Oldest known surviving color “Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” (Aug. 24, 1964) found, restored.

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by AKA, Aug 23, 2018.

  1. AKA

    AKA Cromulent Member Thread Starter

    I know there’s a Carson thread already, but I think this discovery deserves its own.

    DC Video Restores Rare 1964 Color Tonight Show

    DC Video Restores Rare 1964 Color Tonight Show

    DC Video has recovered and restored a very rare color videotape of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson that aired on August 24, 1964. This appears to be the oldest surviving color videotape anywhere of Johnny Carson, surpassing the Stan Zabka color recording by approx 6 days. Additionally, this videotape consists of the program open, full monologue and approx 1 hour of the show.

    The challenge with this tape recovery was that the record machine was using the low-band monochrome standard, a mode designed for black & white video, not color. However, using the third-generation Ampex AVR-1 for the playback yielded an excellent color picture with sound despite the bandwidth limitations of the low-band mono standard.

    Additionally, this tape was recorded via a TV antenna off-the-air. Miscellaneous video noise and extraneous impulse spikes were recorded with the video but the AVR-1 handled these errors with its full one-line buffer aka time base corrector.

     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
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  2. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Wow! It looks terrific! They did an outstanding job transferring and restoring it!
     
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  3. AKA

    AKA Cromulent Member Thread Starter

    How did one make off-air TV recordings in 1964, @Vidiot?
     
  4. DaveySR

    DaveySR Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Fantastic. No Doc! And, this post is just in time for its 54th Anniversary tomorrow, which is also a Friday.
     
  5. hbbfam

    hbbfam Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chandler,AZ
    Where is Ed?
     
  6. gates69

    gates69 Music Junkie

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Very cool
     
  7. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    WOW! that's excellent!
     
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  8. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Any idea how to access the whole thing?
     
  9. Mirrorblade.1

    Mirrorblade.1 Forum Resident

    That is weird .
     
  10. Hanglow

    Hanglow Forum Resident

    Location:
    Saratoga New York
    Ampex released the world’s first magnetic tape video recorder, the VRX-1000, in April 1956, with a price
    tag of 50 grand,they weren't in many homes back in the 50's.......:winkgrin: Sony put out the first home model
    in '64, but still few people could afford it back then.
     
  11. AKA

    AKA Cromulent Member Thread Starter

     
  12. goodiesguy

    goodiesguy Sing for us Kiri

    Location:
    New Zealand
    A shame they didn't upload it in 50 or 6op, so it's sadly de-interlaced.

    Otherwise though it looks very good! Thought you can of course see a bit of analogue ghosting to the right of everything, due to the way it was recorded OTA.
     
  13. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    Shivvers. Down the spine. Damn stable picture.

    Where was Johnny? Anthony Perkins did a great monologue for him, though...
     
  14. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    They discovered many years ago that some B&W 2" videotape recorders actually captured the colorburst signal on color TV broadcasts and closed-circuit feeds. In some cases, you can recover enough of the colorburst to reconstitute the original color in the broadcast, though the image does need some adjustment and (of course) has to be played back on a color VTR.

    You always had the ability to record anything on a VTR, even going back to 1956, when they were invented. So if you feed the machine an off-air tuner, it could technically record off-air TV stations.

    All that is fixable if they wanna spend a lotta time and money.
     
  15. halfjapanese

    halfjapanese Gifs moider!

  16. longdist01

    longdist01 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    This is a really great find, Johnny is amazing!
     
  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    Johnny is so young and bouncy here. Like I used to watch him on "Who Do You Trust" when I was very young. Also, interesting camera technique during his opening. The camera is not on him, it's over on the side, watching him work the audience. Such a different approach from the Burbank era. I'm bettin' that a guest on the show that night had this recorded. It's not an NBC aircheck. Someone with bucks taped this.
     
  18. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    And one more question for the experts. Listen to the sound. It's hi-fi. It does NOT sound like it came over the coax cable from New York. No way in hell. So no aircheck of this show done in Los Angeles could have captured that sound. Not possible. It doesn't have that AM radio sound that tapes recorded for later broadcast on the alternate coast have.

    So, where did this come from really? If the show was in New York, it came from there. Had to.
     
  19. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    :idea: I'm gonna say it...:D

    I did. not.know. that...that is wild, weird stuff, Vidiot...!
     
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  20. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
    That’s amazing. I love that set, and his suit too. Midcentury class!

    He does have a lot of energy here. Young and spry. I like the kind of edge and energy the NYC shows had compared to Burbank. Such a shame more tapes didn’t survive.

    dan c
     
  21. jjh1959

    jjh1959 Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Charles, MO
    Maybe Sinatra Senior had it recorded for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra appearance and Frank Jr. He could afford it.
     
  22. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Ya-ha! That was a funny jolk. Mmmmmm.

    They did "theoretically" have AAA phone lines that supposedly had bandwidth to 15kHz, so it's possible that KNBC was using those from NYC. A lot of younger viewers forget that for decades, the audio on network feeds really sounded poor in most cities, usually with a lot of noise and grunge in there (and AM-like frequency response).
     
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  23. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    They weren't. I did so many high school and college field trips to NBC "Color City" in Burbank, I can safely tell you that the sound coming from New York via the line even in the 1970s was AM sounding.
     
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  24. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    So the question remains where the videotape was made. Only David Crossthwaite (the guy at DC Video in Burbank who just played back the tape a few days ago) might have an idea. For all we know, maybe it was made in NYC but wound up in LA decades later.
     
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  25. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    Maybe they had to use both lines, one for the feed, and the other for a feed back to NYC? I've done that myself, from Disneyland, while doing remote casts from Bakersfield. AT&T gives us two lines (supposedly for bandwidth, but we would use one to feed my Bakersfield station's air signal into my headset in Anaheim; the other phone signal goes out from L.A. to Bakersfield's radio console. Now, if I wanted to forego the live monitoring, and trust the guy running the show back home, I can use both lines for full fidelity, and send my breaks to him, so he could play them back at the right time.
     

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