Sunday, May 30, 2004

The following was submitted by Ted Perzeszty and Gayle DePoli:

With Wolf, Ch.2 sends wrong signal

Bob Raissman NY Daily News

Veteran sports anchor Warner Wolf finds unique style and passion for his job are not enough for brass at WCBS-TV.

Warner Wolf walked into the WCBS-TV studio yesterday and was told his services were no longer wanted.
"I went to work as usual expecting to do my sports on the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news," Wolf told me yesterday. "The news director called me into her office and said, 'We've exercised our option, we're taking you off the air - immediately.'"

No more going to the videotape. At least for now.

Wolf's Ch.2 contract was set to expire in August. The suits at the station couldn't wait to pull the plug. They yanked it on a Friday, under the cover of a big holiday weekend when they believed no one was around or paying attention.

Out of sight. Out of mind.

Not when it comes to Warner Wolf.

For over three decades, his presence was felt on WABC-TV and Ch. 2, where he spent nearly 20 years during two stints (1980-92, 1997-yesterday). Wolf pioneered the video tape shtick, creatively using highlights when ESPN was simply four letters in the alphabet.

And then were those lines, delivered with Wolf's distinct inflection and animation.

"Gimme a break!"

"And the winner of the 9th at Aqueduct is ..."



"And look, Mr. G. was at the game."

"Of course it's a fair ball, it hit the fair pole."

Yesterday, Wolf, 66, might have also used his old "And you could have turned your sets off there." Except Ch.2 boss Lew Leone beat him to it.

"I'm not retiring," Wolf said. "This was not my decision to leave Ch.2."

No, this decision was made by Ch. 2 suits who clearly did not appreciate Wolf. (As quickly as they fired him, they took his bio off the station's Web site.) They apparently also do not understand his strong connection with New York sports fans.

In February, rumors began swirling that Ch.2 brass was going to bring in a Tapehead from a station in Houston to replace Wolf. The suits did nothing to discourage those rumors. Clearly, they were hanging Wolf out to dry.

And yet, Wolf is the first to say he's in a tough business. It's a stupid one, too.

Perhaps the most memorable moment on Ch.2 news in many moons occurred April 8, Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. On that afternoon George Steinbrenner broke down and cried. The man asking the questions was Wolf.

I'm not suggesting Wolf's questions brought The Boss to tears. No, it was more about Steinbrenner being around a man who he has shared on-air moments with since he purchased the Yankees in 1973. There was a comfort level.

Not only did Wolf have solid relationships with older, established sports personalities, he was working hard at making new ones with the younger generation. See, in recent years, it wasn't just about the studio for Wolf.

He was everywhere. Growing older made him hustle more.

The suits who fired him yesterday did not appreciate this. They had no respect for what Wolf can deliver. This happened once before, under a different Ch.2 regime. They pushed Wolf aside for Brett Haber, a younger Tapehead. Haber didn't exactly take the city by storm.

WCBS-TV brought Wolf back in 1997 to anchor the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. sportscasts. He did his thing with even more passion, precision and good humor. It was not enough.

The broadcast business is subjective and superficial.

So, maybe Leone did not like Wolf's style. Or maybe he is looking for a more youthful on-air presence. If the latter is the case, Ch.2 is making a big mistake. The local sportscasting landscape is littered with broken egos of young Tapeheads who did not click with fans.

Another thing to consider, and this goes for almost every local TV station in the market: news directors have relegated nightly sportscasts to below secondary status. Tapeheads are given little time to present their reports. Or exhibit a personality that could attract viewers on a nightly basis.

The powers that be have given up the sports territory to ESPN. There actually is a segment of fans who would rather watch a Tapehead with credibility than a cat who should be wearing clown makeup while delivering the scores and highlights.

Warner Wolf could make you laugh, too. With the right story, he could also make you cry.

Most of all, he transmitted a feeling. He came to work, for all these years, each and every day, making you feel that he loved the life.

"I want to thank my loyal viewers," Wolf said. "I look forward to being on the air as soon as I can."

The sooner the better.

He gets blitzed


Warner Wolf

Beloved sportscaster Warner Wolf, who coined the phrase "Let's go to the videotape," has been unceremoniously dumped by Channel 2.
The local network's decision not to renew Wolf's contract may end a career that has spanned four decades, stamping him as a New York sports institution.

The high-profile 66-year-old commentator, who also appeared in movies and as a regular on the "Imus in the Morning" radio program, reinvented sports reporting with his jocular manner and use of videotape action - punctuating basketball highlights by exclaiming, "Swish!"

Wolf also was known for another catchy phrase, usually after blowouts. "If you had the Jets and 52 points, you lost!" he might say after a 56-3 Jets loss.

Channel 2 officials had no comment on the release of the three-time regional Sportscaster of the Year.

Rumors have been circulating for weeks that Wolf's contract would not be renewed. His answer: "I have no intention of retiring."

"You can't have thin skin to survive in this business," Wolf has said.

The son of a Washington vaudeville couple, Wolf was a teenage regular in the bleachers of old Griffith Stadium, watching the original, stumbling Washington Senators.

After stints as a play-by-play announcer for WTOP-TV in Washington, Wolf joined ABC as host of its "Monday Night Baseball," "Wide World of Sports" and "College Football Scoreboard" programs.

He also was sportscaster for Channel 7 from 1976 to 1980 before joining Channel 2. He left Channel 2 after 12 years for a gig at WUSA-TV in the nation's capital, then returned to Channel 2 for a second tour of duty in February 1997.

He's the author of "Let's Go to the Videotape" and "Give Me a Break" and played himself in "Rocky IV" and the CBS series "The Equalizer." He played an extra in "A Beautiful Mind" and several feature films.

The peripatetic Wolf, who long believed in the credo "Have voice, will travel," also broadcast live sports reports for Israeli television during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and reported from the 1976 Winter and Summer Olympics.

Wolf began his broadcasting career in 1961 at WLSI-AM in Pikeville, Ky., where he also served as disk jockey, news reporter, weatherman and sportscaster.

He has a communications degree from American University in Washington and served there as an adjunct professor.

Originally published on May 29, 2004

Sunday, May 23, 2004

I have added another new album - "The Jack Katz Collection" in the Photo Reminiscences area.
I have many more pictures to add to this collection, so keep checking back from time to time!

Saturday, May 22, 2004

I have just incorporated a small addition to the website.
Whenever anyone bookmarks our website, they will get a special icon associated with their bookmark!
Try bookmarking us (even if you already have one) and see what it looks like!


Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Once again I wish to thank all those that served our county during the conflicts of the past.
The point being this is a time of the year when we remember the sacrifices that the young men of our country make on our behalf.
The solider that walks a lonely post, or a sailor on a ship under way, as he stands watch with the wind and rain in his face. Or a clerk in the military that has the duty of the day, and vows that this country will not fail because of him. To all of you in our CBS family that served this country, whether in combat or peacetime duty, the country thanks you, and your reward is the greatest that this country can give to each of you, the title...

Pierce Evans (Battle of the Bulge)
Tom Delila, Guadalcanal
Major Jesse Rineer
Colonel Dom Corrado
Capt. Dave Paine, fighter Pilot WW2
Lt. Jim Rose, Vietnam
Bernie Sweeney, 2nd Cav Vietnam
Vernon Surphlis, China Burma WW2
Vincent Bartilucci, Radio Op, B17 Memphis Belle Squadron. Dsc/Air Medal/Bronze Star.... Over 30 missions over Germany
Phil Polanski, WW2 Silver Star
Walter Cronkite
Andy Rooney
Neil McCaffery VN
Al Kozak Navy
Jim McCarthy, WW2
Al Fabricatore, WW2
John Lincoln, WW2
Chico Claudio, WW2 Combat Photographer
Lt. Col. Sig Meyers
George Naeder, Battleship New Jersey, WW2
Capt. Herman Lang, Gen. Patton's 3rd Army
Bob Dailey
Ted Perzeszty, Korea
Mike DeIeso, WW2, Philippines
Joe Strano
Gene Pasculli
Frank Marth
Pat McBride
Dick Douglas
Capt. Frank Florio, Bombardier, Pacific
John Baranello, WW2
Rich Brender, Vietnam
Capt. Harry Haigood, WW2
Al Consiglio
Joe Sokota
Vinnie Castrataro, Korea, WW2
Tony Cucurullo, WW2, Korea, UDT/Seals
Bill Naeder, 2nd.Inf. Div., Korea (14 months)
Marty Solomon
Harry Charles, WW 2
Cal Marotta, Marines, WW 2, Bikini, Guam
Sid Kaufman,1942-1946 U.S Signal Corps --42nd Rainbow Infantry Divison.
Larry Quinlan ,1MACorp --S Solomons, & New Georgia, 3MACorp
Lou Mascek, USAF --Bougainville (deceased)
George Magee, USN WW 2, -- Korea (deceased)
Jack Katz, WW 2 AAF Tech.Sgt. Air Medal 45 missions over Europe.
Anthony H Cipolla, WW2 Vet
Dan Parmelee, M/Sgt, WW 2, Group Communications Chief, 366th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force.

PS: Please add your name to this list and forward it to me so that I may include it the next time around.
Send it to:
and thank you for your service (ed. note: from ALL of us!)
June Taylor
Created 'The Jackie Gleason Show' Dances

By BEN SISARIO/The New York Times

June Taylor, the Emmy-winning choreographer whose routines on "The Jackie Gleason Show" brought the chorus line into the television age, died on Sunday at a hospital in Miami, said her sister, Marilyn Gleason. She was 86 and lived in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Each week "The Jackie Gleason Show" opened with a number by the 16 high-kicking, wide-smiling young women of the June Taylor Dancers. Their routines, created by Ms. Taylor, were intricate, expensive and wholesome-looking updates of the classic Broadway chorus lines.

To accommodate the square format of television, the dancers were often shot from above, resulting in kaleidoscopic patterns of limbs that recalled the films of Busby Berkeley.

Besides the three-minute numbers that opened each show, Ms. Taylor also choreographed longer routines for special broadcasts. In 1953 Gleason and Ms. Taylor collaborated on "Tawny," a ballet of more than 20 minutes with music by Gleason. A review by Jack Gould in The New York Times said the piece cost a reported $30,000 to produce. "Every penny was well spent," he wrote, "for here was popular commercial television displaying artistic vision and imagination."
Ms. Taylor won an Emmy Award for her choreography on "The Jackie Gleason Show" in 1955.

Born in Chicago, Ms. Taylor was a seasoned nightclub dancer when her career was derailed by tuberculosis at age 20. She turned to choreography, hitting the road with her own company. She met Gleason, then a little-known comedian, at a Baltimore nightclub in 1946.

Ms. Taylor began working on television in 1948 on Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town" and later worked on "Cavalcade of Stars," which Gleason joined in 1950. "The Jackie Gleason Show" began in 1952 and ran until 1959; it returned to television in 1962 and ran until 1970.

Gleason moved his show in 1964 from New York to Miami, where he could play golf all year long, and Ms. Taylor remained in Florida after the show ended. In 1978 she was invited by the Miami Dolphins football team to direct the team's cheerleaders. She turned her demanding techniques to the squad. She also favored costumes that were throwbacks to her earlier days. The Dolphins' Web site says that it was not until Ms. Taylor retired in 1990 that the women updated their uniforms with, for example, sneakers while they were on the sidelines.

Besides her sister, of Fort Lauderdale, who married Gleason in 1975, Ms. Taylor is survived by a nephew, Craig Horwich of Chicago. Her husband, Sol Lerner, died in 1986.

Ms. Taylor often spoke of television's demands on dance. "One of the first things I learned in television was the necessity of varying the style of the dancing each week," she said in an interview in 1953. "People want something new. My girls, I believe, are the best hoofers in the business. They know tap, ballet, classical ballet, toe work, modern and acrobatic dancing."

Mrs. Gleason, who was a dancer in her sister's group, remarked that speed was a necessity.

"We were on television," she said yesterday, "and we had to move fast. The only comparison was the Rockettes, but we danced four times faster than they did."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times

Submitted by Gayle DePoli

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Hi Dave,

A group of dedicated vintage TV enthusiasts have, as you may know, resurrected the 1951 CBS field-sequential color system and have shown it publicly at the 2004 Early Television Convention held April 24 and 25 in Hilliard, OH.

Three years ago at the 47th anniversary of the RCA CT-100, CBS presented a short segment on the Sunday show that included vintage footage of Patty Painter, the 19-year-old girl who served as the model for the 1949 demo of CBS field sequential color. A producer had contacted me for possible use of my CT-100 as a prop for the segment, but time was too short and they ended up using a vintage B&W set in a long side shot only.

Might you be willing and able to put me in touch with someone who might help recover the 1949 footage used in the 2001 segment?

The 1949 footage is an excellent program to demo the operational field-sequential system.

I have been in contact with Patty's daughter, but she does not possess a copy of the sought-after footage.

The producer?s email was lost in a computer upgrade, and so that avenue to information is closed.

As a reference, there is this highly compressed ".rm" file of the footage at this link:

There is a bit more information about the return of 1951 CBS color. Simply scroll down to the last entry on the page.

And finally, thank you for any information you may be able to provide.


Friday, May 14, 2004

Another successful luncheon has taken place! On May 12, 2004 we had ninety-four (94)
of our comrades and spouses attend our semiannual main luncheon at the Swan Club, on Long Island.
As usual, the food was excellent, the company was of good cheer, and the flowers were magnificent.
Those not in attendance would be advised that missing these affairs is doing yourselves a disservice!
You can see what you missed by clicking here -->The May 12, 2004 Swan Club Luncheon.

Friday, May 07, 2004


Enjoyed the 1968 convention photo's from the Duarante collection. it would be wonderful if many of the technicians would dig into their collections and look back to the past...

The 1968 conventions brought back memories because of the Thaler's Raiders had been introduced to the New CBS LAB Mobile unit with the new Color camera's....The crew included about 16 people and the unit had served the CBS convention coverage in Miami and then the same at the 1968 convention in Chicago.

My photo's are on hold at the moment because I am in the process of getting the color slides etc. scanned and loaded on my computer.

looking forward in seeing you at our the CBS luncheon.


George Klimcsak