CineSavant Column

Tuesday April 21, 2020


Today’s announcements feel somewhat, uh, nonessential. So I must be on the right track.

Correspondent Marilyn Moss posted an older YouTube item I hadn’t seen, a vintage half-hour NBC presentation in which President Dwight Eisenhower becomes the first chief executive to be recorded on color videotape: Oldest color videotape recording WRC-TV dedication May 22, 1958.

NBC’s Robert W. Sarnoff does the introduction and shows a piece of 2″ videotape … which was still in use when I got into TV commercials in 1980. Then David Sarnoff of RCA follows the President. The show starts in B&W, and then fifteen minutes in, changes to COLOR when Robert Sarnoff pushes a button. I wonder how many MGM and RCA engineers were sweating it out, hoping that the cue would go off as planned. It’s pretty good, with not even a glitch visible. Of course, most of the people watching didn’t have color TV, not in 1958. Did they think that the TV show was going to make their B&W TVs switch to color?

It’s also nice to see a President who comes off as intelligent, polite and ‘presidential.’ Eisenhower is the only President I’ve seen in person, on an airport runway at Hickam AFB in early 1961. He’s in no way a polished TeeVee Personality — which makes him seem all the more trustworthy.

I caught this text on my local Spectrum Program Guide and couldn’t resist snapping a picture. I can’t decide if the author is for or against information about Global Warming. My contribution to significant public discourse, essential or not.

Reviews in preparation: we think we’ll be getting to these titles next, or almost next: Alastair Sim’s School for Laughter with The Bells of St. Trinian’s, School for Scoundrels, Laughter in Paradise and the first classic Ealing Comedy, Hue and Cry; Cattle Annie & Little Britches, Europa, Europa, Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life and Ghastly Death of Al Adamson and Sweet Bird of Youth ( ↑ ). And if it arrives quickly enough, the restoration of the 1920 The Golem.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson