Talk shows through the ages

A. Joseph Ross
Wed Aug 29 02:20:50 EDT 2007

On 28 Aug 2007 at 15:32, Roger Kirk wrote:

> Harvard Business School bio of Alexander M. Poniatoff states that
> Ampex produced the first Magnetic Tape Recorder in 1948. (Model 200,

Sounds about right.  In "As Long as They're Laughing," by Robert 
Dwan, his memoire of 14-years as director of Groucho Marx's "You Bet 
Your Life" quiz show, Dwan describes how Groucho's show benefited by 
Bing Crosby's interest in taping his show.  The major networks at the 
time were obsessed with doing live programming and wouldn't even 
allow recorded news footage.  Recording at the time was by phonograph-
type transcription.  

Bing Crosby wanted to pre-record his show, and when NBC wouldn't 
allow it, he took his show to ABC, a struggling network which, to get 
a star as big as Bing, was more than willing to let him pre-record 
his show.  When Groucho's show started on ABC, the idea of pre-
recording was no longer an issue at ABC because of Bing.

"You Bet Your Life" started in fall 1947, pre-recording by 
transcription.  Later, when magnetic tape came out, Bing Crosby asked 
ABC to get tape equipment.  When ABC was jittery about the financial 
stability of Ampex, Bing wrote a $50,000 check to Ampex.  And when 
ABC got tape equipment for Bing, they also got it for Groucho.

A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                           617.367.0468
 92 State Street, Suite 700                   Fax 617.507.7856
Boston, MA 02109-2004           

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