Posts in Category: Broadcast History

All Hands On Deck For Kennedy Funeral Coverage

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All Hands On Deck For Funeral Coverage

This photo is from Sunday, November 24, 1963. Barbara Walters, Hugh Downs and Jack Lescoulie are shown on the ‘TODAY’ Show set. Only NBC had an early morning news show that could help with the coverage of these events and it was kept on the air in it’s regular 7 till 9 (EST) slot as a anchoring platform each day. They did the show from Washington on Sunday and Monday, but not sure about where the Saturday show was done. All networks were stretched to the limit on personnel and equipment during this time and coverage was sign on till sign off on CBS and ABC, but NBC fed a live signal around the clock on Saturday and Sunday with a camera trained on President Kennedy’s casket lying in state at both the White House and Capital. The FCC was very liberal with sign on and sign off rules during this time with both TV and radio.


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In Better Days…

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In Better Days…

Here’s a rare color shot of Jackie Kennedy taken during her famous tour of the White House in 1962. There were 8 TK11/31s there for the 7 hour taping session and the CBS producer played back some video tape at the end of the day for her and President Kennedy, who seemed quite proud of his wife. I just learned from a recent special that she smoked the whole time off camera and surprisingly dumped ashes everywhere as there seemed never to be an ashtray available anywhere. Bless her heart.


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Televising The Oswald Transfer…Fascinating Clip

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Televising The Oswald Transfer…Fascinating Clip

NBC’s Tom Pettit, the cameraman Home Venso, director Fred Rheinstein and producer Chet Hagen discuss television’s roll in the coverage of the move and subsequent killing of Oswald. Via this clip, we now know that WBAP had 2 TK30s in the basement. The other WBAP TK30 was the one Homer Venso operated and racked the lenses live on NBC air just one second before Oswald was shot. As you can see at 4:13, the second TK30 had only a Zoomar lens with no others on the turret. It is moving to the left of where the three main cameras were to join them behind a rail that police had ordered them behind and all were shooting the door that Oswald would emerge from. This same camera appears to move behind the bank of cameras after shooting and shows KRLD’s GE PC 12. Interestingly, in the last part of this 8 minute clip, a WFAA Marconi Mark IV is seen at Parkland Hospital for the death announcement. Oswald was shot at 11:20 Central and died at 1:07 Central. Parkland was 4 miles away so the live trucks had to literally break and run to strike and reset in order to get the shots. Even though pooling was supposed to be happening, I’m sure there were a mad dash by all to get their own equipment moved.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjphDSY5QJ4

*Poor quality both audio and video Oswald is paraded back and forth through the hallways of the Dallas Police Department. Comments regarding the transfer and…
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That Unforgettable MomentIn a weekend filled with unforgettable moments

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That Unforgettable Moment

In a weekend filled with unforgettable moments and images, this is one of the most iconic of all. Choking back the emotion that all of us felt, the sight of Walter Cronkite making the news official and showing ever so briefly his human side, this consummate professional soldiered on. Although all three networks were on the air reporting furiously, this image of this man in this moment is the one most remembered.


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Where Were You? No one that was alive that day can forget

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Where Were You?

No one that was alive that day can forget where they were when they heard the news…please share with us your experience of learning the President Kennedy had been killed. This rarely seen photo was taken from from the Dealey Plaza monument just after the first shot.


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The Beginning Of The End…

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The Beginning Of The End…


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NBC…Initial Coverage Of The Assassination

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NBC…Initial Coverage Of The Assassination

Video tape did not roll immediately at NBC and Don Pardo’s first audio booth bulletins are available only because Phil Gries happened to be recording audio at home. At 6:06, video starts with Chet Huntley, Frank McGee and Bill Ryan at the news desk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0Oec1Gm1ew&list=PL0O5WNzrZqIMcKyft37X7uIknKcs7dSpP&index=1

WATCH ALL 3 PARTS HERE: http://JFK-Assassination-As-It-Happened.blogspot.com/2012/03/nbc-tv.html —————— Part 1 of 3. NBC-TV footage from the day …
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ABC…Initial Coverage Of The Assassination

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ABC…Initial Coverage Of The Assassination

At 1:50 PM EST, a ‘Father Knows Best’ rerun was on the air when it was interrupted with the first audio bullitens delivered by announcer Ed Silverman. I don’t know who the first on screen newsman is, but I’m guessing he was the only one in the building when the news hit. He is joined by Ron Cochran who was called back from lunch. The coverage here is shockingly crude.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzYvsaieR4g

Two hours of live, as-it’s-happening ABC-TV coverage of the news surrounding the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy on Friday, November 22, 1963…
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Literally, The LAST SECOND Of Camelot

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Literally, The LAST SECOND Of Camelot

This photo was taken involuntarily by C L Bronson and was snapped simultaneously between Zapruder frames 226 and 227, while the first shot was being fired. Thinking ahead, Mr. Bronson had planned to capture this photo a couple seconds later when the limo was further out in the open from his perspective, and further away from the nearby “North Peristyle’s” cement vertical structure portion that is visible at the photo’s right. Mr. Bronson had prepared to snap his photo by having his camera already up to his eye and his finger on the camera’s shutter button. However, a sharp sound startled him so much that it caused his finger to immediately depress the shutter button on his 35mm camera earlier than he had wanted to.


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Why It Was Called “Walkie Lookie”

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Why It Was Called “Walkie Lookie”

Yes, this portable wireless Vidicon camera had a lot of potential for broadcasters, but guess who else was interested in it! That’s right…the Army. RCA had a long history with military radio, radar, television and more but having “eyes” at a forward position was what interested the Army in this unit. Having used RCA Walkie Talkies for years, the obvious nick name for this equipment pack was the Walkie Lookie. Experimental versions came along in 1949. In a related note, the RCA TK30 field camera was RCA’s top priority for release because of commitments to the Army. The TK10 studio camera was supposed to be the first to debut to broadcasters but the military’s need put the TK30 first in line. The TK10 was held back so that RCA could supply the Army with TK30s in early 1946. NBC got their first TK30s in June of 46 and the TK10s debuted in late 1946.


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August 1960, Boston’s Fenway Park

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August 1960, Boston’s Fenway Park

This TK41 is shooing from center field in a test of their ability to colorcast Red Sox baseball. This is just after WHDH moved into it’s new all color facility and there is an RCA color truck here as well as a support unit just in case. This game may have been against the NY Yankees, with coverage sent to WNBC. It would be interesting to see a clip of this video to see how a night game looked. If you look up in the upper deck, you can see another TK41. From other photos I have of this night (that I’ll post soon), it appears that there are at least 4 TK41s at the game. Thanks to Maureen Carney for the photo and background.


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The Grandfather Of ENG Cameras, 1950

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The Grandfather Of ENG Cameras, 1950

Last week, we looked at RCA’s wireless version of this portable Vidicon camera that was used in the coverage of the 1952 political conventions. Here is a good article with pictures on the cabled version of the grandfather of ENG cameras.
http://www.myvintagetv.com/rca_videcon_camera.htm


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Point & Shoot…The First Portable Movie Camera, 1882

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Point & Shoot…The First Portable Movie Camera, 1882

The design of the first “Chronograph” as it was called then, was made by French scientist Étienne-Jules Marey and debuted at 1882 by the name of Fusil Photographique or photographic ‘rifle’. The rifle used a magazine consisting a plate film separated into 25 light tight compartments – each was exposed separately at a staggering rate for that time of 12 FPS. To see the film it shot and how it worked, click on this link and be ready to be amazed.
http://www.diyphotography.net/first-movie-cameras-was-12-fps-rifle


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The Surprise…Wireless Studio Cameras At Television City!

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The Surprise…Wireless Studio Cameras At Television City

http://www.aerialvideo.com/technology/hd-wireless
Until I verified this myself yesterday, I was skeptical of a post a few weeks back by Father Bob Sewvello, but it is true! I had replied to Bob that the cameras in Studio 33 had white triax cables which was also true…till a few months ago. The link above takes you to the Aerial Video Systems site which is what CBS is using. If you look closely, you can see two aerials on each camera (one for data, one for compressed video) and a 12 volt battery attached to the base of the Vinten Quattro pedestals. There are five cameras on ‘The Price Is Right’ set and all are Sony 1500s…only the jib camera (taking this screen shot) is cabled now. More news…this week, CBS will be doing side by side testing of 4K cameras on ‘The Price Is Right’ and ‘The Bold And Beautiful’ sets. Thanks to Father Bob Sewvello for the sharp eye and this photo.


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New “Do” And A Great Crew…More On The NBC 8H Electra Crane

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New “Do” And A Great Crew…More On The NBC 8H Electra Crane

Yesterday you met John Pinto, but without Louis Delli Paoli, Philip Pernice and Bobby Mancari, SNL could not get those great crane shots because they are the crew that drives and mans the boom arm. As you can see in this photo, the Chapman Electra # 308 has had a new paint job and make over. In case you did not know, this historic crane is owned by Chapman but leased by NBC and last year, Chapman wanted to retire #308 and did…for a while. Turns out that the new Electra could not make the tight turns and was not as maneuverable as the old one. There was only one solution…bring back #308. While Chapman had her, they did an overhaul and gave her a new paint job. I would appreciate it if someone would get me the names of all the other camera operators on SNL and if possible, some pictures of them with their Sony’s.


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You Mean They Weren’t Even On The Ship?

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You Mean They Weren’t Even On The Ship?

Nope! Blame it on green screen. Even the famous earlier shot of Jack and Fabizio on the bow was all green screen. Here director James Cameron directs Jack and Rose (DeCcaprio and Winslet) on their bow shot. The studio wanted Matthew McConaughey, but James Cameron insisted on Leonardo DiCaprio. There was so much green screen at even in the departure scene, the extras were filmed on a green screen in a parking lot. ‘Titanic’ ranks first in the Academy Award Most Nominated Films List with 14 nominations, tying with All About Eve. #1 at the U.S. box office for a record fifteen consecutive weeks, from 19 December 1997 to 2 April 1998. The character of Rose is partially based on California artist Beatrice Wood, who died in 1998 at the age of 105. The most expensive movie to be filmed in the 20th century with a budget of $200,000,000. James Cameron drew all the pictures in Jack’s sketchbook. In fact, the hands seen sketching Rose wearing the necklace are not Jack’s but Cameron’s. Since he is left-handed and Jack right-handed, the shots were mirror-imaged in post-production.


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The Care & Feeding Of The Ampex VR 2000 Quad VTR

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The Care & Feeding Of The Ampex VR 2000 Quad VTR

In 1964, Ampex introduces the VR-2000 high band videotape recorder, the first ever to be capable of color fidelity required for high quality color broadcasting. In ’67, the VR 2000 won an Emmy. For the more curious there are several parts to this training tape.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bFPPJgFUJg

Ampex training on the operation of the VR-2000 2″ Quad VTR, part 1
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Super Rare Footage…Live Television At 1939 World’s Fair After the opening day…

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Super Rare Footage…Live Television At 1939 World’s Fair

After the opening days of the fair that were broadcast by NBC, the RCA Pavilion had a camera that visitors could walk in front of and see themselves on a monitor. It was all the rage and certificates were issued stating that the bearer had indeed been among the first people ever to be “televised”![fb_vid id=”10201188466899905″]
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RCA TK30 Remote System

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RCA TK30 Remote System

From the 1949 RCA catalog, here’s what it took to do a two camera remote. Some don’t know that the TK30, as well as the TK10 and TK11/31 had a two part head. The bottom of the head is the camera itself and on top, the viewfinder. The TK30 field camera came out in the summer of 1946, a few months earlier than the TK10 studio camera which debuted in October. As far as I know, they used the same tubes and were practically identical inside but the TK30 could operate with less power.


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One Of A Kind Photo

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One Of A Kind Photo

This is the full compliment of equipment associated with the RCA “Walkie Lookie” Vidicon camera. The wireless back pack is on the table far left. This picture was made at the 1952 NAB Convention. This camera and a few others like it were used by NBC for the ’52 political conventions.


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The French Connection

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The French Connection

Thanks to Jorge Delendatti, our friend in France, here is another early Thomson camera at work. Designed and made in France, one of Thomson’s distinguishing features through the 1950s and 60s were the lifting handles they added to their cameras. Here, you can see them under the chassis with a thoughtful detente in the center for the hand hold.


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Remember Watching Rootie Kazootie?

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Remember Watching Rootie Kazootie? I Do!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPvOQauGIsg
Did you know this was the first of two early children’s TV shows that introduced an interactive technique called “the magic screen”? The “magic screen” (a thick piece of green vinyl that you sent away for) would cling to the TV screen via static electricity. Kids could follow along with drawing and writing on “their side” the magic screen with a crayon. The second show was ‘Windy Dink And You’ in 1953. This show first aired locally as ‘The Rootie Tootie Club’ on New York’s NBC affiliate WNBT on October 14, 1950. Since the title character regularly used a magical kazoo, which he called his “Magic Kazootie,” the kids began calling him “Rootie Kazootie.” Following the kids’ lead, the names of the show and the character were changed with the December 26 show. The network began broadcasting it nationally on July 2, 1951. The show aired on NBC until November 1952, and was seen on ABC beginning in December. The last telecast was May 7, 1954. The link above it to a full 30 minute show from 1953 that came from ABC. Thanks to Maureen Carney for this rare photo.


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The Original Beany & Cecil

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The Original Beany & Cecil

On the left is the voice of Beany, Daws Butler…on the right is the voice of Cecil, Stan Freberg. This photo was taken April 4, 1950 on the set at KTLA. More on the next post.


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KTLA’S First Hit Show…’Time For Beany’

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KTLA’S First Hit Show…’Time For Beany’

Beany and Cecil was created by animator Bob Clampett after he left Warner Bros., where he had been directing theatrical cartoon shorts. Clampett originally created the series as a puppet show called ‘Time for Beany’, which ran from February 28, 1949 to 1954 and originated at KTLA. ‘Time for Beany’ featured the talents of veteran voice actors Stan Freberg as Cecil and Dishonest John, and Daws Butler as Beany and Uncle Captain. This photo was taken on April 4, 1950…the cameras are RCA TK10s.


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Orange Bowl Parade: December 31,1966

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Orange Bowl Parade: December 31,1966

Thanks to David Zorning for this very interesting photo. In preparation for the CBS broadcast, two RCA TK1s are being set up. There were probably six cameras on the parade route and they had to belong to CBS as the first color cameras WTVJ had were Norelco and may have been bought in late 66. WTVJ was Florida’s first station and a long time CBS affiliate. I think only WPLG (ABC, Miami) had TK41s. Notice the CBS Color logo on the camera…that logo was created by CBS when the started loading up on Norelco cameras but they used it on their TK41s too.


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KTLA…’Solid Gold’

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KTLA…’Solid Gold’

On September 13, 1980, ‘Solid Gold’ debuted and ran for eight years. The syndicated music show was taped at KTLA from 1980 till 1984 when it moved from the Golden West Studios to Paramount Studios. This photo from Judy Watson shows her husband Dick behind the Norelco PC70 and Dick Woods using the Norelco PCP 70. The link below is to the first episode of the show. Dion Warwick was the original host and Robert W Morgan was the first announcer. At the 5 minute mark, the countdown starts with quick cuts from a lot of songs you’ll remember. Enjoy and thanks to Judy for the photo.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl4K6VLIhf0


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KTLA Innovation: Television’s First Videotaped Western ‘The Wrangler’

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KTLA Innovation: Television’s First Videotaped Western

‘The Wrangler’ was a six episode summer replacement series for NBC’s ‘Tennessee Ernie Ford Show’ and was produced by KTLA on videotape. This is KTLA veteran cameraman Dick Watson on the Wrangler set with a new Marconi Mark IV and the photo is from his wife, Judy. Much of the back story that follows was written by former KTLA, NBC director Joel Tater.

As most of you know, videotape was introduced in late 1956 and prior to that TV programs were either live, on film or on kinescope. KTLA was the last station in the Los Angeles area to get videotape machines because most of their shows were live and they really didn’t see the immediate need. When a new general manager, Jim Schulke, took over in 1959 he bought lots of Ampex videotape machines, the new black and white Marconi Mark IV cameras and built one of the first videotape mobile units which could shoot shows on location. The new mobile unit would be for not only KTLA shows but anybody else who wanted to shoot their shows on tape on location. Stage 6 on the lot was outfitted with state of the art audio and video equipment to allow for facilities work for outside producers as well. In early 1960 ford motor company was looking to sponsor a summer replacement show for the Ernie Ford show…somehow Schulke convinced NBC and ford to produce a western on videotape, something never before attempted. It was called ‘Wrangler’ and starred Jason Evers. Most of the show would be shot on location at the Janns Ranch in Thousand Oaks with interiors shot on Stage 6.

There were many of the usual problems involved in shooting a period piece on location, such as airplane noise, weather and lighting, but, the biggest problem was that videotape editing had not evolved beyond cutting the tape with a razor, piecing it back with cellophane tape and hoping the splices held. Since there is no visual image on the tape as there is on film, it was a hit and miss proposition that you had made an accurate cut. If the tape pulses were not aligned properly, the picture would roll vertically on the air and you would have to try making the edit again. The first episode of ‘Wrangler’ went on the air August 4th 1960. Because of all the editing problems, that first episode was delivered to NBC to play to the full network just hours before airtime. To try to fix the editing problems, KTLA chief engineer John Silva put together a machine called the TV-Ola, which was to be a frame by frame tape editor. It was about 25 feet long and totally impractical. Meanwhile, the KTLA overtime for shooting and editing the show skyrocketed. Unfortunately the directors chosen for ‘Wrangler’ had never worked with tape before causing endless retakes and the outdoor and indoor scenes rarely matched in continuity. 7 episodes of ‘Wrangler’ were shot, but only 6 aired. The last one ran on September 15th 1960…not a moment too soon for NBC, KTLA, Ford, Silva and Schulke.


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KTLA Innovations

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KTLA Innovations

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=517dCXFUufQ
July 4, 1958 KTLA became the first station anywhere to broadcast live from a helicopter. The chopper was called the “Telecopter” and not only did it shoot live pictures, it also was used to bounce live shots from the “Telemobile” to Mount Wilson. The Special Coverage Unit was a self contained Ford station wagon with extra suspension, a live camera on top, CCUs in the back and it pulled a generator with a microwave dish and could broadcast while moving, as it often did, when pressed into coverage service on the Rose Bowl Parades. The link is to a clip of the Bel Air fires in 1961 where both are in service. In the photo we see cameraman Dick Watson with a TK30 in 1959 but in the clip, there is a new Marconi Mark IV on the roof. Thanks to Judy Watson, (former secretary to KTLA’s John Silva and Dick’s wife) for the photo.


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The Original Sketches Of The RCA TK42

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The Original Sketches Of The RCA TK42

In case you have never seen it, here is the first sketch of the successor to RCA’s TK41 line. This is a scan of the master drawing that I have. It was given to me by RCA’s Harry Wright who designed this, the TK44 and most of RCA’s Telecine equipment.


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The First Thomson Camera? Quite Possibly!

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The First Thomson Camera? Quite Possibly!

Sent to us from our French friend Jorge Delendatti, this is believed to be Thomson’s first camera…an 819 monochrome from the early 1950s. It was made for RTF Television Service (now TF 1) and we don’t know what kind of tube was used. If you look closely, this is very interesting! I can’t imagine what the test pattern looking attachment on the front is, but if it is for registration how could light and focus be achieved? Maybe it has a telescoping arm? Notice also the headphones are receivers only with the talk back mic located under the viewfinder hood. The T handle on the back is for turret rotation and the long lever on the front is for focus. Interesting cabling too.


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