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WCBS TV New York City’s Retrospective Documentary Tribute Show Hosted By Jim Jensen And Michele Marsh! A Fascinating Hour On The First Fifty Year's History OF The Columbia Broadcasting System's Flagship TV Station In The Highest DVD Quality MPG Video Format Of 9.1 MBPS In All Regions DVD Format!
One of the great gems in our catalog! CBS-TV Channel 2 New York CIty News Anchors Jim Jensen And Michele Marsh host this fascinating retrospective of their television station. It began broadcasting on July 1, 1941 as WCBW, on the channel 2 VHF band even then, airing fifteen hours a week of sports events - not football, baseball or hockey, but ping pong and badminton - from the cavernous interior of Grand Central Station, with errant pidgeons flying into their studio and offices to keep them company. During World War II, they were relegated to only four hours per week, staffed almost entirely by women who filled positions vacated by men who left to join the war effort. On V-E Day, they captured precious moments on film of the celebrations in Times Square and around their midtown Manhattan facilities. After the war, TV sales skyrocketed, not only in homes, but most of all in bars, who needed to have the new entertainment medium in their establishments to keep their customers from going home to watch TV instead or, worse, go to a bar that did have TV. TV was hungry for broadcast material; so it was that CBS TV began airing "We The People", a radio variety show that, while not being a television show in its own right, became the first regularly scheduled TV series. Series designed specifically for television soon after arose, and on the CBS TV network that meant shows from and about New York City - its parades, hot spots and night clubs; and while celebrating the city's sophistication, it also showed fare about and for the low-brows of the city, such as the iconic "Meet Your Neighbors". There followed in quick suit family dramas such as "The Goldbergs", quiz shows like "What's My Line?", and the top TV variety show of its day, "Arthur Godfrey and His Friends". In 1951, CBS-TV invented "The Late Show" - soon followed by "The Late Late Show" and "The Late Late Late Show" - for showing oldie but goodie movies for night owls and insomniacs alike. It inaugurated college TV courses, in conjunction with New York University, with the venerable and beloved "Sunrise Semester" early morning TV series. Sidney Lumet while working there as a young man cut his teeth on directing with "You Are There", the historical dramatization series starring their future top news anchorman who became known as "the must trusted man in America", Walter Cronkite. CBS News did not start its news service with Cronkite at the anchor desk, however; that honor belongs to "Douglas Edwards with the News", which aired only three nights a week at its inception. When Queen Elizabeth II was coronated in June 2, 1953, CBS had motion picture film of the event immediately flown across the Atlantic, developed the film in-flight, and then broadcast live from the New York International Airport (now known as Kennedy Airport) that film the moment it arrived at the airfield. In 1956 Cronkite was anchoring the network's election coverage, complete with assistance by the network's own Univac computer. Weather reports phoned in from the National Weather Service; CBS's baseball game coverage by future newscaster of ABC's Wide World Of Sports' Jim McKay; the genesis ot kid shows such as "Cobb's Corner" and "Mr. I. Magination"; Cronkite's 1953 live coverage of an Atom Bomb test in Nevada; all these contributed to the form of the television medium as we know it today. "I Love Lucy" followed shortly thereafter, setting a standard for the new situation comedy format, not only in content, but in technique and production. It was CBS-TV's Ed Sullivan who brought the British rock group "The Beatles" on to his show for a historc broadcast that went into the homes of Americans for the first time, yielding its largest audience to date. Fidel Castro tweaked the noses of The United Nations generally and the United States specifically when he came to New York City to speak at the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 1960. TV westerns were all the rage in 1960 as well, with "Gunsmoke", "Have Gun WIll Travel" and "Rawhide" being the most watched TV shows in America; so it was not surprising that the historic 1960 Presidential Debates between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon held at the CBS TV studio in Chicago were covered very much as though they too were a showdown. The quiz show scandal of "The 64,000 Dollar Question" on the NBC network caused NBC, CBS and ABC to commit themselves to responsible programming, and at CBS, that was in the form of documentaries, such as "Eye On New York" and "Camera Three with Richard Burton", often uncovering the truth about inadequate housing and racial strife throughout the tri-state area, while courtroom dramas such as "The Defenders" filmed in the canyons of New York would confront the major social issues of the day. The soap opera "As The World Turns" would challenge the TV censors by using words like "pregnant" on the air, and was the show that was interrupted by the news bulletin of John F. Kennedy's having been shot in Dallas, Texas read by Walter Cronkite; it was television primarily that on that day on in the days that followed that served to bring the country together in a shared moment of grief. The station also brought to light the murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens, who though 38 people saw or heard what was happening, no one called the police. The Great Blackout Of 1965 that occurred on November 9th found Mike Wallace asking people in the street what happened, while he himself did not know either what caused it, or even if he was reaching the station, let alone broadcast; nonetheless, the CBS TV News department worked throughout the entire blackout as best they could. New York Mayor Lindsay's new administration gets tasked with a series of problems, most notably the Harlem tiots of 1964 and the transit strike, both filmed in black and white, and among the first to be filmed and broadcast by the station in color, the sanitation strike and the infamous 1967 Newark riots. The VIetnam War was also fought on American television, in its news and in the content of such CBS shows as "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour". WCBS-TV New York went so far as to send Jim Jensen to the Middle East to report on the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War, and while President Ford refused to bail out New York City, "All In The Family" reflected the great social issues of a society in struggle. CBS-TV News' Chris Borgen makes history by getting involved in hostage negotiations in 1971 at a Chase Manhattan Bank bank robbery scene, while in 1988 they interrupted regular programming and provided 21 hours of live coverage ot the Hedda Nussbaum's testimony at the murder trial of Joel Steinberg, and its investigation into the Tawana Brawley was the first TV journalists to unravel the her story. In 1991, they covered for six months the progress of CNN news annchor Tom Cassidy's battle against HIV/AIDS, at the beginning of the year, Jim Jensen reported live from Tel Aviv the nightly Scud missile attacks by Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, as well as New York's tickertape parade for return veterans of the conflict. In 1986, it investigated the conditions at New York welfare hotels where 11,000 children were being housed, and in this feature's final moving story, their 1991 report of the story of Scotty, a young quadrapalegic boy whose therapy was done in conjuntion with a juvenile detention center. Anyone who lived through these times in the tri-state New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area will find this one-of-a-kind presentation a truly precious artefact of this place and time in broadcast history! (Color, 1991, 50 Minutes)
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