Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"GRAND CENTRAL STATION"......Gigantic stage on which are played a thousand dramas daily...etc.) (Part of the opening announcement of the famous CBS radio program called "Grand Central Station") If I remember correctly, George Gould had written one of the episodes when he worked in radio, before he became a TD in TV.
My first day at CBS-TV in January 1950 was working on the live one hour dramatic show "Studio One". I handled the recorded music cues. Sunday morning I was handed a large stack 33 & 78 records with yellow cue marks from a grease pencil on each record. My job was to pick out isolated musical passages on the records and play them. The trick was to do this without the characteristic "WOW" sound one gets when you start up a record in the middle of the disk. I can remember that once I had 60 cues on the hour program.
Many of you will remember the very long hallway that ran from the reception desk entrance past Studios 41,44, and 42 and ended at Telecine and the Maintenance Shop. We actually shot a live scene there, the camera dollying down the corridor following an actor on his way to the electric chair. With the lighting it was quite effective. I have visited the Museum of Broadcasting and viewed and listened to some of the live dramatic shows that I worked on from GC and they looked and sounded amazingly well. One has to remember that in those days there were no automatic Zoom Lenses and camera men had to physically push their camera pedestals toward the subject AND refocus by turning a small knob on the camera. It took a lot of skill to do this without going out of focus at some point. (And then there were some directors who asked you to dolly in using a 135 mm lens) Ah yes......those were the good old days.
Jay Chichon