Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Broadcasting Was Full Of Pranks

John Martin was about to do the late evening news; Jack Laurence made a tape recording of a car skidding into a horrible crash; I changed the paper tab on John’s small control board so the newsroom tape machine would look as if were turned all the way down.

At one point, John paused for breath. I said, “NOW!” while Jack rolled the tape and the disastrous crash went out over the air. John, ever the professional, paused for just a moment while he took all this in, then continued with the next story: “The New Haven Railroad ended its financial tottering today…” and couldn’t go on.

Meanwhile, years later in Boston, a news anchor had made himself supremely disliked by the rest of the crew. It was Easter and he was talking into a video about how not all was Easter joy and in Palestine there was an exchange of dead soldiers. As he looked into the camera, the audio guy played, “In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it.”

Then there was the Blue Bananas stunt, lost on the younger set in broadcasting. The old television cameras had to be set up before each broadcast and it took a little time to get the colors right. They used a bowl of fruit to get the right tints.

One night it didn’t work. All the colors were off and to get the oranges and apples right, the bananas were blue. To get the bananas yellow, the oranges and apples were way out. Finally, an engineer went out to the set and found some joker had painted the bananas blue just to mess him up. It was a classic in the business.


Anonymous ruthc said...

This is fun! I'd love to read more of these types of antics.

Kind of reminds me of some April Fool jokes we used to play at the office (or that I had played on me, I should say).

May 01, 2009 10:57 PM  

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