Posts in Category: Broadcast History

‘Snap Judgement’, NBC Studio 8H…7,8 & 9 of 12

‘Snap Judgement’, NBC Studio 8H…7,8 & 9 of 12

Thanks to Bob Batsche, here are more photos of a game show hosted by Ed McMahon taken in early 1969. On the left, a photo that is almost a duplicate of one from ‘The Match Game’. We see cameras 2, 3 and 4 in place with the credit roll machine in the same place too. In the center, Art Graham wrestles a TK41 into place…according to Bob, that is the west wall so the set would be behind Art and camera 1 would shoot the host from the left side of the set (from the audience POV). The photo on the right is from the 8H control room and the smiling man is technical director Jack Irving.



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‘Snap Judgement’, NBC Studio 8H…4, 5 & 6 of 12

‘Snap Judgement’, NBC Studio 8H…4, 5 & 6 of 12

Thanks to Bob Batsche, here are photos of a game show hosted by Ed McMahon taken in early 1969. On the left, host Ed McMahon. In the center, three of the four cameramen take a break…L-R, Peter Basil, Art Graham and BJ Bjorkman. On the right, cameraman Ken Winchester has his own folding break room at the camera one position shooting Ed.

To answer the question about reusing sets and flats…yep! Notice this piece of ‘Snap Judgement’ used to be a pieces of a dramatic presentation and is marked Cyrano. Probably from a 1962 ‘Hallmark Hall of Fame’ production with Christopher Plummer as Cyrano de Bergerac.



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NBC Introduces Kinescope Recording…June 1948 Press Release The Kinescope domi…

NBC Introduces Kinescope Recording…June 1948 Press Release

The Kinescope dominated TV recording for time delay in the early 1950’s. A Kinescope recorder was basically a special 16mm or 35mm film camera mounted in a large box aimed at a high quality monochrome video CRT. All things considered the Kinescope made high quality and respectable TV recordings. Most engineers called the process (“kine”) pronounced “kinney” for short.

The Kinescope was quite the clever device. It’s film camera ran at a speed of 24 fps. Because the TV image repeated at 60 fields interlaced (30 fps) the film had to move intermittently between video frames and then be rock steady during exposure. The pull-down period for the film frame was during the vertical interval of less than 2ms, something no mechanical contraption could do at the time.

Several manufacturers like RCA, Acme, General Precision, and Eastman Kodak found various ways around the problem by creating a novel shutter system that used an extra six frames of the 30 frame video signal to move the film. This action integrated the video half-images into what seemed like smooth 24fps film pictures. Of course, the kines were played back on air using RCA film chains running at 24fps so the conversion to film was complete and seamless.

Until videotape recorders made their debut in 1956, the Kinescope was the only way to transmit delayed television programs which were all shot on film.



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NBC 6B, Nat King Cole Nexus of “Unforgettable’ Duet By Natalie


NBC 6B, Nat King Cole Nexus of “Unforgettable’ Duet By Natalie

Earlier I mentioned Nat King Cole’s ground breaking show from NBC’s 6B. Even with no sponsors due to “Madison Avenue’s fear of the dark”, NBC carried the show for over a year. In this clip, you will see the start of a project 33 years in the making. Here, Cole, an avid audiophile, records himself on audio tape and plays it back live while singing along on the second pass.

Nat’s daughter Natalie remembered this occasion and always wanted to do something similar. In 1990, she recorded his famous hit “Unforgettable” using Cole’s original voice tracks to come up with the record of the year. The multi media live performance she created for the song is as incredible as it is unforgettable.

Nat’s September 3, 1957 clip is the top link. Natalie’s live, crystal clear performance is at the bottom link. Enjoy and share!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJuWdJNamUk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKCyUe4syc4

American singer, songwriter, and jazz pianist. the first black musician to ever have a weekly radio and television show. The first episode of the Nat King Co…

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Here’s Something You Don’t See Every Day…

Here’s Something You Don’t See Every Day…

While posting the Studio 3A and 3B story, I thought about our friend Frank Merklien (right) who worked with the author of the first hand story in that post, Frank Vierling. It’s not often that cameramen have their own pictures taken, but this is one of those rare times. This photo is actually Paul Wenchell’s first television appearance, two years before ‘The Paul Wenchell, Jerry Mahoney Show’ debuted on NBC. This shot was taken on the set of ‘Lights Out’ at NBC’s Uptown Studios (106 Street) September 23, 1949.

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‘Snap Judgement’, NBC Studio 8H…2 & 3 of 12

‘Snap Judgement’, NBC Studio 8H…2 & 3 of 12

Thanks to Bob Batsche, here are photos of a game show hosted by Ed McMahon taken in early 1969. As we learned on the ‘Match Game’ photos, there were rehearsals with stand in announcers to give the celebrities and non celebrity contestants a feel for the show, where the buzzers are and where to look. More than likely, this stand in for Ed is one of the writers. Behind one of the four TK41s on the set is Art Graham. In the photo on the right, the lady in the glasses looks like Meredith MacRae who we saw with her dad, Gordon MacRae playing ‘Match Game’. That may be him (Gordon) here too?


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Clearing Up The ND-8G Camera History: Historical House Cleaning This is meant t…

Clearing Up The ND-8G Camera History: Historical House Cleaning

This is meant to revise and correct information that I had posted a few years back on the main web site. With stories I posted in February of this year, I had begun to struggle with the real truth of what was right and what was wrong with my findings…they just didn’t match up with the “RCA Engineering” articles.

It is now clear that the RCA information was wrong, however…in fairness, the article in question was written many years after the fact and was part of a “50 Year History of NBC Engineering” essay by W.A. Howard who apparently used the NBC ceremonial date.
http://www.eyesofageneration.com/Archives_NBC_ND8G.php

As I stated in the 8G Studio article earlier today, we now know that these cameras were in fact in use as early as May 19, 1946 in Studio 8G. We also know now that NBC’s date of April 22, 1948 was a long delayed ceremonial date and not the actual first use of 8G and the ND-8G cameras. We know this thanks to recently received NBC logs from David Schwartz.

I had always wondered why NBC would build it’s own IO cameras two years after it had TK30s. Now that we have discovered the NBC ceremonial opening date of 8G was two years after the fact, a lot of questions have been answered in one fell swoop.



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More Pictures From NBC 3H…Granddaddy Of Them All

More Pictures From NBC 3H…Granddaddy Of Them All

On the left is a look inside the 3H control room in the late 1930s which was on the fourth floor level, but accessible from the studio. In the middle, television’s first ever opera was presented from 3H on March 10, 1940, as the Metropolitan Opera Company staged an abbreviated version of Act I of “Pagliacci”. On the right, a description of the kind of makeup needed by actors in those early days of blazing lights and Iconoscopes.



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‘Camel News Caravan’ Debut…NBC’s 1949 Press Release

‘Camel News Caravan’ Debut…NBC’s 1949 Press Release

On February 16, 1949 John Cameron Swayze delivered the first edition of this show live from Studio 3H. ‘Camel News Caravan’ was preceded a year earlier by NBC’s first news program called ‘NBC Television Newsreel’ which was all voice on film. Some have Fox Movietone News as the film source, but RCA had a strong relationship with RKO which distributed Pathe News.

I’ve also recently discovered that NBC’s Uptown Studios, which they took over in December of 1948, was owned by Pathe. That was a three building complex which included Pathe’s labs and studios. Operation logs and news accounts suggest that NBC had a telecine room there as early as mid 1948 and that some of the film used on Swayze’s show was rolled from there, especially “breaking news”. NBC didn’t have film processing equipment in those days and used Pathe’s labs for that purpose. Late arriving film was processed quickly and without a positive print being made, could be shown, still wet, as a “hot Kine”. On screen, it looked like a positive print as the polarity was reversed on the negative’s transmission while it was running.

Here is an entire edition of Caravan from September 19, 1952…just days before Vice President Richard Nixon’s famous “Checkers” speech. As you see, the story is starting to break. Notice the stations that were aboard the network at the bottom of page two. Enjoy and Share!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qK_3NBHJyBk



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NBC Studio 3H – 3K…Living History

NBC Studio 3H – 3K…Living History

Researching all of this NBC Studio History has brought with it a revelation that hits home…literally. As I write, this RCA TK30 is ten feet way, just outside my office door.

I now realize that this is the first black and white television camera ever replaced by a color television camera, but only in an honorary sense. I’m not sure this RCA TK30 was retired from NBC Studio 3H during its conversion to color, but it was presented to mark the occasion.

This is the camera given to NBC President Pat Weaver by NBC. I knew that the honorary “retirement” of this camera was for his many programming accomplishments like ‘Today’, ‘Tonight’ ‘Home’ and “spectaculars”, but had until just last week forgotten how hard Pat worked, not only inside NBC on their color conversion but in Washington lobbying the FCC and other manufacturers for the acceptance of RCA’s compatible color standard.

The part of the story I had forgotten was the circumstances of the presentation. Skip Jennings, the veteran ABC Los Angeles film cameraman that bought the camera from the Weavers had told ABC’s Jan Lowery that the camera was presented to Weaver on the occasion of NBC’s first color studio around 1954 or 55.

Until a few weeks ago, I thought that may have been The Colonial Theater, but now I know that the Colonial was put into color service much earlier than we thought…in late 1952. It had been converted directly from a theater, having never been a black and white facility. The next studio to go color was 3K which was created by combining 3H and 3F. On September 12, 1955 it went into service with the first color broadcast of Howdy Doody.

This camera was proudly displayed in Weaver’s office, until the then Chairman of NBC left in the late 50s. It accompanied him to his new west coast home where his children Trajan and Sigourney played “TV” with it. As a side note, this was the only camera “retired” by color at the time as black and white telecast were staples at NBC till 1965’s big color push, but even then, there were a few more years of b/w camera use left.

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NBC NY STUDIOS, PART 1…THE MASTER TIME LINE LIST

NBC NY STUDIOS, PART 1…THE MASTER TIME LINE LIST
PLEASE READ, PRINT, SAVE AND SHARE

“The History Of NBC New York Television Studios, 1935-1956”

This is the first ever, known, chronological listing of the conversions of NBC’s Radio City studios. Included in this exclusive Eyes Of A Generation time line, are the outside performance theaters and their conversion dates to NBC Television theaters. With the exception of long gone NBC Engineering documents, this compilation gives us the clearest and most concise guide yet to the production and technical operations of television’s early days and the network that pioneered so much of the new medium.

These dates may vary some from previous historical accounts. As I have recently discovered and written about here in the past few days, some shows inside Radio City were shot by the NBC mobile units. There were broadcasts coming from NBC radio studios as simulcast or stand alone television productions prior to that particular studio being converted to exclusive television use.

For instance, it is known that ‘The Voice Of Firestone’ was telecast from 8H as early as 1943. It was first seen on the NBC television network in April 1944 and continued sporadically until January 1947 as an in house remote because 8H was not converted till three years later, and with the size of the orchestra and audience, that was the only studio big enough to handle the show.

The dates here are the first known uses of these studios as dedicated television studios, that is, after undergoing major engineering and structural renovations to install lights, stages and control rooms.

In the following day, photos , video, rare documents and detailed information on each studio will be posted here. I, and Eyes Of A Generation, would like to offer our thanks to the many that helped, but most especially to Frank Merklein (NBC 1947-1961) Joel Spector (NBC 1965-2001), Dennis Degan (NBC 2003 to present), historian David Schwartz (GSN) and Gady Reinhold (CBS 1946 to present) for their help. Bobby Ellerbee

1st Television Facility and 1st Studio Converted
Studio 3H…1935 (This became 3K September 12, 1955): 3rd Floor, 30 Rockefeller Plaza

2nd Television Facility
5F… Film/Telecine 1936 : 5th Floor, 30 Rockefeller Plaza

2nd Conversion and 2nd Studio
Studio 8G…April 22, 1948 : 8th Floor, 30 Rockefeller Plaza

3rd & 4th Conversion and 3rd & 4th Studios
Studios 3A and 3B… Summer of 1948 : 3rd Floor, 30 Rockefeller Plaza

5th Conversion and 5th Studio
Studio 6B… June 9, 1948 : 6th Floor, 30 Rockefeller Plaza

6th Studio
International Theater…January 29, 1949 : 5 Columbus Circle

7th, 8th & 9th Studios
Uptown Studios December 1948 : 105 E 106th St

6th Conversion and 10th Studio
Studio 6A…May 29, 1950 : 6th Floor, 30 Rockefeller Plaza

7th Conversion and 11th Studio
Studio 8H…January 30, 1950 : 8th Floor, 30 Rockefeller Plaza

12th Studio
Hudson Theater… Sept 25 1950 : 145 W 44th Street

13th Studio
Center Theater…November 25, 1950 : 1230 Sixth Avenue

14th Studio
New Amsterdam…September 19, 1951 : 214 W 42nd Street

15th Studio
Colonial Theater…November 8, 1952 : 1887 Broadway

16th Studio
NBC 67th Street Studios, 1953-1961 : 101 West 67th Street

17th Studio
Studio 5H…December 1953 : 5th Floor, 30 Rockefeller Plaza

18th Studio
NBC Brooklyn Studio I… November 12, 1954 : 1268 East 14th Street

19th Studio
The Century Theater 1954…June 1, 1954 : 932 Seventh Avenue at West 58th Street

20th Studio
Ziegfeld Theater…Sept 22, 1956 : 1347 Sixth avenue and 54th Street

21st Studio
NBC Brooklyn II…Fall 1956 : 1268 East 14th Street

Here is a rare color image from NBC Television’s first days of operation at the 1939 World’s Fair. Enjoy!

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RARE NBC OPERATIONS LOGS, 1947

NBC Studios History…ULTRA RARE OPERATIONS LOGS, 1947

These pages were copied at the Library Of Congress a few years back by our friend David Schwartz. These are some of the earliest known program relics of those early post war days when the NBC Television Network was basically then, just New York, Philadelphia and Schenectady.

On the left is what I think is a master control schedule from January 26, 1947. In the center, another master control sheet from December 8, 1947 and on the right, a telecast report from the same day. Notice the famous name at the bottom of the telecast report…Fred Coe. Coe would be the man selected by Pat Weaver to head production of NBC’s dramas and anthology shows, including color spectaculars in later years.

On the January sheet we see action from 3H and film/slides from 5F. On the December sheet in the middle, we see a ‘Gillette Cavalcade of Sports’ remote with boxing from Nicholas Arena slides and both 16 and 35mm film from 5F in Radio City.



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Goodbye To ‘The Doctors’ & Hello ‘Snap Judgement’

Goodbye To ‘The Doctors’ & Hello ‘Snap Judgement’

Before we get to Bob Batsche’s great pictures, my questions is…do you have a forgotten collection of photos like this to share? If you do, let me know or message them in. You can’t imagine the notes I’ve gotten about albums lost in flooded basements, including from Bob, but fortunately he had these 50 or so in a different place.

On the left is ‘The Doctors’ hospital reception set in 3B. On the right, our friend Bob Batsche behind his trusty TK41 in 8H on the set of ‘Snap Judgement’ which was hosted by Ed McMahon. Tomorrow we’ll start on nearly a dozen black and white photos from that show. Many thanks to Bob for taking these and sharing them.


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NBC ‘The Doctors’, Photo 2 of 3

NBC ‘The Doctors’, Photo 2 of 3

Sorry I forgot this subject yesterday, but here we are back in Studio 3B again with more great Bob Batsche photos from early 1969. This is ‘The Doctors’ lab set and in the foreground, a beautiful shot of an RCA TK41 with yet another Fred Himelfarb modification. Notice the metal baffle on the door…it’s over the side exhaust vent, but why? As we saw in ‘The Match Game’ photos, many times several camera are bunched up right next to the announcers position. As we have learned before, the top wedge shaped baffle is to hide the fan noise from the overhead boom mics…this side baffle diffuses the rear fan noise from the announcer’s stand mounted mic which is just about at this level.

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NBC Studios History…ULTRA RARE OPERATIONS LOGS, 1951

NBC Studios History…ULTRA RARE OPERATIONS LOGS, 1951

To give you and idea of the kind of information I have been able to use in my research on this project, here are two pages of NBC’s operations logs from March 12 and 13, 1951. Notice on the left are Kine instructions meaning those programs noted would be shown live but also routed to Radio City for kinescope recording.

The -L and -N abbreviations mean Local or Network. On the Monday, March 12 log, at the top, I’ll give you an example of the other abbreviations…’Miss Susan’ is live from Philadelphia
(PHILA)-N and is shown on the network plus being fed to Kine. Next, ‘Edgar Guest’ is live from Uptown studio B and is network. ‘Bert Parks’ is in 6B at Radio City. ‘Kate Smith’ is at the Hudson Theater. ‘NBC Comics’ is a cartoon show on film coming from Uptown’s telecine studio F.

Notice next, ‘Gabby Hayes’ (F & C)-N means the live part of the show with Gabby is in Uptown studio C while the film clip part of the show (excerpts from his days as Roy Rogers original side kick in the old 1930s serials) came from Uptown’s telecine studio F. Surprisingly, ‘Camel News Caravan’ is done the same way and in the same place Gabby comes from.

All the A, B, C and F designations are inside the Uptown studios. On the next day’s log, we see Kate Smith’s show at the Hudson has a cut in from 3B at Radio City. I hope you find this as fascinating as I do. Many thanks to our friend, Game Show Network historian David Schwartz for these and many more rarities you will see along the way. Enjoy and share!


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The Demise of NBC Burbank Part 2

“Requiem for NBC Burbank”: Part II

Our friend Richard Wirth has given us the second part of his look at NBC Burbank, and concentrates a little more on the engineering and technical advancements made on the lot over its 62 year history. There is one annoyance you should know about. About 12 seconds after opening the article, the video of the first Daytime “Truth or Consequences” show suddenly begins to play about one third of the way down in the article. If you have your volume set up high, it could scare the bejeebers out of you. You can scroll down and hit the STOP button and then start it when you’re ready. I’m still looking for the software switch in the embed code to make it play only when or if you’re ready.
http://provideocoalition.com/pvcexclusive/story/the-demise-of-nbc-burbank-part-2

The Demise of NBC Burbank Part 2

Recently, I wrote about the beginnings of NBC’s historic lot in Burbank as the Peacock network completed its move to nearby Universal Studios.  The look back on NBC Burbank’s sixty-two year history wouldn’t be complete without exploring some of the technical history NBC engine…

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Remembering David Brenner…

Remembering David Brenner…

For those of us old enough to remember David in the ’60s and ’70’, we remember a comedian that wasn’t afraid to try new things. He was one of Tom and Dick Smothers’ favorites and broke new ground on their ground breaking show. The photo shows him with Johnny on one of 150 ‘Tonight’ appearances. Great article here.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/arts/television/david-brenner-favorite-on-tonight-show-dies-at-78.html?_r=0

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You Mean Oliver & Lisa’s House Was Not Real?

You Mean Oliver & Lisa’s House Was Not Real?

That does it! I’ll never watch ‘Green Acres’ again! Ever!

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‘The Doctors’, NBC Studio 3B…Early 1969 1 of 3

‘The Doctors’, NBC Studio 3B…Early 1969 1 of 3

This show debuted in 1963 and ran till 1982, with color starting in 1966. Thanks to our friend, NBC cameraman Bob Batsche, we have some great pictures from the set. Here’s a rehearsal shot with a gray scale chip chart and my favorite camera, the TK41.

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CBS Studios…Before And After The Broadcast Center Opened

CBS Studios…Before And After The Broadcast Center Opened

CBS purchased the Sheffield Farms dairy depot in 1952 and for many years, it was used mostly for scenery and storage. In the early 60s, it was known as the Production Center as many of CBS’s shows had offices here, like Ed Sullivan. In early 64 work began to convert the building to studio space and by late that year master control finally moved from Grand Central to the new CBS Broadcast Center. With five large studios, and other smaller ones, CBS moved shows in from their many of site stages. More in Comment section.

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A Genuine Rarity & Some NEW NBC Color History

A Genuine Rarity & Some NEW NBC Color History

This rare photo shows the RCA engineers that were charged with the design and creation of the TK40. Many others (who’s work was part of the development of live color systems) were involved, but when it came to putting all of that into a final product ready for production (in Camden), the job fell to these men in Princeton. Here is the team with the original engineering model.

Notice a few things…first, it is RCA’s umber gray and second, it has a focus knob at the right rear. Now for the educated guessing part of this post. I suspect this was built in the summer of 1951 while the “coffin cameras” were being tested at NBC 3H. On July 9, 1951 RCA did a remote with one of the 3 “coffin cameras” from Palisades Park (right photo). The black camera got so hot it nearly went out…it was decided then and there these cameras had to be silver to reflect the suns heat. Ergo, all production models would be silver. Notice in the Palisades Park photo, the side mounted focus knob is in use. Feedback from the cameramen using the “coffin cameras” was that it was so big and heavy, they needed more control, so, taking a trick from the old Iconoscope playbook, RCA made the right pan handle the focus demand just like it was on the old pre TK cameras.

In recent research, I have learned from several sources* that The Colonial Theater was actually converted to color and equipped with the first 4 TK40 production models by November of 1952 which is a year earlier than most historians had thought. Although the historic color “firsts” would not start till early fall of ’53, I am now positive that full blown closed circuit color testing was going on at The Colonial starting in November of ’52. After these first 4 TK40s were delivered to The Colonial, I’m pretty sure RCA did not build more until at least a year later. I think they put the cameras through their paces, made adjustments and improvements and only then did they begin work in Camden to build the 40, and actually only 28 TK40s were ever made and April 1954 is the first time they were sold. The TK41 came on line later in 1954 with more upgrades.
* The sources include “Radio Age”, “Broadcasting Magazine” and NBC historical papers just made available.


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You Mean They Didn’t Really Walk Up The Wall?

You Mean They Didn’t Really Walk Up The Wall?

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Last Bob Batsche Color Photo From NBC 8H…The B&W Photos Start Tomorrow

Last Bob Batsche Color Photo From NBC 8H…The B&W Photos Start Tomorrow

First, does anyone know if this staircase is still there? This photo from January ’69 shows the west wall of 8H (where the SNL permanent sets are now), and stairs that led to the old 9th floor control room. I don’t know what we are seeing here, but suspect the floor markings are for a one time dramatic presentation. This photo was taken from the glassed in bird’s eye studio we saw Huntley and Brinkley using during Apollo 8. Starting tomorrow, we’ll see color pix from 3B and black and white photos of 8H during the taping of ‘Snap Judgement’ with Ed McMahon as MC.

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‘The Match Game’, NBC Studio 8H…Photo 5 of 5

‘The Match Game’, NBC Studio 8H…Photo 5 of 5

With the help of Dick DeBartolo (who is shown here sitting in Gene Rayburn’s chair), and some sleuthing of my own, I have discovered that this series of photos by NBC cameraman Bob Batsche were taken during the week of February 3-7, 1968. Episodes 1591-1595, the two celeberty team captains were father-daughter performing duo Meredith & Gordon MacRae. These are rehearsal shots, and I had wondered about that, but back then, the game was different.

In the later CBS Television City version, there were six stars and two non celebrity panel members, but NBC’s original version was played with two celebrity team captains with two non celebrity players on each team. As Dick explained, the questions in rehearsal were not the show questions and was done to get players familiar with the mechanics, like how to put their answers cards in the slot. In the foreground is Johnny Olson’s mic and behind it, camera 2, with 3 and 4 to the right (not shown). Camera 1 was shooting from the left end of the set and was “the question camera” that would shoot Gene Rayburn with a monitor next to it for Gene’s benefit.

In case you missed it in earlier posts, Dick DeBartolo was the writer that saved ‘The Match Game’ from cancellation early on by coming up with the more “titillating” line of questions. As many of you know, Dick was, and still is one of MAD Magazine’s top writers.

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CBS Studio 52…The New Yorker Theater, Part 2 MUST SEE


CBS Studio 52…The New Yorker Theater, Part 2 MUST SEE

THIS IS THE BEST LOOK YOU WILL EVER GET OF STUDIO 52! This one of a kind look inside happened on the 10th Anniversary show of ‘I’ve Got A Secret’. In the first 6 minutes, we go from the control room to the stage and meet ALL of the crew members. Remember, after CBS sold it, this was the location of the famous Studio 54 night club (so named because the entrance is on 54th Street, the stage entrance is on 53rd). In the last half, you’ll get good idea of where television’s talented crews came from as they sing, dance and perform on stage. What a great crew! ENJOY and share!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgR87ZP1sf8&feature=em-share_video_user

A trip inside the control room shows more of the crew, including producer Chester Feldman; Garry and crew members play “Ain’t She Sweet” and “12th Street Rag.”

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CBS Studio 52…The New Yorker Theater, Part 1

CBS Studio 52…The New Yorker Theater, Part 1

In part 2, you see this theater like never before, but take a look here first. Notice the nice big wings and the long camera ramp…you’ll see Gary Moore walk up it in the second part when we visit a very special edition of ‘I’ve Got A Secret’ which originated here along with a lot of other famous CBS shows. This is on the same block as Ed Sullivan’s Studio 50 and goes all the way from W 54 to 53, just behind Sullivan and if you remember from a couple of days back, is also next to the infamous subway transformer.



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June 8, 1939…The First Orthicon Camera

June 8, 1939…The First Orthicon Camera

On this day in 1938, two experimental RCA Orthicon cameras were put into service along side two RCA Iconoscope cameras at Ebbets field for a daytime game between the Dodgers and the Reds. This was televisions first ever broadcast of a major league baseball game and was only a month after the first ever college baseball game broadcast.

On top, we see the Orthicon camera which still did not have an electronic viewfinder, but the optical system shared with the studio style Iconoscopes…the field Iconoscopes had a gun sight. Notice also the wedge plate sticking our from under the camera…this mount is all new too as the field Iconoscope cameras slid onto the pan head from the side with the use of built in brackets.

Below, we see an article from Broadcasting Magazine that, although it describes the broadcast of the first night game in June of 1941, it features a photo from the June 8, 1939 game that shows the Orthicon and Iconoscope cameras in use together for comparison purposes. Remember, visit this page for a better experience of this great history. Thanks! -Bobby Ellerbee


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‘The Match Game’, NBC Studio 8H…Photo 4 of 5

‘The Match Game’, NBC Studio 8H…Photo 4 of 5

This cameraman Vincent Kane behind this RCA TK41B. He’s the camera 1 position shooting Gene Rayburn while 2 -4 are on the other side of the set shooting the panel members. Unlike their brethren at NBC Brooklyn who seemed to prefer the doughnut box and cue card viewfinder shades, the 30 Rock crews used the RCA viewfinder hoods with a slight mod…the bottom of the enclosure was cut out to give them a better line of sight into the VF. With so many audience show here, management probably had a say in this too.

The slanted box on top of the small single vent door is also a custom NBC mod. This is over the high voltage area of the camera and houses the more powerful of it’s two internal fans. With boom mics flying, this hollow baffle was created by Fred Himelfarb to damp the fan noise, yet keep the air flowing. The draping of the zoom demand cable is a cool idea too. I’m not sure what the lens is, but it’s not the common Varitol Mark V by Rank Taylor Hobson. The square light hood is an add on which can be used with many lenses, but the neck of the lens is thinner than the V and has a square drive box where the V’s is tent shaped. I suspect this is the Angenieux equivalent. The wall behind him is the west wall and he is shooting toward the north wall. If you were standing on the SNL band stage, this would be to your left. Remember…Visit This Page! Thanks to Bob Batsche for these great photos.

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SNL Set Change Live Video


When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be There…SNL In ACTION!

This is a look at one of the many amazing set changes per show on television’s last bastion of the live comedy/variety shows. NBC’s first were ‘Four Star Review’ (1949) and ‘The Colgate Comedy Hour’ (1950) with hosts Eddie Cantor and the Martin & Lewis and Abbott & Costello duos. There is nothing like live television! Long live ‘Saturday Night Live’!

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/snl-backstage-set-transition/n12515Watch “SNL Backstage: Set Transition” from the hit NBC Comedy, Saturday Night Live.

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‘The Match Game’, NBC Studio 8H…Photo 3 of 5

‘The Match Game’, NBC Studio 8H…Photo 3 of 5

Here, we have cameras 2, 3 and 4 on the set during rehearsal. Camera 1 was Bob Batsche’s and was on the other side of the set to shoot Gene Rayburn. To the left of the cameras are two easels with chip charts. The little rolling stand is the credit roll machine which we are seeing from the side. Behind it is the flip card – super stand. To help orient you, the SNL fixed sets are on the west wall which would be to our left. The north wall is behind these cameras and the seating is on the east wall. Can you help with the seating?

I think, but am not sure, that these seats are something like the pull out bleacher seats many high school auditoriums have. I’m not sure if the audience came in from the 9th floor, or loaded from the bottom up on the 8th. I know that the south half of the permanent balcony seating has been glassed in as a green room and bird’s eye studio used by radio and TV for space missions, but I do not know the status of the north half of the balcony seating at this time. Thanks to Bob Batsche for these great photos.

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