Bob is correct. The situation with 2” reels of video tape is not unusual. The networks did this all the time. That’s why live shows like SHINDIG and HULLABALOO are rare to find in much quantity. Don’t forget, cable was virtually non-existent then, and UHF was really in its infancy. With so few outlets to repurpose and rerun shows, TV stations and networks saw more value in the actual reel itself than in the programming. Some historic moments were saved, but so much else is gone. The shows that were done on single camera film or filmed multi-camera before a live audience are the ones that survived. Other than that, the shows were disposable.
For example, very little visual material exists of Johnny Carson’s first few years on the Tonight show because the tapes were reused. What exists are usually kinescoped.
Some exceptions exist. Jackie Gleason owned his show and made sure to save them, which is why you have THE COLOR HONEYMOONERS, which is essentially the JACKIE GLEASON SHOW. Other shows later in the 60’s started to be saved, which is why you have Laugh-In and Dean Martin Shows available in good quality color copies. Not all were saved, and I have to think that local children’s programming was low man on the totem pole.
As for the tapes that may or may not have been there in 2006, I have no clue. My bet is that there weren’t that many. WCAU was NBC by then so you may have a disconnect as to what was listed as there when they took over from CBS in the 90’s and what was actually there. Who knows how exact or sloppy the archives and record keeping had gotten by that time.
One place that you may find some footage might be to ask about promo reels that were made to pitch to advertising agencies in the 60’s. While this probably would not be full shows, there would be both on camera and behind the scenes shots. I know one such video exists, because I actually saw portions of it three years ago in a very unexpected place.
VH-1 ran a documentary called SOUL TRAIN: THE HIPPEST TRAIN IN AMERICA. “Soul Train” had started on WCIU-TV in Chicago in 60’s. The special used an advertisers reel for some early footage, but they were sloppy. Whoever did their library research did a bad job. Instead of footage from WCIU, they wound up with footage from WCAU in Philly. This footage included some shots of a WCAU camera, control room and a few brief shots of the CARTOON CORNERS GENERAL STORE set with Gene and kids getting ready to do a segment. After laughing that Gene London wound up in a SOUL TRAIN documentary, I wondered how much else was out there and miscategorized.
You might also check with the MUSEUM OF BROADCASTING in NYC or LA. Back in the 80’s, I went to the New York location a few times to watch tapes of things like the DANNY KAYE SHOW.
I would bet the later shows are around somewhere but I have a feeling that with the multiple ownership changes, they were misfiled, miscataloged, or simply stored and forgotten. The really sad part is that if these do still exist, who knows what condition they would be in now. They may have flaked and/or deteriorated into a near unusable state.
In any case, I’d love to see these shows, too. I’ll keep hoping that Gene can spin a happy ending to this.
- John,SOOOOO happy to see some new Gene content on the site.I sincerely hope that your daughter gets well soon. Best wishes for the new year.Warm regards,CarlFrom: "bakerjohnp1958@..." <bakerjohnp1958@...>----- Forwarded Message -----
Sent: Saturday, January 19, 2013 6:44 PM
Subject: Re: Re: [Gene_Londons_Cartoon_Corners] Re: Spaceship
----- Forwarded Message -----I Meant he was advised it was there and he could come get it.
Gene himself was advised about 2006 that a lot of his material was there, but circumstances beyond his control kept him from doing so. When he did get the chance sometime later it was gone. While I'm not at liberty to disclose how much. enough for several disc's worth. Granted There were over 700 eps. and wcau clearly had no where near that many..Any would be a valuable addition to what Gene already has. urgent Commitments else where the last few years have made the transfer, editing and remastering process extremely slow going. Age and condition of materials are also a factor. Genes brief historical series was carted off to the NBC Vaults for all time and to what purpose? who knows?
Hi Everyone...I was at WCAU-TV as a page during the Gene London years. Jimmy Hirschfeld directed the show and the Cartoon Corners General Store set, along with the Tottle puppet show set was in Studio One... just off the lobby. That studio had audience seating. One of my Page assignments was to help "load the audience" from the Lobby . That's when WCAU-TV had a lobby... and the ramp up from the parking lot. All great fun.But for all of us looking for tapes from that era, not sure many exist. I was there when CBS installed two Ampex 1000 Video tape machines in the early sixties. It changed television production at WCAU-TV. We could now tape those shows.However... at that time at WCAU-TV in the Video Tape Library, there were only about 500 rolls of 2" videotape... and, for all of us who worked on shows like "Rep Workshop," "The Gene London Show," and Jerry Blavat's "Discophonic Scene" and many others, those 500 tapes got recycled over and over again. The original material was never archived because of the cost of 2" videotape in those days.Also, home formats like VHS etc weren't invented yet. So, the chance of finding original material from that era is really small.Suggest all of us here access the "Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia" website. They have an archive of early Philadelphia television.Actually, we went to their dinner honoring Dick Clark in December.... I ran into crew members i had worked with both at WCAU-TV and KWY-TV. Also ran into Jane Norman... who was Pixanne at WCAU-TV while Gene London was on the air... All great fun...It's so nice to remember...--- In Gene_Londons_Cartoon_Corners@yahoogroups.com, bakerjohnp1958@... wrote: > > I loved that storyline to and the evil professor trying to steal it's secrets. We're still in search of video. Gene has some in his personal collection. currently trying to contact other Pa affiliates who may have aired WCAU programming over the years. often a filmed copy of programming was made in the 60s and early 70s to air at a later slot at another affiliate. One Summer the show was aired nationally to selected affiliates as early as the mid 60s industrial video recorders were in use. Some schools even had them and recorded off air. We are still trying to find tapes that went missing from the Wcau archives. They had quite a few up until the Philly Kid's show host 'special' and the Wcau Iinside the vault web material was put on the site. The Flashback series had Gene London footage, but not from Cartoon Corner's Wcau also aired Station Anniversary specials with GL footage. The tapes seemed to have gone missing sometime between 2,006 and 2,008 about the time we started the site. > > > I know a few years ago I requested some video or photo info on the Spaceship series.I remember quite well in my mind Gene accessing the spaceship through a pay telephone booth,floor,that led through a tunnel to the ship.Once inside,the ship appeared to have sustained alot of damage from the crash.Man,I would love to see that again,from an adult set of eyes! >
- Thanks, Carl. She was born with a hip displacement. Her mom's mom died in Sept. 09, Her mom's dad died in Oct. 2010 and her mom died in Dec. 2010. We had her very late I was nearly 40. She's only 7 now and is rehabing after her 2nd operation. Both my parents are gone so it's all on dad. And the emotional toll and financial burdon. It's been a rough two years.