Posts in Category: Broadcast History

This TK41 Is A Killer! And, An MGM Prop

This TK41 Is A Killer!

About 10 days ago, I posted a TK41 from MGM’s prop department asking you if it was “Live Or Memorex”. Thanks to our friend Mike Clark, we can see that camera in action shooting more than just pictures! For an episode of ‘The Girl From U.N.C.L.E,’ guest star Peggy Lee plays a villain who has a TK41 modified into a machine gun (turret?) to be used against U.N.C.L.E. agents April Dancer and Mark Slate.

Source

View Master: From Manufacturing To Make Believe


View Master: From Manufacturing To Make Believe

If you had a View Master, you want so see this! From our friend Mike Clark, this half hour tour is an amazing demonstration of a live broadcast from the late 50’s. This kinescope of a tour of the Viewmaster facility in Portland, Oregon shows us how the whole process worked and around 18 minutes in, goes into their photo studios where all the animated features came from. Fascinating!

http://vimeo.com/20696900Here is a rare 16MM kinescope of an episode of “Success Story” an early 1950’s live television program in which the show tours and shows the operations of companies…

Source

TV Lens Week…Post 4: SD and HD Lens Comparison


TV Lens Week…Post 4: SD and HD Lens Comparison

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MrC9Hgzdhw

Larry Thorpe of Canon discusses putting standard definition lenses on high definition cameras. http://www.hdcameraguide.com

Source

First Meeting: Our Gang and Little Rascals Casts…1936


First Meeting: Our Gang and Little Rascals Casts…1936

Next week, I will be posting a 10 part special on the ‘Our Gang’ and ‘Little Rascals’, but to get you in the mood, here is a two minute clip of the meeting of the 1921 and 1936 casts of the show. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1aHri6Vtr0

Little Rascals Our Gang

Source

Double Header: 40 Inch Lens and The Edison Effect

Double Header: 40 Inch Lens and The Edison Effect

Last week this photo was posted by Pierre Seguin and comes from a 1947 edition of Popular Mechanics. It shows a 1945 RCA Orthicon camera with a 40 inch lens, described as the longest ever used at the time. It also mentions that television works only with the help of the Edison Effect…a discovery by Edison that led to the invention of the vacuum tube by James Fleming.

The “Edison effect” was the name given to a phenomenon that Edison observed in 1875 and refined later, in 1883, while he was trying to improve his new incandescent lamp. The effect was that, in a vacuum, electrons flow from a heated element — like an incandescent lamp filament — to a cooler metal plate. Edison saw no special value in the effect, but he patented it anyway. Edison patented everything in sight. Today we call the effect by the more descriptive term, “thermionic emission.”

Now the Edison effect has an interesting feature. The electrons can flow only one way — from the hot element to the cool plate, but never the other way — just like the water flow through a check valve. Today we call devices that let electricity flow only one way, diodes.

In 1904, the Edison effect was finally put to use, but not in a light bulb. Radio was in its infancy, and the British physicist John Fleming was working for the British “Wireless Telegraphy” Company. He faced the problem of converting a weak alternating current into a direct current that could actuate a meter or a telephone receiver. Fortunately, Fleming had previously consulted for the Edison & Swan Electric Light Company of London. The connection suddenly clicked in his mind, and he later wrote,

“To my delight I … found that we had, in this peculiar kind of electric lamp, a solution!” Fleming realized that an Edison-effect lamp would convert alternating current to a direct current because it let the electricity flow only one way. Fleming, in other words, invented the first vacuum tube. Of course, most vacuum tubes have been replaced with solid-state transistors today; but they haven’t vanished entirely. They still survive, in modified forms, in things like television picture tubes and X-ray sources.

Source

TV Lens Week…Post 4: Modulated Transfer Function…


TV Lens Week…Post 4: Modulated Transfer Function…MTF

Canon’s Larry Thorpe explains MTF and why it is important.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R73lgtHEIr0

Larry Thorpe of Canon discusses MTF. http://www.hdcameraguide.com

Source

In Honor Of Baseball’s Opening Day! The classic, “Who’s On First” routine


In Honor Of Baseball’s Opening Day!

The classic, “Who’s On First” routine from Abbot & Costello.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=airT-m9LcoY

a funny monolog between Abbot And costello abou abbots baseball team.

Source

3D Rigs…A Relic Already?

3D Rigs…A Relic Already? PLEASE HELP US FILL IN THE BLANKS!

I got an email from our friend Chuck Pharis last night that said all the 3D trucks at ESPN are gone now. It seems that an engineer in India has come up with a box that converts any HD signal into 3D! I hope this is not an April Fool’s joke on me, but, if anyone heard about this, please let us know by adding a comment below. Thanks!

Source

TV Lens Week…Post 3: Studio Box Lens vs ENG/EFP Lens


TV Lens Week…Post 3: Studio Box Lens vs ENG/EFP Lens

Canon’s Larry Thorpe explains the differences and who better? Before joining Canon, Larry was an engineer who built cameras at the BBC, then RCA where he worked on the TK42 and 44 and later went to Sony to help in the development of their studio cameras, starting with the BVP 360.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BUmmWXL1xM

Larry Thorpe of Canon discusses the differences between studio “box” lenses and portable lenses in this informative series. http://www.hdcameraguide.com

Source

“Bruce”, The Mechanical Shark in ‘Jaws’

“Bruce”, The Mechanical Shark in ‘Jaws’

During pre-production, director Steven Spielberg, accompanied by friends Martin Scorsese, George Lucas and John Milius, visited the effects shop where “Bruce” the shark was being constructed. Lucas stuck his head in the shark’s mouth to see how it worked and, as a joke, Milius and Spielberg sneaked to the controls and made the jaw clamp shut on Lucas’ head. Unfortunately, and rather prophetically, considering the later technical difficulties the production would suffer, the shark malfunctioned, and Lucas got stuck in the mouth of the shark. When Spielberg and Milius were finally able to free him, the three men ran out of the workshop, afraid they’d done major damage to the creature.

The mechanical shark spent most of the movie broken-down, and was unavailable for certain shots. This led Steven Spielberg to use the camera as the “shark”, and film from the shark’s point of view. Many think this added to the “chilling/haunting” quality in the final release saying that it would have made it too “cheesy” had they shown the shark as much as originally planned.

Source

TV Lens Week…Post 2: The Pickle Barrel Lens

TV Lens Week…Post 2: The Pickle Barrel Lens

In the photo below, you see a sports event from the late 1940s or early ’50s being covered by a couple of RCA TK30s with zoom lenses. The long lens is a 27 element Zoomar Field Lens. The other camera is equipped with periscope type reflector lens, possibly from Rank, Taylor, Hobson. Due to it’s shape and size, it was commonly referred to as ‘the pickle barrel’ lens.

Source

TV Lens Week…Post 1: The Amazingly High Cost Of Lenses!

TV Lens Week…Post 1: The Amazingly High Cost Of Lenses!

At the link under this text, you’ll see the retail price for Canon’s Digi Super lenses from B&H in New York. Prices range from a low of about $75,000 to over $153,000 for Canon’s top of the line HD box lenses. I’m pretty sure the lenses are available from Canon at a lower price, but as you know, most manufacturers don’t post their prices lists. The zoom and focus demands on page 2 are around $3,800 each! More to come!

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=canon+digi+super&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search

Source

Inside The Iconoscope & One Of The First Orthicon Cameras


Inside The Iconoscope & One Of The First Orthicon Cameras

Revised from the earlier post: In 1941, TV was still quite a novelty, as this clip portrays. At 1:27 you get a look at one of the first RCA Orthicon cameras and the first ever mobile unit. At 4:22, you get a look inside an RCA 500A Iconoscope camera. Most interesting of all to me is the 7:15 section where the RCA Orthicon camera is put together at the ballpark. The lower half, with the tube, is mounted first and the optical (not electronic) viewfinder is added next. The viewfinder has it’s own lens (matching the taking lens on the bottom element) and is not showing the cameraman the actual image from the Orthicon tube. Seeing the actual tube output will finally come in 1946 when the RCA TK30 Image Orthicon camera is introduced.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiDwxlPFYp8

A great watch. This video explains the demand for television within society. It goes on to show the technological process of televising images with equipment…

Source

Pye Experimental Color Camera; Field Sequential System

Pye Experimental Color Camera; Field Sequential System

In the US, the color system battle ended in December of 1953 with the FCC adapting the RCA ‘Dot Sequential’ system over the CBS ‘Field Sequential’ system, but in the UK, this was not settled. This camera is basically a Pye Mark III – 84 – 2014 black and white camera with a color wheel mounted behind the bottom left lens. The hump on top is the housing for the motor that spins the color wheel. The rotation of the wheel was synchronized to the field period of the camera so that, red, green & blue images were presented in succession to the tube which would have been a standard 3 inch Image Orthicon type. The photo is believed to be from around 1954 and is courtesy of Brian Summer’s great site, http://www.tvcameramuseum.org.

Source

April 15, 1956: The Day Color TV Came To Chicago

April 15, 1956: The Day Color TV Came To Chicago

http://www.richsamuels.com/nbcmm/1968/fadeup2.html

The link above will take you to Rich Samuel’s great site that covers Chicago broadcast history from stem to stern. The linked page is about WMAQ’s conversion to color. I wish more cities had broadcast historians like Mr. Samuels. Enjoy the site!

Source

The Ann Sothern Shows…All Three Of Them


The Ann Sothern Shows…All Three Of Them

‘Ann Sothern Show’ www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSLJbQsNQV8
‘Private Secretary’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZJvTnXtIJo

First, a couple of notes: Lucile Ball is Ann’s guest star in the ‘Ann Sothern’ clip. I remember watching both of these…you too?

After a carrier in radio and film, Ann Sothern turned to TV. In 1953, she landed the lead in the series Private Secretary. Sothern portrayed the role of Susan Camille “Susie” MacNamara, a secretary working for New York City talent agent Peter Sands (Don Porter).

The series aired on CBS on alternate weeks with The Jack Benny Program. ‘Private Secretary’ was a hit with audiences and Sothern was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for her role on the series four times. In 1957, the show was renewed for a fifth season, but Sothern left the series after she had a what she later described as a “violent fight” with producer Jack Chertok over profits from the series.

She returned to television the following year in ‘The Ann Sothern Show’. Sothern starred as Katy O’Connor, the assistant manager at the fictitious Bartley House hotel. The series originally co-starred Ernest Truex as Katy’s timid boss Jason Macauley who was routinely out shined by Katy and bullied by his wife Flora (Reta Shaw). Ratings for the series were weak and after twenty-three episodes, the show was re-tooled.

Sothern’s co-star from Private Secretary, Don Porter signed on Katy’s boss James Devery. The addition of Porter added romantic tension to the series and helped to improve ratings. In 1959, the series won a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy. During the series’ second season, Jesse White, who also starred in Private Secretary, joined the cast. Ratings for the series remained solid until CBS moved ‘The Ann Sothern Show’ to Thursdays for its third season. Scheduled opposite the popular ABC series ‘The Untouchables’, ratings dropped substantially and the show was canceled in 1961.

Later, ‘Private Secretary’ was renamed ‘Susie’ and released for syndication.

1959 Ann Sothern Show featuring Lucille Ball. Episode 1 of Season 2: Lucy Ricardo visits her old friend Katy. Ricky is out of town, and Lucy wants to play ma…

Source

RCA Catalog 1964 With Prices

RCA Catalog Week, Post #1…1964 TK60 Catalog With Prices

As promised, each day this week, I’ll be posting rare RCA catalogs in PDF form. Some will be over 100 pages and include all of RCA’s broadcast equipment including radio, but I wanted to start with this one because it is one of the few that has a price list with it, including the price of the TK41C.

This will be an education in more than one way as you learn just how much inflation has crept into our economy thanks to the relentless printing of money by the Federal Reserve Bank. In today’s dollars, the TK60 chain would cost $154,423.17 instead of the $21,500 it sold for in 1964. An RCA TK41 chain would cost $412,992.21 today instead of the $57,500 it cost in 1964. I hope you will share these and this page with friend! Enjoy!

http://johnfleetwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/TK60.pdf

http://johnfleetwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/TK60.pdf

Source

Wizard Of Oz – Behind The Scenes


Wizard Of Oz – Behind The Scenes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKcxX6beKl0

When the ‘Wizard of Oz’ had it’s last network broadcast on CBS (May 8th, 1998), the bumpers around the commercial breaks had interesting behind the scenes tr…

Source

Yet Another Disappearing TV Camera!


Yet Another Disappearing TV Camera!

In this 1984 video, UK magician Paul Daniels makes a Link 125 studio camera vanish! Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cCXBCD6Ols

On a 1984 edition of his magic show, Paul Daniels makes a Link 125 camera disappear.

Source

Meet ‘I Love Lucy’s’ Summer Replacement! ‘My Little Margie’


Meet ‘I Love Lucy’s’ Summer Replacement! ‘My Little Margie’

Remember this show’s theme song? I do, and you can hear it again and see a full episode of ‘My Little Margie’ here, starring Gail Storm and Charles Farrell. This is episode six of season two and first aired on 10/25/52.

‘My Little Margie’ premiered on CBS as the summer replacement for I Love Lucy on June 16, 1952, under the sponsorship of Philip Morris cigarettes (when the series moved to NBC for its third season in the fall of 1953, Scott Paper Company became its sponsor). In an unusual move, the series—with the same leads—aired original episodes on CBS Radio, concurrently with the TV broadcasts, from December 1952 through August 1955. As usual, this episode ends with the same line her dad, Vern Albright used at the end of each show…”Well, that’s my little Margie”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uP3NpF_p3rI

Because that’s when the syndicated edition of the series was prepared; as previously mentioned, the original closing credits were seen with a Philip Morris pack in the background…they had to be refilmed, along with the credits seen during the 1953-’55 Scott Paper sponsorship {a box of Scotties on…

Source

You Mean There Were Art Departments? Yes!

You Mean There Were Art Departments?

Yes! Once upon a time, local stations and networks had real artists on staff. Before electronic and computer graphics came along, art departments made flip cards for promos, made title and closing credit cards, illustrated ticker crawls like the one in this photo and more. This picture is from 1960 and shows a CBC Marconi Mark II camera shooting a side to side crawl on what may be a Grey Ticker Table. Anyone know more about the machine?

Source

David Muir Takes Us On A Tour Of ABC News Headqarters


David Muir Takes Us On A Tour Of ABC News Headqarters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEOf2F_PNGE

Behind-the-scenes tour of the ABC News headquarters with David Muir, anchor of “World News.” The ABC complex on Manhattan’s upper west side is home to ABC Ne…

Source

Fascinating Photo! The Iconoscope Tube In Action…

Fascinating Photo! The Iconoscope Tube In Action…

Here is the heart of early electronic television cameras. This photo, taken by Andreas Fininger, shows an image bring projected into the lens, and then displayed on the plate of the Iconoscope tube. You can actually see the scanning beam in process. Thanks to J P Auger in Canada for sending this!

Source

Ever Seen A Marconi Mark IV In Color?

Ever Seen A Marconi Mark IV In Color?

Having just posted the story below of the Mark IVs at Television City, I thought I would add this color photo of my Mark IV. Although CBS painted many of their cameras Navy Grey, I think the one in that photo is still it’s original color. This is the original Champagne color of these great cameras. This is the first Marconi model with handles and they were the same color as the camera, but on later models like the Mark VII color cameras, the handles had a brushed aluminum look.

Source

Pye Camera demonstration

A Rose By Many Names…Norelco, Philips, Pye, Peto Scott

In this very good video, notice that the Norelco PC70 has a Pye logo on the side instead of a Norelco (as we knew the brand in the US), or Phillips logo (as the camera was branded in the rest of the world). You may have also seen these cameras with a Peto Scott logo. Here is the story of the branding…

(A) Norelco: In a nut shell, Philco, in a 1940s court ruling forced Phillips to use another name for their products in the US. That brand name became Norelco and was cobbled from Phillips North American Electronics Company. Over 95% of all the Norelco cameras in the US were made at Mt. Vernon NY.

(B) Phillips: This is the parent company in the Netherlands. Their Plumbicon color cameras in the US were Norelco PC (for Plumbicon Color) models, while in the rest of the world, they were LDK models…our Norelco PC60 was their LDK 1. Our PC70 was their LDK 2, etc. I think LDK comes from the Dutch term for the Lead Oxide Camera…in Europe, Plumbicons are often referred to as ‘lead oxide valves’ (valves = tubes).

(C) Pye: In 1966, Phillips tried to buy Pye but was allowed only 60% ownership under anti monopoly rules in the UK. Demand for their plumbicon cameras was so great, and the Dutch plant so overwhelmed that many Phillips LDK cameras were made at their Pye plant in England under the Pye and Phillips name.

(D) Petto Scott: Needing even more production capacity, Phillips/Pye took over the small UK based camera maker, Peto Scott around 1968. Most of their camera output was Phillips branded, but in a few regions in the UK, they were allowed to brand the cameras as Peto Scott for marketing and anti trust reasons.

Thanks to Steven Davis for the video clip. http://vimeo.com/54802413

Pye Camera demonstration

Specially shot video with former BBC Manchester cameraman, Malcolm Carr, demonstrating the Pye outside broadcast camera, from the late 1960s to early 1970s, at a…

Source

Very Nice! The EMI 2001 Model, 5 minute tour of the camera


Very Nice! The EMI 2001 Model

This is nice 5 minute tour of the EMI 2001 that debuted in 1966, complete with a built in shot box. The demonstration is by veteran BBC cameraman Malcon Carr. Thanks to Steven Davis for sharing this video. Enjoy!

http://vimeo.com/56213499#Specially shot video of cameraman Malcolm Carr demonstrating the EMI 2001 studio/ outside broadcast camera. The camera was a favourite with cameramen, and was the…

Source

ULTRA RARE! ‘You Bet Your Life’ Pilot Show!


ULTRA RARE! ‘You Bet Your Life’ Pilot Show!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGnn0TFfHJ0 pilot

Although the TV show aired on NBC from 1950 – 1961, it was a CBS radio show when this very casual demo was shot. Notice Groucho is wearing a sport shirt and techs are adjusting the mics like it was only radio. Here is a bit of background on the show and some very interesting production notes.

During a radio appearance with Bob Hope in March 1947, Marx ad-libbed most of his performance, which gave the shows producer an idea. John Guedel, the Hope program’s producer, formed an idea for a quiz show and approached Marx about the subject. After initial reluctance by Marx, Guedel was able to convince him to host the program after Marx realized the quiz would be only a backdrop for his contestant interviews and the storm of ad-libbing that they would elicit by trying to get them to ‘say the secret word’. Guedel also convinced Marx to invest in 50% of the show, in part by saying that he was “untouchable” at ad-libbing, but not at following a script.

A year before ‘I Love Lucy’ started with three film cameras on the set, Groucho was shooting with eight! Eight 35mm cameras were used, duplicated in pairs, in four locations. While one set of cameras shot the program with 10-minute reels, the other set were re-loaded and put into action as the reels ran out. Reportedly, the reason why this show was prerecorded for broadcast was because the network was afraid that Groucho Marx’s ad-libs would run afoul of the censors. In reality, the main reason was to condense the interviews to fit the allotted time with the most entertaining material. All the shows were done in front of studio audiences and those sessions were usually from 35 to 40 minutes long for them.

Although the popular impression is that Groucho Marx entirely improvised his jokes, in reality the show also had gag writers who interviewed the contestants beforehand and prepared questions and comments for Groucho to use in addition to his own improvisations. To feed them to him subtly, a Tele-Score bowling alley projector, located stage left and out of camera range, was used…ever notice him ‘looking off into space’? He was probably looking at the Tele-Score screen.

Reposted is another rarity from my archives. You Bet Your Life was an American radio and television quiz show. The first and most famous version was hosted b…

Source

The Story Of The Ruby Slippers, Part 3 & 4


The Story Of The Ruby Slippers, Part 3 & 4

The discovery came in the spring of 1970…here is the story!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8TrN-RGLOg PART 3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKebFys0Vt0 PART 4

The Story behind the most famous pair of slippers ever made.

Source

Ever Seen A TK10 In Color? Here’s My WGN TK10…

While I’m At It…

Since I just posted the 1948 color photo below of a WGN TK10, I thought I would follow it it up with a shot of the only known surviving camera from the original 8 that WGN bought in 1948. This camera came to me about 2 years ago and I am very glad it is still in such good cosmetic condition. Unfortunately, most of the insides are missing, but I’m quite happy to have such an iconic camera from such a pioneering station. It’s a great piece of history!


RCA TK10 from WGN

Source

Something You Rarely See…

Something You Rarely See…

This is a rare color photo of an RCA TK10 at WGN in Chicago. This is one of 8 the station bought when they went on the air in 1948 and it could be the camera I own. The reason I wanted to post this was to show the original factory look. For some reason, many people think the red stripes were added at the stations…probably due to the fact few color photos exist of these great cameras. By the way, the first TK10s were made in December of 1946 and were the second Image Orthicon cameras on the market…the first was the RCA TK30 that came out a few months before the TK10. The reason the TK30 was released first is because the military wanted a field camera, which the TK30 was, but it was also widely used in studios too.


Rare 1948 color photo of TK10 and “Hi Ladies” host Tommy Bartlett

Source

Scroll Up