Thursday, December 22, 2016

This program was prerecorded

Once upon a time TV was almost all live. Then along came a videotape machine.

That was about 60 years ago, when Truth or Consequences, the ancient Bob Barker game show, started prerecording its shows. It was great for Barker, who didn't have to get up so early on the left coast to make the 11:30 AM broadcast time in the Eastern zone.

Not to mention that his studio audiences were a lot more energetic. "Can you imagine doing an audience-participation show at 8:30 in the morning?" the 93-year-old Barker asks. He got some relief when, on January 22, 1957, Truth or Consequences "became the first program to be prerecorded on videotape for subsequent airing in all time zones."

The gadget that did the trick was a bulky Ampex machine which cost two hundred grand in today's money. Seems pretty ridiculous nowadays when anybody can record anything on a cell phone that costs, well, next to nothing. But the machine was state of the art back then. By fall 1957 Ampex was swamped with a backlog of a hundred orders for its videotape recorders.

And it all started with silly stunts on a game show.

1 comment:

  1. And unfortunately with the videotape's ability to be erased and re-recorded, much of what happened in the late 1950s 1960s has been lost to the ages..