January 1, 1960…Rose Parade in Black & White And Color, KTLA
In the late 50s and up to around 1962, KTLA did two local live broadcasts of each parade. The black and white edition came first with the cameras up near the head of the five mile parade route. The live color broadcast had their two RCA TK40s near the end of the route. On the left is a shot of the b/w coverage from the 1960 parade and on the left, a shot of their live color coverage of the same parade a few miles down the road. For more on this unusual event, go to this link and thanks to Early Television for the photos. http://www.earlytelevision.org/ktla_1960.html
60 Years Ago Today…First Rose Parade Color Broadcast
January 1, 1954 marked several color television “firsts”…it was the first time the new NBC color trucks were used. It was the first west to east color broadcast to be nationally televised and of course, it was the first color broadcast of The Rose Parade. The two new color remote trucks were ready in December of ’53 and each truck had two RCA TK41s. This is an NBC/RCA publicity photo but it is not known where this picture was taken.
America’s New Year’s Eve Broadcast History: The Lombardo Years
Starting in 1927, Guy Lombardo And His Royal Canadians played New Year’s Eve shows on Chicago’s WBBM radio. In ’28, WBBM became one of the original CBS Radio Network stations and the executives in New York became aware of the very popular Chicago celebration and in 1929 brought Lombardo to New York for a New Year’s Eve network show that for some reason was shared with the NBC Radio Network, with CBS broadcasting the before midnight segment and NBC broadcasting the after midnight part of the show. Lombardo’s orchestra played at the “Roosevelt Grill” in the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City from 1929 to 1959, and their New Year’s Eve performances continued until 1978 at the Waldorf Astoria. Below is the earliest (1957) known video of the televised performances which started on CBS in December 31, 1956. The Lombardo special on CBS would include a live segment from Times Square (long the focal point of America’s New Year’s Eve celebrations) showcasing the arrival of the New Year. During the early years on CBS, pioneer broadcast journalist Robert Trout reported from Times Square; in later years, another longtime newsman, Ben Grauer, reported from Times Square, though Grauer worked for NBC. While CBS carried most of the Lombardo New Year’s specials, there were a few years in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the special was syndicated live to individual TV stations instead of being broadcast on a network. By the middle 1970’s, the Lombardo TV show was facing competition, especially for younger viewers, from Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, but Lombardo remained popular among viewers, especially older ones. Even after Lombardo’s death, the band’s New Year’s specials continued for two more years on CBS. The Royal Canadians were noted for playing the traditional song Auld Lang Syne as part of the celebrations. Their recording of the song still plays as the first song of the new year in Times Square.
America’s New Year’s Eve Broadcast History: The Dick Clark Years
December 31, 1972 was a strange time in the country…Vietnam, the Olympic disaster, Watergate, the works, however, there was still a calming familiar face. That night, NBC aired a special: ‘Three Dog Night’s Year’s Rockin’ Eve 1973’. It was hosted by members of the famous band, but it was produced by Dick Clark. It was so successful among the targeted young viewers that another special, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 1974, was made and hosted by George Carlin and featured several popular musical performances. For 1975, the show moved to ABC, and Dick Clark took the reins as host. By 1977, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve became the annual television tradition. He would go on to host the show for forty-three straight years. The only exception during that run: ‘ABC 2000′, where the network aired celebrations heralding the new millennium around the world. While there was no “official” New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ show that year, Dick was still there in his famous spot at Times Square, counting down like always inside the ABC special. The beginning of the end of the era came on December 6, 2004. It was on that day when news broke that he has been hospitalized after suffering from a minor stroke. While he said that he would still be good to go, eight days later on December 14, the official announcement came that Regis Philbin would fill in for NYRE 2005. While he wasn’t there in person, he was there in spirit with signs from fans and celebrity messages throughout the night. Clark returned in 2006, but he would no longer be solo. ‘American Idol’ and Top 40 host Ryan Seacrest became his new co-host and started his tenure joining Clark in his first television experience since the stroke. Ratings were there to welcome him, as the show drew in over 20 million viewers.
New Year’s Eve 1987: ‘The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson’
This is the the whole show with The Smothers Brothers and Johnny’s 14th Annual Singing Dog Contest. The cameras would be RCA TK47s and the location is of course Burbank’s Studio 1. I don’t know if there were jibs around this early, but there is a shot or two around the “midnight”‘ mark that seem to be either jib or crane shots. I’ve never seen a crane used on the show, but maybe they brought one in from another studio for this night. The Smothers Brothers are great, as always. Enjoy and Happy New Year!
1956, University Of Michigan Football Colorcast
The first NBC color coverage of a college football game was here in Atlanta when Georgia Tech Yellowjackets played the Miami Hurricanes, September 17, 1955. The next year, NBC went to Ann Arbor’s “Big House” for a Wolverine game. In that there weren’t many color sets till the mid 60s, why did they do all this color production? For two reasons…first, every color event taught both RCA and NBC how to do better color work and constant upgrading and modifications were being made to enhance the image on black and white sets. Second, the more color shows offered, the better chance to interest customers in a new RCA color set. Thanks to Howard Preizler for these screen captures from ‘The Story Of Color’. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIFMVcIZSJM
Below is a shot of ‘Match Game 74’ from CBS Television City Studio 33. The show started on NBC on December 5, 1962 and ran there till September of ’69. At NBC, the show originated from Studio 8H and was always a color show. In the early 70’s Fred Silverman at CBS began dumping the “rural” shows like ‘Green Acres’, ‘Andy Griffith’ and ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ and started adding game shows in prime time starting with ‘The Price Is Right’ in 1972. The next year, Silverman added another Goodson-Todman show which was ‘Match Game 73’ with it’s original host and announcer, Gene Rayburn and Johnny Olson. Did you know that Gene Rayburn was an NBC page in 1936? On January 5, 1967 (while still at NBC NY) Johnny Carson made a surprise appearance on the show…he came to heckle Ed McMahon who was a guest panelist for a week. True or false…this show also aired on ABC.
‘Your Show Of Shows’ & The International Theater
Located at 5 Columbus Circle in NYC, The International Theater was home to NBC’s ‘Admiral Broadway Review’ in 1949 and to ‘Your Show Of Shows’ from 1950 – 1954. As mentioned in the post below, one of the first Sanner cranes was delivered here in 1950 and you can see it on the left. In the first ever LA-NY Academy Awards broadcast, the International was the NY host venue and The Pantages in LA was the other venue.
December 1950…The Debut Of The Sanner Crane
Thanks to Maureen Carney, we have an article that introduces and dates the Sanner Studio Crane. The innovation started in 1948 when former Warner Brothers employee Sidney Sanner got behind an NBC camera for two years to learn the needs of the operator. NBC bought the first four with one going to Chicago, one to Studio 8H, one to The Center Theater and one to The International Theater. CBS bought some too, and they were fine for black and white cameras, but when the TK40s came along a few years later, the Houston Fearless 30B Studio Crane took over. The Sanner in in the middle and the 30B on the right. The article is very rich in detail.
Famous Faces By The Ton…SNL 25th Anniversary Backstage
September 25, 1999 was the air date for this show. This is the pre show gathering in the hall outside 8H and is great recall practice for those of us like me that have CRS…better known as Can’t Remember S**t.
‘The Price Is Right’: NBC’s Colonial Theater, January 1, 1962
By chance, both the photo and video (above) are from the same day. Although ‘The Price Is Right’ became Goodson-Todman’s first regularly aired game show to be broadcast in color on September 23, 1957, no color kinescopes or videotapes are known to exist.
As Bill Cullen says in the clip, the show was done live, but it was also videotaped for playback in the western time zones. The tape and playback was probably handled from Burbank, but I think the kinescope was done in NYC. Most likely there were some color videotape shows held back for a few months for emergency reruns, but all of the time delay tapes were eventually reused. By the way, I think the clip linked here is a night time version.
When Networks Owned Their Own Remote Fleets
Above is a good video of the inner workings and equipment in one of the first CBS Color Mobile Units equipped with Norelco cameras. I’m not sure when the last network owned units were sold, but I think by the late 80s, ABC, CBS and NBC were pretty much all out of the business of owning trucks and were leasing them. Labor costs was one of the major reasons they got out of the mobile business and companies like NEC and ESPN began to really take off.
NBC Studio 8G was converted in 1948, but as NBC Radio’s largest studio, 8H was not converted till 1950. This image is from the May 1951 edition of Popular Science and had just changed it’s title from “America’s largest radio studio” to “America’s largest television studio”. Television was not new to 8H though…from 1947 and into 1948, ‘The Voice Of Firestone’ musical program was done from here with cameras controlled from 8G. Below in Comments is a photo from one of the Firestone shows.
The Norelco Shaver Christmas Commercials…Then & Now
The link above is to the original spot from the 60s, and below is the new version…both still done in stop action Claymation, but today’s have a bit of CGI help too. The voice from the 1960s through the early 2000s was the legendary Peter Thomas. These were as much a part of the holidays as anything to many of us.
Philips Norelco’s Santa is back. It’s been years since his last appearance, but this holiday season Santa is all about his new ride, the SensoTouch 3D. Learn…
Remember This? One Of The First Christmas Specials For Kids
‘The Spirit Of Christmas’, first aired in 1953 and was sponsored by Bell Telephone. The holiday special was produced by puppeteer Mabel Beaton, who started performing marionette shows for her community in a make-shift theater during the 1930s. By the late 40s, she decided to elevate her puppeteering career by creating filmed marionette programs. She got lucky with her first try when she presented her half-hour Christmas special, ‘The Spirit of Christmas’, to The Bell Telephone Company. The president enthusiastically green-lit the show as their 1953 Christmas special, and it became their holiday show for the next several years during the 50s.
The special is split into two segments, the first being a presentation of Clement C. Moore’s poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’. The second segment portrays the story of the birth of Christ. Ms. Beaton maintained that her forte was with serious material, but the Santa Claus story at the beginning of the show was her concession to the commercial appeal of secular Christmas stories. If the narrator’s voice sound familiar, it should. It’s Alexander Scourby, the voice of ‘Victory At Sea’ and many biblical presentations.
The True Story Of “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”
This news article was written by Robert May…the man who wrote the book for Montgomery Ward. This is quite a touching story. What is not mentioned here is that in the months that it took to write it, he was raising his 4 year old daughter almost alone as his wife was dying of cancer. The link should take you to a close up of the story which is in the top left corner and accompanied by a photo of Mr. May. Enjoy!
This cartoon from Max Fleischer Studios is thought to be the first ever, animated depiction of the original story written by Robert May in 1939. This was released in theaters in December of 1944, but the now famous song was not written until 1947. In ’48 the song, first recorded by Gene Autry, was added and the cartoon re released.
Like today’s ‘Popeye’ cartoon post, this was also done by Paramount. When they bought Max Fleischer Studios in 1942, they renamed it Paramount Famous Studios and later changed the name to Paramount Cartoon Studios. This is a Famous Studios cartoon.
The Popeye cartoons came to the screen in 1933 and were produced by the Max Fleisher Studio, which was bought by Paramount in 1942. 122 episodes were done at Paramount from ’42 till ’57 when the library was sold to A. A. P. or Associated Artist Productions which was a television distribution company. After Paramount took over, they produced 14 episodes in black/white and all after that were in color. This episode, ‘Mister and Mistletoe’ was released September 1955.
From Adolph Zukor and Max Fleischer, here’s some great hand drawn animation with a very interesting effect in the last 30 seconds. Going from light to dark is hard to do, but they did a wonderful job. Enjoy.
Orphans get broken toys for Christmas and Professor Grampy comes to the rescue. Producer: Fleischer Studios Watch at cccartoons.com: http://www.cccartoons.co…
From Studio 43 at CBS Television City, here’s the whole on hour special complete with commercials and notice how FEW there were back then, only 8 minutes per hour. I think this was shot with their new Marconi Mark IV b/w cameras. Enjoy!
At the link, you’ll find Andy hosting a 45 minute segment that reminisces about the early Christmas specials he did for NBC. Tomorrow, I’ll post a Best Of video with Andy hosting some of his favorite holiday show clips. Enjoy the music, the memories and the color of the RCA TK41 cameras!
This is James Gleason who you may remember best for his roll in the classic, ‘Here Comes Mr. Jordan’. He also co wrote ‘The Broadway Melody’, the second film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Gleason worked with Lucille Ball on ‘Miss Grant Takes Richmond’ in 1948 and when it came time to cast ‘I Love Lucy’, she suggested Gleason and Gale Gordon for the roll of Fred Mertz. Both had commitments at the time and were not available for the first few shows and that’s when William Frawley won the roll of Fredrick Hobart Mertz.
ULTRA RARE! First Episode ‘I Love Lucy’ Shooting Schedule
Although this episode was the 4th to air in season 1, it was actually the first regular episode ever shot. Posted here is the first of the two page schedule with the second page below in Comments. Rehearsals stared on Thursday and the show was filmed at 8PM on September 8, 1951. The show title is “Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying To Murder Her” and the full episode can be seen at the link below. If you watch the video, you’ll see the “satin heart” opening instead of the original “stick figure” opening as all original openings were changed from “stick figure” with (sponsorship mention) to the “satin heart” open when the shows went into reruns. Please share this!
This is an ad for the Houston Fearless ‘Cinimobile’ hydraulic dolly. Last week I posted a photo of one of the few that are still around…I think there’s one in Ohio and one in Germany. This is probably an item introduced in the late 60s for film and television. There’s another photo from the users manual below in the Comments section.
This is another shot of the show from NBC Studio 6A. The show’s host, Art Fleming has his back to us at one of the producers does a pre show warm up with the audience. This was quite likely a three or four camera show, no matter where it came from…6A or 8G. NBC moved shows around quite a bit from season to season depending on their production loads. Over it’s long run (’64-’75) at NBC, I think 8G was more home base for Jeopardy! than 6A. The camera is an RCA TK44.
I’ll bet you never recognized all four of the street carolers insulted by Bill Murray…I didn’t either. The leader is Paul Shaffer and the others are Miles Davis, David Sanborn and Larry Carlton, three of the biggest names in jazz. The names of the Christmas television shows from the IBC Network, of which clips were shown were “Scrooge”, “Father Loves Beaver”, “The Night the Reindeer Died” and “Bob Goulet’s Old Fashioned Cajun Christmas”. The network’s promotional slogan for these TV shows was “Yule Love It!”. Sam Kinison was originally slated to play the part of The Ghost of Christmas Past but the part eventually went to David Johansen due to his friendship with Bill Murray. The cameras were RCA TK44s.
This little workhorse debuted in the 70s and with it’s 6 foot riser arm could get a camera lens 9 feet high and the arm could go all the way to floor level. It can crab and dolly too. You see more of these on the west coast than the east for some reason and ABC seemed to use them a lot at the Prospect studios. Looks like a fun ride. The camera is a Norelco PC60.