Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Happy Birthday Joe Desmond

The year was 1927, a most propitious year in that many of those born under the streaming gases of Halley’s Comet where to illuminate the fledgling art form that started with the catch phrase, “Hi Kiddies,” in the AM, to "This is your Uncle Miltie", in the PM and blithely and historically through the phrases "One step for mankind"…….down to "Tickle-me-Elmo".

Why, "Happy Birthday Joe Desmond" in particular? Joe is in his 80th year, and for what ever reason, Joe and I have been exchanging greetings because we were both born in the year 1927. He started the year in January, and I am in the month of September. I am also sure that there are a gang of us that are 80 or charging past that sobriquet Octogenarian. If Joe was a cosmic entity the name would not be Halley’s it would be Joe’s CBS King Size comet.

I wonder who is on that tablet besides Joe and me? I am quite sure Bruno Fucci couldn’t have sailed the icy North Atlantic in 1942, he has to be in that group. I know Harold Deppe has to be there also, because he can recollect about equipment that inspired Marconi.

Johnny Louis K., after reading your journal of life’s experiences you would have to have wings of all the Greek God’s to move you about. It would put you in the millennia with the Greek God Zeus.

As I ponder the immensity of accomplishments that we traversed during those decades, I feel rewarded for having known or associated with the intellectually gifted, and the innovative geniuses that could interpose on command, that which can come only from the 'Genie-in-the bottle' type of personality.

Cal Marotta sends emails daily. Harry Charles sends pictures from his back porch and I am sure he lives on the surface of the Moon!

Bill Naeder, makes me wonder where he gets all that time to send email, for he surely must be tied down clipping coupons at the bank daily.

How about telling us, all of you that are really on the 80 and over-the-hill gang. Let’s have a laugh at each other. Remember. "Tempis Fugit", (time flies).

Tony Cucurullo


I'll take a shot at Harold Deppe's picture...I think it's an early movie projector with an attempt at sound playback...........

Harry Charles

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'll try!
It looks like an early attempt to transfer audio to a flat disk called a Victor Disk probably a predecessor to wire and tape recorders. The name Victor may associate it with RCA.

Frank Novack

Monday, January 29, 2007

For a first guess, I would say that it is a device for transfering audio from disk to film.
Who made it? Rube Goldberg... errrr... Maybe under the name of Sarnoff?


Can any one say what this is ??
and who made it ?
Lets start an interesting page..
Harold Deppe

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A "new" old picture from Jay Chichon has been added to the Page 11 collection.
Click here ___>Page 11

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Although I started at CBS 40 years ago my interest in television began when I was 5 years old. In the 1950's I would run around to all the TV studios in New York and had many chances to see lots of great things, by hook or crook. I would like to start some conversations going on this site to uncover some of the great stories residing in our collective heads.

I'd like to start with the Sullivan Show. I remember writing to the director, John Wray, asking if I might come to one of the rehearsals. He sent me a letter, which I still have, inviting me to Studio 50 for a Dress and telling me to come earlier so he could show me around. He was a real gentleman. Marlo Lewis was the producer and Charlie Grenier was the TD. I still have a show script. It would be interesting to hear stories about John, Marlo and Charlie as well as other recollections of the studio and the show. It would also be great to see any pictures taken in 50.

Gady Reinhold

Monday, January 15, 2007

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2007 6:29 PM
Subject: Loaner Book

I was going over some past e-mails to get your address when I came upon a note of yours about jackets and ties on the Como show. Besides that, if my guys shoes weren't shined I'd make them go outside to the shoe shine man who had a chair against St. 50's brick wall and make them return with their shoes brightly shined. Now, is that "Marine Corps" or not.

I'm sending the book Priority tomorrow morning so you should have it in a day or two.

John K.
There are a few new additions to the humor page, for those with a funnybone!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

----- Original Message -----
From: "Harry Charles"
Sent: Saturday, January 13, 2007 10:53 PM
Subject: FYI

Tony here is a note I received the other day...If you read the URL
it mentioned the fourth entry was one I posted 6 years might get a
kick out of it....hang tight!......Harry Charles

Hello Harry, I just wanted to let you know I read your note on My dad was also at Hickam field on the B17 with the boat on the belly. People don't believe me
when I tell them about the rig. My dad is Willard L. Wilson - called naturally Willy. We left there in 1950, so we probably got there in 1949. He died in 1985.

Dave W.
Stuck in the 70's -
In East Texas

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Another excerpt from the past...

Received Jan. 18, 2001:

From Tony Cucurullo

It was the 1980's and I was milling around in the company between ENG (news gathering/local and net, some sixty minutes, and an occasional documentary: one with Carol Martin won me an Emmy for directing/camerawork.) I liked that, because I never did the same assignment twice. I had the best of all worlds. When the weekend came around I was sent out on sports, if I was available. But, then I got a call from the Captain Kangaroo Show; this was to be my most lucrative assignment of all time. I venture to say it was the most lucrative of any technician on any show anytime.
In twelve weeks I earned $27,000. That's right boys and girls. I had two young men with me and they earned almost as much. Our assignment was to tape different stories all over the country. Each story had to have a connection: they had to have some interest for children, or they had to be about young people.
We covered stories about young magicians; a young boy that flew airplanes he was only thirteen, we drove out to Forest Hills to cover the tennis play of a teenager, Tracey Austin. Traveling to the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn, we did a story on "Colonel Kite." He could aloft several kites at a time and make them dance in the sky, swirling and diving and twisting in all sorts of geometric patterns, delighting the eye. This crew then set out for Florida. There we climbed in the lion's cage at Circus City, rode the outside raft on a platform to record the water ballet at Water World. All this we did on overtime. The producer for the 'Captain' insisted that we forget the contract as he was told to wrap this up in twelve weeks. I informed him that he would pay for every infraction of the contract with penalties. He agreed and we worked our asses off for him. Along came an EIC of the studio type, and without any conception of what time frame constrictions we worked under, ordered us to stop, because he saw the time sheets we submitted and said, "he refused to approve these time cards and was canceling them." I told him, "No pay, no work." He replied, "You are fired." I said, "OK, I am on my way home and he could arrange for the safety of his equipment, and the tapes we had." He screamed, "I couldn't do that, I had to send him the tapes we already shot". Well, needless to say, I called the producer and repeated the story. He hung up the phone and told me to stand by; I said I had to catch a plane home as I no longer was on the payroll. I knew I wasn't going to leave the equipment or the tapes, but the poker hand dealt to me was a lock. I had permission and this jerk only had muscles the size of grapefruits and could break your hand every time he shook it.
Within a half hour, I received a call at the hotel from a vice-president of CBS, who informed me that I had a job, I was to take care of the company property and he would take care of all the payrolls involved.
He kept his word. When we came home and I appeared before Bob Hammer, his stammer turned into throat lock. But he paid. My crew and I did more stories and they were well received by the 'Captain' and were used for years on replay. The crew I had consisted of two young men, Tom McCarthy, the son of one of my dearest friends and a very good cameraman, and also a new, young employee named Fred Shimizu. This fellow took what ever I asked him to do and never complained. He did the backpack audio and did audio editing on the seat of the truck, learning all this as we went along. We flew by the "seat of our pants", improvising as we went along. We worked around the clock on most assignments and through our meal periods. We did our own creative lighting and took risks at times, like when we went into the lion's cage. The lion reached out and grabbed Tom's shirt and ever so gently, so as not to move the cameras, Fred took the paw of the lion and removed it as if it were a child's hand he was holding. And now for the finale to this most wonderful experience in my career. We were sent downtown New York to the Twin Towers to do a story about how the tower windows are washed when needed. That day, we had Jerry Sullivan along because of all the equipment we had to lug up to the roof. One hundred and ten stories high. That's three floors above the rentable space of the building. The crew had set up the equipment and we all thought we were going to cover the washing machine and how it works. This King Kong of a machine rises out of the roof on an elevator similar to the one used on aircraft carriers. It then traverses along to the edge on rails and tilts itself and goes over the side, and down the face of the building, washing, soaping and rinsing as it goes along on a computer driven program. Well to our surprise the Producer says to us he want us to follow the machine down the face of the building. I told him if in my opinion it was not safe we wouldn't do it. He said he would call uptown and get another crew and, maybe, use freelance people. Tom and Fred, who had done all those impossible stunts like water rafting in Pennsylvania, flying in a Blimp driven by a young boy and hanging out the back of a truck to get moving vehicular shots. This was the limit. The Producer started to leave to call; I told him I would do it. I had previous experience in 'copters, and did military things that are stories for another time. Well, I agreed and the building people have this maintenance bucket that can be lowered on a separate cable alongside the washing unit. In order to enter this device, you put on a safety belt and clasp it to the bucket frame. Great... if the bucket falls to the street, this guarantees that you won't fall out, ha, ha. To Jerry Sullivan's credit, he had to place one foot on the edge of the building and pass the camera and recorder to me. Tom held his belt for balance. When I stepped into this bucket and accepted the equipment, it shifted down about an additional eight inches… it felt like it was falling thirty stories. Well I worked out there for about a half hour.
When they pulled me up and I came on to the roof, the manager of the building said he was happy to see that the bucket worked. It was the first time they used it! I never had a high like that. I actually felt like I was floating. I, at least, can claim that I was the first cameraman to shoot from the top and face of the tallest building in the city. And only King Kong and I went off the top. Fred (I hope) still has that great work ethic as he did on that twelve week assignment. I know Tommy will be a boss someday, as he has that charisma. People like him easily. Me, I spent the money on my three kids and bills.

Tony C

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

May I have a copy of Johns book. My interaction with Lou Tedesco started when I replaced Bob Pierenger as second video on Charley Grenier's crew. Lou was a perfectionist and an excellent mentor. We worked together for 3-4 years when the crew was disbanded.When Lou was promoted to TD (same time as Joe Calvanico and Bill Guyon from our crew) he became TD of the PERRY COMO SHOW replacing guess who. Right, John Koushouris. Lou rescued me from the gnarly clutches of that wonderful TD George Keck. Another of my favorite TD's was Paul Hale who asked me what shows would I like to do. I told him remotes. He said Lou was going to head a back up field crew. And thus it came to pass! Some of my co-video techs were , Dom Annechiarico, Ray Savignano, Mike Terrelle and some non italian video persons whom I forget. John became the HONCHO of CBS Color operations. He advanced into big time producing and Lou's crew was picked to cover the Miss America Pageant for John. We returned from Atlantic City to a piece of TV history called CINDERELLA.. The crew video men served as floor techs replaced by the color video men.
Big time shows, big time techs, big time success.
No wonder John and Lou were mutual admirers. They both were major contributors to the evolution of TV.

On a personal note, get well, soon!

Frank Novack
My name is Jerry Davis.
I am working on my master's degree in journalism at West Virginia University.
My professional project is a brief history of an award-winning episode of "CBS Reports"
from 1957, entitled "Algeria Aflame".
It was reported by Frank Kearns and photographed by Joe Masraff.
They won the Overseas Press Club of America award that year for "Best Foreign
Reporting in Radio and Television".

I have in my possession the diary kept by Mr. Kearns of the six weeks that
Mr. Masraff and he spent hiding from the French and developing a story on
the rebels fighting for independence.

Prior to his passing, Ralph Paskman spoke with me on several occasions and
we exchanged emails. But I need some more information by anyone
who may have worked on the program, which also featured an account of French
activity by David Schoenbrun. Unfortunately, the archival print of the program in the
CBS library is in pretty bad shape and does not include any program credits.

If you are aware of anyone from the Retired CBS Engineers Association who
may be familiar with this story, kindly ask them to contact me.

As a further disclosure, I am also producing, writing and directing a one-hour
documentary for PBS on the life of Mr. Kearns, who taught at West
Virginia University after retiring from CBS News. He graduated from there,
as well, and was a native of Morgantown, WV. Frank and Sara Kearns became
friends of mine in the early 1970s when I worked for him as an undergraduate.

This project has the cooperation of his family, the family of Joe Masraff
and a number of Mr. Kearns's former friend and colleagues.

J. Davis
The Frank Kearns Project
5123 Lakeshore Drive
Columbia, SC 29206
(803) 787-2249

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Mr. Lacey,

Your input to our Website takes me back to 1946, when I was with American Airlines, installing the latest radio equipment on the DC-3 and the DC-4. We have come a long way since then...

Harold Deppe
John Louis Koushouris, Engineer, Producer, entrepreneur, Auto-biographer. And the list goes on. His book “The Golden Years-Done that.” Except for the flat colored, difficult book to hold, it is a very interesting novelette of historical fact, woven to fit like a cloak around the psyche, and life and times of JLK at CBS, and the rest of the world.

He fit comfortably with captains and kings, billionaires, and paupers, technicians and physicist.

He was not intimidated by titles nor pomposity. He believes in excellence, and talent. And he rewards loyalty to the max.

His friends are few but they are the crème-de-la-crème of his society. Lou Tedesco seems to head the list of lasting and loyal, but not subservient, "mon cher de champs". The others fill the lineup like the ’27 Yankees. He list the names of a few techs, because it fills the story line, and reduces the rarified atmosphere of his, “gosh-awful, do you know that guy too.”

His honesty is refreshing because he announces that some of the pretenders are actually offenders in some cases. I won’t list those names although I totally agree on the one or two of those that possess snob-credentials without portfolio.

He can dance trippingly with Onassis, Hughes, Juntas of Greece, and the likes of Tony Cucurullo too. He has traversed the globe numerous times, in search of the penny and came up short but not un-rewarded and with the knowledge that he could compete at any level of finance; and succeed.

I wish I knew Johnny Louis, more intimately than I now presume. He has something to teach even at this late time in the cycle of life. Folks, try to obtain a copy of his book, it is about you, even if it is only in the sense that you could say, “Hey, I remember that time.”

Thanks John, for the walk down the yellow brick road. You filled a lot of gaps in my memory. I will mail your book to anyone that requests it, and they too can pass it on.

Tony Cucurullo

Saturday, January 06, 2007

When the new CBS building to replace 485 Madison Ave. was in the processs of being built, a proud coterie of executives and builders showed the finished, poured floor of his new office to Dr. Stanton. He cast an appraising eye at the empty office, and said "Sorry gentlemen, the floor goes up three inches on the far right." Deciding to humor him they repeated the measurements. QUELLE FROMAGE!
They refinished the floor " THREE INCHES HIGHER" post haste !

All CBS Color Units were to match. CBS/Washington to match CBS/NY upon completion. Oh, begorra, it was a proud day when Dr. Stanton came to Washington to inspect his newest treasure. The vaunted EYE struck again. The body of the truck had been painted CBS colors but the good doctor noticed that the CBS eye was painted over the control room door. If the door was left open only half the eye was visible on the side of the unit. Not a very good IMAGE for our company. The LOGO was repainted post haste !

Hmm, could he have been the inspiration for the famous CBS eye?

Frank Novack

Editors Note:
My Father, a Commercial Artist, back in the '50s, did a little research on the "CBS eye", and
discovered the following!

His handwritten text at the bottom says, "from "Portfolio", a magazine for the Graphic Arts - Vol. 1 - Number 1,
Winter 1950.

"The 'all-seeing' eye is the dominant symbol in this Shaker inspirational drawing done around 1850."

Who knows? Maybe they painted it on the side of their wagons!



Where are you ?? A few words while we are still alive, that is what this Website
Is all about ... Let's not wait 'til our Grandchildren write in and ask...
What did He do at CBS ? That I see from time to time....dont you ????

Harold Deppe

Friday, January 05, 2007

Some info on our new drug plan

I called Medco a few days ago, and got a very knowledgeable person!
From what I understand, the plans are very similar, and so are the prices
for drugs. I checked on four of my meds, and they all averaged out to the
same price as Express Scripts.

I registered on their website, with no problem, except that my wife has
to register separately, then give me permission to view her stuff,
then it all falls under the same login.

I have yet to order anything from them, but since they distribute from NJ (and other locations)
delivery may be quicker than from PA.

They have carried all our RX info over, and there was no need to enter any
info that Express Scripts had.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

To Tony Cucurullo,

By the by, the "old horses behind" trick was used quite effectively in the early days of TV. Budweiser sponsored the KEN MURRAY show. Ken was very demanding and unappreciative and the crew figured out a way to sublimally get even.The show opened weekly with a film clip showing the renowned Budweiser horses approaching then passing and going away in a closeup of a horses behind. The TD then, EQUISITELY, SLOWLY faded to a tight closeup of Kens face OVER the horses behind to open the show. Oh the snickers and guffaws in the Control room.I do believe Bob Dailey was the TD. Bless his soul.
Tony, keep fighting, son. My prayers and the prayers of many are being offered up for you.
Pace Vobiscum
Frank Novack

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

From the CBS Radio Networks Central Control Log, Wednesday, 3 January 2007:

17:46:04 --RH - A call from former CBS Radio AD Bob Wimpie. He called to let us know that retired veteran CBS Radio tech Fred Himes has passed away. Fred’s wife’s address for those wishing to send condolences: Patricia Himes, Box 123, Barnet, VT 05821 (802-633-3425).

Roger Hirsch
PM Supervisor
CBS/Westwood One
Radio Central Control
New York

Mr. Lacey,

It is so nice of you to contribute to the memory of Bob Dailey of CBS. He is an outstanding icon of our industry. He was loyal to people and they too felt the same towards him.

I am happy that you were able to see the CBS production of a game in action. While Bob was a major contributor to that success, you witnessed the fact that it is truly a team effort for all to participate in.

Please feel free to peruse the rest of our page and note the many people that were pioneers that gave impetus to the fledgling television, that developed the standards by which you enjoy the art form today.


Tony Cucurullo

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I was quite saddened a couple of weeks back (and again this week) to hear (during NFL and college sportscasts) of the death of Bob Dailey. In searching for more news about him and his passing, I found your web site and a mention of Bob by one of your CBS compatriots.

I am a retired pilot with American Airlines, and had the good fortune to sit next to Bob as I was deadheading from New York to Cleveland on December 5, 1969. We had a nice chat and he invited me to attend the Cowboys-Redskins game in the Cotton Bowl on December 21. Of course, I jumped at the chance, and had one of the most memorable days of my life.

On the game Sunday Bob introduced me to his crew in the trailer as if I were a CBS executive, then allowed me to join Lindsay Nelson and Eddie LeBaron in the announcer's booth for the first half, then watched over Bob's shoulder in the TV trailer during the second half and observed Bob's calmly directing the cameramen and his crew in the trailer. In those days, there were far fewer cameras aimed at the action on the field, so Bob had to anticipate where the action would be on each play. The replays proved how often he was right, so much so that I later ran across an article about Bob entitled "TV Quarterback" in a syndicated supplement in our newspaper.

And, of course, I was always thrilled to find Bob's name in the credits for a myriad of sporting events on CBS Television--he seemed to have a knowledge of all sports.

When you have further news about Bob for your newsletter, I would very much like a heads-up. Losing him was like losing an old friend, so I can imagine the shadow he cast at CBS.

Dudley Lacey
Dallas, Texas