Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another nice THANK YOU card...makes it worth while!


playing "1979" by THE SMASHING PUMPKINS

A guitar repair by Dennis Riordan

ROUTE 66 1963

As I have been watching season 3, I reread about George Maharis' departure from the series and Glenn Corbett's entry (In my bound TV GUIDE volumes) and it was very interesting. Maharis' had infectious hepatitis and needed to rest and recover and the Producers decided to replace him. The series definitely suffered from this decision.
Posted by Thomas Frederick
Photograph by Cal Engel and available at Bill's site!
We still have a few posters left..

One Bad Apple don't spoil the whole bunch of girls...


I finally have a few books in-stock after the holidays!

(Photo from my Chicago Kid's TV book project/Rick Goldschmidt collection)

To Rick Goldschmidt -- I read your piece on the web about the history of Bozo's Circus, a show that was produced live at WGN-TV in Chicago for many years as you well know. I congratulate you on a very comprehensive history, with lots of details that you have researched with much diligence. There is one additional detail that I would like you to know about, in case you have not heard of it. It is an interesting "behind the scenes" engineering detail that went on for several years, at least, in the Chicago area.

I am an electrical engineer [retired], and in 1972-1973, I worked at a Motorola operation in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights. Many of my engineer colleagues had come from the Motorola television receiver [Quasar] manufacturing operation in Franklin Park, another Chicago suburb. In those days, engineering development and improvement of color television receiver designs was an ongoing task for electrical engineers at that Motorola location.

Because TV test equipment was very costly, and simple lab signal generators could not completely test a new circuit design, and color TV cameras were beyond the lab budget, and it was essential to use a bona fide color TV signal for many test purposes, the engineers came up with an interesting solution to their test needs. At Motorola, and probably at other Chicago area TV set manufacturers, the engineers established a very close working relationship with the engineers at WGN-TV. When the Bozo program was on the air in Chicago, it was the only locally originated colorcast, but very suitable for test purposes at Motorola as you will learn. While Bozo was broadcast, an engineer at Motorola was on the phone talking to an engineer at WGN-TV. The Motorola engineer would request a slight "tweek" of one of the broadcast signal parameters, such as brightness, or hue, essential to check the proper response of the circuit under test. This change was usually so subtle that home viewers would not notice. Then another of the signal parameters would be "tweaked" and so on, throughout the show. On another broadcast day, one of the other TV set manufacturers engineers would get their turn, with their test needs met. The WGN engineers were very cooperative and helpful.

This led to a funny incident one day at Motorola. The development engineers had been called into a meeting with some non-engineer management executives. Suddenly, one of the engineers looked at his watch and blurted out something like-- "Omigosh, Bozos Circus is on!" With this, the engineers jumped up from their chairs and rushed out of the room, back to the test lab, to the utter astonishment of the clueless managers!

Paul J. Gregg

PS: In the postwar 1940's, 1950's, 1960's, and even in the early 1970's, Chicago was the undisputed center of TV set development and manufacture in the USA. Motorola, Zenith, Warwick [the company that made the Silvertone brand TV's for Sears Roebuck], and Admiral were all big manufacturers in the area. Rauland Corp. was a big maker of TV picture tubes, also in the Chicago area. Only RCA and Philco were big brands that were made elsewhere. At that time, Japanese and other off-shore brands were unknown in the USA. Now it is all gone, vanished with almost no trace.