Seven thousand video tapes transferred to digital

From WGBH Archives — July 2014

On March 11, 2013, WGBH Media Library and Archives’ Archives Manager Keith Luf and Digital Archives Manager Michael Muraszko loaded 7,010 tapes from the WGBH vault onto 12 palettes, which were then shipped via an 18-wheeler to be digitized at Crawford Media Services in Atlanta, Georgia for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.

Only a few months later would the WGBH MLA in collaboration with the Library of Congress be selected as the permanent home for the American Archive collection, an initiative to identify, preserve, and make accessible as much as possible the historic record of public media in America.

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WGBH’s tapes were stored in 306 archives boxes, totaling 459 linear feet (longer than 1 1/2 football fields!) and comprising more than 6,400 hours of content. In many cases, the archives staff knew only the program title of the tapes — they often knew nothing about the recorded participants.

The content dated back as early as March of 1947 and was as recent as 2005. The MLA sent material on 15 different video and audio tape formats, the majority of which had exceeded the manufacturer’s intended lifespan. MLA’s Keith Luf compared the situation to a child’s 18 year old cat, which everyone knew wouldn’t — and couldn’t — be around much longer.

In June of 2014, WGBH’s 6,400 hundred hours of content was returned. In addition to the original 7,010 tapes, the content was delivered as digital files on a second copy — on 17 LTO-6 tapes…. stored in one box!

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And with the digitized material came a new ease of accessibility — the MLA staff have been able to easily watch or listen to the digital files and discover content they never knew had been sitting in the vault for all these years.

Among the new discoveries includes a 1967 10-minute monologue by American historian and activist Howard Zinn on the social unrest of the times; a recorded speech given by JFK in either 1962 or 1963 at the Armory in Boston; and a 1975 video recording of a cello class taught by Harvard professor Mstislav Rostropovich, who during the recording asked a graduate student in his class “What kind of a name is Yo-Yo?”

As additional funding has become available, the MLA has recently coordinated with Crawford on the digitization of 800 more hours of 3/4″ videotapes and 1/4″ audiotapes, which will be shipped out next week.  Who knows what we’ll find next!?

Frank Lane, 74, Cameraman and Studio Engineer

From the Boston Globe

Francis X. Lane of Hyannis, formerly of Norwood, passed away peacefully at home on June 28 at the age of 74.

lane-BWBeloved husband of Nancy E. Lane. Devoted and loving father of his son Ryan C. Lane of Natick and adoring daughter Elizabeth B. Lane of Norwood. Francis was the youngest of eleven children born to the late Thomas M. and Nora (Cunningham) Lane of West Roxbury and the son-in-law of the late Patricia (Brown) Wolley of Norwood and Francis W. Cooney of TN. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Ronnie Lane of Braintree, and many nieces and nephews.

Francis (aka Franny, Frank and Fran) was a cameraman and studio engineer for WGBH TV (Channel 2) for 35 years until his retirement in 2003. He was the former president of NABET-CWA Local 18 and the former treasurer of the Barnstable Newcomers Bowling League. In addition to bowling, he loved the beach and playing cribbage, but his greatest joy came from spending time with his family and many friends.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, July 3 at 11 AM at the Kraw-Kornack Funeral Home (1248 Washington St. in NORWOOD) immediately following a visiting hour at 10 AM. Burial will be at Highland Cemetery in Norwood. The family is especially grateful to his dedicated nurse, Diane Munsell.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to VNA of Cape Cod Hospice, 434 Route 134, S. Dennis, MA 02660.

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Memories

Elizabeth Lane

My dear father, known as Frank to his ‘GBH family, passed away over the weekend. I always loved hearing his work stories (Zoom, the news, the Pops on the Esplanade, the BSO, The French Chef with Julia Child, This Old House, The Victory Garden…the list goes on), visiting him at the station, watching the Auction in hopes of catching a shot of him behind the camera, his days in Master Control, and his many escapades with his best friend, Greg Macdonald. He retired in 2003 after 35 years. Feel free to share your memories of my father!
Elizabeth Lane’s photo.
June 30 at 11:40am

Bob Manosky

I’m very sorry to hear this. Frank and I worked together on many many WGBH programs. He was a great guy.
June 30 at 11:50am

Ben Mayerson

Frank was such a character. He was a leader, a master of his craft, a Teddy Bear, and just an all around super great guy. To you my friend!!
June 30 at 11:51am

Tonia Magras

My deepest condolences! He was a dear friend and father figure to me. Always with a great big smile and bear hug! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time. I will miss him dearly!
June 30 at 12:16pm

Jack Comeau

I’m so sorry to hear this. There was always something that seemed indestructible about him. At first look he could seem intimidating. I remember thinking, “Who’s this leg breaker?” It took only minutes to discovery his kind, sensitive sense of humor and intelligent. I love working with him on many of the shows that you mentioned above. The world will miss him.
July 1 at 12:17pm

Ilene Fischer

Truly one of a kind. Frank made every shoot that much more fun.
June 30 at 12:20pm

Emily Yacus

Frank was wonderful. I worked with him from 1998-2001 or 02, sitting as an admin assistant behind Master Control. Thanks for sharing these pics of him- I’m smiling and teary at the same time.
June 30 at 12:29pm

Chas Norton

Frank was perhaps one of the brightest persons I ever met; his insightful and trenchant words were always right on.

May he rest in peace!
June 30 at 1:41pm

Dick Heller

Back in the old everybody-does-everything days of the Auction, Frank took over as Director. After a few minutes he handed the headset back to me saying, “I’ll never talk back to you, ever again.” Wonderful guy, always a pleasure to work with.
June 30 at 1:51pm

Cathy Page

Oh no…. I’m so sorry to hear this. Frank was a wonderful guy.
June 30 at 1:56pm

Emily Norman

I’m so sorry for your loss. I loved seeing his friendly face around the hallowed halls of GBH.
June 30 at 2:04pm

Kevin Kalunian

I’m deeply saddened by this news about Frank , but happy that I got to know him on a few rare overnight trips for La Plaza, Say Brother, or other programs that we worked on for The Foundation. He spoke very highly of his colleagues, some who have posted here, and others that left us already for another journey elsewhere. Frank also often mentioned his family while we waited for some event to happen, or while at lunch. He will be missed dearly.
June 30 at 2:14pm

Nancy Walker

I’m so sorry for your loss….Frank was a gentle giant to an 8 year old Zoomer…after College I came back to work with your Father in the field …I was a Production Assistant for Local Programming…what a wonderful person..RIP Frank
June 30 at 2:17pm

Mark Helton

Frank was a true pioneer at Wgbh and the broadcast nation. I learned a lot from both he and Greg. It was a honor to work with your father. Although only a freelancer for gbh all these years, Frank always made me feel welcome at the station and with the union. A pleasure to work with. Peace to Frank, and to his whole family.
June 30 at 2:42pm

Scot Osterweil

Frank was a wonderful guy to work with. On Pops shows he was always Camera 2, the camera at the far back of the hall, getting the widest shots.
June 30 at 2:54pm

Scot Osterweil

In ’85 When Pops played the Lincoln Memorial, camera 2 was at the top of the Washington Monument. But more memorably, he was just a kind, thoughtful person.
June 30 at 2:56pm

John M. Sullivan

So sad to hear this. Frank was warm and wonderful man!
June 30 at 2:59pm

Kathy Gleason

I am so very sorry for you and your family,
June 30 at 3:25pm

Joe Forte

My condolences. Franky was a lot of fun to work with. Sad day.
June 30 at 3:33pm

Mark Helman

I don’t think I’ve ever worked with anybody as well-liked as Frank. My best to you and your family.
June 30 at 3:42pm

Courtnay Malcolm

Frank was one of the first people I met when I started at WGBH in 1991. When I directed the auction Frank and Greg would always play pranks on me and sometimes I would laugh so hard I nearly fell out of my chair. My thoughts are with you and your family.
June 30 at 5:10pm

Maria Agui Carter

Frank was lovely and shot some of the first things I worked on at WGBH. So, so sorry to hear of his passing. Sincere condolences.
June 30 at 6:34pm

Mike Wilkins

We were happy to have Frank at the NABET 18 picnic last fall!
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June 30 at 6:37pm

Hilary Finkel Buxton

Sending sincere condolences… Frank was always kind, and wonderful to work with!
June 30 at 7:59pm

Alison Bassett

So sorry to hear this news, thinking of your family, and what a great and talented man your father was…
June 30 at 9:14pm

Frank Coakley

Frank was one of the first people I met when I came to work at WGBH in 1981. He was tough, smart, funny and most importantly a good friend with a heart of gold. RIP brother, my thoughts go out to his family and his many friends and admirers.
June 30 at 9:17pm

Amy Tonkonogy

I am so sorry to hear this. Frank always made me smile. He had such dedication to Gbh and taught me so much. My thoughts to your entire family.
June 30 at 9:21pm

Sharon Corey Sleicher

My time at WGBH was a few years ago but I remember your father because he was always friendly, kind and fun to be around.
June 30 at 9:24pm

Bruce Bordett

Such sad news. Many happy memories of working with Frank and Greg. He is, and will be missed. This shot from the day the Pope came to Boston… Late 70’s
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June 30 at 11:25pm

Marcia Hulley

So sad. Frank was a great friend and mentor to me — like so many others at wgbh. It was a delight working with him over the years. An amazing cameraman, an amazing man. My heartfelt condolences to his family.
July 1 at 12:17am

Sherylle Linton

Jones Frank was just awesome. I worked with him frequently back in my Say Brother days. I am profoundly sorry for your loss. May he rest in peace.
July 1 at 12:38am

Lo Hartnett

Whenever I saw frank behind the camera for pledge, I knew things were in good hands. He always made me smile.
July 1 at 5:38am

Russ Fortier

I’m so sad to hear about Frank. He was a wonderful professional. Attentive and pleasant, he was, as I recall, virtually error free as a cameraman on the shows I directed. Most notably, as others have mentioned was his camera (2) at Symphony Hall; a deceptively challenging position. I recall one broadcast in which Frank had to zoom back from a single shot of the concertmaster (first violin) to a cover shot of the entire orchestra over 32 (slow) measures of music; a devilishly long move. Perfectly done. So normal and routine for Frank to deliver that way.
July 1 at 7:56am

Jennifer Jordan

Love the shot of him shooting at the Kennedy School Forum! I remember him well from my days both at WGBH and directing the Forum. Class act and all around great guy.
July 1 at 9:28am

Elizabeth Lane

Thank you all so much for sharing your beautiful memories of my dad. It’s bringing us so much comfort hearing from people who loved my dad as much as we do.
July 1 at 9:56am

Syrl Silberman

I worked with Frank for 12 years at WGBH. He was truly one of the kindest people I’ve ever known and more often than not made difficult times in the studio less so. I could always count on him to do whatever was needed and do it well. I can honestly say that I loved him and fully understand how much you will miss him. I wish you comfort.
July 1 at 10:04am

Anne Sweeney

God bless your family. May Frank rest in peace.
July 1 at 10:23am

Jane Arsham

I had the pleasure of working with Frank in the “early” years 1968-80. He started a year after me and we had a great friendship. Frank laughed a lot (I can still hear him) and enjoyed both work and play. He loved to sing Irish songs and we joined him often at a pub in Norwood I think it was!! He was a talented camera man and always willing to pitch in and help out in anyway he could. I don’t remember him ever saying no when I asked (which was often). Although we lost touch after I left GBH, he remains in my heart. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
July 1 at 10:36am

Edye Baker

The auction volunteers loved Frank and the way he made them feel like stars!! MANY memories of him. Sincere condolences to you and your family.
July 1 at 12:14pm

Vladimir Stefanovic

My deepest condolences. Frank was really an awesome guy. RIP Frank.
July 1 at 1:45pm

Nora Sinclair

So sorry to hear! My sincere condolences. I loved working with Frank in the studio, always a pleasure.
July 1 at 2:00pm

Ben Mayerson

Literally on this day, I quoted one of the lessons Frank taught me. “I only move at one speed, and this is it.”

It wasn’t a statement of non cooperation. It was a declaration of pacing, proficiency, and calm. I recall that mantra often, from my teacher Frank Lane.
July 1 at 4:53pm

Susan Dangel

In my brain and heart, when I think of WGBH, I think Greg and Frank. Your father was one of a kind. All those Pops shows and how he made us laugh. So sorry for your loss.
July 1 at 11:46pm

Larry Lecain

I loved Frank. Kind, generous , welcoming,quick to share a good story. He seemed immune to the pressures of long lens camera work at Symphony Hall. Frank was willing to share his insight on the ironies of life, work and people he knew. I miss him.
July 2 at 7:03am

Christy George

I loved Frank, too. One moment at the Ten O’Clock News stands out: I covered John Lakian’s libel trial against the Boston Globe, and for five weeks GBH was the pool camera – a rarity to be so well staffed. So all the Boston TV stations were using video shot by Frank and Greg. And their reporters were blown away. Years of shooting the Pops had taught Greg and Frank how to follow the action seamlessly and gracefully. Their camerawork made the trial seem like a Hollywood movie. And when a much-lauded commercial station shooter filled in one day, all the reporters grumbled. They wanted Frank and Greg back! I was delighted our guys got the respect they deserved.
July 2 at 2:46pm

Elizabeth Lane

Love these stories!
July 2 at 2:48pm

Nancy Walker

The dynamic duo!!!
July 2 at 2:53pm

Mary Helen Doyle

Frank was always a bright light bouncing (in his big way!) through the engineering tape room downstairs at GBH. He always welcomed a quick fun chat, never really grouchy as I remember, despite whatever the day had been. I’m so sorry to hear that he has passed, I’ll never forget him.
July 2 at 9:49pm

Bernadette Yao

I am deeply sorry for your loss, Elizabeth. I send my sincere condolences to you and your family. I remember your father with great affection and I am so sad to hear of his passing. I always looked forward to seeing him since my childhood days on ZOOM, and through the years after college when I sang with the TFC, BSO & Pops at Symphony Hall, and during live pledge drives and auctions when I worked behind the scenes at WGBH. Years later, whenever I visited WGBH, he would greet me with that familiar grin, and share what was going on in the moment as if no time had passed. I will remember Frank and his kindness always.
21 hrs · Like ·

Boston-based ‘Frontline’ names new executive producer

From Boston.com — 5/13/2015 

Frontline founder David Fanning has stepped down after three decades as the executive producer of the landmark public television series. He will be replaced by Raney Aronson, the show’s deputy executive producer.

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This is the first time the top leadership position at the Boston-based investigative documentary series has changed hands.

In its 33 seasons, Frontline has won every major award in broadcast journalism, including 69 Emmys, 31 duPont-Columbia University Awards, 17 Peabody Awards and eight Television Critics Awards. Fanning received his own Lifetime achievement Emmy in 2013.

Fanning will stay with Frontline and, beginning June 1, will develop new projects as executive editor at large, according to a statement released by WGBH, which produces the show.

Aronson has been with the series since 2001.

‘Frontline’ Getting a Change in Leadership

From the New York Times — 5/13/2015

“Frontline,” the PBS documentary series, is getting a leadership change for the first time in its 32-year history. The founding executive producer, David Fanning, is stepping down at the end of the month, and Raney Aronson, the colleague he has been grooming for several years, will take over.

Mr. Fanning, 68, said that he wanted to start making documentary films again, and that he needed to step aside for the show to continue to thrive.

“This is a generational shift,” he said. “There’s no question about it. That’s a discussion that Raney and I have had for some years now, about bringing some younger producers in, identifying them, looking for the next generation. We want ‘Frontline’ to survive.”

Mr. Fanning’s new title will be executive producer at large. He said he would also have an opportunity to “beat the bushes for major funders and donors and new sources of revenue for the series,” he said.

Mr. Fanning began preparing Ms. Aronson for the job years ago, and in 2012 all but named her his heir apparent when he gave her the title of deputy executive producer. He said her leadership would be critical for keeping the show relevant at a tricky time in the media business. He also said bringing in “new blood” was important to keeping the long-form documentary series alive.

“If we don’t do it, it doesn’t get done,” he said. “There aren’t many places left in the world, in television certainly, that does this. You can’t expect the independent film community to operate under the banner of journalism because it’s often not what they do. This kind of journalism matters and these hourlong films, 90-minute, two-hour films, the big multipart series, we do become real works of record. We need them in the culture.”

“Frontline,” which had its debut in 1983, is produced by WGBH in Boston. Over the years it has won 69 Emmys, 31 duPont Columbia University Awards and 17 Peabody awards. “Frontline” recently won awards for a documentary on ISIS and the National Football League’s concussion crisis.

Ms. Aronson, 44, joined the show in 2001. In the last few years, she has made it her priority to work on joint-journalism projects with organizations like ProPublica, the Center for Investigative Reporting and ESPN (the latter pulled out of the concussion documentary “League of Denial,” before it aired, to great controversy). She is also working on partnerships with digital outlets like YouTube and Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism in order to find new ways to broadcast their work.

She said she had been “given the gift of time” over the last three years to work on these types of partnerships before stepping into the big job.

“In a lot of ways, we’ve been working on the ideas that I care about, like working aggressively to find new audiences,” she said.

But with every prospective deal with a player in new media, she said, her job remained fundamentally in line with what Mr. Fanning created decades ago.

“When I look to the future, my biggest gaze is on making sure we always protect the big important work we should be doing,” she said. “That is what I care about most: protecting the big important journalism.”

Joe Day, 78, tenacious reporter

From the Boston Globe — March 15, 2015

After leaving the Providence Journal in 1970 to be a moderator and editor at WGBH-TV in Boston, Joe Day immediately earned respect for his insight and tenacity.

As a member of Channel 2’s “The Reporters” team, Mr. Day refused to take no for an answer that December when the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Division announced that several gasoline stations were selling the identical fuel at varying prices, but would not reveal which ones.

“I thought, ‘What the hell kind of consumer protection is that?’ ” Mr. Day told the Globe in 1971. In the month that followed, he called 18 gasoline companies, twice each, to ask if they were the offenders, and repeatedly asked the state when the names would be released.

“I, for one, intend to follow this story to the end,” Mr. Day told his viewers, and his persistence paid off when the state attorney general’s office announced the names.

Joe Day

Mr. Day, who later was a chief political and citizen affairs correspondent and editor at Boston’s WCVB-TV and WHDH-TV from 1973 to 1992, died March 8 after a heart attack in his winter home in Princeville, Kauai, in Hawaii. He was 78 and had lived in Santa Fe since leaving Boston.

“Joe was inspirational as a person and as a journalist, and there was a calm sense of mission about him,” said David Ropeik, one of Mr. Day’s former colleagues at Channel 5. “He wanted the most competitive beat at the time — politics and government — and he deserved it.”

Former WCVB-TV Channel 5 reporter and commentator Clark Booth called Mr. Day “a damn good newsman who was great meeting deadlines and a superb writer. He had an instinct for the soft underbelly of a story. There was a fundamental decency about him, and although he may have been the quietest guy in the room, he was most likely the smartest.”

The recipient of several awards, including New England Emmys for coverage of the Massachusetts Democratic Convention and the funeral of Connecticut Governor Ella Grasso, Mr. Day was the son of Alice (Alexander) and Price Day, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at the Baltimore Sun.

“Joe had a curiosity about the people he covered, whether it was a presidential candidate or, later after moving to Santa Fe, telling the story of a parking lot attendant,” said his wife, Nancy. “He was still reporting until his death for our radio station in Kauai about the opening of a biofuel plant.”

Born in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Joseph Day grew up in Baltimore and graduated from Princeton University in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in English.

His three brothers also worked as journalists, including his late sibling, Tony, an editorial page editor at the Los Angeles Times.

Mr. Day’s entry into newspaper work began with a bus ticket. “Joe had just returned from Army service in Germany,” his wife said, “and he wrote a letter to the editor of the Milwaukee Journal, who told him if he was ever in the area to drop in, with no promise of a job.”

When Mr. Day sent the letter, he was two years out of Princeton and back in Baltimore. He immediately hopped a bus to Milwaukee and was hired in 1960. Then, from 1963 to 1970, he was assistant state editor and a reporter at the Providence Journal.

“I think his family was surprised he made the move to television,” his wife said, “but it was something he wanted to try.” She added that he “felt that he would have an even stronger connection with the public.”

Mr. Day met Nancy Crichton, an artist, on the beach in Ocean City, Md., when she was a student at Ohio Wesleyan University. They married on Sept. 20, 1961. The couple and their children lived in a Colonial-era farmhouse in Marlborough when he worked in Boston.

“Joe was pensive and thoughtful in his interviewing, which was more conversational than confrontational,” recalled Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin. “It wasn’t show biz with him, but he made his point and never let you off the hook.”

Mr. Day’s award-winning reports ranged from documentaries on the deaths of asbestos workers in Massachusetts to safety concerns at Logan Airport, the return of a slain soldier from Vietnam, and the New England fisheries crisis.

Globe columnist Scot Lehigh was on the political beat for the Boston Phoenix when Mr. Day was covering the 1988 presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis for Channel 7.

“On the night of the returns, Joe went on the air and reported that Ohio had gone to George Bush and that there was no real path to the White House for Dukakis at that point,” Lehigh recalled. “He was the first local reporter to make the call, and that was Joe, way ahead of the pack.

“No matter what his assignment, he was persistent and fair and asked the tough questions when he had to, but never in an egotistical manner.”

Mr. Day left Boston and moved to Santa Fe to change his lifestyle, according to his son Matthew of Harvard.

“He felt the nature of the business was changing, and his brother Tom lived and worked there as a journalist, but what did not change was dad’s overriding interest in people from all walks of life,” Matthew said. “That defined his career and how he viewed the world.”

From 1993 through 1998, Mr. Day was an adjunct professor at the College of Santa Fe, where he advised the student newspaper. He also taught at the University of New Mexico from 1993 to 2000. He was a moderator and producer for KNME-TV, a PBS affiliate in Albuquerque, from 1994 to 2000, and he formed his own company, Daylight Productions, for which he was a documentary producer, writer, and narrator.

In addition to his wife, son Matthew, and brother, Mr. Day leaves another son, Peter of Corvallis, Ore.; a daughter, Sarah of Longmont, Colo.; another brother, James of Berkeley, Calif.; and seven grandchildren.

This summer, Mr. Day’s ashes will be spread off Block Island, R.I., one of his family’s favorite vacation destinations. A celebration of his life in Santa Fe will be announced.

In an interview last June with the Princeton Alumni Weekly, Mr. Day said that “journalism is good for my brain. I’m still curious.” Although his career at one point included getting to eat meals prepared by celebrity chef Julia Child when both were at Channel 2, he said that “what I’ve tried to do all along is to report about real people. I don’t call them ‘ordinary’ because nobody’s ordinary.”

More than a half-century after landing his first reporting job, he could still stay “I love this work,” and retained his belief in the profession.

“We need reporters — people to go out and try to find out what’s going on as best they can, so they can tell other people.”

Postal Service Releases Julia Child and Joyce Chen Stamps

From Boston Magazine – September 25, 2014

‘Celebrity Chefs Forever’ stamp features two Cambridge culinary icons

This Friday (September 26), in a ceremony in Chicago, the United States Postal Service will release its “Celebrity Chefs Forever” series featuring James Beard, Edna Lewis, Felipe Rojas-Lombardi, and two Cambridge culinary icons: Julia Child and Joyce Chen.

Child’s and Chen’s portraits were provided to the Postal Service by the Julia Child Foundation and the Chen family. The stamps were designed by art director Greg Breeding and feature digital illustrations by Jason Seiler, depicting the chefs in a style intended to resemble oil paintings.

CelebrityChefs-Forever-strip5-singles-BGv1-06Julia Child

Child is best known for demystifying French cuisine for an American audience through her two-volume book set, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and extremely popular television shows, The French Chef, Dinner at Julia’s, and the Emmy-winning In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs.

Child filmed episodes of The French Chef through 1966, which earned a Peabody Award and a 1966 Primetime Emmy. In 1981, she co-founded the American Institute of Wine and Food, and a decade later she and Jacques Pépin worked with Boston University to help create a graduate program in gastronomy. In 1996, TV Guide named Child one of the 50 greatest TV stars of all time.

CelebrityChefs-Forever-strip5-singles-BGv1-04Joyce Chen

Joyce Chen might not receive the same attention as Child, but was just as influential, promoting northern-style Chinese cuisine at a time when soy sauce was considered exotic. From her landmark Joyce Chen Restaurant, which opened on Concord Avenue in Cambridge in 1958, to her cookbooks and trailblazing PBS television show, Chen introduced unfamiliar dishes such as Peking duck, moo shu pork, and hot-and-sour soup.

At her restaurant, Chen popularized the now ubiquitous buffet-style dinner service. Through her popular cooking classes and her Joyce Chen Cook Book, she taught hundreds of recipes and as well as tips on proper chopstick usage, the importance of tea, and the preparation of perfect rice. In the decade following, Chen’s cookbook sold more than 70,000 copies.

WGBH eventually asked Chen to host her own show, Joyce Chen Cooks. Filmed in the late 1960s, the show is credited with greatly expanding America’s interest in and knowledge of Chinese food and culture. Chen died of Alzheimer’s disease in Lexington in 1994 and was posthumously included in the James Beard Foundation Hall of Fame.

 

Bob Wilson, Television Photographer

bob-wilson

From the Boston Globe/Legacy.com

WILSON, Robert Nelson Of Cambridge, Tues., Aug. 26.

Devoted husband of Jacqueline (Oxley) Wilson. Beloved father of Tanya Robin Wilson and Justin Oxley Wilson and his wife Ameika Lumley Wilson. Beloved brother of Gary Wilson, Leila Jones, Bertha Alexander, Debra Wilson, and the late Arthur Wilson. Beloved grandfather of Jayla, Chayse, Gavin Wilson and Jayden Lumley. He also leaves a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Bob was a television photographer for WGBH and WCVB.

In lieu of flowers please donate to Wellesley METCO Program Scholarship at 50 Rice Street, Wellesley, MA 02481.

From Jim Boyd, via Olivia Tappan

My heart, thoughts and prayers are with Jackie Wilson and her family today.

We said good-bye yesterday to my long-time good friend Bob Wilson. Services were held at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Cambridge, MA followed by interment at Mt. Auburn Cemetery.

Bob Wilson was a news photographer at WGBH-TV and  WCVB Channel 5 Boston, a US Army Vietnam War era veteran and an avid horseman. His casket was carried by an elegant horse carriage to the cemetery where he received a fitting military salute. It was a heart-warming sendoff for a truly deserving man.

Good-bye Bob Wilson and thank you from the bottom of my heart for the innumerable ways in which you enriched my life.

Julia Child and David Ives to be inducted into the Mass. Broadcasters Hall of Fame

From Lynne Osborne

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 7.29.06 PMThe Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame will be inducting Julia Child and David Ives on Friday, September 12, 2014, at noon at Boston Mariott Quincy.

Other Inductees include Leo Beranek, John Garabedian, Hank Phillipi Ryan, and Bruce Schwoegler. Meet and greet begins at 11:30 a.m.

Reservations made prior to August 1 are $45 per person. Thereafter the price will be $50 per person. For reservations, go to www.massbroadcastershof.org. It is also possible to reserve a table (with 10 seats) if a number of people want to attend and sit together.

Morash to receive Lifetime Achievement Emmy

Russ MorashFrom NATAS via BuzzworthyRadioCast.com

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) announced that Russ Morash, the producer and director of the historic, “The French Chef,” with Julia Child and the creator of “This Old House” and many other iconic public television programs will be honored at the 41st Annual Daytime Creative Arts Emmy® Awards with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Fifty-four years of combined programming, 13 Emmy® Awards, and one groundbreaking career later, the father of how-to TV most emphatically deserves a lifetime achievement award,” said Malachy Wienges, Chairman, NATAS. “I am thrilled that Russ has been chosen as this year’s Lifetime Achievement honoree,” said David Michaels, Senior Executive Producer of the Daytime Emmy® Awards. “This is part of our conscious effort to acknowledge the career contribution of those people who work in the Creative Arts. We couldn’t be happier for him and we’re very excited to be presenting this honor at the Daytime Creative Arts Emmy® Award gala surrounded by all his peers!

“When I first moved from New Zealand to the US almost 30 years ago, the Daytime TV shows that caught my attention were created by Russ Morash,” said Brent Stanton, Executive Director, Daytime Emmy® Awards. “His innovation of using specialists in the role of hosts on such shows as “This Old House,” “The Victory Garden” and “The New Yankee Workshop” helped to pave the way for the proliferation of the Lifestyle genres on television and the internet.”

“As a brilliant creator/producer/director, Russ Morash used his personal passion and love for well prepared food, gardening, home improvement/repair and woodworking to develop a whole new genre of television programs,” said Norm Abram, Master Carpenter, This Old House and Host, The New Yankee Workshop. “Russ always wanted to learn more himself, but more importantly he wanted to share knowledge with others. The experts and craftsmen he featured on the shows he created did just 2 that. Generations have been and will continue learning “how to” thanks to Russ who started it all over 50 years ago with Julia Child.”

Russ Morash

Russ Morash was fresh out of college when he entered the young world of television in 1957. At the time, his employer, Boston’s WGBH, had been on the air for only two years. He immediately put the theater training he’d received at Boston University to work mounting productions and dealing with talent. He knew talent when he saw it, and when he began working with a “strange woman with this strange accent” named, Julia Child, “The French Chef” — and “how-to television” — were born. Over time, Russ’s personal enthusiasms — cooking, gardening, home repair, woodworking — would become, through his choice of talent, tone, and content, America’s first foray into “reality television.”

In 1975, he dragged two huge studio cameras outside to record the first episode of “Crockett’s Victory Garden” in raised beds set up in the station’s parking lot. Three years later, he convinced his bosses to buy a dilapidated Victorian home so that he could document its rehabilitation under the hammer of Norm Abram and the showmanship of Bob Vila. “This Old House” has been running for 35 years and counting!

Part of Russ’s “mad genius,” according to his Emmy® Award-winning cameraman Dick Holden, was to free the TV-making process from as many technical encumbrances as possible, pushing portable cameras and wireless microphones into new areas. “For electronic field camera use, everything we were used to seeing before changed with those shows,” says Holden, “and most of what we see today began then.”

His remarkable success continued with the launch of “The New Yankee Workshop” in 1989 and “Ask This Old House” in 2002. All of Russ’s programs are all based on a simple and revolutionary idea: authentic information, presently clearly by experts themselves. Often, through sheer force of will, he brought these programs into being. He taught and inspired a generation of TV producers who follow in his footsteps. Ultimately, his legacy is generations of TV viewers who value the expertise, work ethic, and skill of craftsmen and women and who know the true value of a job well done.

Pierre Capretz, 89, French in Action creator

Pierre CapretzFrom Current.org

Pierre Capretz, the Yale University French professor who created the quirky and at times controversial WGBH language-learning series French in Action, died April 2 at 89.

Capretz, a French native who moved to the U.S. in 1949, developed the educational foundation for French in Action while teaching at Yale, where he incorporated audio and visual materials into his classes. In 1985, the Annenberg/CPB Project, a learning-media funder formed by CPB and the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communications, funded production of the dramatic, soap-opera–style TV series.

The show followed the romance between an American student studying abroad in Paris and his French love interest. It was filmed in France with native French speakers, including no English.

“At first that kind of surprised a lot of people: how can someone who only speaks English learn French that way?” said Lynn Marie Smith, a senior project officer at the Annenberg/CPB Project and Capretz’s chief contact for the series. “But it started to work.”

Each episode introduced a concept of the French language through dialogue between characters, reinforced by repetition and written classroom assignments. The series of 52 half-hour episodes aired on public TV stations nationwide and was used in French curricula at thousands of colleges.

But the show also provoked debate over its depiction of men and women. Three female students at Yale filed a sexual-harassment grievance with university officials in 1990 over the curriculum, arguing that the program taught phrases to help men pick up women. In addition, the students said the series’ male point of view objectified the body of its female actor.

“I think it caught everybody off guard,” Smith said of the accusations. “I’m as feminist as anyone. I saw it as comedy.”

At the time, Capretz told the New York Times he “wouldn’t change any of it,” but Yale’s French department committee thought differently and ruled that the course material should be changed. The material remained the same, however, after French teachers came to Capretz’s aid. Educators defended the film and its contents and continued to use the curriculum, according to Michele McLeod, senior program officer for content and communications at Annenberg Learner, the successor to the Annenberg/CPB Project.

Capretz, who was also the director of the Yale Language Laboratory, retired from teaching in 2003. He and French in Action’s cast attended a 25th-anniversary reunion of the show at Yale in 2010.

The Victory Garden is back

26shshowaVictory Garden’s edibleFEAST,” a PBS television series debuting locally March 29, aims to be the best of the old and new.

The 13 episodes are a combination of vintage clips from the long-running “The Victory Garden” and new video from Edible Feast, a member of Edible Communities Inc., publishers of “Edible” magazines. The new segments feature Daniel Klein, who introduces viewers to sustainable food practices; the chef also stars in an online weekly documentary called The Perennial Plate, which won a 2013 James Beard award.

The original “Victory Garden,” created by WGBH, aired from 1975 to 2009. The new iteration will feature Klein on the road, from New York to Oregon, harvesting sea urchin or growing shiitake mushrooms. Classic video clips will feature Roger Swain in the garden, advising on planting leeks, differentiating varieties of cherry tomatoes, and more, with Marian Morash in the kitchen preparing vegetable dishes such as rhubarb crisp and Chinese cabbage salad.

“Our hope is to offer existing fans a new take on the series and introduce the next generation of viewers to a more contemporary version of one of television’s most iconic franchises,” says WGBH executive producer Laurie Donnelly.