From 1970 thru 1972, I signed the engineering log, acted as console engineer, directed on the day shift, and ultimately had the title of promotions manager.
Now to the nightmares.
In my nightmares, the 20 feet of film taken from a Johnny Wadd movie ran on the news at 6 and 10. In reality we found it after two very, very anxious days and spliced it back where it belonged (I was told it was a lion's club feature presentation.)
In my nightmares, the switchboard lights up with every irate soap-watching old lady in the north Alabama mad because, " you idiot, the sound don't match the picture." turns out that one was real. Video came in on a microwave link and we mixed the audio the telephone company fed us on a land line. Unfortunately, this time, from another network.
Then there was the first purchase of Japanese videotape that I was told M.D. got a bargain on. The tape was fine until it stretched. Then at a minimum we lost sync or, worse, the tape stopped and the video/audio defaulted to network making for some really unexplainable moments and make goods galore. My personal favorite is the dream I have about sticking my hand into a running cooling fan because the shroud was missing and having Cactus say that he left it off because it was easier to service. I never am able to explain why I had trouble threading the projectors on that shift or why Bill Farris noticed blood all over the film.
In my nightmares, Dan Whitsett gives me a talking to. But let me back up a bit. Like all production people, it was never the money; it was the glamour of television. So…when my home TV set died and I told my boss about it, he suggested that there were several monitors not in use and why didn't I take one home until mine could be fixed. That seemed like a good idea so I thanked him and took one home. Now for Dan's comment: "it has been reported to me that someone has stolen a monitor from the station. I'm not naming names, but if the set is returned, no charges……"
When nothing else hinders my sleep, there is always the "Nell Langston show." we taped in on Wednesday and it ran one hour in length. I loved Nell, she tried, she worked, she overcame. She never understood the concept of the edit or the need to make room for an edit . In my nightmares she shows up five minutes before taping with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and asks in that sweet, breathless voice if I foresee any problems.
Then there was the preacher from Mississippi who bought a two-hour block of studio time and who, according to him, was supposed to be provided with a piano. With no instrument in place or one forthcoming, he and his heavenly host of twenty-five singers departed for hernando and in leaving he gave me a truly wonderful cussing, the refrain of which was an oft repeated: "Smith promised me a piano, I ain't paying. Can't have no show without no piano."
In my dreams, when I introduced Sam Depino, the new news director, and captain of the newly coined "team approach to news," to mayor Joe Davis, Sam really did not say: " I'm the new sheriff in town and I'm gonna have my eye on your every move, mayor." …but he did.
It wasn't all bad, or isn't. Occasionally, I still see little Egypt belly dancing on the coffee break set with Mary Beaton a brilliant red in the background and miss merry Christmas, Santa's helper, Bonnie Hettinger, before she became the mayor's wife. And the dodge sheriff and his "you be comin' back now , ya heah!" (come to think of it, he cussed me too.") and also M.D., I never did thank you for letting me come back on all those Sunday afternoons to turn the lights and cameras on for the scouts, 4h'ers, and anyone else.
Mostly, I will never get David Sane's Lincoln Park Church of Christ sermons to leave my mind, or Jim England's early morning devotionals. Actually, they helped then and they still do. I even heard Bob Sullivan offer up a prayer once-just as a voltage spike wiped out every transistor in the cameras, distribution amps, and the sync generator, in one barely noticeable flash of not-so-devine intervention.
Ahaaaaa! Those were the days. Ice falling from the tower's bat wings in winter wonderful Wally's (Walton Jones) weather magic- markered backwards on the weatherboard in the spring because the weather machine ink sometimes bled all the way through the paper and the floorman didn't turn it over. So much to remember. So long ago. If I listen carefully (I have to listen carefully. Audio cueing the video tape with the gain wide open damaged my ears.) I can still hear John Stanners saying, "well, we'll get it…somehow."
Thank you, John. Thank you, M.D.
UNLESS A VERY NASTY FIST-FIGHT BROKE OUT AFTER WE HAD TO LEAVE, IT WAS A VERY SUCCESSFUL EVENT AND YOU SHOULD TAKE A LOT OF PRIDE IN YOUR EFFORT. HELL, EVEN IF A FIGHT DID BREAK OUT, IT WAS STILL SUPER.
I COULDN'T HELP BUT WONDER DURING THE INTRODUCTIONS ABOUT SEVERAL THINGS:
HOW ROUGH WAS IT IN THE EARLY YEARS. YOUR MOTHER AND DAD WERE AROUND QUITE A BIT AS I REMEMBER IT. THAT MUST HAVE BEEN INTERESTING. I WONDER HOW MANY TIMES THE EFFORT CAME CLOSE TO FAILING.
HOW MANY TRIPS DID YOU HAVE TO MAKE TO THE BANK. I FOUND OUT AFTER I LEFT HOW IT FEELS TO BORROW MONEY TO MAKE A PAYROLL. AND LASTLY, IT MUST FEEL VERY SATISFYING TO FIGHT THESE BATTLES AND WIN. SEVERAL PEOPLE ALLUDED TO THE 19 VERSUS 31 WARS.
SINCE I WORKED AT BOTH PLACES, I HAVE/HAD A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE. I REMEMBER THE FIRST RADAR WHICH WAS WAR SUPLUS AND CACTUS PUTTING IT IN OPERATION. THAT SAYS A LOT. BUT I GUESS UNTIL LAST NIGHT I NEVER REALIZED HOW MUCH IT WAS ONE FAMILY AGAINST CORPORATE POWER.
I MISSED SEEING JOHN STANNERS.,
I REALLY ENJOYED SEEING BILL POWERS.
IN THE TV WORLD OF MAKE BELIEVE, IT WAS A DOWN-TO- EARTH REAL-LIFE EVENT.
I THANKED MELODY AND HER FELLOW WORKERS. I KNOW THEY DID A LOT. AND YOU GOT THANKS FROM EVERYONE. TO THEIRS, I WOULD LIKE TO ADD MINE.