Saturday, January 02, 2010

There sure seems to be a lot of confusion about the East Side Studio. I guess my memory is no better than many of my colleagues but I am quite clear on some details. The "Edge of Night" Studio referred to by Harold Schutzman cannot be the same studio I designed. My studio was several years after the Grand Central era. It also was several years after the Court Theater. There very well may have been an East Side studio used by "Edge" but I'm sure it predates my employment at CBS 1965-1995. For a period of time my duties at CBS Engineering & Development had me responsible for all the design projects for all the NY Studios outside of BC. I got to do many projects around town during my tenure.

I clearly remember that the Project justification for building my East Side studio was specifically to move ATWT out of BC Studios 41 & 42 which CBS wanted for other uses. The theater at the time we were starting the project did not have any TV control room . It still was configured as I descibed with audience seating. The conversion of the stage area and orchestra gave a studio floor area that was roughly equivalent to the combined square footage of studios 41 & 42. I do remember that the interior of the theater had some very fancy decorative wall treatments which were not damaged during the renovations and remained intact. One feature of the theater was its domed ceiling. In my dealings with Facilities Engineering I predicted that we would have acoustical problems unless we did something to that area. Because of cost restraints, Facilities said that we would address that problem if it actually occurred. After the lighting grid was installed and the stage area was complete, I was proven right, since the curved surface of the dome focused any sound on the stage back down to the floor. Oops! They had to hang , at great expense, a lot of vertical sound absorbing panels above the lighting grid to correct the acoustics.

Where the new Studio missed its mark was that the attached scenery storage building was not large enough to accomodate the show's storage requirements. This made the ATWT folks unhappy and they eventually asked to return to BC.

None of these facts shed any light on the actual studio designation number but I offer them for their historical value and I really didn't have anything better to do today!

Jim Herschel