’30 Rock’…Behind The Scenes Of The LIVE Broadcast From 8H
This 12 minute piece is full of great stuff, all shot in the real NBC Studio 8H. ’30 Rock’ was usually filmed at New York’s Silvercup Studios, but on October 14, 2010, the show was done live in 8H. Just like in the days before video tape, it was done a second time live for the west coast audience.
The show’s director was right at home as she was the director on SNL for many years, which the fictional show in the series was based on. I’ll be adding raw footage from this rehearsal later today. Enjoy, share and visit the EOAG page!
AS RARE AS IT GETS! The State Of Color 1966…ABC, CBS, NBC
Copy And Save This Link! This is the most detailed and in depth report on the start of colorizing that you will ever see. These four pages from a Broadcasting Magazine special report from January 1966 lay out exactly who had what, where!
At the time, ABC had a total of 10 TK41s and was adding color telecine and tape.
CBS had a total of 18 color cameras…split evenly between the Broadcast Center and Television city were 6 RCA TK41s and 12 Norelco PC 60s. They had placed an order for 50 cameras with Norelco in 1964 and those were coming in with no problem. The real problem was a “reel” problem…getting color tape machines and telecine. RCA could have helped, but as we all know, CBS would rather take a sharp stick in their “eye” than buy from them.
It’s interesting to note that at the CBS Broadcast Center, which opened in November of 64, Studios 41 and 46 were color capable. Although equipped with black and white Marconi Mark IV cameras, the other studios were designed for color and the lights were already there and were just basically waiting to be upgraded. Television City had two color studios as well…33 and 41 and both TVC and BC had a third color capable studio.
It’s no surprise that NBC lead the way in color. By the time this story was published, the only black and white show in prime time was ‘I Dream Of Jeannie’ which colorized the next season.
Between New York and Burbank, NBC had 47 TK41s in use with 8 more inbound to 30 Rock and 5 more headed for a third new mobile unit. 6 more TK41s were headed to Washington for a total of 10 there.
Thanks to this article, we now know that NBC’s 8H was colorized in June of 1963. These were the cameras that were used on ‘The Perry Como Show’ from the Zeigfeld Theater, which tells us when Perry’s show moved to Brooklyn.
NBC 8G and 3A were colorized by the summer of 1966. Here’s a surprise…NBC’s Studios 3K, the first color studio in the building, shared 4 cameras with 6A until the summer of ’66.
There is a lot more very interesting information here, so please read this, share this and SAVE this!
Confirmation! CBS Buys Marconi Color Cameras…October 31, 1966
It was always my opinion that CBS only kept the Norelco PC60s at Studio 50 (The Ed Sullivan Theater), for eighteen months or so. Now that is confirmed with this article that appeared on my sixteenth birthday in Broadcasting Magazine.
In another Halloween quirk, it was October 31, 1965 when the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ went color in Studio 50 with the Norelcos. The show had actually been broadcast in color the prior three weeks, but those shows came from Television City while the New York studio was being finished.
As stated in the article, the five Mark VIIs would arrive in the summer and that makes eighteen months. As we’ve learned, Studio 50 had big magnetic field problems caused by the subway generators just behind the backstage wall. In field tests of a prototype Mark VII, that was not much of a problem but it was for the Norelcos. As Paul Harvey would say, “Now we know…the rest of the story”.
Censored! The CBS And ABC “Programs & Practices” Kill Buttons
On the left is the CBS censor box with a “Video Delete” button. On the right is the ABC version with an audio and video delay option. They are used differently on live and taped shows. I’m sure CBS would have loved to have had this box handy in 2004 for Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. See it crystal clear in this clip… http://youtu.be/npF1lkKEM9o?t=3m55s
On a pretaped show, after the show is taped and delivered to the network for air, it has to be viewed for quality control as it is played into the servers where it is archived and made ready for real time playback. This is when the censors take a look too. The editors at the show have probably already edited out any of the “7 Forbidden Words”, but if not, the censor would hit the button and mark the tape with a tone and further editing would be done.
If there was a live event, like a big football game where the fans and players were intense rivals, they may choose to run the show with a delay of a 5 to 7 seconds. Should someone give the finger to the camera or call someone an A hole, they could hit the button and go back to live coverage instantly, by which time the “obscene” event would have passed.
By the way, “Nipplegate” caused CBS to be fined $550,000 but the fine was appealed and never paid to the FCC, but you and bet that about ten times that much was spent on lawyers.
Just like Mr. Peabody and Sherman, we’re stepping back in time to look at the Thursday night line ups on ABC, CBS and NBC. This should bring back a few memories! Remember getting up to change the channel?
Ultra Rare! First Emmy Kinescope Footage…’I Love Lucy’ Win
At about a minute in, you’ll see two KHJ TK10s dip on their pan to avoid bumping lenses as Vivian Vance passes them on the way to receive her Emmy as Best Supporting Actress. Presenting the award is Richard Denning, Lucy’s old radio costar of ‘My Favorite Husband’.
This is February 11, 1954 at the Hollywood Palladium with Ed Sullivan (not shown) as MC of the Sixth Annual Emmy Awards. Lucy and Desi also win for Best Situation Comedy, but due to theirs, and Vance’s comments about the absence of an award for writers, that category was added the very next year. Thier award is presented by Preston Foster who was with Lucy in her first screen test at RKO.
The Seventh Annual Emmy Awards show in 1955 would be the first nationally televised program. It would air on NBC with Steve Allen as host, but that I know of, there is no footage of that…only an audio track.
I Love Lucy At The 6th Annual Emmy Awards! In these excerpts from the earliest existing Emmy Awards telecast, Vivian Vance accepts the Emmy for Best Series Supporting Actress (from none other than Lucy’s former radio co-star Richard Denning) and then Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz accept the Emmy award…
‘Pantomime Quiz’, was a game show produced and hosted by Mike Stokey. Running from 1947 till 1959, it has the distinction of being one of the few television series—along with ‘The Arthur Murray Party’, ‘Down You Go’, ‘The Ernie Kovacs Show’, ‘The Original Amateur Hour’, and ‘Tom Corbett, Space Cadet’ to air on all four TV networks in the US during the Golden Age of Television.
Based on the parlor game of Charades, Pantomime Quiz was first broadcast locally in Los Angeles from November 13, 1947 to 1949. In that format, it won an Emmy Award for “Most Popular Television Program” at the first Emmy Awards ceremony.
‘Pantomime Quiz’ was picked up by CBS Television in October 1949 and ran on that network, usually during the summers, until August 28, 1951. After this, NBC Television took it as a midseason replacement from January 2 to March 26, 1952. CBS then took back the series from July 4 to August 28, 1952.
The DuMont Television Network took the series from October 20, 1953, to April 13, 1954, after which it went back to CBS from July 9 to August 27, 1954.
ABC finally took the charades game for a mid-season slot much like NBC, airing the durable quiz from January 22 to March 6, 1955. After CBS took it back they ran it for three more summers (July 8 to September 30, 1955; July 6 to September 7, 1956; July 5 to September 6, 1957) before the network dropped the program altogether.
The first ever Emmy Awards came just three short years after the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences was founded by Syd Cassyd on November 14, 1946. TV sets in private homes were still something of a novelty and only 4,000 homes in Los Angeles had televisions.
The show was telecast on KTSL, which was owned by Don Lee, and the awards were for local shows only, but that would soon change. Here is a list of the six awards presented that night…
Most Outstanding Television Personality: Twenty-year-old Shirley Dinsdale and her puppet sidekick “Judy Splinters” for ‘The Judy Splinters Show’.
The Station Award for Outstanding Overall Achievement: KTLA, which was the first commercial television station west of the Mississippi River.
Technical award: Engineer Charles Mesak of Don Lee Television for the work in TV camera technology.
The Best Film Made for Television: ‘The Necklace’, which was a half hour adaptation of Guy de Maupassant’s classic short story.
Most Popular Television Program: ‘Pantomime Quiz’.
A special Emmy is presented to Louis McManus for designing the statuette. Syd Cassyd had originally wanted to call the award the “Ike”, which was a tip of the hat to the Iconoscope tube, but that name that was to closely associated with the soon to be President, Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower. Instead, the award was named the “Immy” in honor of the Image Orthicon tube and quickly feminized to “Emmy” to complement the design chosen for the statuette, which depicted a winged, idealized woman holding an atom.
Her wings represented the muse of art, and the atom and its electrons the science and technology of the new medium. The Television Academy rejected 47 proposals before accepting the statuette designed by television engineer Louis McManus, whose wife served as its model.
Below left, Shirley Dinsdale and her puppet sidekick “Judy Splinters”. In the center is Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron opening the ceremonies and on the right, the first six Emmy winners.
Afternoon Delight! Now That You Have Time…Take A Look!
Here’s the whole Letterman 5th Anniversary Show from NBC Studio 8H in 1987. You won’t believe who’s in the band tonight, and Joe Cocker and Wilson Pickett do a mean version of “Midnight Hour”. There are favorite clips, stupid pet tricks, thrill cams and more! Visit the Eyes Of A Generation page, enjoy and share!
‘The Little Rascals’…Not Everything Was Peachy Keen!
A lot of us grew up watching Spanky, Buckwheat, Darla and “our gang”, but we never knew that Alfalfa was such a handful. Child actors are a breed unto themselves and that territory is ground zero for difficulties of all sorts, but Carl Switzer seems to be the lizard king of them all. Here’s the sad but true tale of what happened, on the set and off, as told by the cast and director.
One “Result” Of The 1987 NABET Strike At NBC…The Robots
In the photo below, we see one of the first uses of robotic pedestals at NBC on the WNBC News set. This came shortly after the strike.
In 1986, GE bought RCA for 6.4 billion dollars. That was quite a deal considering RCA had 3 billion in the bank! Part of the RCA package of course was the acquisition of NBC. Some will be surprised to know that, in the beginning, GE owned RCA and NBC from 1926 till 1930 when new antitrust laws forced the sale.
When GE took over, there was pandamonium. GE head, Jack Welsh and his merry band took the job of destroying NBC’s culture to heart and things got pretty nasty everywhere…from the executive suites to the studios. One of the big pushback efforts came from NABET. As you can read in the Chicago Tribune article below, not a lot was accomplished in the strike and a lot of hard feelings came out of it…especially on the GE side. This brought on the first wave of “bean counters” in broadcasting and nothing has been the same since. Comments are welcome!
In the first segment, Art Linkletter is our host and takes us through a long string of historic game shows. Ever see Walter Cronkite or Mike Wallace host a game show? You are about too!
In the second segment, Bob Barker takes us behind the scenes of ‘The Price Is Right’ and in both segments, you’ll see more famous people, including two US Presidents, than you can count. Steve Allen playing a flying piano, Johnny Carson is in two segments shooting an apple of Gary Moore’s head and giving Lucy an answer only he could give. From ‘Beat The Clock’ to ‘Hollywood Squares’…it’s all here. Enjoy and share!
50 Years From CBS Television City…Part 6, The Dramas
Beau Bridges host this segment on some of the great dramatic presentations from here, and the list is quite long, but here’s an interesting side note on the first clip you’ll see from ‘Playhouse 90’.
‘The Old Man’ was staged live in Studio 31. A huge set was built that included a tremendous canvas water pool, that was about 18 inches deep. It was so heavy that after they took it up, they noticed the floor sloped and inch and a half in the pool area.
‘Climax’, ‘The Twilight Zone’ and a lot more is here. Enjoy and share!
50 Years From CBS Television City…Part 4, The Specials
Carol Burnett walks us through time with a who’s who list of stars that have done specials at CBS and starts with the first one…’Stars In The Eye’, from 1952 hosted by Jack Benny. We’ll also see clips from ‘The Edsel Show’ with Bing Crosby and shows by Sid Ceasar, Ann Margret, Danny Thomas, Kate Smith, Doris Day, Lilly Tomlin, Shirley MaClaine, Johnny Cash, George Burns, Elton John and more. Enjoy and share!
Tom and Dick Smothers are the hosts of this segment and we start with their great show with a rundown of their production week which puts them in the studio all day Thursdays for camera blocking.
The second segment starts with Glenn Campbell and ends with an absolute must see scene from Tony Orlando with Phyllis Diller losing her wig. We’ll also see Sony and Cher, Red Foxx, The Jacksons and more. What we don’t see is Carol Burnett’s show so I’m thinking there is a third part which is not online. Enjoy and Cher?
The first segment, hosted by Craig Kilborn features great footage from Art Linkletter, Merv Griffin, Dinah Shore, Mike Douglas and more. The second part starts with Merv Griffin talking about how most of his shows were lost to the reuse of video tape stock and continues with Tom Snyder? Yes…Tom Snyder.
After his many years on ‘Tomorrow’ at NBC (73-82), David Letterman convinced Snyder and CBS to create the ‘Late, Late Show’ to follow his show. Surprise! You’ll want to see both parts!
There’s also footage of Bill Maher, Dennis Miller and Letterman. Enjoy and Share!
50 Years From CBS Television City…Part 1, The Soap Operas
CBS dedicated its new $7 million Hollywood production and office facility, Television City, on November 15, 1952. This special with Carol Burnett as host aired in April of 2002. As you’ll see as we go, this was done during the Hitachi period at TVC and the live cameras are SK 110 models built to CBS specs. Enjoy and Share!
John McCook hosts a segment on CBS 50 Years from Television City, focusing on Soaps. Special aired 4/27/02.
This is where Lester Holt anchors the weekend edition of NBC’s ‘Nightly News’ show. This is Media Room 1, which is one of four small studios inside Studio 6E, otherwise known as the Global Media Center.
The control room for all four is right next door. This was the main news desk used by Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams in 3C from 1998 till 2008. In ’08, a new set and desk was built in 3B where the weeknight show is done now. The control room for 3B is under the ‘Today’ studio in the basement of Studio 1A, across 49th Street.
Below you see the single robotic camera in the studio on the left and just to the left of the camera is a production desk with the prompter controls. That’s me at the desk and on the right, a shot of me in the monitors in front of the desk. Notice the virtual set on the wall monitor. Enjoy and share.
Just Amazing! A Parade Of 50 Years Of CBS Stars! Part 2
It is extremely rare to see the founder and chairman of CBS on television, but here is William S. Paley along with Walter Cronkite closing the week’s festivities with about a hundred of America’s best known faces. The long pan of stars at the end is really something to see! Enjoy and share!
So many people liked yesterday’s post, I thought we’d look deeper.
‘The Adventures Of Superman’ ran from 1952-58 and was a syndicated show sponsored by Kellogg’s. The show’s first two seasons (episodes 1–52, 26 titles per season) were filmed in black-and-white; seasons three through six (episodes 53–104, 13 titles per season) were filmed in color but originally telecast in black and white in first-run syndication. Television viewers would not see Superman in color until the series was re released in 1965.
Below left, we see a scene being shot in Clark Kent’s office at The Daily Planet. In the center is star George Reeves atop a short ladder that he used to jump off of when making a “flying” entrance. On the left is Reeves in rehearsal, without the cape, practicing a take off on the springboard and landing on the pad.
Occasionally, Superman would take off without the springboard and a running start. In those sequences, that start in a flat footed crouch, wires were used. Reeves would perform the move and make a leap, but then a stunt double was brought in with his wire harness to repeat the move which was shot from a different angle to hide the face.
Judy Garland…Jack Paar’s Storytelling At It’s Best
Aside from Television City, the other part of our Memorial Day Weekend special features include the great, Judy Garland.
This is a very rare audio recording made by Jack Paar about a day he spent with Judy in Hollywood. Paar is a legendary storyteller and this is the best example of that ability, I have ever heard.
I found this last week and have wrestled with it ever since. Although Jack’s story and his touch are beautifully told and as gentle as possible, some sad truths about Mrs. Garland come to light here. I’ve wondered whether to post this or not, but given the quality of the tale, have decided to go ahead with the following notes.
First, Bless Her Heart! Judy Garland is without a doubt one of the most talented people in the entire history of entertainment which dates back to the Greek tragedies of 534 BC. Ironically, her life mirrored the joy and pain of those ancient productions almost to a tee.
I have been around fame and famous people most of my life and I can tell you that it comes with a heavy price. For most of her life, she was not just a star, but a superstar and that comes with an unbelievable burden and a lot of insecurity. I think the only thing that was ever real to her was her children, as certainly everything else was surreal in the best and worst of ways.
Ultra Rare! RCA TK40 Prototype Color Camera…November 1952
Since posting this a year or so ago, new details on the first use of this camera have surfaced. As you remember, a few months back, I published the first and only timeline history of the NBC New York Studios. While doing that research, a tiny blurb in Broadcasting Magazine’s November 17, 1952 issue unlocked the mystery of just when the RCA TK40s were first used. It was November 8, 1952 and the occasion was a special broadcast of ‘Your Show Of Shows’ from The Colonial Theater.
‘Your Show Of Shows’ was usually done at The International Theater on Columbus Circle, but on that Saturday night, it came from The Colonial. The show was not broadcast in color as the FCC had not approved the Dot Sequential process yet, nor had they approved a special test permit, but it was a good test of the new cameras to show how sharp their monochrome output was to the many affiliates interested in how color broadcasts would look on black and white receivers. RCA and NBC engineers saw it in color on a closed circuit feed to 30 Rock and Princeton NJ.
The photo shows one of the prototypes and the engineers who were mostly responsible for it’s development and those names are in the caption. It’s interesting to note that the camera is painted RCA’s famous umber gray and on the side rear, we see a focus knob and not the now familiar panhandle focus.
Most of the “famous” color broadcasts from The Colonial came in late 1953 and early ’54. The cameras needed a year or so of field testing before they were ready for that and monitors and control equipment was still being tested and developed in NBC Studio 3H and in Princeton.
The TK40s did not go into production till March of ’54 and by then, several changes were made based on experience gained at The Colonial. The first change was the camera’s color from umber to silver that better reflected heat. That lesson was learned at a summer remote.
The second change was the position of the focus demand that moved from the side knob to the pan handle. The camera was too big for one handed operation and the cameramen also like the old Iconoscope style demand better.
The third change was the pan head. The Colonial cameras were originally mounted on the old friction type pan heads, but they were too small in two ways. First, their support plate put too much weight on the belly of the camera which needed more distribution. Second, they could “get away” from you on a steep tilt. The answer was the Houston Fearless cradle head. A prototype was made for two of the four cameras and it worked great. When the TK40 went into production, it was supplied with the cradle head and at the same time, the smaller cradle for black and white cameras became available. Enjoy and share.
‘Superman’…Rarities From Radio & Television
At the link is Superman’s first broadcast appearance…February 14, 1940 with Bud Collyer as the voice of the man of steel. The show originated from WOR Radio in New York, and was the second episode of the series. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcOW56uvYhw
Below, is Superman’s “flying pan” which was used by George Reeves in ‘The Adventures Of Superman’, that many of us grew up watching. After a few falls from wire suspension, on which was fairly serious, the pan was developed for Reeves to lay in and tilting and rolling was controlled by a long lever.
On the left, you can see it under his suit. In the center is a drawing of the device in use and on the right is that actual pan which is now in the Superman Museum in, wait for it…Metropolis, Illinois. Enjoy and Share!
NBC Director Max Schindler’s Day….November 22, 1963
At the link is our friend Max Schindler’s account of the arrival of President Kennedy and President Johnson from Dallas. He was the director sent to cover the arrival for NBC in Washington, and as it turns out, for CBS and ABC too, as his truck was the only one that had been linked to AT&T lines.
In the first eight or so minutes, Max describes the incredible drama of the day and the many unknowns at they went to air. He helped direct the funeral a few days later and speaks of that as well as the MLK “I Have A Dream” speech which he covered.
Schindler later started a two decade long association with ‘Meet The Press’ in 1965 and directed the show for over 20 years. As a director, he was very highly regarded at the time, and, in the 70s, he was the coverage director when other important events, such as the Watergate, the Iran hostage crisis and the Pope’s visits to the United States occurred.
Schindler’s work in television has influenced many to-be directors through his six decade work as a director, producer, and cameraman.
December 21, 1958…’Dancing: A Man’s Game’ With Gene Kelly
NBC’s great ‘Omnibus’ program, which I remember well, was a wide ranging show that on one Sunday afternoon included a half hour segment conceived, written and narrated by Gene Kelly.
Assisted by the top names in sport, like Mickey Mantle, Sugar Ray Robinson and Johnny Unitas, Kelly sets out to demonstrate the rhythm and coordination required of great athletes. He also traces the history of modern American dance, and sets out to prove that dancing is, not the property of women but that, rightfully, it’s “a man’s game.”
The show was done at NBC Brooklyn and the cameraman in the black and white photo is Don Mulvaney (who by the way was also the main crane cameraman on Perry Como and the original crane cameraman on ‘Saturday Night Live’). The color photo is from another scene in the show.
Quite Rare: Barbara Walters…The Lucy Interview, 1977
This is the only known full presentation of Walters’ famous interview with Lucille Ball. Unfortunately, there are not many surviving interviews with Lucy, and none as in depth or as deep as this one. This is Barbara at her best! Enjoy and share.
First, the link to part two is at the bottom of this post, and at this link is the Emmy Legends article of how this all came to be, complete with video interviews from Carl Reiner, Sheldon Leonard, Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. http://www.emmytvlegends.org/blog/?p=3849
This is part of the text from the Emmy Legends story on the pilot show called ‘Head Of The Family’ that starred Carl Reiner as Rob Petrie. Read on…
Back in the summer of 1958, Carl Reiner, already an established writer and supporting actor on Sid Caesar’s ‘Your Show of Shows’, sought to create a sitcom in which he would star. He followed the adage of “write what you know” and created thirteen scripts of ‘Head of the Family’, a largely autobiographical series centered around Rob Petrie, head writer of “The Alan Sturdy Show.” Rob was married to Laura, they had a six-year-old son, Ritchie, and Buddy and Sally were Rob’s cohorts in the writers’ room. Sound familiar?
Reiner’s agent, Harry Kalcheim, shopped the Head of the Family pilot script around, and actor Peter Lawford wanted to front the money to shoot the pilot. Once Reiner sent a script to Lawford’s father-in-law and supplier of the cash, Joseph P. Kennedy, Reiner was given the green light.
The pilot was shot in December of 1958 in New York, with Reiner starring as Rob, Barbara Britton as Laura, Gary Morgan as Ritchie, Sylvia Miles as Sally, and Morty Gunty as Buddy. And then … nothing. The pilot failed to sell for the Fall 1959 season, and for the next year, Reiner thought the project was dead. But Kalcheim refused to abandon the show. He presented the pilot episode to another client of his, producer Sheldon Leonard.
Already a successful creator/producer of The Andy Griffith Show, and producer of The Danny Thomas Show, Leonard recognized genius in Head of the Family, but identified one major flaw: Reiner completely miscast himself as Rob Petrie. It’s difficult to see how Reiner could be wrong for a role that he based on himself, but Reiner was a natural sketch performer, not a sitcom actor.
The rest of this fascinating story is at the link above. It, and the video interviews are must see for fans of the show and it’s great legacy.