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Tuesday, January 1, 1985

To Jerry Cole:

When you can get to it, we need a couple of logo updates on Big Ten schools.

Our present Minnesota logo is the gopher shooting a basket (top center and lower right on the enclosed sheet).  Two problems:  the version we have is so small it looks like a dancing mouse, and it wouldn't be useful for football.  Please see if you can make a gopher of reasonable size, and also the M logo by itself.

Our present Northwestern logo, which you made for us in August, is the snarling wildcat with lowered head.  Betsey Lawrence informs us that Northwestern now wants to use instead the wildcat with reared-back head and open mouth.


Monday, February 4, 1985

To Great Independent package Chyron operators:

Our Chyron man on the West Coast, Jerry Cole, is the one who created the multi-color version of the Notre Dame logo.

He told me today that he had not intended it to be used with the standard system palette, which is the way we've been using it.  Instead, "Blue" should be 000 black, "Green" should be 005 darker green, "Yellow" should be 705 gold, and "White" can be a grayer shade like 666.  It does work with the system palette, but according to Jerry, this special sub-palette is better.  I haven't had a chance to try it myself yet.

I also did not know until Jerry told me today about how to use the sub-palettes.  I learned Chyron using an old Chyron IV, which didn't have sub-palettes.  The model 4100 does have them, but the manual isn't very explicit.  According to Jerry:

Press CTRL, p, p, BLUE.  Put the cursor on 000 and press BLUE, on 005, GREEN, on 705, YELLOW, CTRL.

This palette (the main one and the blue sub-palette) can now be recorded as desired.  To type the Notre Dame logo, first press BLUE, which gets you into the proper sub-palette.  If you were to type the multi-color logo in WHITE, on the other hand, it would appear using the system colors.


In March 1985, I worked a telethon in Atlantic City.  The crew didn't stay at the Tropicana; instead, presumably to save money, we were housed in cabins at a golf course outside of town.

A few days later, I was the Chyron operator for the ECAC South college basketball tournament at Williamsburg, Virginia.  HTS covered all seven games live.  My only assistance came from courtside statistician Marty Aronoff.  For several years afterward, whenever I saw Marty he'd bring up our 1985 marathon.

After four opening-round games on Thursday, March 7, the semifinals were on Friday.  This is my chart from the first semifinal, in which the host team William and Mary lost to the eventual tournament champion, Navy, led by David Robinson.

Then I got to spend three weeks in Florida, a week in Arizona, and two and a half weeks in Louisiana.  Finally, TCS sent me to Hawaii for the second time in five months!  That story is here.


Wednesday, May 8, 1985

To Jim Angio, detailing some improvements I made at Cleveland to the White Sox road message disk:

Autodisplay at 1610/1630 calls up scoreboard after top/bottom of inning.

First it calls up 1613/1623 (the words DUE UP and an image of a batter in his stance), with the home/visiting team's logo and palette.

Next it animates the batter, who takes a swing.

Next it calls up 1640, adding a text-only message of the three home/visiting batters.

Then on the preview page it calls up 20, the scoreboard.

The final keystroke XFERs the scoreboard to air.

The batter on 1613 and 1623 is in sub-palette BLUE as follows:
RED = bill of cap
MAGENTA = 633 flesh pink
BLUE = cap and socks
CYAN = 000 black
YELLOW = 301 brown
WHITE = pants, shirt, shoes


From televising events in all sorts of leagues, we acquired Chyron logos for many different teams.  I made charts of what we had available.


Thursday, August 22, 1985

The next event I'll be working on ESPN will be Thursday (August 29) at 9:00 pm Eastern time, boxing from Wheeling, West Virginia.  But I won't be announcing.  I haven't done any play-by-play for over five years now.  My area is electronic graphics.  I'll be preparing the words that are shown on the screen — the names of the participants, their statistics, the clock that shows how much time is remaining in the round, and so on.

No, in my current job my announcing is limited to commercial voice-overs and tag lines.  "Now playing at a theater near you!"

Well, I'm off today for St. Louis, to do graphics on a preseason football telecast for the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Saturday, September 21, 1985

I'm here for a couple of days in your end of Pennsylvania, working on the telecast of tonight's BYU-Temple football game at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.  It's being broadcast on a network of only two TV stations, one here and one in Salt Lake City.

Something's missing, though:  the newspapers in Philadelphia are on strike.  I hadn't realized how much in my travels I use the local papers to get a feel for the city I'm in.  On this trip, not having read about SEPTA's problems or Mayor Goode, I might as well be in Cleveland.


As always at TCS, Penn State Football was our top priority in the fall of 1985.  We taped each game with commentary by Stan Savran and Joe Paterno's brother George.

Then, in an all-night editing session, we cut it down to a one-hour highlights show ("we move to further action") to be aired via syndication the following day.  Tom Clark (at right above and below) was the producer.

Others in our traveling party included (left to right above) Mike Kobik, Mike Hardwick, and Tami Rippy.  Here we're waiting for our rental car at the Syracuse airport.

Mike Hardwick is at the controls of a Hitachi video tape recorder in the back of the production truck.  At the right are Ann Crago and Doug Justham, also in the tape room.

The gang also produced a weekly half-hour coach's show, produced by Tami Rippy and directed by Mike Kobik.  Called Paterno, it was hosted by Jimmy Cefalo.  We taped on Wednesday at the studios of WPSX-TV.

Then we used our remote truck to add the commercials and other elements.  As you can see, we had a good time.

Audio Link


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Listen to the start of our edit session aboard Video Voyager 2 (parked at the TCS field shop in RIDC Park) on December 21, 1985.  Kobik is directing, Clark is running the show from the tape room, Rippy is producing with Hardwick, I'm at the Chyron keyboard, but it's John Geisel who has to run back to another part of the truck when we discover that the video is shifting position.

All the above photos were originally shot in 3D, by the way.  Below is a stereo version of Ann Crago.

Any pictures labeled 3D are stereoscopic anaglyphs, using the system that you may have seen in a couple of Sports Illustrated issues in 2000.  For the three-dimensional effect, view them with a red filter over your left eye and a cyan (blue-green) filter over your right eye.


You can recapture all the excitement of the past ten Penn State football seasons with your own video cassettes, in "Great Moments in Penn State Football," hosted by Coach Joe Paterno and Jimmy Cefalo.

TCS is offering these video cassettes to you in three volumes.  Volume 1 includes the years 1975 through 1978; Volume 2 includes 1979, 1980, and 1981; and Volume 3 includes the years 1982 to 1984.

Each volume is priced at $34.95, or the complete set for only $100.

Relive all the "Great Moments in Penn State Football" by calling 1-800-531-5314 or by sending a check or money order to TCS, P.O. Box 11300, Pittsburgh, PA 15238.  Master and Visa card also accepted.  Add $2.00 per tape for shipping and handling, and PA residents include 6% sales tax.  Please specify Beta or VHS when ordering.


Sunday, November 17, 1985

I'm also planning for a video show (work order HV-106), "Penn State Football: 1985 Year in Review."  I expect to base this video on the Post Season show, eliminating commercials and adding:  features from "Paterno"; some comments from Stan and George on the weekly one-hour show; and a Jimmy Cefalo open and close (already taped).  I'll also include something from the Bowl Highlight show if there is one.  So the target date for the video is sometime in the middle of January.

The video will be edited mostly on ¾ inch.  We will need a truck for one day to add fades, some graphics, some music, and the open and close.  I'd like to have a tape operator, switcher, and audio.


Monday, December 9, 1985

I'm still at TCS, still running Chyron for sports remotes, despite rumors of our company's impending demise.  Things started to fall apart at the end of January, when the Big Ten decided to void the contract and produce their games themselves.  This happened on a Friday.  I had no inkling it was going to happen.  [For the full story of my ensuing needless trip to Evanston, click here.]

We actually did go into Chapter 11 in the spring.  All the Metrosports contracts with the various conferences expired, and with our poor payment record, we couldn't renew any of them.  So this fall all we had was Penn State football plus a few West Virginia, Temple, and Rutgers games.  This winter the only basketball we have is Penn State, and I haven't seen any firm dates on that.

Fortunately, we were able to make an agreement with a solvent syndicator, Raycom, to supply trucks and crews for some of their events.  So I'll be working Metro Conference basketball this winter.  In fact, the first game is this week at Louisville.

And earlier in the year, we had a three-month deal with [a major corporation] to provide audio-visual support for their annual "hundred-per-cent clubs," where salesmen who met their quotas gather for a few days of meetings and recreation.  Guest stars included Sheena Easton, the Beach Boys, Alex Haley, Edwin Newman, Lou Rawls, and Sammy Davis Jr., all on stage at one time or another.  And the venues weren't bad, either:  three weeks at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, two and a half weeks in New Orleans, and two weeks on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

[For more about this tour, including pictures, click here.]

So despite occasional difficulties, working with TCS can be rewarding.  Two trips to Hawaii within five months, for example.  Plus I got to freelance the Steeler preseason games for WTAE.

Chapter 11 hasn't changed Nelson, though.  He finally acquired 'TAE's little production Winnebago and christened it Video Voyager 4 (as was first proposed in 1981, I believe).  It's mainly for harness racing coverage at The Meadows, but it is scheduled for three TV3 basketball games at Burrell High School!  Nelson made those plans, and now it's up to the rest of the people in the office to implement them.  They're currently trying to get the signal uplinked from Burrell to the Westmoreland Cable head end, a 44,000-mile trip via satellite to go four miles.

And the other day, I was called to Nelson's office to get his VHS player to work.  While finding the hidden "pause" button and adjusting the tracking and vertical hold, I heard part of his conversation with the visiting bankers.  Seems he wants money to build some kind of production house, or at least an editing suite.  "Well," asked one of the bankers, "have you done market research to find out how much demand there is for such a facility?"  "Look right here," he said, ignoring the question but pointing out the slate on the VHS tape, which bore the name of some production firm.  "Why should I pay these people to do this for me, when I could do the same thing cheaper myself?"  Life goes on.


Thursday, May 8, 1986

I meant to write around the end of the year.  But you were to be in Arizona, and the hectic basketball season was starting for me, and I put it off, and now it's May already.

Let's see, what have I been doing?  My college basketball this season was mostly in the Metro Conference, which ultimately produced the NCAA champion, Louisville.  I also got to visit other small, interesting cities in the South, like Blacksburg, Tallahassee, Columbia, and Hattiesburg.  The February climate is comparatively agreeable in these places, and you can get some good barbecue.

Then in late March, it was back to Florida for two weeks.

The first week was in Daytona Beach, where MTV was covering Spring Break.  They used one of our TCS trucks to televise VJs Alan Hunter and Martha Quinn as they talked to the college kids and introduced MTV's usual music videos.

Photos from Daytona Beach Morning Journal and Orlando Sentinel

In those days, I still usually wore a suit and tie to go to work, and because it was March I was also wearing a topcoat and hat when I arrived at the Daytona Beach airport.  A couple of interns had been sent out to the airport to meet me and Martha Quinn and drive us into town.  I saw their sign and identified myself, but they had a hard time believing that this conservatively dressed middle-aged man was working for MTV.

(The year before, when I was working on a corporate show at Miami Beach, a woman had approached me and asked whether I was a rabbi.)

One page of the VJ's rundown,  8:50 to 8:53 pm on Wednesday, March 26 . . .

Back-announce:  That was The Fabulous Thunderbirds with "Tuff Enuff."

Graphic 1690



We're just over an hour away from the Spring Break '86 Concert, starring Starship and Mr. Mister, at 10 Eastern, 9 Central and 7 Pacific.


Coming up April 12th, The Alarm live in concert, starting at 6:15 PM Eastern, 5:15 Central and 3:15 Pacific.


Also in April, the Monkees will be back, three times a day!


Video on the way:


Robert Palmer,


Dire Straits,


and Prince.


Also, the Beastie Boys
performed in person.


We then moved south to Miami for three spring-training Orioles baseball games, which we televised back to Baltimore.

On a couple of days off in Miami, I got to visit Terry Rockhold, my high-school friend who's now the director of internal auditing for the Burger King Corporation, headquartered in Miami.  That week, his biggest concern was that a pizza-restaurant subsidiary had bought more canned tomatoes than they were going to be able to use.  A few hundred truckloads too many, I gather.  Don't be surprised if Burger King starts pushing Whoppers with tomato sauce before long.

Since then, besides our telecast of Penn State's annual spring football game, most of my time has been spent on a home videocassette that we're producing with the American Rehabilitation Educational Network.  It's called Stroke:  To Live Again, and is designed for recovering stroke victims and their families.  We give a very brief medical explanation of strokes; demonstrate some gadgets that enable people to do household tasks with only one good hand; show stroke victims who are not just sitting around but are bowling, golfing, swimming, fishing, or crocheting; and give advice on emotional issues, such as fear and family dependency.

My work on this project has been mostly behind the scenes, in editing and graphics.  But I hear that other cassettes are in the planning stages.  The next one is supposed to be on Coping with Arthritis.

[My correspondent was having back trouble, so I added:]  I don't know when we'll be getting around to Coping with Adhesive Arachnoiditis.  That sounds a bit too much like "how to deal with an invasion of your house by sticky spiders."  Probably wouldn't be a big seller in the video stores.

Ah, but even without a TCS videocassette to inspire and guide you, you're setting off before long in the new used family station wagon for Alberta and thereabouts!

I remember that my first trip to Daytona Beach was in a station wagon, 31 years ago.

It was a red 1955 Chevrolet Nomad, a sporty two-door wagon that would be something of a collector's item today.

My parents and grandmother and I drove to Florida in it, and I would take occasional en-route naps in the back.

Of course, I had to lie on a blanket spread over the suitcases, but a seven-year-old could handle that.

You, however, should insist on your rights.  Make your family provide you with an air mattress or something in the back of the Pontiac.  A sun roof would be nice, too.  Come to think of it, a Pontiac Grand Safari is a big car; you think there's any chance of installing a 25-meter swimming pool?  Couldn't hurt to ask.


. . . End of
2nd Quarter