Classic Theatre (1975)


From David Atwood

Here’s a great shot taken in the Temple Church Courtyard in London, 1975. The shoot was for Classic Theatre and the actor we were going to interview was Ian McKellan.

Characters in the shot left to right, John MacKnight (lighting), Karl Lorencic (video), Nat Johnson (audio), Greg Macdonald (camera), and John McKnight (tape). Joan Wilson was producing. I was directing. The camera being gently dollyed was the dreaded PCP-90, Phillps’ full broadcast color camera with a full set of headaches to match.

Prospects of Mankind (1959–61)

From David Michaelis — 2000

WGBH was the alpha and omega of my mother’s career. … In 1959, to be a young woman and an associate producer and writer on a monthly television program moderated by Eleanor Roosevelt, the universally respected “First Lady of the World,” was to be truly present at the creation of the postwar cosmos.

And though I was too young to have actual memories of her work (my brother, however, vividly remembers the fire that destroyed WGBH in November 1961), Diana spoke so often in later life about the people and ideas on “Prospects of Mankind,” I seem to remember her pre-interviewing everyone from the aged Bertrand Russell to the young Henry Kissinger to the impossibly young-looking Senator John F. Kennedy

From Paul Noble

Preparing for a taping of “Prospects of Mankind.”

Left to right, Bob Moscone, Dave Davis, Virginia Kassel (behind Dave), Paul Noble, and Eleanor Roosevelt, at Slosberg Music Center, Brandeis University, fall 1959.

Mrs. Roosevelt and her staff. Henry Morgenthau, Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Noble, and Diana Tead Michaelis, fall 1959.

Edward R. Murrow, new director of the United States Information Agency, appeared on “Prospects of Mankind,” along with (from left) Roscoe Drummond, Herald-Tribune columnist; Professor Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.; Mrs. Roosevelt; Mr. Murrow; and Chanchal Sarkar, associate editor of an Indian newspaper.

On January 2, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy flew to Boston to appear on Prospects of Mankind, right after putting his hat into the ring in the presidential race in Washington.

In this historic photo, Mrs. Roosevelt and JFK stand together facing a battery of newsreel cameras and reporters in Slosberg Music Center at Brandeis after the taping of a “Prospects of Mankind” discussion on the future of NATO.

John F. Kennedy appeared twice more on “Prospects of Mankind,” once to announce the formation of the Peace Corps (February, 1961, soon after his inauguration), and again in the spring of 1962 for a program on the Status of Women.

Mrs. Roosevelt died that fall, and this photo is one of the final ones of her with President Kennedy. Henry Morgenthau is at the left.

From Dan Beach — 7/2/2007

Roosevelt and Murrow

Eleanor Roosevelt joined by Edward R. Murrow on “Prospects of Mankind” — shot at Brandeis where the show was located after the fire.

A Hot Time in the Old Town (1961)


From Dan Beach – Studio 8H Website Design

Eighty-four Massachusetts Avenue on the fateful morning of October 14, 1961 when "it all changed."

Studio A. Ed Salners and Dan Beach — performing maintenance on camera 2?

Early that day, most of us were deputized to paw through the acrid wreckage in search of anything valuable. There was very little.

At the time, the fire was reported to have started in the scene dock directly behind studio B — later, studio A was identified as its place of origin.

Inside the studios, the heat was so intense that most of the equipment made of aluminum (such as microphone booms) virtually evaporated. The control room windows had simply melted, leaving glass in hardened streams "dripping" down the charred walls, and in lumpy pools on the floors.

The blaze brought an abrupt conclusion to a place and time that is still remembered by many as a watershed experience.

Portraits from the ’60s

From Don Hallock

Here’s a collection of images rediscovered by Steve Gilford in May, 2002. The captions are largely in his own words. Photos credited, where available.

From Steve Gilford

As for the Conference Room, when we moved into 125 Western, I was so struck by the size of the conference room table, I took a picture. Don Hallock: The old conference room at 84 Mass. was smaller than this table.

Emily Lovering, everyone knows! Bob Larsen was Manager until his untimely death in the late 60s. The man in the doorway is named Smith I believe, a producer but I don’t remember his first name. I do remember that he was always impeccably dressed. Don Hallock: As, of course, were all WGBH employees!

Hamilton Osgood (seated at left) was WGBH’s own dollar-a-year man. Formerly with the Raleigh Bicycle Corporation, he ran the Auction from its founding for many years with a genteel, poised quality. Don Hallock: The lady is unidentified, and Dick Thomas is at the right.

Dick Thomas was Program Manager for a while I think.

Don Hallock: Unfortunately, Steve doesn’t know who this is. Do you?

Helen Peters was the director of Public Relations in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Her office was one of the most high-spirited in the organization.

The picture with Dick Oldham (right) has two people in it who I cannot identify.

Dick was an assistant chief engineer who was one of the pioneers in the concept of teleconferencing. He helped to design one of the first medical teleconferencing systems in the world. A cooperative venture between WGBH, Mass General and Logan Airport, it was featured in TV Guide.

Marie Foskett was a volunteer in the ‘Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice’ series I produced for the US Dept. of Justice. She took care of the bicycling of kinescopes among the hundreds of local police departments that subscribed to the series. She was a regular and there as a volunteer for several years.

Outside FM offices’ was taken outside of Michael Rice’s office on the ground floor of 125 Western. The woman in foreground was named “Hadley” but I have no idea who the man is.

Don Hallock: I think the man may be Bill Busiek, the nearly legendary audio engineer who did the Boston Symphony broadcasts for many years.

The Don Fouser pic shows a lovely lady in the background whose name I cannot recall. She was an Associate Producer and then a producer. Her husband was killed in an automobile accident more than twenty years ago He was a ‘GBH producer but I can’t remember either of their of their names. She had a daughter who must be quite a young woman by now. As I recall, she was at the (2000) reunion.

Don Hallock: Steve and I both feel this is probably Mike Ambrosino, bathed in light, the way I always imagine him.

Looking at the picture of Peggy reminded me of how much I enjoyed knowing her during my WGBH years.

picture is taken from the scene dock looking up towards what was the Art Department. The life ring was a humorous touch someone had added and looking down from that railing did give the feeling of being on board a ship. Jay Collier: That space later held offices for The Ten O’Clock News.

In the mid-Sixties, WGBH (I think Freddie Barzyk) produced a series called Folk Music USA. The host was Dusty Rhodes and the guests were often quite good. It may not have been Circle of Light, but for a no budget local show, it was often quite good with high quality music even if the guests were not big names. It was a good series.

This photo was taken on a Folk Music USA remote at The Unicorn on Boylston Street, a basement folk music club, the biggest name one in Boston at the time. The club, owned by George Papadopolos, became a hangout for me due to the friendships I made stage managing this production.

The woman holding Dusty’s idiot cards is Maria d’Elia.” Don Hallock: Standing, far left, next to Maria, is Steve Gilford himself.

“ from a Children’s’ series I produced called, How Can I Tell You. It was made up of a variety of different formats.

The two people in the center of ‘Proposition’ are Josh Mostel, son of Zero, and a comic actor in his own right, and Judy Kahn (I think that is her name. She, too, is a familiar comic actress who shows up in character roles fairly frequently.)

They were part of an improvisational comedy troupe called ‘The Proposition’ headquartered in Cambridge, and were brought on to do a couple of shows in this series. I was show producer as I recall and a producer named Lois was the series producer.

It is typical of the culture of WGBH of that time that the study guide gives all sorts of credits for things tangential to the production of the program but there are no personnel credits. (Photo by Bliss Bruen.)

Note from Jim Moran — 12/10/2007

Jane Curtin — of the original “Not Ready For Prime Time Players” cast of “Saturday Night Live” (as well as CBS’ “Kate & Allie” and NBC’s “3rd Rock From The Sun”) — was a member of that improvisational troupe. It is possible that she was even on one or more of that program’s episodes.

I saw Curtin with The Proposition on a field trip of my high school drama club back in the ’70’s — 1973, I believe. Just two years later she was nationally famous, eventually co-anchoring the program’s “Weekend Update” with Dan Ackroyd and playing the wife/mother in “The Coneheads” skits.

Amazing that Curtin started her career right here in Boston!

Follow-up from Michael Ambrosino — 12/13/2007

Four folks from the Proposition appeared. One was Josh Mostell (son of Zero), and the director and two unidentified women, but neither was Jane Curtin.

Follow-up from Fred Barzyk — 12/14/2007

The Proposition appeared on Club 44 and had a young man by the name of Fred Granby who went on to star in Love Boat and then became a congressman I believe from Colorado.

Jane Curtin starred in an HBO Special I directed in the WGBH studio. Peter Frame, who had been on the WGBH crew several years earlier, was then head of programming for an upstart cable system called HBO. Because Boston had not yet got cable, Peter came up with the idea that WGBH would provide the studios and crews and HBO would pay for the talent. HBO would air on their system and WGBH had the Boston market.

The first show was the Bob and Ray Broadway show, The “one and only”. This was a success and HBO approached us to do “Pretzels” and off Broadway musical starring Jane. Same deal, they aired on their system and we got Boston. Soon after these two specials HBO and Boston came to an agreement on which cable system and the deal ceased. So the story of Jane and WGBH.

Bonaparte was the story of a funny looking Citroen that got tired of living in the city, moved to the country to get away from the crowds, pollution, etc. and lived happily in the pastures of Lincoln at Drumlin Farm.

Then it noticed that it was messing up the fields with its tire tracks and filling the air with exhaust fumes. The climax was when Bonaparte, the car, returned to Cambridge and took up residence in Brattle Square across from the Evergreen Market as a giant flower vase, making the city prettier. (Photo by Bliss Bruen.)

The Law Enforcement series was pretty high profile for an educational program. It was featured in an Arri ad that ran in the American Cinematographer — the only time my name ever appeared in that publication.

Peter Hoving is the cameraman and Wil Morton is recording sound. The series ran 1968-1969.

Photos from Al Hinderstein — 1961-64

Text from Don Hallock

The inimitable Hindy lensing a camera at Brandeis University for Prospects of Mankind. (June 1961)

Hindy as the acting film manager, timing tapes in the tape room down in the basement of the Catholic Television Center. (August 10, 1962)

Al says: “This is MIT Science Reporter at the Cambridge Accelerator Lab. Al Potter had to drive the bus down a steep ramp. He was told he could only apply his air brakes so many times after which the bus would be on it’s own. Needless to say, he made it.

“When it came time for the big demonstration, The lab staff started the accelerator. Just as it came up to speed, someone opened a safety door and shut it down. The lab director wanted to fire the person on the spot.”

The Boston Arts Festival summer 63 or 64. Hindy running an on stage camera. Either the New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz band or “The World’s Greatest Jazz Band,” from the Newport Jazz Festival.

Late at night the staff took to the tables as auctioners. Who’s the stage manager?

A Time to Dance (1959)


From Brooks Leffler

Script Conference, A Time to Dance, 1959.

Left to right: Paul Noble, AD; Jac Venza, Producer; Martha Meyers, host; and Greg Harney, Director.

This was the first of Jac’s very long list of arts programs for public television.

From Al Kelman

This certainly looks like a collection of dangerous misfits.

Actually, it is the ‘Fearless’ camera crew from "A Time to Dance," with the star of one of the programs, Geoffrey Holder.

The crew consists of Al Kelman (standing, crane), Tom McGrath (seated, dolly) and Don Hallock (camera).

From Brooks Leffler

Jose Limon on the first show of ATTD, with Don Hallock and Al Kellman.

Sue Dietrich fixes the costume of one of Herb Ross’s dancers.

From Brooks Leffler (courtesy Paul Noble)

Maria Tallchief and Andre Eglevsky

Nora Kaye and Hugh Laing

From Brooks Leffler

It’s that bunch again….looking "straight" this time (perhaps it wasn’t a ‘morning after’).

The BU Scholars Crew (1959)

The notorious Boston University Scholars “Crew of ’59.”

Top left to right: Al Kelman, Phil Fields, Tom McGrath, Fred Barzyk, Don Knox, Bert Bell, Sue Dietrich, Dave Nohling, Jim Hennes, John Sunier, John Engel.

Bottom left to right: Lew Yeager, Joe (Mark) Mobius, Brooks Leffler, Mel Bernstein.

Not present: Hiromichi Matsui

Christmas Shows (1957-58)

Each year, the entire station crew taped a Christmas Show sending up anything and everything, anyone and everyone. The tapes were shown at the WGBH Christmas parties.

This shot of Frank Vento was taken when our class had to put on a Christmas show in 1957.

With Frank is someone named Jerry Michaels. He was part of our class, but left before the year was out.

The guy standing was one of the original ten from the 1958 BU group, but dropped out. He’s not Stew White (so who is he?).

Sitting front row: Vic Washkevich, Paul Noble and Ed Donlon.

Back row: The station’s after hours receptionist (left), an unidentified friend/performer and last, Jerry Michaels.

Who was this girl? She was at the station every evening acting as receptionist for any talent that might chance to come in. She was a neat girl who wanted to be close to show biz, and she became a friend of our group. Here’s a picture of her performing at our Christmas show.

Do you recall her name?