Friday, May 3, 2013
CBS TELEVISION CITY was, at the dawn of television, a brilliant solution to a daunting problem.
New York City studio space for local and network television was ,all but, maxed out in the early 1950's,as production for the nascent medium grew at an amazing pace.
20 hours per week of programming for the Tiffany Network was being produced by Philadelphia's WCAU-TV alone,plus a wide-range of shows that were originating from Chicago
As the coaxial cable connected America's East and West coasts, the opportunity to expand facilities presented itself.
CBS scion William Paley and his company's visionary president, Dr. Frank Stanton,crafted a plan to build a groundbreaking, vibrant, expansive Los Angeles facility that would not only meet current video needs, but offer options for growth in the years ahead.
CBS TELEVISION CITY opened on November 16th, 1952.
In the Fall of 1953, the legendary Edward R. Murrow and his SEE IT NOW documentary team prduced the rare look at CBS TELEVISION CITY that posted below.
The program is in two clips from the CBSMEDIA YOU TUBE site. Enjoy!!!!
Saturday, April 20, 2013
WHEN POLISHED BRASS SHONE BRIGHT ON TELEVISION - HERB ALPERT & THE TIJUANA BRASS - CBS-TV - CIRCA APRIL 24,1967
The soundtrack of American Life in the 1960's and 70's is replete with musical performers who weren't into hard rock ,heavy metal, the Mersey Beat, Motown, R&B or, even bubblegum music, which was kind of pre-fab, top forty.
Their upbeat, energetic offerings were more like cotton candy and comprised "The Sound of Today."
These artists included Glen Campbell , Bobbie Gentry and one of the most beloved, super - groups of the time,Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.
Most of these performers crossed over to star in television specials or series.
Herb Alpert and his band were at the top of the popular music charts when they teamed with the incomparable creative of
Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion, the pair who had first brought Barbara Streisand to television.
They made beautiful music...and television...together.
On April 24th 1967, Alpert & company starred in SINGER PRESENTS HERB ALPERT AND THE TIJUANA BRASS, in Color , on CBS-TV.
It features an amazing (given the technology of the time) , airborn, opening sequence in in a ground-breaking musical special, that took color cameras and the talent out of the studio and on location. It also wove a linear, comic narrative about the group and its history to bring a filmic quality to the storytelling.
The effort was rewarded with high ratings and 4 EMMY noinations.
Here is a monochome version of the entire show, including commercials for sponsor Singer Sewing Machines, thanks to the FRANK DRACMAN YOU TUBE site.
You'll also see Alpert's second special, THE BEAT OF THE BRASS, which aired on April 22, 1968.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
THE BUTTON DOWN MIND IN PRIME TIME - BOB NEWHART DOES STAND-UP ON THE JACK PAAR SHOW - NBC-TV - CIRCA 5/29/65
In the late 1950's and early 1960's Jack Paar was network television's avatar of angst.
As the second host of TONIGHT on NBC (following Steve Allen and preceding Johnny Carson), each weeknight. Paar convened the smartest cocktail party that anyone ever watched between their feet on a portable tv in the bedroom.
A career broadcaster, who bounced from announcing in local radio to acting in a short film career and a then on to become the first king of late night TV,
Paar lived by his wits , and worked on an emotional high-wire.
Urbane and erudite, he introduced some of America's brightest comedians to an appreciative audience.
Bill Cosby, Jonathan Winters, Woody Allen Allan Sherman and so many more were guests on TONIGHT and his NBC prime time hour, THE JACK PAAR SHOW.
Here, on the THE JACK PAAR SHOW, and from the STANDAPARTCOMEDY you tube site, is the deft and daft humor of Bob Newhart.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
There were only a few scant years between the dawn of televsion and having television shows at dawn.
But, in 1948, a daring, multi-media experiment yielded an historic first, when television brought breakfast-time radio from the kitchen into the liivng room.
Morning radio shows that launched the day for listeners with a familiy of players behind the mic, offering entertainment,news and weather were a broadcast mainstay in the 1930,40's and 50's.
One of the most popular programs was THE BREAKFAST CLUB WITH DON MCNEILL, originating from Chicago and beamed LIVE, each weekday at 8AM, on ,first, the NBC BLUE NETWORK, which later became the ABC RADIO NETWORK and subsequently on ABC's AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK,to millions of American homes.
In big cities and small towns, the happy mix of upbeat banter ,popular music and homespun humor was a welcome addition to the breakfast menu.
The richly mounted, wake-up call premiered on NBC BLUE in June 23, 1933 and ran contiuously , with McNeil hosting, through December 27, 1968.
But, four years before Televisionary Sylvester "Pat" Weaver devised and debuted TODAY on NBC-TV, on May 5th 1948, an experimental "simulcast," co-produced by ABC RADIO and the struggling DuMONT TELEVISION NETWORK, put Don McNeil's LIVE show on TV and Radio.
The show was being produced on location in Philadelphia because, both, the 1948 Republican and Democratic National Conventions were being held in America's cradle of liberty.
Here, from the JASON 1920 YOU TUBE SITE is a rare kinescope of that historic broadcast.
Friday, February 22, 2013
Imagine looking back in time to see the future that awaits you.
This is not a mind-bending treatise positing some manner of chronological chaos theory.
It is a prescient prognostication in a segment from the 1967, CBS NEWS, documentary series, entitled THE 21st CENTURY and hosted by the venerable anchorman, Walter Cronkite.
Watch this clip and compare the projected technology depicted with the computer you use for work or play in your own home, to the HDTV,big screen television you watch or the digital,climate controls that provide heat or air conditioning.
While the technology shown may be primitive, the 1960's vision for the home of the 2000's is close to accurate.
Here from the Brian Ahier YOU TUBE site, is an excerpt from THE 21st CENTURY.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
KRAFT SUSPENSE THEATER on NBC-TV, from 1963-1965 was an archetypal production of ,what was then , Hollywood's largest television assembly line, UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS.
It was a weekly, hour-long, dramatic anthology that was pre-empted once a month for PERRY COMO'S KRAFT MUSIC HALL, but the series fulfilled a more important role for, both, the studio and the network , acting as an incubator in which to cultivate pilots for potential new series.
Not many made it past their initial airing.
Of the 59 episodes which were produced, in the end, only one episode spawned a series on the NBC schedule, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE with Ben Gazzarra.
Like so many efforts of an eclectic nature, some editions of the show offered engrossing television, while some were simply, passable, prime-time fare.
One outing that distinguished itself, was the April 2, 1964 episode, entitled ONCE UPON A SAVAGE NIGHT.
Designed to be a pilot for a police drama, it was a taut, vibrant , life and death, race against the clock set in Chicago.
Unlike so many of the stories produced for the show, this episode was shot on location in the Windy City.
Like so many editions of KRAFT SUSPENSE THEATER, it was crafted by talented people as the genesis of their careers, who would go on to fame in feature films.
The series theme was composed by a young staffer in the studios music department named John Williams. He would , years later, find his success scoring a movie set in a galaxy far, far away from UNIVERSAL CITY.
The surprise is that the director was ROBERT ALTMAN!! Yes , that Robert Altman, who like Steven Spielberg was learning his craft directing, weekly episodic television on the stages of the UNIVERSAL LOT.
You'll also see future sitcom superstar, Ted Knight, in a serious role.
And grab a pencil, as KRAFT spokesman , and legendary NBC announcer , Ed Herlihy, offers some tasty recipes!!!
Here, from the GR160289 is KRAFT SUSPENSE THEATER'S production of ONCE UPON A SAVAGE NIGHT.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
In the 1950's , Westerns had the drop on television, pardner!!
On the three major networks, Cowboys rode the 21- inch range, the law of that land was enforced by a solitary, stoic hero with a Colt .45 loaded with blanks and the Old West was only as big as the Universal back lot.
One of the most popular shows of TV's halcyon Era was NBC-TV's TALES OF WELLS FARGO.
Westerns may have resonated with the post-war audience and their baby-boomer children because it depicted a weekly morality play in glorious monochrome.
A battle between good and evil unfolding against the rustic canvas of the American Prairie.
Starring the courtly Dale Robertson,and sponsored by such iconic brands as Pall Mall Cigarettes and GM's Buick Motorcar Division, this two-fisted adventure portrayed the daring cases of Jim Hardie, an agent of the Wells Fargo Company.
Train robberies, stage coach chases, barroom brawls and romance with mysterious beauties were the stuff that propelled TALES OF WELLS FARGO to the top of the ratings.
As LIVING COLOR became more important to NBC and it's parent, COLOR-TV manufacturer, RCA, TALES OF WELLS FARGO expanded to an hour-long COLORCAST for it's final seasons.
Robertson became one of television's most bankable stars and never strayed far from the Western genre, going on to play the lead in ABC-TV'S THE IRON HORSE (1966-67).
Here, from the THE VIDEO PRISMS YOU TUBE SITE, is the December 2, 1961 episode of TALES OF WELLS FARGO, IN LIVING COLOR.