Today Show

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Mon Apr 2 08:15:28 EDT 2007

Even thought this is way off topic, I thought I would pass a little
more on, as there is a bit to think about.

Video tape was a rarity in those days, shows were more often recorded
on kinescopes. Even if it had been video tapes, the chance of the
tape still being playable, much less having a machine working to play
it on would be pretty unlikely. I suspect such a show would have had
little interest beyond its original broadcast, and probably was
trashed many years back, if it was even NBC's policy to record each

My experience with Channel 7 in Roanoke was the 1980s and early
1990s. All news was shot on film up until probably about 1977-78,
that was when the switch to video tape. However, there was an entire
collection of news film, day by day, stored in the basement. More or
less, this film dated from when the station first went on the air in
October 1955. Sometime in the mid 1980s, it was decided to transfer
this film to tape, 3/4 inch tape, which is terrible archive material.
Most of the early film was transferred, through our terrible
condition film chain, recorded on this tape and shot sheeted then
hung in a rack in the news edit room. They were not transferred in
any systematic method, therefore you might find a 1964 story on the
same tape as a 1957 story, not related in subject matter, just
transferred as material was needed. In 1985, we were putting together
promos for the 30th anniversary of the station, and I spent quite a
bit of time going through tapes. Of course, most all was shot as b/w
at least until the late 1960s. I found a bunch of interesting stuff,
railroad related, but the kicker is, the 3/4 tapes were already
showing wear and tear with drop outs, and glitches. After only a few
years of use.

Now the real gotcha on this is, after all that film was (poorly)
transferred, the original film was taken back to the processor and
stripped for silver recovery, so once those 3/4 inch tapes are
useless, the film is gone. The last time I asked a friend at the
station about 3/4 inch machines, she said they had one still working,
but only barely, and that was 3 years ago. When the station moved,
most of the remaining film was given to the History Museum, I
believe. However, virtually all the early stuff was gone by then.

So my point is, this was a local station, the news film was racks and
racks in the basement, imagine the size of an operation like NBC, it
would take warehouses of space to keep all the old film and tape. I
would suspect that anything this insignificant was likely long since

Ken Miller

On Apr 1, 2007, at 10:05 AM, NW Mailing List wrote:

> Yep, the latter point was what I meant. Wonder if the master tape

> still exists, and if there's a railfan at network HQ? A society

> letter might provide an interesting archives exhibit.


> Andre Jackson (college TV-radio minor)

> Life is short; update your anti-virus software

> ----- Original Message ----- From: "NW Mailing List" <nw-mailing-

> list at>

> To: "NW Mailing List" <nw-mailing-list at>

> Sent: Sunday, April 01, 2007 6:20 AM

> Subject: Re: Today Show



>> Andre,


>> I don't believe any railfans could afford video recording

>> equipment in the 1950s. Most folks in those days were doing good

>> to buy one of those new B&W TV consoles.


>> Still, I wonder what it would take to get the network to make a

>> copy of the show from their video archives, assuming the footage

>> was recorded and is still playable.


>> Ron Davis


>> At 11:11 PM 3/31/2007, you wrote:

>>> Anybody unearthed a tape of this event?


>>> Andre Jackson and/or Lisa Burrows

>>> Life is short; update your anti-virus software

>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "NW Mailing List" <nw-mailing-

>>> list at>

>>> To: "NW Mailing List" <nw-mailing-list at>

>>> Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2007 5:54 PM

>>> Subject: Re: Today Show



>>>> The Today show broadcast from Roanoke on May 15-16, 1958. There was

>>>> an interview segment with Stuart Saunders standing next to the

>>>> Pocahontas, and a filmed (not live) segment riding the cab of the J

>>>> between Roanoke and Bedford. There was a two page article in the

>>>> June

>>>> 1958 N&W Magazine. pages 344-345.

>>>> Having worked in the television business for 11 years, The first

>>>> satellite to orbit the earth was Sputnik in October 1957, just

>>>> about

>>>> 7 months prior to this broadcast. As I recall, it was capable of

>>>> broadcasting a "beep" tone every few seconds during its orbit.

>>>> Satellite television broadcasting did not originate until

>>>> sometime in

>>>> 1962, when Telstar was launched to become the first television

>>>> broadcast satellite. Live broadcasting in those days was a

>>>> considerable technical feat with a small scale broadcast truck

>>>> at the

>>>> site. Satellite or microwave broadcasting that is common today was

>>>> unheard of in 1958.

>>>> Ken Miller



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