Was 1961 Dinah Shore Chevy Show broadcast live?

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Doc, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. Doc

    Doc Guest

    Watching a tape of an old Dinah Shore Chevy Show from '61 featuring Al Hirt,
    among others, it dawned on me that from what I could tell, between
    commercials the show was done in these long, seamless segments which
    included scenery changes, moving bands around while the background was
    darkened, quite a bit of dialogue in skits, elaborate musical numbers, etc.
    with the performers - particularly Dinah herself, segueing from one to the
    other without skipping a beat.

    What a feat this must have been to pull off. Would a show during this era
    have been done live? If so, talk about flying without a net. I know they do
    things like this in stage musicals all the time but this was for a weekly tv
    show with limited rehearsal time. I don't think anything like this is done
    these days on tv.

    This of course also means the cameramen and the guys in the engineering room
    had to have their stuff together as well. In one number, Hirt is shown from
    a high angle blowing the horn standing in a small lighted section at the
    back of a dark stage, and Dinah is seen superimposed singing, then the
    camera on Hirt lowers and Dinah comes into view, and you see that she's
    actually upstage from Hirt.

    By the way, for the trumpet group, Hirt did some of the best playing I've
    ever hear him do. James Garner showed off a nice singing voice too. This
    was back in his "strapping young man" days.
    Doc, Aug 9, 2005
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  2. Doc

    WQ Guest

    --- Her earlier twice-weekly 15-minute music show was done live, but
    the hour-long series was either filmed or taped, depending on which era
    of it. In 1961 it would've gone to tape by then. Live TV pretty well
    faded out just as the 1950s did, with "The Ed Sullivan Show" likely
    being the only live variety series left in '61 and still being so
    straight till '71.
    WQ, Aug 9, 2005
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  3. Doc

    Larry J. Guest

    Waiving the right to remain silent, "Doc"
    "Saturday Night Live" is mostly live, with the exception of some
    occasional roll-in material.

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    Larry J., Aug 9, 2005
  4. Doc

    sinrob Guest

    I disagree. There were a number of variety shows and specials on NBC
    that were still being done live in the early 1960's. Although Dinah
    Shore's show was occasionally taped in advance, the majority were live.
    "The Bell Telephone Hour", "The Ford Show", "Perry Como's Kraft Music
    Hall" were frequently broadcast live in the early 1960s.

    Without going into the technical details, one of the factors behind
    this had to do with NBC's non-compatible color videotape systems at the
    sinrob, Aug 9, 2005
  5. Doc

    Doc Guest

    What I mean is a live variety show - SNL is a lot less complex than this old
    show I'm talking about, and has a lot more latitude for goofs, which are
    regarded as part of the fun. These old shows were trying to present a very
    polished appearance. They sure succeeded in this particular case.
    Doc, Aug 9, 2005
  6. Doc

    blackburst Guest

    I disagree, too. Tape was very expensive and marginal in quality in
    those days. In that era, Jackie Gleason was live from Miami on Saturday
    nights. Even as late as 65-66, Hullabaloo and Shindig! were done live.
    blackburst, Aug 9, 2005
  7. Doc

    WQ Guest

    --- Live variety shows became increasingly rare in the early '60s, but
    obviously some were still being produced, as the ones mentioned above
    just jarred my memory. It could be right that Dinah Shore's show
    might've aired live on some occasions and was taped on others, but that
    might've also depended on which version of her show it was, the weekly
    series of '57-'61 or the monthly specials of '61-'63.
    WQ, Aug 9, 2005
  8. Doc - as I recall, most of these color shows that were not on film were
    live, because the quality of tape was so sick, as evidenced when the
    daylight savings time difference required a tape delay at times. We
    could tell immediately, because the color looked mainly pink and brown,
    with little saturation or vibrancy. But live color shows on NBC were
    very special! We got our 21 inch set when Bonanza started, in 1958.

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Aug 10, 2005
  9. Doc

    Doc Guest

    This was B&W.
    Doc, Aug 10, 2005
  10. Yeah, but video tape technology was pretty poor back in the early 60's. They
    still filmed a lot of stuff then. I think whether or not they had a live
    audience would be more likely to tell us how difficult it was to film/tape.
    If the audience was live, then they probably did it just like a stage
    production, with an occasional retake when something or someone screwed
    William Graham, Aug 10, 2005
  11. What was?

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Aug 10, 2005
  12. Doc

    Doc Guest

    The show to which the original post is referring. The Dinah Shore Chevy Show
    from '61. It's in B&W.
    Doc, Aug 10, 2005
  13. Doc

    Parkinson Guest

    The B&W Dinah Shore show with James Garner and Al Hirt was originally
    broadcast in color. The OP must've seen a B&W kinescope, which is the
    only way full episodes of this series can be found by regular internet

    The Dinah Shore Chevy Show (56-67 as monthly specials, 57-61 as a
    weekly series) was broadcast live in color. I believe the 61-63 monthly
    episodes of "The Dinah Shore Show" (renamed since Chevrolet was no
    longer the sponsor)were presented live and videotaped in color to be
    broadcast at a later date--"presented live" meaning that retakes were
    done only when necessary.

    PBS presented "MWAH! THe Best of the Dinah Shore Show (1956-1963)" in
    2003, which was all full-color videotaped performances that looked
    spectacular, featuring Dinah with Bing, Ella, Frank and a bunch of
    other "first-name" greats.

    I've heard the "Dinah Shore Estate" hoped to entice PBS to broadcast
    the color one-hour episodes, and the the 2003 "MWAH!" special was some
    sort of test. It's been two years since the special originally aired.
    I'd love to see some more. Does anyone know where that stands? Although
    the show was advertised to highlight all the shows from 56-63, Chevy
    and otherwise, the clips featured are clearly from '59 on, when the
    show was videotaped. At least one earlier episode from November of '58
    (a GREAT episode with Louis & Keely and Edie Adams & Ernie Kovacs)
    exists on 2" color videotape.

    The show was always presented in color. I'm very curious and unfamiliar
    with the process used to film the color shows before late '58-59. I
    have a VHS copy of a B&W kinescope of a 15 minute "Dinah Shore Show"
    from the '56-'57 season where Dinah announces that this episode is
    being broadcast in "Compatible Color." What is that? Do those still

    I've heard nightmare stories about how NBC ditched all their
    "Compatible Color" programs in '86 because the technology to play them
    no longer existed and were therefore useless, and the color videotapes
    of both Dinah's programs and "The Andy Williams Show" only exist today
    because the stars themselves bought them back from the network.

    Sorry for the long, rambling post, but I'd just love to see these old
    COLOR programs and am very frustrated that they seem to be held back.

    I'd love to hear what others know about these color shows.

    Parkinson, Aug 10, 2005
  14. Doc

    John Miller Guest

    Compatible color was just a buzzword in the '50s for a broadcast that
    could be received on both color and B&W sets. As color broadcasts
    became common, the significance of the term was diluted, and it fell
    into disuse.

    Another jargon-y term from the '50s was when it was announced that the
    first coast-to-coast broadcast of a presidential speech (Eisenhower) was
    bring brought to us via COAXIAL CABLE. WhooHoo!
    Kinda sounds like a misunderstanding or a misapplication of the
    "compatible color" term.
    John Miller, Aug 10, 2005
  15. Or it could be a reference to the scarcity of resources to play
    the old color 2-inch quadraplex videotapes. Was the RCA
    version different from the (since standard) Ampex format?
    It wouldn't surprise me if no RCA quad machines are running
    anymore. It is a miracle that any of the Ampex ones still run.
    Richard Crowley, Aug 10, 2005
  16. Doc

    Steve Guidry Guest

    One other factor was the agreement the networks had with the musician's
    unions. I understand they had to pay the orchestras for the show time
    anyway, even if the show was taped.

    Steve Guidry, Aug 10, 2005
  17. Doc

    John Miller Guest

    That'd be my guess. But you'd think that with the resources of a
    network, they'd be able to get something limping along long enough to
    dub the shows off to something current.
    John Miller, Aug 10, 2005
  18. Doc

    Bob Merritt Guest

    How did you acquire the tape?

    Bob Merritt, Aug 10, 2005
  19. "Just a buzzword" my ass! If you've never heard of the battle royale
    between David Sarnoff and William Paley over color television standards,
    you need to read Sarnoff's book. If it weren't for RCA we would be
    watching a 400 line standard with a spinning color wheel, invented by
    CBS, which was totally incompatible with the thousands of existing B&W
    sets of the time (1949). Sarnoff and RCA invested over 100 million
    dollars to create compatible color television during the 50s. You can
    read a bit of this at http://www.williamson-labs.com/ntsc-fink.htm.

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Aug 10, 2005
  20. But the CBS/NBC battle was decided in the National Television Standards
    Committee ("NTSC") BEFORE anything was rolled out to consumers.
    CBS Color Wheel receivers were never available to consumers, so
    *everything* was "compatible color".

    So I'd have to agree that "compatible color" was a marketing term.
    Richard Crowley, Aug 10, 2005
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