KOA TV, Denver

This will start as we are lead into the telecine room, complete with a telop machine…something many have never seen before. By 9:30 we are in video control and at 10:00, we see two brand new Ampex VR 1000 video tape recorders. After that, we see some film editing and a UPI photo fax machine and around 14:00, we are in KOA Radio.

At 16:20 we get down to business in the television studios, equipped with the latest transistorized lighting board, rear screen projection and new RCA TK11/31 cameras. Thanks to John Schipp for reminding us of this clip…arguably one of the best local station tours ever. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/hGGD67xmQtw?t=7m59sA tour of the KOA-TV and radio studios soon after their construction in 1959. Hosted by Pete Smythe with an introduction by Today Show Host Dave Garroway and…
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A THANK YOU, And A Welcome To A New “Old Friend”

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A THANK YOU, And A Welcome To A New “Old Friend”

Until yesterday, Christina Skaggs never knew about Eyes Of A Generation, but thanks to one of television’s top hockey cameramen, Kevin Vahey, she does now. Over the years, we’ve seen Christina here as the female camera operator on ‘The Match Game’ and two clips with her were posted here yesterday. She’s added some comments to those and will be sending along some pictures soon.

This is where I say THANK YOU! Not only to Kevin, but to the many that have passed along Eyes Of A Generation to their friends and co workers. I am constantly amazed how many of television’s top people are here every day. More than that though, I can’t even begin to tell you how appreciated your one of a kind “eye witness” input and comments are!

At this very moment, people at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, Warner Brothers, Universal, the BBC and many more networks and production houses are looking at this site, as are many on the sets of some of the biggest shows. Camera operators, video editors, writers, producers, directors, engineers, lighting and set designers and more are all here and I thank you all for coming! We even have network talent and executives among us, and lots of friends in Argentina, Brazil and Australia.

I try to curate television history here by telling stories, but it is you who bring it all to life with your comments, photos and additions. Collectively, we as a kind of family, fill in a lot of blank pages about television’s past and present…something that no one else anywhere is doing. I thank each of you for your interest, passion and input! Thank YOU being a part of Eyes Of A Generation! – Bobby Ellerbee

PS. Welcome also to Jack Young who’s recently joined in.


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Eyes Of A Generation…Masthead Companion Photo And Names

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Eyes Of A Generation…Masthead Companion Photo And Names

This is the companion to the photo I use as profile picture for this site. It was taken at the same time and thanks to some veterans in The NBC East Group, we now know the names of these cameramen.

This is at NBC Brooklyn on the set of ‘Sing Along With Mitch’ and at the bottom is one of NBC’s legends, Frank Gaeta. In the middle is Gene Martin who we can’t really see in this photo, but you can in the photo at the top of the page. Speaking of the top, that’s Jack Bennett on the Chapman crane. To see the profile picture in full, just click on it.

I think the man in the sleeveless shirt is a dancer. Notice the cable from the sound boom goes up to the ceiling. At the time, all the TK41s three cable…they were huge heave bundles and needed extra utility men to handle them. The only way to try and keep the floor as clear as possible was to run the boom cables into rotating spring arms on the light grid. Is that Schrafft’s or Chock Full O Nuts coffee?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqZeYFsrkd0


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Paul Shaffer’s Life With Letterman

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Dave And Paul…Side By Side Since 1982

I thought you may like to see this. It’s one of the best articles I’ve seen on Paul Shaffer’s time with David Letterman. Enjoy and share!
– Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/29/paul-shaffer-s-life-with-letterman.html

Paul Shaffer’s Life With Letterman

He’s the bald guy who leads the CBS Orchestra every night on the Late Show with David Letterman—and soon, like his boss and buddy, he’s going to be out of a job.
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‘CBS Evening News’…29th Floor, Graybar Building Location

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‘CBS Evening News’…29th Floor, Graybar Building Location

As I wrote earlier today, in the post just before this, the famous newsroom we see here was located in The Graybar Building which is adjacent to Grand Central Terminal.

The first time we see this is during the debut of television’s first daily half hour news broadcast on CBS, September 2, 1963. As I mentioned earlier, this set was recreated almost exactly when the show moved to the CBS Broadcast Center in late 1964. The biggest change would be the line of teletype machines that would be installed on the wall to the right of Cronkite as you view him through the camera.

The map wall to his left, and even the “fishbowl” office would be part of the surroundings, but the fishbowl something we never saw…till now.

Please click on each individual photo to read the detailed captions I have included. There is some very interesting new information there! Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee





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September 2, 1963…CBS Leads Television News To Half Hour

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September 2, 1963…CBS Leads Television News To Half Hour

It was 51 years ago today that television news went from fifteen minutes to thirty minutes and Walter Cronkite lead the way. One week later on September 9, NBC’s ‘Huntley Brinkley Report’ followed. It would take till 1967 for ABC to join in.

Before I get too far along, I want to give you some new information on just where this broadcast took place. It was done from the CBS Newsroom which was on the 29th floor of The Graybar Building, which adjoins Grand Central Terminal.

As you will see in the CBS News video from last year, there is a segment that describes the mad dashes from the newsroom to the studio via the Grand Central cat walks. Up until a few weeks before the September 2 half hour kick off, Cronkite had done the news from Studio 42 in Grand Central and the dash was from the newsroom in the Graybar Building to the studio.

The set we see here, which is the same one we saw in all the famous Kennedy Assassination video of Cronkite, is the redone Graybar newsroom. Interestingly, the Greybar newsroom also had a “fishbowl” office which was across from, and to Walter’s right. This exact same setup was recreated at the CBS Broadcast Center news studio when it moved in late 1964…complete with the famous “fishbowl” office. It was actually the producer’s office and had big glass windows…during the broadcast, the staff would gather there to watch. Afterward, they would gather there with Walter to critique the show. More in this soon. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/evening-news-marks-golden-anniversary-of-30-minute-broadcast/

“Evening News” marks golden anniversary of 30-minute broadcast

On Sept. 2, 1963, the “CBS Evening News” revolutionized journalism when it doubled in length — just in time for some of the most momentous stories in U.S. history
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September 2, 1983…The Tom Brokaw Era Begins At NBC

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September 2, 1983…The Tom Brokaw Era Begins At NBC

In 1983, September 2 was a Friday. That was the day it was announced on the ‘NBC Nightly News’ that beginning Monday, Tom Brokaw would take over as the sole anchor.

On April 5, 1982, Brokaw began co-anchoring NBC Nightly News from New York with Roger Mudd in Washington. After a year, NBC News president Reuven Frank concluded that the dual-anchor program was not working and selected Brokaw to take over.

Along with Peter Jennings at ABC and Dan Rather at CBS, Brokaw helped usher in the era of the TV news anchor as a lavishly compensated, globe-trotting star in the 1980s. The magnitude of a news event could be measured by whether Brokaw and his counterparts on the other two networks showed up on the scene. Brokaw’s retirement in December 2004, followed by Rather’s ouster from the CBS Evening News in March 2005, and Jennings’ death in August 2005, brought that era to a close.

In the clip, Tom talks about his early days in Omaha at KMTV and WSB in Atlanta. I remember him from Atlanta, along with fellow reporter Judy Woodruff who was there at the same time. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfR6TXbnNTA

As a new college graduate, journalist Tom Brokaw was newly married to a doctor’s daughter and desperate for a job. Watch as Tom reflects on starting out maki…
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Even More ‘Match Game’ Follies…The Oldest Trick In The Book

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Even More ‘Match Game’ Follies…The Oldest Trick In The Book

As we all know, if nothing else works…banging on the side of the TV, or even the camera usually does it! Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1FDyV8kYSE

A behind-the-scenes look at how Christina the cameraman keeps Camera 3 working with a bang during a game round.
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More ‘Match Game’ Follies…The Show’s Female Camera Op

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More ‘Match Game’ Follies…The Show’s Female Camera Op

I think this lady’s name is Christina but I don’t know her last name…anyone know? Also, is that Hector Rameriz behind them? Hector has been nominated for more Emmy Awards than anyone. This a nice look at the Norelco PC60s and in the background you can see the title board with the logo that is superd over the show’s “spinning block” open. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CxJoOuOrC4

“There wasn’t much news yesterday, so on last night’s CBS News, there was 20 minutes of Walter Cronkite playing with his BLANK.” Bev Owens says “cameraman”, …
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‘The Match Game’ Follies…Gene Attacks The Camera

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‘The Match Game’ Follies…Gene Attacks The Camera

In this clip, Gene decides to direct the show “manually” as he tries to persuade the cameraman to give Charles Nelson Reilly a bit more time to prepare his answer “costume”. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/521LxMLqK28?t=41sIn ’75, Gene attacked the cameraman for not going off of Avery Schrieber. Now he attacks because it is staying on Charles while he wants to get ready for his…
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Meet Earl…The ‘Match Game’ Answer Board Operator

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Meet Earl…The ‘Match Game’ Answer Board Operator

This is part of the reason Gene Rayburn and ‘The Match Game’ were such a perfect match, and hit! More clips from the show to come today! Stay tuned, enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Up_ONDV22E

Gene Rayburn provides the audience with a rare glimpse of Earl.
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Classic Letterman! Entering 6A From Backstage…February 1982

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Classic Letterman! Entering 6A From Backstage…February 1982

This great clip is from the second week of the show and is a beautifully shot hand held entrance from Dave’s point of view. For long time fans and NBC vets, there will be many familiar faces here! Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_-EUjOEFr8

An interesting opening from “Late Night With David Letterman”, from the host’s perspective. Aired February 15, 1982 – the 9th show of the series.
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A Special 4 Star Whammy…Carson And Three Top Cartoon Voices

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A Special 4 Star Whammy…Carson And Three Top Cartoon Voices

First off, the lead segment of this 1955 kinescope of ‘The Johnny Carson Show’ on CBS is some of the best quality I’ve ever seen. The last part with Johnny as a reporter is more typical of kine quality, or lack there off.

Johnny’s wife is played by the great June Foray who as we all know by now was most famous for her roles as Rocky and Natasha on ‘The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle’.

In the clip’s Bonus Footage section, we get to see Sara Berner as the older lady in the French sketch. Among other things, she was the voice of Andy Panda, Chilly Willie and Jerry The Mouse who was Fred Astaire’s animated dancing partner in ‘Anchors Aweigh’. Like June Foray, she did hundreds of other voices in MGM and Warner Brothers cartoons.

John Stephenson plays a news man here, and is probably best known as Fred Flintstone’s boss…Mr. Slate. He also did a lot of voices on ‘Scooby Doo’ and ‘Johnny Quest’. Stevenson also shared the narration duties on ‘Dragnet’ with George Fenneman. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDd1TU-Paa0

June Foray making a rare on-screen appearance on the Johnny Carson show on CBS some time around September 1955 and sounding very much like Rocky the Flying S…
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Ultra Rare! ‘Rocky & Bullwinkle’….Recording Session Tape

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Ultra Rare! ‘Rocky & Bullwinkle’….Recording Session Tape

In all of broadcast history, there has never been a show quite like this…not before or or after. What we have here is a one of a kind trip behind the scenes into this one of a kind show.

For the next 16 minutes, we’ll be in the record booth with William Conrad as the narrator, Paul Frees as an unnamed character from Frostbite Falls, June Foray as Rocky and Bill Scott as Bullwinkle.

The year is 1963 and this is a tape of one of about a dozen segments of a running skit called “The Weather Lady”. At about 1:50 at this link, you can see one of the Weather Lady segments and there is another segment at the end. http://sharetv.com/watch/326824

As a cartoon voice artist, I can tell you this is typically how these sessions go. Everyone is sharp and crisp at first, then, by the middle of this things get loose and giddy. The cussing and real fun comes in the last couple of minutes. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

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

Here’s something I hope you’ll really like!…Outtakes from a recording session for the 1963 “Rocky & Bullwinkle” episode “The Weather Lady”. You’ll hear Wil…
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‘Late Night With David Letterman’…NBC Debut, February 1, 1982

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‘Late Night With David Letterman’…NBC Debut, February 1, 1982

In honor of yesterday’s 21st Anniversary of the show’s move to CBS, here is more of Dave’s history…this is how it all started. The embedded clip is the first of three parts that are available online and is the show’s “grand opening”. In part two we get a Letterman style tour of NBC Studio 6A.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uebc1Mtq2c Part 2

In part three, Dave’s trapped producer tries to get from one side of the stage to the other by crawling on the floor and the show’s first ever guest, Bill Murray makes his entrance. Enjoy and share! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GR4ltdzKfmY Part 3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNplNAjlEz8 Part 1

Monologue
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Meet The Voices Of Rocky And Bullwinkle…June Foray and Bill Scott

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Meet The Voices Of Rocky And Bullwinkle…June Foray and Bill Scott

All you have to do is watch and the magic will unfold so I don’t need to say more, except this….tomorrow, I’ll have more from them and the whole cast! It’s a rare recording that fans will love! Enjoy and share!

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

This is a classic view of Bill Scott and June Foray. Bill sadly is no longer with us but June still is! This has local Boston content June has roots in Bosto…
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Who Knew? The Untold Story Of The ‘John And Marsha’ Commercial

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Who Knew? The Untold Story Of The ‘John And Marsha’ Commercial

Some of us remember this Snowdrift Shortening commercial from our childhood, others may remember it from seeing it used in ‘Mad Men’, but I’ll bet NONE of us knew THIS!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkfwmB8jeSU
Click this link and you will be very surprised! Go ahead…do in now.

Surprised? Me too! I had no idea the the award winning commercial from 1956 was based on Stan Freberg’s 1951 novelty hit, but it turns out, this is the very first recording Freberg did for Capitol Records. The February 10, 1951 release, “John and Marsha” was a soap opera parody that consisted of the title characters (both played by Freberg) doing nothing but repeating each other’s names with intonations to match the moods. It never was a big hit, but did get a lot radio airplay and obviously left a lasting impression.

Producer/Director John Hubley and Animator/Artist Art Babbitt were given the New York Art Directors Award for Best Animated Short for the spot in June of 1956. I still remember all of the words…you too? Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-cy6276XY0

Another gem from the Babbitt/Hubley showreel from the late 1950s…
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The First Live Videotape Delay System…

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The First Live Videotape Delay System…

When videotape was introduced in 1956, the phrase “time shift” entered the broadcasters lexicon. The original meaning of “time shift” was more of a production management term in that now, a week of game shows and the like could be taped in a day or so and even over weekends instead of having to be set up and done live daily.

Somewhere along the line, the need for a live time shift came into play and this is how it was done. The only way to add a delay into a live program, until the late 70s, was to record on one machine (left) and playing back the signal on another machine (right). The RCA TRT-1 and TRT-2 machines were perfect for this because they were rackmounted.

If the flat decked Ampex VR1000s were next to each other, you could do it there too, but when tape decks began to be mounted at an angle, you couldn’t do this anymore because the tape path tension could not be maintained. That is why NBC, try as they may, could not add a 6 second delay to SNL when Richard Pryor hosted in 1975. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee


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Ultra Rare…David Brinkley’s Washington Studio Set

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Ultra Rare…David Brinkley’s Washington Studio Location

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao7Balh1WoU
At the link is a little of what we saw on screen. Occasionally we would see the top of the desk in the early years, but mostly it was just upper body shots. This is the only photo I have ever seen of either Huntley’s or Brinkley’s desk sets in the studio.

As the “other half” of ‘The Huntley Brinkley Report’, David Brinkley was stationed in Washington at NBC’s WRC TV studios. This is his set with one Vizmo screen in view, and I think there was another one behind him. November 15, 1965, the show went color and was the first news show to do so.

The Huntley-Brinkley Report debuted October 29, 1956, with Huntley in New York and Brinkley in Washington. Producer Reuven Frank, who had advocated pairing Huntley and Brinkley for the convention coverage, thought using two anchors on a regular news program “was one of the dumber ideas I had ever heard.” Nonetheless, on the day of the new program’s first broadcast, Frank authored the program’s closing line, “Good night, Chet. Good night, David. And good night, for NBC News.”

This exchange became one of television’s most famous catch phrases even though both Huntley and Brinkley initially disliked it. Huntley handled the bulk of the news most nights, with Brinkley specializing in Washington-area news from the White House, U.S. Congress and the Pentagon. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee


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‘Devil’s Canyon’…The First 3D Western In Movie History

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‘Devil’s Canyon’…The First 3D Western In Movie History

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNSV6jcbRvY
At the link you can see the trailer for this movie released in 1953. In the photo, we see two Technicolor cameras in a custom housing. They are facing each other to share a single lens and optical system. It would be interesting to see this thing on a dolly…I don’t know if a tripod could handle this kind of weight and bulk.

Originally a 3D production out of RKO, boasting Natural Vision 3 – Dimension, ‘Devil’s Canyon’ can now only be viewed in Technicolor flat mode. The film starred newcomer Dale Robertson and Virginia Mayo. It was produced by Howard Hughes, but even with that name and the 3D effect, it was a bomb at the box office. Enjoy and share!


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