Lost

May 26, 2010

TO: Those Listed Below

FROM: James A. Glenn
               Director, [NBC] Television Network Operations

DATE: April 22, 1958

RE: KINE RECORDING

……………………………..

2. [NBC's Hollywood studios] will make a videotape of all daytime shows, but will have no kine back-up for any of these shows including Today.

……………………………..

7. Kine re-recordings from videotape can be made on order.  However, because of the scarcity of tape, Hollywood finds it necessary to erase and re-use this tape as soon as practicable in order to meet the requirements of their work-load.  They will erase such tapes within 48 hours following broadcast unless they are notified in sufficient time to prevent tape erasure.

*

Mr. Aaron Rubin
National Broadcasting Corporation
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York 20, New York

January 13, 1961

Dear Mr. Rubin -

Danny Welles asked me to write and officially tell you that you can wipe our FORD STARTIME TALENT SCOUTS color tape.  It is okay, since we will have no use for it in the future.

Sincerely,

Irving Mansfield

*

TO: Mr. Alan B. Fendrick

FROM: Douglas Lutz

DATE: November 18, 1963

RE: DUPONT SHOW OF THE WEEK
        Tape Retention

The Talent Administration and Legal Departments have completed their investigations, and have commented on our recommendation to erase some of the old DUPONT SHOW OF THE WEEK programs.

The following programs may now be erased.

               THE BATTLE OF THE PAPER BULLETS
               WONDERFUL WORLD OF TOYS
               TRICK OR TREASON
               HOLLYWOOD, MY HOME TOWN (Ken Murray)
               THE FORGERY
               THE ACTION IN NEW ORLEANS
               A SOUND OF HUNTING
               THE MOVIE STAR
               THE RICHEST MAN IN BOGOTA

All other programs in the DUPONT SHOW OF THE WEEK series must be retained.

*

TO: Joseph Hewes

FROM: Robert J. Dunne

DATE: June 7, 1973

RE: Tape Retention

This Department has no objection to erasing the 17 reels of Ford Startime and the 29 reels of Sunday Showcase currently being stored at NBC.

*

The text above has been excerpted verbatim from NBC correspondence and internal memoranda.  Kinescopes of some, but by no means all, of the television shows mentioned still exist.  In many cases those kinescopes are monochrome recordings of programs created in color.  The Sunday Showcase segment “What Makes Sammy Run” is an example of a color show for which the original tape is presumed to have been erased, and of which only a black-and-white print survives.

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2 Responses to “Lost”

  1. Phil Says:

    These erasures are tragic, and a similar thing happened in the UK. It is ironic that videotape, which in recent times we considered to be an ideal archive medium, was originally so expensive that it was not seen as a viable archival medium.

  2. Jeff Wildman Says:

    We are all aware of the shameful destruction of broadcast history, but seeing these actual memos really drives home the total lack of foresight or regard for these now historic programs. The dismissive comment from Irving Mansfield re Ford Startime “It is okay, since we will have no use for it in the future” says it all about the prevailing attitude at the time.


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