Posts in Category: Broadcast History

‘The First Hundred Years’…Television’s First Daytime Soap Opera

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‘The First Hundred Years’…Television’s First Daytime Soap Opera

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9z5a6SMboC4
There are several “firsts” to cover, but first…a word from our sponsor, Tide. In the rare opening credit clip above, you can get the gist of why they were called “soap operas”. Having evolved on radio, most of the midday dramas there were presented by laundry, dishwashing and bath soap makers who were targeting their prime demo…housewives.

‘The First Hundred Years’ debuted on CBS Television December 4, 1950 and originated from Studio 63/64 which had been recently purchased by CBS from Dumont which explains the occasional sighting of Dumont cameras in some of the old CBS photos…now we know those were in Studio 63/64 only at 205 East 62nd Street.

The series was produced on a budget of $8,650 per week and was directed by Gloria Monty, who subsequently directed ‘The Secret Storm’ and produced ‘General Hospital’.

Created and written by prolific radio soap writer Jean Holloway, the series aired lasted only until June 27, 1952, and is credited with being the first to use the Teleprompter. As you see here, back then teleprompters were quite large and were handled more like Q cards.

Although the show ranked among the top ten daytime programs in the spring of 1952, Procter & Gamble officials reportedly felt that it was not drawing quite the audience the company desired, and replaced it with the television version of the long-running radio serial ‘The Guiding Light’ which was a good idea, because that show went on to become the world’s longest running daytime drama running from 1952 till 2009, which was preceded by a fifteen year radio run.

Please remember to visit the Eyes Of A Generation home page as Facebook doesn’t give you all our posts in your timeline.


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‘Your Hit Parade’…The Original, Music Countdown Show

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‘Your Hit Parade’…The Original, Music Countdown Show

Long before the Casey Kasem or American Bandstand countdowns, there was ‘Your Hit Parade’ which started on radio in 1935 and ran there till 1955. The television version started on NBC in 1950 and ran there till ’58 when it went to CBS for a year.

In the great photo below, we see one of the show’s biggest stars, Dorothy Collins singing before the cameras at NBC’s Ziegfeld Theater, in color. The show started July 10, 1950 in NBC’s brand new Studio 6A which was converted May 29, 1950.

The show needed more floor space for the 10 song scene sets and the next year it moved to NBC’s brand new 8H which was converted January 30, 1950. The show was done in color occasionally from The Colonial Theater, but went all color in 1956 when it moved to Perry Como’s new home at the Ziegfeld Theater.

You can tell from the look of this video clip that this was a color broadcast captured on black and white kinescope film. It shows Dorothy Collins singing “I Get A Kick Out Of You” from the Ziegfeld. When the show moved to CBS, it went back to black and white. Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHD4ETI2TvA


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August 6, 1965…President Johnson Signs Voting Rights Act

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August 6, 1965…President Johnson Signs Voting Rights Act

I’m not sure if this photo was taken on that day as I don’t see any civil rights leaders, like Dr. King, but the anniversary offers a prime occasion to post this photo which is one of the only images I have ever seen of NBC handling the pool coverage from the White House.

All three networks would rotate pool coverage of White House events, but NBC and ABC were usually glad to pay a small fee to CBS to handle most events as CBS had two mobile units in Washington and it was easier for them all.

I think the larger, four camera, CBS unit was a network truck kept there for Redskins football and the other was a WTOP local unit. NBC used the WRC unit and as you see here, they were equipped at the time with RCA TK30s, but would soon carry TK41s. Notice the early “through the lens” teleprompter. That belonged to the White House and Johnson used it often. Please remember to visit the Eyes Of A Generation page…don’t rely your timeline to deliver all the daily posts.


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What Was On TV In March 1957? Take A Look!

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What Was On TV In March 1957? Take A Look!

Thanks to our friend Steve Dichter, here is a short video look at a KNXT Los Angeles program guide. KNXT is now KCBS but has always been the CBS flagship station there.

The most interesting part to me is on the last page…the 9AM hour has four 15 minute soap operas followed by Walter Cronkite at 10 with a ten minute news cast. Please remember to visit the Eyes Of A Generation’s main page as Facebook is still not adding all our posts to your timeline.

http://youtu.be/NKnKpICOgFo?t=52sThis is a 1957 KNXT CBS Television Program Schedule that lists all of their television programs for a two week period. It also lists the sponsor (if any) for…
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WSB’s White Columns…A Shrine To Atlanta Radio & Television

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WSB’s White Columns…A Shrine To Atlanta Radio & Television

When NBC Radio started in 1927, WSB was already on the air and was one of the first affiliates to sign up. As a matter of fact, the famous NBC chimes were inspired by WSB’s chimes.

White Columns on Peachtree Street was one of the grandest broadcast centers anywhere, and although it’s gone now…it is not forgotten. This article from our friend Bob Foreman is full of rare photos and some interesting facts. One of which is the date WSB broadcast NBC network shows in color…1954. Enjoy and share!

By the way, the photo is shows Atlanta legend Don Kennedy in his earliest days as “Officer Don” on an early ‘Clubhouse Gang’ show. With him is Howdy Doody host, Buffalo Bob Smith and given Smith’s appearance and the lack of the regular set, this may be the show’s debut.

http://insidebobforemansbrainpart2.blogspot.com/2014/08/august-2014-white-columns.html

INSIDE BOB FOREMAN’S BRAIN PART 2: AUGUST 2014 WHITE COLUMNS

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‘Family Feud’…ABC’s TV 54 Studio, Hollywood

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‘Family Feud’…ABC’s TV 54 Studio, Hollywood

TV 54 was the largest studio ABC had at the Prospect property. It was also home to ‘American Bandstand’ and ‘Let’s Make A Deal’ back in the ’60s and ’70s. I think ‘General Hospital’ took it over and may still be there…it’s in it’s 51st year on the air.

In this photo, we see two Chapman Sidewinders on the set and next to them is announcer Gene Wood warming up the audience. The cameras, I think, are Ikegami HK 322s. Donna Quante, who sent me this photo, was usually on one of the Sidewinders. I understand a lot of the crew wore coats to these tapings as host Richard Dawson liked it cold in there.

The original version on ABC ran nine seasons, from 1976 till 1985 and was a Goodson/Todman Production. Enjoy and share!


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The BBC’s State Of The Art Television…1956

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The BBC’s State Of The Art Television…1956

On the 10th Anniversary of the return to the air after World War II, here is a look at the history of television in The UK. From the early Emitron cameras to the Marconi BD 848 color cameras and even zoom lenses, it’s all here.

By the way, the Emitron would be the general equivalent to the Iconoscope and as you’ll see, the Marconi color camera looks a lot like the RCA TK41. Having started with Marconi as a boy, David Sarnoff had a soft spot for them and shared not only the TK41 design, but the TK30 plans too back in 1946. Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G36AaMDFdM

A Panorama programme from June 1956, with Richard Dimbleby, showing a behind the scenes view of technological advances in BBC Television. Showing the studios…
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Theatrical Television

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New Article From Richard Wirth…”Theatrical Television”

The subject this time is Theatrical Television and explores the early days of TV when is was thought it might replace motion picture film. Now, almost 85 years after those first attempts, that day has finally come. What took it so long? Read Richard’s perspective on the answer to that at this link. Enjoy and share!

http://provideocoalition.com/pvcexclusive/story/theatrical-television

Theatrical Television

Television has been trying to grow up and be a projection medium since its inception.  With the advent of digital, the little box of light and shadows has finally gotten its big boy pants and even whipped its big brother, film, to take over supremacy in the theatrical world.
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August 4, 1987…FCC Rescinds Fairness Doctrine

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August 4, 1987…FCC Rescinds Fairness Doctrine

My Thoughts On The State Of Broadcasting Today…An Editorial

I don’t often climb on my soapbox, but today…I’m going to. I’ve wanted to write about the condition of broadcasting for a while and with this historically significant date at hand, now seems to be as good a time as any.

Like it or not, we can thank the republicans for much of the carnage in radio and television. Ironically, it was the administration of ‘The Great Communicator”, Ronald Reagan that proved once again that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The fun began when Reagan appointed Mark Fowler as head of the FCC in 1980. Fowler was a communications lawyer, but worked with the Reagan For President Committees in 1976 and 1980. He was a big supporter of deregulation, as much of the Reagan clan was.

Under Fowler, the number of television stations any single entity could own grew from seven in 1981 to 12 in 1985. In 1985, and guidelines for minimal amounts of non-entertainment programming are abolished and FCC guidelines on how much advertising can be carried per hour are eliminated. Before this the rule was 8 minutes per hour…today, it’s around 18.

Soon after he became FCC Chairman under President Reagan, Michael Fowler stated his desire to do away with the Fairness Doctrine and on this day in 1987, the “Fairness Doctrine” was eliminated. At its founding the FCC viewed the stations, to which it granted licenses, as “public trustee” and required that they made every reasonable attempt to cover contrasting points of views and present balanced coverage of controversial issues. This was the last time the news in America was actually “fair and balanced”. Sound familiar?

The number of big media companies in the US was already shrinking from around 80 in 1960 to around 50 in 1990, but there was more to come. By the way, if Murdoch’s News Corp is allowed to buy Time Warner, we will go from 6 big television companies to 5.

The biggest mistake ever made in US broadcast history was when President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The bill was written by South Dakota’s Republican Senator Larry Pressler.

At the time, the 104th Congress was controlled by the republicans and Newt Gingrich was in charge. They shut down the government twice, passed bills like the Defense Of Marriage Act and could pass just about anything they wanted as they controlled both the House and Senate.

This 1996 law is generally regarded as one of the most important pieces of legislation regulating media ownership ever written. Under this, the radio industry experienced unprecedented consolidation after the 40-station ownership cap is lifted. Clear Channel Communications owns 1200 stations, in all 50 states reaching more than 110 million listeners every week. Television is not in any better shape.

With unlimited ownership and no fairness doctrine in place, Clear Channel took most of thier AM stations talk and gave the Rush Limbaugh’s of the world a stage like no one had ever seen.

I’ve been in radio and television for 50 years and have to admit that I have not listed to terrestrial radio since satellite radio became available about 15 years ago. That in itself is a pretty sad commentary on the state of media in the US. – Bobby Ellerbee

Aside from the facts, this is just my opinion and you may agree or disagree, but I remind you to keep your comments civil. Enjoy and share.


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Fascinating, First Hand Television History…

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Fascinating, First Hand Television History…

As mentioned in the previous post, here is Jerry Lewis discussing the Martin & Lewis years on ‘The Colgate Comedy Hour. Enjoy and share!

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

Full interview at www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/jerry-lewis
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‘The Colgate Comedy Hour’…Live From The El Capitan Theater

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‘The Colgate Comedy Hour’…Live From The El Capitan Theater

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z12ZKTBrdcY

In the next post, we’ll see Jerry Lewis discuss the Martin & Lewis years on ‘The Colgate Comedy Hour’, but in this article, we’ll focus on the production of the show. At the link above is an episode of the show from 1953.

NBC’s studios at Sunset and Vine in Hollywood were built in 1938 for radio and didn’t have much space for big television productions. Taking a cue their brothers in New York, they began to do remotes from local theaters. One of these theaters was the El Capitan which many of us know better as The Hollywood Palace.

With the advent of the cross country AT&T television connection in early 1952, NBC and CBS started doing some shows from Los Angeles because this gave them a new pool of stars to work with. Many movie stars didn’t want to do television…fist because it was live and television and second, because they would have to go to New York.

I don’t know if NBC ever installed a control room at The El Capitan but they did this show from there, and others, for five years so I suspect they did. Anyone know?

As you’ll hear Jerry Lewis say in the next post, ‘The Colgate Comedy Hour’ rotated hosts as not to burn them out. The show rotated coasts as well with some coming from The International Theater (home of ‘Your Show Of Shows’) in New York and some from The El Capitan. A few were done from Chicago with Jan Murray as the host.

Ironically, the theater was also named The Jerry Lewis Theater for about six months just before his disastrous ninety minute Saturday night talk show on ABC in 1963. That lasted just thirteen weeks and in a panic to fill the time, and the theater they just bought, ABC developed ‘The Hollywood Place’.

Below is a shot of Dean and Jerry rehearsing for the 1953 video linked episode.


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The History Of The RCA TK12 / TK60…Hard Decisions All Around

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The History Of The RCA TK12 / TK60…Hard Decisions All Around

Since we’ve seen a lot of the RCA TK60 this week, especially in the TAMI Show footage and in the new James Brown movie, I thought you would like to see that great camera in it’s original form.

Below is the RCA TK12, the name under which it was introduced at the 1960 NAB Convention. Notice the side doors are made of the same metal mesh used on the top of the RCA TK42. This was great for ventilation, but not so sturdy and not practical for field use. Had the doors remained like this, perhaps the heat problems would not have been a factor, but when buyers asked for hard doors, they got them…and a heat problem.

The camera debuted eight years after the TK 11’s introduction and was the first of the ‘New Look’ line. In ’61, RCA began shipping the cameras and added the hard doors, a dome tally light and they moved the front tally lights to just under the turret, but no top vent was added yet.

Another problem was the weight of the 5 1/2 inch Image Orthicon focus sled inside. It was to heavy for the light weight pulley cables and when the camera tilted too far up or down, the sled would slide and lose focus.

By ’63 the heat associated problems were overcome with the addition of the the top exhaust fan, and that is when it was renamed the TK60. Why 60? Well, as would be the case later with the TK76 ENG camera that came out in 1976, RCA decided to name it for the year it debuted…1960.

This camera came about at a very transitional time in television. In 1960, NBC was working it’s way to becoming a full color network and many of the well-heeled affiliates were purchasing RCA TK 41 color cameras. In ’62, RCA debuted the first version of the TK42 but it was not in it’s final form and in production till ’65…the same year Norelco introduced their Plumbicon PC60. Oops. To make it even more interesting, RCA stopped making the TK41 in 1964.

In 1960, RCA knew there was still a need for a good black and white workhorse camera and the first of the ”new look’ cameras was born! RCA engineer Harry Wright had a hand in its now famous look and was responsible for carrying that look to the TK42s, 44s, 45s and 47s.

Had RCA been quicker on the draw in 1961 getting the heat problems addressed faster, there may have been more sold, but by ’63, it was late in the game and the full color wave was beginning to build… stations were torn on what to do. Buy new monochrome cameras that would be outdated in a few years, or hold on a year or so and go to the PC60 or TK42, or buy TK41s while they still could. I suspect everyone knew that the TK60 would be the last monochrome camera RCA made.

Once the TK 60 finally came to the market, sales were good but not great. They made great pictures and did so for many years into the color era. In fact, many stations continued to originate local programs in black and white long after the networks offered all color programming. It was not unusual for stations to broadcast local shows in monochrome using a combination of color and black and white cameras.

For more pictures and info on the TK60s, follow this link the Eyes Of A Generation’s main site. Enjoy and share!

http://www.eyesofageneration.com/RCA_Cameras_TK60.php


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Rare! RCA TK41C Brochure

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Rare! RCA TK41C Brochure

For those of us that love the big silver beast, here is a link to a catalog write up from RCA in the early 60s, courtesy of our friend Steve McVoy at The Early Television Foundation and Museum. Enjoy and share!

http://www.earlytelevision.org/pdf/rca_tk41_brochure.pdf

www.earlytelevision.org

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RARE! Inside KTLA…Rose Bowl, Studios And Telecopter Footage

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RARE! Inside KTLA…Rose Bowl, Studios And Telecopter Footage

This 14 minute program was done around January of 1960 and is kind of a slow, clunky explanation of how a local musical program is created, BUT…it airs just before the Rose Bowl Parade and there is some great footage of the TK41 color cameras at the event.

We’ll also get inside the first ever live television helicopter…KTLA’s Telecopter. This has some nice long shots of cameras scattered throughout it, and some familiar faces. I see Tom Kennedy doing a spot, Dick Watson behind one of the studio cameras and I’m sure many of you will recognize more faces.

The director looks very familiar and I think I have seen him in some 1930s footage from NBC’s Studio 3H. Anyone know who he is? The choreographer also looks familiar and may be quite famous, but I can’t put a name to him, can you? Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vI-Y_nMs8gA

Television Serves Its Community – 1960 Social Guidance / Educational Documentary – Val73TV

A look at how television programs are prepared for transmission, includes details of planning, rehearsals and the final televised shows. Examples are used to…
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John Vassos and RCA ‘Television’

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John Vassos and RCA ‘Television’

If you look where Milton’s hand is, you are also seeing the hand of one of America’s first industrial designers…John Vassos.

The ‘Television’ and ‘Color Television’ badges that adorn all the early RCA cameras and telecine equipment was designed by Mr. Vassos. The classic look and style of the TK40/41 was also a part of his contribution to form and function as he was consulted on the final look of the camera.

Vassos came to the attention of David Sarnoff a few years before the opening of the 1939 World’s Fair and was chosen to design the RCA Pavillion there, but his work extended into the design of the television sets on display there and even to the look of the first RCA Mobile Units which had a lot of Vassos art deco chrome stylings.

I think he also had a hand in the look of the TK10, TK30 and TK11/31s. The chrome lined red striping on the TK10s is very Vassos looking. He also had a hand in the look of RCA’s radio receivers and was the first to design an RCA cabinet unit that contained a radio, television and phonograph player.


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Compatible Color TV Announcement…December 19, 1953

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Compatible Color TV Announcement…December 19, 1953

‘Your Show Of Shows’ was NBC’s top rated show and that’s where they chose to make this announcement on Saturday night, December 19, 1953. The decision had come down from the FCC that Thursday afternoon and capped a multi year court battle which pitted the CBS backed Field Sequential System against RCA’s Dot Sequential System. Richard Harkness reports.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojJCJIaDp9Q

Airing during Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows”, NBC spokesman Richard Harkness announced that RCA had won the “compatible color television” standards fight …
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Great WGN Photo Album…Over Two Dozen Rare Photos

Saved From The Cutting Room Floor…”If I Only Had A Heart”

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Saved From The Cutting Room Floor…”If I Only Had A Heart”

Few know that Buddy Ebsen was the original TIn Man in ‘The Wizard Of Oz’. Actually he was cast as The Scarecrow, but with the directors permission, he and Ray Bolger swapped roles. Only a few photos and a this super rare recording of him in that role exist.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDcgsRaGDao

This photo shows him in full makeup and that’s what almost killed him…the makeup, which was mostly an aluminum powder. After a few weeks of inhaling the powder, he had a violent reaction and was rushed to the hospital where he stayed for nearly a month. He was replaced by Jack Haley and the aluminum powder was changed to an aluminum paste.

As I understand it, “If I Only Had A Heart”, The TIn Man’s only solo was recorded by Ebsen the day before his collapse on the set. I have heard that Ebsen’s voice is intact on at least one of the many reprises of “We’re Off To See The Wizard”.


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‘The Munsters’…Unaired Color Pilot And Some Surprises!

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‘The Munsters’…Unaired Color Pilot And Some Surprises!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVaHtPWAVi8

What do ‘The Musters’ and ‘Leave It To Beaver’ have in common?

The two men that produced ‘The Munsters’…Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher…that’s what. They created ‘Leave It To Beaver’ and before that, wrote over 1,500 episodes of ‘Amos ‘n’ Andy.

Here’s another surprise…the show only ran for two seasons! Seems much longer than that doesn’t it? Season one started September 24, 1964 with 38 episodes. Season two ended May 12, 1966 with the 32nd episode.

The link at the top takes you to the color pilot of the show which is in two parts. Yvonne DeCarlo as Lilly and Butch Patrick as Eddie were added after the pilot replacing Joan Marshal as Phoebe Munster. Patrick replaced Happy Derman as Eddie. The screen credits are a couple of minutes in. Enjoy and share!


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Pretty Maids All In A Row…

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Pretty Maids All In A Row…

Last month I posted the other four pix from this ABC event at Pebble Beach in the late 60s, but just found this fifth photo I had forgotten about. These are the dozen TK41Cs that Roone Arlidge ordered for ABC in 1966.

RCA had orders for a dozen more from production houses and TV stations that they had been holding till they could get a run of at least 24 and when the ABC order came, the did the last TK41 run.

On the left is the nose of a TK60 used for graphics and in the distance are a dozen Norelco PC60s.


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The Ultimate Mailbox For A Television Guy…

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The Ultimate Mailbox For A Television Guy…

A friend in Indiana is in the used broadcast gear business and has put some of his obsolete inventory to good use. Enjoy and share!



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‘Queen For A Day’ ABC Hollywood

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‘Queen For A Day’

Here is the ABC Hollywood crew for the show with a few of the iconic white ABC TK30s around 1949. One of the show’s telecast locations was the Earl Carroll Theater on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood and that’s where this photo was taken. In 1953, it was renamed The Moulin Rouge Theater and is called that in the show’s intro in the video below.

Ken Murray hosted the original radio version of the show on the Mutual–Don Lee Radio Network but on April 30, 1945, it came to ABC radio in New York City and when it moved, Jack Bailey became the host. A few months into the new show, it was moved back to Hollywood. The show aired five days a week, during the daytime and came to television in 1948. It was simulcast on ABC radio and television from 1948 -1955.

NBC picked up the show for national broadcast from January 3, 1956 to September 2, 1960 and it aired live at 4:30 EST. The show went back to ABC on September 5, 1960 and ran there until the final broadcast on October 2, 1964. Thanks to Chuck Pharis for the photo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao2FXUYpYOY


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‘Person To Person’…Edward R Murrow Visits Robert F Kennedy

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‘Person To Person’…Edward R Murrow Visits Robert F Kennedy

Murrow’s fifth season of ‘Person To Person’ debuted the evening of September 13, 1957 at 10:30. His first guest of the new season was Julie London, from her North Hollywood home.

The final fifteen minutes came from the Kennedy home in McLean, Virginia where a four camera crew was set up for the live interview with lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, who was then Counsel for the Senate Rackets Committee. Robert and his wife Ethel, their five children and a number of pets appeared with Morrow.

Here’s a photo from that night taken as Murrow was wrapping up the London interview and about to throw to the Kennedys. The cameraman could be David Brinkley’s twin brother. Enjoy and share!


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July 31, 1995…The Circuit Is Reversed As Disney Buys ABC

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July 31, 1995…The Circuit Is Reversed As Disney Buys ABC

Did you know that in the beginning, ABC invested in Disney?

In the early 1950’s, Walt Disney sought corporate sponsorship for his Mickey Mouse themed amusement park. Desperate to trump its more established competitors, the American Broadcasting Company, stepped in as one of Disneyland’s primary sponsors. Following a $500,000 investment to subsidize Disneyland’s construction, the ABC network received a 35% share of park profits and exclusive programming from Walt Disney Studios.

The sponsorship immediately paid dividends. In 1954 the ABC network began televising ‘Disneyland’, a series of hour long specials, which featured old Disney Films, studio documentaries and new Disney Studio features. The extremely popular Davy Crockett debuted on the Disneyland series, when “Davy Crockett, the Indian Fighter” aired in December 1954. The popularity of Disney programming boosted ABC’s ratings, and when Disneyland park opened in July of 1955, ABC aired the special event live.

Walt Disney continued to host the ‘Disneyland’ series, which was renamed ‘Walt Disney Presents’ in 1958. ABC aired the successful programs until 1961. A dispute over Disneyland profits and the ability to broadcast in color, pushed Walt Disney to move to NBC, where Disney hosted ‘Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color’, appearing on NBC until his death in 1966.

On July 31, 1995, Walt Disney Co. agreed to acquire Capital Cities-ABC Inc. in a $19 billion deal. The rest as they say “is history”. Enjoy and share!


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Sports Television History…April 17, 1965

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Sports Television History…April 17, 1965

In the photo, we see Leo Durocher welcoming Jackie Robinson to television in the brand new Shea Stadium. On April 17, 1965, Robinson became the first black network broadcaster for Major League Baseball.

In 1965, ABC provided the first-ever nationwide baseball coverage with weekly Saturday broadcasts on a regional basis. ABC paid $5.7 million for the rights to the 28 Saturday/holiday Games of the Week. ABC’s deal covered all of the teams except the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, who had their own television deals with NBC and CBS. The agreement called for two regionalized games on Saturdays, Independence Day, and Labor Day.

Each Saturday, ABC would broadcast two 2 p.m. games and one 5 p.m. game for the Pacific Time Zone. ABC blacked out the games in the home cities of the clubs playing those games. At the end of the season, ABC declined to exercise its $6.5 million option for 1966, citing poor ratings, especially in New York. Enjoy and share!


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How Johnny Carson’s ‘Tonight’ Show Theme Song Came About…

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How Johnny Carson’s ‘Tonight’ Show Theme Song Came About…

Today, singer/song writer Paul Anka turns 73, so in his honor, here is the backstory on a song we all know now as “Johnny’s Theme”

In 1958, Anka wrote an instrumental for Salvatore “Tutti” Camarata’s band which was called Tutti’s Trumpets. Paul named the song “Toot Sweet”. Tutti was actually the head of Walt Disney Records and started the legendary Sunset Sound Recorders studio the same year this was released and this was one of the first sessions ever recorded there.

After a lyric was added in 1959 “Toot Sweet” was re-named “It’s Really Love”, and under that title was recorded by Annette Funicello on her LP, “Annette Sings”. The is a link to the recording below.

In 1962, when Johnny Carson took over the NBC “Tonight Show”,
he commissioned Anka for a new theme song, via his company
called “Management Agency & Music Publishing, Inc.”

Anka suggested re-using this old tune and the project was technically a deal under a “work for hire” contract. Carson knew all about royalties and wanted to be listed as an author so, being a drummer, he said he would think of something to put at the beginning of Anka’s tune to “help author it.” That something turned out to be a little drum break before the band joins in. So for 6 – 7 years there was that one-bar drum break at the beginning of the theme. Eventually that little break was shortened even further to just one and a half beats.

So, on September 12, 1962, less than a month before his debut Johnny became an “author” of his theme for copyright purposes, and got not only a piece of the publishing royalties, but a composer’s share of royalties as well.

The co authoring offer must have been worth it to Paul Anka who once said he got $200 in royalties every time the show aired. Over the course of Johnny’s 30 year run, that would give Carson and Anka about $1,664,000.00 apiece. Not bad for an old tune that was re-cycled twice. Happy birthday Paul!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q816rn4Nq94 “Toot Sweet”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d38qNqc8N6k “It’s Really Love”

The Walt Disney company’s record label Buena Vista boasted both Mouseketeer singing star Annette Funicello and veteran composer-arranger Tutti Camarata, who …
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Now THIS Is RARE! NBC Studio 5HN…TK41 Equipped

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Now THIS Is RARE! NBC Studio 5HN…TK41 Equipped

This is the only photo that I know of that shows a camera in NBC’s 5HN. I’ve searched my files for this photo for weeks and just found it last night. This is the breaking news studio on the 5th floor at NBC NY.

After the Kennedy assassination in November of ’63 caught all of the networks unable to go to air with a live, on camera report, NBC decided to make Studio 5H a full time, always hot studio and renamed it 5HN. I think it may have originally been equipped with at least one RCA TK30 which was always on and ready.

It was probably sometime after 1965 that the studio got an RCA TK41 color camera which would be replaced around 1967 with one of the two RCA TK43s RCA left behind after their one time use on the November ’66 midterm election coverage from 8H.

Although it’s use on the network was occasional, WNBC used this studio nightly for a 2AM news update. I don’t remember where this photo came from, but there was a note with it that says this was taken in 1973. If that’s true, I would imagine that once the TK43 wore out, it was replaced by one of the many surplus TK41s NBC had in storage. If you know more and are able to add to this, please do! Enjoy and share!


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ULTRA RARE! Inside NBC Radio Studio 6B In 1947…

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ULTRA RARE! Inside NBC Radio Studio 6B In 1947…

Thanks to Alex Cumming, here is the only footage I have ever seen that puts us inside Studio 6B as a radio studio. This is our first and only trip into the stage side control room too.

This is the rehearsal, and later the broadcast of ‘The Bell Telephone Hour’. The conductor is Donald Voorhees, and the chief announcer is Floyd Mack. At around 15:45, announcer Tom Shirley steps in for a three minute Bell System spot.

The featured guest are singers Ezio Pinza and Blanche Thebom. This film was made to show in movie theaters as a promotion for the radio show. Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aT6BN_GnnWI

See more from the AT&T Archives at http://techchannel.att.com/archives Note that audio problems from 11:25 – 11:40 were present in the original source materi…
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NBC Studio 6A…Before TV And After TV

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NBC Studio 6A…Before And After, Side By Side

These two photos were taken from almost the same spot 18 years apart. This is Studio 6A in 1943 as a radio studio and in 1961 as a television studio.

Notice that even after the break of the lighter and darker parts of the stage floor, there is still a lot of room in the darker area which would have usually been behind the main set or a curtain. Barely visible on the back wall is a double door that opens into the back stage storage area. Enjoy and share!



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The Untold Story Of The NBC In House “Mobile Units”

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The Untold Story Of The NBC In House “Mobile Units”

As mentioned in the post just before this, NBC was televising shows from a few of their radio studios before they were converted to TV studios.

This photo was taken in Studio 6A on October 5, 1949 during a radio-TV simulcast of ‘Break The Bank’. There were four in house “mobile units”…the red, green, blue and yellow units, and each had three TK30s and a set of portable scoop lights.

The reason “mobile units” is in parentheses is because these were hybrid units that didn’t use a truck. Instead, the cameras were cabled to an existing TV control room there in 30 Rock.

At the time this photo was taken, only 3H, 8G and 6B had been converted from radio to television, and by that I mean those studios had their own control rooms, a new staging area with the floor seats removed and overhead light grids. But, 6A, 8H, 3A and 3B did have TV camera cable connectors and were used as television studios with the images routed to other existing control rooms.

With these four in house units, shows could be done from all over the building and remember, many of them were only 15 minutes, so that meant a lot of locations were necessary to go from one to the next. With a rehearsal, some of the units could move between studios and be ready to go on another show in about an hour.

At times, these units were actually in service with a truck doing broadcasts from some of the many NBC theater locations before they were converted to television studios. On event that comes to mind is Bob Hope’s first NBC special on Easter Sunday 1950 from the Amsterdam Theater. Enjoy and share!


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