Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hi Dave,

I've been going through the messages and saw a comment by Harold Deppe in the September 2008 archive, in reply to my comments about the iconoscope camera photo with Burgess Meredith and Dorothy McGuire. No, I never was a cameraman with CBS. In fact, I never worked for the network. My only camera experiences were in cable TV. One was doing it COLD during a telethon for MD or MS or CP or Easter Seals...one of them. I asked if I could try it (I was running audio for them), they said sure and I received some very basic instruction. How to do head shots, panning, close-ups and the most important - always keep the subject's head a little below the top of the picture. Next experience was when I took a course at a CATV studio so I could volunteer there. Ran us through EVERYTHING. I decided it was in my best interest to stick to radio . I do have a connection of sorts with CBS - as a listener/viewer. The most memorable was in 7th grade, hearing Allan Jackson saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States is dead" on Nov. 22, 1963. For years I could not listen to a recording of it without experiencing cold chills and getting tears in my eyes. I'm curious about that day, regarding CBS Radio, and am researching the timeline of the bulletins, etc., that went over the air. Esp. curious to know if Cronkite on TV or Jackson on radio got it on the air first. By listening to the recordings from WCBS and backtiming from the 2 PM network tone, I've figured WCBS-AM had a local bulletin at about 1:40:04 PM. This whole thing came about because I wasn't sure if one of the first wire service reports did indeed indicate that there were no injuries reported. Had to do a lot of research and got interested in what was reported and when and by which organization. I would guess that CBS Radio was still using Studio 9 at 485 Madison Ave. at that time and that Jackson and Dallas Townsend operated from there that day. A couple things and I end this long-winded blurb. If you are interested, but haven't yet read it, Dan Rather's book, The Camera Never Blinks, has a great narration of what went on in Dallas that day. He thought he was talking to Eddie Barker (he was with him on one phone, network in New York on the other) about what information they had that JFK had expired. He didn't realize that the NY desk had asked something and he replied that it was his information that the president was dead. Next thing he heard was Jackson making the announcement, followed soon after by the national anthem. Item 2: did you see the 1977-ish TVfilm, The Night That Panicked America? It aired on ABC and did a great job telling the War of the Worlds broadcast. The studio and control room sets were excellent. I don't know how close the original these were, but they were period authentic. They also had several night shots of the building at 485. These, too, looked authentic - down to the CBS letters on the building. Sorry for the lengthy letter.
Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season.

Bob Paine, KA3ZCI