Saturday, September 15, 2012

Writing assignment #3 (Due Tuesday): Ask for the photo file on a particular person at the Broadcasting Archives (someone you’ve read about or just a name at random), explore the contents (sometimes more than photos), do some research and write about that person or the event depicted. Be sure you’ve picked an interesting photo and describe it well. (250-350 words; 2-3 secondary sources. Include a copy of one of the photos).


  1. For the photograph assignment, an image that stuck out to me was one of Ed Sullivan. Before by research, I did not know much about Sullivan, except for what my dad told me. He said that he and his family would always watch his show together and it’s where he saw the Beatles for the first time. From this I was under the impression that Ed Sullivan was “the man” and wildly popular back in his day. The picture I found only reinforced what I heard about him as he was surrounded by 6 beautiful women dressed in what must have been racy attire for the time period.
    This photograph really spoke to me in reaffirming everything I imagined Sullivan was. His program, “The Ed Sullivan Show,” basically showed the country what bands were popular and what was cool. His show attracted some of the biggest names in the history of music including Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, and The Jackson 5 (The Ed Sullivan Show). He also had comedians like Richard Pryor and Rodney Dangerfield and even Broadway musicals such as My Fair Lady and West Side Story (The Ed Sullivan Show).
    Unlike shows today where the host does nothing much behind the scenes, Sullivan was very much involved with the production of the show. “Sullivan became talent scout and cultural commissar for the entire country, introducing more than 10,000 performers throughout his career” (Simon, Ron.) “What distinguished Sullivan from other variety hosts was the ability to capitalize on teenage obsession. His introduction of rock 'n' roll not only brought the adolescent subculture into the variety fold but also legitimized the music for the adult sensibility.” (Simon, Ron).

    Simon, Ron. "THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW - The Museum
    of Broadcast Communications." The
    Museum of Broadcast Communications. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2012. .

    "The Ed Sullivan Show - Official Website for DVD's, CD's & Videos."
    N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2012. .

  2. For the photo assignment, I also chose a picture featuring Ed Sullivan. Aside him in the photo is Ray Bloch, the theme music producer of “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and Carol Lawrence, a musical theatre actress who also appeared on television. In the picture Bloch is standing to the right of Lawrence holding what appears to be a sheet of music notes. Sullivan is standing to the left of Lawrence looking over her shoulder at the sheet as if he is about to say something. Lawrence is looking at the sheet of music intently as if she is reading it while Bloch looks at Lawrence explaining something to her.

    It seems like the picture I stumbled across is a pre-show rehearsal of some sort for “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Bloch worked on the show and Lawrence appeared on the show several times to perform her Broadway musical on stage. I liked this picture because each person looks very serious in his or her own way, which was probably the norm gearing up for the show. Bloch seems to be showing Lawrence something about the notes of music whole Sullivan is making a movement as if he is also about to say something about it. In a way, Lawrence seems to be a bit overwhelmed in the photo because she has her hand on her chest with a concerned look. “The Ed Sullivan Show” was a huge hit back in the day (1948-1971) and Carol Lawrence was a big time Broadway musician at the time. The show featured several prominent stars of the day including The Beatles, Elvis, and the Jackson 5 (The Ed Sullivan Show). While I have only seen a few “The Ed Sullivan Show” episodes, this photo gave me a visual of what it was like to rehearse for the show and all the hard work that goes into making a show of this nature work.

    In addition, Bob Dylan left the show in 1963 instead of changing his song choice during the rehearsal like he was asked to do. He said he wanted to do only one song and because he was denied that chance he left the show. Looking at the photo makes me believe that Carol Lawrence was more overwhelmed than I originally thought.

    "The Ed Sullivan Show - Official Website for DVD's, CD's & Videos."
    N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Sept. 2012.

    "This Day in History - May 16, 1963 Bob Dylan walks out on The Ed Sullivan Show" N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Sept. 2012.

  3. The picture I chose to write about was a photograph of a young, glamouros, Betty White. I've always thought she was hilarious, but I have only been exposed to her as a "Grandmother of Television."

    In the picture, she is young, vibrant, and pretty beautiful. She is wearing a long dress which was the standard back then, and was posing like It was a of some sort. Being that this was a head-shot, I started to wonder about her career prior to "Golden Girls" which is the show that introduced my generation to White.

    It turns out that Betty started out in radio in the 1940's before her TV career started in 1949 on a variety show. The 50's she was the star of a spin-off show and became a household name THEN. I was really surprised she's been a household name for over 60 years. She then had a role in '72 before her time as a Golden Girl. That show ended in 1992 and that;s when my generation started catching the re-runs.

    I also found out that even before her career in Radio, she actually modeled! It's so hard to picture someone that we have known from her senior years as almost like a pin-up girl. It is easy to tell from the picture however, she has a pretty smile, and you can get a sense of her energy. The photo does not have much detail about where she is exactly (Probably in a photo studio) but it does offer some insight to the career of a TV legend.

  4. I chose a photo of Bill Cosby for this photograph assignment. I feel like I know a lot about Bill Cosby already, religiously watching re runs of the Cosby Show in my youth and also watching his stand ups and always being a fan of his work. This particular photo is of him in his prime TV days, or it least it looks like it because he is far past his youthful stand up days, yet he doesn’t look as old as he does today. It wouldn’t be Bill Cosby if he didn’t have on a sweater vest, although this one is very plain for his standards.

    The most interesting part of this whole picture to me is that he is wearing five watches on his left wrist as he lays his head on his left hand as he gives a closed mouth smile. I was wondering what the significance could be of the five watches, and then I came up with Bill Cosby has five children in real life, and also five children in the Cosby Show, so I think each watch represents one of his children because he has to watch and spend equal time with all of his children. Either way this picture represents classic classy Bill Cosby with his easy yet comedic look either during the end of the Bill Cosby show ended in 1992, or right after if I had to guess.

    "10 Kinda Fun Facts About 'The Cosby Show'" The Root. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2012. .

    "Bill Cosby Biography." A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2012. .

  5. The subject that is depicted in the photo is Matt Frewer. His claim to fame is being the man who was Max Headroom in 1980’s TV shows. The photo was taken just before the debut of his character, which is a computer program of a person who was an investigative reporter who became a computer simulation.
    This photo of Frewer demonstrates a slightly egotistical side of Frewer, which was the element that was a key component to Max Headroom’s popularity. His character was a spoof of traditional newscasters. He had the ego that was commonly associated with newscasters, as he was one himself before he became the computer program.
    Max Headroom was a program that also featured an interesting narrative structure. The program was known for the jolted, skewed audio from Max Headroom. The audio would cut out, repeat, switch to something completely then back to what it was originally, or go very low and/or high without warning. The background of the show remained the same throughout, with a background of rotating colored tubes.
    Everything on the show was created with computer generated images or prosthetic make up. It was one of the first shows to feature computer generated images for the entire show. With this technology, Max Headroom became one of the most recognizable faces in television in the 1980’s.
    Continuing with the digital nature of the show, the character was brought back for a series of advertisements about Britain’s Channel 4 receiving a digital makeover. Frewer came back and sported the character again to create the advertisements, to illustrate the digital application of the channel.

  6. I knew Kate Smith as the woman who sang “God Bless America” at Philadelphia Flyers home games in the 1970s before a big game. What I didn’t know was that she recorded over 3000 songs, made more than 15,000 radio broadcasts, and had her own television show in the 1950s.

    Smith was singing by the age of five and when her father realized her passion, he stuck her in nursing school at George Washington University Hospital. After a short time there, she landed on Broadway, where Ted Collins from Columbia Records saw her sing and immediately wanted to sign her. In 1931, Kate Smith started a nightly 15-minute radio broadcast and by 1950 she started a 5-year run on television with “The Kate Smith Show.” Collins always stuck by Kate and helped her gain the self-confidence she needed in a world where looks are everything. A lot of people thought they were married, but both denied the claim.

    The picture I chose was Kate Smith and Ted Collins on the set of her television show because of her clear prominence in a time where women (especially bigger women) were not in broadcasting. She was able to take her singing talent and transition from radio to television. Smith’s name stuck out to me when searching for a picture because I knew her as the woman who brought the Flyers wins, and I realized there must be more to her if she’s in the broadcasting archives. And she was much more than that.

    Smith embodied American and patriotism when she sang “God Bless America” and “President Roosevelt once introduced her to King George VI of England, saying: “This is Kate Smith. Miss Smith is America.’”

  7. Speaking of Max Headroom, there was an infamous broadcast intrusion featuring a guy dressed as Max Headroom:

  8. The photo depicts Eddie Cantor, an NBC comedian, broadcaster, dancer, singer and performer. It was taken in 1946, after Cantor had established himself with several shows through television and broadcast. This photo was taken while he was doing “The Eddie Cantor Show” through NBC. The photo itself is obviously done in the style of a portrait and is black and white per the constraint of the era.

    An important point of interest is Cantor’s expression, specifically his eyes. While Cantor is dressed and groomed neatly, his expression is highly exaggerated, with extremely wide eyes and a huge open-mouth grin on his face, almost like a cartoon. The display is for comedic effect, and very common in photographs of Cantor. His wide eyes, so often used in his comedy and dance shows, became a signature of his, eventually earning him the nick name “Banjo Eyes” ( Over a dozen photographs found at depict Cantor grinning, gasping, peering around microphones and so on with the same comedic wide eyes.

    While researching Cantor I found he was one of the first comedians to do vaudeville, and one of the final to incorporate blackface humor. I thought I was interesting that the smile in the photo—so big and over the top, is a traditional trait of black face performers, and often a stereotypical trait in early American depictions of black people. That smile is a recognizable trait in both vaudeville and blackface, and some—vaudeville film enthusiast Alan Vanneman, with for example—have called blackface a “trademark”. It is interesting to consider these ties.

    Cantor was 50 years old at the time of this photograph, the details list the NBC program he was on, but he was also doing the vaudeville program “Time to Smile” in blackface (;Go=Browse;&image=22.021 (PHOTO)

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  10. The picture I chose to study was from the syndicated TV series Lassie. What drew my eye to this picture was the fact that it was so unscripted. In this picture Jon Provost is playing Timmy, the secondary character to Lassie, and George Chandler is playing Ruth Martin. Lassie the dog is included and a cat is there too. When looking through all of the photos from the Lassie file I noticed that all of them seemed posed and set up except this one. This photo seemed to be a real moment, captured between takes.

    Lassie was first invented in 1938 as a short story for the Saturday Evening Post according to the Museum of Broadcast Communications website. Two years later, it says, Lassie was released as a book. It goes on to say that in 1943 MGM released it as a motion picture and it was so popular that it spanned 6 sequels and became a TV show in 1954.

    One of the greatest ruses of the Lassie show is that even though the character of the dog is a presumed to be female, the dog itself is actually male according to Only one time, it says, was a female dog considered for the role, and that was for the film Lassie Come Home. However, continues the MBC description, the female Lassie refused to negotiate the rushing rapids of a river and a male dog would, so the female dog was ousted from the role all together and given to the dog “Pal” of dog trainer Rudd Weatherwax.

    It’s amazing that these dogs were so well trained for the role of Lassie. I am not surprised that a male dog was given the role of Lassie though. I think that as the owner of 5 dogs (3 females and 2 males) male dogs are usually better behaved and more outgoing than females.

  11. One of the most recognized weathermen America has ever seen, Al Roker is a television icon. Though his career was launched well before 1996, it was that year when he started as weatherman on NBC’s Today show, putting him at the forefront of news entertainment.

    Roker was born in 1954 in Queens, N.Y. He studied communications at college in Oswego, N.Y., and from there he reported the weather in Ohio and D.C. before returning to his home state. He worked his way up through various networks before landing himself at NBC.

    Since gaining recognition, Roker has taken on the role of producer for television shows on a variety of networks including PBS, MSNBC and CNBC. The nine-time Emmy winner has even starred more recently on his own Food Network series, Roker on the Road. He has also published five acclaimed books.

    After battling with obesity for many years, Roker underwent a very public gastric bypass surgery in 2002. He dropped 100 pounds in eight months.

    Roker currently has a weekday morning show on The Weather Channel.


  12. I chose to research a picture of Alex Trebek. He was hosting an episode of the National Geographic Bee. I found this curious because I am secretly a Jeopardy! nerd and that is the only way I know him. The picture was black and white, Alex had dark hair and still had his mustache, so I knew the picture had to be old. I wanted to know what Alex had been up to besides Jeopardy.
    I found that he began hosting Jeopardy since 1984. However, that isn’t the first show on which he appeared. Alex first joined the Canadian Broadcasting Company in 1961. From there he went on to host many game shows. I haven’t even heard of most of them! Maybe it was because they were before my time, but it was interesting to read this. It really put it into perspective that people in the media definitely have to “earn their dues.” The National Geographic Bee is not one of his most talked about shows. I wasn’t able to find a definitive year, but I think he’s been its host since 1989 when it started.
    For some reason, I want to compare Alex to Ryan Seacrest. While they are not on the same playing field, each personality holds their own on TV. Ryan Seacrest has done so may projects and shows that it’s hard to keep track of. Alex Trebek is the same way; his résumé is a thousand miles long. From what I’ve seen, he is very good at anything he does, just like Seacrest. He knows what mannerisms and voice style works for him and he runs with it. No wonder so many people wanted him to host their game shows!

  13. Charlotte Garnett
    September 16, 2012
    Photo Assignment

    For the photo assignment I chose a picture of Betty White. It was a beautiful black and white picture that showed White in her younger, youthful days. Most of the photos in the section were basically headshots of the actress, so there wasn’t an image of an event to write about. I chose to stick with on of White’s headshot photo for this assignment rather than looking for an event because I was so amazed at how beautiful she was when she was younger, since I’m so used to seeing the older Betty White on reruns of The Golden Girls.
    White is an actress, singer, comedian, and television personality whose career has lasted over seven decades. She’s best known for her roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which she won two Emmy awards and The Golden Girls, which she won another Emmy for. White has been nominated 20 times for an Emmy award alone, and has won seven of them thus far.
    In 2010, White, who’s nearly 91, became the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live. She once said during an interview that hosting SNL was one of the scariest things she has ever done and although the material was funny stuff, it was still hard work and a challenge. Besides acting, White is an animal-rights activist and author. She’s written several books in the 80s and 90s and has done plenty of charity work, which is why she’s still acting at the age of 91. White told The Hollywood Reporter, “I have to keep acting so that I can afford to keep doing my charity work!”