Posts in Category: Broadcast History

Compatible Color TV Approved! December 19, 1953


Compatible Color TV Approved! December 19, 1953

This is NBC’s announcement of the FCC decision to adopt their Dot Sequential system. In the most dramatic fashion possible, NBC held the news that came late Friday for the moment when the network had peak viewing. ‘Your Show Of Shows’ was a their 90 minute Saturday night blockbuster and at 8:45, half way through, NBC’s Richard Harkness did a live three minute report from Washington.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojJCJIaDp9Q

Airing during Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows”, NBC spokesman Richard Harkness announced that RCA had won the “compatible color television” standards fight …

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One Of The Funniest Ever Roast Clips…Don Rickles finally get’s his!


Just For FUN! One Of The Funniest Ever Roast Clips

Don Rickles finally get’s his “come uppence” from the great Foster Brooks. Enjoy and share!

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

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CBS Studio 56, In Liederkrantz Hall…1960 Spec Sheets

CBS Studio 56, In Liederkrantz Hall…1960 Spec Sheets

With 1,800 square feet of floor space, Studio 56 was the second largest facility in the building. It was directly under 54, and as noted, could be noisy if both were in use at the same time. One of the most notable productions from this studio was ‘The Guiding Light’ and there’s a clip below in the comment section. This concludes the Liederkrantz Hall studios. Thanks to our friend Gady Reinhold for these rare documents.



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The Legendary CBS Night Mare…The Scene Of The Crime

The Legendary CBS Night Mare…The Scene Of The Crime

Since 1936, when CBS Radio converted The Hammerstein Theater to a broadcast studio, magnetic field interference has been a problem at Studio 50. When it was converted to television in 1950, things got more difficult, but why? The problem is the building circled in each photo.

For those of us that don’t live in New York, or have an intimate knowledge of the city, I wanted to finally show you where “the problem” lived. The problem was a huge Con Ed generator inside the creme colored building. In the photo on the left, the tan building with the fire stars is the back of the old CBS Studio 52 (later the nightclub Studio 54) and we are on 53rd Street looking east toward Broadway. The dark building to the right of the creme generator building is the stage entrance side of CBS Studio 50.

In the photo on the right, we are again on 53rd Street, but now looking west with the white arrow pointing to the stage entrance for David Letterman’s show in Studio 50. The highest point between the arrow and circle is the Studio 50 dressing room elevator tower.

When Jackie Gleason returned to television in 1962 with ‘American Scene Magazine’, he wanted to do it in color and a few months before the show began production, CBS rented a color truck from Video Tape Productions with TK41s. Had it worked, the plan was to move the TK41s from Studio 72 (CBS only NYC color studio) to 50. Try as they may, the interference was too bad not only in the studio with the cameras, but in the truck too which was parked on 53rd Street. Even after moving the truck to Broadway, no amount of mu metal would work. It wasn’t as bad for the black and white cameras, but they too were internally modified with mu metal and mesh.

In ’65, the Norelco plumbicon cameras arrived but preparations began months before with a visits from Phillips engineers for magnetic field measurements which were done at 50 and 52. The six cameras that Norelco built for 50 were called PC72s as they had special modifications and very heavy mu metal shielding. Everyone swears the pictures were great, but…I think that once the Sullivan show went color from Studio 50 on October 31, 1965, there were problems Gady Rienhold remembers there was a period of either a few weeks or months that the show was done from The Broadcast Center. Suspiciously, within eighteen months, Marconi Mark VII color cameras were installed at Studio 50. For some reason, they got along with “Mr Generator” a lot better than the Norelcos. Thanks to Dennis Degan for the photos. What would we do without him?


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CBS Studio 55, In Liederkrantz Hall…1960 Spec Sheets

CBS Studio 55, In Liederkrantz Hall…1960 Spec Sheets

With just over 2,000 square feet of floor space, Studio 55 was the largest facility in the building. It was directly under 53, and as noted, could be noisy if both were in use at the same time. One of the most notable productions from this studio was ‘Search For Tomorrow’ and there’s a clip below in the comment section. Thanks to our friend Gady Reinhold for these rare documents.



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The Beginning Of The End For NBC Burbank…October 10, 2007


The Beginning Of The End For NBC Burbank…October 10, 2007

Some seven years ago, NBC’s Brian Williams broke the news…perhaps a “slow jam” version would have been easier to take. When Jay Leno left the air, and Studio 11, NBC’s last daily network operation ended in Burbank. ‘Days Of Our Lives’ and ‘Access Hollywood’, which are owned by NBC, are still there, but it’s their production companies that rent space in the building and not NBC. Beautiful downtown Burbank will never be the same.

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

NBC Universal plans to sell much of its 34-acre site in “beautiful downtown Burbank,” the longtime home of “The Tonight Show,” and move operations to Univers…

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‘The Match Game’, NBC Studio 8H…Photo 2 of 5

‘The Match Game’, NBC Studio 8H…Photo 2 of 5

Behind the cameras, (L-R) BJ Bjorkman and Art Graham. The small vertical panel on the camera door, just in front of the exhaust port, suggests these are RCA TK41B models which would be the first with a single cable. The TK40, TK41 and TK41A models all had three cables and it took several utility men to handle the cabling on each camera when there was a lot of movement.

A man named Fred Himelfarb, a/k/a/ “Mr. Tube” was NBC’s camera guru. Fred was an RCA engineer, but when the first TK40 production models went into The Colonial Theater, Fred was sent along as their temporary chaperon, but wound up staying and was RCA’s inside man for color in New York. Fred made many improvements which were incorporated at the Camden plant and is the man that devised the single cable concept.

Here’s a great story! A couple of years before these photos were taken in late 1968, Mr. Himelfarb had re-engineered the Norelco PC60 to his specs as management wanted new cameras for the remote trucks, but did not like the TK42 and the TK44 was not ready yet. Seven (of the thirty five) Norelcos arrived just in time for NBC coverage of the World Series and the new Norelco truck was sent to cover it. The NBC and Norleco brass were in a trailer, separate from the truck and watched the first game to evaluate the performance. After the game, Fred entered the trailer to find an ecstatic, back slapping bunch raving about the picture quality…especially that great shot from left field! That’s when Fred told them he had brought along one of his “souped up”TK41s and that was the left field camera. Calls were made and by end of the series, a dozen Norelco engineers had tweaked the new cameras to match the picture quality of Fred’s TK41. RIP Fred! You did good!

Thanks to NBC cameraman Bob Batche for these historic photos.

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The History Of ‘The Match Game’…MUST SEE!

The History Of ‘The Match Game’…MUST SEE!

From start to finish, this is the whole story of ‘The Match Game’. From the TK41 days at NBC days to the Norelco days at Television City and LOTS more. After a great intro, the real history of the show that began in 1962 at NBC starts a 3:05 with TK41s at 4:00, but there are great studio shots all through this 45 minute piece from GSN. Even if you have to come back to it, do! It’s worth taking the time to watch! Enjoy and share!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkkxJ4zn3qY

The Real Match Game Story. Behind the Blank

Match Game fans will love this. It took me a long time to find it as it’s not available anywhere for sale. Enjoy the show and get some memorabilia from http:…

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‘The Match Game’, NBC Studio 8H…Photo 1 of 5

‘The Match Game’, NBC Studio 8H…Photo 1 of 5

This is the debut of an exclusive series of photos which have never been seen before. The TK41 on the left was operated by Bob Batche (this was his usual position), but on this day in December of 1968, he had his “other” camera with him. There were three other cameras in 8H and in this photo, we see a stand in for Gene Rayburn in rehearsal…wait…rehearsal? Who knew there were rehearsals? Be sure to watch the History Of The Match Game in the next post. Enjoy and share!

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Monkeying Around With The Cameras…April 9, 1961


Monkeying Around With The Cameras…April 9, 1961

Here’s great short clip of Zippy The Chimp on Ed Sullivan’s stage giving the cameramen a moving target and us, some great shots of the RCA TK11s. At least one has a Zoomar lens and at the end, a HF TD 1 pedestal gets a new use. Enjoy and share!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW5gP25NBlE

http://goo.gl/n8f54 – Zippy The Chimp roller skating on the Ed Sullivan Show on April 9th, 1961.

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CBS Studio 54…Inside Liederkrantz Hall, 1960

CBS Studio 54…Inside Liederkrantz Hall, 1960

Although Studio 54 is the larger of the two second floor studios, it only hosts three cameras instead of the four in Studio 53. Quite a few of the CBS daytime dramas came from Liederkrantz Hall which was well suited for this kind of daily activity. The most well known show to originate in 54 was ‘The Secret Storm’. Thanks to Gady Reinhold for these historic pages.



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NBC Golf Behind The Scenes Video…Great!

Golf Never Looked So Good! NBC Sports

Here’s the great 7 minute clip I was looking for…a behind the scenes look at the latest and greatest techniques in sports video coverage at NBC’s Golf Channel. In the last half, we get to hear from the cameramen, including our friend John Boddecker who’s office is usually 120 feet in the air. Thanks for the link John and don’t forget that safety harness.

http://www.golfchannel.com/media/tech-talk-behind-scenes-gc-and-nbc/

Tech talk: Behind the scenes with GC and NBC | Golf Channel

See behind the scenes as Golf Channel and NBC Sports used the latest technologies to bring you the most advanced coverage of any golf tournament to date.

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Eyes Of A Generation Camera Collection

I Told You I Lost Weight!

Here is one of the many photos Atlanta photographer Parker Smith shot at my home last week. That’s me behind my RCA TK11 and notice how he lit the RCA TK41…there were even lights outside the window. In the left foreground is an RCA TK10 from WGN. Behind it part of a Marconi Mark VII color camera. Behind me it the TK41 and to it’s right, the RCA TK60 and TK42. Just over the top of the TK11, you can see part of a Norelco PC60. Up top is the Marconi Mark IV and finally the RCA TK44 from NBC Burbank. Wait till you see the portraits of the cameras! More to come.

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Exclusive Photos From NBC Studio 8H: Apollo 8 News Headquarters

Exclusive Photos From NBC Studio 8H: Apollo 8 News Headquarters
The First Moon Mission: Final Look

Tomorrow, we’ll start looking at a few new sets of pictures taken by Bob Batche on the set of ‘The Doctors’, ‘The Match Game’, ‘Snap Judgement’ and ‘WNBC News’. For now, we’ll close out our Apollo and space shot week with a few favorites of the RCA TK41s in 8H. Thanks to Bob, Jodie Peeler and all of you that contributed to a great week of memories.





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A Brief History Of Liederkarntz Hall, Pre CBS And Beyond…

A Brief History Of Liederkarntz Hall, Pre CBS And Beyond…

This incredibly ornate building was constructed around 1890 as the “clubhouse” for a German social club, and was specially built for musical performances. By 1927, the building was sold and RCA Victor began recording here. About ten years later, CBS Radio bought the property for use in the CBS Symphony radio series and by 1941, this had also become the home of Columbia Records. The acoustics were incredible.

Sometime in late 1947, Liederkrantz began the transformation to television studios. The first documented Liederkrantz series was ‘Vanity Fair’ which originated in Studio 55 from October 12, 1948 till November 28, 1951. ‘Search For Tomorrow’ and ‘The Guiding Light’ also came from here. Although usually done from Grand Central’s Studio 41, Douglas Edwards did the evening news shows from here occasionally, as there are many stories of mad dashes in cabs to get scripts and news men to the set in time, especially on rainy days.

In the four photos attached, you see from left to right, the building’s brownstone front and next is a 1938 photo of Vittorio Giannini conducting the CBS Symphony Orchestra for a live broadcast. Next is Frank Sinatra recording in 1947 which was the last year for Columbia Records at this site. Finally, a pencil drawing of the stairway leading up to the second floor studios, which for television would be 53 and 54. The larger studios, 55 and 56 were on the first floor and even had auto ramps.




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CBS Studio 53…Inside Liederkrantz Hall, 1960

CBS Studio 53…Inside Liederkrantz Hall, 1960

This was the smallest of the 4 studios which were numbered 53-56 with 1500 square feet of production space. Studios 53 and 54 were on the second floor and the only way to get props upstairs was via the building’s main “grand entrance” type stairway and big pieces either had to be assembled on the set or not used. More on the amazing history of Liederkarntz Hall in the next post.



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Map of CBS New York Studios And Properties: 1960

Map of CBS New York Studios And Properties: 1960

This rare map will give you an idea of how much real estate CBS owned and leased in the city in 1960. Thanks to someone with a red pencil, we see the studio locations circled. Notice that the Broadcast Center on W 57 Street is referred to as the Production Center, which was the buildings original designation as a CBS property. In the lower left quadrant you see the Grand Central studios location and just under it, the Graybar Building which housed CBS News offices, but no studios. Somewhat like ABC’s studio designations, the map maker used shorthand and calls Ed Sullivan’s Studio 50, TV 50 and so on for all the other studio locations. Tomorrow, we’ll see another rare map that shows the studios before and after consolidation into the Broadcast Center in 1964. Thanks to our friend Gady Reinhold for this very interesting piece of television history.

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Just For Fun! Ethyl Merman On ‘The Judy Garland Show’


Just For Fun! Ethyl Merman On ‘The Judy Garland Show’

This beautiful video was made with the great Marconi Mark IV cameras at CBS Television City Studio 31 on December 13, 1963. Judy is wearing the “Battle Hymn” gown (this is the episode where she sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic”), made by Ray Aghayan.
The gown is now part of the Charles Triplett Collection which includes dozens of Garland’s gowns, costumes and personal outfits. Thanks to Gay Linvill for the clip. Enjoy!

#t=111″ target=”_blank”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZXdun2qHbM #t=111

Show # 16. Friendship Let’s Be Buddies You’re The Top You’re Just In Love It’s De-lovely Together (Wherever We Go)

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Eyes Of A Generation Camera Collection, 2009 News Story


Eyes Of A Generation Camera Collection, 2009 News Story

Fortunately, I’ve lost 30+ pounds since this new story from February of 2009. It was shot and aired on Atlanta’s NBC affiliate WXIA, but was seen on 59 other NBC affiliates as well. Last week, a professional still photographer came up and spent 5 hours shooting the camera and me, and the dogs. Wait till you see these! The camera portraits put the RCA catalog covers to shame! I hope to get some of them up early this week as he is still in “post production editing”. Enjoy and share!

#t=34″ target=”_blank”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGXZQsYrk4o #t=34

Vintage TV Camera collector, Bobby Ellerbee is featured on an Atlanta news station. The news piece covers Mr. Ellerbee’s extensive collection of television c…

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More Of The NBC Studio 6E “News Nooks”

More Of The NBC Studio 6E “News Nooks”

Earlier in the week, we saw Lester Holt’s main ‘Nightly News, Weekend Edition’ location in 6E’s Media Room 1. Today, we’ll look inside the back up studio for that program…6E’s Media Room 2. This is a secondary production space used for interviews, and a times for live reporting. Thanks to Dennis Degan for taking these new pix earlier this week. We’ll see the other two rooms soon.




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1960, CBS At Squaw Valley Olympics

The Start Of Something BIG! Instant Replay…

In 1960, CBS paid $50,000 for the rights to cover the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, but paid $550,000 for the Summer Olympics rights that year which came, via couriered video tape, from Rome. Winter Olympic rights would never again be such a bargain, and sports nor television would ever be the same as this is the first time a video tape playback was used to determine the winner of an event.

During the Games, CBS broadcast 15 and a quarter hours of television focusing on ice hockey, speed skating, figure skating, alpine skiing and ski jumping. During the Games; in the men’s slalom event, officials who were unsure if a skier had missed a gate asked CBS if they could review tape of the event. This request gave CBS the idea for what is now known as instant replay.

While the first near-instant replay system was developed and used in Canada, the first instant replay was developed and deployed in the United States by ABC. During a 1955 ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ broadcast on CBC Television, producer George Retzlaff used a “wet-film”, or ‘hot kine” (kinescope) replay, which aired several minutes later. Slow motion replay was brought across the border to America a few years later by ABC.

CBS Sports Director Tony Verna invented a system to enable a videotape machine to instantly replay on December 7, 1963, for the network’s coverage of the Army–Navy Game. The instant replay machine was a modified quad video tape recorder which weighed 1300 pounds. After a few technical glitches, the only replay broadcast was Rollie Stichweh’s touchdown. It was replayed at the original speed, with commentator Lindsey Nelson advising viewers “Ladies and gentlemen, Army did not score again!” The problem with older technology was the difficulty of finding the desired starting point; Verna’s system used audio tones activated as an interesting event unfolded, which technicians could hear during the rewinding process.

Replay in slow motion from analog disk storage was tried out by CBS in 1965, and commercialized in 1967 by the Ampex HS-100, which had a 30-second capacity and freeze frame capability. Unfortunately one of the few remaining HS-100s was trashed last year as NBC continued the clean out at Burbank. Thank to Kevin Vahey for the great photo of and RCA TK11/31 in action on the ski jump.

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Exclusive Photos From NBC Studio 8H: Apollo 8 News Headquarters

Exclusive Photos From NBC Studio 8H: Apollo 8 News Headquarters
The First Moon Mission: Part 4

Tomorrow, we’ll see the last three photos from this set, but today we’ll start in the 8H control room on the left. This Polaroid was taken a few days after the mission ended. The control room was on the 9th floor and in those days could be accessed from the studio by a staircase we’ll see soon in 8H game show pix. Back then, there was a lot of use made of the stairs as there was a large bathroom next to the control room. In the center, we see proof that NBC News men did actually walk on water…as Frank McGee strolls over the “ocean”. The cameraman to his left is the great Ben Franklin who was a true color veteran. Bill Goetz is on the Chapman Electra and just under him is floor manager Ed Pendergast adjusting his glasses. On the right, we see Frank Mcgee reporting on the splashdown operations while Don Mulvaney shoots the location of the recovery area with this 60 pound Norelco PCP 70 rig. I think the camera weighed 25 pounds and the rest of the weight is in the backpack and support arm. As always, thanks to NBC’s Bob Batche for being there with his 35mm.



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The Story Of Telstar…The First Communications Satellite

The Story Of Telstar…The First Communications Satellite

http://techhchannel.att.com/archives
Since we are knee deep in space launches and television’s coverage of them, I thought you would enjoy seeing this 1962 film from the AT&T archives. This is the story of how the Bell System, in cooperation with NASA, developed the Telstar satellite, and participated in the launch and the subsequent successful transmission of signals to and from the earth and space.

Early scenes show the clearing of a site in Andover, Maine and the construction of Telstar there. Following this, the telephone scientists and engineers do research and test work on Telstar. The teamwork of business, industry and government is then shown at Cape Canaveral, where we see the final tests of the satellite, the seating of the rocket on the launch pad, mounting of the satellite on the final stage of the rocket and the launching of the satellite.

The film closes with scenes from Washington DC and Andover, including the first telephone call and faxed photo via satellite, and initial TV transmissions, including a live transmission of Yves Montand from France, greetings from the British, and a speech by JFK. By the end of June 1962, viewers in 16 countries could watch U.S. TV programs.

http://techhchannel.att.com/archives

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Exclusive Photos From NBC Studio 8H: Apollo 8 News Headquarters

Exclusive Photos From NBC Studio 8H: Apollo 8 News Headquarters
The First Moon Mission: Part 3

On the left is NBC reporter Peter Hackes in front of the Apollo 8 capsule mock up, which is incredibly detailed inside and we’ll see that tomorrow. In the center photo, the man at the podium is stage manager Bob Van Ry, one of the origial SNL stage managers and classmate of SNL director Dave Wilson. Like some of SNL’s larger set pieces, this huge command module had to be brought up the freight elevator in pieces and assembled on stage. On the right, we see Frank McGee at this anchor position with Bill Goetz on the crane. The grey haired man under the camera in the brown jacket is stage manager Ed Pendergast and the balding man in the brown suit is Ed Voss, a top notch audio guy. Thanks to two 35 year NBC vets for their help on this…Bob Batche for the great photos and his friend Joel Spector for putting names with the faces.



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Interesting PCP 70 Docking Platform

Interesting PCP 70 Docking Platform

On the left, from Bob Batsche’s Apollo 8 photos is Don Mulvaney with the Norelco PCP 70 portable camera. On the right, from Tom McKeever’s Apollo 9 pix is NBC engineering’s ingenious, “homemade” docking platform for the PCP 70 mounted on a pedestal. I don’t think the dock was made to operate from, but it’s a convenient place for Don to park his rig and give his knees a rest.


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Apollo 8 Pool Coverage

Apollo 8 Pool Coverage

If you studied yesterday’s NBC operations coordination plan from Gemini 5, you saw the back bone of a structure that had been in use from the Mercury days on, and would be used through the Apollo missions. There would be changes and different assignments occasionally, but a routine familiar to all the players was a good thing. For coverage from NASA’s Manned Space Flight Center in Houston, NBC relied on KPRC’s GE PE 350s for their news reporting and pool feeds. Below is KPRC’s Steve Corbit on the scene in December 1968. Thanks to Art Hackett and Fred Schultz for the photo.

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YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THIS, But It’s TRUE!

YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THIS, But It’s TRUE!

Amazingly, I have just received an entirely new set of 30 photos from the NBC 8H Apollo 8 set, TAKEN AT THE SAME TIME as Bob Batsche was taking his! Tom McKeever’s photo of the elapsed time clock is on the left…Bob Batsche’s photo is on the right! I’m buying a Lotto ticket today! Tomorrow, I’ll post the more of Bob’s photos, and start with Tom’s, Unbelievable! What a great crew we have here! Thanks to ALL! Bobby Ellerbee


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Exclusive Photos From NBC Studio 8H: Apollo 8 News Headquarters

Exclusive Photos From NBC Studio 8H: Apollo 8 News Headquarters
The First Moon Mission: Part 2

As mentioned in the post just before this, the TK41 solo photo post, there was another anchor position which can be seen in the photo on the left. The darker space is a “green room” for guests, and in the lighted space, we can see what looks like Chet Huntley at the anchor desk. I think Huntley and Brinkley used this 9th floor space most, as John Chancellor and Frank McGee were usually posted at the anchor desk on the studio floor, but John and Frank would alternate up here too. I don’t think this was a permanent broadcast space, but with as many big missions as there were, it may have been kept available for several years. The middle photo shows the orbit map and elapsed time clock showing us that this whole set of 12 photos must have been taken at splash down on December 27, 1968. On the right is the studio’s “ocean floor” which shows the position of the recovery teams for several of the possible splash down points. Thanks to NBC’s Bob Batsche for being there and getting these great pictures.



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Gemini 5, NBC Operations Coordination Plan: August 1965

Gemini 5, NBC Operations Coordination Plan: August 1965

This is a fascinating look at what it took to make it all happen. At NBC, 8H was ground zero and all of the NASA and pool feeds came in here via AT&T. Take a look at all of the locations ABC and CBS are pooling from. Of course NBC is feeding the pool too from lots of locations. Remember, this was all pre-satellite days and Ma Bell had to be in the loop weeks ahead of all this. Many thanks to our friend Gady Reinhold for this. Tomorrow, I’ll show you the map of CBS New York studios Gady just sent along with more CBS floor plans and spec sheets from 1960. Enjoy and share!

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Flying Solo…NBC 8H Coverage Of Apollo 8

Flying Solo…NBC 8H Coverage Of Apollo 8

This shot was so cool, I just had to post it separately! This beautiful picture of an RCA TK41B shows cameraman Bill Goetz on the Chapman Electra crane in late December of 1968 in 8H. Behind the camera, you can see glassed in rooms. We’ll see these again in other shots, but for those of us old enough to remember, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley would team up in New York for space coverage and the brighter space on the right would be transformed into a birds eye anchor position for them…almost like sky booths at the political conventions. The darker room on the left was kind of a “green room” for guests and clients. I’m not sure, but I think that space may now be Lorne Michaels office. Thanks to former NBC cameraman and engineer Bob Batsche for being there with his 35mm camera.

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