Posts in Category: Broadcast History

GE Theater, CBS

GE Theater

This shot is from the set of a 1956 GE Theater presentation at CBS Television City. Ronald Reagan was the host of the long running series and working for GE as their national spokesman got him interested in politics as he not only represented them on television, but in person around the country at many of their trade shows.

The television version of the program was broadcast every Sunday evening at 9:00 pm, EST, beginning February 1, 1953 and ending May 27, 1962. Each of the estimated 209 television episodes was an adaptation of a novel, short story, play, film, or magazine fiction. An exception was the 1954 episode Music for Christmas, which featured choral director Fred Waring and his group The Pennsylvanians performing Christmas music.

On September 26, 1954, Ronald Reagan debuted as the only host of the program. GE added a host to provide continuity in the anthology format. After four months, the show reached the Top Ten in the Nielsen ratings.

The show made the already well-known Reagan, who had appeared in many films as a ‘second lead’ throughout his career, wealthy, due to his part ownership of the show. After eight years as host, Reagan estimated he had visited 135 GE research and manufacturing facilities, and met over a quarter-million people. During those visits, he would also speak at other forums such as Rotary clubs and Moose lodges, presenting views on economic progress that in form and content were often similar to what he said in introductions, segues and closing comments on the show. Reagan, who would later be known as “The Great Communicator” because of his oratorical prowess, often credited these engagements as helping him develop his public speaking abilities.

The camera is an RCA TK11 on a Houston Fearless 30B stage crane. No, that’s not a ghost…just a set dresser that moved on a long exposure.

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The GE PC 15 Color Camera #1

The GE PC 15 Color Camera #1

Here’s a close up of GE’s first color camera, the PC 15. When this camera was redone in 1965, it became the PC 25 and the top handles moved to the bottom of the camera as side handles. More on this camera below.

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The GE PC 15 Color Camera #2

The GE PC 15 Color Camera #2

This is the very rare GE PC 15 color camera on a demonstration set at WRGB in Schenectady, New York. The PC 15 came out in 1958 and was updated around 1965 and renamed the PC 25. This 3 Image Orthicon creation resembles the RCA TK41 in looks and mass, but weighs in at ‘only’ 215 pounds compared to the TK42’s 280 pounds and the TK41’s 350 pounds.

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Made In Germany, Fernseh KKO 110,

Made In Germany

From around 1956, this is the Fernseh KKO 110, a five lens Image Orthicon monochrome camera. Sleek, handsome and practical in design. That I know of, only Fernseh had the quick change camera numbering system which was quite handy.

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It’s True: You Can’t Tell The Players Without A Program

It’s True: You Can’t Tell The Players Without A Program

Thanks to David Daughtry for this shot of his Grass Valley LDK camera ready to shoot a San Diego Chargers – Baltimore Ravens game. Shooting from the Chargers side of the field, David’s face card shows the Baltimore coaches that he’ll be looking for on the opposite sidelines from time to time. Above that, the all important jersey number roster.

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RCA’s Famous ‘Umber Grey’

RCA’s Famous ‘Umber Grey’

Before the ‘new look’ in the 60s, all of RCA’s equipment was painted ‘umber grey’. When I found out the official name for the color, I was confused because there is nothing grey about it…it’s brown. When I came across this great true color photo this morning showing the camera’s real colors, I decided to do some digging.

Umber is a natural brown clay pigment that contains iron and manganese oxides. Its name derives from the Latin word umbra (shadow) and was originally extracted in Umbria, a mountainous region of central Italy. It is defined as: Having a brownish color. To darken with or as if with umber. I still don’t understand the ‘grey’ part of the color name, but it is what it is.

CBS employees may argue that their RCA cameras were grey, and they are right. CBS painted their RCA equipment a medium grey and there are two theories why. First, it is said that medium grey is best for color acuity in color tv studios and control rooms. Second, Frank Stanton wanted all the CBS equipment to look uniform and most of all, different than RCA equipment so he ordered it all painted grey. Now you know. Me too. By the way, the camera is an RCA TK11 at WATE in Knoxville, TN.

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One Of The First ‘Private Eye’ Shows “Man Against Crime”

One Of The First ‘Private Eye’ Shows

This is ‘Man Against Crime’ which starred Ralph Bellamy as Mike Barnett, a New York freelance private eye. This production was broadcast live from 1949 till 1952 on CBS and this studio would have been at the old CBS Grand Central location.

In ’53, the show moved from CBS and changed it’s name to ‘Follow That Man’…it also went to film. Interestingly, ‘Follow That Man’ was broadcast on NBC and Dumont in the 1953 season. In ’54, the show became exclusive to NBC and the last episode aired in 1956.

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Dumont: The Start Of WABD, New York

Dumont: The Start Of WABD, New York

This photo was taken April 15, 1946 and shows the inaugural broadcast from the new Dumont studio at Wanamaker’s department store in Manhattan. The telecast was fed to Dumont’s W3XWT (WTTG) in Washington for broadcast there, and in Washington, some FCC officials making congratulatory comments were fed back to New York and viewed by the audience here. At the time, only NBC was further along in network transmissions. By early 1947, both the Dumont and NBC flagship stations in NY were presenting a few hours of programming three or four nights a week for local viewers and affiliates in other northeastern cities.

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What A Beast…A Philco Built Iconoscope, One of Only Two Made

What A Beast…

This 1946 photo shows a Philco built Iconoscope camera at their company owned station in Philadephia, WPTZ. Although Philo Taylor Farnsworth did work for Philco in Philadelphia from 1931 till 1933, it is not known if he had a hand in the building or design of these cameras. The Philco cameras were built for WPTZ use only and were never sold and only a handful were ever made.

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Memory Lane…General Hospital, 30th Anniversary Video


Memory Lane…General Hospital

Thanks to Father Bob, here’s video that has a good look at the General Hospital set in Studio 54 on the ABC Prospect lot in Los Angeles. I think the cameras are Ikegami 322s.

April 1993 – General Hospital’s 30th Anniversary Special part 1 features: Antonio Sabato Jr. as Jagger Cates , Kin Shriner as Scott Baldwin , Shell Kepler as…

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A Secret About GE and Dumont Cameras…

Now This Is Interesting!

Both cameras in this 1949 photo from KLEE in Houston (now KPRC) are GE models. The one on the left is the older of the two and looks almost exactly like the Dumont 124B, complete with the power supply riding on the tripod base. No one seems to know the model number for this camera, but I think the one on the right is the GE PC 8 and notice that it does not have the power supply with the camera. If you wonder why the GE looks so much like the Dumont, it’s because Dumont built the cameras for GE.

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The Ampex BCC 10

The Ampex BCC 10

Yesterday, I made a comment on the BCC 10 and low and behold, I just found a photo of them at work at KPRC in Houston. I’ve never seen these cameras in a studio, only in catalog photos and that’s probably because so few were made. Only 69 were built between ’78 and ’81 and they sold for about $70,000 each.

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Eye Popping: Computer Generated Effects! Must See!


Eye Popping: Computer Generated Effects! Must See!

I’ve never seen anything quite so ‘magical’. This level of technology is just amazing! Take a look and share it.

This is CGI at it’s best for TV

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Keep the screwdriver handy, you’ll need it again!

Keep the screwdriver handy, you’ll need it again!

WOIC-TV (1949–1950)
WTOP-TV (1950–1978)
WDVM-TV (1978–1986)
WUSA-TV (1986-present)

On the other hand, today WEWS in Cleveland celebrates 65 years on the air with the same call letters, same channel and same ownership. Now that’s rare! Congratulations!

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An Expensive Hobby…Restoring Early Videotape Machines


An Expensive Hobby

Restoring early videotape machines to working order is not small feat, but John Turner does it. Here’s a demonstration of how his RCA TK60 quad machine works.

What Labguy did on his spring break series, first video. John Turner demonstrates the 1969 RCA TR-60 quadruplex broadcast video tape recorder that he has res…

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What Does The ‘TK’ On RCA Cameras Stand For?

What Does The ‘TK’ On RCA Cameras Stand For?

As most of you know, the TK prefix on RCA camera models began in 1946 with the introduction of the RCA TK30 Image Orthicon camera. Pictured below is one of the very first TK30s delivered to NBC in early June of 1946.

Last night I had a conversation with my friend Lou Bazin who was the lead engineer on the TK44 and TK76 lines at RCA. I asked Lou what the ‘TK’ designation stood for. He said that he had asked the same question many years ago too. He said he never got a clear answer, BUT…it probably stands for Tele Kine.

That had never crossed my mind, but it’s actually a very good answer and here’s why. Over time, references change. For instance, ‘hooking up’ used to mean I’ll meet you later. Now it means having sex. Same for the word Kinescope which started as a noun, but later became a verb.

Before the process of recording the output of a cathode ray tube to film became known as a ‘kinescope’, the term originally referred to the cathode ray tube used in television receivers, and the word kinescope was coined by RCA’s Vladimir K. Zworykin.

As a noun, Kine is defined as: “a cathode-ray tube with a fluorescent screen on which an image is reproduced by a directed beam of electrons”. Tele is defined as: “across a distance”. Combine the two terms and you get the idea of a creation that can make images at a distance. That is in essence, the definition of a television camera.

I can see how, as a quiet tribute to Zworkin and RCA heritage, that the TK designation would be appropriate. The Image Orthicon tubes used in the first TK models, the TK30 and TK10, were revolutionary in their ability to shoot great pictures with much less light…even candle light.

This is as good an answer as I have ever heard, but like many things from that bygone era, we are not really sure of the truth.

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WXYZ, Detroit: Suitcases Full Of Money

WXYZ, Detroit: Suitcases Full Of Money

Without WXYZ, ABC may not have made it. Lytle Hoover, who was then directing The Soupy Sales Show from there, told me that every Friday morning the GM flew to NYC with a suitcase full of money so ABC could cover payroll checks.

WXYZ-TV began broadcasting October 9, 1948 and was the third of the five original ABC-owned and operated television stations to begin operations, after New York City and Chicago, and before San Francisco and Los Angeles. WXYZ-TV was created out of ABC-owned radio station WXYZ (1270 AM), which produced the popular radio programs The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet.

In the 1950s WXYZ-TV began producing a series of popular and innovative programs which featured many personalities from WXYZ radio. The station’s success generated revenues large enough that it helped keep the then struggling ABC network afloat during the 1950s.

WXYZ began broadcasting in color in 1964. By 1978, WXYZ-TV was the second most-dominant television station in the United States in local viewer ratings, no doubt attributed to ABC’s prime-time ratings dominance and the continued success of Channel 7 Action News with lead news anchor Bill Bonds. In 1979, ABC named Jeanne Findlater as WXYZ’s general manager. She was the first woman to hold that title at a large market television station.

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Roll The Credits…Literally

Roll The Credits…Literally

Here’s the way the closing credits were done in the old days. White text on black scroll was fixed to a large wheel. Some were hand cranked and others had a variable speed electric motor. This shot from Radio Canada has a Marconi Mark II ready to shoot when the credits roll.

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The RCA TK76 and PM Magazine

The RCA TK76 and PM Magazine

It is no small coincidence that both launched in 1976. PM originally started in San Francisco on KPIX as Evening Magazine and was created to run as a local program in the half hour preceding prime time. A new FCC ‘Prime Time Access’ rule, prohibited stations in the top 50 markets from accepting network programming, other than network news before prime time in order to ‘serve the local market’.

By ’78, The PM format became syndicated by Group W (Westinghouse), and was built to feature local stories shot on location on videotape. Before the TK76 ENG (Electronic News Gathering) camera came along, this would have not been a viable show because it would involve either bringing studio cameras to the field or using film. When the TK76 came along, so did news vans equipped with video tape like the RCA TPR 10. By ’77 RCA had the first helical scan machines ready…the HR 400 and TH 100 in ’78.

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Drew Plays With “Price Is Right” Cameramen


No Doubt About It.
http://www.eyesofageneration.com/Gallery_Today_Camera.php

What we have here in Studio 33 at Television City are Sony EFP (Electronic Field Production) kits. The cameras are most likely Sony 1500 HDs. They are using the Sony Large Viewfinder Adapter build up kit, model HDLA1507US. For more on the technology, go to the link. Thanks to Father Bob yet again for the video.

Drew decides to stand on the base of camera 2 while the contestants bid on a price (3/16/09)

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OOPS! Craig Smashes The Teleprompter


OOPS!

Craig smashes the teleprompter on his camera when he smacks it.

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Joey Bishop Show’s GE PE 350 Cameras


Joey Bishop Show: Vine Street Theater

At the top of the video, you can see a couple of the GE PE 350 cameras on the set. In ‘Recent Posts By Others’ there is another short clip from this same episode that has a quick glimpse of the cameras. If you watch the rest of this, you’ll see that Joey and side kick Regis Philbin have a very natural patter. Good match. Thanks to Father Bob for both videos.

The opening minutes of a Bishop show episode that features Sammy Davis as the central guest. Here Joey and sidekick Reege talk about their new Nehru jackets …

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Colonial Theater Color Girl, Marie McNamara

Colonial Theater Color Girl

Last week we touched on the color camera development at The Colonial Theater in NYC. Here is yet another of the early color girl models that spent many hours in front of the cameras for registration and tone matching. These are two of the four experimental TK40 ‘coffin’ cameras. These cameras with their viewfinders probably weighed around 400 pounds each. The TK40/41 production models weighed 375.

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Howard Cosell Breaks The John Lennon News, December 8, 1980


32 Years Ago…Yesterday

After going over this a few times, it’s apparent that the crew in the booth knows the news but is just waiting for the first opportunity to report it and they say as much if you listen closely. It was a sad day for everyone that loved music.

John Lennon was announced dead by Howard Cosell on a Monday Night Football game . Miami Dolphins vs the Patriots… First time ever we bring you the TWO time…

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Rare Color Clips From The Early 60s


The Beautiful Color Of The RCA TK41

In this series of clips, you can see the rich colors and hues that the TK41 gave us along with great blacks. The editing leaves a lot to be desired, but the point is the pictures. The spelling tells me this is was done by someone outside the US which is yet another tribute to the TK41.

This is a compile of rare colour television show excerpts dating from 1958 to 1966 shot on the first colour camera the RCA TK-41. These excerpts come from va…

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David Letterman…Backstage In Studio 6A Video


VERY COOL!

You’ll feel like Johnny Carson or David Letterman making their grand entrance into NBC Studio 6B! Great camera work on this rare piece from one of Dave’s first shows. ENJOY and Share! Thanks to Father Bob!

This is from one of Dave’s first NBC shows, featuring a cameo from Larry “Bud” Melman, Mr. Calvert Deforest, himself. This is Dave at his irreverent best.

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The Colbert Report Set, NEP’s Studio 54

The Colbert Report

This is the set in NEP’s Studio 54 in New York. It is a fully-equipped HD studio has: Sony HDC1450R cameras, Canon lenses, a Sony MVS-8000G Switcher, an Evertz Virtual Monitor Wall 162 Inputs, 5.1 Audio Monitoring, 24 channels of EVS, a variety of tape machines, SSL C100 Digital Audio Console w/ MADI, inbound and outbound fiber for transmission, and a full edit package with 6 Avid Nitris DX systems and a variety of tape machines.

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The Daily Show With Set At NEP’s Studio 52

The Daily Show With John Stewart

This is the Daily Show set at NEP’s Studio 52 in New York. This fully-equipped HD studio has: Sony HDC1450R cameras, Canon lenses, a Sony MVS-8000G Switcher, an Evertz Virtual Monitor Wall 162 Inputs, 5.1 Audio Monitoring, 24 channels of EVS, a variety of tape machines, SSL C100 Digital Audio Console w/ MADI, inbound and outbound fiber for transmission, and a full edit package with 6 Avid Nitris DX systems and a variety of tape machines.

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How Zsa Zsa Helped Mike Douglas Go From Live, To Videotape

Mike Douglas Show, TK10

This shot is from 1963, a couple of years into the show. It was live every weekday for an hour until around October of ’65. That’s when Zsa Zsa Gabor called Morey Amsterdam a “son of a bitch” for interrupting her joke. After that, the program aired on a one-day tape delay basis.

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Letterman Messes With His Favorite Cameraman, Dave Dorsette…


Short Clip: Cameraman Dave Dorsette’s Interns

FYI, Dave retired a year or so again after 35 years at CBS but is back from time to time. Go Get Em Dave!

Karen’s a summer intern for Dave, the Cameraman

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