Posts in Category: Broadcast History

60 Years Ago, Houston Fearless Introduced The Cradle Head

60 Years Ago, Houston Fearless Introduced The Cradle Head

In March of 1954, this ad appeared in all the trade magazines to announce the arrival of this new pan head. The MCH 1 was for monochrome cameras and the CH 1 was for the RCA TK41. Aside from a few of the first TK40s which came with friction heads, the CH 1 was the standard head for the RCA color cameras. During the field testing of the TK40 at the Colonial Theater, the one and only engineering model of the head was in use and was so efficient under the 350 pound cameras, RCA placed a rush order with HF so they would be available for the TK40 cameras they were shipping to their O&O stations, prior to the general release in March of ’54. The cradle head patent information I posted last week was filed later in March of ’54 after they had already been introduced. See the story above to see the engineering model in use at the Colonial.

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Beatles 50th Sullivan Anniversary Count Down…16 Days

Beatles 50th Sullivan Anniversary Count Down…16 Days

Who is this man and why is he on stage with The Beatles? That answer in a moment, but first the scene must be set. It was only last year that I discovered that the Beatles third Sullivan appearance on February 23 was in fact, the first time they had ever played in America. That performance of two song sets with two different stage sets was taped in the early afternoon of February 9 before they performed two live sets with two different stage sets. But none of this almost happened! That day George Harrison had the flu and a fever of 103. Sullivan’s doctor was nursing him at the hotel while The Beatles road manager, Neal Aspernall stood in for George at the day’s first (closed to the public) dress rehearsal where the audio and camera blocking would be worked out. Just before the 3PM taping, Harrison arrived and and got a quick half song walk through just in time.

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‘The Night That Changed America’

‘The Night That Changed America’

This Sunday night, Ken Ehrlich will produce the Grammy Awards show and the next night, he’ll do the same for the Grammy’s tribute to The Beatles. That show will air on CBS February 9 at 8PM to mark the 50th anniversary of the band’s first appearance on Ed Sullivan. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will attend, but no one knows if they will play together. The Eurythmics will reunite for the show which will also feature John Mayer, Keith Urban, Maroon 5, Alicia Keys and John Legend. I’m sure there will be some surprise guests as presenters as some of the original footage will be used. Stay tuned for more.

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Thanks To Walter Cronkite, Sullivan “Discovered” The Beatles


Thanks To Walter Cronkite, Sullivan “Discovered” The Beatles

There are several versions of the story of how The Beatles came to the attention of Ed Sullivan, including the one about how on a trip to London he was curious about the mob of screaming girls at the airport greeting a “band”. In this clip, Walter Cronkite tells the real story how, thanks to ‘The CBS Evening News’, Ed “discovered” the band.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSI4nXPsFN8

Walter Cronkite talks about how Ed Sullivan first saw the Beatles in England on a CBS News story and thats how they came to America.

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65 Years Ago This Month, RCA Introduces The 45 RMP

65 Years Ago This Month, RCA Introduces The 45 RMP

In January of 1949, RCA rolled out the “single”, a 7 inch record that played at 45 rpm. This was in retaliation to the CBS 33 1/3 rpm “long play” albums that were introduced the year before. Prior to these developments in ’48 and ’49, records were played at 78 rpm on thick shellac compound disc and could hold only about five minutes per side. The CBS albums were much better fidelity and held almost thirty minutes per side but with all those songs, cost more. RCA was producing LPs too, but had to pay CBS for the technology, so, they introduced the 45 in hopes that their popularity would force CBS to enter the 45 market and owe RCA. Eventually they just shared the 33 and 45 technology. At the link below is RCA’s first ever 45 release which is an introduction to the library of 45s that would be available soon. There is no “first artist on 45” as the first selections were released at the same time which included several genres of music.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebRx7FN6vlc


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Beatles 50th Sullivan Anniversary Count Down…17 Days

Beatles 50th Sullivan Anniversary Count Down…17 Days

The photo on the left was taken from the control room during the dress rehearsal for the February 9 live show. Most of the screaming girl footage was shot during this very long rehearsal and inserted via videotape into the live broadcast. Remember, The Beatles had already taped the February 23 show earlier this same day and all the audio settings had been worked out in the days first rehearsal (closed to the public) and worked well in the taping at 3, BUT…during the lunch break (3:30 -4:30) someone in maintenance wiped off the grease pencil marks on the audio board! The day’s second dress rehearsal lasted well over an hour as The Beatles asked for playbacks of the first session to compare the sound. Candy Cushing and others that were there have told me that there was quite a bit of back and forth with the band as they worked out the audio problems. Sullivan also did some back and forth with the audience during the long lulls and this is when the famous shot of him in a Beatle wig was taken.


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This Is The ONLY TK42/43 NBC Ever Owned…Shocking But True

This Is The ONLY TK42/43 NBC Ever Owned…Shocking But True

As you know, RCA owned NBC and was the world’s leading maker of television broadcast equipment so…it’s quite a wake up call when your own network doesn’t buy your “next big thing” in color cameras. Here’s the bitter sweet back story. The RCA TK42 came out in 1965, the same year Norelco debuted the PC60 Plumbicon camera. The TK42 had a black and white 4.5 inch tube for luminance and three Vidicon tubes for color. Frankly, the Norelco made a better picture and CBS bought them by the dozens. NBC’s equipment manager, Fred Himelfarb who was a former RCA engineer, was in on the testing but did not buy them for the network. He did however buy 35 Norelcos for the sports trucks. Even when the TK42 came out, another group of RCA engineers was working in secret on the TK44 which at that point was designed with three Vidicon tubes. In ’66, RCA came out with the TK43 with an external lens and took one to NBC NY to use on the network’s mid term election coverage. It was not ready at air time but an NBC logo was applied and a cameraman put behind it and was used as a prop of sorts. Later this camera went to the fifth floor for use in an “always on” news studio used for breaking news and WNBC’s 2AM news briefs. In a way, it all worked out the NBC’s advantage because RCA engineer Lou Bazin, who was heading up the TK44 team, got an unexpected invitation to visit Norelco’s US tube maker. Amperex was a Phillips subsidiary (as was Norelco) and the US source for the new Plumbicon tubes and yokes…the main component of Norelco’s ‘magic pictures’. This was a ‘no no’ as Amperex was not authorized to share this technology with RCA, but, Phillips was way over there in Holland and Amperex was just a short ride from Camden. There was money to be made is selling tubes to RCA. The plumbicon tubes were made in Rhode Island at another Phillips subsidiary. So, by waiting three years and keeping their well maintained fleet of TK41s humming along, NBC saved a lot of money by waiting for the TK44A Plumbicon which came in 1968. It wasn’t all tears at RCA though as nearly 400 TK42/43s were sold. For more details, please visit this link on the main site.
http://www.eyesofageneration.com/Gallery_Secret_backstory.php

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One Of My All Time Favorite Photos

One Of My All Time Favorite Photos

I’ve had this 8 x 10 glossy photo since 1966. Starting at age 14 (’64) I would write to NBC, CBS and ABC asking for photos of the cameras in action. Mrs. Katheryn S. Cole at NBC was gracious enough to always reply with big packs of photos like these. Only in the last year or so have I come to know the name of one of the cameramen from posts here by his daughter. Manning the TK41 at the bottom is long time NBC cameraman Don Mulvaney who was also one of NBC’s first portable camera operators starting with the 1952 political conventions. This shot is on the set of ‘The Mitch Miller Show’ from NBC Brooklyn. Don’s camera is mounted on the electric RCA TD 9 pedestal. The center camera is mounted on a McAlister crab dolly and the top camera is mounted on a Chapman crane, but it not an Electra (like in 8H) as the seat is different. Notice under the crane camera the wedge between the cradle head and camera that tilts it down about 30 degrees. This is done to give more flexibility to tilt down because without it, the camera would always be at the forward end of the pan head track and unable to tilt down and farther. Notice also the boom cable goes to a ceiling port in order to eliminate as many floor cables as possible. FYI, the sleeveless guy is one of the dancers in a medley of country songs.

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The First Television News Footage? Quite Likely…

The First Television News Footage? Quite Likely…

In 1933, the Don Lee owned experimental station in Los Angeles, W6XAO is reported to have acquired film shot the afternoon of March 10, 1933 of the Long Beach earthquake. It was almost 6PM local time when it hit, but using rapid processing film development (where the negative is shown with reverse polarity to make it appear as a positive print) they were able to get it on the air that night. These were the days of mechanical TV and only a few sets even existed, but this is an important event because even network television news shows which started after WWII used newsreel footage acquired from outside sources. The early local television stations were the pioneers in news film because, unlike the networks, there were no big newsreel companies that they could rely on for images of local news events. Thanks to EarlyTelevison.org for the photo.

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Beatles 50th Sullivan Anniversary Count Down…18 Days

Beatles 50th Sullivan Anniversary Count Down…18 Days

February 9, 1964 was The Beatles debut on American television but it was more than just a performance…it was a turning point for a country that was still in shock over the assassination of President Kennedy just a few short months before. We’ll count down till the celebration with photos and back stories that I hope you’ll share. In the photo below, we see Ed Sullivan conversing with the control room during rehearsal. There were actually four performances on February 9th….a 12 noon dress rehearsal and a 2 o’clock taping of two sets of songs that would air February 23rd. Then there was the 5 o’clock dress rehearsal for the 8 o’clock live show. There were three audiences that day as the noon rehearsal was closed. 50,000 ticket requests came in but only three audiences of 700 were able to be there live. Notice in this photo, Ed has a spare Q card lashed to the boom stand…he also reads from a paper toll teleprompter on the front of Camera 1, but just to make sure he doesn’t flub is intro, he had it put in two places. It was quite a day.

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55 Years Ago Today, “Alfalfa” Died

55 Years Ago Today, “Alfalfa” Died

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And The Color Race Is ON!

And The Color Race Is ON!

Believe it or not, In April of 1954 Westinghouse began selling the first home color television set. They beat RCA by several weeks and RCA rushed the CT 100 into production on March 25. During the color wars between CBS and RCA over the compatible color systems, manufacturers were reluctant to commit to building sets till the dust had settled, and when it did, the RCA Dot Sequential system had beaten out the CBS Field Sequential system. Many radio and TV manufacturers had been a part of the NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) and already knew the technical specs and were ready to go in early 1954. The Westinghouse set sold for $1295. RCA’s CT-100 sold for $1000, but by August RCA had dropped the price to $495. GE sold its 15 inch set for $1,000, and Sylvania’s cost $1,150. Emerson rented color sets for $200 for the first month and $75/month thereafter. All of these were 15″ screens but in ’55, RCA came out with the 21″ color screen and even though they lost money on every set, they recalled the 15″ sets and swapped them for the 21″ models at no cost. In the long run, RCA made mega millions on color television. When RCA was sold to GE in the 80s, GE paid $6.2 Billion but there was $2 Billion in the bank so GE got RCA/NBC for $4.2 Billion.


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Remember Your First Color TV Set?

Remember Your First Color TV Set?

This RCA model is the one our family had and we got it in 1964. What do your remember about your first color set?

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‘Producer’s Showcase’, NBC 1954-1957

‘Producer’s Showcase’, NBC 1954-1957

This “spectacular” was a creation of NBC President Pat Weaver and was overseen by the great producer/director Fred Coe. Thirty seven elaborate episodes of this 90 minute, live color show aired at 8PM every forth Monday. Production was done at NBC Brooklyn. The ambitious series presented original musicals or plays, re-staging of Broadway productions, great concert artists, and tribute programs. Producers’ Showcase presented the first international show with live remote locations (‘Wide Wide World’), and the first full-length Broadway production on color television which was ‘Peter Pan’. Only top talent starred in each unique production and the list of names is a who’s who including appearances by movie stars Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Henry Fonda in ‘Petrified Forrest’, Broadway’s Mary Martin in ‘Peter Pan’, ballet stars Margot Fonteyn and Michael Somes in ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’. The series earned eight Emmy Awards and dozens of nominations. The photo below is from ‘Cinderella’ which aired April 29, 1957 and there is a short clip from the Kinescope capture at the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBu18RAuqqQ

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Exclusive Rare Video! ‘Operation Disney’Behind The Scenes With ABC


Exclusive Rare Video! ‘Operation Disney’

Behind The Scenes With ABC On Disneyland’s Opening Day

First, please share this…your friends will appreciate it as Eyes Of A Generation is the only place you can see this rare footage. This was shot by ABC over the three days prior to the Sunday, July 17, 1955 grand opening of Disneyland. This footage was not broadcast at the time, but may have been shown if ABC and Disney did a rebroadcast of the celebration at an anniversary. I think this it was done as an in-house project to show to ABC shareholders, sponsors and affiliate stations, as well as to Disney executives. Remember, ABC had a partial ownership of Disneyland. This was cut to fit in front of the live broadcast footage that was captured via Kinescope. The full 90 minute dedication program is available at the link below. Thanks to Richard Wirth for sharing this with us.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuzrZET-3Ew

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NBC Radio’s First Day & The First Network Stars

NBC Radio’s First Day & The First Network Stars

NBC was America’s first radio network and the inaugural program was broadcast on sixteen stations on November 15, 1926. The show originated from NYC, Chicago and Independence Kansas. The “official” part of the broadcast came from New York’s WEAF where Sarnoff and other leaders of RCA, Westinghouse and GE spoke. The new National Broadcasting Company was divided in ownership among RCA (50 percent), General Electric (30 percent), and Westinghouse (20 percent). From Chicago, the popular vaudeville comic team Lewis Fields (L) and Joe Weber (R) did their act, and in Kansas, columnist and all around “fun poker” Will Rogers spoke for a while. Both Rogers and Fields & Weber became regulars and were the first ever network stars. Tomorrow, the Red, Blue, Gold, Orange and other networks of NBC Radio.


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RCA Color Projection Television

RCA Color Projection Television

In October of 1951, RCA demonstrated it’s first color projection unit at The Colonial Theater. The guests saw an RCA color film on the unit and a live feed from NBC Studio 3H (where the live “coffin” color cameras were being tested). The projected images made a picture that was 9 by 12 feet. This photo is from a few years later and is being installed at NBC’s newest color studio at The Ziegfeld Theater, which would become the home of Perry Como. This new unit made a picture that was 18 by 28 and projected it’s image on a screen above the stage so the audiences on the main floor and in the balcony could see the shots being taken by the 4 TK41s. This unit has a 42 inch mirror, a 26 inch lens and uses 80,000 volts. There was also a black and white version and several were in use in New York’s television theaters including CBS Studio 50 (Ed Sullivan), and NBC’s properties like The International (Show Of Shows) and Hudson Theaters (Tonight With Steve Allan). In 1951, several dozen of the monochrome projectors were in use across the country in cities that were part of the Theater Television Network that carried occasional live, closed circuit programs like prize fights, races and other special interest events.

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ABC At Disneyland Opening Day…29 Cameras

Exclusive Video Coming Tomorrow!

14 minutes of ABC film showing the preparations to broadcast the opening of Disneyland with 29 cameras, July 17, 1955. Here are some screen shots of what’s coming!








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The Granddaddy Of Color Studios…The Colonial Theater

The Granddaddy Of Color Studios…The Colonial Theater

I had given up finding a photo of the theater’s face when NBC and RCA owned it, but thanks to Lytle Hoover, we finally have it. This is where the fist production models of the RCA TK40 went into service in March of 1953. The first several months, there was only testing via closed circuit, but on August 30, 1953, the first publicly announced experimental broadcast in compatible color TV of a network program was presented by NBC of “St. George and the Dragon” on the ‘Kukla, Fran, and Ollie Show’. NBC/RCA had owned the building for several years and had done black and white shows from here and in October 1951, RCA had exhibited a color TV receiver-projector here which provided color pictures on a 9 x 12 foot theater screen. In late ’52, RCA/NBC began the process of making the theater into the first all color television studio. The second NBC colorcasts came from this studio on October 31, 1953 and was a one hour presentation the opera “Carmen”. The third colorcast was the November 22, 1953 ‘Colgate Comedy Hour’, with Donald O’Connor (the first commercial colorcast). By the way…these colorcasts were only viewed in color by closed circuit. The color burst was removed before being broadcast, and the programs were seen by the general public only in black in white. Only 28 TK40s were made as by late 1954, the TK41 had taken it’s place with with significantly reduced rack space, tube count, and power requirements. Thanks to Lytle Hoover and Ed Reitan for their research and help.

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The First Camera Dolly, 1936

The First Camera Dolly, 1936

In the patent application, this is referred to as a “camera carriage” and as you can see, it has only three wheels. Designed by Victor Raby and made by Studio Equipment Company, these are now rare items and only a couple of these are still around. One of the survivors is shown below under a GE Iconoscope camera from WRGB and is located with the camera at the GE Museum in Schenectady NY. By early 1937, Fearless Camera Corp had introduced the four wheel Panoram dolly which was the preferred model. Television was still in the infancy stages so most customers were movie studios, but the WRGB crew has to be credited for being innovative.


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I Wonder How This Worked Out?

I Wonder How This Worked Out?

Below, we see an RCA TK30 owned by CBS being mounted in a Bell helicopter. I don’t know what they are shooting, but if the helicopter goes up more than a couple of hundred feet, there will be big problems for all. Notice this is a cabled camera and not a microwave wireless unit. Hopefully this was after 1956 when video tape became available. Can you imagine doing this for a live shot?

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First Airborne Color

First Airborne Color and First Live Use Of Color Video Tape

There are several elements to this story, so let’s start with the mystery of the camera itself. Yesterday our friend Lytle Hoover, of RCA’s Broadcast Division in Camden, sent the photo on the left to several television camera collectors. We were trying to identify the RCA color camera in the helicopter and after a few back and forths, Lytle found the rare photo on the right. The right photo is of an early version of the RCA color medical camera and is probably the prototype and probably built in late 1956. In late 1957, several units of the final design were in use at teaching hospitals. Those color medical cameras looked like large TK11s, complete with the side handles but no viewfinders. They were called RCA TK45s but are not to be confused the the TK45A studio camera that came along in 1973. Now, on the next part…where it was used. Newspaper reports describing the upcoming color coverage of the 1958 Rose Parade by NBC mentioned a color camera that would broadcast overhead shots from a helicopter. An aerial color shot would be a first. The other fist was the use of color video tape for the first time in a live broadcast. Now, judges pick the winning floats before hand, but back then, the judges voted on the best floats as they came by the reviewing stand. NBC taped the parades floats so they would be able to play back images of the winners after the parade when the judges made their awards.


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Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention…The Cradle Head Patent

Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention…The Cradle Head Patent

The Fearless Camera Company and RCA had a good thing going… Fearless (later, Houston Fearless) built the support equipment and RCA’s built the cameras and distributed for Fearless. As you can see in the photo on the right, the first experimental TK40 color cameras used the Fearless friction type pan head. The camera was just to heavy for it though, so Bruce Dalton (one of the creators of the TD 1 pedestal) and Edward Lewis came up with the now famous Cradle Head design. Although RCA built 239 TK40/41s, only 215 of these wide bodied cradle heads were made and distributed with the cameras as of 1964, when regular production stopped. In 1966, 24 more were made and all were shipped with the new Houston Fearless Cam style pan heads which you see under most of ABC’s TK41s as they bought 12 of the last 24 made. By late in 54 there was also a narrower cradle head available that fit under RCA’s black and white cameras like the TK11/31. The photo on the right shows one of the first production models of the TK40 being tested at the Colonial Theater.


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A Final Goodnight…


A Final Goodnight…

Soon Jay Leno will join this list, but for now, here are Walter Cronkite, Douglas Edwards, Johnny Carson, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rater, Peter Jennings, Bob Barker, Larry King, Mary Hart, Oprah and Regis signing off for the last time. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3MhrWM0__M

From Walter Cronkite to (just recently) Regis Philbin, here is a look back at fond television farewells over the last three decades, though some of them stil…

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One Of My Favorites

One Of My Favorites

Here’s a bank of RCA TK11s at Television City going through the registration process. They are probably am out of range grey scale chart. No, there are not 10 lenses per camera…only four, but there are six small “face lights” on the front of each unit. Even with the best overhead lighting, there are always shadows and to help eliminate the chin, nose and eye shadows, these custom light racks were installed to help brush them out on close up and medium shots. Unlike their brethren in NY, who opted for the cue card/gaffer tape viewfinder hoods, the west coast cameras at CBS and NBC had custom viewfinder hoods built in their own shops. Go figure.

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In The Beginning…CBS STUDIO CITY

In The Beginning…CBS STUDIO CITY

Below left is the original property as it looked in 1926 as the Mack Sennett Studios. On the left, a rendering of how it looks now and at the link, a guided tour via an animated map. Here’s the history. http://www.cbssc.com/map.htm

The year was 1926 and plans for a new city in the San Fernando Valley were being developed. It began with the purchase of a 50 acre lettuce ranch at the corner of Colfax Avenue and Ventura Boulevard, along with a 300 acre ranch located at Laurel Canyon. During this time, “King of Comedy” Mack Sennett, known for his two-reelers and the Keystone Kops, was looking for a new studio location. A deal was struck and in 1928 Mack Sennett Studios opened and the surrounding area became known as Studio City. At this time the Studio consisted of one office building, a projection room/film editing building, a film library, a two-story dressing room building attached to a large sound stage, a wardrobe building, garage, and a stage with an inground swimming pool. With the advent of sound in 1929, Sennett was the first producer to use RCA equipment, with which he produced a bunch of singing short subject films with a young unknown named Bing Crosby.

In 1933 the Great Depression forced Sennett into bankruptcy and the Studio became an independent production facility. Mascot Pictures, under the direction of Nat Levine, became one of the principle tenants and for the next two years the Studio was known as Mascot Studios. Mascot produced the Saturday matinee serial which always ended with the heroine left tied to the railroad tracks as a speeding train came hurtling toward, interrupted by “continued next week.”

In 1935 Mascot Pictures, Monogram Pictures and Consolidated Film Industries joined with several other independent producers and became known as Republic Studios. By then there were six sound stages and several more support buildings. Republic produced over fifty features a year which starred, among others, legends Roy Rogers, John Wayne, Joan Crawford and Barbara Stanwyck. With the advent of television in the early 1950’s, Republic entered a new medium and produced a number of series. By this time there were twenty-three sound stages and the largest scoring studio in the world.

In 1963 the CBS Television Network entered into an agreement with Republic Studios whereby CBS became the major lessee and the facility was renamed CBS Studio Center. By 1967 CBS decided to purchase the studio and long range improvement plans began. The lot continued to grow and throughout the 60’s and 70’s such television classics as Gunsmoke, Big Valley, Gilligan’s Island, Get Smart, My Three Sons, Bob Newhart, and Mary Tyler Moore were produced at the Studio.

In July of 1982 CBS and 20th Century Fox Film Corporation formed a joint venture which included ownership and operation of CBS Studio Center, and for the first time in almost twenty years a new name appeared on the sign above the main gate, CBS/Fox Studios. Then in 1984 Fox sold its interest in the Studio to MTM Enterprises and the facility became CBS/MTM Studios. Shows produced on the lot during the 80’s included Roseanne, Different World, Thirtysomething, St. Elsewhere, Newhart, Hill Street Blues and Falcon Crest.

CBS acquired MTM’s interest in the Studio in 1992 and once again the CBS Studio Center sign appeared at the gate. Seinfeld, Grace Under Fire, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Cybill, and Caroline in the City are just a few of the shows which called CBS Studio Center home during the 90’s. Features such as Father of the Bride 2, Dr. Doolittle, and I Love Trouble were also filmed on the Studio lot.

Some of the more recent hit shows produced on the lot of CBS Studio Center are, CSI:NY, The Defenders, The Talk, Hot in Cleveland, According to Jim, Will & Grace, Big Brother and That 70’s Show.

Today the Studio continues to flourish and grow. CBS Studio Center is now home to a brand new Broadcast Center which houses CBS2 and KCAL9.


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Pee Wee’s First Big Adventure!


Pee Wee’s First Big Adventure!

As far as I can tell, this is Paul Reuben’s first TV appearance. At 10:45, you see ‘Betty & Eddie’s Sensational Sound Effects’ act in which Eddie is Reuben. At the time he was part of the famous LA improv group “The Groundlings”. Pee Wee’s debut came in 1982.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=db9Y7i-zTJY

This is the NBC version of the Gong Show in early 1977. This features probably the television debut of a future comic legend in Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens)…

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The Fearless Camera Pedestal May 23, 1949

The Fearless Camera Pedestal

May 23, 1949 Ray Wilcox and Bruce Dalton submitted their patent application for television’s second ever camera pedestal, but the first to use the now standard center steering ring. The patent was assigned to their employer, the Fearless Camera Company in Culver City, CA. The up and down action for the column was achieved by turning the base mounted crank wheel. This quickly became the industry standard and was known by it’s model number, the TD 1. RCA was the distributor.



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NBC, 1957…The First Ever Sideline Camera

NBC, 1957…The First Ever Sideline Camera

At the start of the 1957 college football season, The University of Oklahoma’s Sooners were ranked #1. NBC covered three of their games that year. The first game was against Texas A&M at The Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The second and third games were played at home against Colorado and Notre Dame. I think this is the November 16th game against Notre Dame. The camera is the RCA wireless Vidicon known as the “Walkey Lookey” which was first used by NBC at the 1952 political conventions. As early as 1949, RCA had industrial Vidicon cameras, but their broadcast quality tube did not come along till late ’50 or early ’51.

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Who Knew? The Story Of Kay Thompson & Andy Williams

Who Knew? The Story Of Kay Thompson & Andy Williams

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qos8LODBBRM
Meet the lady behind Andy Williams…Kay Thompson. Today, some may call her a “cougar”, but back in the 40s, she was a tiger! Andy and his three older brothers—Bob, Don, and Dick, (pictured below with Kay) formed The Williams Brothers quartet in late 1938, and they performed on radio in the Midwest, first at WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, and later at WLS in Chicago and WLW in Cincinnati. Moving to Los Angeles in 1943, The Williams Brothers sang with Bing Crosby on the hit record “Swinging on a Star” (1944). They appeared in four musical films: ‘Janie’ (1944),’ Kansas City Kitty’ (1944), ‘Something in the Wind’ (1947) and ‘Ladies’ Man’ (1947). In 1945, The Williams Brothers were signed by MGM to appear in ‘Anchors Aweigh’ and ‘Ziegfeld Follies’, but before they went before the cameras, the oldest brother Bob was drafted into military service and the group’s contract was canceled. Kay Thompson, a former radio star who was now head of the vocal department at MGM, had a nose for talent and she hired the remaining three Williams Brothers to sing in her large choir on many soundtracks for such MGM films as ‘The Harvey Girls’ (1946). When Bob was done with his military service, Kay hired all four of them to sing on the soundtrack to Good News (1947). By then, Kay Thompson was tired of working behind the scenes at MGM so, with the four Williams boys as her backup singers and dancers, she formed a nightclub act called Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers. They made their debut in Las Vegas in 1947 and became an overnight sensation. Within a year, they were the highest paid nightclub act in the world, breaking records wherever they appeared. Andy Williams revealed in his memoir “Moon River and Me” that he and Kay became romantically involved while on tour, despite the age difference (he was 19 and she was 38). The act broke up in 1949 but reunited for another hugely successful tour from the fall of 1951 through the summer of 1953. After that the four brothers went their separate ways. Andy and Kay, however, remained very close, both personally and professionally. She mentored his emergence as a solo singing star. She coached him, wrote his arrangements, and composed many songs that he recorded (including his 1958 Top 20 hit “Promise Me, Love” and, later, “Kay Thompson’s Jingle Bells” on his 1964 No. 1 “The Andy Williams Christmas Album”). Using her contacts in the business, Kay helped Andy land his breakthrough television gig as a featured singer for two-and-a-half years on ‘The Tonight Show starring Steve Allen’ (it helped that the producer of the series Bill Harbach was Kay’s former aide de camp). Kay also got Andy his breakthrough recording contract with Cadence Records (the label’s owner Archie Bleyer had gotten early career breaks because of Kay and he owed her a favor). Meanwhile, Andy sang backup on many of Kay’s recordings through the 1950s, including her Top 40 hit ‘Eloise’ based on her bestselling books about the mischievous little girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel in New York. Kay also served as a creative consultant and vocal arranger on Andy’s three summer replacement network television series in 1957, 1958, and 1959. In the summer of 1961, Kay traveled with Andy and coached him throughout his starring role in a summer stock tour of the musical “Pal Joey”. Their personal and professional relationship finally ended in 1962 when Andy met and married Claudine Longet and Kay moved to Rome. Above is a 1969 clip of Kay on ‘The Hollywood Palace’.

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