Posts in Category: Broadcast History

Andy Williams…The One And Only

Andy Williams…The One And Only

If you didn’t see this show in it’s original run from 1962 through 1971, it’s hard to understand how good he was as a host and singer and how good the show was, in every way. In the next post, I’ll cover some background most us never knew but as for Andy’s big break in television…it came when he was the featured singer on ‘The Tonight Show With Steve Allen’ for two and a half years. In ’59, ’60 and ’61, Williams hosted a summer replacement show on NBC which was well received and those shows set the stage for him. In the fall of ’61, ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ was a huge hit and with it, ‘Moon River’ by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini. Andy Williams sang it at the 1962 Academy Awards show and has “owned” the song since. Each episode of the show opened with him singing eight bars of the song. The glowing sentiment and fond memories most people have for both Andy and his show is something you had to be there for to really appreciate. Below is a still from one of Sammy Davis Jr.’s appearances on the show. There is a low quality video of this scene out there, but here is another clip of Sammy and Andy that pretty much captures the mood and gentle style of the show. Love that TK41 color too!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGVjWAJzxj0

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The Technical Story Of The Hindenberg Crash Audio Recording

The Technical Story Of The Hindenberg Crash Audio Report

On May 6, 1937, history was made at Lakehearst, NJ and had it not been for two men from Chicago’s WLS Radio, all we would have is silent newsreel footage of the event. This was more of a human interest story than news, because the German airship was in it’s second year of operation and that’s why there was no live radio coverage. Fortunately, WLS had sent announcer Herb Morrison and engineer Charles Nehlsen to the scene to record the event for playback the next day. Nehlsen was manning the Presto Direct Disc recorder they had carried with them on their American Airlines flight to and from Chicago. The whole program covered four, 16″ discs recorded at 78 rpms. On their return to Chicago, they were edited to two 12″ discs, and for the first time ever, a recorded news event was broadcast on network radio as NBC replayed Morrison’s now famous account on both the Red and Blue networks. The edited discs were taken to Chicago’s WMAQ (NBC O&O) for the NBC feed. Below is the link to the famous clip, that long ago was married to newsreel footage of the disaster. The photo at the far right shows an NBC reporter broadcasting live from the scene the next day via a portable radio unit. On the left is Herb Morrison, next, the Presto Disc Recorder, next one of the actual edited discs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFptgQ8GA_U




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Television’s First Camera Pedestal…November 1936

Television’s Camera First Pedestal…November 1936

Designed by Alda V Bedford and Knut J Magnusson, the patent assignment went to RCA which I think was their employer. It was a surprise to me that the lifting column is powered by an electric motor located in the base. Another interesting feature is the internalization of the camera cable which as you can see in the drawing on the right, fits inside the column and is threaded to the bottom center of the camera, passing through the pan head. Unlike today’s peds, there is no steering ring. The ring you see is for pushing and pulling only. If you look closely at the schematic on the right (17) you can see a lever on top of the ring…that is what sets the wheel direction. This ped has crab steering only and the foot pedal on the base is for a forth castor wheel that comes down so the pedestal can pivot to change the base position under the camera. The Fearless TD 1 pedestal developed in 1949 had this castor wheel also but added the steering ring and a manual up and down column. That comes tomorrow.



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A Pioneer In Every Way…Ernie Kovacs

A Pioneer In Every Way…Ernie Kovacs

Below is a screen shot from one of his last appearances before his death in a car crash in January of 1962. Beginning in April ’61, Kovacs hosted regular specials on ABC which were considered his best works ever and won an Emmy for his innovative special effects using electronic cameras and video tape. Kovacs got his television start in in 1951 at Philadelphia’s WPTZ (now KYW) and with that two hour morning show (7-9 AM), proved that viewers would indeed watch a show at that hour…a point well taken by NBC’s Pat Weaver who created ‘The Today Show’ a year later. Kovacs was one of only six shows to run on all four networks. At Dumont, he did a late night talk show. At NBC he did several shows including a weekly prime time half hour, a daily late morning show and filled in as a summer replacement for Caesar’s Hour. At CBS, he did two years of mornings at 8:30 -9 and later did six months of a weekly primetime show there. There were times when he was on two networks at once, but back then, so were others like actress Fay Emerson. FYI, the other five shows that aired on all four networks were ‘The Original Amateur Hour’, ‘Pantomime Quiz’, ‘Down You Go’, ‘The Arthur Murray Party’, and’ Tom Corbett, Space Cadet’. The camera is an RCA TK10 with a Zoomar lens painted in ABC’s classic red and white. The lead weights on the pan handle are to balance off the Zoomar.

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You Mean Mayberry Isn’t In North Carolina?

You Mean Mayberry Isn’t In North Carolina?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but here’s an aerial shot from 1963.

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WHDH Boston, The Big Move To Color

WHDH Boston, The Big Move

Below left is Keith Jordine of WHDH and on the right is RCA tech John Cimba making ready for the debut of their new color facilities in 1960. The videotape recorder is the RCA TRT 1B, which occupied five rack panels plus one more for color. Thanks to Maureen Carney for the photo.

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The 1937 RCA Iconoscope Camera, Patent Diagrams

The 1937 RCA Iconoscope Camera, Patent Diagrams

The interior view in the previous post is the most revealing of the four images, but these are also interesting. On the left, we have the view from the top, with 12 showing the focus control portion of the right rear pan handle and 21 denoting the red and green tally lights on the back. The center image shows the camera from the front with dual red and green tally lights below the lens box with red meaning on air and green meaning stand by mode. The image on the right shows the camera mounted on television’s first pedestal which will be featured tomorrow.



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The 1942 GE Iconoscope Camera…Rear View

The 1942 GE Iconoscope Camera…Rear View

On the back side, things are a little crude on the outside, but inside…state of the art. That pitiful looking viewfinder allows the operator to see an optical image on a ground glass screen. Like the image on the Iconoscope tube (right), it is also inverted and backward meaning panning left with the camera would make the image center move to the right, tilting up would make the image center move down, and so on. On the left, you can see the rear of the Iconoscope tube but the image shown on the right could not be seen from there as the receiving surface faced the lens on the front of the camera.


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The 1943 GE Iconoscope Camera…Front View

The 1943 GE Iconoscope Camera…Front View

From the front, this camera and the RCA Iconoscope are quite different, yet have one thing in common. On the left is a close up of the dual lenses with the top lens feeding the optical viewfinder and the bottom lens feeding the Iconoscope tube…that is what they have in common. The big difference is that the RCA cameras could change lens sets and the GE cameras can not as they were made with what look like 90mm pairs that are permanently installed. The GE lenses are recessed and internal where the RCA lenses were front mounted and had quick change clasps for different lens sets.


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‘The Dick Cavett Show’

‘The Dick Cavett Show’

That had been the title of several shows hosted by Cavett on several networks, but his longest run and best known version was the late night show that ran against Johnny Carson from December of ’69 till January ’75. That show was done in New York from ABC TV 15 which is shown here. I think TV 15 was the only ABC stage in NY with GE color cameras. In a strange quirk, the show he replaced, ‘The Joey Bishop Show’ was done at the only place in Los Angeles that ABC used GE cameras at 1313 Vine Street. I don’t think the man in the red tie is Cavett, but it may be.

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RCA TK10 “Taking Lens”

Take Your Best Shot

In this photo, the RCA TK10 has a wide angle opening shot of the man’s desk top and will probably tilt up to show his face. The “taking lens” is the lens in front of the IO tube which on the TK10 and TK30 was the top center position. In this photo, the camera is shooting with a 50mm lens. The middle right lens is a 90mm, at the bottom an 8 1/2 inch, and middle left is the 135mm. The longest lens must always be mounted 180 degrees away from the shortest lens (on the other side of the center nut). If not, the shorter lens will “see” the longer lens.

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‘The Big Party’, CBS Studio 33, October 8, 1959

‘The Big Party’, CBS Studio 33, October 8, 1959

https://archive.org/details/TheBigParty1959
At the link is the entire 90 minute show which was the debut of this monthly program sponsored by Revlon. This still shows the half ramp installed for the Houston Fearless crane. When Television City opened, 31 and 33 had permanent camera ramps all the way from the stage to the control rooms. A few years later, the ramps were removed and more seats were installed, but now the stages had a removable “half” ramp and could be used as needed. Although there were only six episodes of ‘The Big Party’, they were packed with stars…this debut show is hosted by Rock Hudson and has over a dozen guests like Sammy Davis, Tallulah Bankhead, Ester Williams and more.

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The Business End Of An RCA Camera

The Business End Of An RCA Camera

From 1946 till around 1966, most cameras around the world were four lens turrets. The most common array of lenses was the 8 1/2 inch, 135mm, 90mm and 50mm. The turret was first used on the RCA TK30s and TK10s. The last RCA with a turret was the TK60. Below is a look at the range of field these lenses offered. A the networks, on large productions, different cameras may have used different lenses for new perspectives. Lens changes during a live show was not unheard of, but was not par for the course.

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A True Rarity! RCA’s First Image Orthicon Prototype Camera

A True Rarity! RCA’s First Image Orthicon Prototype Camera

This amazing photo is from October 1945…12 months before the introduction of the RCA TK30. The camera at the bottom has an experimental Image Orthicon tube in it and is being compared to RCA’s Orthicon camera. WWII ended September 1945 and as a treat, a rodeo was staged Madison Square Gardens by RCA for the wounded veterans from local VA hospitals, but the event doubled as a testing ground. The demonstration was viewed on monitors by reporters in a separate room. At the end of the show, the house lights went down and 48 “cowgirls” (one for each state) entered the arena with candles in their hands and formed an outline of the US. The glow of the candles could be clearly seen via the IO camera, but there was almost nothing from the other camera. Notice the single lens and the “new” periscope viewfinder hood on the IO camera…that makes this the first RCA camera with an electronic viewfinder. The Orthicon camera on top is using a dual lens optical viewfinder. Dumont had electronic viewfinders from the start…wonder why it took RCA so long to come around? The Image Orthicon had actually been developed a year or so before this, but was classified as secret and only the military had access and knowledge of the tube. It was only grudgingly that the government gave in to broadcasters who clamored for the new technology. The first RCA TK30s actually went to the US Army several months before NBC got theirs in June of 1946. Commercial distribution of the TK30 started in October 1946 and the RCA TK10 IO Studio Camera debuted in December 1946.

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Naked To The World…Studio 33, CBS Television City

Naked To The World…Studio 33, CBS Television City

After all these years of seeing Red Skelton, Jack Benny, Carol Burnett, The Smothers Brothers, ‘The Match Game’, The Price Is Right’ and probably a thousand more shows on this stage, it’s nice to see it in it’s natural state. It always looks so intimate on television but this shot gives a different perspective on it’s size. The studio is 66′ x 110′ and seats 300.

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The Story Behind The CBS & RCA/NBC Color Feud

The Story Behind The CBS & RCA/NBC Color Feud

These screen shots are from a color special that aired June 21, 1951 when CBS embarked on a four and an half month test of their Field Sequential System. The last commercial CBS Color System broadcast was the North Carolina-Maryland football game on October 20, 1951 and was in fact, the first college football game done in color. On June 25, 1951 regularly scheduled commercial colorcasts began on CBS on a five-station East Coast network. More than 10.5 million monochrome sets in the U-S, were blind to these telecasts. The CBS colorcasts were stillborn…. The RCA delaying tactic you’ll read about below had been successfully fatal to the CBS Color System. CBS had first broadcast its Field Sequential Color System as early as August 28, 1940. Their 1949 Color System was the third field sequential approach to be proposed to the FCC for adoption. They had suggested that their field sequential standards be adopted in 1941 and 1946. At those earlier times, with few black and white receivers in the hands of the public, the adoption of the CBS system might have been feasible. Remember, their system used spinning red, blue and green discs behind the camera lens and in front of the home receiver’s picture tube.

At the conclusion of the color hearings in 1950, there was much pressure by the color television proponents for the FCC to immediately adopt a color standard. On September 1, 1950, the FCC issued its First Report on Color Television Issues (Public Notice 50-1064) in which it deferred the adoption of a standard. The FCC in its October 11, 1950 Second Report on Color Television Issues (Public Notice 50-1224), formally adopted the CBS system as the USA standard for color television. RCA, on October 17. 1950, brought suit against the FCC in the Federal District Court in Chicago to halt the start of CBS colorcasts. After the court upheld the FCC order, RCA appealed to the Supreme Court which, on May 28, 1951, affirmed the lower court ruling in favor of CBS. RCA effectively delayed the initiation of the CBS system, allowing the continued sale of even more black and white sets which could not receive the CBS signals.

The FCC reasoned that if manufacturers would build black and white receivers that could handle both monochrome and CBS scanning standards, time could be allowed for the development of an acceptable compatible system. If the set makers could not provide this “bracket standard” reception capability, then the FCC would be forced to adopt the CBS system immediately to avert the continually growing compatibility problem. The FCC reasoned that, with the 5-6 million annual receiver sales rate, within one year 40 percent of the receivers in use could receive the CBS broadcasts.

Of course, the manufacturing industry refused, when faced with adding an additional increment to their receiver sales cost within what they thought was an impossible timetable. With most of the manufacturing industry against adoption of the field sequential system, CBS was forced to purchase Hytron Radio and Electronics Corporation with its Air-King receiver manufacturing subsidiary. The acquisition was done, according to Frank Stanton, President of CBS, “to assure at least some source for color receivers to the public”. On September 20, 1951, production began of the first (and only) commercial color television set – the CBS-Columbia Model 12CC2. Sales of the set began by Gimbels and Davega in New York for $499.95, According to Allen B. DuMont, 200 of these sets were shipped and I00 were sold

Viewer and advertising industry interest with the CBS system was disappointing. No sponsors were found as the color broadcast schedule increased from 4 1/2 hours for the week of June 21, 7 1/2 hours for the week of September 24, and 12 hours for the week of October 15. Actually, CBS did not fully commit to their system as colorcast were only scheduled in the evening before prime time telecasts. In less than a month after sales of this first receiver first began, Charles E. Wilson of the Defense, Production Administration asked CBS to suspend production of color receivers, “to conserve materials for defense.” (Korean War) This, according to Allan B. DuMont was, “a move to take Columbia off the hook.” CBS announced that it would stop colorcasts and recalled and destroyed the sold color sets. Of political interest was that monochrome television receiver production was not affected.

Two years later, during a Congressional hearing on March 25, 1953, CBS announced that it had no plans to resume its color system. The NPA lifted its ban on color receiver manufacturing the next day! It was now the obligation of the television industry to band together to devise an acceptable compatible color television standard. RCA’s Dot Sequential System won and this story is why there has been “bad blood” between CBS and RCA/NBC from that point on. Thanks to our friend Ed Reitan for the story. http://www.novia.net/~ereitan/index.html




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Is It Hot In Here Or Is It Just Me?

Is It Hot In Here Or Is It Just Me?

Here’s an RCA TK11 with all it’s doors open to cool off. This shot is from CBS Television City from around 1956 and taken on Stage 43 where ‘Climax’ was done. It was an anthology show with different live dramas each week and was much like ‘Play House 90’ and ‘General Electric Theater’. Unlike local station cameras, network cameras were on 8 to 10 hours a day and the tubes put out more heat which could cause the viewfinder to go out.

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Super Rarity! TK41s Taping Ed Sullivan, Holiday On Ice Special


Super Rarity! TK41s Taping Ed Sullivan, Holiday On Ice Special

The interesting part of this home movie shot in 1967 is the RCA TK41s in use. In this video, they are mostly shooting openings, bumpers and interviews to be inserted into the show which has already been taped at an afternoon performance at Madison Square Gardens. Some of the final presentation can be seen at this link #t=94″ target=”_blank”>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjSsctTLovY #t=94

I’m pretty sure these 4 TK41s are from CBS Studio 72 at Broadway and 81st. It went into operation in 1954 and was the only color facility CBS had on the east coast. By ’63 or so, this studio was closed and the cameras went into the only east coast color truck CBS had. Of course in 1965, everything changed when Norelco’s plumbicon cameras came out, but the TK41 truck remained in the mix till around ’68 when it was sold, perhaps to Video Tape Productions in NYC.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afvi0gitInQ

Holiday On Ice 1967 (U. S. A)….At Madison Square Garden for afternoon taping for The Ed Sullivan Show….cameos of Lighting Director Don Watson, Company Ma…

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‘I’ve Got A Secret’ November 1959…


‘I’ve Got A Secret’ November 1959…

At the 6 minute mark, Garry Moore call in cameraman Cass Gaylord to get close ups of the first Optical Character Reader which was invented by David Shepard. There are several shots of the RCA TK30 in the clip and the demonstration is interesting too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2HM1DvQUdk

Inventor David Shepard appears on a 1959 episode of “I’ve Got a Secret” with the secret “I invented a machine that read and writes.” Mr. Shepard is considere…

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Rare Color Shot: ‘The Honeymooners’, 1953

Rare Color Shot: ‘The Honeymooners’, 1953

Although the CBS shows starring Jackie Gleason, and friends, ended in 1970, Joyce Randolph never played “Trixie” after the 1957 season which ended in June and included more of their sketches than almost any other year. In October 1958, Gleason debuted a half-hour version of The Jackie Gleason Show, with Buddy Hackett as a sidekick, but it was short-lived, cancelled in January 1959.
In 1961, Gleason began an ill-fated stint as host of a game show called ‘You’re in the Picture’, which lasted only one episode, and was so bad that it led to Gleason offering an on-air apology to his viewers the following week. Committed to filling a quota of episodes, Gleason renamed the series The Jackie Gleason Show and turned it into a short-lived talk show, featuring one-on-one informal interviews with Art Carney, Jayne Mansfield, Bobby Darin, and other friends and celebrities. In 1962, Gleason returned to the tried-and-true variety format with his ‘American Scene Magazine’ with the official title of ‘The Jackie Gleason Show’. In ’64, he moved the show to Miami and did Honeymooners sketches only when Art Carney was available. From ’57 till ’62, there were only two Honeymooners sketches in which Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph were replaced as Alice and Trixie by Sue Ane Langdon and Patricia Wilson, respectively, for two sketches. In January 1966, Meadows returned as Alice for a musical special, ‘The Honeymooners: The Adoption’, a re-enactment of a 1955 sketch of the same name. When the show returned in 1966, the ‘Honeymooners’ sketches (then in color for the first time) returned as a series of elaborate musicals. The sketches, which comprised ten of the first season’s thirty-two shows, followed a story arc that had the Kramdens and Nortons traveling across Europe after Ralph won a contest. “The Color Honeymooners”, as it has since become known, featured Sheila MacRae and Jane Kean in the roles of Alice and Trixie, respectively.

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Jackie Gleason’s First Television Appearance


Jackie Gleason’s First Television Appearance

Most of us that remember ‘The Life Of Riley’ think of William Bendix as the star, but actually, Jackie Gleason played “Riley” from October 4, 1949 to March 28, 1950. This video is the first episode of the show which ended first runs in March of ’50. Bendix had played “Riley” on the radio show and in the 1949 film but his RKO contract kept him from the role till 1953.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywYMJfyC6LU&list=PLB009D73A5B870D96

Life of Riley – Jackie Gleason – Tonsils – 1949 – Public Domain

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Original Opening: ‘Honeymooners’ Classic 39 Episodes


Original Opening: ‘Honeymooners’ Classic 39 Episodes

Much like the original ‘I Love Lucy’ “stick figure” opening that included Phillip Morris sponsorship on the first run episodes, this was the first run opening for ‘The Honeymooners’ filmed episodes and includes a Buick sponsorship. After the first run, the “Classic 39” episodes got a new into with out the Buick mention. When Lucy went into reruns, the “satin heart” opening was created.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmgWeoGg4wc

The original opening for The Honeymooners, featuring the bus ride and Buick sponsor’s promo. First seen during the 1955-56 run of the “Classic 39”. Please no…

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The RCA “Ultra” Portable Camera System

The RCA Ultra Portable Camera System

Much like our friend Don “Peaches” Langford, who was one of ABC’s pioneers in portable camera work, this is NBC’s Don Mulvaney. You’ll see Mr Mulvaney below in photos from 1956 on, with RCA’s first mobile cameras and with that experience, he became the first to operate the RCA “Ultra Cam” at the 1964 Democratic Convention in Atlantic City. This configuration became available in June of 1964 and weighs in at 22 pounds. The back pack is lighter as some of the components are now on the front mounted viewfinder as are some of the adjustments. This is still a black and white Vidicom camera and 12 years will pass before RCA introduces the TK76 color ENG camera. By the way…these cameras do take a toll on the body. With Peaches, it was his knees, with Mulvaney, it was his back.

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1956, RCA/NBC Portable Camera Research & Development #1

1956, RCA/NBC Portable Camera Research & Development #1

This is the brand new RCA wireless Vidicon camera at the 1956 Republican Convention in San Francisco. This new unit is the first all transistor model and the only tubes used are the viewfinder CRT and RCA’s new Vidicon tube which is the size of a king size cigarette. The 4 pound camera has a detachable electronic viewfinder that can be docked with the camera or slung around the operators neck. The entire unit weighs only 19 pounds and the 15 pound back pack can push a good signal up to a mile. The 4 pound camera is 2 1/2 inches high, 3 inches wide and 8 inches long and has an 8mm lens. As you will see below, RCA/NBC had other portable cameras there, including a Philco model, and was doing a lot of field testing, research and comparisons. Political conventions are a great place to do R&D work as they are truly remote broadcasts, but are also controlled environments that last about a week for the broadcasters. The silver cell batteries used by this camera can hold their charge up to 5 hours as compared to 2 hours with the older versions of RCA’s “Walky Looky” cameras.

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1956, RCA/NBC Portable Camera Research & Development #2

1956, RCA/NBC Portable Camera Research & Development #2

From the 1956 Republican Convention at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, here is an updated version of the 1952 RCA Vidicon portable wireless camera. Together, the back pack and camera weigh 48 pounds with 42 pounds of those on the cameraman’s back. Like it’s predecessor, this camera has a 3 inch CRT view finder and although you can’t see it, also has a 3 lens turret with 8, 16 and 35mm lenses. This version also features a handle on top for easy carrying. By the way, the cameraman here is NBC veteran Don Mulvaney. This unit and the transistorized version shown above were also both used at the 1960 conventions.

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1956, RCA/NBC Portable Camera Research & Development #3

1956, RCA/NBC Portable Camera Research & Development #3

Now THIS is RARE! These photos are also from the 1956 Republican Convention in San Francisco and show an NBC cameraman using a Philco hand held Vidicon camera. Why would RCA/NBC use a competitor’s camera? Because the half inch Vidicon tube in it is made by RCA. A 3-inch diameter monitor using an RCA 3RP4 CRT tube was provided for the operator and this is also a newly developed tube. At the time, Dage also made a hand held Vidicon, but neither Philco or Dage had a wireless model like RCA’s as both of their cameras were cabled.



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Through The Eye Of A TK42

Through The Eye Of A TK42

On the left is a shot of the RCA TK42 viewfinder framing a weather board at WOC. Between 1965 and 69, RCA sold 375 of these cameras and 93 TK43 models that had the external lens. Today, only 19 are known to have survived in the hands of collectors.


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America’s First African American Television Star…Ethyl Waters

America’s First African American Television Star…Ethyl Waters

As early as 1919, Ethyl Waters had been appearing in roles on Broadway and in 1926 recorded “Dinah” which was the first international hit by a black singer. In 1933, she became the first person to ever sing and record “Stormy Weather” as the star of the Broadway show by the same name. By the late ’30s, she became the first African American to have equal billing with white stars. In 1939, while she was starring on Broadway in ‘Mamba’s Daughters’, NBC’s experimental station in NY produced a one hour version of the show and did it live from Studio 3H. A few months later, NBC
gave her a summer series called ‘The Ethyl Waters Show’. The bigger television break came in 1950 when ABC created ‘Beulah’ with Waters as the star. The show ran two seasons and ended when Waters left the show. Below is a very rare shot from NBC Studio 3H showing Waters on the ‘Mamba’s Daughters’ set and RCA 500A Iconoscope cameras. The lighting was so intense that one cameraman has on a pith helmet and the one in the middle has a cloth apron over his viewfinder and head to help him see the image. These silver 500A camera scanned 441 lines of resolution, which is double the 220 lines scanned by their dark colored predecessors.

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America’s First Television Pioneer…Charles Jenkins

America’s First Television Pioneer…Charles Jenkins

Below is a photo of Charles Francis Jenkins directing “Shadowgraph” mechanical television November 6, 1929 at W3XK located in Washington DC and later, Wheaton Maryland. According to research from friend of mine, Dr. Horace Newcomb, (who until last year was head of the Peabody Awards committee at The University of Georgia), W3XK was the first experimental television license granted in the US by the Federal Radio Commission and transmission began July 2, 1928. But…on June 13, 1925, Jenkins had provided America’s first public demonstration of television. Now, all this was mechanical television and not electronic like Farnsworth was working on, but none the less…it was television. Charles Jenkins name is almost forgotten, but he was a major inventor and among his accomplishments was the co creation of the first practical motion picture projector in 1894, the founding of The Society Of Motion Picture Engineers (now SMPTE), the invention of the first commercial paper cup, electric starters for cars, altimeters and brake systems for aircraft and much more as he was the holder of over 400 patents. Jenkins was also involved in the first early wireless transmission of photos and teletype messages. Gone but not forgotten. By the way, did you notice the the camera operator is a woman? Another first?


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‘People Will Talk’, A Fred Westbrook Photo

‘People Will Talk’, A Fred Westbrook Photo

Hosted by Dennis James and originating from NBC Burbank, this Heater-Quigley game show only lasted a year. The host posed moral-type questions like “Should a wife be a stay-at-home mother?” “Is it alright to kiss in public?” There were two contestants and a panel of 15 celebrities. The contestants take opposite sides, giving a brief explanation supporting their stance. Host James then polls each member of the celebrity panel, who gave their answer and a usually humorous explanation. Each vote was worth one point; the first contestant to score four points won $25 for the question. The contestant who scored $100 first won a prize. This game would later be retooled into “The Celebrity Game,” which aired in 1964 and 1965 on CBS. The cameras are RCA TK11s and this could be Studio 1.

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