Posts in Category: Broadcast History

The Very Last RCA Cameras Ever Made

The Very Last RCA Cameras Ever Made

Both of these cameras are RCA TKP 47s. The blue version was introduced at the NAB in 1982…the grey version is the final configuration of the TKP 47 and appeared in 1983. Production stopped in 1984. In 81, the last studio cameras had been made in Camden when the TK47 and TK761 lines were halted.

In 1984, RCA Broadcast Systems Division ceased operations and moved from Camden, to the site of the RCA antenna engineering facility in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. In the years that followed, the broadcast product lines developed in Camden were terminated or sold to Thomson. Most of the buildings demolished, except for a few of the original RCA Victor buildings that had been declared national historical buildings. For several years, RCA spinoff L-3 Communications Systems East was headquartered in the building, but has since moved to an adjacent building built by the city for them. The remaining RCA buildings now houses shops and luxury loft apartments.

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Last Of The RCA Studio Cameras: The TK47

Last Of The RCA Studio Cameras: The TK47

From 1979 till 1981, RCA made 238 TK47s. In ’79, 36 were built, 118 built in ’80 and in ’81, the final run of 84 cameras were built.
It would be interesting to know who the last TK47s were sold to. This photo is at WBNS in Columbus, Ohio.

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The RCA Orthicon Tube

The RCA Orthicon Tube

Harley Ambrose Iams and Albert Rose of RCA developed the tube in 1938. Although it was a simpler design than the Iconoscope, building this tube was much more difficult. This 4 Inch RCA Orthicon tube was 18 inches long.

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Q/A With CBS Producer Of Tomorrow’s Super Bowl

62 Cameras At Tomorrow’s SUPER BOWL!

Lance Barrow is ‘The Man’ in the driver’s seat tomorrow and here is an interview with him. Thanks to Kevin Vahey for the link.

http://www.shermanreport.com/super-bowl-producer/

Q/A with CBS’ producer for Super Bowl: Most football games don’t have Beyonce performing at halftime

FULL STORYQ/A with CBS’ producer for Super Bowl: Most football games don’t have Beyonce performing at halftimeby Ed ShermanJanuary 28, 2013 by adminLance Barrow said I helped give him his wake-up call about being the main man for a Super Bowl.Barrow’s first spin as the coordinating producer for the …

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My Conversation with CBS VP Technology, Joe Flaherty…RARE HISTORY!

A LOT Of Interesting History, in case you have not read this!

My Conversation With Dr. Joe Flaherty
Senior Vice President of Technology at CBS

There are few that have seen more television history than Joe Flaherty. There are fewer still that have made as much television history! I will not try and cover all that here, but will instead bring to light some interesting background surrounding several major events in CBS and broadcast history. As I try and boil down over an hour of conversation, I may do some skipping around from topic to topic, and our fist topic is the backstory on Norelco.

According to Joe, “If CBS is the Tiffany network, the BBC is the Gold network”. Although CBS had a couple of hundred engineers in research and development, the BBC had three times that many. In the early 60s, Dr. Flaherty, with a degree in physics was already moving up the ladder and was sent to England to see what he could learn form the BBC about some new black and white cameras they were using.

They were Phillips cameras and had this new Plumbicon tube in them that made great pictures. While there, he called Phillips and they sent a plane for him. He went to the plant in Holland and while there, asked if the Plumbicon would work for color. They had not given it much thought, but after that visit, they did. The result was the PC 60. In early 1964, Joe went back to Holland to take a look. There were problems with the red channel registration on those early PC 60s, but Joe was impressed and bought all 25 of them. Unfortunately, the plant in Eindhoven could only make 25 a year, so he bought a years worth of production. Soon after, Phillips set up shop in New York and began making the PC 70 there and at a much faster clip. CBS had ordered the first 75 and delivery began in 1965.

This was a busy period for Joe and CBS. In 1952, CBS bought a dairy depot from Sheffield Farms and had used it mostly for scenery storage, but with the studios at Grand Central Terminal getting cramped, and wanting to consolidated some of the many broadcast theaters throughout Manhattan, a change was needed. William Paley put Joe in charge of converting the building to the CBS Broadcast Center. By 63, some of the TV studios were up and running and master control moved from Grand Central in late 64 completing the move. With his intimate understanding of the Norelco color regime which was to come, he was the perfect man for the job.

Although the RCA TK10s and TK30 came long before Joe got to CBS in 1956, I did ask him about the unique striped band around the top of most of the cameras. For a long time, no one knew or could say why they were there. A few years back, Pete Fasciano, who developed the Avid editing system, was helping me with the art work for my TK11, which I dressed as a CBS network camera. When laying our the black horizontal stripes at the top and bottom and the alternating grey and white vertical bars, Pete realized this was actually a grey scale test pattern. I told Joe the story, he laughed and confirmed our theory. The amplitude was adjusted using the black and white bars and the frequency adjusted using the grey bars.

Speaking of grey…now we know why all the CBS equipment was painted ‘navy grey’. Joe could not remember the name, but one of the early chief engineers for the television network was an former admiral in the Navy. You can see where this is headed can’t you? Yes, it was his idea to paint all the equipment ‘navy grey’ so it would all match. This started in the mid 50s. Many theories have abounded, like ‘eye acuity’ and more, but…

By the way, one of the financial considerations involved in management signing off on the 100 camera Norelco purchase involved man power. For many years, CBS upper management referred to the RCA color systems as ‘NSCT’ systems, which stood for ‘Never The Same Color Twice’. For network quality, the RCA TK41s and color telecine chains needed one video man to shade each camera and chain. It was thought that with the Norelco cameras, one man could shade 6 cameras at a time. I’m not sure how that worked out.

William Paley would ask Joe to lunch about 4 or 5 times a year. Each meeting, Paley would ask “What are we not doing that we should be doing?” That’s a great question for a CEO to ask and Joe always had to do his homework before each meeting. One of those big ideas was digital and HDTV, which we’ll get to soon, but first, let’s go back to the early 60s and another of Joe’s big ideas…ENG cameras.

Joe said one of the great things about CBS news was, “They were always willing to try something that almost worked.” This is where the ENG cameras come in. Even before CBS became involved with Ikegami in 1962, they had built a couple of ENG cameras in house. Last month, we had trouble identifying a CBS ENG camera at a Gemini space launch…I’m betting that was one of the CBS/Ikegami custom built cameras.

CBS News wanted to go with ENG cameras but there were still a lot of kinks to be worked out with the cameras and with a mobile video tape recorder. In the early 60s, Joe began spending time in Japan where CBS had an engineering office. He worked with Ikegami on the cameras, and soon after with Sony on the VTR. To test this all out, the CBS owned station in St. Louis, KMOX became ground zero for ENG production. The confidential agreements between CBS and Ikegami and Sony paid off and long before the RCA TK76 came out in 1976, CBS was using custom made, Ikegami ENG cameras. As is noted in his bios, Joe was the real pioneering power in the field of ENG.

He is also called ‘The Father of HDTV’ and it’s true. NHK in Japan had come up with the idea and Joe was there collaborating with them in 1971. There are many online articles about his many contributions and I’ll let you Google those, but here is an interesting backstory of one of the fist demonstrations.

Francis Ford Coppola was there and told Joe that, in his opinion, HDTV was better than 35mm film prints. The 35mm negatives were better than early HD, but when prints are made for distribution, the resolution and colors break down. Among the early problems was the difficulty in seeing the HD broadcast signal as the early HD receivers were not up to par yet. This is reminds me of the problems at RCA in the early days of color. They had to build a monitor as good as the camera to see what they had.

Jumping to one more quick item, I had long wondered which CBS studio had the Dumont cameras. As it turns out, 4 studios had them…Studios 53, 54, 55 and 56 at Liederkrantz Hall were all Dumont equipped. Oh yes, and Joe is the only man to have ever redone The Ed Sullivan Theater twice! Once in 1965 for color, and once again when David Letterman came to CBS.

I’ll wrap this up by telling you what Joe is working on now…3D production! In his 80s and still going strong, I can only wish him more continued success and my thanks for his efforts that have affected so many in so many ways!

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The Sue Bennett Show, WBZ Boston

The Sue Bennett Show, WBZ Boston

Susan Bennett starred on the NBC quiz and variety show, Kay Kyser’s College of Musical Knowledge in 1949-50, on the DuMont show Teen Time Tunes in 1949, and was featured on the popular Your Hit Parade in 1951-52. She also appeared as a regular guest on other network shows.

Bennett’s recordings with the Kay Kyser Orchestra include “Sam, The Old Accordion Man,” and “Tootsie, Darlin’, Angel, Honey, Baby.”

Following her network career, Bennett became a Boston television personality and in 1954 and 1955, starred on The Sue Bennett Show, a weekly program on Boston’s WBZ-TV.

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30 Rock: FINAL EPISODES AIR TONIGHT! Great send off article

30 Rock: FINAL EPISODES AIR TONIGHT!

Great send off article in the Washington Post.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/tv/bracing-for-30-rocks-sharp-witted-farewell/2013/01/30/a5d7aa1a-6b1e-11e2-ada3-d86a4806d5ee_story.html

Another look at the live show from NBC’s Studio 8H in 2010.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXi5cNTr8Iw

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WBBM, Chicago: 1981 Behind The Scenes


WBBM, Chicago: 1981 Behind The Scenes

This is a very good and thorough look at what goes into a major market news cast in this era…lots of gear is covered here and it all starts in the studio with Bill Curtis being shot with Thomson cameras. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bedZcB5Qhi4&list=PL4023E734DA416012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bedZcB5Qhi4Here’s Part 2 of a neat WBBM special, ostensibly for kids but which everyone can enjoy and learn something from – Inside Out – The Magic of TV. Reviews some …

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Double Play Photo!

Double Play Photo!

Thanks to Normand Latour, we not only have a photo of his father, Raymond, operating this Marconi Mark II, we now have the best shot I have ever seen of the rare Vinten Pathfinder dolly. An electric version of the Pathfinder came later, but you don’t see many of these manually operated models. It’s almost like the Houston Fearless Panoram dolly, but this had a foot rest and a stay level seat that is a much better arrangement. Raymond Latour was the first cameraman hired to work in Studio 51.

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Sin Of Sins! The Whole Story!

Sin Of Sins! The Whole Story!

For NBC to own any camera other than an RCA…well… that was just unthinkable! How could the child of it’s own parent company do such a thing? Simply put, it was out of necessity.

Early in their history, RCA had become quite successful with their victrolas, radios, tvs and networks and had become a large, cumbersome corporation. Although pioneers, Ampex ‘scooped’ them in the 50s with video tape and in the mid 60s, Norelco was ready to scoop them again in cameras.

RCA had stopped making TK41s in 1964 in preparation of the TK42, but snag after snag gummed up the works. NBC sports executives wanted new cameras for their expanding coverage needs, but the TK42 was not looking good… figuratively and literally. Unknown to most at RCA, some engineers like their Lou Bazin were already working on a TK44 and had found Plumbicon tubes and optics were available to them at Amperex, the Phillips tube maker in the US. But, that was still to long to wait.

The order came down from above to find new cameras and the job fell to Fred Hemelfarb. Fred had come to NBC from RCA with the first TK40s and was NBC’s camera guru and the go-between that made dozens of improvements on the RCA color lines of telecine, cameras and videotape.

Norelco sent 2 cameras for Fred to test and inspect. His was the job of customizing the Norelco cameras to NBC specs. With this done, Norelco was given the order for 35 cameras. The first 6 arrived just in time for the 1967 World Series and were put to the test. Norelco and NBC executives watched the first game in a private trailer on two RCA home receivers. After the game, Fred came up from the truck and everyone was quite happy…especially with the left field shots. That’s when Fred told them there were actually 7 cameras on the game. The left field camera was an RCA TK41. Further modifications were made. Now you know.

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“Queen For A Day”, Fancy Remote Setup In Houston

Fancy Remote Setup Isn’t It?

In the late 50s, ‘Queen For A Day’ would occasionally take the show on the road. When they did, the local NBC stations supplied the equipment and crews. This photo is from KPRC in Houston where a week of shows came from City Auditorium.

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The Kraft Music Hall: 1933-1971

The Kraft Music Hall: 1933-1971

Surprised at the long run? Me too! I never realized the show started on NBC radio. The Kraft Program debuted June 26, 1933 as a musical-variety program featuring orchestra leader Paul Whiteman. During its first year the show went through a series of name changes, including Kraft Musical Revue, until it finally settled on Kraft Music Hall in 1934. Paul Whiteman remained the host until December 6, 1935. Ford Bond was the announcer.

Bing Crosby took over as master of ceremonies January 2, 1936 and hosted until May 9, 1946. For the advertising managers at Kraft, it was imperative that advertising and entertainment be kept separate. For this reason, Kraft insisted that an announcer, not cast members, read its commercials. Ed Hurlihy was the TV announcer.

After Crosby Kraft Music Hall went through a handful of short-lived hosts. Edward Everett Horton, Eddie Foy and Frank Morgan all hosted from 1945 through 1947. Nelson Eddy took over the summer spots in 1947 and with costar Dorothy Kirsten in 1948 and 1949. Al Jolson dotted the Kraft Music Hall landscape, first as an occasional guest from 1933 to 1935, then later as the star and host from 1947 to 1949. In 1947, Kraft started in television but went with dramas in the Kraft Television Theater.

The Kraft Music Hall started in television in 1958, replacing the dramatic anthology series Kraft Television Theater. Milton Berle hosted during the 1958 season. Beginning with the fall 1959 season, singer Perry Como became the host, and continued until 1967 (as a monthly series from 1963 through ’67). During the summer seasons, the show continued with new episodes, with a variety of guest hosts replacing Berle/Como. This rotation of guest hosts became a permanent feature when Como left the series in the winter of 1967 (with the Music Hall returning as a weekly series that fall), and continued until the series finally ended in 1971.

During its final years, Friar’s Club “Roasts” were occasionally broadcast on this series in place of the usual musically themed episodes. Later, these Roasts appeared as a separate series hosted by Dean Martin.

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The Gemini Video-Film System

The Gemini Video-Film System

This system is in use at Vancouver’s CBUT, but I’ve seen this at MGM Teleproductions in NYC too. At MGM, they used this rig with RCA TK60s to shoot commercials. Gemini was born in the early 60s and it was used to make simultanious 16mm film and video tape masters. At the time, most local broadcasters did not have the capacity to handle video tape commercials. They may have had a video tape machine for programs, but the telecine chains were where they rolled spot breaks. This way, clients could shoot one session on video tape and film at the same time, edit both and distribute both film and tape spots to local stations, according to their playback ability.

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End Of An Era!The NBC sign comes down in Burbank.

End Of An Era!

The NBC sign comes down in Burbank.
Photo courtesy of Dave Segar

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“Thank God For Canada”! RCA Sales Chant….

“Thank God For Canada”! RCA Sales

From 1965 – 69, RCA sold a total of 376 TK42s. From 1967-70 they sold 93 TK43s. Except for a few dozen sold to the CBC and Radio Canada, all other sales were to local stations. It was the only RCA camera the US networks never bought. The next big camera sales to US networks were the TK44 and the TK47 studio cameras and the TK76 ENG camera.

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Behind The Scenes: The NFL Today, 1975

Behind The Scenes: The NFL Today, 1975

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJaDfB4Ljgs

I had planned to do this story today anyway, but over the weekend, Dave Miller posted a great video to go with it. In the clip, start at the 13:20 mark and, except for a commercial break, the rest of the video is inside CBS Studio 45 at the Broadcast Center, BUT, don’t skip over the story below.

CBS veteran Gady Reinhold and I have had a few conversations about this live show and how complex it is to produce. With sometimes as many as 4 early games and 4 late games, the trick is to line up the half time breaks so they can all go back to NY at the around the same time. Remember, each game is being fed to different regions and time zones on separate channels.

The least complex way to get at least 2 games into the live half time show was to have the game announcers pad for time with a review of the first half on their end while waiting for another game or two to break if they were only a couple of minutes ahead.

Just like in the video attached here, each halftime show has a built in, prerecorded feature in the second part. If the game breaks for halftime too early, Studio 45 can feed the feature first and that game can join the live studio session after the feature, or, get a delayed tape feed of the live segment.

The live portion would include comments on all the games being covered was being recorded on several machines as they went, starting with the first 2 games to break. They would record the live A block till the fist commercial break on 2 machines, rewind and be ready for play back when the other games joined. The live B and C blocks would be done the same way on other machines. The D and E blocks were the prerecorded features.

Once the early games were over, there were the late games to do. Lather, rinse, repeat. Needless to say, this took a lot of instant communication and some very talented people to pull off.

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July 10, 1962: Telstar, The First Communications Satellite


July 10, 1962: Telstar, The First Communications Satellite

What now seems common, was anything but, when Telstar went into orbit. Launched by NASA aboard a Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral on July 10, 1962, Telstar 1 was the first privately-sponsored space launch. A medium-altitude satellite, Telstar was placed in an elliptical orbit completed once every 2 hours and 37 minutes, inclined at an angle of approximately 45 degrees to the equator.This is in contrast to most of today’s communications satellites, which are placed in circular geostationary orbits.

Due to its non-geosynchronous orbit, Telstar’s availability for transatlantic signals was limited to the 20 minutes in each 2.5 hour orbit when the satellite passed over the Atlantic Ocean. Ground antennas had to track the satellite with a pointing error of less than 0.06 degrees as it moved across the sky at up to 1.5 degrees per second.

Since the transmitting and receiving radio systems on board Telstar were not powerful, the ground antennas had to be huge. Bell Laboratories built the electrical portions of the system that steered the antennas. The aperture of the antennas was 3,600 square feet. The antennas were 177 feet (54 m) long and weighed 380 tons (340,000 kg). The antennas were housed in radomes the size of a 14-story office building.

The top link is to a short version video, the bottom to a very detailed longer version from the AT&T Archives. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRHpl2gZOo0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKH-GijnAGk

To see more from the AT&T Archives, visit http://techhchannel.att.com/archives The story of how the Bell System, in cooperation with NASA, developed the Tels…

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Hate ‘Happy Talk’ News? Me Too! Blame William Fyffe!

Hate ‘Happy Talk’ News? Me Too! Blame William Fyffe!

William C. Fyffe, was the television news executive who pioneered the medium’s controversial “happy news” trend more than three decades ago.

From the Los Angeles Times: “The longtime president and general manager of WABC-TV in New York City, Fyffe developed his happy-talk format in the Midwest, particularly as station manager at WLS-TV in Chicago.

” ‘Happy news’ is a misnomer,” Fyffe told The Times in 1972 when he was news director at KABC and facing nationwide criticism. “It implies that TV news is all fun and games and goofing off. That’s not what we’re doing. We don’t mess with the news; the happy talk is between people, and that doesn’t occur on serious news.”

“The anchorman,” he said, “has become a rather computerized sort of guy. I, for one, haven’t been too sure anything was happening between his eye and his mouth. The way we do it, a real person has to be there. He has to be a solid journalist, not just a pretty face.”

He said the formula was meant to combine a “friendly, humanizing” attitude toward news, “more candor and directness” and features about good works, as well as reports on crime and disasters.

“Here we make an effort to find good news, yes,” he said in 1972, when the concept was still new. “Not to the exclusion of conflict and tragedy. But if we can’t also find the joy, the celebration of life that goes on every day, we’re liars. I like to leave the audience feeling that we’ve made intelligent choices, given them the stories they need information about, but also sure that the world is still going to be here tomorrow.”

Other networks and local newscasts quickly copied Fyffe’s formula, but often distorted and abused it to the scorn of critics and sophisticated viewers.

Not so with Fyffe’s work. Maury Green, a Times television columnist and television veteran himself, said in 1972 that anchors elsewhere seemed to be laughing it up far more than Fyffe’s crew.

As general manager, Fyffe was constantly under ratings pressure in the highly competitive New York market. In 1972, he hired Tom Snyder, then coming off eight years of NBC’s “Tomorrow” show, as WABC-TV anchor. But Fyffe had a prickly relationship with Snyder, and suspended him for a week without pay in 1983 for making an obscene gesture to a stagehand. Snyder left when his contract expired and returned to Los Angeles.

Fyffe also made unpopular decisions, irking other on-air talent. When he moved colorful New York columnist Jimmy Breslin’s “People” to 1 a.m. Fridays and 1:30 a.m. Mondays–too late, Breslin complained, for even late-night New Yorkers to be awake and watching–Breslin lashed back in his New York Daily News column.

“Bill Fyffe,” Breslin suggested, should “do the honorable thing and jump in front of a bus.”

Fyffe that year also dropped the Los Angeles-based show “Entertainment Tonight” in favor of a revived “Hollywood Squares” to get higher ratings. And, again in a quest for better ratings in New York, he advanced the time slot of ABC network news to pit the popular game show “Jeopardy” against Tom Brokaw at NBC and Dan Rather at CBS.

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February 11, 1954: 6th Annual Emmy Awards Show


February 11, 1954: 6th Annual Emmy Awards Show

Live from the Hollywood Palladium, Ed Sullivan hosted the ceremonies broadcast by KHJ TV, but only to the local audience. Starting in March 7, 1955, NBC took over, and the awards show has been seen nation wide ever since. In ’55, Steve Allen and Dave Garroway hosted via split screen from LA and NYC. Notice about a minute in how the KHJ cameras, with very long lenses, artfully avoid each other during Vivian Vance’s walk to the platform.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfg8Sw_0Lw4

6th Annual Emmys. Vivian Vance wins as well as best situation comedy for I Love Lucy.

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September 4, 1951: Coast To Coast Television Now Possible


1951: Coast To Coast Television Now Possible

On September 4, 1951,President Harry S. Truman’s opening speech before a conference in San Francisco is broadcast across the nation, marking the first time a television program was broadcast from coast to coast. The broadcast, via then-state-of-the-art microwave technology, was picked up by 87 stations in 47 cities, according to CBS.

On November 18, 1951, Edward R. Murrow on See It Now presents the first live coast-to-coast commercial television broadcast in the US, showing a split screen view of the New York Harbor and the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. That video from Studio 41 at the CBS Grand Central location is below…Don Hewitt is directing.

This east – west link was made possible because of AT&T’s new microwave radio-relay skyway, the first facilities to transmit telephone, radio and television across the United States by radio rather than wire or cable.

The new route, at the time the longest microwave system in the world, relayed calls along a chain of 107 microwave towers, spaced about 30 miles apart. AT&T spent about three years building it at a cost of $40 million.

On Sept. 4, the largest single television audience to date – estimated at more than 30 million people – saw and heard President Harry Truman open the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in San Francisco. The nation’s first coast-to-coast telecast, this broadcast was made possible when AT&T met a U.S. State Department request to advance the TV opening of the new system by a month.

The historic program went off without a hitch. The New York Times reported that “the image reproduced on screens in the New York area, nearly 3,000 miles from the scene, had excellent clarity and compared favorably with programs of local origin. The contrast was of first-rate quality and there was no distortion.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7fu5M5OFe8

A clip from the first program of the 50’s CBS series See It Now with Edward . Morrow.

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NBC Burbank, 1959: Video Tape Bay 3

NBC Burbank, 1959: Video Tape Bay 3

This is an early look at the video tape department in Burbank. There were three bays of RCA TRT 1 Cs with 4 machines in each bay. Machines 11 and 12 are seen on the back wall. Twelve machines were needed not only to record shows produced there, but to record and playback network feeds for time delay broadcasts. Photo from RCA Broadcast News, March, 1959.

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Marconi Mark IIs Cover Empire Games, Vancouver


CBUT Marconi Mark IIs Cover Empire Games, Vancouver

The Mark II cameras that were just found were a key element in covering this, and all events of the 1954 Empire Games.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP_NzZP_LK0

On 6th May 1954, Roger Bannister ran the first sub-4-minute mile at Iffley Road, Oxford. He held his world record for just six weeks before his great rival, …

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Inside The Marconi Mark II

Inside The Marconi Mark II

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Marconi Mark IIs and Great Detail Of Early Zoom Lens

When The CBUT Mark IIs Were Brand New

This is a photo from August of 1954 showing camera one of four CBUT Marconi Mark IIs covering swimming competition at Vancouver’s newly constructed Empire Pool. Vancouver was the host city of the Empire (aka Commonwealth) Games of 1954. This camera is equipped with a Watson 5 x 1 zoom lens. Just above the cameraman’s hand, you can see the manual zoom demand.

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‘The Good Ship Hope’: NBC September 7, 1962, Operations map

‘The Good Ship Hope’: NBC September 7, 1962

Here is the Operations map of this show’s feed. Hosted by Ralph Bellamy, this was a one hour special about the hospital ship ‘Hope’ helping civilians in Vietnam. Thanks to Gady Reinhold for saving and sharing this.

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The Little Theater: 240 West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan

The Little Theater: 240 West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan

Now known as The Helen Hayes Theater, this was formerly the Little Theater, New York Times Hall and Winthrop Ames Theater. It was built with 597 seats, but reconfigured for TV, seating was reduced to 300.

CBS used the theater as a radio studio for a time, but it was converted to television by ABC in 1958 and renamed the Little Theater. Dick Clark’s ‘Saturday Beechnut Show’ originated there from February 1958 through September 1961. During this time ABC also broadcast the daytime show ‘Who Do You Trust’ with Johnny Carson from the theater.

In the mid 60s, Westinghouse Broadcasting taped the popular syndicated Merv Griffin Show there and later, The David Frost Show. The 1969-70 season of the game show ‘Beat the Clock’ hosted by Jack Narz was also taped there. In April 2011, Colin Quinn’s one-man show ‘Long Story Short’ was recorded there as an HBO special.

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August 6, 1960: ‘The Twist’ Debuts & How Chubby Got His Name!

August 6, 1960: ‘The Twist’ Debuts & How Chubby Got His Name!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbK0C9AYMd8

At the start of this great clip, Dick Clark’s intro of Chubby is done in front of a crane mounted RCA TK10 at The Little Theater, home to Clark’s New York based ‘Saturday Night Beechnut Show’ which he did once a week for 3 years. Below, Conway Twitty, Chubby Checker and Dick Clark twist it up for the camera at rehearsal. In 1960, Conway was still a pop artist and had not yet gone to the country side.

How Chubby Checker Got His Name:

After hearing Philadelphia’s Ernest Evans do a spot on impression of Fats Domino one night, Dick Clark’s wife nick named him Chubby Checker. Later, Dick talked to a local record label about rerecording Hank Ballard’s original version of ‘The Twist’ with a black artist and suggested Evans. The rest as they say is history.

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The Famous, ABC Made, Hand Held Camera, In Action!

The Famous, ABC Made, Hand Held Camera, In Action!

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

At the very front of this clip from ABC’s Silver Anniversary, Frank Gifford holds up and demonstrates the ‘Creepy Peepy’ camera and suggests it came into use in September of 1960 on the sidelines when ABC won the rights to televise college football. I think the ‘camera’ Gifford is using is a prop because it has no cable, but it’s the thought that counts. I’ve heard it is made from an old TK10, but I’m not sure. Our friend Don ‘Peaches’ Langford would know for sure, but I think there was more than one of these made. By the way, I recently saw the video of the log rolling event this camera is shooting below…it was on a Wide World Of Sports show and the picture looked as good as the big camera pictures. I’m trying to relocate it.

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WOW! Lou Costello was One Hell Of A Guy!


WOW! Lou Costello was One Hell Of A Guy!

He had some hard times, but was a major philanthropist. I smiled most of the way through this whole episode. Very touching tribute.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAbIPO2rTkg

Starring Bud Abbott, Carole Costello, Chris Costello, Lou Costello , Paddy Costello-Humphreys, Ralph Edwards, and Edward Sherman… Lou Costello was surprise…

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Look Sharp…Feel Sharp…Be Sharp!


Look Sharp…Feel Sharp…Be Sharp!

That was the Gillette Razor ad copy and I still remember it, and the great opening music of the Cavalcade Of Sports show like it was yesterday. I used to watch this with my dad on Friday nights. Here’s the intro…enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6cyy_rziuk

Featuring the Look Sharp March 1958

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