Posts in Category: Broadcast History

The Original GE Color Prototype Camera, Dot Sequential

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The Original GE Color Prototype Camera

This looks a lot like the early RCA color prototypes, but I suspect it came later and was crafted from photos and demonstration broadcasts the GE engineers had seen. This appears to have an electronic viewfinder so the cameraman is finally seeing the output of the camera instead of an image from a second lens. This is probably from around 1950, give or take a few years. Although we can’t see the front, I suspect this has the old single lens like the Iconoscope cameras. Anyone know more?


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GE, Second Prototype Color Test, Field Sequential

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GE, Second Prototype Color Test

The camera closest to us, with the operator standing, is a GE color camera prototype. The far camera is a regular B/W GE camera. This photo is from around 1956 or 57 and predates the first color camera from GE, the PC 15 shown below which came out in ’58. I think they had the interior elements worked out, but were now wondering how to style the camera body. The argument for the TK41ish look won out. In this test they were comparing the color resolution against the B/W camera resolution on B/W monitors to make sure the signal was acceptable on non color home receivers.


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Happy Anniversary 60 Minutes!

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Happy Anniversary 60 Minutes!

On this day, September 24, 1968, Television’s longest running news magazine program premiers. The show was created and produced by Don Hewitt who started as the director of ‘Douglas Edwards With The News’ and ‘See It Now’ with Edward R. Murrow. Hewitt also produced the Kennedy – Nixon Debates and was Executive Producer of The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.


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Always Handy

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Always Handy

Flip cards and camera alignment chats were always close at hand in the early days like in this 1949 shot from NBC. Do you know why?


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Ed Sullivan’s ‘Toastettes”

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May 1951: Ed Sullivan’s ‘Toast Of The Town’

When the show debuted in 1948, six of June Taylor’s dancers were chosen to dance at the top of the show. They were called ‘The Toastettes’ and were on almost every show open, till it became ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1955.


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Who Remembers ‘Ramar Of The Jungle’?

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Who Remembers ‘Ramar Of The Jungle’? I do…

I must have seen it in reruns in the late 50s as it only aired from 1952 to 1954. I think in Atlanta it was ran on Saturdays on WLWA (WXIA) against Tarzan movies on WSB. Here’s episode one.

http://free-classic-tv-shows.com/Adventure/Ramar-of-the-Jungle/1953-04-18-ep01-Evil-Trek/index.php


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1951: Colgate Comedy Hour…Notice turntable in the stage

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1951: Colgate Comedy Hour

Great shot! Notice turntable in the stage and how big the set is. In the early days, before the studios were consolidated, all the networks had theaters they shot in all over NYC and LA. This was in The Center Theater, across from NBC. Finally, a cameraman gets to actually sit on the swing out seat on the Panoram dolly. Usually, they had to climb all over it to see into the viewfinder and get their shots.


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RCA Orthicon Camera, WTOP Washington

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RCA Orthicon Camera, WTOP Washington

A couple of days ago, Val Ginter in NYC asked about the Orthicon cameras. I suspect they came out around 1942-43 and there were not very many as RCA knew the Image Orthicon development was coming along nicely, and would replace these once the war ended. Notice the ‘elaborate’ camera art covering the RCA branding.


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How Hot Is It? Pretty Hot!

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How Hot Is It? Pretty Hot!

It’s not often that you see a TK11 opened up like this, but this one on the set of Art Linkletter’s House Party at Television City needs to breathe. Unlike cameras at the local stations, network cameras work for hours on end in rehearsals and in production and the heat from the tubes caused setting to drift and viewfinders to go blank.


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Soupy Sales: 1964 WNEW

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Soupy Sales: 1964 WNEW

Even though WNEW was the old Dumont owned WABD, it’s still odd to see these old Dumont cameras in use on the ‘new’ Soupy show. The show started in Detroit at WXYZ in ’53 and began to air on ABC in 59. In ’60 Sales moved to KABC and after ABC canceled the show in ’63, he moved to WNEW where he did the show till ’66 and those 260 shows are the ones in syndication.


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“Ovary Soap” The Flub That Helped Mel Allen Get “The” Job

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“Ovary Soap”

Believe it or not, that’s the line that helped Mel Allan become the Voice Of The Yankees. Mel’s big break came in 1939 when Garnett Marks, Arch McDonald’s partner on Yankee broadcasts, twice referred to Ivory soap, the Yankees’ sponsor at the time, as “Ovary Soap.” He was fired, and Allen was tapped to replace him. McDonald himself went back to Washington after only one season, and Allen became the Yankees’ and Giants’ lead announcer. Allen was able to do double duty for both teams because only the home games were being broadcast.


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Mae Questel, The voice of Betty Boop AND Olive Oyl! …

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Can You Guess Who: ANSWER…Mae Questel

The voice of Betty Boop AND Olive Oyl!
Here is a VERY RARE cartoon with both Betty Boop and Popeye together. Thanks Mae for the great work! Enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPUta9zOriM&feature=related


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AT LAST! The Lone Ranger, Unmasked…

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AT LAST! The Lone Ranger, Unmasked…

If you were like me, you always wondered what Clayton Moore looked like without the famous Lone Ranger mask. Now we know.


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Braves Baseball On TBS…Gone But Not Forgotten

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Braves Baseball On TBS…

Gone but not forgotten. In 2007, after a 32 year run on Superstation WTBS, the Atlanta Braves lost their national cable audience leaving WGN as the only super station to televise their home teams to a national audience on a regular basis. For more, and a memorable list of Braves announcers including Pete Van Wieren, Skip Carry and Ernie Johnson, click the link.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braves_TBS_Baseball


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WGN: Chicago Sports Pioneer

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WGN: Chicago

In 1960, between the Cubs and White Sox, WGN televised 120 baseball games with 8 RCA TK41s. For attendance reasons, I’m sure both teams tried not to be home at the same time, but when it happened, 4 cameras went to Cominskey Park and 4 went to Wrigley Field.

WGN Television, whose call letters are derived from the Chicago Tribune’s first slogan, “World’s Greatest Newspaper”, hit the airwaves on April 5, 1948 on Channel 9 in Chicago from its studios at Tribune Tower. Colonel Robert McCormick led the Tribune Company into the TV era, believing that “in television, we have embarked upon another of America’s adventures.”

In addition to carrying Chicago Cubs and White Sox baseball games in the 1950s, WGN-TV made its first attempts at producing entertainment series to air on the station while also distributing them to TV stations across the country. Although initially an affiliate of the DuMont and CBS television networks, WGN-TV realized it could better serve the Chicago area audience as an independent station. By 1957, WGN became one of the first local television stations to offer a full schedule of live programs in color. One year later, the station had scored many firsts, including the first televised appearance of President Truman in Chicago as well as mobile coverage of General MacArthur’s visit to the city.

In 1961, WGN-TV began broadcasting from new facilities at 2501 West Bradley Place on Chicago’s northwest side and premiered its own version of “Bozo’s Circus”, which became the most popular and successful locally produced children’s series in the history of television. Also in the 1960s, WGN expanded its “10th Hour News” newscast to a half-hour (the first Chicago TV station to do so), produced programs such as “Garfield Goose and Friends” and “Ray Rayner and His Friends,” sports telecasts that included Chicago Blackhawks hockey and Chicago Bulls basketball, and developed a vast movie library that was featured on a number of showcases such as “Family Classics.” In 1966, the Chicago Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Board of Directors awarded Ward Quaal, then President of WGN Continental Broadcasting Company, the Governors’ Award “for developing the finest independent TV station in the U.S.”


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World’s Easiest Trivia Question

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World’s Easiest Trivia Question

In this November 1954 photo we see the fist boy owner, Tommy Rettig who played Jeff Miller, and his dog _________.

In ’57 Rettig left and was replaced by Jon Provist as Timmy Martin. The show was the creation of producer Robert Maxwell and animal trainer Rudd Weatherwax and was televised from September 12, 1954, to March 24, 1973. One of the longest running dramatic series on television, the show chalked up seventeen seasons on CBS before entering first-run syndication for its final two seasons. Initially filmed in black and white, the show transitioned to colour during 1965.


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A Distant Memory…Remember Hudson’s Thanksgiving Parade From Detroit?

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A Distant Memory

Remember the Hudson’s Thanksgiving Parade from Detroit? Did you know this started in 1924, two years before rival Macy’s parade?

The parade was first broadcast in 1931 on radio station WWJ, but came to television in 1959 and that’s the year this photo was made. It was also telecast by Detroit’s WXYZ-TV that year and was hosted by ventriloquist and puppeteer Shari Lewis and her puppet Lamb Chop and carried nationally on the ABC broadcast network.

In 1960, the CBS broadcast network began to air portions of the parade and continued to do so for the next twenty-five parades. After a brief break in the mid-1980s, CBS returned to cover the parade through 2002 as part of its All-American Thanksgiving Day Parade compilation show. After being broadcast on WWJ, later WDIV, for over twenty years, local coverage switched to WXYZ for several years in the 1980s before returning to NBC-affiliate WDIV in the mid-1990s


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The Road To Hell Is Paved With Q Cards!

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The Road To Hell Is Paved With Q Cards!


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Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention

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Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention

The Colonial Theater in NYC was literally ground zero for RCA color testing and innovation. Note the steering ring under one of the first TK40s. The TD 1 pedestal was all there was at the time, but with the size of the TK40, the small steering ring was to hard to get to, so, they innovated. The new counterbalanced TD 3 pedestal came out around 1954, but could not hold a TK40 or 41. It did however have a larger steering ring and the crew here got one, turned it upside down and attached it to the old ring. Soon after, RCA and Houston Fearless came out with a larger, flat ring for the TD 1 peds that could be retrofitted. This camera does have a cradle head made especially for the TK40/41, but early on, they were mounted on the old friction heads that were made for the TK10s and 30s but were not strong enough to handle the 375 pound color cameras.


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Hiway Patrol: Flashback

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Hiway Patrol: Flashback

I always loved the look of this car…the 1955 Buick Century. As a kid, I watched this show every week. If it’s ‘been a while’ for you too, take a look at this full episode.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsaHD5by-w0&feature=related


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Politicians And Teleprompters Go Way Back

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Politicians and Teleprompters go Way Back

Here’s a shot from under the podium at the 1952 republican convention. This prompter script is not for television talent…it’s for the politicians delivering speeches to the delegates. This is probably one of the first times teleprompters were used for this purpose.


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RCA’s ‘Walkie Lookie’ Wireless Camera, 1 of 2

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RCA’s ‘Walkie Lookie’ Wireless Camera, 1 of 2

Here’s the camera on the floor of the 1952 Republican National Convention in Chicago. Notice that this is a WIRELESS camera! What took so long to get to the RCA TK76?


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RCA’s ‘Walkie Lookie’ Wireless Camera, 2 of 2

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RCA’s ‘Walkie Lookie’ Wireless Camera, 2 of 2

Here’s a shot from the 1952 RNC in Chicago showing the 3 lens version of RCA’s new portable back pack camera.


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NBC’s Mega Mobile Unit: 1952

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NBC’s Mega Mobile Unit: 1952

This is quite a step up from the unit in the photo below this and probably can handle up to 6 cameras. I think this unit was finished just in time for the 1952 political conventions which were both held at Chicago’s International Amphitheater. The republicans were there July 7-11 and the democrats from July 21-26. This photo is from the RNC and I think shows General Eisenhower arriving.


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More Design Influence From John Vassos

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More Design Influence From John Vassos

Even here, on this early RCA Mobile Unit, his style is present. The art decco chrome bands on the side and mudflaps are a Vassos touch. This 1947 shot from Times Square has a couple of TK30s on top of one of RCA’s first few remote trucks that were probably built just before the 1939 Worlds Fair. Originally outfitted with Iconoscope equipment, then Orthicon equipment, they were again refitted with Image Orthicon equipment in 1946.


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Well, What Have We Here?

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Well, What Have We Here? Revised

This Reeves Teletape TK47 is a VERY UNUSUAL! Having never seen one with the row of adjustment knobs (far left) on the rear panel, I did more research. My conclusion is that only the TK47 EP (Enhanced Performance) model had these. The EP model came out in 1980. The TK47A (1978), TK47B (’82) with standard cable and the 47B Triax model had no rear control knobs. The TK47B Triax model debuted along with the standard cable B model in ’82.


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A Kukla, Fran and Ollie Surprise

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A Kukla, Fran and Ollie Surprise

In yesterday’s photo, you could not see the band, or the real surprise…a Zoomar Super Field lens at work in the studio. This is the only production I’ve ever seen that uses this 27 element lens inside.


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Does This Curtain Look Familiar?

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Does This Curtain Look Familiar?

If you are a Jack Benny fan, it does! The open and close was done in front of these for many years at Television City. The man in the glasses, under the boom, is the director, Ralph Levy who also directed many episodes of I Love Lucy (including the pilot), Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, Trapper John, M.D. and Hawaii Five-O. Levy won the 1960 Emmy Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy for The Jack Benny Program.


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Ever See One Of These?

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Ever See One Of These?

I believe this is an RCA set from around 1968. There is a record player behind the top center panel and it looks like the black box is for ear bud audio. LBJ would have loved this.


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Zoomar VS Varotal

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Zoomar VS Varotal

It would be interesting to see the difference. Here, two Pye cameras, which may be 1″ Videcon models, shoot side by side with the left camera using a Zoomar Field Zoom and the other using a Varotal Mark II zoom circa 1959.


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