Posts in Category: Broadcast History

NBC’s David Brinkley Breaks The News On Television…


NBC’s David Brinkley Breaks The News On Television…

In the late afternoon of August 16, 1977, scattered radio reports began to surface on the death of Elvis Presley. It was after 4PM Eastern time when news reports began to confirm the rumors. Many didn’t know till they got home and watched the evening news. Here is the start of that night’s broadcast on NBC.

Do you remember where you were when you heard the news?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcwcS54aSFM

Newscast of Elvis death 1977

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Elvis Fourth National Show…Ed Sullivan

Elvis Fourth National Show…Ed Sullivan

Although at first, Ed Sullivan said he would never want Elvis on his show, but Sullivan changed his mind when ‘The Steve Allen Show’ with Elvis as a guest had about twice as many viewers as Sullivan’s show that night (they were competing for the same audience since they were in the same time slot).

After negotiating with Elvis’ manager, Ed Sullivan paid Elvis the huge sum of $50,000 for appearing on three of his shows: September 9, 1956, October 28, 1956, and then on January 6, 1957.

For the first show, Elvis was actually at Television City in Hollywood and two of the photos below were taken in Studio 33. His performances that night were fed live to Studio 50 in New York where Sullivan should have been, but wasn’t. Sullivan had been in a car crash and was in the hospital…actor Charles Laughton filled in as host that night and here is Laughton introducing Elvis that night.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFxgNNP-3pg

The reason Elvis did the show from Hollywood is because the date coincided with the opening of his first movie, ‘Love Me Tender’.

Elvis’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show was a major success. Over 60 million people, both young and old, watched the show and many people believe it helped bridge the generation gap for Elvis’ acceptance into the mainstream.

He returned to New York on October 25 in preparation for his second appearance on the Ed Sullivan’s show on Oct. 28. Below is a photo of Elvis, Nick Adams and Natalie Wood at a few days later at a NY theater seeing ‘The Last Wagon’ in which Adams co starred.

Elvis’ third and final appearance on Sullivan’s show on January 6, 1957, contains the legendary moments when the CBS censors would not allow his entire body to be shown. Seen only from the waist up, Elvis still put on an exciting show, singing seven songs in three segments. In one segment, Elvis and the Jordanaires sang ‘Peace in the Valley’, which Elvis dedicated to the earthquake victims of Eastern Europe.

Sullivan closed the show with a seal of approval for this new family-friendly version of Elvis, saying, ‘This is a real decent, fine boy. We’ve never had a pleasanter experience with a big name’. This was Elvis last television appearance until the Frank Sinatra Special on his return from the Army. When the show was over, Elvis boarded the midnight train to Memphis, where on Tuesday, Jan. 8, he celebrated his 22nd birthday. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee



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Elvis Presley’s Second Television Show…’The Milton Berle Show’

Elvis Presley’s Second Television Show…’The Milton Berle Show’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8lZM0eSPHI
At the clip above, you can see the debut of “Blue Suede Shoes” that Elvis performed from the deck of the aircraft carrier, the USS Hancock in San Diego on April 3, 1956. Below is a picture of one of four RCA TK41s there to shoot it in color.

Following the six week stint on ‘The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show’,
Elvis’ next television appearances were on ‘The Milton Berle Show’ on April 3 and June 5. 1956. On April 3, he opened with “Heartbreak Hotel”. Still in in San Diego, Elvis performs concerts on April 4 and 5. Later the San Diego Police Chief announces that if Elvis Ever returns to his city and performs in the way that he did…he will be jailed for disorderly conduct.

Elvis’ second appearance on ‘The Milton Berle Show’ was on June 5 at the NBC Studios but I’m not sure which studios…Hollywood or Burbank. In the comment section, I have added a black and white photo that shows Elvis in rehearsal for the June 5 show with a TK41 behind him, but in the clip at this link, we see a shot of NBC’s Hollywood location. That I know of, only Burbank had color equipment…not Hollywood.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=883n2BhoT3k

Some call this one of his most controversial performances. It was also Elvis at his best. The next day, the press nicknamed him ‘Elvis the Pelvis’. Many described his act by comparing it to a striptease. Jack Gould of The New York Times declared, “Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability”, while John Crosby of the New York Herald Tribune called Elvis “unspeakably untalented and vulgar”.

About 10 days later, Berle called Colonel Parker to tell him that based on the ‘hundreds of thousands of ‘pan’ letters’ he had received following the show that “you have a star on your hands”.
Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

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Elvis Presley’s Television Debut…’The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show’


Elvis Presley’s Television Debut…’The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show’

Most think that Elvis made his television debut on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show; but actually, this was his first nationwide appearance…over seven months before his first Sullivan show. Coincidentally, both the Dorsey and Sullivan shows came from CBS Studio 50.

Between January 28 and March 24, 1956, Presley appeared on the Dorsey brothers’ show six Saturday nights in a row. This video is Elvis Presley’s television debut with New York disc jockey Bill Randall introduced him. “We think tonight that he’s going to make television history for you,” Randall said. It did!

The four appearance contract, which was negotiated by the William Morris Agency, contained an option for two more appearances. When they were later picked up, Presley’s fee was raised from $1,200 per show to $1,500 per show.

Elvis was respectful of Tommy Dorsey when the two met for rehearsals at New York Nola Studios before Presley’s initial January 28 appearance. At the rehearsal, Jackie Gleason, who produced the Dorsey show said, “I don’t like this guy.” Dorsey disagreed. “I like his kisser,” he told Gleason. “Don’t worry about him. He’s going to be one of the biggest names in show business in a short time.” Dorsey knew talent when he saw it.

There was some irony in Tommy Dorsey providing Elvis a national stage to build his popularity. Presley would soon surpass Dorsey as the biggest-selling recording artist in RCA history. Still, Tommy Dorsey remained an advocate for Elvis.

“I don’t particularly care for his type of music,” Dorsey told a reporter in Charlotte, “but that’s the teen-agers’ choice and if they like it we’ll give it to them. Only time will tell if he has any lasting qualities. The kids want Elvis now and they should be able to have him.”

Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xu6tjv_19560128-elvis-presley-dorsey-brothers-stage-show-1_musicElvis Presley’s 1st National Television Appearence

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August 16…A Huge Date In American History

August 16…A Huge Date In American History

On August 16, 1969, it was the second day of music at Woodstock with performances by Canned Heat, Creedence Clearwater, Melanie, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Jefferson Airplane, The Incredible String Band, Santana, The Who, Paul Butterfield and Keel Hartley.

On August 16, 1977, The King Died. Today, we’ll take a look at some of Elvis Presley’s very first television appearances and some you have never seen. As you will see, these first shows were in 1956, and except for Steve Allen, all the other appearances were multi week affairs…6 weeks on ‘The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show’, 2 a month apart on ‘The Milton Berle Show’ and 3 appearances on Sullivan in September, October and January. Stay tuned!


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Did He Jump, Or Was He Pushed?

Did He Jump, Or Was He Pushed?

Overnight, several sources are reporting that David Gregory was pushed from the ‘Meet The Press’ host chair. A stark contrast to yesterday’s polite announcement that Chuck Todd will be taking over.

This weekend, Andrea Mitchell is scheduled to host which gives Gregory no chance to say goodby. Been there done that…coming from the talent side of this business I can tell you that this is a typical ploy when dismissing talent. There’s more in this very good Salon article. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.salon.com/2014/08/11/meet_the_presss_real_problem_what_to_expect_from_the_chuck_todd_misadventure/

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Welcome To “Mary RIchards” Apartment!

Welcome To “Mary RIchards” Apartment!

At first glance, this looks like it could be the ‘I Love Lucy’ set as sitcom production is still done basically the same way with the same studio and live audience layouts.

‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ was done at CBS Studio Center on Radford Avenue in LA from 1970 till 1977. Actually, MTM Enterprises co owned the property with CBS and the show was produced by her then husband, Grant Tinker.

This apartment set is quite large. I wonder it the WJM newsroom set was just to the left of this? This is the only photo I’ve ever seen of the show in production but would love to know an see more, so please share any pictures and experiences you had with the show.

By the way, please remember to visit the Eyes Of A Generation page daily…I can guarantee you a better experience here that you get viewing this in your timeline. Many times, most of you will miss several of the daily posts! – Bobby Ellerbee

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Just For Fun…CBS Outtakes & Bloopers, Circa 1960


Just For Fun…CBS Outtakes & Bloopers, Cica 1960

This is not a gutbuster, but there are some pretty funny and interesting moments here with Betty Furness, Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Wizard and others like you have never seen them. There is fire safety PSA done with lots of real fire in a studio that looks like it almost gets away from them. The talent is calm, but I would have loved to see what happened the in the seconds after he finished.

We’ve got outtakes from videotaped commercials, soaps and even a shot with Richard Burton, newsman Richard C. Hottelet and a Douglas Edwards freudian slip. Enjoy and Share! – Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bZqUfCJW8Y

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75th Anniversary, ‘Wizard Of Oz’…Rare Deleted Scenes


75th Anniversary, ‘Wizard Of Oz’…Rare Deleted Scenes

Today is the 75th Anniversary of one of the most iconic films ever made. In today’s first story on the Oconomowoc, Wisconsin premier, it wasn’t pointed out in the news clip, but the “preview” version they saw was 11 minutes longer than the one the Hollywood audience saw at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

Two scenes were cut and several edited and the final “release” version shown in Hollywood was 2 hours and 10 minutes long.

One of the cuts was a scene where the Witch sends a pink and blue bug (known as the “Jitterbug”) into the haunted forest “to take the fight out of” Dorothy and her friends. When the Jitterbug bit one of the characters, they would start dancing helplessly.

This is perhaps the most famous deleted scene of them all, but the actual footage no longer exists. All there is left of the “Jitterbug” scene is home movies that the composer, Harold Arlen, filmed during rehearsals, and the sound track of the song. In this clip, the first minute of video is filled with stills over the soundtrack, but Arlen’s color, home movie film comes to the rescue with shots that reveal the prop men inside “the dancing trees”, and more.

I’ll add the other famous deleted scene in the comments section below…it’s Ray Bolger’s marvelous “bouncing Scarecrow” footage. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/SP5IcbwVhqIDO NOT OWN ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO MGM. This was orignaly going to be sung in the scene when their going to get the witches broom.With Buddy Ebsen as tin man be…

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August 15, 1939…’Wizard Of Oz’ Premieres, BUT…That’s Not All!

August 15, 1939…’Wizard Of Oz’ Premieres, BUT…That’s Not All!

75 years ago today, ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ had it’s glorious and glittering “official” Hollywood premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, BUT…the the first theater audience to ever see the film was at the Strand Theater in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin on August 12th!

Here’s the story of the real debut from WISN TV in Milwaukee. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.wisn.com/news/south-east-wisconsin/waukesha/Did-You-Know-Oconomowoc-hosted-World-Premiere-of-The-Wizard-Of-Oz/24773122#!bDPOPP

Did You Know: Oconomowoc hosted World Premiere of The Wizard Of Oz

It’s been 75 years since audiences first hear “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” from the movie The Wizard of Oz. But did you konw that the yellow-brick road was seen in Wisconsin first?

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In Case You Always Wondered…

In Case You Always Wondered…

If you are like me, you always wonder what we don’t see when shots of famous sets are on camera. Well, here’s what we never saw when and ‘NBC Nightly News’ anchor or correspondent reported from the west coast. On the far wall is the NBC News Los Angeles, backdrop for those shots.

This was part of the network news operation in Burbank. KNBC’s local news originated from a Studio 10, but as you can see, in the foreground there is an update/breaking news desk in this area as well. I hope someone can tell us what the bright spot is on the right wall and what the other large cityscape backdrop was used for.

At this link is KNBC’s goodby to Burbank, Enjoy and share!
http://www.nbclosangeles.com/on-air/as-seen-on/NBC4-Says-Goodbye-to-Burbank_Los-Angeles-243069621.html

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Three Things I Never Knew About MTM Till NOW! This Is A Shocker!


Three Things I Never Knew Till NOW! This Is A Shocker!

First, I never knew Mary Tyler Moore had a flop. Second, that flop included David Letterman! Third, David Letterman can sing and dance! WHO KNEW?

This is the only video clip of a show called ‘Mary’ that ran on CBS for three weeks. It aired on Sunday night at 8 from September 24 till October 8, 1978. It was a dud.

After starring in two huge success, ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ and ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’, Mary tried unsuccessfully to launch this comedy/variety show which relied mostly on a group of repertory players, and what a group it was!

David Letterman, Michael Keaton, Dick Shawn, Swoosie Kurtz, Judy Kahan and James Hampton. The show was produced by her husband, Grant Tinker.

In 1985, ‘Mary’ took another swing and a miss, but this time Moore’s show was a sitcom and a return to the newsroom. In this incarnation, her employer was a sleazy tabloid newspaper. Her boss was played by James Farentino and John Austin was cast as a pompous theater critic. This version of ‘Mary’ debted December 11,1985 and ended three months later on April 8, 1986. Enjoy and share!
– Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-T11erq_kI

From Mary’s 1978 variety show.

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Television City’s Face Light Experiment…1958

Television City’s Face Light Experiment…1958

At first glance, it looks like these RCA TK11s have 10 lenses, but appearances can fool you. Actually what you see here is an ingenious way to add face lighting to talent to take away the nose, brow and chin shadows on close ups.

This is the only photo I’ve ever seen of this arrangement which may indicate that the low intensity lights didn’t yield the desired results, but you have to at least give them an A for effort. I think the need for these was rooted in a request from Art Linkletter…not for his show, but for use on ‘Playhouse 90’. Seems that Art mentioned that he was occasionally distracted by face shadows when he watched. Soon after, this experiment started.

Each camera is adorned with 6 rim lights…2 left, 2 bottom and 2 right. The guys in the shop at TVC were no slouches…they built a lot of custom stuff there including the viewfinder hoods you see on these cameras as well as the more complex adjustable hoods.

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‘The Larry Sanders Show’…The Great “Garden Weasel” Spot


‘The Larry Sanders Show’…August 15, 1992 – May 31, 1998

It’s hard to believe that it was 22 years ago this week that HBO debuted ‘The Larry Sanders Show’, but it was.

Out of the box, they knew they had a hit with Garry Shandling’s new show that took us behind the scenes of late night television in a way no one ever has, before or since. With sidekick Jeffrey Tambor as Hank Kingsley and Rip Torn as the show’s producer as the key cast members, the list of guest stars that came to the show was a who’s who that rivaled the real late night shows.

The show was done at CBS Studio Center on Radford Avenue in Los Angeles and won more awards than you can shake a stick at! There were Writers Guild, Directors Guild, Golden Globes, Emmys, Cable Ace, Peabody, Critics awards and more given in this country and even more from the UK and international committees. During its six-year run, The Larry Sanders Show won 24 awards including three Emmy awards.

After the show ended, it came to be considered one of the finest TV shows of all time. The biggest honor it received was a spot on Time Magazine’s 100 Greatest Shows of All Time. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly ranked The Larry Sanders Show the 28th Greatest Show of the past 25 years. TV Guide named it the 38th Greatest Show of All Time, and this is the only HBO comedy to make it to the list.

Below is a clip from Season 1, Episode 1 called “The Garden Weasel”. In re release, the name of this debut episode was changed to “What Have You Done For Me Lately”. Enjoy and share!
– Bobby Ellerbee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9dT-S4RyQI

Clips of Larry Sanders reluctantly doing in-show advertisements for the Garden Weasel taken from the first episode of The Larry Sanders Show starring Garry S…

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More Fun And A HUGE Surprise Ending!


More Fun And A HUGE Surprise Ending!

I was instantly hooked on this video as the first 20 seconds give us a look at the ‘Tonight’ set in NBC’s Studio 6B, and the first 60 seconds all happens backstage there. The cameraman at the start of the clip is our friend Kurt Decker on Camera 1. I recognize the big bald guy as one of the show’s security men and some of you will recognize others…including the writers in Part 2. http://youtu.be/Sq796gj4_eo

This is Fallon doing his best Kevin Spacey imitation as ‘Tonight’ spoofs the Netflix political drama ‘House Of Cards’. There is a HUGE surprise at the end of Part 2, so sit back and enjoy! – Bobby Ellerbee

http://youtu.be/Sq796gj4_eoIn the latest Tonight Show Digital Original, Jimmy Fallon shows how the world of the Tonight Show is not that different from “House of Cards.” Part 1 of 2. S…

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The Amazing Center Theater…Gone But Not Forgotten


The Amazing Center Theater…Gone But Not Forgotten

The Center Theater was Radio City Music Hall’s little sister and when it was converted by NBC for television in August of 1950, it became “the world’s largest television studio”. It’s big sister seated 6,000, and while the Center seated 3,000, it was just as opulent and a block away at 1230 Sixth Avenue. It is the only original Rockefeller Plaza structure ever demolished, which happened in 1954 to make way for the US Rubber office tower.

Before it’s conversion, the Center had built what was called The Sonja Henie Ice Stage which was used in a one year run of her live ice show there. It was a massive undertaking in every way including financially.

When NBC took over, they kept the stage intact and here is that unique frozen stage in action on a 1954 episode of ‘The Colgate Comedy Hour’ with non other than Sonja Henie as the guest star. I think this was one of the last episodes of Colgate, or any show, to come from the Center Theater before it was closed for demolition. By the way, it even had a huge revolving turntable and I’ll add a photo in the comments section that shows that. – Bobby Ellerbee

https://archive.org/details/theColgateComedyHour-21February1954An episode of The Colgate Comedy Hour with host Gene Wesson, and special guests Sonja Henie, Abbott & Costello, and a bunch of other people. Contains the…

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RerunCentury: Free Videos and 20th Century TV

A Link To Copy And Save! http://www.reruncentury.com/

Television historian David Schwartz shared this with me the other day and I’m sharing it with you. There are thousands of episodes of hundreds of old shows here as well as network listings that go back to 1948 showing what was on and when. There’s a lot of information here. Enjoy and SHARE!

RerunCentury: Free Videos and 20th Century TV

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August 13, 1899…The Master Of Suspense Was Born In London

August 13, 1899…The Master Of Suspense Was Born In London

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9kiLlJujgI
Like you, I loved his movies, but his television show, ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ is my favorite of all his creations.

On October 2, 1955, ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ debuted on CBS. This was the half hour show that aired weekly at 9:30 on Sunday nights from 1955 to 1960, The show moved to NBC and to Tuesday at 8:30 from 1960 to 1962.

As you would expect, the ratings were good and sponsors wanted more which brought about ‘The Alfred Hitchcock Hour’, which lasted for three more seasons, from September 1962 to June 1965, adding another 93 episodes to the 268 already produced for ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’.

Below we see Hitch on the set of ‘Rear Window’. By the way, in case you have ever wondered what the music was that always played in the famous opening title shot of the drawing and silhouette, it was Charles Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette”. You can see that at the head of Season 1, Episode 13 at the link above. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

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The Untold Story Behind SNL’s Edgiest Ever Sketch…

The Untold Story Behind SNL’s Edgiest Ever Sketch…

The long version of this fascinating story is in the Salon Magazine article linked at the bottom of this post, but this is the short version with two tracks…the video delay and the Chase/Prior sketch.

On December 13, 1975 Richard Pryor was to become the seventh person to guest host the brand new ‘Saturday Night Live’ show on NBC. Producer Lorne Michaels had jumped through a lot of hoops to get Pryor on the show, but that was on Pryor’s end…the bigger hoops would come on NBC’s end.

NBC was bound and determined to not let Pryor anywhere near a live camera and demanded a 10 second delay in case the wildly unpredictable comedian took of on a rant filled with “the seven forbidden words”. Lorne knew Pryor would never go for it but managed to get both sides to settle for a 5 second delay.

As an aside, this story came to me via SNL crew member Louis Delli Paoli, but by coincidence, just yesterday in a conversation with NBC veteran John Schipp, some details of this video delay blowup came to light.

John was in the 5th floor tape room early in this week and noticed all kinds of brass from RCA and NBC engineering. It seems the dozens of big quad videotape recorders in the room were built into the wall and there was a huge effort afoot to get a couple of them out on the floor where it could be determined just how far apart the two delay machines had to be to get the desired 5 second delay between the record head on unit one and the playback head on unit 2.

This was a massive effort and the interesting thing is, no one knows if the show even had a delay that night. They tested and tested but given the physical circumstances, this was hard to do but the only way to do it in 1975. Sometimes the loop worked, sometimes it didn’t.

Now, back to the Chase – Pryor word association sketch. One of the hoops Pryor had put Michaels through was adding Paul Mooney to the writing staff for this show. NBC didn’t want him in the mix and even gave him a “job interview” type interrogation which both Mooney and Pryor resented deeply.

Mooney had written sketches for Richard and several other cast members but Chase was not in any of them. As one of the top talents in the cast, pressure built on Mooney to come up with a sketch for Chevy and Richard and the job interview Mooney had endured came to life as one of the most memorable moments in television. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee

http://www.salon.com/2013/11/03/saturday_night_live_and_richard_pryor_the_untold_story_behind_snls_edgiest_sketch_ever/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

https://screen.yahoo.com/word-association-000000441.html

Word Association | Saturday Night Live – Yahoo Screen

Richard Pryor’s cutting-edge racial satire from 1975

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Remembering Lauren Bacall…Her Television Debut

Remembering Lauren Bacall…Her Television Debut

This photo of Bacall, Fonda and Bogart was taken at NBC Burbank on May 30, 1955 during the dress rehearsal of a ‘Producer’s Showcase’ presentation of “Petrified Forest”…this was Lauren Bacall’s first appearance in a live television drama.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riylfh_9ir8
At the link is a rare kinescope of that performance. This, the only known copy, was given to The Paley Center For Media by Bacall herself in 1990.

‘Producer’s Showcase’ was NBC’s vehicle for their celebrated 90 minute color “spectaculars” which included 37 productions from 1954 till 1957. The most famous of these would be ‘Peter Pan’. This was the eleventh edition of this monthly series and may have been the first one done from the west coast.

It was directed by Delbert Mann and starred Bacall, Henry Fonda and Humphrey Bogart in what would also be his first appearance in a live television drama. Jack Klugman, Richard Jaeckel, and Jack Warden played supporting roles.

If you’ve ever seen “Key Largo”, you’ll instantly recognize the similarity of the story lines of escaped convicts taking over, in this case, a dessert dinner as opposed to a Florida Keys hotel. Enjoy and share. – Bobby Ellerbee

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Captain, My Captain…Robin Williams On ‘Saturday Night Live’

Captain, My Captain…Robin Williams On ‘Saturday Night Live’

https://tv.yahoo.com/blogs/tv-news/robin-williams-snl-highlights-042018579.html

At this link above, you’ll find video clips of 6 of Robin’s SNL appearances over the years. In the photo below, we see Robin with the SNL crew gathered around the Chapman Electra Crane which is driven by our friend Phil Pernice. Thanks to Phil for sharing this picture from 2006. Enjoy and share!

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August 12, 1968…The Last TV Performance Of “Over The Rainbow”


August 12, 1968…The Last TV Performance Of “Over The Rainbow”

46 years ago today, Judy Garland appeared on ‘The Mike Douglas Show’. At the start of this clip, you can see Mike and Judy reminiscing over some rare photos of her, but this is set to start where Douglas asks her to sing one of the greatest songs of all time.

Although she would perform “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” at a few more live concerts, this was the last time she sang it on television. Enjoy and share!

http://youtu.be/WjQuzn1jWzA?t=2m58sFrom The Mike Douglas Show, aired in August of 1968. (Part 4 of 4) In the final part of the interview Judy talks about some of her movies, her children’s rea…

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The Masters Together…Winters And Williams On ’60 Minutes’

The Masters Together…Winters And Williams On ’60 Minutes’

Ed Bradley must have had the time of his life with these two back in 1986. Since I was old enough to laugh, Jonathan Winters has been my all time favorite comedian. It’s nice to know that Robin shared that opinion. Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDJjq0Pd0RM

1986: Jonathan Winters and Robin Williams improvise

Comedians Jonathan Winters and Robin Williams put on an impromptu show for Ed Bradley and the 60 Minutes crew in 1986. Winters, who Bradley described as “the…

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From “Kolac” To “Mork’…The ‘Happy Days’ Incarnation

From “Kolac” To “Mork’…The ‘Happy Days’ Incarnation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46cG2foNwiU Mork On ‘Happy Days’
(You’ll have to click on the link because for some reason, it doesn’t load like most videos. Must be a Facebook misfire of some sort.)

As we learned in today’s first article, Mork’s lineage goes back to an alien character named Kolac (played by Danny Thomas) that was created by Carl Reiner on ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’. The alien character was reincarnated by director Jerry Paris in a 1978 episode of ‘Happy Days’ in which Richie Cunningham has almost the same dream Rob Petrie had in 1962.

Mork appeared in the ‘Happy Days’ Season 5 episode 22, “My Favorite Orkan”, which first aired in February 1978. Although born out of the Van Dyke script, ‘Mork And Mindy’ took a lot of cues from the 1960s sitcom ‘My Favorite Martian’.

Williams appearance as Mork was wildly successful and ‘Mork And Mindy’ debuted on ABC September 14, 1978. Robin appeared again on ‘Happy Days’ in March of 1979, in Season 6, Episode 24 called “Mork Returns”.

In ’78, the only television Robin Williams had ever done was a stint in the cast of the short lived ‘Richard Pryor Show’ on NBC. In 1973 Williams was one of only 20 students accepted into the freshman class at Juilliard and one of only two students to be accepted by John Houseman into the Advanced Program at the school that year; the other was Christopher Reeve. Williams left Juilliard in 1976

In ’78, Robin was still relatively unknown, but impressed ‘Happy Days’ producer Garry Marshall with his quirky comedic ability as soon as they met. When Williams was asked to take a seat at the audition, he immediately sat on his head in the chair next to Marshall, who is reported to have cast him on the spot. He later wryly commented that Williams was the only alien who auditioned for the role.

In the ‘Happy Days’ clip, Mork attempts to take Richie Cunningham back to his planet (Ork) as a human specimen, but his plan is foiled by Fonzie. Thumbs up! Enjoy and share!

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‘Mork And Mindy’…It All Started On ‘ The Dick Van Dyke Show’

‘Mork And Mindy’…It All Started On ‘ The Dick Van Dyke Show’

In tribute to Robin Williams, today we’ll take a look at some little known history that relates to his extraordinary career. He was one of the world’s most brilliant comics and he, like his hero Jonathan Winters, will be missed for years to come.

In the second season of ‘Happy Days’, Jerry Paris took over as director. If you remember, Paris had also directed ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ and it was there that a script from Carl Reiner gave birth to the idea of an alien visit.

Paris had told the ‘Happy Days’ writers about this shortly after producer Gary Marshall’s son asked what if an alien landed at Arnold’s…a few weeks later, there was a script. There will be more on this in the next post, but for now…back to February 6, 1963.

It was in Season 2, Episode 20 called “It May Look Like A Walnut” that “Rob Petrie” was introduced to a walnut eating alien named “Kolac” played by Danny Thomas, who had come to earth to steal the thumbs and sense of humor from earthlings. Was it a dream or was it real? Turns out, we’ll ask the same question on “Mork’s” debut on ‘Happy Days’!

In this video clip, Thomas enters at 2:20. Enjoy and share!

 

 

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Disney’s New Camera Tech Splices Together Footage So Editors Don’t Have To

Soon, We’ll ALL Be Obsolete!

When videotape came to television in the late 50s, about 40% of network employees were let go because now, a set could be erected once and a weeks worth of shows could be shot in one day. Back then, that was called “time shifting” and the daily routine of erecting and striking sets for “live” shows faded away.

Today, you can shoot a cannon through a local television studio and not hit a single camera operator as they are mostly all robotic now. Here is yet one more example of the encroachment of machine over man. By the way, when is the last time you saw a switchboard operator anywhere? Please be sure and visit the Eyes Of A Generation Facebook page…chances are you are not seeing all of the many daily posts. – Bobby Ellerbee

Disney’s New Camera Tech Splices Together Footage So Editors Don’t Have To

Say “so-long” to long hours in the video editing room. Maybe.

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Classic! ‘Rebel Without A Cause’

Classic! ‘Rebel Without A Cause’

Here’s Natalie Wood and James Dean in his iconic red jacket on the set with director Nicholas Ray. The movie was initially slated to be shot in black and white, and some scenes were already in the can when Warner Brothers ordered the production to switch to color. When that happened, Dean’s character not only went from a drab brown jacket to a cool red jacket, but Dean also got rid of the glasses he wore in those B/W scenes in which he played the character as more of a nerd.

Paul Newman was considered for the lead, but when Elizabeth Taylor got pregnant, it pushed production of ‘Giant’ back a year and gave Dean the chance to star in Rebel. Dean started shooting ‘Giant’ just after principal photography was done on Rebel, but he died a month before Rebel debuted on October 27, 1955.

When Dean was killed on September 30th, Nick Adams was called in to film some of the few remaining Dean scenes for ‘Giant’. They were shot from the back and Adams did some of the overdubbing of Dean’s voice in a couple of places. Enjoy and share!

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A Prime Example Of Field Innovation…Can You Spot It?

A Prime Example Of Field Innovation…Can You Spot It?

Is it the well made cardboard viewfinder hood? No.
Is it the plastic over the cable connector? No agian. Look closer.

It’s the heating pad taped to the underside of the lens to keep the grease in the lens fluid. When you set up cameras that have to sit overnight in freezing weather, they are left on and have a cover over them, but when it’s really cold, you have to go the extra mile. By the way, the dual focus demands are rare on studio cameras but not uncommon at the time on long lens remote cameras. One is for back focus.

Thanks to Kathy Jenks Worster for this photo of Steve Cimino behind one of NBC’s 35 Norelco mobile cameras which were a huge embarrassment to RCA, but a godsend to viewers. Steve Cimino is now the Technical Director on ‘Saturday Night Live’, and his son Mike Cimino is a cameraman on ‘Tonight’. I had the pleasure of meeting them both while I was there earlier this year. Enjoy and share!

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August 1957…’Home’ With Arlene Francis Ends Three Year Run

August 1957…’Home’ With Arlene Francis Ends Three Year Run

NBC’s ‘Home’ show debuted March 1, 1954 at 11 AM from their 67th Street Studios which were built just a few years earlier by WOR. The concept came from a show NBC President Pat Weaver had originally titled ‘Shopping’ and was designed for the upscale female demo. Weaver’s other creations ‘Today’ and ‘Tonight’ are alive and well, but ‘Home’, the third of the triad, ended with the 893rd and final episode on August 9, 1957.

When Arlene Francis was chosen as the host, Weaver changed the name to ‘Home’ and broadened the scope of the show to add more entertainment and interviews, but each show did have a twelve minute segment on shopping and new products that ranged from food and furniture to clothes and cosmetics.

Instead of trying to present the show on a household type set, NBC spent $200,000 on a circular set that made it clear to viewers that it was done on in a modern television studio. As you can see it was shot “in the round”, but the set also rotated on a huge turntable and was one of the most versatile sets ever.

As you can see In the photo with the girls with umbrellas, there were often special effects and there was even special plumbing on the set to make and drain rain as well as operate the kitchen sinks.

In the third year of the show, it was moved to the 10 o’clock hour as CBS was doing their best to counter program with Lucy reruns at 11. Although critics loved the show, it’s aim at the upper class female demo was too narrow and the ratings continued to drop forcing NBC to cancel the show. Still under contract for another year, NBC replaced ‘Home’ with ‘The Arlene Francis Show’, which was much livelier and had more entertainment. – Bobby Ellerbee



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A New Perspective! NBC, CBS And ABC Hollywood…Neighbors All!

A New Perspective! NBC, CBS And ABC Hollywood…Neighbors All!

When you read about the early NBC, CBS and ABC studio locations in Hollywood, it seems they are all spread out, but take a close look at these photos….they were all virtually across the street from each other. Be sure and click on each photo to have a good look. I had seen the photos of NBC with ABC across the street but never knew CBS was right there too till I saw this daytime photo.

In the daytime photo, you see NBC Radio City West on the corner of Sunset and Vine with CBS’s Columbia Square just a block down Sunset Blvd. In the nighttime photo, we are looking up Vine Street with NBC at the corner of Sunset Blvd and ABC is on the left. I think this was the KECA Radio building that ABC bought as it’s west coast network operations center. I don’t think KECA TV (now KABC) was ever at this location as it was always at ABC’s Prospect Studios. Enjoy and share.


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