Posts in Category: Broadcast History

David Letterman…First Monologue, First Show


David Letterman…First Monologue, First Show

February 1, 1982, Late Night premiered with a cold opening featuring Larry “Bud” Melman delivering lines as an homage to the prologue of Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein, followed by Letterman coming out on stage behind a group of female dancers – the peacock girls. After a brief monologue, the very first comedy segment was a sarcastic tour of the studio. The first guest was Bill Murray and here is that historic segment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNplNAjlEz8

Monologue

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David Letterman…Last Monologue on NBC


David Letterman…Last Monologue on NBC

This is classic! Wait till you see David and Paul ice skate! Enjoy…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NnrXKxOHkw

The Last Episode of “Late Night with David Letterman”. Guests: Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen.

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A Rare Surviving Technicolor Camera

A Rare Surviving Technicolor Camera

There were never many of these…I think no more than 30 or so world wide and some of those were rebuilt for other color processes. This camera is in the collection of my friend Carey Williams in Chicago and is valued around $50,000. It is known to have been used on ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ and possibly ‘Gone With The Wind’.

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History Of The CBS Eye Logo


History Of The CBS Eye Logo

It was born in October of 1951 and here’s Charles Osgood’s story on it’s development on the 50th Anniversary in 2001.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB63odkphhg

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the CBS eye in 2001, Charles Osgood did this report on the creation of the famous logo.

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50 Years Ago Today! August 28, 1963

50 Years Ago Today! August 28, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963. It was part of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Here is one of the many cameras from every network covering the event.

NBC’s Chicago O&O, WNBQ had a big mobile unit and showed up with 6 cameras. NBC New York sent 2 mobile units and 10 cameras and NBC Washington, WRC had 5 on their mobile unit. CBS had 25 cameras there and ABC 20. They were spread all over town.

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The Burns & Allen Show…1950-1958

The Burns & Allen Show…1950-1958

Their radio show started in 1936 but by 1950, it was time to move to television. When ‘The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show’ began on CBS Television October 12, 1950, it was an immediate success. The show was originally staged live before a studio audience and during its first three months, it originated from the Mansfield Theater in New York, then relocated to CBS’ Columbia Square facilities in Los Angeles.

Ever the businessman, Burns realized it would be more efficient to do the series on film and that started in the fall of 1952). The half-hour episodes could then be syndicated. From that point on, the show was shot without a live audience present, however, each installment would be screened before an audience to provide live responses prior to the episodes being broadcast. With 291 episodes, the show had a long network run through 1958 and continued in syndicated reruns for years.

After the live series ended, the shows were filmed at General Service Studios. The sets were designed to look like their real-life residence, often using an establishing shot of the actual house at 312 Maple Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Although extensively remodeled, that house still exists today—including the study over the garage where George would “escape” from Gracie’s illogical logic. Burns lived in that house for the rest of his life.

One running gag of the TV show involved a closet full of hats belonging to various visitors to the Burns household; guests would slip out the door unnoticed, leaving their hats behind, rather than face another round with Gracie. The format had George watching all the action (standing outside the proscenium arch in early live episodes; watching the show on TV in his study towards the end of the series) and breaking the fourth wall by commenting upon it to the viewers. Another running gag was George’s weekly “firing” of announcer Harry Von Zell after he turned up aiding, abetting or otherwise not stopping the mayhem prompted by Gracie’s illogical logic.

During the course of the eight-year run, the TV show had remarkable consistency in its cast and crew. The episodes were produced and directed by Ralph Levy (1950–53), Frederick de Cordova {who would go on to direct most episodes of NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” (1953–56), and Rod Amateau (1956–58). In addition to cast members Harry Von Zell (replacing original announcer Bill Goodwin in September 1951), Bea Benaderet (who made the transition from the radio show), and Larry Keating, the original writing staff consisted of Sid Dorfman, Harvey Helm, Paul Henning, and William Burns (George’s brother).

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The Great Fred de Cordova

The Great Fred de Cordova

Fred joined ‘The Tonight Show’ at age 60 and left the show at age 82, but he covered a lot of ground before that! After his graduation from Harvard Law School in 1933, he worked in the Shubert Theater organization and directed stage shows for the next ten years. He was variously a performer, stage manager, stage director, and finally dialogue director, the last in ‘Ziegfeld Follies of 1943’.

He directed 23 movies. One of the better known was ‘Bedtime for Bonzo’ (1951) starring a chimpanzee and future President Ronald Reagan. He also directed Rock Hudson, Errol Flynn, Tony Curtis, Audie Murphy, Yvonne de Carlo, Bob Hope and Humphrey Bogart. Much of his career was at Universal Studios, where he was known for turning out entertaining pictures quickly, even with difficult actors, and on a low budget. His last film was ‘Frankie and Johnny’ (1966) with Elvis Presley.

His skills were perfect for TV and in 1950, his TV career began with directing ‘The Jack Benny Program’, on which he appeared several times as himself. Other programs he directed include ‘The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show’, ‘The Bob Cummings Show’, ‘The George Gobel Program’, ‘December Bride’, ‘Leave It to Beaver’, ‘My Three Sons’ (103 episodes), and ‘The Smothers Brothers Show’. He directed and/or produced more than 500 TV series or segments.

He became producer of ‘The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson’ in 1970 and executive producer in 1984. He described his job as “..chief traffic cop, talent scout, No. 1 fan and critic all rolled into one” in a 1981 interview. He was executive producer when the final Carson show signed off in 1992. He won five Emmys for his work on the show.

During tapings of the Tonight Show, de Cordova would sit in a chair just beyond the guests’ couch so that he could cue Carson directly and speak with him during commercial breaks. By the 1980s Carson would occasionally speak to de Cordova during the show, although usually the moment would pass so quickly that there would be no time to give de Cordova a microphone or catch him on camera.

In July 1991, Carson paid tribute at the end of a show to his son Ricky Carson, who had died the month before in an automobile accident. De Cordova was aware that the show was going long and gave Carson the “wrap it up sign.” This infuriated Carson, and from that point forward de Cordova was no longer permitted to manage the show from the floor of the set. For more of his credits, go here http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0208111/

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Did You Know This?


Did You Know This?

Before the factoid, take a look at this great one minute clip from Studio 1 in Burbank with TK44s. Producer Fred de Cordova sat off camera at the end of the guest sofa and had a “go to commercial” button at his chair that lit a signal light in the studio and control room that he would use occasionally as a chance to guide Carson during the show. During the break, Fred would talk with Johnny and if a guest was bland, he suggested moving on, but if things were on a roll, they would extend the piece and juggle the remaining guests. The first to get bumped were authors on a book tour.

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

Fred de Cordova leaves the set of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson when Johnny’s joke bombs. Air date 05-03-1983 Visit http://www.facebook.com/JohnnyC…

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Leo And Jackie

Leo And Jackie

In 1965, ABC provided the first-ever nationwide baseball coverage with weekly Saturday broadcasts on a regional basis. Each Saturday, ABC would broadcast two 2 p.m. games and one 5 p.m. game for the Pacific Time Zone. Merle Harmon, Chris Schenkel, Keith Jackson, and on occasion, Ken Coleman served as ABC’s principal play-by-play voices for this series. Also on the network’s announcing team were pregame host Howard Cosell and color commentators Leo Durocher, Tommy Henrich, Warren Spahn, and Hall of Fame Brooklyn Dodger great Jackie Robinson, who, on April 17, 1965, became the first black network broadcaster for Major League Baseball. This photo is from September 6, 1965 in Los Angeles as the Dodgers prepare to take on San Francisco.

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‘The Mickey Mouse Club’ 1955-1960

‘The Mickey Mouse Club’ 1955-1960

The Mickey Mouse Club was was first televised from 1955 till 1960 on ABC, featuring a regular but ever-changing cast of child performers. Reruns were broadcast by ABC on weekday afternoons during the 1960s, right after American Bandstand.

The series ran on ABC Television for an hour each weekday in the 1955–1956 and 1956–1957 seasons (from 5:00 to 6:00 pm ET), and only a half-hour weekdays (5:30 to 6:00 pm ET) in 1957–1958, the final season to feature new programming. Although the show returned for the 1958–1959 season (5:30 to 6:00 pm ET), these programs were repeats from the first two seasons, re-cut into a half-hour format. The Mickey Mouse Club was featured on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and Walt Disney’s Adventure Time, featuring re-runs of The Mickey Mouse Club serials and several re-edited segments from Disneyland and Walt Disney Presents, appeared on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Although the show remained popular, ABC decided to cancel the show after its fourth season, as Disney and the ABC network could not come to terms for renewal. The cancellation in September 1959 was mostly due to ABC’s demand to add more spots to the show which Disney did not approve of. After canceling The Mickey Mouse Club, ABC also refused to let Disney air the show on another network. Walt Disney filed a lawsuit against ABC, and won the damages in a settlement; however, he had to agree that both the Mickey Mouse Club and Zorro could not be aired on any other network.

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‘Caesar’s Hour’…1954-57

‘Caesar’s Hour’…1954-57

After ‘Your Show Of Shows’ ended it’s four year run, Imogene Coca was offered her own show…a half hour on NBC that ran from 1954-1955. Sid Caesar replaced Coca with Nanette Fabray. The already great writing staff including Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner added Woody Allen and Larry Glebarth. “The Commuters” was a sketch that appeared often and pictured below is a 1956 edition of that sketch with Caesar, Reiner and Howard Morris, all done live weekly from The Majestic Theater.

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‘Wrangler’…The One And Only Videotape Cowboy Show

‘Wrangler’…The One And Only Videotape Cowboy Show

In 1960, ‘Wrangler’ was the summer replacement for ‘The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show’ on NBC. It was done by David Wolper Productions using crew and equipment from KTLA in Los Angeles. Only six episodes were were done, but all of it was shot on location by Marconi Mark IV black and white cameras and the quad video tape edited on Paramount TV’s TVola. The series starred Jason Evers as Wrangler Pitcarin. Remember, KTLA was owned by Paramount back then before being sold to Gene Autry and Golden West.

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‘Winky Dink’…World’s First Interactive Media

‘Winky Dink’…World’s First Interactive Media

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdjFw31u1Cg

For those of us that remember watching (1953-57), ‘Winky Dink’ was a Saturday morning show that we all loved. Host Jack Barry would draw on a glass plate and at home, we could draw the same picture on the screen with our “Magic Window”. At about the 2 minute mark, you’ll get to see the kit many of us had at home to draw along. A sheet of clingy plastic and crayons.

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Early Marconi Color Testing

Early Marconi Color Testing

I suspect this experimental color camera is from around 1954. It is the predecessor to Marconi’s BD 848 which appeared around 1957 and was built along the lines of the RCA TK41. Around 1947 Marconi entered an agreement with RCA to build modified versions of the TK 30 which became the Mark I and Mark II.

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They’ve Created A Monster! Literally!

They’ve Created A Monster! Literally!

Here’s a shot inside Universal’s special make up lab. The designer of the approved Gill-man was Disney animator Millicent Patrick, though her role was deliberately downplayed by makeup artist Bud Westmore, who for half a century would receive sole credit for the creature’s conception. Jack Kevan, who worked on The Wizard of Oz and made prosthetics for amputees during World War II, created the bodysuit, while Chris Mueller, Jr. sculpted the head.

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COOL! Time Lapse, 2 Cameras Shooting Basketball


COOL!

This is a :43 second time lapse video of 2 cameras shooting a college basketball game between Western Kentucky University and Florida International University. Notice one of the cameras has a program monitor attached. Good idea. [fb_vid id=”10151275273449149″]Tonight’s time lapse from the beautiful US Century Bank Arena on Florida International University’s campus as WKU Athletics men’s basketball team take on the Panthers.

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Behind the scenes of experimental colour transmission – January 1957

The Marconi BD 848 Color Camera, Rare Video

In a recent conversation with Chuck Pharis, I discovered that RCA had sold Marconi the rights to make their own version of the TK30 which became the Marconi Mark I. I suspect they also sold them the rights to make a TK41 as well, which became the BD 848. In this rare video, you can see the 848 in action at one of the first color transmission tests at the BBC, January 31, 1957. A lot of the chat is a bit dry, but the cameras appear several times throughout this short clip. Even the insides look exactly like the TK41. Enjoy!

Behind the scenes of experimental colour transmission – January 1957

Behind the scenes view of a BBC Television experimental colour transmission on 31 January 1957 which was broadcast and shown to a large audience of Members o…

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ULTRA RARE! ‘Your Show Of Shows’ Debut Day Schedule

ULTRA RARE! ‘Your Show Of Shows’ Debut Day Schedule

One of America’s favorite shows debuted live on NBC, February 25, 1950. This is the “Day Sheet” from that broadcast showing how the day would lay out. The show was 90 minutes and aired at 9PM ending at 10:30PM, but notice that their day started at 9AM with a full dress rehearsal at 5PM. Starring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, the show was produced by NBC’s Sylvester “Pat” Weaver and directed by Max Liebman who had been producing musical revues at the Taminant resort in the Poconos for many years prior. Caesar, Coca, and Liebman had worked on The Admiral Broadway Revue from January to June 1949 which was also an NBC show and possibly also came from The Majestic Theater (more on this below).

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The Sunday Night Shows…Fall 1964, ABC CBS NBC


Sunday Night Show Fall 1964, ABC CBS NBC

Wagon Train, My Favorite Martian, 20th Century, My Living Doll, Joey Bishop Show, Candid Camera, Profiles In Courage, Walt Disney Wonderful Of Color, Bill Dana Show, Bonanza, The Rouges, and more are remembered here is promo clips.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuIeQA1d0D0

What you would’ve watched on a typical Sunday night on ABC, CBS and NBC throughout the fall of 1964. Wagon Train, Broadside, ABC Sunday Movie, Lassie, My Fav…

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Television Mobile Unit for 1953 Presidential Inaugural Parade

The One And Only…NBC Camera Limousine

I’ve shown you this car before, but thanks to Troy Walters in Australia, here’s another look at it from a magazine of the day.

http://coldwar-c4i.net/TV/EE0353-276.html

Television Mobile Unit for 1953 Presidential Inaugural Parade

Mobile TV Unit for 1953 Inaugural Parade

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The Ones and Onlys…Bob And Ray

The Ones and Onlys…Bob And Ray

Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding began as radio announcers (Elliott a disc jockey, and Goulding a news reader) in Boston with their own separate programs on station WHDH-AM, and each would visit with the other while on the air. Their informal banter was so appealing that WHDH would call on them, as a team, to fill in when Red Sox baseball broadcasts were rained out. Elliott and Goulding (not yet known as Bob and Ray) would improvise comedy routines all afternoon, and joke around with studio musicians. Elliott and Goulding’s brand of humor caught on, and WHDH gave them their own weekday show in 1946. Matinee with Bob and Ray.

In the early 1950s, the two had their own 15-minute television series, entitled simply Bob & Ray. It began November 26, 1951 on NBC with Audrey Meadows as a cast regular. During the second season, the title changed to Club Embassy, and Cloris Leachman joined the cast as a regular, replacing Audrey Meadows who left the series to join the cast of The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS. Expanding to a half-hour for the summer of 1952 only, the series continued until September 28, 1953. Thanks to Tom Roche for the photo.

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Fresh, Out Of The Box…RCA TK11s

Fresh, Out Of The Box…RCA TK11s

This photo is thought to be a 1955 photo from the first days of television at The University of Iowa. New everything…how cool!

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KTLA & the Atomic Bomb – LIVE!

The Amazing Adventures Of Klaus Landsberg,

Landsberg was the director of experimental television station W6XYZ when it went on the air in 1942. Under his guidance, it became the first commercially licensed television station west of Mississippi when it became KTLA Television on January 22nd, 1947. Here is the story of how Klaus and KTLA televised an atomic bomb test live from the middle of nowhere with only a few days notice, told by our friend Richard Wirth.

http://provideocoalition.com/pvcexclusive/story/ktla-atomic-bomb-live

KTLA & the Atomic Bomb – LIVE!

On my annual pilgrimage to NAB this past April, I decided I would finally check out the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas.  I’d driven past it many times in the past but never took the time to go in. During the tour, I was gratified to see they had included a small homage t…

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A Real Oddity…The EMI 10678

A Real Oddity…The EMI 10678

From 1956, this camera used by the BBC is one of the oddest looking things I’ve ever seen. The metal lens hood covered the four turret lens with 3,4 8 and 12 inch Dallmeyer lenses. This is possibly a good idea for rainy days in the field, but not so much in the studio. The pickup tube was a 4.5″ Image Orthicon.

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Two True Rarities…


Two True Rarities…

Rarity One…the striped banding on the RCA TK11/31s. This was fairly common on the TK10/30 at CBS and this was actually a quick grey scale adjustment for cameras. The TK11/31 handle in front of the grey bars diluted their purpose, so they quit using the bars on the TK11/31 cameras soon after this.

Rarity Two…this photo is from set up of the April 8, 1955 ‘Person To Person’, live interview with Marilyn Monroe from a home in Connecticut. The link above is the interview itself done by Edward R. Murrow, who was live in NYC.

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Jerry Lewis…The Cameraman, June 26, 1956, ‘Today’


TREASURE!!! Must See! Jerry Lewis…The Cameraman

June 26, 1956, The Today Show is live at the Sands Hotel’s 500 Club in Atlantic City. Jerry Lewis takes over a TK30 at around the 44:30 mark as Dean Martin sings. Although his camera work is clownish, don’t be fooled…he knows exactly what to do. Notice the RCA Electrazoom lens.

This is a true time capsule of the day, complete with news, weather and lots of entertaining guests. Garroway is on vacation and Fay Emerson is the guest host with Today regulars Jack Lescoulie and Frank Blair. Thanks to João Antonio Franz for sharing this link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-2BHMfa5do

Today Show from the 500 Club in Atlantic City

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Don Stewart On Q Card Duty For Mr. C

Don Stewart On Q Card Duty For Mr. C

Many of you will recognize this photo as the masthead on the main EOAG site http://www.eyesofageneration.com/. Yesterday I got a note from the widow of Don Stewart who had seen the photo there. It was taken during a rehearsal of Perry Como’s show that originated at the Ziegfeld Theater. Here is what Dorothea wrote. “The cue card guy on the far left, was Don Stewart, who I was married to. Little did I know, growing up watching Perry Como, that one day I would meet and marry the guy that held the cue cards for Perry. Nice to see his picture, he is deceased now, but I heard all of his great stories of all the celebrities he worked with on all the shows he was involved with. Oh, for the good old days!”

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Bosch KCU 40s In Action With Sammy Davis…


Bosch KCU 40s In Action With Sammy Davis…

This video of Sammy’s ‘Candy Man’ song is probably from around 1973 and appears to be from Europe…possibly Germany. The KCU 40 debuted in ’69 and was a 3 Plumbicon color camera from Bosch. Thanks to Juan Leal for the clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iIraEbr6NE

http://www.squidoo.com/numberonesongsof1972videoshowcase His number one song in the US in 1972. This song was number one for three weeks. http://www.youtube….

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If This Stage Could Talk…Studio 50, The Ed Sullivan Theater

If This Stage Could Talk…Studio 50, The Ed Sullivan Theater

Ed Sullivan is center stage with ventriloquist Rickie Layne and Velvel at the Sunday afternoon rehearsal. In the background, Ed’s cameraman…George Moses with a TK11. I’m very happy that David Letterman is so appreciative of the theater’s history and has done such a great job as it’s steward. I hope to visit there this fall.

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1976 Ampex Poster For NAB

Back By Popular Demand…1976 Ampex NAB Poster

For more on the anniversary and one of the origial VRX 1000s, take a look at this link.
http://www.historyofrecording.com/ampexvrx1000aniv.html

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