What's My Line?

Season 18 Episode 2

EPISODE #830

0
Aired Daily 12:00 AM Sep 11, 1966 on CBS

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  • Notes

    • It may have been a very fortuitous move that only the black and white kinescopes were saved. Unless great care had been taken, color videotape masters from that time might have deteriorated to such a point that they would be unusable. The WML kinescopes on film, while only in B/W, will be archivally stable for a long time to come. As far as I know, the earliest surviving color videotape is the television special "An Evening with Fred Astaire" from the Autumn of 1958. As for the late 1930s-era color movies from Hollywood, many of them were filmed on 35mm film, so the color is just fine, pristine even. If taken care of properly, color videotape can last a decently long time, but not as long as film. Videotape sheds magnetic particles, and it can shrink or expand, depending on temperature and humidity variables. Film that is in poor condition can be restored so as to be presentable, while videotape usually can not. "Old-fashioned" photographic film is still the most stable medium there is for preserving images, both moving and still. There are early Thomas Edison films from a century ago that use paper-based negatives, and they look just fine. The newer digital computer imaging techniques are even susceptible to degradation. Some of the early Disney Pixar digital films from as recently as the mid-1990s are already showing signs of deterioration. Early NASA videotapes and magnetic data tapes from the 1960s (showing images of the moon, Mars, etc.) have mostly deteriorated to such an extent that they are useless, because they weren't properly stored. Also, the National Archives has large amounts of data on earlier digital media (floppy discs, OCR discs, etc. from the 1970s - 1980s) that are useless, mainly because the hardware to play them on has disappeared. It's a big problem for archivists. Those WML kinescopes may look primitive to us, but for the most part, we have a fairly complete record of the show. If they had decided to spring for the more expensive videotaping (which started to become common circa 1960) we might not have the fun of staying up late and watching the WML gang having a blast. Early videotape reels were often used over and over again, simply because a reel of Ampex or Scotch videotape back in those days cost the station the equivalent of several hundred dollars. The result was that large amounts of rare studio archives got sadly erased in the process. - Gregory Morrow (2004)

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