Thursday, December 31, 2009
NEW YEARS GREETINGS FROM TELEVISION'S PAST - VIVID VIDEO OF NEW YEARS EVE CIRCA 1957 FROM CBS-TV AND NEW YEARS DAY CIRCA 1991 FROM KYW-TV
TWO,TV TALES OF NEW YEARS
ONE OF MANHATTAN MUSICAL MERRIMENT...
New Year's Eve with Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians on CBS-TV is the video equivalent of a Norman Rockwell Portrait. A fleeting image of mid-20th century Americana.The nostalgic celebration was broadcast LIVE on CBS-TV and on CBS Radio, before it, for decades.
While, big band music came to be viewed as campy in the 1970's, when Lombardo passed away, the rare clip , below,from the 1957, CBS-TV New Year's Eve Extravaganza shows the orchestra at the zenith of popularity.
You note that legendary CBS News correspondent, Robert Trout,and acerbic satirist Henry Morgan cover the crowds that New York City's Times Square for the magic moment.
In the clip posted below, you will note that, while the video technology is vintage 1957, the warmth and optimism of CBS-TV's NEW YEAR'S EVE WITH GUY LOMBARDO is timeless and endearing. Enjoy!!!!!
AND ONE OF MUMMER'S MUSICAL MAGIC
THE MUMMERS' PARADE has been a Philadelphia tradition for over 100 years. Brightly dressed in sequins and feathers, people from every walk of life in this region will take center stage on New Year's Day. On 1/1/10, hundreds of Mummers, named for the legend of King Mummas, will strut up Broad Street, the city's main thoroughfare,to the delight of all who watch on along the line of march and on television at home. The renowned string bands, fancy brigades and comic divisions will make a loud and proud showing as they perform for judges who will award cash prizes.
The parade has not been without controversy, over the decades. The participation of minorities and women did not come easily to a culture born of the city's blue collar, white , working class. Concern for the declining crowds on the parade route and decaying audience numbers on TV has been an ongoing challenge.
For many years, Philadelphia's dominant television station 6ABC (WPVI-TV), was home to the Mummers. But, audience erosion and economic uncertainty have caused the vivid , vibrant event to migrate from TV outlet to TV outlet and now can be seen on MYPHL-17( WPHL-TV).
Posted below is an excerpt from a 1991 performance of the legendary Fralinger String Band, broadcast by CBS-3 (KYW-TV) with hosts Pat Ciarrocchi and Ray Murray. Tomorrow morning, Fralinger, which has finished as the winning string band for 7 years in a row will seek its 8th consecutive victory.Enjoy!!!!!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Bob Goulding and Ray Elliot, two mild mannered New Englanders with an acute understanding of human absurdity, were the founding fathers of subtle satire on early television.
While Sid Caesar ruled Saturday nights with lavish, sketch comedy driven by smart observation,and as Gleason sheathed his comedic bluster behind the facade of a sentimental character, Berle, Lucy, and Skelton launched a million laughs with laser-sharp, slapstick, silliness.
Long before stand-up comedians Bob Newhart and Shelly Berman made careers of holding hilarious, sitdown conversations with themselves on nightclub stages, Bob and Ray were creating characters who lived just beyond the city limits of logic, and imbuing them with aberrant behavior that made surreal situations seem almost normative and always hilarious.
The pair met at Boston's WHDH radio in 1946, when Elliott was a disc jockey and Goulding was a newscaster.When Red Sox baseball was delayed by rain, they would improvise comedy bits to fill the time. The station soon paired them for their own show, MATINEE WITH BOB & RAY.They created over a hundred, eccentric and enduring characters, from newsman/nebish Wally Ballou, to globetrotting matron,Mary Backstage, noble wife.
Bob & Ray's nuanced observation of post WWII, American life informed the bizarre situations within the unique universe of their weird and wonderful characters.
In 1951, NBC-TV brought them to New York and gave them a daily, 15 minute, comedy program, THE BOB AND RAY SHOW.It became the video village in which their family of imaginative, and imaginary, lunatics made their TV home.
They moved to become resident improvisers for MONITOR, the sprawling and kinetic radio service, devised by NBC's prolific,creative genius,Pat Weaver. In between live reports from airplanes crossing the Atlantic and big band remotes, they performed C.O.D.: comedy on demand. Their payoff was always grand!
Over a period of 30 years, they starred in series on NBC, CBS, and NPR.
They influenced generations of performers and entertained millions of appreciative audience members. Bob & Ray worked together from 1946 until Ray Goulding's death in 1990.
Today, Bob Elliott is 86 years old,lives in New England and is the patriarch of a performing family. His son, Chris,49, has been a long tenured writer and performer on both LATE NIGHT & THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN.His granddaughter Abby, AGE 22,is a versatile ,featured performer on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.
BOB & RAY'S extraordinary,insightful work lives on in a variety of media available at Bob&Ray.com
Below are two clips from the RRGOMES YOU TUBE site, that constitute one episode of the BOB & RAY SHOW, FROM NBC-TV in 1951.Note an appearance by a PRE-HONEYMOONERS, Audrey Meadows).Enjoy!!!!!!
Friday, December 25, 2009
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Thursday, December 24, 2009
THE BELLE OF 14TH STREET SOUNDS FOR STREISAND FANS - DAZZLING, 60'S ANIMATED MUSCIAL NUMBER - CBS-TV - CIRCA OCTOBER 17, 1967
What do you get when Vaudeville tradition and video inspiration converge in vivid animation and vibrant performance from a superstar in ascent?
For millions of enthralled and exhilarated television viewers across America,in the fall of 1967, the result was a clever,high velocity musical number that opened Barbara Streisand's third, highly anticipated special from CBS-TV and sponsor Chemstrand Carpets.
Shot , in color and in Manhattan, over four, long days in the spring of 1967 , staged on ornate sets conceived by the Tiffany network's respected designer, Tom John, in the CBS Broadcast Center's, cavernous Studio 41, THE BELLE OF 14TH STREET was a nostalgic and sentimental, musical tribute to Vaudeville.
It was hailed by critics as a Steisand, television tour de force.
The creative and kinetic , animated execution of the opening number,stands in sharp visual contrast to the lavish settings and wistful theme, but provided a compelling ,visceral counterpoint to the retro-elegance of the show.
Director Joe Layton and the production team did meticulous research in an effort to recreate the pace and the passions of the Vaudeville stage, including discussions with veterans of the theater circuit, like George Burns.
Below, we've posted from the STREISAND IS LOVE YOU TUBE site, I DON'T CARE, the captivating, convivial, opening production number from THE BELLE OF 14TH STREET.
ENJOY and HAPPY HOLIDAYS from KINESCOPE HD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
HIGH ENERGY LAUGHS IN LIVING COLOR - RARE CLIP OF PONTIAC STAR TIME SPECIAL - NBC-TV - CIRCA OCTOBER 16, 1960
Donald O'Connor was a show business phenomenon: an acrobatic "song and dance" man with cyclonic energy and laser targeted comic instincts. In the 1940's, 50's and 60's his high energy antics filled mammoth,CinemaScope screens in movie theaters and 21 inch, picture tubes in our living rooms.
The apex of his performing career may have been the MAKE 'EM LAUGH sequence in the classic, 1952, MGM musical, SINGING IN THE RAIN. The manic, musical number, which was choreographed by O'Connor, Gene Kelly and Stanley Donnen, literally, sent him up a wall. In this vaudeville-style, tour de force,O'Connor actually tore down the scenery and co-starred with a real dummy.
Here, from the GARY KASKEL YOU TUBE site, is a vintage excerpt of a 1960, NBC-TV COLORCAST. Gene Kelly headlined PONTIAC STAR TIME, a peacock network special that reunited these two, inspired icons of the movie musical. In the clip posted, below, Donald O'Connor recreates the mirth and mayhem of MAKE 'EM LAUGH ,but this time dancing to SMILE, DARN YOU SMILE. Enjoy!!!!!!!
To compare performances, here, from the ATAIRIASTOS YOU TUBE site is the original MAKE 'EM LAUGH number from SINGING IN THE RAIN. Enjoy!!!!!
As a bonus, here are the two voluble virtuosos in a clip from the SISAPIS YOU TUBE SITE, performing a "sit down" dance routine, from PONTIAC STAR TIME.Enjoy!!!!!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Here is a Holiday stocking stuffer from the archival elves at KinescopeHD!!!
It's a compact,chromatic blast from NBC's past.
The Peacock's promotion department busily branded itself as THE LIVING COLOR NETWORK in the 1950's and 1960's, in order to support its corporate parent, RCA, in the quest to sell the home receivers and professional equipment that provided tinted, television images.
( THE ANDY WILLIAMS SHOW ,ABOVE, WAS PRODUCED AT NBC BURBANK, AND WAS A STAPLE OF THE PEACOCK NETWORK'S PRIME TIME SCHEDULE IN THE 1960'S )
In order to re-enforce the NBC's primacy in prismatic video, the network tagged every colorcast with a positioning spot.
It featured the image of a camera person pushing his lumbering,RCA TK-41 television camera moving through a polychromatic field of studio lights, while the NBC "snake" logo, animation unfolded on the screen. It was accompanied by a friendly, but forceful announce track and a regal , musical flourish.
There were versions for color shows produced by the network and those crafted by other creative teams in association with NBC.
Here, posted below, from the DISCO2009 You Tube site, is a 1960 version of the promotional tag for a network produced, colorcast.Enjoy!!!!!
As a bonus, here is the animated,opening logo created for CBS, when THE TIFFANY NETWORK, took its prime time schedule to full color programming in 1966.Enjoy!!!!!!
Here is the ABC-TV color animation, which preceeded tinted programs and debuted in the early 1960's when animated sitcoms such as THE FLINTSONES and THE JETSONS were first colorcast.Enjoy!!!!!!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Ed Sullivan & Julia Meade with 1954's big deal on wheels - Vintage, LIVE Lincoln Commercial - CBS-TV - Circa 1954
A REALLY BIG SHOW!!!!!!!
CBS-TV'S TOAST OF THE TOWN, hosted by stoic,constrained,Broadway columnist, Ed Sullivan, was the biggest of video variety shows in 1954.
Later rechristened THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW, over it's distinguished run from 1948 to 1971,the greatest names in arts, culture, sports and politics were given the spotlight on the Tiffany network's venerable Sunday night showcase.
While Sullivan, himself, had almost no discernable comedic, dramatic or musical skills, he was a central figure in American popular culture, during the middle of the 20th century. That may be because he was the young medium's first, electronic impresario. Ed Sullivan became a star for introducing people who were more famous than he,to his adoring audience. The harried host was himself an icon of show business.
The Broadway show and subsequent movie musical, BYE BYE BIRDIE, satirized Elvis Presley's appearances on Sullivan's variety hour.It was promoted as a show about THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW.
In 1964, Sullivan , AKA the great stone face, would receive global attention when we introduced four mop-topped, mod musicians from the banks of Liverpool's Mersey River, called THE BEATLES to American audiences.
There was adolescent pandemonium in the balcony of his theater, CBS Studio 50.In 1966, that venue was renamed as THE ED SULLIVAN THEATER in a formal ceremony presided over by New York City's, then-Mayor, John Lindsay.
Since 1993, THE ED SULLIVAN THEATER has been home to CBS-TV'S LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN.
Often , over the run of the series, Sullivan took the show on the road. When he visited the West Coast, the show originated from the vast stages of CBS TELEVISION CITY in Los Angeles.
Below we've posted the kinescope of a LIVE, 1954 car commercial from the wksufreshair, You Tube site. The intricately staged spot is for Sullivan's long standing sponsor, the Lincoln-Mercury Division of the Ford Motor Company. The ad runs almost 3 minutes and 30 seconds, features Lincoln spokeswoman Julia Meade and it occupies one whole stage at TV City, just to give you a grand glimpse of Detroit's finest from Ford in '54. Enjoy!!!!!!!!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
On this historic day when Comcast, the country's largest cable provider and GE , the world's largest corporate enterprise, unite to create a new NBC UNIVERSAL, powered by extraordinary resources in broadcast, cable, online, voice transmission and myriad, new media platforms which serve hundreds of millions of customers, it might be a good time to look back with reverence, at the origins of the NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY.
America's oldest, media network began as an effort by NBC's original parent company, RCA, to create a centralized broadcasting service connected by the , then, newly minted, NBC owned and affiliated radio stations. It was the vision of RCA-NBC's patriarch, the innovative, yet imperious David Sarnoff.
That was 1926. The NBC Radio Network was almost immediately the platinum standard for the young medium.
In 1986, the textured, evocative piece we've posted below was crafted to celebrate the Peacock Network's 60th anniversary in broadcasting.It aired only once, on a Thursday night at the end of NBC's prime time schedule, following LA LAW.
Today, The NBC television network has fallen on hard times, with fourth place ratings , decaying revenues and the challange of new media platforms. Perhaps this new chapter in the NBC story will return the lustre to this once dominant and vibrant video web.
Enjoy THE NBC STORY!!!