From the Vault: Video interviews with WGBH pioneers

Between 1992 and 2013, Fred Barzyk, Joe Anderson, Henry Becton, and Michael Ambrosino conducted over 100 hours of interviews with dozens of former WGBH-TV and FM staffers.

For the 2015 reunion, Fred and David Atwood compiled a highlights reel from those interviews with:

  • David Atwood
  • Bob Carey
  • Phil Collyer
  • Bill Cosel
  • Ron Della Chiesa
  • Anne Damon
  • Bob Ferrante
  • Helen Fox
  • Greg Harney
  • Jack Hurley
  • David Fanning
  • David Ives
  • Benny Krol
  • John LaBounty
  • Frank Lane
  • Karl Lorensic
  • Emily Lovering
  • Robert J. Lurtsema
  • Gordon Mehlman
  • Russ Morash
  • Henry Morgenthau
  • Chas Norton
  • Chris Pullman

Also included are classic clips with Tony Randall, Julia Child, and Hartford Gunn. Enjoy!

12 thoughts on “From the Vault: Video interviews with WGBH pioneers

  1. Wonderful! Frank would have loved to see this, but he passed away a few weeks after last year’s reunion. I have saved the link and will watch it again many times. I shared in over 40 years of ‘GBH stories and memories with him. I wish I could get the tape from the ’76 auction when we did a table together and especially tapes of “Word Workers” which he co-hosted with Lorraine McNamara!

  2. I loved watching this and have saved the link. My husband, Frank Lane, missed last year’s reunion because of poor health. He passed away a few weeks after the reunion. He’d have loved to see this tape!

  3. Too bad they missed out on the folks who were there when WGBH-TV first opened its doors back in the late 1950s. Those were the real stories, and you had to be there because there was no video tape available.

    – Vic Washkevich, WGBH-TV Scholar Class of 1958

    • The gathering should also know that WGBH-TV was once located directly over a luncheonette in an abandoned roller skating rink. That the image orth tubes in the cameras were filched out of the WBZ-TV dumpster to save some money. That TV was BACK-TO-BACK LIVE at one time, and produced by a bunch of kids fresh out of college who approached each project like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland — Let’s Put On A Show. Ah, those were the days when we ran from being a cameraman on one to shot floor manger on the next then on to the boom mike. Professionalism wasn’t the requirement (but they sure got it) just a bunch of enthusiastic kids who gave it their all.

    • Yes, 64 Massachusetts Avenue. “A Time to Dance,” “Eleanor Roosevelt: Prospects of Mankind” (from Brandeis University), “Max Lerner: The Age of Overkill,” “Louis Lyons and the News,” remotes from Sturbridge Village and Mystic Seaport. And the BSO. Not a dull time nor place — the late ’50’s and early ’60’s and offices over the Tech Drugstore.

  4. Love the interviews, having worked at WGBH-TV with several of the interviewees, Bill Cosel, Chas Norton, Greg Harney, Russ Morash (maybe others) and a great group of other young people out of the basement of the Museum of Science. The pay? $55per week PLUS OVERTIME. I wrote about those days in my memoir: Never Quote the Weather to a Sea Lion and other uncommon tales from the founder of the Big Apple Circus. The critics loved the chapter, I loved working at GBH.

    • I remember the day Paul arrived. I was assigned Stage Manager at the Museum of Fine Arts Open House. At the loading dock were two recent Dartmouth grads reporting for work per Bob Moscone: Paul Binder and Alex Pierie, one very tall the other a short red head.

      Alex stayed on, but Paul went on the road to Europe with his juggling act which was fantastic. They redid it when The Big Apple Circus played with the POPS behind WGBH in the lacrosse field by the Business School years later … with elephants grazing and pooping on those hallowed playing fields.

      I digress… Between the early WGBH days and the eventual start of the Big Apple Circus, my friends (do you remember Kerstin Hudson?) rented their Tyringham house to the manager of the Big Apple Circus. I went up for a drink and met … OMG … Paul Binder was there as founder of the Big Apple Circus. We immediately remembered our meeting after all these years.

      He asked us to their Pittsifield Show being staged right behind Arrowhead (Herman Melville’s house). We went and were blown away…Paul in is dapper red tails, black top hat, took the ring. The first few mins of the show would challenge any well produced TV tease, and all of us within 12 feet of the ring.

      We stayed in touch. Tom Morris (then manager of the BSO) and I approached Paul about performing with the Boston Pops. First, we explored using Symphony Hall, but the trustees said “NO WAY will we have an elephant accidentally defecating at the cross aisle.”

      We persevered. Negotiations commenced with Harvard and the Business School … with many arms twisted and favors called in. We found a week when the BIG TOP could set up behind the chain linked fence, back yard of WGBH. The rest is history.

      By then Arthur Fielder was flagging and Harry Ellis Dickson got the nod to conduct … which was a nice twist of fate as this audience was a huge fundraiser for the children’s concerts Harry had been giving for years at Symphony Hall.

      Paul and I stayed in touch…visiting back and forth.

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