Saturday, July 31, 2004

Sid Kaufman is one of the points of light in the CBS stellar system. His additional history about the achievements and faux pas, of William Paley adds too, than rather detracts from, the patina of greatness that shrouds a pioneer of such magnitude.
True, Mr. Paley could have at that stage in his life (The advent of cable) started to transfer some of the day-to-day business and creative decisions to others, but he still was sitting on top of the Olympian world of communications and theater.
Dr. Stanton can come in for a piece of those decisions, good or bad, Sid, but my objective was to show that he was a guiding genius and a visionary, albeit one fixated on the "Show biz" aspects of it.
He knew his legacy was already established with his enormous successes in radio and early television, that he looked to the fields of arts and letters to cement his place in history.
Cable was a bit beyond his technical vision. There weren't going to be any luminaries to shine in the CBS cable sky.
Sid, as I have learned, whatever our titles may be and crowns that we wear, we all are just made with feet of clay. As Omar Khyyam observed, if in our time we move but one grain of sand, then we have changed the world forever.
William Paley gave all of us at CBS a chance to achieve a measure of success. I know that you and Harold Classon rose to the top of the corporate ladder. I also know you to be an eminently fair man, so your addition to the continuous gathering of the acorns about the history of CBS is a welcome addition.

Tony Cucurullo
Enjoyed the well written and researched eulogy of William S. Paley by Tony and Ted, no question he was a genius in building The CBS Radio and TV networks and it was a great place to work.

For the record however I want to tell you where his creativity failed him.It was at the formation of CBS Cable. It was at his instructions that the format for Cable to be along the Arts, Music, Classical themes ala PBS. (I have the memo from him with this directive).

We built a cable network of over 80 affiliates (this in the earliest 80's,which was a lot of cable cable operators at this time). We had our own satellite transponders and outfitted each operator with a satellite uplink dish. we had a modest studio at 57 st . with 3 VT machines and control room all married with facilities and Technicans of CBS Operations..

We lasted for a year and folded up at an estimataed loss of 30 million.There are still a lot of rusted uplink dishes out in the fields. The demise was clearly due to our programming.

Understand this was a time before the Ted Turner CNN operation was of any consequence and before ESPN was a succesful sports operation. (Which is probably more succesful to Disney now than the ABC TV network).

If only we had gone to our strength which was news and sports...We had experienced news bureaus all over the world and Turner had to start from scratch. And before ESPN we had a sports rights inventory like golf , football, baskets etc..(recall we gave rights to USA cable for weekday coverage).

Today NBC with its MSNBC and CNBC cable channels have it all over CBS on a continuing news story since they are 24 hour a day news operations that blends with NBC news network..

This not to demean Mr. Paley it is just in his later years he booted this one...My opinion -- he may have been swayed by his active social life with the Cushings (Mrs.Paley) and the Whitneys who were very involved in the world of museums and art.

I believe if we had gone to our internal strength of news and sports we would have beaten CNN and ESPN to the punch and be on the air today.

You may remember that I was intimately involved with the short run of CBS cable.


Sid Kaufman

Thursday, July 29, 2004

William S. Paley
Sept.28th 1901-Oct.26th 1990

East side, West side, all-around-the town… Here in Manhattan Island the cornucopia of ethnicity is the blend that makes the United States strong from the inside out.
Ellis Island was the touchstone for Samuel and Goldie Drell Paley as it was for so many that came to this country. They brought with them all the heritage of their fatherland, Mother Russia. They were to settle in Chicago, and that is where their son was to be born on September 28th 1901.

He attended Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois, began college at the University of Chicago and completed it at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a B.S, degree from the university's Wharton School in 1922.
Later that year he was named Vice President of his family's Congress Cigar Company, a major cigar manufacturer. He held that post until three days before his 27th birthday, he bought control of a small company called United Independent Broadcasters and turned that into CBS.

For all of you in the CBS family, it would be easy for anyone to wish upon a star, that you might have had that success, if you were born to the purple cloth as Mr. Paley was.
However, as with all visionaries as he was, theirs is a gift that portends the success that will come from the overdrive of their motivation.
He could look to the sky and pick only those bright stars that could make a galaxy. That was what he did with the infant radio, and then he took the stepchild television and made it a place for all of us to spend a major portion of our lives in a worthwhile career.

He was a father figure to me and to Pat Finn. We both started as office boys and mailroom clerks. I had such great faith in his ability to make CBS into the giant that it became. I hope that when you see the picture of Mr. Paley you too will remember all that he provided us with. The recompense was not only money, but also character as well, and ambition to help make CBS the Tiffany Network. For you see he always hired the best to attain the very best… and, that's you, my friends.

Tony Cucurullo & Ted Perzeszty

Monday, July 26, 2004

It was nice to read Bob Wilson's account of the early days of field
sequential color. It brought back memories of my experience. I recall unpacking the
first production models at 485 Madison Avenue, 4th floor maintenance shop. In
color mode the filters form a full wheel. In black and white, the motor reverses
and folds the wheel in half to expose the 10FP4 CRT. A problem developed where
the filters folded back, but the motor cut off microswitch did not actuate.
This caused the motor to burn up.

Then there was the case of Master Control in Grand Central---We had a field
sequential monitor made by the Gray Corporation. A filter broke loose, the
wheel became unbalanced and tore itself apart.

I remember the field sequential film chain at Liederkranz Hall ---The
projector needed such an intense light output due to the density of the color
filters, the 16MM color film buckled.

I wonder if Mike Wallace would recall the "Mike and Buff" show in field
sequential color?

I just bought a high definition receiver---from field sequential to high
definition in one lifetime! What a great experience!

Harold Deppe

P.S. CBS WAS a great place to work!

Saturday, July 24, 2004

I have just added a new photo album - "A William S. Paley Chronology", courtesy of Tony Cucurullo.
Click here --->Wlliam S. Paley Chronology.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Charles Andrews
Charles Andrews, 88, Writer for TV Pioneers

By DOUGLAS MARTIN/The New York Times

Charles E. Andrews, a writer at the dawn of television who helped create an informal, intimate approach to programming for Dave Garroway, Studs Terkel and other early stars, died on Friday at his home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He was 88.

The cause was acute pancreatitis, his wife, Amy Greene-Andrews, said.

Mr. Andrews helped originate what has become known to historians as the Chicago school of television. Inspired by neither the theater nor the movies, as New York and Hollywood's television pioneers were, Chicago's early TV producers strove to maximize the unique properties of their new medium, of necessity televising programs live, often from a warehouse with little scenery.

"It was sort of like jazz in a way," Mr. Terkel said in an interview with National Public Radio in 1997. "It was improvisational. People thought it was actually real."

As the writer for Mr. Terkel's show, "Studs' Place," which chronicled the activities at a mythical bar and grill, Mr. Andrews, who indeed loved jazz, wrote just an outline of the plot. Actors then made up their own lines. "Dialogue by the Cast," the closing credits read.

Mr. Andrews worked for WNBQ, the NBC affiliate in Chicago. Within two years of its founding, in 1949, it was producing half of NBC's television network schedule. "Garroway at Large," a variety show written by Mr. Andrews, was the biggest commercial success in a lineup that included the puppet show "Kukla, Fran and Ollie," "Ding Dong School" and a precursor to "Wild Kingdom" with Marlin Perkins.

In "The Box: An Oral History of Television, 1920-1961" (Viking, 1995), written by Jeff Kisseloff, Mr. Andrews said that the Garroway show was intended as one of the first exercises in "pure television."

"In other words," he said, "do what the camera indicates you should do rather than make the camera sit in the theater and look at a stage."

One way of doing this was allowing the camera to view what would usually be hidden equipment: for example, when dancers dived into a swimming pool, Garroway immediately showed up and called for an overhead camera so viewers could see a pile of mattresses.

A skit about a visit to a dentist's office was shown with the camera peering up at the dentist working, giving the viewer the distressing feeling of sitting in the chair.

Mr. Kisseloff said that as far as television was concerned, Mr. Andrews "virtually invented the visual pun." For example, after a performance by a harmonica quartet, Garroway appeared on camera gnawing an ear of corn.

Not that Mr. Andrews neglected old-fashioned verbal playfulness. He once wrote a lecture, delivered deadpan by Garroway, about constructing 11-foot poles "for touching people you wouldn't touch with 10-foot poles."

Charles Edward Andrews was born in Fond du Lac, Wis., on July 2, 1916. His boyhood loves were reading books at night and listening to the radio. After graduating from high school, he went to Chicago and worked in advertising.

He was entranced with Garroway's low-key radio show and he managed to become friends - eventually best friends - with Garroway. His responsibilities included fetching the performer, an avid mechanic, from underneath his car when he was late for a show.

When Garroway moved to New York to become the first host of the "Today" program in January 1952, Mr. Andrews continued to work with him. Later, Mr. Andrews wrote for Sid Caesar and produced "The Arthur Godfrey Show," "The Steve Allen Show" and "Candid Camera," among other programs. He also produced television specials like the Emmy Awards and the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe contests. He retired in 1985.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Andrews is survived by his stepsons, Joshua Greene of Florence, Ore., and Anthony Greene of St. Augustine, Fla., and a step-grandson.

Mr. Andrews believed that what was sometimes called the Chicago touch had an enduring effect on television. "In a small way," he said, "what we did opened up what you can do in a studio."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times

Submitted by Gail DePoli
It was an enjoyable surprise to read Ed Reitan's letter and finding that the history of the CBS sequential color effort, although ill fated, has been documented. And also to find that Frances Buss, whom I remember from the early Grand Central days is doing well in NorthCarolina. It brought back many memories as I started in the CBS Television Lab in 1941 and had some association with the early sequential color days. I wonder how many know that the symbol on the old CBS twenty year pin is the first sequential color Orthicon camera built in the Lab in 1941.It's most notable accomplishment, in addition to demonstrations, was to transmit color test pattern to the Chrysler transmitter. I am not aware of any receiver that had the capability to receive it but was transmitted five days a week. And I am sure that there are CBS retiree's who remember doing sequential color remotes in 1951 when the FCC had approved the CBS color system. The color equipment had to be lugged out of Studio 57 on a Friday evening after the day's operation and trucked to West Point, Annapolis or some other college. It was set up on Saturday morning to cover football and had to be reinstalled in the studio on Sunday. It was a back breaking Job and I can recall how happy we were when a call came through from Tommy Thompson while picking up the game at the University of Maryland, saying that color operations were being suspended because of the critical materials situation. Remember that huge 144 cycle converter that was required to power the color equipment on remotes; and those huge color monitors that required two people to lift and could not be moved when turned on because the color disk could fly apart. It was not fun. There was also a crew assigned to operate a sequential color camera at one of the major New York hospitals. I believe, if I recall correctly, Bob DeHart was the supervisor assigned to this operation.

And speaking of Frances Buss, how many remember Lela Swift? Lela had been one of Peter Goldmark's secretaries in the early 40's and in postwar became a TV director. I still have an apologetic 1943 letter from Lela to my mother after Goldmark took me to England, requesting payment for a fifty cent personal telephone call.

A great deal of television history occurred at CBS and it is nice to find that some of those who were part of it are still around - and that it has been recorded. Ed Reitan deserves a vote of thanks, and I for one, will be interested in reading about Frances Buss.

Bob Wilson

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I just received the following from Bob Myers.
Paul Buda has been in the hospital for the past three months.  He had a quadruple by-pass and has had a hard time recuperating. 
Here is the information for anyone wanting to send a get well card to him.   He was in room 321 when I last visited.
North Shore University Hospital at Plainview
888 Old Country Road
Plainview, New York 11803
(516) 719-3000
Bob Myers

Monday, July 19, 2004

Just received this message from Bruno Fucci about Chic Gulino...
George Klimcsak 

Chic is very ill.  He has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and it seems to have spread to his liver.Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  His phone number is 480-502-1841. 
CBS'ers: We await the return of our Internet guru, Dave Minott, who is on a much needed sabbatical. Dave has had his share of setbacks this year, so we wish him well and are awaiting some new material for the website. If you have some material that doesn't require the input of pictures, them mail them to he can input those on the blogger. Don't get bored, go to the Archives, and reread some of the original messages, or try using the PICO SEARCH - type any name or word and see what pops-up! Try typing your name! You can also go to the picture gallery.

See you soon. Tony C

*******An upcoming story with photo's of William S. Paley*******

Friday, July 02, 2004

Hi Dave,

After August 31, 2004 you will no longer be able to convert E & EE bonds for H bonds. I am now scrambling to do the conversion. My E bonds are pushing 30 years. At that point they don't pay interest. Accrued interest will remain tax deferred if you convert. You may want to post this on the website. For more info Click This!

Irwin Solow