Tuesday, June 28, 2011

SAD NEWS

I just received this from Stan Mitchell's daughter.

Ted,
This is Stan's daughter. I would like to let you know that my father passed away during the night. Would you please post his passing on the CBS board that he enjoyed so much.

Thank you,
Kathleen Morsy

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Hi Dave:
 
I'm now into my fifth year of retirement and I've fully adjusted to the new lifestyle. :)
I have four grandkids, with one more on the way. Lots of fun being a grandpa!
 I'm not too active with ham radio these days, but I do occasionally
get on the air with QRP gear. Because of condo living, I don't have a permanent antenna, so that's a factor.
I am pleased to report that the "rumor" of Jay Chichon's passing was greatly exaggerated. While he was MIA for a while, and he did have serious medical issues, he's back home now and back in good health.
Had a nice 2 way Skype QSO with him just the other day. I'm glad my worry there was not realized.

73 de Ray
K2ULR
Hi;

I have a CBS story for the site.

It must have been in 1967 or 1968. I was working in the Videotape Library. Frank Somers was the boss and Bob Ruggerio was the manager.
We were piling up small boxes of commercials (2 inch VT) all over the floor in the library. There was no more room for anything.
I spoke to Frank and he told me to work on clearing things out. Being a 23 year old kid and not really thinking things out I decided to throw out any tape that had not aired in the past 3 months. I opened each box and took out all the playback sheets to determine the last time a spot had aired.
I had been doing this for a number of weeks and was very proud of myself. One rainy Sunday I got a call from one of my supervisors (it may have been Vinnie Verrico).
He told me that a certain Geritol spot could not be found. In those days I had a great memory and recalled the commercial code and realized I had tossed it into a dumpster some time back.
The spot was scheduled to air live on Sullivan that night. I went into panic mode for a moment and then realized that this was a piggyback spot.
30 seconds was on film and 30 seconds was on tape. I also remembered it was produced at Reeves.
I also remembered that one of our former librarians (Dick Cooper) was working there. I got his number, called him and begged him to help me.
I drove to Harlem, picked him up and went down to Reeves on 44th St. on the east side.
His boss ( Dick Smith) also a former CBS guy gave him permission to let me have the master film and tape of the commercial.
We went back to CBS and I begged someone to transfer the film to tape through CC.
Then I begged someone to find an editec pair of 2" Hiband machines and begged once more for someone to edit the spots together.
Somehow it got done and we delivered the spot to to the playback technician with 1/2 hour to go before the live show. Needless to say I NEVER threw out another spot.

Let's hear some more stories.

Gady
I marvel at Stan's (last name escapes me) phenomenal memory having read two of his pieces recently on the CBS Website. I say that because I am the one and only individual, still alive and sassy, at 91 on 6/24/11, who ran the production team and facility of my studio St.72 who is in a position to accurately judge his claims. His recall is fine tuned to a fault.
As a matter of fact I was the single one engineer representing Television Technical Operations (TVTO) and General Engineering in the overall design and construction of my passion, ST.72 working in liason between the two departmemnts involved.
It was my job initially to act as the clearing house for General Engineering's Dick Obrien, Blair Benson and ultimately Howard Chinn for design approval forthcoming from CBS's Operations group. What General Engineering proposed had to be accepted as workable and practcal for use in broacast operations.
In preparations for this job I spent 5 years working under the genius,Dr. Peter Goldmark in the development of the very first practical and workable color television system.
No one was ever better prepared to run this operation than was "Kusuris and he did run it always at peak performance usually beating out, with glee,  his arch enemy, NBC-TV.  
To this very day, no Television Operations unit has ever surpassed the excellence and performance of this group and that was why we were always able to produce the impossible results that people remember and are able today to relate as Stan has just proven.
I did have an uncanny ability to select the very best and finest personnel from the whole lot, which is why every single individual on my team was the absolute tops in his assigned job.
  Personal to Stan: I would not have felt as I do had you chose simply to forget my name but you didn't and that's my reason for responding.
I will never ever accept the notion that you did not recall how to spell my name not when you, in you forceful manner, displayed a mind boggling ability to relate names, factions and events with total and minute accurracy from some 50 years ago. Truly a remarkable phenomenon.
One regret Stan, old by, I really am disappointed that you apparently never made the effort to check on my name when everything else in your writings simply reek of research accurracy.
When a fact is important to an idividual make every effort to guarntee accuract in your reporting.
 Side note: I know of what I speak as of this week I completed my third book in 10 years covering my life and efforts while making sure that my 4 grandchildren will gain.

John Koushouris

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Does anyone remember the Jackie Gleason musical show that never got on the air? It was recorded on 35mm film from Studio 72. I believe it was called something like "Carousel". Paul Whiteman was the conductor. After the show was recorded Gleason invited cast and crew to Toots Shor to view it. It looked like a Hollywood film.

Jay Chichon

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Stan Mitchell answers Steve Thomas about the show (Cinderella) 1957

First, may I introduce my self! My name is STAN MITCHELL, I was a Maintenance man along with Harold . in Studio 72. The original (Color Television Studio). I worked a little more than 40 years in Television and then went on to work as a , consultant for many more years for independent Producers. But somehow I never forgot my days at Studio 72. You'll have to bear with me to tell you story of "Cinderella". You must know that Studio 72 was run by maintenance men. At the time I was there, I counted 10 in all. A normal theater had 2. They were Joe Tier, Bill Mayer, Bob Chin, John Lennon, Hugo Ripp, John Ewing, John Lense, Harold Deppe, and me. Each man had his "PET' project. It was the early days of NTSC Color. These men brought you living Color, as we know it today. It was Supervised, again by a maintenance man. Joe Gieger and the head of the whole thing by John Kosuras (the Engineer in Charge). The Studio had a couple of Video men nearly full time. They were Art Tinn and Frank Florio. There was a telecine operator named Milt Greenwald and he operated 4 transfer equipment, along with Harold Deppe who ran Video and maintained the equipment. We had no means to RECORD the Shows. That was done somewhere else. When a show was scheduled, any Crew was placed in the house. They did any floor work that was necessary. In other words ---Operations. To answer one of your questions--There were 5 RCA TK42 used on that show. There were 5 Video men who worked the Color Cameras, they were Frank Florio, Art Tinn, Joe Ponterno, George Zervalas, Dan Acker. All have worked with the color cameras before. Each TK42 video counsel had it's own 17 inch "Conrac" color Monitor. It was the responsible of another maintenance man, Walter Lupinsky to keep the monitors "matched", during the show, along with the "AIR" monitor and the two on the floor.(roll a rounds). The monitors drifted during the show. There was another maintenances man, Harvey Schwartz, who was in charge of the Color Encoders and adjusted the Balanced Modulators during the show. They drifted also. Now to answer another one of your questions "Where was the Orchestra located?" That is a good question. I vaguely remember an Orchestra being there the first day of rehearsals. Anyway, we did not have a special room to house an Orchestra. If we had room for an Orchestra it would have to be placed on the Studio Floor at the far corner in front of the Black and White Control room at the rear of Studio Deck as it was done other times. I lost track of this one. After the first day of "Cinderella" the Orchestra, I believe was taken Down Town to a Sound Stage probably at COLUMBIA Records. There, they made an ordinary Vinyl Record, 33 1/3 LP was made of the tracks of the music. Later they tried to "SELL" it to us for a small fee. We had already been exposed to the music for one long week and heard it in or sleep. Remember the Control Room was full of VIPS standing in the back of the Control Room through out the Production, Putting their TWO CENTS in. After all, this was Rogers and Hammerstien who wrote the original music and composed it for this show. There was thought to dump the orchestra. We did other shows later with the orchestras on the stage in front of the Black and White Control room. The show was put on by Lou Tedesco and his Crew doing the operating. The audio man was Bob Miller and he is the only one to how the audio was AIRED. The Director was Ralph Nelson and Lance Barrow who the assistant Director, but he was equally as good. They made a good pair. I use to stand by the Directors Counsel just to listen to them. It was a very fast show. Now for the fun part that might answer some of your questions-----I was doing some thing around Lou Tedesco. Lou had a small stool, cut down wooden stool. I asked why he used the stool? He was in a half standing position so he could move his right leg to the rhythm of the music. (he was music oriented) He said "he was switching the show to the beat of the music". He was not listening to Ralph Nelson very closely. I accepted that since it was the first I had heard of that.-----Along about 2 days in the rehearsal, there appeared a young man standing in the video pit and in front of Lou Tedesco and Ralph Nelson--and of course Bobby Miller the Audio man. He was in my way when I attended video to problems in the pit I'm sure I told him a couple of times to get out of my way. It turns out to be that he was the Musical Director. He would hold the sheet music in one hand and sing or hum with the music, while waving madly at Lou, saying "Take One and Take two etc.). We began to tolerate him. He appeared out of nowhere. He began singing out the camera cuts as he chanted and waved. Towards the end of the week he wrote down the CUTS on his sheet music. If you asked me. (how the show was switched, I would have to say, "by the written musical note) As would happen, the Director lost his place on AIR and Lou just simply listened to the Music Director and saved the show. The Music Director went on his merry way singing and calling out the camera cuts. I believed that Bob Miller AIRED the record---As far as the Lip Syncing, there didn't seem to be any problem. Julie Andrews seem to be so good there wasn't much time lost to any stoppages. Bobby Miller fed two roll around floor speakers. I believe, that Bobby Miller fed them at a low level and had the speakers manned.----Another funny happening was that Julie Andrews had to make 2 quick changes on the studio floor. From her Cinder costume to the Ball costume. There were no dressing rooms and she had little time for the change. So----! She did the next thing and striped right on the stage. She had some dialog to do while she was changing. She had a boom mike while changing. Soon word got out about what was going on. So--Bob Chin and I grabbed our cameras and got on our way. We went up to balcony, above the lighting grid to take some pictures. While I was there, I took some pictures (wide shots) of the sets. To answer your question was the floor crowded. It was very crowed with cameras and camera cables, sets, and people. I had taken many shots with 35 mm camera of the sets and complex set up on the floor. In those days every crew member carried a camera. There were the cameras, 2 mike booms, one of the cameras (sometimes there were 2 men on a camera cable). There was on a Houston Crane, mostly for the ball shots. All cameras were on special pedestals, large and heavy. As I mentioned before it took to carry them and three men to put them on their "rocker" pan heads. There was a problem with some sets in that ,some cameras needed extra large lights with reflectors Hand held by electricians. A union problem occurred. If they were attached to the cameras it would be in the area of the technicians union . Harry Abbot, the head electrician confided to me that he couldn't find enough electricians if he had to man for the lights. He was using everybody around. As it was they had an electrician walk beside some cameras adding more cables to the floor.----I was in the maintenance shop when Joe Tier came in "lets go, there is trouble with one of the cameras" Joe was one of the more excitable ones so off I crashed through the maintenance door. To my surprise I almost fell into Julie Andrews lap, She was making another quick change from the Ball dress to the Cinder dress. I was embarrassed! Joe had set me up. In all it was a good place to work.---If I get my pictures back I'll send them out to you. Right now they are held up in a family dispute. I hope you find some of the information usefull.


Stan Mitchell
stan511mitchell@verizon.net

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Hi Dave,

I am hoping you might be able to help me find any relatives of former CBS
news editor George Hartman.

George had been a mentor to a friend of mine in the video industry, who
recently passed away. In his storeroom we found a box of family photos and
films that had belonged to George. I would love to return them to some
member of his family. No money is requested!

I can be reached at fedora4a at aol.com.
I have his name and phone number if someone needs it.
Dave