Thursday, May 29, 2003

This is for Hal (Iconoscope) Deppe who misses the Iconoscope days.

I came across the article below on the Fox News site and It brings back memories of the pre WWII CBS TV studio operations. I not only maintained the live Iconoscope cameras but was assigned by Phil Goetz to do vacation relief for Al Treat. I switched the 'News with Richard Hubbell' for three weeks in early 1942. If I remember correctly, Dwight Temple did the shading. Don Hewitt was not the director. The studio, described in this article as being tiny, was, in actuality, quite large. It accommodated three permanent sets and had room to set up additional temporary sets. I remember one night when there was a discussion program in a living room setting, hosted by Linton Wells and one of the water jackets broke on the overhead Sodium lights. There was a hasty evacuation of the set. Ah the good old days.

This was written by Eric Burns who does Newswatch on Fox.

These are the Mercedes-Benz CL600 days of television news.

These are the days when pictures grow in size or shrink in size and swoop into and out of one another like birds on an urgent mission. These are the days when computers create graphs that turn from 2-D to 3-D in the blink of an eye, and create maps around which a camera seems to rotate 360 degrees as the countries rise and fall from the surface.

These are the days when the photographs behind the anchors are not really there and, sometimes, neither are the sets upon which they set.

These are, in other words, the days when broadcast journalism seems almost to have caught up to action-adventure movies in the quality of their special effects.

This column is about the Ford Model-T days of television news.

Actually, the first newscasts on TV were more like lectures in a classroom. It was CBS which presented them, back in the early 1940s, and a reporter named Richard Hubbell who delivered them. Hubbell stood with a pointer in his hand and a map, drawn in chalk on a blackboard, behind him. As he told about the news from one country, he tapped the appropriate location on the blackboard; as he told about another, he moved the pointer and tapped again.

As Mitchell Stephens points out in his book, A History of News, "Picture quality was so poor that it was difficult to make out Hubbell, let alone the map."

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, CBS devoted most of its resources to broadcasting the information on radio. But there were a few Americans who had TVs at the time - virtually all of them in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. - and for these men and women, CBS did the best it could visually. As an announcer read the news of the sneak attack, the camera in the network's lone and tiny studio zoomed in on an American flag, which was blowing in the breeze created by a rickety old fan that had been placed just out of sight of the lens. Unspecial effects.

Both of these events preceded my debut on the planet. But as a very young child, I remember watching the Camel News Caravan with John Cameron Swayze, perhaps TV's first famous anchor, who sat at a desk behind a Camel cigarettes sign and read the news in something approaching a monotone as wispy columns of tobacco smoke drifted up around and behind him.

Swayze was a devoted user of his sponsor's products, and kept one going at all times; when he took a break for a commercial or a few seconds of a filmed report, he puffed away on it as energetically as one of today's teenagers trying to suck a McDonald's milkshake through a straw.

CBS's Douglas Edwards was the most enduring of the early TV news anchors, but something about his performance did not seem right to his director, Don Hewitt. (Yes, the same Don Hewitt created 60 Minutes and still serves as its guiding light.) Eye contact, that was it, Hewitt decided. Edwards wasn't making enough eye contact with the audience; he kept looking down at the script, concentrating too much on the words and not enough on the people watching him at home.

Hewitt could not figure out what to do. Neither could Edwards. Finally, the former came up with an idea. Pretend you're blind, Hewitt told his anchor; we'll do the script in Braille and you learn to read it.

Edwards said no.

Today, we have teleprompters in TV news studios, so eye contact is not a problem. We also have an entire galaxy of other devices which make anchors look knowledgeable and polished and the programs over which they preside appear sleek and smooth and as dazzling to the eye as a silver-gray CL600 with a 5.8L 36-valve V-12 engine and 362 horses.

If only serious and responsible content were standard equipment.

Submitted by Bob Wilson

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Victor Vineulas called to inform me that Francis ( His Wife ) called him,
to inform him that Henri Menusen had passed away.
Hank Wieland
The above message is a sad reminder to all of us about our mortality.
But, the man, Henry Menusan, conjures a lifetime of pleasant and warm memories, for me as a friend, and coworker.
But, in reading the above message it has two other names mentioned in the communique, that of Victor Vinuelas, and as reported, by Hank Wieland.
As anyone in CBS knows these three men toiled assiduously in the center of the creative technical art form of the television field. The "Tape Room" of our company.
The clamor, and whirring of the machines, while noisy and disruptive to their physical and mental state. They still performed as a team to produce the great TV shows of a great network.
Henry, Or Henri and I net in a department that recorded from, "off the air," onto 16 mm film.
We labored for a Mr. Karl McElvain,who graded us much like school children. We had all sorts of graphs, the most notable was the "pitching proclivities" graph. "Don't ask."
But, the camaraderie was friendly. I learned from Henry, about the great writers. We talked about Faulkner, with another voracious, reader the improbable Jim Kelensen. I always imagined that Henry would write the great novel, for his background was in teaching english. But, alas, that only occurs in some dreams. Art Murphy another who could spin a yarn, or Joe Desmond, who could regale you with dialect and great phrases. But, several CBS'ers wrote books, the last that I am aware of is Pierce Evans book, "The Shroud."
Henry Menusan, belongs in the same pantheon with the other "Gentlemen" of CBS.
It is nice to think about these fine people, it was and is for me life fulfilling.
Peace of the Lord be with his fine family.

Tony Cucurullo

by Dave Minott

Reprinted (scanned) from the August, 1984 issue of the 1212 Voice
Some things have changed - others haven't!

Do I really need a computer? Does my child need a computer? Will computers eliminate my job at work? Are computers taking over the world?
Some pretty heavy questions, I'd say! Let's try to strip away the smokescreens, and supply some logical answers to these questions.
Before we delve into these four questions, a few preliminary remarks are in order:
What is a computer? Well, we all know the answer to that!! It's a black (grey, white, mauve) box with a keyboard and a screen, and it does magical things. Wrong!
A COMPUTER IS A TOOL. I would like to repeat that several hundred times, but space does not permit me that luxury.
A hammer is a tool; it allows you to get the job of nailing done quickly and easily. A thermostat is a tool. It allows you to set the temperature in your home for a comfortable range, and repeats your wish endlessly, alleviating the boring task of resetting it each day. You don't think much about your thermostat, do you? Cf course not ... it's been around for a while.
Well, computers haven visibly been around the general population for a great length of time, and like most new, innovative things, people are skeptical, afraid, terrified, and awed. That has to change.
A COMPUTER IS A TOOL. Like the hammer, it allows you to get a job done quickly and easily, and much like the thermostat, it can repeat your wish endlessly, without inducing boredom. An example or two: Computers have now been around for years in many gas pumps, usually the ones that have the dials that light up. They calculate the flow rate of the fuel, multiply it by the current price per gallon, and adjust for the tax. They do this very efficiently and accurately. They are less prone to breakdown than wheels, gears and mechanical dials. By the way, this was probably the first mass application of microprocessors (the "heart" of microcomputers) in the country. (The "chip" used for this application was the Intel 4004, the father of the 8008, 8080, Z780, etc.).
These, and similar microprocessors, are now found in washing machines, sewing machines, blenders, ovens, and myriad other appliances.
Let us now take this same "chip", and connect it to a screen and a keyboard. We now have a microcomputer! (slightly oversimplifying, but still valid.)
We now have "control" of the computer. We can make it work for us. We can have it keep track of our financial records; indeed, we can even have it analyze our financial condition, and make predictions based upon changes in our financial situation. Computerized budgeting, computerized tax preparation, general record keeping; sounds good ... maybe too good. It is easier to find a telephone number in a book than it is to turn on the computer, load in a program, run the program, remove the disk, and turn off the computer!
We must learn that computers still need valid information fed into them in order for them to make accurate use of this information. (GIGO - pronounced GUY GO - Garbage In=Garbage Out!)
What else have I heard? Oh yes, "1 am going to have my computer control my whole house - control the lights, heating, air conditioning, burglar alarm, fire alarm, etc." ... Well folks, that falls into the category of the Swiss army knife with thirty-two blades and a toothpick. No one tool can do every job, and do it well. If this is your goal, you'd do better with separate, dedicated devices for each of those jobs.
You say you have an extensive record album collection, stamp collection, book collection, mastodon collection (or whatever), and you would like to catalog it, alphabetize it, collate it, and file it. That's a simple task for a computer, but not for a human. This still is not an easy task for a human with a computer, especially if he has already collected 1400 mastodons.
The problems are ones of logic and stamina. You must decide how you are going to organize your information. Shall I enter my pet names for each of the mastodons; the length of their tusks; their preference for vintage wines? - The choices are many; however, generally speaking, the more information you have stored, the easier it will be to extract the information you want, i.e., how many mastodons do I have that are between the age of 40 and 70, and have lost one tusk?
Possibly a more valid question might be, "What record albums have songs on them whose titles refer to 'moon?"; or, "Gee, I am making up a tape for a friend. Find me all combinations of songs that will exactly total 22 minutes." That is all well and good, but remember, a human must still enter all of the information about those 1400 mastodons into the computer, and it must be done accurately!
Does Johnny 'or Susie need a computer at home? In my opinion, the answer is a qualified yes. You do not need to start with an expensive computer. There are a number of home computers available for under one hundred dollars that will do the job admirably. I hear you ask, "What is the job?" Well, the job is to allow your child to learn the rudiments of computing. What is a computer; how does it work; what is a program; how do I write a program, etc? You don't need a $2000 blinking wonder with tailfins and a "mouse" to do that job.
If your child shows a sincere interest, and "stays with it", then you might consider replacing the computer with a more advanced model.
"They keep bringing more computers into my place of business. Pretty soon they won't need me." Well, that depends upon several factors, basically, you, and the company. Will the company teach me how to use the new computerized "whatever"??? Will I try to learn how this new device will make my job easier and more productive?
Let's face it, the company is trying to maximize their profit with computers and computerized equipment.
With adequate training, we will become an integral part of this evolution and in the process, learn some new skills, and make our jobs easier.
We must get over our fears. What we do now, in all probability, can be done quicker, easier, and more efficiently, through the use of computers and computerized equipment.
Most of us will probably only come in contact with computerized equipment, not computers "in the raw", and as they become more sophisticated, so will the people who design them, and cause the equipment to conform to the way humans work and think. Computers create jobs, not eliminate them. What will happen is that gradually some of the current jobs will be replaced by newer ones. This is evolution.
Computers are taking over the world in much the same way as the telephone, or the automobile. They are becoming ingrained in our society, and are becoming a way of life. As the mystique and glamour wear off, we will finally get down to the business of learning how to use our newest tool, as we have learned to use all tools in the past.

(Dave Minott will answer questions about computers and computer theory that are of general interest to the membership. Send your query to the 1212 Voice. Ed.)

Here is a scan of a 26+ year-old memo, for those who were asking about "Tech recognition!"


FROM: Stanley R. Kreinik


DATE: July 20, 1977

I wish to thank all of you who were involved with keeping CBS on the air during the power emergency.

Maintenance reaction to the situation was done in a professional manner. Without elaborating,

the cooperation and dedication on the job resulted in a successful operation.

DISTRIBUTION: Messrs. Consigiio, Hagarty, Zakrzewski, Alred, Carambelas,

Minott, Young, Simms, Morgan, Levin, Rominiecki, Gosman,

Winiarski, Deller, Wagner, Tornabene, Ognibene, Smyles,

Pease, Clarke, Burkhardt, Casola, Charters, Robbins,

Pollick, Fabricatore, Rosenshein, Schmidt, Szymanski

cc: Messrs. Zagoren, Kuranuki, Benford

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Swan Club Luncheon

Another very successful luncheon has concluded, and it was good to see our "extended family" again!
Aside from the good food, drink and floral scenery provided by the Swan Club, the camaraderie was palpable.
This luncheon provided us with the company of Stu Meyer and Lee Levy, who flew in from Florida, specifically for the occasion!

It was also good to see Betty & Chico Claudio again. Chico has regained more strenghth after his illness, and Betty had her usual smile.
There were spouses galore, and some retirees brought family members as well.

We had several recent retirees join us as well. Although I have been attending these luncheons for more than twenty years,
it's only been in the last year and one-half that I have done so "officially."

You will see by the pictures that will be posted within the next week, that everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
After a leisurely stroll through the Swan Club's magnificent gardens, we bade a fond farewell to all, and are eagerly awaiting the next
major luncheon in New Jersey, as well as the mini-luncheons that will take place in-between.

Dave Minott

Friday, May 16, 2003

Do you know what the Jesus Nut is? Father Charles, of St. Jerome's Church does! That was the opening to his homily Sunday.
The Jesus Nut is the only force holding the blade on the helicopters, ........and when it lets go the next one you see is.........Well, that's why they call it the Jesus Nut.
You can fill in the reasons for the rest of the homily, but it also applies to our Retirees group. The WEB PAGE is our Jesus Nut. It is the glue that binds us.

Ted Perzeszty, worked with Tony Casola to put together the luncheon this past week. And from the early reports, it was a success to say the least. The wandering Jews, Lee Levy, and Stu Meyers traveled up for Florida, (from where else, den), and Lee, gave a glowing account in his letter to me and others, which I hope gets posted on the page.
The thing is we must send in those stories of the past, to the page for posting so that we may enjoy them, no matter the embellishments.
Ted, and Betty Claudio, tell me there were any number of people in animated conversations, recanting the old days, using all sorts of reinvented history, causing all manner of hilarity, and fun. That's what the luncheons are all about.
Chico, made it there also, his stroke didn't keep him down. I understand, that George Klimsack looks regal with his mane of white hair. He still must fight Sandy Bell for handsome rights, according to Betty. Me I'd vote for Ben Taussig in a wet 'T' shirt.
I am eagerly awaiting the list of attendees so that I can reminisce about these old codger friends of mine, and perhaps add a comment or two, whether it close to the truth, or not.

You see, you, all of you are my Jesus Nut. Amen

Tony Cucurullo

Ps: Or is he a nut for Jesus? I heard that, be careful!

Harry Charles "moons" us!
This is a picture of last night's eclipse from Harry...
eclipse picture

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Subject: More on Brentwood

This correspondence was received from George Flanagan - sent to him by Bob Wilson:

1. When I served at Brentwood, Jim Teevan was in Shortwave master control.

2. The VOA did not lease the property from Mackay. It would appear that Mackay added the wing housing the CBS equipment specifically for Use by CBS and that it would have been added in 1940 or 41. It fit the transmitters like a glove.

3. The call letters of the four Brentwood stations as listed in the 1947 Broadcasting yearbook were WCBN 50,000 Watts WCBX 50,000 watts WCDA 10,000 watts WCRC 50,000 watts The only one that sticks out in my memory is WCDA. I mentioned I had a vague memory or a W2X__ call and records indicate that it was a long used CBS shortwave call starting off in Wayne NJ. It's possible the call was used a Brentwood for some reason.

4. There is a reprint appearing on the internet of a article by A.B.Chamberlain (Whom I got to know very well in the early 50's when I became Engineer-in -Charge of Television Field and Maintenace operations in NYC. This article describes only two transmitters built by Federal Telegraph (not Federal Radio as I remembered).
I still think this plant started operation in 1941 but I am probably wrong. At any rate the article describes the Brentwood operation very well.

Go to:

Will keep trying to find more info.

73 de W2IPX Bob Wilson

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Some Long Island Radio History!

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the shout and the suggestions. I'll try Telephone Pioneers. And that reminds me of the Society of Wireless Pioneers and Old Old Timers Club, I'll try them, too. We (Friends of Long Island History) have given our pitch to a number of ham clubs here on the Island without too much success. It seems most of them have very few older active members.

Ted's forwarding of my inquiry located one CBS engineer who worked at the Brentwood site. Received a nice rundown from Bob Wilson, who was there in 1947. Bob's description jogged my memory about things I saw when I visited the site in the mid fifties. The chap who gave us the grand tour back then was Jim Teevan, a member of our local ARC. Jim was an engineer at VOA who later transferred into studios in Manhattan. He worked on Jackie Gleason's show and went with the show when it moved to Florida. After the show closed, Jim moved back to Long Island, later relocating to New Jersey. I've been trying to contact Jim but haven't been successful so far.

Long Island has a rich wireless history, being the location of many early commercial stations. Marconi had a number of stations here. Of course RCA had Radio Central out at Rocky Point, the granddaddy of them all. Mackay's Long Island operation started at the old Telefunken Sayville site in 1927 when they leased it from the Navy. The Navy had taken it over from Telefunken during WW1 after it was discovered they had been sending "spy" traffic to Germany. Mackay soon outgrew Sayville and moved to Brentwood in 1936. The Brentwood site occupied 1100 acres and once belonged to the Arbuckle brothers who made their fortune in coffee (I think they were the first to market packaged ground coffee). Fatty Arbuckle was a relative and spent a fair amount of time at the Arbuckle home located at the east end of the property. Mackay ran point-to-point transmitting from Brentwood with receiving done at Southampton. Mackay also ran marine service with transmitters located at Amagansett remotely keyed from the marine receiving site at Southampton.

The Office of War Information (OWI) leased part of Mackay's building and began international broadcast operations around 1943 under contract with CBS. It was renamed Voice of America shortly thereafter and continued operations at that site until 1962. Satellite and TAT (transatlantic telephone cable) spelled doom for Mackay which started losing circuits even in the early 60s. Mackay was taken over by ITT World Communications. In 1963 ITT started selling off hunks of the property, the first sale being the easternmost 400 acres. The final circuit (to Havana) was sold off in 1986 and they closed their doors at Brentwood. Marine had gone QRT in '84. I have much more and when pieced together should prove an interesting story.

Sadly, much of Long Island's wireless history has faded into obscurity leaving hardly a trace. I worked for many years in the Industrial Park that now occupies the site of the Brentwood operation and to my knowledge, not one map, not one photo, not one memento - not one mention of Mackay Radio or the VOA is displayed anywhere in that park. One of the goals of "Friends of Long Island History" is to remedy that.

Do you know of any person or department at CBS that might have retained information about the operations at Brentwood? I would think (hope) that somewhere there exists some dusty old engineering documentation about the site. If you could think of somebody I might contact at CBS, I'd be most appreciative. I've called CBS phone numbers listed in the telephone directory but they just ring and ring and are never picked up. Strange.

Again, many thanks for the suggestions and I'll keep you abreast of my progress.

George Flanagan, W2KRM

Sunday, May 11, 2003

My long time friend, Mike McGrath, just recently had a long hospital stay in Nyack and Hackensack. He had a heart aid implanted at Hackensack and is currently at home in Tappan, NY taking it easy. He can be reached at (845) 359-6388. He would be most appreciative of any calls from his friends at CBS.

Bob Vernum

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Sad News
Received the following email from George Klimscak:
Bob Rowe...he worked in production with the sports crew as a production assistant etc. He passed away just recently. Lived around or in Tom's River NJ.

George Klimcsak
Sad News
Received a phone call from Charles Arcieri that Henry Menusan passed away Tuesday May 6th. Henry worked in Video Tape Operation area.

Tony Casola

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

It's May 6th, and we have until May 9th, to receive your Swan Club Luncheon check, so if you're coming mail it in. We have Lee Levy and Stu Meyer flying in from Florida to attend, something about once every six months they have to leave the State for a day. We will have Art Smyles ( audio maint.) and Bob Callahan and many more. Ben Taussig and Lou Griffo wouild like to see more people from Construction coming. Tom Maloney will be joining us for the first time. Now that you're retired, you can join the rest of the "escapees" for some real fun!. Looking forward to seeing you all.

Tony Casola
516 541-2263

Hi Dave.

Please Post on Web Site Thanks.
First Ampex Video Tape Recorder at C.B.S. N.Y.Where and When ?
First:Vidicon Film Chain?
First Color Film Chain?
First Zoom Lens and what make?
First Plumbicon Camera Chain?

P.S. Is this Interesting or should we go back to Dirty Jokes?

Harold( Square) Deppe

Hi Dave,

The purpose of My E-Mail is to ask the Maintenance people to write in to the Web Site and reminisce about
the days when we had to work to to keep the shows on the air. The equiptment they have today is not like the Iconoscope
chains and 3V color chains we had back then...
Today it's turn on the power and go to lunch.The Production people did a fine Job, but let us hear about the people that helped them do it
when it was a big box with tubes and edge Lights ..Boy I must be Old
P.S Do you remember Fred Reinhardt?

Best Regards,

Harold (iconosope) Deppe

I will be flying up for the day to attend the CBS Retiree Luncheon on Wed May 15th at the Swan Club. Hope to see some of you there.

Lee Levy

On May 12th there will be a ceremonial event at the dga where the associate director council will honor larry aurbach for his years of service to the guild and the industry. It will be held at the dga on 57th st. Anyone interested in coming by and saying hello or saying a few wrods is welcome. Please call Scott Berger, a cbs dga member, and notify him. It's in the evening. Scott's number is 908-403-6630. I understand some people will be coming from the coast. Some of his old crew members will also be there.

Gady Reinhold

Monday, May 05, 2003

On May 12th there will be a ceremonial event at the dga where the associate director council will honor larry aurbach for his years of service to the guild and the industry. It will be held at the dga on 57th st. Anyone interested in coming by and saying hello or saying a few wrods is welcome. Please call Scott Berger, a cbs dga member, and notify him. It's in the evening. Scott's number is 908-403-6630. I understand some people will be coming from the coast. Some of his old crew members will also be there.

Gady Reinhold

On May 12th there will be a ceremonial event at the dga where the associate director council will honor larry aurbach for his years of service to the guild and the industry. It will be held at the dga on 57th st. Anyone interested in coming by and saying hello or saying a few wrods is welcome. Please call Scott Berger, a cbs dga member, and notify him. It's in the evening. Scott's number is 908-403-6630. I understand some people will be coming from the coast. Some of his old crew members will also be there.

Gady Reinhold

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Reminder of what the Swan Club offered us last year!

Photo by Dave Minott

Photo by Ted Perzeszty

To all,
It's May 1st, and if you intend to go to the CBS luncheon on May 14th, please mail me your checks by May 9th.
A slight correction for the driving directions to the Swan Club. It should be written as:
Directions to the Swan Club:
L.I. Expressway (I-495) to Exit 39, Glen Cove Rd. - North

There is no exit 39N.

Tony Casola