Sunday, November 7, 2010


Every day, in Living Color, Dolby Sound and High Definition Video, the fiber of this nation is tested by partisan politics, as the unending multi-media news cycle puts all of us on the front lines of the acrid debate.

Relax. KINESCOPE HD is not going all ideological on you.

We just want to take a moment to flashback on a more gentile, if not truly innocent, time in the American political process and a landmark night in network television news.

November 8th marks fifty years since the debonair, young, US Senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy,was elected President of the United States. A Democrat, he defeated the incumbent Vice President ,Republican Richard M. Nixon.

The adversaries made history facing off in the first televised debates in American History.While the content of their discourse is still being debated five decades later, most agree that it was a vital, virtuoso performance by Mr. Kennedy that propelled him to the American presidency.

JFK was as much a cultural phenomenon as a political option. He was handsome, charming, liberal and a Roman Catholic. Kennedy was the prodigal son in a family that was all but American royalty.His wife , Jackie was elegant, smart and socially engaged, while raising their toddler son, John-John and young daughter, Caroline.

Mrs. Kennedy was an aspirational figure for so many young women of the time. The personable Kennedy was positioned by many pundits and show business luminaries as the perfect figure to lead America into the 1960's, a decade laced with nuclear threat, social upheaval and sexual liberation, that offered more danger than optimism.

The dashing young president's personal involvements with the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Judith Campbell Exner would not be made public until years after his death.There are still questions centering on the role that organized crime may have played in getting him elected.

Cut down by an assassin's bullet in Dallas,Texas, on November 22, 1963, his short but electrifying time in office is still referred to by many as Camelot, in reflection of the mythical kingdom in which all who lived enjoyed a full, rich life.

On Election Night 1960, American television viewers and radio listeners turned to NBC NEWS in extraordinary numbers. From an elevated anchor position in the vast and versatile Studio 8H, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley anchored comprehensive coverage that was agile and contemporary in execution, while breezy and affable in tone.

It was one of the first times that television technology was commensurate with the scope of the story it captured, taking viewers across the nation.NBC turned to its corporate parent for the use of an RCA 501 computer to perform the high speed tabulations required to project key races.

As Tuesday night morphed into Wednesday morning, the TODAY SHOW team of Dave Garroway, Jack Lescoulie and Frank Blair joined Huntley and Brinkley to say that the network's morning show was deferring to election coverage and would join viewers when the all of the ballots were finally tallied.

The vote count in California ( Nixon's home state) was so slow that it would be after 7:00AM Eastern Time before NBC NEWS could project a Kennedy victory. NBC's News Division was back throughout the broadcast day to cover Mr.Kennedy's upbeat acceptance speech and Mr. Nixon's bitter concession.

Huntley and Brinkley dominated network news ratings during most of the 1960's, even in the face of relentless competition from CBS's redoubtable and respected Walter Cronkite. On election night and in every other major story of the decade, from War in Viet Nam to Man on the Moon, the pair was ably supported by Peacock Network stalwarts, John Chancellor, Frank McGee, Sander Vanocur, Merrill Mueller, Nancy Dickerson, Herb Kaplow, Ray Scherer, Peter Hackes and so many more.

Here from the David Von Pein 1 YOU TUBE site are nine, extraordinary excerpts of NBC NEWS coverage from Election Night 1960. Enjoy!!!!

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