Posts in Category: Broadcast History

Early Dumont Cameras

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Early Dumont Cameras: Configuration 2

Unlike the RCA cameras, the Dumont Iconoscope cameras had electronic viewfinders which were side mounted. This called for more equipment at the camera and this is one configuration of how that was done. I suspect the larger box is the camera control unit and the smaller one, the power supply. These are mounted on simple rolling dollies with rear steering. The cameramen have their hand on the focus lever. These were probably 50 or 75mm lenses. Dumont was the only one to use the ball type pan heads. This photo was probably taken in Washington in the summer of 1945.

On May 19, 1945, DuMont opened experimental W3XWT in Washington, D.C. In 1947, W3XWT became WTTG.
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ULTRA RARE: A CBS Pye Camera

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ULTRA, ULTRA RARE: A CBS Pye Camera

Below is a photo of James Dean and Betsy Palmer in ‘Sentence of Death’ which aired on CBS, August 17, 1953 on Westinghouse Studio One (Season 5, Episode 46).

The camera is a Pye Mark II, Type 2014. This is the only photo I know of showing Pye cameras at CBS in New York. I think the Pye cameras replaced the Dumont cameras at Studios 53 to 56 in Liederkrantz Hall at 111 East 58th Street. I have a feeling that they were only used for a short time, possibly arriving in mid 1952, and then sold almost immediately after use on this broadcast. In late 1953 and early 1954, WJBF in Augusta, Georgia, WHA in Madison, Wisconsin and WVEC in Hampton, Virginia went on the air with these same camera models and all were started on a shoe string budget. I think they all came from CBS. These are the only 3 stations I know of that used the Pye camera and by coincidence, they all went on the air around the same time. I suspect CBS sold them to buy some RCA TK11s which came out in May of 52.

Below is a link to a video snip of the Studio One episode.

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Super Rare! First Plumbicon Tests…

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Super Rare! First Plumbicon Tests

The smaller camera is one of two experimental models of the first color plumbicon camera from Philips. It is the predecessor of the Philips LDK1/Norelco PC60 and it ha been built inside the body of a Philips monochrome camera. It is being compared in performance by the BBC to the Marconi BD 848, which is a 3 Image Orthicon color camera, very much like the RCA TK41. The date is probably late 1963 or early 64.


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CLASSIC! Final Days Of ‘Tonight’ With Johnny Carson

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CLASSIC! Final Days Of ‘Tonight’ With Johnny Carson

This is a great behind the scenes look at the show, shot in the final days of production with Johnny and Ed as hosts. The year is 1992 and the cameras are RCA TK47s. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSDcQkpb9sE

A Behind the Scenes Look at Production of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Carson Hosted the Popular Show From 1962 Until Turning Over the Set to Jay Len…
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Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts: CBS 1958-1972

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Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts: CBS 1958-1972

These special musical presentations for young people by The New York Philharmonic were actually started in 1924, but when conductor Leonard Bernstein arrived in 1958, he and CBS took it to a new level. These originated from Carnegie Hall, but in 1962 the orchestra moved to the new Lincoln Center. Originally broadcast on Saturday (episodes 1-7) and Sunday (episodes 8-15), the concerts moved to prime time for episodes 16-40. This was likely a CBS counter to Newton N. Minow’s speech referring to television as a vast wasteland. The concerts were also syndicated to forty countries.


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Classic Intro

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Classic Intro

Here’s a cameraman at CBS Television City getting ready for the opening shot of ‘Art Linkletter’s House Party’. At show time, the red chase lights come on. The camera is the RCA TK11.


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RCA Exhibition Studio…1964 World’s Fair

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RCA Exhibition Studio…1964 World’s Fair

To give the RCA TK41s on display something to do, RCA offered to do live and recorded public service shows from their facility. This is a taping of The Bronx Zoo Show. Many of us that visited usually saw only an empty studio, but at least we got to see the TK41s.


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MUST SEE! I’ve Got A Secret…Back Stage Part 2

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MUST SEE! I’ve Got A Secret…Back Stage

This is part 2 of the 10th Anniversary show in which Gary Moore introduces us to the entire crew. From the control room staff to the stage hands, we meet every one. The cameras are RCA TK11s in this June 1962 broadcast.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgR87ZP1sf8

A trip inside the control room shows more of the crew, including producer Chester Feldman; Garry and crew members play “Ain’t She Sweet” and “12th Street Rag.”
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Great! I’ve Got A Secret…Studio Tour Part 1

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Great! I’ve Got A Secret…Studio Tour

Gary Moore give us a look at CBS Studio 52 like we have never seen it before! This is a great tour that opens the 7th Anniversary Show that aired June 17, 1959. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WTfjSbk8tdU

The 7th anniversary episode opens with a tour of the theater on 47th Street.
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FINALLY! Chuck Pharis Has Unpacked!

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FINALLY! Chuck Pharis Has Unpacked!

After the move from California to Tennessee a couple of years ago, our friend Chuck has finished putting together a new camera room at his home. I’ll have more photos tomorrow, and many more of his collection in a few weeks when I go up and visit. Congratulations to Chuck on a beautifully done room and the recent acquisition of the rare Marconi Mark IIs and Mark IIIs…the only ones in the US.


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Steve Allen & The Hudson Theater 1954

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Steve Allen & The Hudson Theater

In 1954, ‘The Tonight Show’ debuted on the NBC Television Network and was broadcast from The Hudson Theater. Before ‘The Tonight Show’, WNBT had originated ‘The Steve Allen Show’ from there for local NYC audiences. In 1957, Jack Paar took over as host and I’m pretty sure that’s when the show moved into Studio 6B at 30 Rock. In 1956, ‘The Price Is Right’ debuted from The Hudson and that same year, Steve Allen began hosting ‘The Steve Allen Show’ on the NBC network from The Hudson on Sunday nights against Ed Sullivan. When ‘Tonight’ began it was broadcast live, but on January 12, 1959, the show began to be videotaped for broadcast later on the same day, although initially the Thursday night programs were kept live for some reason. Color broadcasts began on September 19, 1960 during Jack Parr’s tenure as host.


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Saturday Night Live and Studio 8H In Action Time Lapse

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Amazing! Saturday Night Live and Studio 8H In Action

In the first part of this timelapse video, we see the remarkable movement of the crew and scenery in a rehearsal. The second part of the video is shot from a timelapse cam on the Chapman Electra crane with our friend John Pinto in the bucket. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PU8k2hoCr2w

A quick look behind the scenes.
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After months of searching, I finally know the story behind this photo!

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After months of searching, I finally know the story behind this fabulous photo array! This is NBC’s ‘Saturday Color Carnival: A Salute To Baseball’! This was done live from the Colonial Theater in the early spring of 1957. Notice a couple of the cameras are RCA TK40s and a couple are TK41s. The lineup of star players is astounding!

Emceed by Gene Kelly, the 90-minute extravaganza brings together dozens of special guests from Baseball and Showbiz to commemorate in song, sketch and story, the opening of the 1957 baseball season. Among the special’s many highlights: The introduction of 1956’s MVPs, Mickey Mantle and Don Newcombe; comedy playlets starring the likes of Robert Alda (father of Alan Alda) and Ed Gardner of Duffy’s Tavern radio fame; songs performed by Janis Paige, Tony Bennett, and ventriloquist Paul Winchell (with the help of dummy Jerry Mahoney); a “dream outfield” segment built around Stan Musial, Leo Durocher and Ted Williams; a “baseball rock-n-roll” specialty sung by Bill Hayes; old-time baseball newsreel clips, narrated by radiocaster Mel Allen; and a special closing message, delivered by then-Commissioner of Baseball Ford Frick (long before his vilification as the architect behind the “asterisking” of Roger Maris’ 61st homer.
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The Mother of Invention of Videotape

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In The Days Of Not So Instant Replays…

Our friend Richard Wirth has a new article on the history of kinescopes and video tape development. Linking the east and west costs by coaxial cable was a blessing and a curse for networks because of the need to delay broadcasts going west. Here’s a look at how that got done in the 50s. Enjoy!

http://provideocoalition.com/pvcexclusive/story/invention-of-videotape

The Mother of Invention of Videotape

In our file based acquisition world of 2013 where the editing process can begin immediately right there on the set, it can be difficult to relate to a time when just getting the program recorded was a Herculean effort requiring considerable engineering manpower and over a ton of equipment.
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‘The Voice Of Firestone’, #1 NBC Studio 8H, 1949

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Ultra Rare 1: ‘The Voice Of Firestone’, NBC Studio 8H, 1949

Believe it or not, this is a ‘remote’ broadcast. At 30 Rockefeller Plaza, there were only two television studios at this point…3H and 8G. 3H was converted from radio to TV in 1935 and was home to all the experimental black and white shows and color testing. It served as NBC Television’s lone studio until the conversion of Studio 8G in 1948. 8H was converted in 1950.

The radio show began in 1928 and was originally called ‘The Firestone Hour’ and aired at 8:30 on Monday nights. This show may have been the first series in U.S. television history broadcast beyond New York on a network on a regularly scheduled basis. It began on November 29, 1943 on New York’s WNBT-TV, when there were very few television sets. First seen on the NBC television network in April 1944, it continued until January 1947.

When ‘The Voice of Firestone’ arrived on television in the fall of 1949, NBC simulcast the show on radio and TV, making this one of the first programs to use that technology. In the lower right, you can see an RCA TK30 on a Panoram dolly. Notice the height of the ceiling…8H is actually three stories tall…not two. There is a roof garden just above it. Thanks to Val Ginter for these two photos.
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‘The Voice Of Firestone’, #2 NBC Studio 8H, 1949

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Ultra Rare 2: ‘The Voice Of Firestone’, NBC Studio 8H, 1949

If you look closely, you can see 3 RCA TK30 cameras in this photo. There’s a good chance there was at least one more in the balcony. Interestingly, in this photo, Studio 8H looks a lot like the studio as we know it now, probably because the Firestone stage is much larger than the original NBC Symphony stage we’ve seen in earlier photos. This rehearsal photo shows a vocal group being accompanied by the orchestra. The balcony seating shown here is now office space. Just above the Firestone sign, you can see the radio control room window.
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Dinah Interviews Lucy & Vivian Together

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The iconic stars were reunited and interviewed on the popular talk show “The Dinah Shore Show” in 1975. ***A 20 minute version of this reunion interview is a…
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Letterman Tribute To Johnny Carson, Part 3

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Letterman Tribute To Johnny Carson, Part 3 of 6

A week or so after Carson’s death, Dave did a great tribute show to his mentor…this is part 3.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3k2OELRIWo

Dave shows some short clips of Johnny Carson appearances on Dave’s Show. Please visit CBS.com for more great Letterman clips.
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The Bell Telephone Hour…1959-1968

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The Bell Telephone Hour…1959-1968

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ2diDZf5nM

Above is a link to a clip from ‘The Bell Telephone Hour’, an NBC classic that focused on music, both classical and Broadway. This was one of the first TV series to be telecast exclusively in color and recorded on videotape. In this photo, RCA TK41s at NBC Brooklyn circle up for a scene “from the inside out” as they prepare to shoot four performers against a 180 degree cyclorama.


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Letterman Tribute To Johnny Carson, Part 2

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Letterman Tribute To Johnny Carson, Part 2 of 6

A week or so after Carson’s death, Dave did a great tribute show to his mentor…this is part 2.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDrxOM3jsxY

Dave talks about just how great Johnny Carson was and shows a clip of a prank that Carson played on Letterman. Please visit CBS.com for more great Letterman …
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Follow The Yellow Brick Road…

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Follow The Yellow Brick Road…

In this rare photo from ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ we see one of the huge Techincolor cameras in action. Production on the bulk of the Technicolor sequences was a long and cumbersome process that ran for over six months, from October 1938 to March 1939. Most of the actors worked six days a week and had to arrive at the studio as early as four or five in the morning to be fitted with makeup and costumes, and would not leave until seven or eight at night. Cumbersome makeup and costumes were compounded by the fact that the early Technicolor process required a significant amount of lighting to be used (due to the low ASA speed of the film), which would usually heat the set to over a hundred degrees


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Letterman Tribute To Johnny Carson, Part 1

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Letterman Tribute To Johnny Carson, Part 1 of 6

A week or so after Carson’s death, Dave did a great tribute show to his mentor. In this part, all the jokes in the monologue were written by Carson and faxed to Dave in the month prior. Dave speaks of this in some later segments that I’ll posting tomorrow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BiHLK5lFvQ

Dave’s opening monologue consists entirely of jokes sent to him from Johnny Carson. Then Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra play Carson’s theme song. This ep…
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His Master’s Voice…

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His Master’s Voice…

Here’s a rare moment…Johnny Carson as a guest on David Letterman’s show in 1985. Enjoy!

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

Johnny making an appearance on Letterman Show in Burbank CA @ NBC Studios
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Q Card Hell!

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Q Card Hell!

Can you imagine? Here’s an associate producer working on Q cards for a show at CBS Television City. Can you imagine what chaos there would be on a live show if these were out of order?


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Episode 1, ‘Studio One’…’The Storm, November 7, 1948

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Episode 1, ‘Studio One’…’The Storm, November 7, 1948

Also known as Westinghouse Studio One, Studio One From Hollywood, Summer Theater and Westinghouse Summer Theater, this series of dramas ran on CBS from ’48 to ’58. ‘Twelve Angry Men’ was one of the many blockbuster presentations in this series that was always among the top rated shows and an Emmy magnet.

Shown here are Margret Sullivan and Dean Jagger. Notice the extended arm on the HF Panoram dolly. More, a few posts below.
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53 Seconds Of Fun We Never Saw On The Air! CLASSIC!

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53 Seconds Of Fun We Never Saw On The Air! CLASSIC!

Veteran “Pyramid” player Tony Randall takes host Dick Clark by surprise with his pointers on how to play the game. Follow me on Twitter at @CraigShemin Read …
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Good For A Laugh…Oldies, but goodies…

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Good For A Laugh…

Oldies, but goodies…
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CBS, First Color Truck Tour

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CBS, First Color Trucks

This is a tour of one of the first CBS color trucks and was probably made in 1965 or 66 as the first Norelco cameras received were were installed in the CBS mobile units so they could cover sports in color. No audio on the first few seconds so don’t adjust your speakers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQalMEtkSS0

CBSMUA2
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The Cameras Of The BBC

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Quite Interesting

This gives us a look at a lot of the different cameras the BBC used up till 1956, including the new Marconi color camera the BD 848 which is very similar to the RCA TK41 for a reason…Marconi was licensed by RCA to use their technology. Most of the cameras seem to be EMI models. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G36AaMDFdM

A Panorama programme from June 1956, with Richard Dimbleby, showing a behind the scenes view of technological advances in BBC Television. Showing the studios…
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BBC’s Early Video Tape Experiments…

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BBC’s Early Video Tape Experiments…

This is very much like the RCA test model built in 1950. I think both systems used 1/2 inch tape but they moved at 200 inches per second and could only record 15 minutes of programming, even though the reels were huge.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f1GDQDB0Ss

Early video tape machine developed by the BBC starting in 1952. VERA – an acronym for Vision Electronic Recording Apparatus – used half inch magnetic tape on…
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