From Paul Noble
The following are excerpts from the Ille Novi collection. These “underground” newsletters were circulated from mid-1958 to mid-1961, and edited by the Queen (Jean Brady) and Paul Noble.
September 1, 1958 (from Vol. 1, No. 2)
On Tuesday, July 29th, Jean Brady’s image was recorded on videotape at WGBH-TV, making the first use of the Ampex VTR machine. The picture and sound quality of VTR is almost idential with that of the live signal.
The first actual on-the-air use of VTR was Friday, August 1st, when an ETRC program kinescoped that morning in our studio was simulatenously taped and then aired that night at 10:30 PM (“Middle East — US Disaster?”).
Further use of the instrument was made on August 8th, when “Recreation Review” was pre-taped at 5:15 PM at the MIT Boathouse and the Charles River, and was presented at 7:30 PM during a violent thunderstorm.
October 1, 1958 (from Vol. I, No. 3)
Crew to Start Directing
Better late than never. “Louis Lyons,” “Backgrounds,” “Weather and Sports,” and “The Film Critic” have been assigned to various crew members. Lew Yaeger, Brooks Leffler, Don Knox, Jim Hennes, and John Engel are the lucky chaps with the Louis slot, and Tom McGrath fell into the Norm Holland directing job. Directing will begin this week, with supervision by the producers of the programs.
November 1, 1958 (From Vol. I No. 4)
Huntley-Brinkley at 6:45
For the past three weeks, WGBH-TV has been carrying the Huntley-Brinkley NBC News Report nightly at 6:45 PM. It seems that Channel 5 — which had formerly telecast the program — dropped it in favor of half-hour telefilms at 6:30.
Channel 2 is picking up the program through the courtesy of NBC. Sponsor identification is eliminated throughout (causing some deft maneuvers at Master Control by supervisor Ted Steinke).
Of course, the major problem involved was in shortening Louis Lyons to 15 minutes for News and 15 minutes for Backgrounds, now aired Monday and Wednesday, with “Weather for You” on Friday for 15 minutes.
Believe it or not, Louis is taking his time cues beautifully, and is a pro at getting off at the right moment. Our 6:30-7:15 time slot is now termed “Three Views of the News.” The Tuesday and Thursday slots at 7 PM are “Elliot Norton Reviews” and “The Film Critic.”
Boston Symphony Uses Zoomar
Sanders Theatre, October 28, 1958 (Harvard).
The use of the Zoomar lens on the central camera, improved shot sheets, and excellent lighting, plus Debussy’s “La Mer” and Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony made for a magnificent BSO concert this past Tuesday evening. Messrs. Valtz and Leffler, in addition to the inimitable Don Hallock were masters of the cameras.
From Brooks Leffler
I think this holds up pretty well over 40 years!
From the Ille Novi:
It’s a lousy afternoon;
Someone’s standing on my cable
While I lump into a table.
I could spit, but I ain’t able, you see —
It’s hot in B.
It’s a ghastly afternoon,
On the air the lenses flipping
And my panning handle’s dripping
And my friction head is tipping towards me —
No camera key . . .
A big black cloud hangs over the room
And darkens as it grows.
I try to smile my way through the gloom,
And the Fearless rolls over my toes.
It’s a grisly afternoon,
And the headsets all are hummy
And my panhead drag is gummy
And my framing’s kinda crummy — Oh me!
Come spend this lousy afternoon with me.
It’s a grisly, ghastly, lousy afternoon!
Lyrics by D. Hallock and B. Leffler
Inspired by Lucy Reed’s lovely rendition of “Lazy Afternoon.”