Sic transit gloria (1959)

From Vic Washkevich WGBH was to launch a new (live, of course) science show, and was looking for an opening that was a bit more dramatic than a 35mm slide of Madame Curie. It was decided that we would place a globe over a pan of water (you can’t make this stuff up, folks) and…

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Lamb and the Bacon (1970)

I think it’s time to tell the story of who filled 125 Western Avenue with the smell of cooked bacon that got trapped in the air condition system during the summer of 1970.

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The Secrets of Simulcasting (1970s)

From Joe Pugliesi WGBH in the old days must have been a marvelous place. I came in 1974 at the tail end of those glory days as a master control engineer (picture attached), hired by Fran Abramowicz (circa 1962-1977). I had watched your work as an adolescent and marveled at the production quality, frequently saying…

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Gilded Folk and Motorcycles (1960s)

From Steve Gilford In the mid-Sixties, we produced a show called "Folk Music, USA". The "we" is corporate-speak. I think the real producer was Fred Barzyk. In any case, I was stage manager. I enjoyed working that show more than any other during my time at GBH. Traditional music was, and is, a big part…

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The Frank Lloyd Wright Lecture (1960)

From Don Hallock — 2000 In about 1960, world famous (and infamously irascible) architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, gave one of his rare lectures at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium. The proceedings were televised live by WGBH and fed down the line to a national audience on NET as well. Recently completed, the Kresge building, which had been…

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WGBH’s First Princess (1959)

  From Don Hallock “It’s little…. It’s lovely…. It lights.” What was it? It was the “Princess Phone.” In about 1959 Ma Bell introduced this small, oval shaped, designer telephone in pastel colors, probably to appeal to women and teenage girls. It was an early touch-tone model with keys that lighted when the handset was…

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Science Experiments Gone Wrong (1957)

  From Peter Hollander It must have been in 1957 that we did a science series hosted by Mary Lela Grimes. It was in the wonderful days of live TV and Mary Leila had gotten the world’s leading expert on the behavior of bats to appear on her show. He was either from Harvard or…

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Rat Alley Reminiscence (1959)

From Paul Noble Now, here’s a really choice photo, from Brooks Leffler. It’s the entrance to Fred Barzyk’s and Tom McGrath’s dreadful little hovel in "Rat Alley," 1959. It was literally in a back alley which ran from Massachusetts Avenue out behind the Zebra Lounge. The hundreds of resident rats were the size of house…

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Fundraising and payola (1960)

From Paul Noble [We made] a fund-raising spot, done with a Cambridge taxi, in December 1960, in the days before auctions and pledge weeks. It was taped in front of 84 Massachusetts Avenue, facing MIT. I know the…spot [was] part of a campaign we did after the first group with celebs a year earlier. My…

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The Scholars Did It All (1957)

From Vic Washkevich Doing a mental replay of our group’s year at the Dream Factory from ’57 to ’58, I was reminded again of the station’s truly humble beginnings. WGBH was born directly over a luncheonette in what once was must have been a roller skating rink, and baptized by the water sprinkled on God…

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Christmas Party Shows We Love and Remember (1957-58)

From Paul Noble 1957 — "We’re Gunn’s Blooming Help" Here are excerpts from the Scholars ’58 Original Musical Spectacular, presented Friday, December 20, 1957, at the office Christmas party. Script is by Ed Donlon and Vic Washkevich, songs by Bill Heitz assisted by Jean Brady, and directed by Stewart White. The opening song by the…

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The BU Scholars program (1957-58)

From Vic Washkevich From on high The Boston Symphony Orchestra was one of the highlights of WGBH programming back in 1957–58. Hey, anything was better than Words, the one-camera show on which I earned my credit as a director. If you recall, symphony rehearsal performances were open to the public. We shot that show with…

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The BSO and Master Control (1957)

From Faith Klein “You Tell Me!” Reading other anecdotes reminded me of the time I was floor manager for a remote at Kresge Auditorium when Charles Munch was conducting the Boston Pops. Bob Larsen told me over the ear phones — as I was backstage watching CM before the performance was to begin — “Ok…

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“In the Beginning” – The WGBH Logo (1956)

From Don Hallock What does this image really mean, and how did it become the WGBH logo? Peter Hollander reminds us that his wife, Lilly, station art director from 1956 to 1958, first proposed use of the pictogram that became the WGBH logo, and remained so for many years. What it means Rudolph Koch, in…

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Stories and photos From Studio A (1955)

Images From John (Rocky) Coe Bob Larsen in Studio A Control Room (with Judy Larsen in the background) — August 1955 Story by Michael Greenebaum Performance — String group — Nov. 1955 The photo of the chamber orchestra … is of the first televised concert of Harvard’s Bach Society Orchestra, conducted by me. For all…

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Discovery with Mary Lela Grimes (1955-56)

From Mary Lela Grimes (now Mary Sherburne) Here are some [stories] from the very first days of WGBH-TV that may interest the oldies and provide images of the primitive days of TV for the young. Snakes During the first year WGBH was on the air, an early Discovery program with Mary Lela Grimes was on…

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3….2….1….Take! (1950s)

  From an Anonymous Contributor One of the first things Dave Davis undertook when he came from the University of North Carolina in 1956 as production manager, was to begin revamping our rather sloppy production procedures. Dave was a man who (to put it mildly) valued precision. Irritating as it seemed at the time to…

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