Posts in Category: Broadcast History

Laugh Along With Mitch? Why Not!

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Laugh Along With Mitch? Why Not!

I don’t know who the joke was meant for in this picture, but I’ve heard that Mitch Miller had a wicked sense of humor and that there were some classic off camera practical jokes played on this set.

At the link is a clip of the show with Milton Berle as the guest. I’ve never seen Milton sing or dance, but he does both on this show in other segments. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw8BJ-dqgPk

‘Sing Along With Mitch’ began in 1961 on NBC, the same year ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ debuted on CBS. It was done from the huge NBC Brooklyn Studios till it was canceled in 1964 due to changing tastes in music.

Although Miller was head of A&R (Artist and Repertoire) at Columbia Records, and responsible for signing artist and finding hits for them to record, he was not a fan of rock and roll. Enjoy and share!


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‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’…Rare Shots & Interesting Facts

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‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’…Rare Shots & Interesting Facts

Until last week, the bedroom scene photo was the only one I had ever seen of this show in production. In that one, you can see director Jerry Paris just behind Dick in his famous red sweater.

The show was shot at Desilu Studios and in this new photo from the audience area, we get a good look at the homebase set. This was the last major primetime series to have its entire run filmed in black and white. The show was due to be shot in color after the 5th year, but that never happened because of the cast and producers decision to end the show after 5 years.

Sally Rogers was the first woman on an American television show to portray a solely independent woman. Before that, women were mostly cast as housewives. The character of Sally Rogers was inspired by Lucille Kallen, who wrote for ‘Your Show of Shows’ and Selma Diamond who wrote for ‘Caesar’s Hour’.

The show’s production company was called Calvada Productions. The name came from the names of all of the key persons involved in production: Carl Reiner, Sheldon Leonard, Dick Van Dyke and Danny Thomas. In one program, co-producer, Leonard played a character called “Big Max Calvada”.

The series originally was to focus on Rob at the office with Sally Rogers as the lead female character and Laura as a minor one. The character of Laura became so popular that Mary Tyler Moore became the lead female character and more of the focus of the show shifted to the relationship between Rob and Laura. Many times situations at the office were still focused on Rob and Laura. This put a strain on the relationship between Rose Marie and Mary Tyler Moore, and while the two ladies got along well, they never became close friends.

Morey Amsterdam and Richard Deacon (Mel) were actually close friends. According to Deacon, many of the best insults Buddy hurled at Mel were worked out when the two went out for drinks after work. During Richard Deacon’s first season as Mel Cooley, he was also finishing up the last season as Fred Rutherford on ‘Leave It to Beaver’.

Final fact…did you know Johnny Carson was a runner-up for the role of Rob Petrie? Enjoy and share!



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Here’s One For All The “Sparkys”

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Here’s One For All The “Sparkys”

Do you have a favorite sign from your broadcast facility to share? If so, please do! I think this one was on the front of a quad VTR.


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July 4, 1976…America’s 200th Birthday On ABC

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July 4, 1976…America’s 200th Birthday On ABC

Here is the start of a three hour broadcast hosted by Harry Reasoner that took viewers from one end of the country to the other, just to see how we were celebrating he Bicentennial.

Although Harry opens with a “good moring”, I think this was an afternoon show that started at 1 Eastern. There are reporters everywhere, including a young Ted Koppel in Washington.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4_Qdoqfdd4

From July 4, 1976, here is some coverage of some Bicentennial events from ABC News and Harry Reasoner, beginning at 1 PM EST. This came in to me from a trade…
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Interesting Tape Artifact…July 4, 1976, Boston Pops National Debut

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Interesting Tape Artifact…July 4, 1976, Boston Pops National Debut

Somehow, there is no video record of the first ever nationwide broadcast of the now famous Boston Pops 4th Of July concert on CBS, BUT…there is this piece of work tape.

This eighteen minute clip will start with CBS reporter Charles Collingwood preparing to talk with Walter Cronkite in New York. We never hear Charles or Walter…only the audio of the concert itself and on the bright side, we do get to see the whole ‘Overture Of 1812’ and all the fireworks. At the very end (17:54) Collingwood talks with Cronkite again. I understand Walter was quite happy and gushing praise.

By the way, I think this year’s concert was done last night due to the approaching Hurricane Arthur. I assume the taped show will run tonight as usual. Thanks to Kevin Vahey for sharing this.

http://youtu.be/Z-fGZzS2M1s?t=8m4sRare footage of Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops.
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This Will Put A Lump In Your Throat…Ray Charles & Friends

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This Will Put A Lump In Your Throat…Ray Charles & Friends

For many years, this has been my favorite rendition of this beautiful, patriotic melody. Ray Charles does for this song, what Whitney Houston did for the national anthem…bring it to life.

Ray is joined by Quincy Jones, Stevie wonder, Michael McDonald, Michael Bolton, James Ingram and more for his iconic performance of “America The Beautiful”. Turn it up, enjoy and share! Happy 4th!

http://youtu.be/W1GEpg0c1fw?t=12s Ray Charles and other great singing male stars sing “America The Beautiful” in 1991. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED
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The Story Of The Best Ever Version Of “The Star Spangled Banner”

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The Story Of The Best Ever Version Of “The Star Spangled Banner”

To help set the tone for this 4th of July holiday, here is our national anthem sung like never before, and the backstory of how it came to be. Please watch it with the volume high and don’t be surprised if you tear up to, what most consider, the most moving rendition ever.

Few know that the entire performance was prerecorded…music and voice. In order to keep the performance from sounding thin, as most stadium performances tend to be, Houston wanted the great arrangement by John Clayton to be as powerful and moving as it was when she first heard it ten days earlier.

This performance was the opening of Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium, January 27, 1991…10 days into the Persian Gulf War. Whitney was backed by the Florida Orchestra along with music director Jahja Ling, before 73,813 fans, 115 million viewers in the United States and a worldwide television audience of 750 million.

When asked to perform, Houston knew instantly how she wanted to interpret the tune. Rickey Minor, her longtime musical director, suggested taking the song out of standard, waltz tempo—three quarters time—and add an extra beat per measure, which would allow Houston to open up her voice and the song. It worked!

Enjoy and Share! Happy 4th!

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

Among the annals of national anthems as a prelude to sporting events, few have topped the one delivered by Whitney Houston before Super Bowl XXV in 1991 in T…
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‘All In The Family’ Weekly Run Down…

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‘All In The Family’ Weekly Run Down…

Here’s a great television artifact from of of it’s biggest shows. As you can see, the show taped on Tuesday nights, which I think stayed constant at both Television City and Metromedia. Enjoy and share!


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State Of The Art Television: 1961 & The Ampex Editec System

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State Of The Art Television: 1961 & The Ampex Editec System

This great 1961 demo tape from KTTV in Los Angeles gives us one of the most thorough run throughs of video switching effects and video capabilities of that era available. Keep in mind though, videotape was still a cut and splice process till 1963 when Ampex introduced the Editec system which came after this video was created, but here’s the way it worked…

Editec was the first form of electronic video editing, allowing broadcast television editors frame-by-frame recording control, simplifying tape editing and the ability to make animation effects possible, but left a lot to be desired. They had no time code, no way to mark edit points, and no pre roll.

Just like the cut-and-splice technique, editors found edit points by stopping the tape near the start of a scene and fine-tuning the reel position by hand.

With points marked on both machines, they manually wound the tapes backward an equal number of control track pulses. Then they started both machines playing at the same time. At the edit point, they punched record on the master machine.

Two things determined whether the edit hit at the right time: the speed of the machine’s record switch, and the carefully-timed twitch of the editor’s finger.

If the editor hit the button early, or if the switch started recording a fraction of a second sooner than the editor guessed, the previous scene on the master got clipped.

If the edit happened too late, the editor had to decide if it was bad enough to take a second time. Repeating edits got tricky because the window to get it right grew narrower and narrower with each attempt. If the second try triggered too soon, it botched the master. If it triggered too late, it meant yet another try.

Typically, alert editors and reliable machines could get within a half-second of the intended edit point using this technique. Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZUbtrZUAY8

1961 demonstration of video based effects by Los Angles based KTTV. Called “Television Tape” as Ampex had trademarked “Videotape” http://www.televisiontape.t…
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The Ampex NAB Poster By MAD Artist Jack Davis

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By Request…The Ampex NAB Poster By MAD Artist Jack Davis

Every once in a while, people ask me to post this and since we’ve been on the edge of Ampex land the last few days, here is the biggest and best image I can find of this. I think this was given out at the NAB back in the 70s.

In 1944, the Ampex Electric and Manufacturing Company was formed by Alexander M. Poniatoff in San Carlos, California. The name AMPEX consists Poniatoff’s initials…AMP, with with the EX added as an abbreviation for “excellent” to form the unique name.


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The Oldest Surviving Color Videotape…May 22, 1958

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The Oldest Surviving Color Videotape…May 22, 1958

This is the dedication of NBC’s new studios for WRC Radio and TV, it’s owned and operated station in Washington DC. President Eisenhower is on hand for the occasion as are David and Robert Sarnoff and many distinguished guests.

NBC’s David Brinkley narrates much of the opening minutes which gives us a good look at Studio A, while Eisenhower gets a tour of the engineering facilities. As you’ll see, mostly from 4:28 – 6:00 and again from 9:30 – 10:30, there are black and white cameras in the studio alongside two new RCA TK41s. Their four black and white cameras are in use mostly to cover the arrival and dignitaries, but when the speakers start, their job is done and the TK41s take over.

At 14:50, Robert Sarnoff pushes a big button to make the switch from b/w to color, which is when the color burst is added to the signal. This rare Quad tape restoration to D-2 digital tape was done by Ed Reitan, Don Kent, Dan Einstein in July of 2006.

For the behind the scenes story on the restoration and some interesting photos, go to this link…
http://www.quadvideotapegroup.com/EiesnhowerQuadRestoration.htm

Enjoy and share!

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The Care And Feeding Of The Ampex VR 2000 Quad VTR

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The Care And Feeding Of The Ampex VR 2000 Quad VTR

As your read this, quad video tape is being transferred to digital formats inside CBS Television City at what they like to call “Jurassic Park”. It’s a 24/7/365 operation and the facility is equipped with just about every type VTR format you can imagine.

In 1964, Ampex introduced the VR 2000 high band videotape recorder, the first ever to be capable of color fidelity required for high quality color broadcasting. Just for fun, here is part one of the four part Ampex training tape on the VR 2000.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bFPPJgFUJg

Ampex training on the operation of the VR-2000 2″ Quad VTR, part 1
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The Ampex Senior Class…1956 – 1961

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The Ampex Senior Class…1956 – 1961

This 1961 ad from Ampex shows the first six videotape machine models they made…machines that changed the world. Here’s the lineup from left to right: 1956, the VRX 1000…1957, the VR 1000…1959, the VR 1000B…1960, the VR 1001A…1961, the VR 1000C and also from 1961, the VR 1002. Enjoy and share!


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‘Concentration’…NBC, August 25, 1958 – March 23, 1973

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‘Concentration’…NBC, August 25, 1958 – March 23, 1973

The original network daytime series, ‘Concentration’, appeared on NBC for 14 years, 7 months. With 3,796 telecasts, this was NBC’s longest running game show. Hugh Downs was the original host and served from ’58 till ’69. During this time, Hugh was also Jack Paar’s side kick on ‘Tonight’ and in ’62, he was the new anchor on ‘Today’ when Dave Garroway left. In ’85, The Guinness Book Of Records recognized Hugh Downs for holding the record for the greatest number of hours on network television.

It’s anybody’s guess as to where this photo was taken because ‘Concentration’ had a lot of homes, but the daytime version was always inside 30 Rock. From ’58 till ’65 Studio 3A was home. 1965 till 1967, it was 3B, and 8G from ’67 till ’73. This was the last show on the NBC roster to go color and that happened November 7, 1966.

There were two short lived night time versions…one was hosted by Jack Barry in 1958 for four weeks from Studio A at NBC’s 67th Street location, which was where the ‘Home’ show was done. The second primetime version was April to September of ’61 from the Ziegfeld Theater on Monday nights with Bob Clayton as host.

When Downs left in ’69, Bob Clayton took over, but three months later Ed Mcmahon hosted for six months during Clayton’s leave of absence for an illness.

The Barry – Enright produced shows ended in ’73, but six months later, the show was back on NBC as a Goodson – Todman syndicated production from the west coast with Jack Narz as host and ran till ’78. Art James was the original announcer. Enjoy and share!


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July 2, 1964…President Johnson Signs Civil Rights Act Legislation

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July 2, 1964…President Johnson Signs Civil Rights Act Legislation

Fifty years ago today, this beautiful photo was taken in The East Room of The White House as President Johnson addressed the nation, just before signing The Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.

For those of us who are old enough to remember these times, it’s interesting to recall the many famous faces in the front rows. If you take a look at the video clip (below) of this, it appears that there are three pool cameras from CBS covering the event. That center camera is shooting through a very early through the lens teleprompter. I think the blue part is actually the paper roll script with a double mirror reflector box on top of it. Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK2GdOxz3s0


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The Secret To Voicing ‘Porky Pig’ In 30 Seconds…Amazing!

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The Secret To Voicing ‘Porky Pig’ In 30 Seconds…Amazing!

Thanks to our friend Randy West, here is the current voice of ‘Porky Pig’, Bob Bergen unpacking the voice pattern that Mel Blanc perfected. Watching this is like learning to sing “The Name Game” by Shirley Ellis.

Porky Porky bo borky, banana fanna fo Forky, fe fi fo Forky, Porky!

For more on Bob, go to his Bio…http://www.bobbergen.com/bio.htm
Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXC_j5QB6v8

From the documentary, “I Know That Voice.” Bob Bergen, voice actor for “Looney Toons.” Mel Blanc was, without question, a genius. But this guy, the way he ha…
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY…COMMERCIAL TELEVISION! 73 Today!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY…COMMERCIAL TELEVISION! 73 Today!

At 1PM, July 1, 1941, NBC’s WNBT in New York became America’s first commercially licensed television station to go on the air. At 2:30 PM, CBS owned WCBW became the second.

On June 24, 1941,both the NBC and CBS stations were licensed and instructed to sign on simultaneously on July 1 so that neither of the major broadcast companies could claim exclusively to be “first.”

However, WCBW did not manage to sign on the air until 2:30 p.m., one full ninety minutes after WNBT. As a result, WNBC inadvertently holds the distinction as the oldest continuously operating commercial television station in the United States, and also the only one ready to accept sponsors from its beginning.

The first program broadcast at 13:00 EST in the sign-on/opening ceremony featured the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner”, followed by an announcement of that day’s programs and the commencement of NBC television programming.

On its first day on the air, WNBT broadcast the world’s first official television advertisement before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The announcement for Bulova watches, for which the company paid $9.00, displayed an NBC/RCA test pattern modified to look like a clock with the hands showing the time. The Bulova logo, with the phrase “Bulova Watch Time”, was shown in the lower right-hand quadrant of the test pattern while the second hand swept around the dial for one minute. Enjoy and share!




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A New Can Of Worms…’The Price Is Right’ NBC Studio Locations

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A New Can Of Worms…’The Price Is Right’ NBC Studio Locations

Frankly, I had always thought ‘The Price Is Right’ debuted in color from the Colonial Theater in 1956, but that is not quite right. It now appears the show (daytime) debuted from The Hudson Theater in black and white, however…the primetime version did debut from The Colonial, but that was in 1957. Here’s the rundown of dates and studios for the daytime show….

Hudson Theater 1956 – ’57 (b/w studio)
Century Theater 1957 – ’58 (b/w studio)
Colonial Theater 1959 (color studio)
Ziegfeld Theater 1960 (color studio)
Colonial Theater 1961 – 63 (color studio)

‘The Price Is Right’ prime time version always originated in color from The Colonial Theater from 1957- 63. The daytime show was in black and white from ’56 till ’62 and went color in it’s last year. Although the daytime show had come from NBC color facilities as early as 1959 and was usually shot with RCA TK41s, it was broadcast in b/w, which was not uncommon in the late 50s and early 60s. Thanks to David Schwartz for his help with this.




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62 Years Ago Yesterday…’The Guiding Light’ Debuted

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62 Years Ago Yesterday…’The Guiding Light’ Debuted

June 30, 1952 is the day ‘The Guiding Light’ came to CBS television. It’s first TV home was in CBS Studio 56 at Liederkranz Hall on East 58th street, where two of the four studios there had Dumont cameras. After the consolidation of production into the CBS Broadcast Center and colorizing in the mid 60s, Liederkrantz was closed, but ‘TGL’ was a big show so CBS moved it to a facility of it’s own…Studio 65, The High Brown Theater on 26th Street, which had upstairs and downstairs studio floors.

The black and white photo is from September of ’52 in Studio 56. The two color photos are from Studio 65. The studio shot was taken in the basement and the control room and bigger studio were on the first floor. Occasionally, actors would have to race from one floor to the other to make appearances in the same scene.

‘The Guiding Light’ was created by Irna Phillips, and began as an NBC Radio serial on January 25, 1937. On June 2, 1947, the series was moved to CBS Radio. Even after it’s television debut, the show would continue to be broadcast concomitantly on radio until June 29, 1956. The series was expanded from 15 minutes to a half-hour in early 1968, which is probably when the move from 56 to 65 occurred. The show expanded to a full hour on November 7, 1977. The series broadcast its 15,000th televised episode on September 6, 2006.

On April 1, 2009, it was announced that CBS had cancelled ‘Guiding Light’ after a 72-year run due to low ratings. The show taped its final scenes for CBS on August 11, 2009, and its final episode on the network aired on September 18, 2009. On October 5, 2009, CBS replaced Guiding Light with an hour-long revival of ‘Let’s Make a Deal’, hosted by Wayne Brady. ‘Guiding Light’ stands as the fourth longest-running program in all of broadcast history.

At the link is a full 15 minute episode from March 4, 1953 when the show as just 9 months old. The Duz commercial is live and the pitch man is the show’s announcer Hal Simms. The Ivory commercial appears to be on film. Thanks to Gady Reinhold for the color photos. Enjoy and share!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTUMbA3SGt0




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Here’s A Rare Sight & Great Article…’I Love Lucy’

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Here’s A Rare Sight & Great Article…’I Love Lucy’

http://www.dga.org/Craft/DGAQ/All-Articles/0307-July-2003/I-Love-Lucy.aspx

At the link is a fascinating article from Ted Elrick in “The Director’s Guild Of America Quarterly” on how the show was done. There is a lot of information there you won’t read anywhere else.

In the photo, we see Desi Arnaz with Jess Oppenheimer looking at a control booth under construction at General Services studio just before the show started production. This is probably around August of 1951.

Now this is really more of an audio and intercom center than anything else, because as you remember the show was shot on film, but coordination was still a key factor in the production. All the camera, dolly and boom people wore headphones. I would think there was an assistant director in the booth reminding them of cues and the DOP and director would be on the studio floor. Enjoy and share!


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Johnny Carson Desk…Sold for $35,000

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Johnny Carson Desk…Sold for $35,000 (Click Images To Enlarge)

In October of 2005, this Carson desk sold at auction for $35,000. It was one of around five different desks used on the show and as mentioned on the photo was thought to have been on the set from 1974 till 1981. Here is the auction description…

“The top has a gold formica finish. The inside is carpeted in shag with a “hidden” slide-out tray on which Carson placed his ashtray so it would not be seen by the television audience once it became unfashionable to smoke on the air. This vertically grained rosewood finish desk is really not very large — approximately 60″ x 31″ x 21″

The two pencils shown here were also auctioned but I don’t know what they went for. These were specially made for the show and had erasers on both ends so Johnny could drum along with the band at his desk more easily.



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The Very First Hanna – Barbera Cartoon…’Ruff & Ready’

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The Very First Hanna – Barbera Cartoon…’Ruff & Ready’

This is the very first episode of ‘Ruff & Ready’. It aired on NBC December 14, 1957 and was the first cartoon ever produced by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera’s new company.

Ruff (the cat) was voiced by Don Messick, and Reddy was voiced by Daws Butler. Messick also narrated.

New Mexico native William Hanna and New York City born Joseph Barbera first teamed together while working at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio in 1939. Their first directorial project was a cartoon entitled ‘Puss Gets the Boot’ (1940), which served as the genesis of the popular ‘Tom and Jerry’ series of cartoon theatricals.

Hanna and Barbera served as the directors and story men for the shorts for eighteen years. Seven cartoons of the series won seven Oscars between 1943 and 1953. In 1955, Hanna and Barbera became the producers in charge of the MGM animation studio’s output. Outside of their work on the MGM shorts, the two men moonlighted on outside projects, including the original title sequences and commercials for ‘I Love Lucy’.

MGM decided in early 1957 to close its cartoon studio. Hanna and Barbera, contemplating their future while completing the final ‘Tom and Jerry’ and ‘Droopy’ cartoons, began producing animated television commercials.

During their last year at MGM, they developed a concept for an animated television program about a dog and cat pair who found themselves in various misadventures. After they failed to convince MGM to back their venture, live-action director George Sidney, who’d worked with Hanna and Barbera on several of his features – most notably Anchors Aweigh in 1945 – offered to serve as their business partner and convinced Screen Gems, the television subsidiary of Columbia Pictures, to make a deal with the animation producers. Screen Gems took a twenty percent ownership in Hanna and Barbera’s new company, H-B Enterprises, and provided working capital. H-B Enterprises opened for business in rented offices on the lot of Kling Studios (formerly Charlie Chaplin Studios) on July 7, 1957, two months after the MGM animation studio closed down. The rest, as they say, is history! Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQKU9ChKUFU

Visit www.cartoons-forum.org to get retro cartoons of many cartoon studios,such as Disney,Hanna-Barbera,Ruby-Spears,Filmation, etc. You can also be part of o…
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Behind The Scenes Of ‘Wonderama’…WNEW

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Behind The Scenes Of ‘Wonderama’…WNEW

This 6 minute clip takes us into the control room with Sonny Fox as our host some time in the early 60s. From 1944 till 1958 this was WABD, Dumont’s flagship station in New York, but in ’58 it became WNEW. There is classic Dumont TV equipment everywhere.

‘Wonderama’ was a popular children’s program that ran for three hours on Sunday mornings on the Metromedia-owned stations from 1955 to 1986, Besides NYC, it ran in five other markets…WTTG in Washington D.C., KMBC-TV in Kansas City, KTTV in Los Angeles, WXIX-TV in Cincinnati, and WTCN-TV in Minneapolis – Saint Paul.

In February of ’55, the Dumont network shut down, but their TV stations continued as independents. In May 1958, DuMont Broadcasting changed its name to the Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation in an effort to distinguish itself from its former corporate parent and the corporate name change to Metromedia came in 1961. Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfo5wCwai2Q

Sonny takes his young viewers into the control room of his Sunday morning WNEW-TV program to see how a television show is made. Check out the 1950s DuMont br…
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The Very First “Made For Television” Cartoon…’Crusader Rabbit’

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The Very First “Made For Television” Cartoon…’Crusader Rabbit’

The concept of an animated series made for television came from animator Alex Anderson, who worked for Terrytoons Studios. Terrytoons turned down Anderson’s proposed series, preferring to remain in theatrical film animation, which opened the door for him to team up with Jay Ward.

The main difference between producing cartoons for movie audiences vs television audiences is money, effort and volume. Since television eats creative effort a lot faster, more episodes have to be done but for financial and production reasons, shortcuts have to be taken for television animation.

In a 20 second clip, a theatrical cartoon could require anywhere from 700 to 1000 drawings. These first cartoons made for television used only about 250 to 300 drawings per 20 seconds. To help with the lack of movement, a narrator was used.

In early 1947, Anderson approached Jay Ward to create a partnership—Anderson being in charge of production and Ward arranging financing. Ward became business manager and producer, joining with Anderson to form “Television Arts Productions” in 1947.

They tried to sell the series to the NBC television network, but the network did not go with it. Although NBC did not telecast ‘Crusader Rabbit’ on their network, it did buy the show for it’s owned and operated stations and allowed the series to be nationally syndicated.

Below is the first episode of ‘Crusader Rabbit’ which made it’s television debut on September 1, 1949 on KNBH in Hollywood. WNBC-TV in New York continued to show the original Crusader Rabbit episodes from 1949 through 1967, and some stations used the program as late as the 1970. Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3hHQvkUhJo

Jay Ward’s Crusader Rabbit – Crusade 1 / Episode 1. Like to see more?
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Fans Of Animation Will Love This Page! Rare Early Cartoons…

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Fans Of Animation Will Love This Page! Rare Early Cartoons…

The link will take you to a Library Of Congress page that features restored early animation. Here, you can see some of the first claymation stop motion, the first rotoscope films of Max Fleischer’s ‘Koko The Clown’ which combines live action and animation, and more. The clip here is two minute fragment from 1921 of ‘The Centaurs’, which is notable for it’s particular quality of line and movement way ahead of its time…done twenty years before Disney would reach such heights with Fantasia. Enjoy and share!

http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/the-centaurs-a-fragment-1921/

The Centaurs, a Fragment (1921)

The only surviving fragment of Winsor McCay’s now lost The Centaurs, produced in 1921 by Rialto Productions.
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Johnny Carson – Red Skelton Running Gag…1952

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Johnny Carson – Red Skelton Running Gag…

In 1952, Johnny Carson joined CBS owned KNXT in Los Angeles as a staff announcer. About a year later, a 15 minute show called ‘Carson’s Cellar’ debuted but petered out after a few months. That’s when Red Skelton asked Carson to become one of the writers on his top rated CBS show.

Once in 1954, Skelton hurt himself at rehearsal when a breakaway door didn’t breakaway and he chose Carson to fill in for him that night as host. After the show, Jack Benny told Red to “watch that kid…he’s great!”

While still writing for Skelton, Cason had a few other on air adventures at KNXT including the five minute ‘Carson’s Coffee Break’. Carson had invited Red as a guest for several weeks in a row, and Red came, but was never allowed to speak as they always ran out of time. Finally, Skelton tied Johnny up and took over. This a rarity I hope you will enjoy and share.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1HM66mxOys

Jimmy Kimmel was not the only television personality to have his show hijacked by a guest. In 1953 Johnny Carson hosted a 5:00 show on KNXT in Los Angeles. H…
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The “2000 Year Old Man”…Now 2088

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The “2000 Year Old Man”…Now 2088

Yesterday was Mel Brooks 88th birthday. What a career! Below are a few shots from his early days with Sid Caesar as a writer…one of the best teams ever. In the picture with Mell on the desk is Woody Allen and head writer Mel Tolkin with Sid.

Over the years, this was to be one of the most incredible collections of comedy writers in the world, with Brooks right in the middle of it. Writing for Sid Caesar, be it for ‘Your Show of Shows’, ‘Caesar’s Hour’, or one of his various specials, meant that you were at the top of the ’50s comedy game. This “Justice League of Comedy” included Brooks, Woody Allen, Carl Reiner (The Jerk), Neil Simon (The Odd Couple), Daniel Simon (Diff’rent Strokes and My Three Sons), Larry Gelbart (M.A.S.H.), Selma Diamond (Night Court, Monsters Inc.), Michael Stewart (Bye Bye Birdie, Hello, Dolly!), and comic legend Mel Tolkin.




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The ‘Gunsmoke’ Story (With 2 Rare Clips)

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The ‘Gunsmoke’ Story (With 2 Rare Clips)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ43sPt651I
First, please click on this link and listen closely to the first :60 seconds…it will reveal three surprises.

The first surprise…’Gunsmoke’ started as a CBS Radio show. The second surprise is how the series got it’s famous name. The third surprise is the familiar voice of William Conrad who was the radio star of ‘Gunsmoke’…Matt Dillon.

A fourth surprise is that you just listened to the first ever episode of ‘Gunsmoke’, The radio series aired from April 26, 1952 (“Billy the Kid,” written by Walter Newman), until June 18, 1961, on CBS. It starred William Conrad as Marshal Matt Dillon, Howard McNear as Doc Charles Adams, Georgia Ellis as Kitty Russell, and Parley Baer as Dillon’s assistant Chester Wesley Proudfoot.

Conrad was one of the last actors who auditioned for the role of Marshal Dillon. With a powerful, distinctive voice, Conrad was already one of radio’s busiest actors and the show’s creator Norman MacDonnell thought Conrad might be overexposed. During his audition, however, Conrad won him over after reading only a few lines. Dillon as portrayed by Conrad was a lonely, isolated man, toughened by a hard life. MacDonnell later claimed, “Much of Matt Dillon’s character grew out of Bill Conrad.

By the way, it was CBS head William Paley’s idea to create the show. In the late 1940s, Paley, a fan of the Philip Marlowe radio serial, asked his programming chief to develop a western series that would be like a “Philip Marlowe of the Old West.” Harry Ackerman, who had developed the Philip Marlowe series took on the task with the help of MacDonnell.

The TV series ran from September 10, 1955, to March 31, 1975, on CBS with 635 total episodes. The first 12 seasons aired Saturdays at 10 p.m., seasons 13 through 16 aired Mondays at 7:30 p.m.and the last four seasons aired Mondays at 8 p.m. It is the longest running, primetime series of the 20th century. Today, it still has the highest number of scripted episodes for any, U.S. primetime, commercial live-action television series. In ’61, the show went from a half hour to an hour.

John Wayne, may or may not have been offered the lead role (there are conflicting versions), but he did push hard for his friend James Arness to star as Matt Dillon. Wayne even introduced the show to CBS television audiences in the first episode. Here is the first episode of the television version of ‘Gunsmoke’, complete with Wayne’s intro. Enjoy and share!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln19GNiqXBo



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‘The Muppet Show’…Horizontal Split Screen Open…Who knew?

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‘The Muppet Show’…Horizontal Split Screen Open

Who knew? Until I saw this photo and compared it to a Season 4 opening montage, I never knew it was done in layers of horizontal image editing. The video starts at the intro. Enjoy and share.
http://youtu.be/fp05wtcvDMk?t=38s


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A Real Rarity…’Amos ‘n’ Andy’ Television Screen Test, 1950

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A Real Rarity…’Amos ‘n’ Andy’ Television Screen Test, 1950

Before ‘Amos ‘n’ Andy’ came to CBS Television in 1951, it had been a huge hit on radio and aired from March 19, 1928 to November 25, 1960. Charles Correll (Andy), and Freeman Gosden (Amos and Kingfish) were the creators and voices of all the characters…170 of them.

The rare video here is a 1950 kinescope recording of a screen test
of Correll and Gosden in blackface. In the last few minutes of the reel, you can see them giving different profiles to the camera to see if they are convincing, which they are not. This was probably done at CBS Columbia Square studios in Hollywood.

Gosden and Correll were very protective of their creation and wanted to play the roles on TV, but that was not in the cards. They even considered voicing the main characters and letting the stage actors lip sync their parts.

In their hearts, they knew that a couple of white guys could not pull this off on television, but they gave it a try. Fortunately they had been smart enough to keep an eye out for the right characters to play the TV roles and had been taking notes on actors for four years.

Alvin Childress was cast as Amos, who was the original main character in 1928, but by the late ’30s, the Kingfish character had become the main character, along with Andy. Tim Moore, who played Kingfish and Spencer Williams who played Andy were coaxed out of retirement to play the lead rolls.

There were a few “firsts” associated with this show’s radio and television history. ‘Amos ‘n’ Andy’ is thought to be the first ever syndicated radio show: although it was broadcast on NBC for many years, it was also sold to independent stations and delivered on 78 rpm discs. The television show went into production at Hal Roach Studios and began filming with three cameras several months before ‘I Love Lucy’ began filming and is considered one of the first sit coms to be filmed with three cameras. ‘Burns & Allen’ also did this, but live television had been doing three camera shows for years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqw6FV3SeDw


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