Posts in Category: Broadcast History

It Never Was The Same Again, Was It?

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It Never Was The Same Again, Was It?

If you were ever on a kids show, you know that after the visit, you never saw the show the same way again. Got a story to share about your visit?


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Election Night: 1952, The First Computer Assisted Predictions

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Election Night: 1952, The First Computer Assisted Predictions

An Interesting Story…The computer was right but CBS balked

At CBS, Charles Collingwood sits in the Univac set on election night of 1952. What you see here is just for show as the actual computer was an 8 ton beast the size of a single car garage located in Philadelphia.

Univacs cost about $1 million apiece, the equivalent of more than $8 million in today’s money. The computer had thousands of vacuum tubes, which processed a then-astounding 10,000 operations per second (compared to 5 billion per second for today’s superfast chips).

Remington Rand approached CBS News in the summer of 1952 with the idea of using Univac to project the election returns. News chief Sig Mickelson and anchor Walter Cronkite were skeptical, but thought it might speed up the analysis somewhat and at least be entertaining to use an “electronic brain.”

The Univac in Philadelphia was connected to a teletype machine at the CBS studios in New York City. As the first precincts reported on election night, technicians used Unityper machines to encode the data onto paper tape to feed into Univac.

Pre-election polls had predicted anything from a Democratic landslide to a tight race with the Demo candidate, Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson, slightly ahead of the Republican, five-star Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe in World War II.

So it was a surprise at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time when Univac predicted Eisenhower would pile up 438 electoral votes to Stevenson’s 93. The odds of Eisenhower garnering at least 266 electoral votes — the minimum needed to win — were 100-1.

In New York, news boss Mickelson scoffed at putting the improbable prediction on air. In Philadelphia, Woodbury added new data to the mix. At 9 p.m. correspondent Charles Collingwood announced to the audience that Univac was predicting 8-7 odds for an Eisenhower win.

As the evening wore on, an Eisenhower landslide gathered momentum. The final vote was 442 to 89. Univac was less than 1 percent off. Late that night, Collingwood made an embarrassing confession to millions of viewers: Univac had made an accurate prediction hours before, but CBS hadn’t aired it.

The public was now sold on this computer stuff. By the 1956 presidential election, all three networks were using computer analysis of the results. It was here to stay.


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It Used To Be This Simple…

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Classic Photo

At WWL in New Orleans, a TK11 shoots the news with Jim Kincaid, Hap Glaudi and Don Westbrook in the late 1950s or early 60s. Thanks to Craig Harper for the photo.


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From the 1950 RCA Catalog

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From the 1950 RCA Catalog


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RCA Electra-Zoom Lens, Part 1

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RCA Electra-Zoom Lens, Part 1

The Electra-Zoom was in use at NBC for the debut of the Today Show in January of 1952. When this actually became available, I don’t know, but we do know from the RCA catalog description that there were two ways to operate the lens. Manually, it was done with a push through rod like the Zoomar rod. Electronically the lens zoomed in and out with a toggle switch that mounted on the pan handle. The electronic control is shown in this photo.


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RCA Electra-Zoom Lens, Part 2

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RCA Electra-Zoom Lens, Part 2


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From The 1959 RCA Catalog

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From The 1959 RCA Catalog


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From The 1959 RCA Catalog

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From The 1959 RCA Catalog


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Inside WHDH Telecine Center…With Labels

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Revision From Friday Post

Friday, I posted a photo I though was from WKY, but it’s from WHDH in Boston in 1958. Here is the photo again, but with a labeling of the Telecine equipment. Thanks to Lytle Hoover and Oldradio.com


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Interesting RCA Factoid

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Interesting RCA Factoid

This photo brings to mind an oddity. Notice the 4 lens turret has only 3 lenses…a 50mm, a 90mm and a 135mm. Oddly, this was the standard factory compliment of lenses from RCA with all TK10s, TK30s and TK11/31s. The 4th lens, you had to buy separably, and even then, they were pretty expensive. The next lenses up were the 8, 13, 15, 17 and 25 inch models. In 1954, the 8 inch cost $400 or in today’s dollars, $3.355. Now, when you see lens turrets with only the standard 3 lenses, you’ll know why.

This photo is probably shortly after KIDO’s sign on in 1953 and shows a new TK11 at Boise, Idaho. KIDO is now KTVB. Thanks to Craig Harper for the photo.


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An Early Production Rarity

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Look What I Found In An RCA Catalog!

A few weeks back, on October 12, I had commented on the tripod dolly under an RCA TK11 at KRON. I had wondered who made them and noticed they seemed kind of ‘foot steerable’ with the arch in the back for the cameraman. Now we know there was also a foot lever that could align all the wheels in the same direction for a straight line dolly. Meet the TD 25A.


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How Nostalgic

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How Nostalgic

Here’s an old 3 sided test pattern rack. Notice the ‘Willie Wirehand’ statuette in the background. Willie was the mascot/trademark of the Rural Electrification Association and well known in the ’50s and ’60s. He was called ‘Ready Kilowatt’ too and was a mascot for electric utility companies.


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The One And Only of the One And Only

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The One And Only of the One And Only

This is the one and only photo, of the one and only RCA TK42/43 at NBC. RCA engineer Harry Wright gave me this photo of the camera RCA took to 30 Rockefeller Plaza. NBC never bought a 42 or 43. This camera was put in the crash news studio and was always on, just in case news broke at any hour of the day. Wonder where it would up?


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Super Classic: NBC Brooklyn

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Super Classic: NBC Brooklyn

I’ve had this photo since I was 15. It was sent to me by Mrs. Katheryn Cole from NBC in New York. Only recently, after meeting his daughter Maureen Stamm here on this site, I think I can now identify the cameraman at the bottom of the photo as Don Mulvaney…her dad. Feels like I’ve known him for a while.


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Sandy Fallout: David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon Tape With No Audiences

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Letterman and Fallon: Alone with Sandy!

Neither had studio audiences for yesterday afternoon’s taping sessions. If you go to the link, you can see clips from each show with eerily empty seats.

Sandy Fallout: David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon Tape With No Audiences

If David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon crack wise and no one’s around to laugh, are they still funny…
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STOP THE PRESSES! GUESS WHO’S BACK!!!

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STOP THE PRESSES! GUESS WHO’S BACK!!!

A few months back, I told you that the historic Chapman Electra Crane in NBC Studio 8H was being retired and replaced by a newer model…WELL GUESS WHAT! THE OLD CRANE IS BACK! The driver of the crane, Philip Pernice just told me that the turning radius on the new Electra was not the same and it would not work on the ‘Saturday Night Live’ set, so…the old crane is back in action!


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Inside The RCA TK41

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Inside The RCA TK41


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“Sam And Friends”

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Sam And Friends

Earlier in the week, I posted a photo of Jim Henson and Kermit. Someone mentioned remembering them from their first TV show, so here’s a photo. ‘Sam And Friends’ was a 5 minute weekday show produced in Washington, D.C. on WRC-TV in black-and-white, and later, color. There were 86 episodes and the show ran from May 9, 1955 to December 15, 1961.


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The Beautiful RCA TK11

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The Beautiful RCA TK11

I think this is one of the best looking cameras ever made. This is Home Ec class from the University of North Carolina’s WUNC. The TK11 is mounted on a Houston Fearless friction head and a Houston Fearless TD 3 counterbalance pedestal.


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Now THIS Will Take You Back! Weather Package Video

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Now THIS Will Take You Back!

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

From the early 1950’s, here’s a generic weather package for sale to local stations. Compared to what we have today, the weather reports on the local news stations were not much more than ‘chalk talks’. Some used actual chalk boards, some had fancy plastic covered maps they drew on, some had magnetic ‘suns and clouds’ and some had sliding boards with different local and national maps. Little things like this were a big help in jazzing things up.

Not till 1975 when GOES 1 was launched could we see cloud loops on TV. After that, a lot of things changed quickly and Doppler radar came in 80s.


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’30 Rock’ Set: Silvercup Studios

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30 Rock Set: Silvercup Studios

This is the studio set that stands in for NBC’s Studio 8H, home of ‘Saturday Night Live’. The main lot is at 4222 22nd Street in Long Island City. Other shows taping there are ‘White Collar’ and ‘Person Of Interest’. To see more, click the link. http://www.silvercupstudios.com/


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Paul Lynde! 50 Zingers here! Enjoy!

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The One And Only…Paul Lynde!
50 Zingers here! Enjoy!

Peter Marshall: Will a goose help warn you if there’s an intruder on your property?
Paul Lynde: There’s no better way!

Peter Marshall: In “Alice in Wonderland”, who kept crying “I’m late, I’m late?”
Paul Lynde: Alice, and her mother is sick about it.

Peter Marshall: According to Tony Randall, “Every woman I’ve been intimate with in my life has been…” What?
Paul Lynde: Bitterly disappointed.

Peter Marshall: Diamonds should not be kept with your family jewels, why?
Paul Lynde: They’re so cold!

Peter Marshall: What is a pullet?
Paul Lynde: A little show of affection…

Peter Marshall: Paul, Snow White…was she a blonde or a brunette?
Paul Lynde: Only Walt Disney knows for sure…

Peter Marshall: Promethius was tied to the top of a mountain by the gods because he had given something to man. What did he give us?
Paul Lynde: I don’t know what you got, but I got a sports shirt.

Peter Marshall: When Richard Nixon was Vice-President, he went someplace on a “good will mission,” but instead wound up being stoned and shouted at. Where did this take place?
Paul Lynde: Pat’s room .

Peter Marshall: True or false, cow’s horns are used to make ice cream.
Paul Lynde: You mean those weren’t chocolate chips?

Peter Marshall: What are “dual purpose”cattle good for that other cattle aren’t?
Paul Lynde: They give milk and cookies…but I don’t recommend the cookies!

Peter Marshall: Paul, why do Hell’s Angels wear leather?
Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.

Peter Marshall: True or false…research indicates that Columbus liked to wear bloomers and long stockings.
Paul Lynde: It’s not easy to sign a crew up for six months…

Peter Marshall: Whose motto is “Do Your Best”?
Paul Lynde: I guess we can rule out Jimmy Carter…

Peter Marshall: According to the French Chef, Julia Child, how much is a pinch?
Paul Lynde: Just enough to turn her on…

Peter Marshall: It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics. What is the other?
Paul Lynde: Tape measures.

Peter Marshall: True or false, the navy has trained whales to recover objects a mile deep.
Paul Lynde: At first they tried unsuccessfully with cocker spaniels…

Peter Marshall: It used to be called “9-pin.” What’s it called today?
Paul Lynde: Foreplay!

Peter Marshall: When you pat a dog on its head he will usually wag his tail. What will a goose do?
Paul Lynde: Make him bark.

Peter Marshall: Paul, in the early days of Hollywood, who was usually found atop Tony, the Wonder Horse?
Paul Lynde: My Friend Flicka.

Peter Marshall: During the War of 1812, Captain Oliver Perry made the famous statement, “We have met the enemy and…” What?
Paul Lynde: They are cute.

Peter Marshall: Burt Reynolds is quoted as saying, “Dinah (Shore)’s in top form. I’ve never known anyone to be so completely able to throw herself into a…” A what?
Paul Lynde: A headboard.

Peter Marshall: What is the name of the instrument with the light on the end, that the doctor sticks in your ear?
Paul Lynde: Oh, a cigarette.

Peter Marshall: In one state, you can deduct $5 from a traffic ticket if you show the officer…what?
Paul Lynde: A ten dollar bill.

Peter Marshall: Experts say you should avoid sex immediately after…what?
Paul Lynde: Surgery.

Peter Marshall: True or false, each generation of Americans has been about an inch taller than the previous generation…
Paul Lynde: That makes Robert Conrad an antique!

Peter Marshall: It’s well known that small amounts of female hormones are found in the male body. Are male hormones ever found in the female body?
Paul Lynde: Occasionally.

Peter Marshall: In the “Wizard of Oz,” the lion wanted courage and the tin man wanted a heart. What did the scarecrow want?
Paul Lynde: He wanted the tin man to notice him.

Peter Marshall: Billy Graham recently called it “our great hope in a confusing and ever-changing world.” What is it?
Paul Lynde: Pampers.

Peter Marshall: Paul, how many men are on a hockey team?
Paul Lynde: Oh, about half.

Peter Marshall: What should you do if you’re going 55 miles per hour and your tires suddenly blow out?
Paul Lynde: Honk if you believe in Jesus.

Peter Marshall: What do you call a man who gives you diamonds and pearls?
Paul Lynde: I’d call him “darling”!

Peter Marshall: True or false…a shipment of the Pill was recently recalled because they were actually sugar pills…
Paul Lynde: Does this mean all of the babies born in November will have pimples?

Peter Marshall: We’ve all heard the old phrase “A pig in a poke.” What is a poke?
Paul Lynde: It’s when you’re not really in love.

Peter Marshall: Paul, this is for 12 hundred dollars and the championship. Dale Evans recently revealed the three secrets behind her happy marriage with Roy Rogers. Now listen carefully…”We work together, we pray together and we’re darn good…” What?
Paul Lynde: In the saddle.

Peter Marshall: Paul, in what famous book will you read about a talking ass who wonders why it’s being beaten?
Paul Lynde: I read it, “The Joy of Sex.”

Peter Marshall: Is it normal for Norwegians to talk to trees?
Paul Lynde: As long as that’s as far as it goes.

Peter Marshall: Paul, can anything bring tears to a chimp’s eyes?
Paul Lynde: Finding out that Tarzan swings both ways!

Peter Marshall: Is it possible for the puppies in a litter to have more than one daddy?
Paul Lynde: Why, that bitch!

Peter Marshall: Fred Astaire says, his mother has been trying to get him to do this since he was 35. But he hasn’t done it and says he won’t do it until he’s ready. Do what?
Paul Lynde: Move out of the house!

Peter Marshall: It is the most abused and neglected part of your body– what is it?
Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused but it certainly isn’t neglected!

Peter Marshall: According to the old song, what’s breaking up that old gang of mine?
Paul Lynde: Anita Byant!

Peter Marshall: Paul, the Rio Grande River seperates Texas and Mexico. What does “Rio Grande” mean in Spanish?
Paul Lynde: El Washing Machine.

Peter Marshall: Paul,Zsa Zsa Gabor says she never ever swims with her face in the water. Why?
Paul Lynde: It clogs the drain.

Peter Marshall: Paul, Broderick Crawford says that he is often mistaken for….
Paul Lynde: A dump truck.

Peter Marshall: A current movie is being described as “the story of a love that changed the world forever.” What movie is it?
Paul Lynde: Oh, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Peter Marshall: Lana Turner recently said, “I won’t do it because I haven’t stopped living my life by a long shot.” What won’t she do?
Paul Lynde: Oh, the Merv Griffin show.

Peter Marshall: Now listen carefully, Paul. If you have one it’s a moose. If you have two, it’s a….?
Paul Lynde: It’s a mess!

Peter Marshall: In the Bible, who was found in a basket among the bulrushes?
Paul Lynde: Colonel Sanders.


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If Only This Set Could Talk!

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If Only This Set Could Talk! Can you imagine the stories?

The Celebrity Game inspired Merrill Heatter to work overtime trying to develop another multi-celebrity game. One Sunday afternoon he suddenly hit on an idea…put the celebrities in a giant tic-tac-toe board. He brought in partner Bob Quigley and the two pitched the idea to CBS daytime chief Fred Silverman, who ordered a pilot. So, with Bert Parks emceeing in 1965, the two taped a pilot called The Hollywood Squares.

Silverman had a slot to fill and a choice to make between Squares and The Face is Familiar. He chose Face (anyone remember that one?). When the option expired Heatter and Quigley shopped the show to ABC and NBC and were turned down cold. But NBC at least agreed to take a second look, and bought it. Their only complaint was that they didn’t like host Bert Parks, so they searched for another host. Supposedly, someone saw a Kellogg’s ad featuring comedian and song-and-dance man Peter Marshall …and the rest was history.

The Hollywood Squares premiered on NBC on October 17, 1966, at 11:30 a.m. EST, opposite The Dating Game on ABC and reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show on CBS. Ironicly, Van Dyke costars Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie were guests on that first show, and in fact were regulars for years. Three more of those first squares–Abby Dalton, Wally Cox and Charley Weaver– were also regulars during the show’s first few years. The Hollywood Squares would hold onto that time slot for ten years; ABC would move The Dating Game to another time within a year.


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The Piccolo Crane…Ever see one of these?

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The Piccolo Crane

Ever see one of these? This actually folds up on top of the wheel dolly and can hold 2 seated people and a camera. The link takes you to short video on how to set it up and if you don’t know anything at all about cranes, this is a good, little, easy lesson.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GKPlZewPJ3s


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ESPN 3D Sideline Cart, View A

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ESPN 3D Sideline Cart, View A

This is a modified Chapman Olympian base with 2 camera platforms. The lower one for the ‘human’ operator is a swivel turret that can go up about 20 feet. On the rear is an extendable boom arm that can go up another 20 feet above the operator when fully extended and has a robotic 3D camera on top. State of the art!


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ESPN 3D Sideline Cart, View B

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ESPN 3D Sideline Cart, View B

This is a modified Chapman Olympian base with 2 camera platforms. The lower one for the ‘human’ operator is a swivel turret that can go up about 20 feet. On the rear is an extendable boom arm that can go up another 20 feet above the operator when fully extended and has a robotic 3D camera on top. State of the art!


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Heavy Metal The Illustrious Houston Fearless 30B Stage Crane.

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Heavy Metal!

Here is the illustrious Houston Fearless 30B Stage Crane. This one at Radio Canada is carrying an RCA TK42 and is a Deluxe model. Most did not have the boom arm operator platform like this one. I could be wrong, but I think the 30B could crab, as well as be steered from either the front wheels or the back wheels. I think this had battery powered assist on steering, but I think it could also done manually. Fully loaded with this camera and the lead counter weights, this weighs well over 2000 pounds, but the movement is silky smooth! This was the best ride in the business.


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In Remembrance of Jim Henson

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In Remembrance of Jim Henson


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No Studio Crane? Try This!

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August 13, 1950: Hayloft Hoedown

Brand new in March of 1950, here’s real ingenuity at work at WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky. These Dumont 124s are shooting a Saturday night country music show and to get the great high shots without a crane, rolling scaffolding is pretty good alternative. Thanks to Craig Harper for the photo.


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Where the Sid Caesar/Imogene Coca Magic Started

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Where the Sid Caesar/Imogene Coca Magic Started

The Admiral Broadway Revue is the only show known to be canceled because it was too successful…really! Admiral could not keep up with the demand for their TV sets so faced with the prospect of building a new plant or canceling the show, they canceled.

This was ground zero of what would later become the hugely successful, ‘Your Show Of Shows’. Admiral Broadway Review premiered on 28 January 1949, and was broadcast live simultaneously on both NBC and the now-defunct DuMont network. The show was telecast from the now-demolished International Theatre (also known as the Park Theatre) at 5 Columbus Circle in New York. The hour-long series was directed by Max Liebman, hosted by Sid Caesar, and also starred Imogene Coca. The last show of Admiral Broadway Revue was on June 3, 1949.

The series, oddly enough, was sponsored by TV set manufacturer Admiral, a company which was in direct competition with RCA (the parent company of NBC) and DuMont, which both manufactured TV sets. To see an episode, click the link.

http://archive.org/details/AdmiralBroadwayRevue


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