Posts in Category: Broadcast History

Classic! ‘Sammy Davis Jr. Show’ With TK41s From NBC Brooklyn


Classic! ‘Sammy Davis Jr. Show’ With TK41s

From NBC Brooklyn, here’s a clip from April 26, 1966 that opens with Sammy in front of a crane mounted RCA TK41. Behind the camera is NBC veteran Frank Gaeta.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXjKNl0C-AU

from April 22, 1966. thanks to fromthesidelines and wmbrown6 for the great comments and info on this clip.

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Merv Griffin Gets A Ride On A Marconi Mark IV


Merv Griffin Gets A Ride On A Marconi Mark IV

This fun clip is from November 8, 1965. This was the first year of Merv’s Group W, syndicated daytime show and was done at The Little Theater at 240 West 44th Street in New York. This is now known as The Helen Hayes Theater.

In ’69, CBS picked up the show and moved it to late night to compete against Johnny Carson. The first season was done from The Cort Theater at 138 West 48th Street.

In the fall of 1970, Griffin relocated his show to Television City in Los Angeles, but without sidekick Arthur Treacher, who told him “at my age, I don’t want to move, especially to someplace that shakes”. From that point on, Griffin would do the announcing himself, and walk on stage with the phrase: “And now…, here I come!”

By early 1972, sensing that his time at CBS was ending, and tired of the restrictions imposed by the network, Griffin secretly signed a contract with rival company Metromedia. The contract with Metromedia would give him a syndication deal as soon as CBS canceled Griffin’s show. Within a few months, Griffin was fired by CBS. His new show began the following Monday and proved to be more successful than its network counterpart, running until 1986. Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDs8JxxAnlU

Jazz guitar icon Jim Hall sits in with Mort Lindsey and the band but Merv insists on putting him through his paces in a mock audition from 1965. Merv shows o…

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July 23, 1962…First World Wide Television Broadcast Via Telstar


July 23, 1962…First World Wide Television Broadcast Via Telstar

On Monday afternoon on this date, 52 years ago, CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite entered NBC’s studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza to co-host this historic broadcast with NBC’s Chet Huntley. ABC’s Howard K. Smith was at the UN Building. The twenty minute broadcast from the US to Europe was slated to start at 3 PM eastern, but the Telstar signal was acquired a few minutes early so they started then.

Aside from the historic transmission event, the sight of Cronkite and Hunley working together is nothing less than extraordinary and you will love the sign off at 40:23 which made everyone laugh!

Just after that, NBC Newsman Merrell Muller takes over and implies that only NBC carried the US to Europe program live here in the US.
A few hours later, all three networks did carry the Europe to US portion live with the hosts at NBC, but after seeing how well this went, I’ll bet CBS and ABC were sorry they opted out of this segment.

This is the only version of the entire US portion of the broadcast I can find and is queued to the start of the network coverage. As you will see, there are shots fed into NBC from all across the country including Cubs baseball from Chicago, President Kennedy in Washington, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Mt. Rushmore, the Statue Of Liberty, buffalos on the planes, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir from Utah and much more.

In Europe and Canada, 100 million viewers tuned in and it seems that the baseball game was their favorite part. A few hours later, the tables would turn and Europe would broadcast live to the US with Howard K. Smith joining Cronkite and Huntley at NBC and all three networks would air this live, simultaneously.

There is more on this event in the very good story at the link below. Enjoy and Share!

http://www.history.com/news/the-birth-of-satellite-tv-50-years-ago

http://youtu.be/0IX7vC4Ts_A?t=9m58sWith behind the scenes stories from Bill Turner

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45 Years Ago Today…Apollo 11 On The Way Home: Day 8

45 Years Ago Today…Apollo 11 On The Way Home: Day 8

Here is the eighth of nine daily articles written for Eyes Of A Generation by Jodie Peeler on this historic event, complete with videos. Enjoy and share!
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Apollo 11’s Television Cameras:

As discussed in yesterday’s post, television cameras were carried by the Apollo spacecraft starting with the first manned mission in October 1968. Here’s the story of the television cameras that made it possible for viewers at home to watch what was going on in space.

Apollo 7 and Apollo 8 carried a small black-and-white slow-scan camera developed by RCA. Designed to operate within the limited bandwidth available for television downlink at the time, the RCA camera had a 320-line progressive scan format at 10 frames per second, and had a one-inch vidicon tube. As described yesterday, the television pictures sent back by the spacecraft were converted on Earth before being sent to NASA and then to the networks. Although more advanced capabilities were available by October 1968, NASA flew the RCA camera because it was already flight-qualified.

On Apollo 9, the first manned flight of the lunar module took place in Earth orbit. The LM would require its own camera, and a Westinghouse team led by Stan Lebar developed a slow-scan black-and-white video camera for the LM. It used a very sensitive secondary electron conduction tube unlike any other tube readily available, meant to provide detail from what was likely to be a dark and shadowy lunar surface. Although on landing missions it would ride in a compartment on the LM’s descent stage, it was carried in the cabin on Apollo 9 so the astronauts could test it out.

For television historians, the most intriguing camera made its debut on Apollo 10, the first flight to send color television from space.
Westinghouse realized that a mechanical color system similar to that championed by CBS during the “color war” of the late ’40s, was not much more complicated than black-and-white and could be kept far more compact than a full-blown color system. The problem of conversion to NTSC was taken care of with conversion equipment installed in Houston. So, in a way, CBS had the last laugh as field-sequential color pictures sent back the first color television pictures of Earth in May 1969.

One problem with earlier Apollo television transmissions was that the astronauts had no viewfinder or monitor, so Westinghouse developed a small black-and-white monitor that could be secured atop the camera to let them see what they were shooting.

The two camera systems developed by Westinghouse – the color unit in the Command Module, and the black-and-white unit attached to the LM – flew with Apollo 11 two months later. Color television came from inside the spacecraft at several points during the mission. When Neil Armstrong emerged from Eagle on July 20 to begin his climb down to the Moon, a compartment on Eagle’s descent stage opened, allowing the black-and-white lunar camera to capture his first steps. Once he was on the Moon, he removed the camera from its platform and placed it on a tripod a few yards from the LM. It captured all of Armstrong and Aldrin’s historic Moon walk, and still stands where they left it in July 1969.

Later cameras improved on these innovations – the color camera was adapted for lunar use by the Apollo 12 flight in November 1969, and in time for Apollo 15 RCA designed a sophisticated color camera mounted on the Lunar Rover that could be controlled from Houston, a system that sent back some of the most vivid moving pictures of the entire Apollo program. However, it’s those two Westinghouse cameras from Apollo 11 that captured the eight days when mankind made its most dramatic step into the future.

For more information on the Apollo cameras, try these links.

Stan Lebar’s memories of developing the Westinghouse lunar camera:
http://www.tvtechnology.com/feature-box/0124/tvs-longest-remote/202657

Bill Wood’s epic “Apollo Television” essay features information about all the cameras of Apollo:
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/ApolloTV-Acrobat5.pdf

Tomorrow: Our look at Apollo 11 ends as Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins take a fiery ride home, and television brings the story’s conclusion to a watching world.



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Ultra Rare And HILARIOUS! This Is A LOL RIOT!


Ultra Rare And HILARIOUS! This Is A LOL RIOT!

Thanks to our friend David Crosthwait at DC Video in Los Angeles, here is a clip from a recently discovered reel of tape in Nevada. Jerry Lewis is guest hosting for Johnny Carson and…well…you’ll just have to watch this to see one of the funniest, impromptu bit’s I’ve ever seen. Enjoy and SHARE!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQYzkgsb2h0

This clip is courtesy of Carson-Entertainment-Group and Jerry Lewis Films. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Lost Clips. Guest host Jerry Lewis. T…

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The Case Of The 1956 Mini Cam Mystery…

The Case Of The 1956 Mini Cam Mystery…

Below is a shot of then Senator John F. Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago being interviewed by CBS in August of 1956. Although RCA made a great mini cam which NBC used in the 1952 conventions, CBS would not buy them, and we all should now know by know about all the bad blood between them over the color system battles.

This is based on a French design and made by Intercontinental Electronics. The camera was four pounds and came with a thirty two pound back pack. The battery to power unit and broadcast the signal, which could go almost a mile, weighed over ten pounds.

CBS also used the unit at the Republican convention in San Francisco that year along with a three pound “vest pocket” camera made by Lockheed Engineering. Those items are seen in the second photo along with a Dage Porta Camera. The second photo shows a photo editors crop marks and hand blacked CBS logos. The man with the tiny camera is the legendary Sig Mickelson…the first president of CBS News. Enjoy and share!


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NBC Burbank…What’s Going On There Now?

NBC Burbank…What’s Going On There Now?

Today, ‘Access Hollywood’ is produced in Studio 1 and here’s a fairly recent shot of the set. Johnny Carson’s days there are gone, but not forgotten.

Next door, in Studio 3 ‘Laugh In’, ‘Tonight With Jay Leno’ and ‘Let Make A Deal’ have given way to radio. Radio? Yes…radio. Seems that across the street neighbor Clear Channel has taken over Studio 3 and transformed it into the iHeartRadio Theater.

The 20,000-square-foot performance space has been totally redone and will hold about 450 people and be used for iHeartRadio album release parties, and TV and radio broadcasts. Clear Channel, which is leasing the space from Worthe Properties, will also rent the theater to record labels, artists and other partners for movie screenings, tour rehearsals and other activities.

The full story on the Studio 3 conversion, along with some interesting photos is in the Billboard story at this link. Enjoy and share!

http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/5755292/exclusive-inside-the-new-iheartradio-theater-los-angeles-photos-and-qa

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Must See! ‘Let’s Make A Deal’ Pilot…Many Points Of Interest


Must See! ‘Let’s Make A Deal’ Pilot…Many Points Of Interest

This was shot May 25, 1963 in Studio 1 at NBC Burbank and the first minute is quite interesting! It opens with a long shot of Monty Hall introducing the show’s concept as a pitch to advertisers with an RCA TK41 in the foreground. As the camera zooms in, we notice the TK41 still has three cables, as do all the cameras in the studio…this is a big surprise!

By now, all the New York TK41s were using the single cable. I think the single cable came into use on the TK41B around 1958, but RCA made a conversion kit and NBC NY applied it to all their TK40s and TK41A models. I wonder why Burbank kept the triple cables? They were much heavier than the single cables and took extra utility men to handle them.

Next is the audience seating apron that Hall is sitting in. In the ’50s, the only access to the audience area was on the far left and right via the main staircases, but with no way to get to them center stage, access doors were added to the center aisles. Studio 3 had a similar apron that we have seen on ‘Laugh In’ pictures and that’s because ‘Let’s Make A Deal’ moved to Studio 3 during the first season and stayed there till December 27,1968 when the show moved to ABC.

You can only see about half way up into the 400+ seats in this video and as we saw in pictures from Studio 1 a few days ago, this was a very steep incline.

Finally at the very end is a pristine NBC Productions video logo with the TK41 turret flip. Speaking of lenses, notice how tiny the Zoomar studio size lens looks on the TK41.

The announcer and Mony’s side kick is Wendell Niles. The show was directed by Joe Behar who’d just won an Emmy the year before for ‘The Ernie Kovacs Show’. Behar would go on to many more years of directing ‘Days of our Lives’, ‘General Hospital’, and ‘The Young and the Restless’. If you spot something I missed, please let us know. Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvNXm_5kLmo

This 37 minute pilot, produced on May 25, 1963 with Monty Hall as host and Wendell Niles as announcer/sidekick, led to the premiere of Let’s Make a Deal on N…

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45 Years Ago Today…Apollo 11 Begins The Trip Home: Day 7

45 Years Ago Today…Apollo 11 Begins The Trip Home: Day 7

Here is the seventh of eight daily articles written for Eyes Of A Generation by Jodie Peeler on this historic event, complete with videos. Enjoy and share!
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While television from Earth orbit had been demonstrated as early as Gordon Cooper’s May 1963 Mercury flight, television from beyond Earth orbit posed several challenges.

Television cameras (about which we’ll learn more tomorrow) were carried on every Apollo flight starting with Apollo 7. The television signals, along with all other communications signals to and from the spacecraft, were routed simultaneously through a Unified S-Band system developed for the Apollo program. It had to compress seven components (voice, telemetry, television, biomedical data, ranging, emergency voice and emergency key) into a 3 MHz allotment. Priority was given to voice and telemetry, leaving only about 700 KHz for everything else.

Early Apollo missions used a monochrome 320-line system with a 10 fps scan rate, which only demanded about 500 KHz for transmission. On Earth, ground stations split the raw signal into two branches. One branch recorded the unprocessed signal, while the other sent it to a scan converter developed by RCA (which incorporated a TK-22 camera) that produced the extra 20 frames per second needed for a satisfactory, flicker-free television picture. The converted picture was sent from the receiving stations via satellite to Houston, and from Houston it was relayed to the networks.

Better television started to come along on the Apollo 10 mission, which finally also brought support for the Command Module’s second 3 MHz USB system. (Apollo 10 also saw the debut of a color television camera developed by Westinghouse; more on it tomorrow.)

Oddly, flying to the Moon allowed more opportunities for television coverage; while NASA’s worldwide tracking network had some areas of sparse or nonexistent coverage for Earth orbit, deep space allowed more continuous coverage. The Manned Space Flight Network (MSFN, pronounced “miss-fin”) had three prime 26-meter stations in Canberra, Australia; Goldstone, California; and Madrid, Spain. All were equipped with slow-scan converters. These stations made it possible for Apollo 8 to send a total of 90 minutes of broadcasts during its six-day mission to lunar orbit in December 1968.

For Apollo 11 NASA had 64-meter antennas, at Goldstone, California and Parkes, Australia, added to the coverage in order to receive weaker signals that couldn’t be picked up by the 26-meter antennas. NASA also had backup arrangements made at Goldstone’s Pioneer Deep Space Network station, and Parkes had additional equipment installed in case of failure at the Honeysuckle Creek Prime station. NASA used Honeysuckle Creek as its Australian hub for spacecraft communications. Both Parkes and Honeysuckle Creek could receive television signals; they would be sent via microwave to Sydney Video, where technicians would decide whether the video from Parkes or Honeysuckle Creek would be sent on to Houston. Sydney Video would also provide the video to the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s network (unfortunately, the only recording of the Australian version that still exists appears to be several minutes of motion picture film taken from a monitor; all the more a loss, given that NASA’s long-sought “raw” tapes of the Moon walk were probably wiped during a tape shortage in the ’70s).

Television transmissions from Apollo 11 were sent both in color (using the Command Module’s color camera) and black and white (using the system in the Lunar Module). Signals from Eagle were being sent through the S-band antenna atop Eagle. As Neil Armstrong climbed down the LM’s ladder for his first steps on the Moon, Houston’s picture was coming from Goldstone. Initially it was inverted, and when that was corrected the contrast was still too high. Houston saw that the video from Honeysuckle Creek was better and switched to that signal. A few moments later, what looked like an improved picture from Goldstone came in, so there was a switch back to Goldstone. Once the stronger Parkes station began tracking, Sydney Video advised Houston that Parkes was providing the best picture. It was so good that Houston stayed with Parkes for the rest of the Moon walk.

Later Apollo missions would bring new innovations and improvements, and by Apollo 17 the television pictures from the Moon would be an entire world removed from the ghostly images of three years before. But while those pictures may be better, the crude monochrome images from Apollo 11 will be the ones most remembered, and most often played and replayed.

This account draws heavily on several sources, notably Bill Wood’s excellent 2005 account “Apollo Television,” available here:
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/ApolloTV-Acrobat7.pdf

The story of the support lent by Parkes in the Apollo 11 broadcasts is told here:
http://www.parkes.atnf.csiro.au/news_events/apollo11/

A fictionalized account of Parkes’ role in Apollo 11 formed the basis of the movie “The Dish.”

This isn’t an easy story to boil down, and I’ve drawn heavily on these and other sources. Still, I imagine I’ve gotten some things wrong and oversimplified others, and those errors are my own. Please forgive me; I’m not an engineer, only a historian.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the television cameras used aboard Apollo 11, then wrap up coverage on Thursday with a safe landing in the Pacific on live television.



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‘Adventures Of Superman’… Behind The Scenes Treasure Chest!

‘Adventures Of Superman’… Behind The Scenes Treasure Chest!

Everything you could want to know about the costumes, filming, stunts, color problems and more are all here on this great 3 page site from Jim Nolt. It’s filled with rare photos and great narration. We thank Jim and his editor Lou Koza for this rare look at one of television’s most iconic shows. Enjoy and share!

http://www.jimnolt.com/XFactorP1.htm

www.jimnolt.com

First, regarding this squib, I’d like to share credit, or blame as the case may be, with my good friend Jody McGhee, who, like me, disregarded the admonitions of William Shatner, and never “got a life.” Instead, he remained a devout TAOS fan for more than half a century.

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‘The Adventures Of Superman’…Rare On The Set Photo & Video

‘The Adventures Of Superman’…Rare On The Set Photo & Video

This article will lead into today’s next post which is about Superman’s costumes and how that changed several times over the life of this original television series starring George Reeves.

When you compare the color of the costume in the photo taken on the set, to the way it looked on film, there is quite a difference. Here’s the clip…http://youtu.be/2r0na34PGsM?t=8m30s

The photo and clip are from “The Girl Who Hired Superman”, Season 4, Episode 7 which aired May 5, 1956. In the photo, the suit is much darker, but on film it appears lighter.

Starting in 1952, the show’s first two seasons were shot on black and white film stock, but in ’54 they began shooting in color. Unfortunately, 99% of the people that saw the show on TV, saw is in B/W, but there were complications in making the new color flying suits show up on the B/W screens. We’ll go into that, and much more in the next post. Enjoy and share!

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‘Law And Order: SVU’…On The Set


‘Law And Order: SVU’…On The Set

Here’s a look at the filming of the final episode of Season 14…a very dark, two hour cliffhanger called “Her Negotiation” which aired May 22, 2013. This was the year Hurricane Sandy hit and the shooting schedule for the show was delayed by about 10 days as there was water damage and no power at their Chelsea Pier studios. To refresh your memory of this storyline, the promo for this episode is at the top link. Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brEwv9anvWk Promo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyz3TZMBmvI

This video was provided by NBC for promotional purposes only Law & Order SVU airs Wednesdays on NBC Please visit my Law & Order Blogs: http://allthingslawand…

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‘NCIS’…Did You Know “Abby’s” Neck Tattoo Is Really A Decal?


‘NCIS’…Did You Know “Abby’s” Neck Tattoo Is Really A Decal?

Just for fun, here is actress Pauley Perrette in the makeup trailer having her neck tattoo applied as she transforms into her on screen character, Abby Sciuto. Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98b7U6M9ecM&feature=youtu.be&t=6m5s

This Special Feature from NCIS Season 5 shows how Pauley Perrette gets her hair and make-up done and how she gets her neck tattoo on. — I do not own anythi…

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45 Years Ago Today…Apollo 11 Lands On The Moon: Day 6

45 Years Ago Today…Apollo 11 Lands On The Moon: Day 6

Here is the sixth of eight daily articles written for Eyes Of A Generation by Jodie Peeler on this historic event, complete with videos. Enjoy and share!
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In yesterday’s post, you saw the moment when ABC News covered the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle’s touchdown on the Moon. If you paid close attention, maybe you noticed something funny about that moment. In fact, both ABC and CBS (and perhaps NBC, too) landed on the Moon before Armstrong and Aldrin! Here’s how it happened.

The networks’ production staffs had full access to the Apollo 11 flight plan, and had planned every aspect of the mission coverage down to the second. The networks thus knew when to start animation, when to cut to models, when to start special effects, and just about everything else. Had Apollo 11 gone exactly according to plan, it wouldn’t have been an issue.

But, spaceflight being no different than any other form of flight, sometimes things don’t go as you’d hoped. And live television being live television, audiences got to see the result.

What the networks didn’t know was that on final approach to the landing site, commander Neil Armstrong didn’t like what he saw out Eagle’s windows. He thus flew Eagle toward a more favorable landing site a short distance away, adding about 20 seconds to the flight time.

No one knew this in the New York studios; the steady hum of instrument readings from cool-voiced Buzz Aldrin, interspersed at times with the Southern accent of CAPCOM Charlie Duke in Houston, sounded like the kind of dry astro-talk they’d become used to. There was no indication anything irregular was going on. The animation and countdown clocks ticked on.

At the moment the flight plan called for lunar landing, CBS showed animation of the LM touching down and cut to a mockup of Eagle’s instrument panel. In the center of the screen was a large light marked LUNAR CONTACT. At the time called for in the flight plan, the light illuminated, and CBS cut to a model of Eagle on the Moon. Unfortunately, the instrument readings continued from Eagle. Tentatively, CBS played a camera on the LM mock-up sitting on the Moon, and the production team realized what was going on: CBS had landed on the Moon before Apollo 11.

Stomachs dropped in Studio 41’s control room. The camera held on the LM mock-up, with no caption on the screen, for what seemed like an eternal half-minute before Aldrin called “Contact light – okay, engine stop.”

Almost immediately and with palpable relief, CBS threw the caption LUNAR MODULE HAS LANDED ON MOON at the bottom of the screen.

Here’s the CBS coverage, starting about a minute before the planned moment of landing:
http://youtu.be/E96EPhqT-ds?t=13m50s

ABC, unfortunately, fared little better. Also sticking to the flight plan for its cues, ABC used a model of the LM, complete with a little flame shooting out the bottom to simulate the Descent Propulsion System, to depict Eagle’s descent to the Moon. Its model of Eagle, not as detailed as anything CBS was using, hovered in midair for the final minute, interspersed with shots from inside a mockup of the LM cabin with two “astronauts” aboard, before abruptly completing its descent.

At roughly the same moment CBS put Eagle on the Moon, ABC’s model touched down on its lunar surface and the DPS flame went out, and ABC cut to a mock-up instrument panel with a flashing LUNAR CONTACT light.

Eagle, of course, was still flying. There were a few awkward cuts between the interior mock-up and the model until, just in time for the “engine stop” call, the videotape of the model’s “landing” was racked and the little LM landed as Aldrin made the touchdown call.

Here’s how ABC handled it, starting a minute and a half before the flight plan called for touchdown:
http://youtu.be/l1AzFcsHS_w?t=3m44s

The NBC footage of the moment of lunar landing has, unfortunately, not surfaced. If NBC stuck to the flight plan the way ABC and CBS did, then it’s likely all three scored the ultimate scoop on NASA.

The story of the CBS “landing” was a favorite tale of Walter Cronkite’s, who would say with a chuckle that CBS was on the Moon “twenty seconds before Neil Armstrong.” It’s yet another example of how breaking news and live television can make even the best-laid plans go awry.

Tomorrow: A look at how the television pictures got from space to the living room.



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Who Knew? NASA Got An Emmy For It’s Pictures From The Moon!

Who Knew? NASA Got An Emmy For It’s Pictures From The Moon!

45 years ago today, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. They also sent back live television pictures and Mr. Aldrin became the first lunar cameraman.

Five years ago, the TV Academy presented NASA with an engineering Emmy to honor the 40th anniversary of the first live television broadcast from the moon. The event was held August 22, 2009. From ‘Lost In Space’, June Lockhart presented the award and Buzz Aldrin accepting on behalf of NASA.

Thanks to our friend Bob Erbeck for letting us know about this and providing the pictures.

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The Pride Of NBC Burbank…Studio 1

The Pride Of NBC Burbank…Studio 1

Here’s a look at this gigantic studio from around 1955. Studio 1 is 42′ feet high, 119′ long and 89′ wide with 10,591 square feet of floor space. Studio 3 next door is almost the same size but is one foot shorter coming in at 118′ in length.

Studios 2 and 4 came about three years later and are both 12, 371 square feet. Studio 9 is 11,771 square feet and Studio 11 is 18,079.

Although others may be larger, none is more famous. This was the home of many great shows, but most of all, this was the studio Johnny Carson called home. Enjoy and share!


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By Request…Dinah Shore Rides The Crane Camera…TK40s


By Request…Dinah Shore Rides The Crane Camera…TK40s

I posted this a few months back but have had a dozen or more requests to see this again, so here we go.

This is from The Colonial Theater which was NBC’s first color facility. A few seconds after this video’s start point, the first camera we see is the TK40 in it’s original configuration…notice there are no vents on the viewfinder housing. The Colonial was the only NBC theater with TK40s and these are the original four pre production/prototype cameras that were delivered in November of 1952. Production in Camden would not start till late 1953 with only 25 TK40s built before a quick switch to the TK41 around January of ’54.

Once the crane camera comes into view, notice it has a vented viewfinder housing, but it is still a TK40. My long study of The Colonial’s cameras has always made me wonder why they left one TK40 with the original unvented VF cover. RCA supplied the updated, vented cover to TK40 owners once the TK41s went into production in 1954.

This is the ‘Dinah Shore Chevy Show’, originating from New York on January 13, 1957. Usually, the show came from Burbank, but for some reason, they are in NY for a couple of weeks. Dinah’s one hour show ran on NBC from October of ’56 till May of ’63 and was always in color. Bob Banner was the producer. Thanks to Dave Miller for sharing this with us.

http://youtu.be/bNt4duaVOYg?t=2m36sDinah Shore is her usual enchanting self on this 1957 Chevy Show with guest stars Art Carney, Stubby Kaye, and special guest Perry Como. Dinah outdoes hersel…

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Remembering James Garner….

Remembering James Garner….

Sad to report that Mr. Garner died at his home last night in Los Angeles at the age of 86.

http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/james-garner-of-maverick-rockford-files-dies-at-86-1201265361/

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Ultra Rare Photo & Video…In More Than One Way

Ultra Rare Photo & Video…In More Than One Way

It’s not often that we (1) find a color shot from television’s black and white days, or (2) get a great look out into CBS Studio 33 from the control room, but what we have here goes even deeper.

At first glance, you may think this is ‘You Bet Your Life’ with Groucho Marx, but it’s not. This is ‘Tell It To Groucho’ which only aired for five months in 1962. At the link is the only surviving clip of the show.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgOq9CACy38

This was his last regular series, and when it ended, he went directly to New York as the guest host of the ‘Tonight’ show in the last weeks of the gap between Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. If fact, Groucho introduced Carson on his first night as host, but only the audio of that intro survives.

‘You Bet Your Life’ was actually one of the first television series to be filmed before a live audience…eight months before ‘I Love Lucy’ began doing the same thing. ‘YBYL’ started October 5, 1950 and was filmed in NBC’s Studio D at the old Radio City West location. Eight cameras were used with four shooting and four being reloaded as the 1000 foot magazines could only shoot ten minutes at a time. They would break for commercials and switch the cameras on the dollies in just a couple of minutes.

‘YBYL’ ended it’s run on NBC in September of 1961, but began syndication immediately. With only five months off, ‘Tell It To Groucho’ debuted on CBS on May 31, 1962. Enjoy and share!

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‘Bonanza’…September 12, 1959 – January 16, 1973

‘Bonanza’…September 12, 1959 – January 16, 1973

In the photo below we see Pernell Roberts, as Adam Cartwright, filming an episode from the first season, which was almost the last season. Initially the show aired opposite CBS blockbuster ‘Perry Mason’ and the ratings were so bad that NBC wanted to kill the show, but RCA had a different idea.

‘Bonanza’ was one of the first series to be filmed in color and looked great on RCA’s big color sets so they took over as the primary sponsor and sold a lot of sets, thanks in part to the scenic Lake Tahoe location footage.

For the first two years, the show aired at 9 on Saturday nights and didn’t break into the top 30 till the second year. In October of ’61, the third season debuted, but it was now on Sunday night at 9 and all across America, you could hear the channels flipping from CBS to NBC at the end of the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ which ended at 9.

That year ‘Bonanza’ was the number two show and stayed in the top three till 1970 and was number one from ’64 till ’67. By 1970, Bonanza was the first series to appear in the Top Five list for nine consecutive seasons (a record that would stand for many years) and thus established itself as the single biggest hit television series of the 1960s. Bonanza remained high on the Nielsen ratings until 1971, when it finally fell out of the Top Ten.

Had CBS not put ‘The Judy Garland Show’ up against ‘Bonanza’ at it’s peak in the ’63 – ’64 season, who knows how long that great show would have lasted. Learning from the Garland experience, CBS put a show against ‘Bonanza’ in 1967 that no one expected to last more than one season, but ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour’ was the show that could finally hold it’s own against the Cartwrights.

In the fall of ’70, the show dropped to number nine. In the fall of ’71, to number twenty and in the last season, the show didn’t even make the top thirty.

By the way, Michael Landon was the only resident of The Ponderosa that didn’t wear a hairpiece. Even Hop Sing, played by Sen Yung. wore a wig with a queue. Enjoy and share!

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45 Years Ago Today…Apollo 11 Heads For The Moon: Day 4

45 Years Ago Today…Apollo 11 Heads For The Moon: Day 4

Here is the fourth of eight daily articles written for Eyes Of A Generation by Jodie Peeler on this historic event. Enjoy and share!
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As noted a few days ago, “Broadcasting” Magazine estimated the cost of the networks’ Apollo 11 coverage at $11 million ($71.3 million in 2014 dollars), with $6.5 million ($42.1 million in 2014 dollars) of that in direct production costs, including the multi-network pool. With everything the broadcasts would require – facilities, remotes, and logistical considerations only scratching the surface – and with the length of the coverage pre-empting regular programming, sponsorship took on even more importance than usual. Advertising Age reported that 11 sponsors spent $4 million ($25.9 million in 2014 dollars) on network coverage for Apollo 11.

Of the networks, NBC had perhaps the longest and most famous recurring sponsorship for continuing coverage. In December 1960, Gulf Oil chief Charles Whiteford struck an agreement with NBC’s Robert Kintner for sponsorship of “instant specials,” produced by Chet Hagan and anchored by Frank McGee, which would air in prime time and provide context for events that had happened only a few hours before. When the space program came along, Kintner wanted all-out coverage, and Hagan’s “instant special” unit became the go-to team. Gulf agreed to extend its sponsorship to space coverage.

Thanks to this partnership, NBC viewers remember continuing coverage of news events featuring Gulf commercials, and often a Gulf logo on the anchors’ desks. Anchors would often throw to commercials with a line such as “We’ll be back in a moment after this word from Gulf.” While other sponsors also bought time, Gulf’s association with NBC’s special events coverage through 1973 makes it perhaps the most-remembered sponsorship.

ABC often ran its coverage on a sustaining basis, though sponsors later came on as the 1960s progressed and the network’s news operations grew.
On Apollo 11, ABC’s most prominent sponsor was Tang, the instant orange drink closely associated with the space program, and Tang logos were prominently displayed on the anchor desks.

On the other hand, CBS News policy forbade placement of sponsor logos on desks, and forbade anchors from mentioning sponsors during throws to commercial (a typical throw was something like “CBS News color coverage of the flight of Apollo 11 will continue in a moment”). The only mentions by network personnel came at the start, resumption from local station time, and conclusion of coverage, when CBS announcer Harry Kramer read the “brought to you by…” billboards.

Since Apollo 7 CBS space coverage had been sponsored by Western Electric, the manufacturing and supply unit of the Bell System, which ran soft institutional ads at intervals throughout the coverage. This association continued through the lengthy coverage of Apollos 8, 9 and 10, and CBS naturally assumed Western Electric would do the same on Apollo 11. Two weeks prior to the mission, however, Western Electric informed CBS it would only sponsor one-third of the coverage. CBS thus had to scramble to find replacement sponsors. The International Paper Company (“where good ideas grow on trees”) came to the rescue, buying a third of the coverage as its first-ever network television buy. The remaining third was split between Kellogg’s and General Foods (which promoted its new Maxim freeze-dried coffee).

Even though the networks found sponsors for their Apollo 11 coverage, the effort still ran at a loss. CBS estimated that although it completely sold its ad time for Apollo 11, it still fell short of covering costs by $2.5 million ($16.2 million in 2014 dollars).

(Among other sources, this essay is indebted to the tremendous research into network space coverage conducted by Alfred R. Hogan for his 2005 master’s thesis, “Televising the Space Age.” Hogan’s detailed analysis of CBS spaceflight coverage includes details on sponsorship deals for space coverage, along with a listing of major sponsors for each flight CBS covered.)

Although commercials from Apollo 11 are difficult to find, it’s possible to look at commercials from other missions and give you a taste of what kinds of ads you’d have seen if you’d been watching in July 1969.

Here’s a soft-sell Gulf Oil spot seen on NBC during the Apollo 12 mission – “Bringin’ Home the Oil,” featuring the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. The song, based on “The Gallant Forty Twa,” salutes Gulf’s then-new oil terminal in Ireland’s Bantry Bay.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAFMgt4FeK0

On ABC, you might have seen ads like these, which played up Tang’s fabled association with the space program:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVZz2FdtzOQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t6zoY9zaVQ

A CBS sponsor billboard from the top of the Apollo 11 launch coverage, with Harry Kramer on the announce:
http://youtu.be/fu44hY_OnHo?t=2m55s

From CBS coverage, a Western Electric ad from the Apollo 13 splashdown telecast on April 17, 1970, typical of the institutional spots you’d see from these firms.
http://youtu.be/RU-N3oeETH4?t=7m49s

From the same coverage, Lloyd Bridges narrates an ad for International Paper.
http://youtu.be/vqNIA_mMS0M?t=2m33s


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Stop The Presses! NBC/RCA TK43 History Rewrite!

Stop The Presses! NBC/RCA TK43 History Rewrite!

Thanks to Martin Perry, here’s more on the mysterious appearance and disappearance of the RCA TK43s at NBC New York. The article is from “Broadcasting Magazine” dated November 21, 1966. This would be coverage of the Senate and House elections midway through LBJ’s first elected term.

I have heard several variations on the TK43s arrival and use that night and until now, had thought there were only two delivered but it seems there were six. I had heard that, over the objections of NBC Chief Video Engineer Fred Himelfarb, the cameras were delivered by RCA a couple of days before and he was instructed by management to use them in a conspicuous location where they could be seen in wide shots, complete with NBC logos.

I’ve also heard that the TK43 images were not actually used on the air. The set up process and time needed to tweak the pictures was notoriously long and I’ve heard that time ran out and the cameramen were just going through the motions with about six TK41s handling the coverage from the floor and the 9th floor balcony in 8H.

This was the first and only time TK43s were used at any US television network, and if what I’ve heard is true, their pictures never made it to air. I think RCA picked up five of the cameras and left one behind which NBC used in Studio 5H which was the always hot, breaking news studio and also an overnight update studio for WNBC.

If anyone knows more, or a different version of this story, and if the cameras were actually used on the air, please comment and let us know. Thank You!

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Remembering Elaine Stritch…

Remembering Elaine Stritch…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnnGAanLlF8
At the link is a running bit she did with David Letterman on July 5, 1996 that is pure “Elaine”…just as brassy as ever.

Did you know she was the original Trixie Norton on ‘The Honeymooners’? Below is the only photo of her in that roll on November 12, 1951. That episode was the fourth ever Honeymooners sketch and was done on ‘The Dumont Cavalcade Of Stars’, which was hosted by Jackie Gleason.

This sketch with Elaine Stritch is called “The New Television” and this the first time both Trixie and Ed Norton make their appearances with Art Carney debuting as Norton. In the first ever sketch, five weeks earlier, Carney had played a policeman. Trixie, as played by Stritch, was portrayed as a burlesque dancer but Gleason thought that Trixie needed to be a more demure housewife and on December 7, 1951, Joyce Randolph took over the role.

Pictured here is Elaine Stritch, Pert Kelton (the original Alice), Jackie Gleason and Art Carney in his debut role as Ed Norton. Enjoy and share!

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45 Years Ago Today…Apollo 11 Heads For The Moon: Day 3

45 Years Ago Today…Apollo 11 Heads For The Moon: Day 3

Here is the third of eight daily articles written for Eyes Of A Generation by Jodie Peeler on this historic event. Enjoy and share!
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For most of the United States, live coverage of Apollo 11’s journey was easily accomplished through the same network relays that brought regular programming. Viewers in Alaska, however, got to watch Apollo 11 through an unusual military-civilian partnership.

In 1969, the network programming that came to Alaska was via film and videotape that was flown up and bicycled among stations. Alaska did not yet have a civilian ground station; although what became the Bartlett Earth Station was under construction near Talkeetna, it wouldn’t be ready until 1970.

Knowing the historical significance of Apollo 11, Alaska’s broadcasters and its Congressional delegation, Senators Ted Stevens and Mike Gravel and Rep. Howard Pollock, sought help for bringing live coverage of Apollo 11 to Alaska. Out of all this came a plan to use Army satellite assets to beam pictures from Fort Monmouth, New Jersey to a military ground station flown to Anchorage. A military satellite over the Pacific would relay the coverage from Fort Monmouth to the Anchorage ground station.

This wasn’t as easy as it sounded, though. For one, the satellite would have to transmit at an awkward angle to reach Alaska. The television signal would need to be converted for transmission via the military satellite link, and then converted back for civilian use. Audio for the broadcasts would be transmitted separately and had to be synchronized with the video.

On top of that came the challenge of choosing which coverage would be transmitted. By lottery, CBS was chosen, and the broadcasts sent to Alaska would come from the live feed of WCBS-TV in New York. However, the Army refused to transmit the commercials, and technicians at Fort Monmouth cut them out of the feed to Alaska.

In spite of all the technical issues, and even though the final plans weren’t in place until 72 hours before the mission began, the unusual arrangement came through and the people of the 49th State got to watch history as it happened. The CBS feed was shared by all three Anchorage television stations, coordinated through CBS affiliate KTVA-TV.

Since the coverage was viewable only in Anchorage, many Alaskans made arrangements to spend the historic days there so they could witness history being made, and travel companies pitched in to help. For instance, Alaska Airlines offered $39.90 flights from Fairbanks to Anchorage for the week of Apollo 11.

As pioneer Alaska broadcaster (and KTVA-TV founder) Augie Hiebert, who played a crucial role in making it all happen, stated in a press release: “I had no idea that we were going to get this kind of quality on a circuit like this that was put together at the last minute and not designed for civilian television in the first place. I think the military did a fantastic job.”

By the way, the CBS color signal was transmitted, in color, on an old Dumont black and white transmitter that had been modified by the KTVA engineers the year before.

Tomorrow: A word about the sponsors that made the networks’ $11 million spectacular possible (but whose messages didn’t reach Alaska).



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July 15, 1968…’One Life To Live’ Debuts On ABC

July 15, 1968…’One Life To Live’ Debuts On ABC

In its 43 year history, ‘One LIfe To Live’ covered a lot of ground in it’s plot lines, but none were more extraordinary than the “heaven” scenes done in 1987, 2008 and 2012.

Below is our friend Howie Zeidman (left) and Rich Westlein on camera in ABC TV 1 shooting the first visit to “heaven” in 1989 with Ikegami HK 312s and their side mounted teleprompters. The other photo shows how “heaven” would have looked on the screen.

I think the show spent most of it’s life in ABC TV 17 but in 2009 it moved to TV 23 which was about 30% larger. After months of cancellation rumors, ABC announced on April 14, 2011 that ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life To Live’ would end their runs.

While the cancellations of both soap operas were announced on the same day, ‘One Life To Live’ was to remain on the air 4 months longer because its replacement would not be ready in time. In response to the cancellations, Hoover Vacuums withdrew its advertising from all ABC programs out of protest.

The final episode aired on January 13, 2012, with an open-ended story because the serial was supposed to continue on a cable/internet network at the time the last scenes were taped.

The departure of ‘One Life to Live’ ended a 62-year history of daytime television soap operas broadcast from New York which started in 1950 with the CBS’s daytime drama ‘The First Hundred Years’. Enjoy and share!


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July 17, 1955…Disneyland Opens: Behind The Scenes ABC Video


July 17, 1955…Disneyland Opens: Behind The Scenes Video

61 years ago today, what was then television’s largest remote took place at the Disneyland Grand Opening. Here is the ultra rare, 14 minute, behind the scenes film produced by ABC to commemorate the massive 29 camera, live broadcast.

This video ends with the narrator saying “And here’s the show”. At this link is the full 90 minutes program, hosted by Art Linkletter, Walt Disney and many more famous faces.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuzrZET-3Ew

Since this embedded video is not available on the internet anywhere but here, please share this so your friends can see it. Enjoy! -Bobby Ellerbee

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July 17, 1955…Disneyland Opens, Part 1

July 17, 1955…Disneyland Opens, Part 1

In Part 2, I’ll post an ultra rare ABC film shot that day on how the largest remote in television’s short history was done, but first, here are a couple of rare color shots from the Disneyland opening sent to us by our friend Mike Clark.

Who knew these KABC TK30s were painted orange and had cool, custom gold tone focus demands? The camera on the lift has a Zoomar studio lens and the other camera is using a rare Walker Electro Zoom lens which came before the RCA Electro Zoom model. This lens was designed by cinematographer Joseph Walker in the late 1930s but did not come into being till he retired around 1950, when the ever active Walker built and sold a few dozen for movie and television use before selling the manufacturing rights to RCA around 1952. Enjoy and share!


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45 Years Ago Today…Apollo 11 Heads For The Moon: Day 2

45 Years Ago Today…Apollo 11 Heads For The Moon: Day 2

Here is the second of eight daily articles written for Eyes Of A Generation by Jodie Peeler on this historic event. Enjoy and share!
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On July 17, 1969 Apollo 11 was coasting toward its historic rendezvous with the Moon. With all the efforts of launch coverage behind them, the three networks coordinated their coverage from New York. Field correspondents at Mission Control in Houston and at several other points around the country provided updates whenever events warranted – and since not much took place during the trans-lunar coast, there wasn’t that much to report. Meanwhile, the networks prepared for longform coverage of the lunar landing and first steps on the Moon, to come on July 20.

While all three networks went to great lengths to provide special coverage, NBC and CBS dueled in terms of elaborate sets. NBC transformed 30 Rock’s famous Studio 8H into the NBC News Space Center, with Chet Huntley anchoring from a ninth-floor platform. Frank McGee and Peter Hackes, both mainstays of NBC’s spaceflight coverage since it began, handled the more detailed aspects of the flight.

A few blocks away, CBS pulled out the stops and transformed the Broadcast Center’s Studio 41 into an elaborate set for the coverage. As described in the CBS commemorative volume “10:56:20 P.M. EDT 7/20/1969,” designer Hugh Gray Raisky developed an anchor desk that stood 24 feet above the studio floor, set against an artist’s conception of the Milky Way. Two six-foot globes, one of the Earth and one of the Moon, stood to either side of the desk. Nearby, correspondent David Schoumacher provided updates from a status desk. Elsewhere in the studio were models and dioramas to simulate what was going on.

One of the most famous was a conveyor belt with a simulated lunar surface as seen in the photos below. In conjunction with a model of the Apollo spacecraft, the “lunar surface” was keyed against a space backdrop to provide a picture of the spacecraft flying in lunar orbit. In all, CBS deployed 16 cameras throughout Studio 41 during the Apollo 11 coverage, doing everything from covering the anchor desks to providing information for the anchors over a closed-circuit setup.

While NBC brought spacecraft mock-ups into 8H for technical explanations of the Apollo spacecraft, CBS used live remotes from where the spacecraft were built. Correspondent Bill Stout reported from North American Rockwell in Downey, California, where he sat inside a life-size model of the Command Module with North American test pilot Leo Krupp showed viewers what was going on. At the Grumman factory in Bethpage, Long Island, where the lunar modules were built, correspondent Nelson Benton did likewise with Grumman test pilot Scott MacLeod.

In the next installment, we’ll take a look at the unorthodox methods that got live coverage of Apollo 11 to the people of Alaska.


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The First CBS Color Trucks…Circa 1966


The First CBS Color Trucks…Circa 1966

I’m not sure if our friend Dave Minott was involved in building this first CBS Labs Color truck, but he was there for all the rest. The cameras (with no cables attached) are newly delivered Norelco PC60s. This is quite interesting and I hope those of you that worked on these trucks will chime in with your stories. Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQalMEtkSS0

CBSMUA2

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45 Years Ago Today…Apollo 11 Leaves For The Moon: Day 1

45 Years Ago Today…Apollo 11 Leaves For The Moon: Day 1

With these daily articles written for us by Jodie Peeler, we’ll follow the story of two missions…the one “in the air” and the one “on the air”. She has done a beautiful job of capturing the details and emotion of that time with words and relevant video clips, but it will be made all that much better with your recollections, photos and comments on watching and working on the NASA space missions. Enjoy and share! Bobby Ellerbee
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On this day in 1969, Apollo 11 began its historic journey to the Moon. The first landing by humans on another world drew heavy worldwide media attention throughout the long-anticipated mission. Four previous manned Apollo flights had demonstrated the spacecraft and procedures would work, and now Apollo 11 was set to fulfill the goal established by President Kennedy in May 1961. In the coming days, we’ll take a closer look at some aspects of how the networks covered this momentous voyage.

The launch was covered by all three major networks in the United States. ABC’s longtime science editor Jules Bergman handled duties from the Kennedy Space Center, with Frank Reynolds anchoring from New York. NBC built an elaborate Space Center set in New York’s Studio 8H, where Chet Huntley and Frank McGee did anchoring duties. David Brinkley (who, oddly enough, wasn’t very interested in the space program) was sent to KSC to cover the launch.

CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite covered the launch from KSC for his network, as he had since 1961; serving as his “color man” was Apollo 7 commander Wally Schirra, one of the original seven astronauts. Also at the Cape to cover various aspects of the story were, among others, Heywood Broun and Eric Sevareid, who was covering his first manned spaceflight. Arthur C. Clarke was also on hand to provide commentary, as he had during the CBS coverage of Apollo 10.

While previous CBS launch broadcasts had been configured as remotes, executive producer Robert Wussler decided the importance of Apollo 11 meant the launch broadcast should be controlled from Florida, and a control room was constructed below the CBS studio at the Kennedy Space Center. According to the official CBS history of its Apollo 11 coverage, the only problem with the launch day broadcast came when NASA’s launch pad microphones failed a few minutes before launch. NASA offered to provide the networks with an audio recording of the Apollo 10 liftoff synchronized to Apollo 11’s liftoff, but CBS News President Richard Salant refused the offer. CBS viewers thus heard the natural sound of the launch as picked up by its microphones in front of the studio.

Apollo 11 received its “go” for trans-lunar injection, the rocket burn that would send the spacecraft out of Earth orbit and toward the Moon, shortly after midday. Soon after, once it was clear Apollo 11 was safely on its way to the Moon, the networks signed off their coverage from Florida. Reporters and producers headed back to New York or to assist with coverage from Mission Control in Houston, while “clean-up” crews remained behind to close up shop at the Cape.

“Broadcasting” Magazine estimated that, in all, Apollo 11 coverage cost the three networks more than $11 million, with $6.5 million of that for direct production costs.

In the next installment, we’ll take a look at the networks’ arrangements for developments throughout the mission, including the studios constructed for continuing coverage of the flight.
– Jodie Peeler

The start of ABC’s launch day coverage, with Frank Reynolds:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQhC2EzxKCA

Jules Bergman narrates ABC coverage’s of the Apollo 11 launch:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LTGUsEv_Mo

The beautiful and haunting intro to the CBS launch broadcast:
http://youtu.be/fu44hY_OnHo?t=1m40s

CBS coverage of the Apollo 11 launch:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmHABUfjYPI

NBC coverage of the Apollo 11 launch:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiiwAfGjLxU





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