Posts in Category: Broadcast History

Rare! CBS Studio 41 (Grand Central) Spec Sheets…1960

Ultra Rare! CBS Studio 41 (Grand Central) Spec Sheets…1960

At 44′ X 60′, this is the smaller of the two studios at 15 Vanderbilt Avenue. The CBS Grand Central studios were on the third floor and the scenery door was on Depew Place at the building’s southeast entrance. CBS had been in this location since 1936 and stayed till 1964. I think 41 was Walter Cronkite’s home base before the move to the Broadcast Center. I will be posting the spec sheets from the other Grand Central studios in the coming days, but have more research to do in advance of that. Notice on the third page, it states that one of the four cameras was mounted on a “long tongue” Houston Fearless Panoram dolly that was shared with Studio 42. I will be posting photos of that rarity and some other shots from Grand Central just after this post. Many thanks to Gady Rienhold for this information.



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Director Jerry Foley…’The Late Show With David Letterman’

Director Jerry Foley…’The Late Show With David Letterman’

http://www.dga.org/Craft/DGAQ/All-Articles/0902-Summer-2009/Television-Directing-David-Letterman.aspx
If you can imagine paving a road while staying ten feet in front of a car going eighty miles and hour, you get an idea of what Jerry Foley’s job is like. Jerry took over ‘Late Night’ directing duties from Hal Gurnee in 1995, but as an NBC technical director, had joined the team much earlier. The Directors Guild article at the link above is an excellent read on how the show works, and why. In it, you’ll also meet some of the many people that help make the show as fresh as new fallen snow, but as comfortable and familiar as your favorite chair. David Letterman is brilliant. Staying ahead of him is not easy, but…that’s Jerry’s job. Congratulations to everyone there for so many years of a job well done.

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The Great Carsoni…


The Great Carsoni…

While were showing clips of great late night hijinx with cameras in the frame, here’s a look at a TK44, as Johnny chases down producer Fred De Cordova. Fred was a pro and knew when to run. He’d started in television in 1950 as the director of shows like ‘The Jack Benny Show’ ‘George Burns and Gracie Allen Show’, ‘The Bob Cummings Show’, ‘The George Gobel Show’, ‘December Bride’, ‘Leave It to Beaver’, ‘My Three Sons’ and ‘The Smothers Brothers’. Thanks to Albert McGilvray for the clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Wz8lhPhWVg

Johnny Carson’s joke bombs about Brooke Shields going to college and Fred deCordova leaves the set of The Tonight Show Starring. Johnny makes a comeback when…

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Our Friend Dave Dorsett…With David Letterman


Speaking Of Dave Dorsett…

Following up on the post just before this, here is 45 year CBS veteran cameraman Dave Dorsett playing with David Letterman a few years back. Dorsett was with Letterman since his move to CBS and before that, he was everywhere Walter Cronkite was. You name it and Dave Dorsett has shot it…sports, news, entertainment, all of it. He’s a real legend!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgIAhEqK3DY

Letterman cameraman day dreaming

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Director Glenn Weiss…Neil Patrick Harris Tony Show


Director Glenn Weiss…One Hell Of A Show! Must See TV!

Although it’s Oscar week, we are also featuring television directors this week too. This fantastic video clip is from the Emmy winning Tony Awards show of 2012 and not only shows the awesome on camera performance by Neil Patrick Harris, but also the scene from the truck as Glenn Wiess directs. Thanks to Andy Rose for the clip and thanks to Neil and Glenn for an unforgettable night of television! Below are some of Glenn’s credits. Please share this.

Director: CBS: Tony’s, Primetime Emmy’s, Boston Pops 4th of July, Academy of Country Music Awards, Thanksgiving Day Parade, America’s Millenium. NBC: Miss USA & Universe, Biggest Loser Finale, GQ Awards, Singing Bee. ABC: American Music Awards, Rockin’ New Years Eve, Daytime Emmy’s, ABC 50th, Obama Inaugural Ball. Fox: Essence Awards, Red Cross Christmas, America’s Most Wanted. Other: BET Awards, Kids Choice Awards, Christmas in Washington, Democratic National Convention, Labor Day Telethon, Star Search, Donny and Marie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbCQxtK545o

Tony Awards director Glenn Weiss created this split screen version of the behind the scenes opening number. Interesting to see the real time action.

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1950 State Of The Art Telecine Graphics

1950 State Of The Art Telecine Graphics

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So Close, So Far Away…The ‘Today’ Show’s Original Home

So Close, So Far Away…The ‘Today’ Show’s Original Home

Circled in white is the ‘Today’ show’s original studio location. When the show debuted January 14th of 1952, this part of the building that is now occupied by Christie’s (auction house) was called The RCA Exhibition Hall. In the summer of 1958, television manufacturer Philco complained to NBC that staging ‘Today’ in a studio explicitly called the RCA Exhibition Hall was unfair (RCA owned NBC at the time). The network bowed to the pressure, and on July 7, 1958, Today moved across the street to Studio 3K in the RCA Building, where it remained through the early 1960s. On July 9, 1962, the program returned to a street side studio in the space then occupied by what was called “the Florida Showcase”. No one that I know, knows exactly where that was, but I think it was possibly just above where the white oval is in the twin space of where the RCA Exhibit was. Do you know? By ’65, NBC had gone all color and they moved the show back inside 30 Rock where it stayed for twenty years. In early 1994, NBC bought the Eastern Airlines building and began converting it to a television studio. June 20, 1994, ‘Today’ debuted from street side once again in Studio 1A, where the show remains and that space just under the white oval. Thanks to Dennis Degan for his help with the map.


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How Big Are The NBC Studios At 30 Rock?

How Big Are The NBC Studios At 30 Rock?

When I saw the Seth Meyers debut Monday night, I wondered why they had not gone with a bigger set, but I had forgotten that with 8H taking up 10,000 square feet of that floor, 8G is actually considerably smaller that the 6th floor studios.

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An Oscar Week Favorite…Lewis Horvitz Directing The Awards


An Oscar Week Favorite…Lewis Horvitz Directing The Awards

Here’s a video several have requested. From the 69th Annual Academy Awards show, here’s the director in the truck at the Shrine Auditorium on March 24, 1997. Gil Cates produced. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vLVbhuzWOk

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‘Late Night With Seth Meyers’…The Debut Reviews Are In

‘Late Night With Seth Meyers’…The Debut Reviews Are In

“Safe” seems to be a key word in several of the pieces I’ve seen this morning. What did you think?

In his ‘Late Night’ debut, Seth Meyers is strong but plays it safe

On March 3rd, 2009, a 34-year old Jimmy Fallon stepped out for his first show as host of NBC’s Late Night, taking over for Conan O’Brien. Fallon, visibly nervous, paced left and right as he ran…

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Thank You For Helping Me Make Snowballs! A Personal Message…

Thank You For Helping Me Make Snowballs! A Personal Message…

As a body of television history, Eyes Of A Generation is like the snowball that gets bigger and bigger as it rolls down the hill. I am the snowball maker, you guys are the snow covered hill…without which, the snowball would not get any bigger. I am constantly amazed by the extra added facts and information that come from you, and very thankful for your input.

Unfortunately, there is not always solid information out there on the topics we cover here, and due to that, I am not always one hundred percent correct, but I’m doing the best I can with the facts I can find, so please bear with me. The things you ask, send in and add with your comments is incredible and greatly appreciated by all of us playing with this huge puzzle. Those pieces add up and the next time we revisit a past topic, the snowball we start with is a bit bigger, and it’s all thanks to you. I couldn’t do this without you! Each of you! I hope you enjoy the ride! -Bobby Ellerbee

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NBC 3rd Floor 1933 Configuration

EXCLUSIVE ULTRA RARITY! NBC 3rd Floor 1933 Configuration

For once and for all, this will put to rest any doubts on the history of the conversion of NBC Studio 3H to 3K. Until yesterday, when I received this drawing of the original 1933 radio studio configuration, there had never been a reliable floor plan available anywhere earlier than one from around 2000, and that one only had tiny amounts of this information. Studio 3K was created in the fall of 1955 by combining Studio 3H and 3F and transforming it from black and white to color. Unfortunately, previous reports have stated that 3H was adjacent to 3C and the two were combined to make 3K, but as you can clearly see, that would be impossible.

If you remember, 3H was the first radio studio converted to television in 1935 and served as the home of RCA/NBC’s experimental broadcasts with the Iconoscope cameras and in 1951, the RCA color “coffin cameras” began their tests in 3H. At the time of their combining, 3F was still a radio studio.

Ed Reitan and I have had several conversations about this and with the people we have talked to that were there at the time, we have never doubted this history, but neither of us had never seen this floor plan before which is a great help. You can see Ed’s account of this at his great site, http://www.novia.net/~ereitan/studios.html

I’m not positive, but I think this would be the first operational color studio inside 30 Rockefeller Plaza. NBC began live color operations at the Colonial Theater in 1953 with RCA TK40s. Like in Studio 6B where columns were recenlty removed for the return of ‘Tonignt’, columns were a problem in creating 3K as well and two large columns had to be removed from the wall between 3H and 3F.

We all owe a huge Thank You to our new friend Joel Spector for sharing this drawing, and other floor plans to come, and to Gady Reinhold for introducing me to his childhood friend. Joel started with NBC in 1965 and Gady with CBS in 1966, but as kids and teens, they went to hundreds of live broadcasts all over the city. Joel is now semi retired but still plays all the music on the great Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade annually and works with the legendary Milton Delugg, who at 95, is still the parade’s musical director. Joel was also on the original SNL crew and still does audio occasionally on ‘Nightly News’, ‘Today’ and other shows when needed. More on Joel and Gady soon!

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NBC 67th Street Studios Control Room

NBC 67th Street Studios Control Room

In the two ‘Password’ posts just before this, we go over a lot of the history of this studio, but here is a one of a kind shot from our friend Gady Reinhold. ‘From These Roots’ was in rehearsal at the time Gady took this shot around 1959. This NBC soap opera, which ran from June 1958 till the fall of 1961, was created and written by Frank Provo and John Pickard. This was the first successful daytime drama for Ann Flood who later became well known for, and spent the better part of two decades playing Nancy Karr on ‘The Edge of Night’. The show was directed by Joseph Behar and featured a storyline dealing with the show-within-a-show. Gady also took the photos inside the Video Tape Center (which this property became in late 1961) in the prior post. Many Thanks Gady!

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Video Tape Center

The Password Is “Video Tape Center”…The Answer, Part 2

From time to time, all of the networks leased studio space in New York outside of their usual production facilities. In the early ’50s, CBS even leased a couple of studios at Dumont and that’s why occasionally, we see pictures of Dumont cameras on CBS sets. The ‘Password’ episode below was taped at Video Tape Center at the
67th Street Studios at 101 West 67th Street. NBC had leased that property in the early ’50s and that’s were ‘The Home Show’ with Arlene Francis (1954-1957) originated, as well as the ‘Concentration’ primetime version in 1958 in Studio A.

NBC sold the property in 1961 and it was bought by Ampex which owned The Video Tape Center. Ampex was also the US distributor for Marconi, thus the Mark IV cameras in the photos. They kept the property from 1961-1970 and more than likely the ‘Password’ video in the prior post was shot with Marconi Mark VII color cameras, although early on VTC had access to RCA TK41s as well via a mobile production truck parked outside. These photos are from the very early VTC days and show some RCA color equipment left by NBC and new Marconi CCUs as well. This building originally had four studios which were later converted to two.

Video Tape Center was always more than just a first class production house though. Ampex used the facility to develop new tape technologies as well, and what better place? A lot of innovate commercials came out of VTP including the Hertz spots that “put you in the drivers seat”. The linked spot was shot on film in Miami, but the fly in effect was achieved in the VTC studio and editing suites. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4cseXC3ols

After VTC sold the property, this became ABC Studio TV-18/19 (1970 to 1990), and was the production facility for ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Live to Live’ before they moved to ABC TV-17. Demolished in 1995, the site is now the fifty story Millennium Tower apartment building.



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NBC Television Network Map…July 1, 1948

NBC Television Network Map…July 1, 1948

In early 1946, NBC’s television network consisted of only NYC and Philadelphia. By early 1947, Schenectady joined in making it a three city linkup. This 1948 map shows that Boston, Baltimore, Washington and Richmond have been added making seven cities linked in the network. Twelve more will be added during 1949. There were more NBC television affiliate stations than are shown here, but their programs arrived in the mail as kinescope films. Only in the linked cities could the same episodes of the same shows be seen at a regularly scheduled time. Shows that aired on a Monday on the network may have aired on Friday at unlinked affiliates. By 1952, pretty much all of the affiliates for all networks nation wide were linked in, but even up into the early 1960s, some stations were affiliated with more than one network and would pick and choose the shows they aired locally, and would take those shows as they were fed down the AT&T network lines.

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‘Tonight Show’ Camera Coup


‘Tonight Show’ Camera Coup

It appears the first rate production team at Fallon’s new ‘Tonight’ show have made new strides in putting all their resources to good use in cutting edge camera work. Notice the lead singer of Arcade Fire is actually holding, and singing to, one of the studio’s hand held cameras at the start of this clip. The Stedicam gets a good work out and later, the rail camera over the audience pitches in too. Thanks to Steven Davis for the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjIteMfDOo4&feature=youtu.be

“AFTERLIFE” (LIVE ON THE TONIGHT SHOW) from Arcade Fire’s new album Reflektor GET THE NEW ALBUM REFLEKTOR: iTunes: http://smarturl.it/reflektoralbumit Amazon…

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Director Troy Miller…Another Of His Great Opening Parodies

Director Troy Miller…Another Of His Great Opening Parodies

This is another of Troy Miller’s Oscar openings described in the article posted earlier today. This is from the 2012 awards show and the video is available inside this “Hollywood Reporter” article.
Great work from Troy and company, as usual! Enjoy!

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/oscars-billy-crystal-movie-montage-justin-bieber-295229

Oscars 2012: Billy Crystal Spoofs the Year in Film With Help From Justin Bieber, George Clooney…

Billy Crystal kicked off the 84th Annual Academy Awards with the long-held tradition of recognizing the year in film. In his signature style, the nine-time Oscar host filmed a video montage, injecting himself into the main plot lines of the most memorable movies of the past year. PHOTOS: Oscars 2012…

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Meet Sullivan Associate Producer, Jacques Andre

Meet Sullivan Associate Producer, Jacques Andre

On Sunday nights, between 8 and 9 PM, Jacques was the “middle man” on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’. During the week, he worked for producer Bob Precht, but on show night, he stood with Ed at the side of the stage keeping the show’s running time and was the hub between the control room, stage manager Eddie Brinkmann and Sullivan. Although quite capable, he would always feel the need throw up before each show. On the right, Jacques is holding the Q card and on the left is standing behind Ed. He looks a little different as the left photo is three weeks after the tape session and live show and was taken during dress rehearsal of the February 23 show. In the monitor, you can see the tape slate for the Beatles video insert. The Q card on the boom has at the top, the band members names and the second two blurbs list the songs in each set.


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A Meeting Of The Minds…The Directors And The Beatles

A Meeting Of The Minds…The Directors And The Beatles

The first picture on the left was shot after the Saturday morning rehearsal on February 8, 1964…the more relaxed day of the weekend. In one of the world’s most unique photos, we find assistant director John Moffit posed behind Ringo’s black oyster pearl Ludwig drums (without his glasses). In the center we see Sullivan director Tim Kiley writing and behind him (with glasses) is assistant director John Moffit with Paul and Ringo. On the right, John Moffit and Tim Kiley with the whole band on Sunday morning.



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‘Hour Glass’…A Television First

‘Hour Glass’…A Television First

(Note: Pay attention to the third paragraph in regard to the NBC ND 8G camera questions. I think this settles it.)

This show was network television’s first rehearsed, non-reality program. It was a one hour variety/sketch comedy show hosted by Helen Parrish. Parrish had been a child film star and she became the first popular TV star. With the lessons learned and a new host and sponsor, NBC would bring this show back in 1948 in a tighter and more structured form as, ‘The Texaco Star Theater’ with Milton Berle. ‘Hour Glass’ debuted on NBC in television’s first ever “fall season” and ran from 8 till 9 PM on Thursday nights from May 8, 1946 till March 6, 1947. In 1946, NBC only had 10 shows on the network which covered NYC, Schenectady and Philadelphia but that was twice as many as the only other network offering television and that was Dumont. On Thursday nights, ‘Hour Glass’ was preceded on the network by the 10 minute ‘Esso News Reel’ at 7:50 and followed by local programs. ‘Hour Glass’ pioneered sketch/variety TV, and was the most ambitious and expensive production yet with big production numbers, chorus girls, a band, famous guest stars, and more with the show’s sponsor pouring in over $200,000 for the show’s nine month run.

The program was produced by the J. Walter Thompson agency on behalf of Standard Brands for their Chase and Sanborn and Tenderleaf Tea lines. ‘Hour Glass’ featured different performers every week, including Peggy Lee and, in one of the first examples of a top radio star appearing on network television…Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy in November 1946. The show also showcased filmed segments produced by Thompson’s Motion Picture Department; these ranged from short travelogues to advertisements. Every episode also included a ten minute drama, which proved one of the more popular portions of the show.

“Although Thompson and Standard Brands representatives occasionally disagreed over the quality of individual episodes, their association was placid compared to the constant sniping that was the hallmark of the agency’s relationship with NBC. It started with unhappiness over studio space, which Thompson regarded as woefully inadequate”*! OK, this says to me that the 8G cameras were actually used in 3H first and later moved to 8G.

The tension escalated when the network insisted that an NBC director manage the show from live rehearsals through actual broadcast. The network was similarly displeased that Thompson refused to clear their commercials with NBC before air time. Parrish left the show in November to return to Hollywood and was succeeded by a much less popular host, Eddie Mayehoff. In February 1947 Standard Brands canceled ‘Hour Glass’. They were pleased with the show’s performance in terms of beverage sales and its overall quality, yet were leery about continuing to pour money into a program that did not reach a large number of households. The strain between NBC and Thompson played a role as well. Still, Hour Glass did provide Thompson with a valuable blueprint for the agency’s celebrated and long-running production, Kraft Television Theater.

* quoted from The Museum Of Broadcast Communications, “Encyclopedia of Television”.


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The Huge Mystery Of The NBC ND-8G Cameras…Part 2

The Huge Mystery Of The NBC ND-8G Cameras…Part 2

In yesterday’s “The Huge Mystery Of The NBC ND-8G Cameras…A Discussion” post, I danced around a nagging question till I got more sources and last night, I got them*. Here’s the problem: if 8G went live on April 22, 1948, how is it that ‘Hour Glass’ and ‘Television Scene Magazine’ are shot with the NBC ND-8G cameras over a year earlier? FYI, both shows were two of NBC television’s first network shows. ‘Hour Glass’ stared May 9, 1946 and ended March 6, 1947 and the other one stared November 17, 1946. The photo on the right is Ursula Holleran of ‘Television Scene Magazine’ and all of the others are on the ‘Hour Glass’ set and the blonde “femcee” is Helen Parish. The date of the NBC/Pathe film in another of today’s posts is also 1947. The studio is too big to not be 8G as the only other studio at the time was the smaller 3H. In yesterday’s post, I also discussed the mystery of why NBC would build their own Image Orthicon cameras in 1947 and put them in service in 1948 when RCA delivered the first TK30s to them in June of 1946. Yesterday, I suggested that these cameras may have first been put to use in 3H before they went to 8G when it was completed. Another train of thought leads me to wonder why NBC would keep these ND 8G cameras in use when they had the superior RCA TK30?

I want your input and research info into this, but as of now…here’s what I think. Given the mad rush at the end of WWII for broadcasters to get television back in gear, I think the ND 8G cameras were actually in operation by early 1946. I think the 1969 “RCA Engineer” article (which was the basis for much of this information and linked in yesterday’s post and below), written twenty plus years after the fact, is ambiguous on several key issues and wrong on some dates. I’m feel sure RCA would have given NBC Image Orthicon tubes “early” (in spite of the military’s wishes) at least to “test” (wink, wink). Keep in mind that by July 16, 1947 RCA had demonstrated the first all electronic color camera with three IO tubes. Although NBC was leasing theaters to convert to studios, production space was at a premium as nothing new had been built for four years, so immediately adding a new studio inside 30 Rock, would have made sense. This leads me to think that 8G may have been converted earlier than 1948. The only source for the April 22, 1948 debut date of 8G is a 1948 “Radio Age” article which was reproduced in yesterday’s post and linked below.

Are both wrong? Are both right? Is one wrong and one right? I don’t know. I do know that this new photo dating evidence makes me wonder though! As we’ve seen before, even NBC’s marquees outside their famous studios have errors and omissions which, in the case of television’s history, seems to be the human condition.

What do you think? To read all the background info, go here
http://www.eyesofageneration.com/Archives_NBC_ND8G.php
* The dates of the shows is verified in “The Complete Directory To Prime Time And Cable TV Shows” by Brooks and Marsh.



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NBC Studio 8G Cameras In Action…1947


NBC Studio 8G Cameras In Action…1947

This video should start itself at 21:08, which begins the television portion of this excellent look inside NBC’s 30 Rock studios. The cameras are the NBC built “ND-8G” Image Orthicons and are shooting a rehearsal of ‘Hour Glass’…one of NBC TV’s first shows that we’ll cover in detail in another post. This whole video is well worth watching as is lays out the history of NBC radio, it’s network and the studios. At 7 minutes, I’m pretty sure that is 8G as we have never seen it, as a radio studio. At 14:25, we see ‘The Fred Waring Show’ live in 8H on the same wall that the SNL sets are on now.

#t=1268″ target=”_blank”>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvNF8scIar0 #t=1268

more at http://showbiz.quickfound.net/ “Behind the scenes tour of NBC’s radio and television broadcasting facilities at Rockefeller Center, New York City.” P…

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Eric Shapiro’s Final Fade To Black As ‘CBS Evening News’ Director

Eric Shapiro’s Final Fade To Black As ‘CBS Evening News’ Director

Well done sir…well done! Hail and farewell.

“CBS Evening News” director ending 51-year CBS career at the top

Director Eric Shapiro started at CBS in 1963 as a mail boy, working his way up with legendary director Don Hewitt as his inspiration

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From The Eddie Brinkmann Archival Collection

From The Eddie Brinkmann Archival Collection

On a Sullivan show trip west to Television City, Eddie visits with director Ezra Stone on the ‘Bachelor Father’ set at Review Studios. When Stone’s acting life with ‘The Aldrich Family’ radio show ended, he turned primarily to directing on stage and in television—ironically, his first television directing assignment was the television version of ‘The Aldrich Family’ in 1952. From there he went on to direct for numerous shows, including ‘I Married Joan’, ‘Bachelor Father’, ‘Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater’, ‘Lassie’, ‘The Munsters’, ‘Lost in Space’, ‘Julia’, and ‘Love, American Style’.

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The Huge Mystery Of The NBC ND-8G Cameras…A Discussion

The Huge Mystery Of The NBC ND-8G Cameras…A Discussion

Before I get into this very odd chapter, I want to go over the camera itself. On the left, Milton Berle is looking into one of the three lenses on the camera’s turret. Behind that lens is a new RCA Image Orthicon tube. Notice above, two tally lights…one is red for air, the other green for ready like the old Iconoscope cameras. In the photo on the right, with Phil Silvers and Milton, we see the dual port viewfinder and a pan handle focus demand, both of which are also carry overs from the old Iconoscope cameras, but this camera had a real electronic viewfinder which the Icons did not. The top viewing port is looking directly into the viewfinder kinescope and is used while the camera is low. The bottom viewing port is used when the camera is high and that image is provided by a periscope style mirror arrangement inside that boxy housing. Underneath is the lens turret rotation handle. There is also and extra wide camera plate underneath. Unfortunately, none of these survive and no one knows what they were called.

Now to the conversation on the mystery behind these cameras that I hope you will add to in the Comment Section. At the link below, you can read an article from 1969 in RCA Engineer magazine that discusses the shortage of cameras that broadcasters and networks faced after WWII due to the security around the new Image Orthicon technology. BUT, RCA delivered the first RCA TK30 Image Orthicon cameras to NBC in June of 1946 for use on the Billy Conn/Joe Lewis rematch broadcast which was their first ever use. Other NBC O&O stations got TK30s and even TK10s before they were sold to other broadcasters. The TK30 became available to others in October of ’46 and the TK10 was made available for sale in December of ’46.

This ND 8G camera is an Image Orthicon camera too, and may have been in operation, or in testing in NBC Studio 3H (their first TV studio and home of all the experimental broadcasts) in mid 1947. I’ve heard that at first, RCA raised hell about this, but on second thought let WNBT’s engineers go ahead to see what they came up with. It is true that the RCA TK30 field camera was developed before the TK10 studio camera because of military needs, and it is true that for some reason, some of the first TK30s sold to non NBC O&O stations came without the electronic viewfinder. It is not known whether there was a bottleneck in the VF kinescope making or if stations were used to RCA Iconoscope field cameras that had only gun sights for framing shots.

I get the feeling there was a battle of wills and some egos involved in this process. If you know more or have more information, please let us know and as always, your general comments are welcome.

http://www.eyesofageneration.com/Archives_NBC_ND8G.php


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NBC’s ‘All Star Review’ Full Episode


NBC’s ‘All Star Review’

In the post just before this, Jackie Gleason mentioned in a letter to Eddie Brinkmann that they “had their competition at NBC on the run”. Jackie’s competition for his first season at CBS was NBC’s ‘All Star Revue’. A rare full episode is here for you to watch. Notice at the start, the show billboards as stars Jack Carter, Jimmy Durante, Olson & Johnson, Danny Thomas and Ed Wynn, however…they did not all appear on each episode. They would rotate on a weekly basis and this May 10, 1952 episode was Danny Thomas’s turn. After Gleason hit the air, Martha Raye was added to the line up and the line up was cut to four which eliminated two hosts. By the end of the 52-53 season, Martha was the sole host. In the 53-54 season, the show’s name changed to ‘The Martha Raye Show’ which ran once a month in place of ‘Your Show Of Shows’. One of these sketches is about a woman president…it’s funny. Enjoy!

https://archive.org/details/DannyThomas1952An episode of All Star Revue with Danny Thomas, Eleanor Powell, and June Havoc. Highlights include politically incorrect sketch about what would happen if…

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Reliving History…More Of The Eddie Brinkmann Papers

Reliving History…More Of The Eddie Brinkmann Papers

‘The Jackie Gleason Show’ debuted on CBS September 20, 1952. Less than three months into his new show, he wrote this letter to his Studio 50 stage manager…Eddie Brinkmann. At the time, Eddie was also stage managing Ed Sullivan’s ‘Toast Of The Town’ from CBS Studio 51, which was the Maxine Elliot Theater. (Sullivan did not move to 50 until late in 1953.) Notice Jackie says “we have our NBC competition on the run”. Who was that? NBC’s ‘All Star Review’. In the next post, I’ll link to a rare full episode. Thanks to Eddie’s granddaughter Dee Wexler for sharing this.

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Rare! CBS Studio 50 Spec Sheets…1960

Ultra Rare! CBS Studio 50 Spec Sheets…1960

In order to rent studio space to producers, networks have detailed information on their properties to pass along. From the 1960 CBS property book, this is the 3 page description of Studio 50, which of course is now The Ed Sullivan Theater and Letteman’s home. Looking at this diagram drawn to scale, it is amazing how little backstage room there is on the left side (stage right). For those of you like me, who wondered…the center camera ramp is 19 feet, 8 inches long and 8′ and 2″ wide. I’ll post the best high shot of the stage I have in the Comment section below to help with the visual.



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The Wildest Camera Hustle You Have EVER SEEN!


The Wildest Camera Hustle You Have EVER SEEN!

Just in case you missed it, here’s ‘Tonight’ camera man Kurt Decker handling his pedestal camera like a jitterbug partner! The action starts as 1:09 and is frankly, amazing. This was posted in the comment section on the earlier story on Kurt. Thanks to Andy Rose for the clip. Enjoy and share it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CmUKCeR2dk

While guest announcing on Fallon, Jeffrey Tambor warmed up the crowd with the same speech Hank Kingsley gives at the beginning of every “Larry Sanders” episo…

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Truly Classic!

Truly Classic!

In Jackie’s dressing room at The Miami Beach Convention Center, “Ralph and Ed” watch a playback of that night’s show.

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