Thursday, December 21, 2006

There Was No Peacock

I took the NBC studio tour once in New York City. For someone quite young, who was even then very interested in broadcasting, it was quite a thrill. I never asked my parents what they thought of the whole deal, but they seemed to be interested enough.

The ‘50s were called The Golden Age of Television, and may still be. It was a time when you could watch dramas every night; variety shows several times a week. Not all the shows were top-drawer, but they tried. And they were all “live.” Not “live on tape,” or “recorded live in front of an audience.” They were happening in a New York studio at the same time as we were watching them.

I saw three or four in the process of development. One, as I recall, went on the air that night. The others followed later in the week. Each was spread out beneath us, as we looked down from the visitors’ loft.

It was amazing how the crew made do with so little equipment. Milton Berle’s big-time variety show started out with only two cameras and later added a third. The drama shows had three. You can’t do anything these days without four or five; even CNN Headline News has 17 in the studio for one thing or another.

But it happened. We didn’t seem to notice the mistakes, if there were any (and there most likely were – well covered by these professionals). Somehow, it all came together in 60 minutes of glorious black & white, long before NBC got its peacock.


Anonymous Mad Drummer said...

I am always amazed at the "magic" that was created at 'rkc with 2 turntables, 2 revox tape recorders, 2 mics, in a MONO production room. I've got unlimited "tracks" at my disposal and am always tweaking 'projects'... with less and less satisfaction. BTW a copy of the Christmas Special has been sent to Sue Henry. The staff back then STILL amazes me. Wishing you a complete Christmas and an improved New Year!

December 22, 2006 3:29 PM  
Blogger Gort said...

The Mad Drummers Christmas Special!
Reindeer disguised as Kangaroos. The Christmas revolt. The EPA banning the sleigh, etc.

What memories. How do I get a copy?

December 23, 2006 2:53 AM  
Anonymous mad drummer said...

Sure Gort! email me your address:
the'll be in the Valley visiting Dad from the 26th to the 30th so PERHAPS we can arrange a "drop"...who knows?

December 23, 2006 12:12 PM  
Anonymous MadDrummer said...

Just got this rollin'

December 23, 2006 12:20 PM  
Blogger Gort said...

MD, Toss me an email. I keep getting an error message when I try to send something to you.

December 23, 2006 7:54 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home