2 Introduction
3 Stations
4 Pittsburgh
5 Programming
7 Finale
8 Legacy
9 Others
10 Links
11 Bibliography
12 Feedback
13 More Feedback
14 Programs (A-L)
15 Programs (M-Z)
16 News and Sports
17 Electronicam
20 MBC
21 Rocky King
22 Locations
23 Affiliates (1949)
24 A Trail of Bleached Bones
25 More Bleached Bones
26 Notes on Bleached Bones
27 WDTV's Log Books

Appendix Four: Electronicam

One of DuMont's remaining legacies, and the subject of many questions, can be found at the end of the 39 “classic” filmed episodes of The Honeymooners. (These should not be confused with the so-called Lost Episodes unearthed in the 1980's, which are kinescopes from Jackie Gleason's early years at CBS, and bear no relation to DuMont. The filmed episodes themselves also did not air on the DuMont network, but were filmed by DuMont for CBS.)

At the end of these episodes, filmed in 1955, the following notation can be seen in the credits:

Filmed On The
T-V Film System

Electronicam was an innovative device. By combining a "live" TV camera and a film camera in the same mechanism, it became possible to shoot the show "live" and film it at the same time. The filmed version of the show, intended for reruns, could then be edited using the kinescoped version as a guide. DuMont spent quite a bit of time and money on this invention, which was intended to eliminate the need for kinescopes.

Electronicam, however, came too late to rescue DuMont. The network was already failing (Art Carney's hilarious "Captain Video" schtick on the first filmed Honeymooners episode came literally within weeks of DuMont's demise), and videotape made its debut the following year, rendering Electronicam obsolete.

Dicky Howett, of Britain's Golden Age Television, has recently published an article with a footnoted reference to the British film industry's experience with DuMont television cameras. Here is an excerpt, published with his permission:

The British film industry too was becoming interested in the possibilities of using video. Rank considered producing films using telerecording (kinescope) techniques. It was a bold measure, with the promise of a quick turnaround and the enticing prospect of cutting studio costs. Bill Vinten (of the Vinten Company), who was a cameraman at the time, recalls that Rank shipped from America a trio of DuMont TV cameras. These cameras used early three-inch Image Orthicon pick-up tubes and had four-lense turrets. To record the TV image, a 35mm back-projector was modified and positioned to fit in front of a TV monitor. Apparently, results were atrocious. The DuMont TV cameras weren't really up to it. The tubes were not easy to light for, all halos and crushed whites. Also, the image would stick on the tube from time to time. However, Bill Vinten completed a 35-minute children's film called "Mr. Marionette" using just one of the TV cameras, and editing it like an ordinary film.

Go to Appendix Five: UCLA

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