Friday, July 04, 2008

Flashback Friday – Behind the scenes

The summer of 1957 was special in my life. I was a volunteer at KQED TV in San Francisco. The station was at 4th and Bryant streets in an old warehouse
I took a Greyhound bus from Orinda to San Francisco in the early afternoons and walked from 7th Street down to the station. My duties were varied. I helped with setting up for shows, painted black and white posters telling about programs, and pulled the cables behind the huge cameras during the live programs. I was a general gofer.

One evening, I didn’t move fast enough and was trapped behind the Japanese Brush Painting set when the program went on the air. I couldn’t move or cough or sneeze when the camera started shooting. I stood very still for the whole half hour.
1957: Artist Takahiko Mikami’s series “Japanese Brush Painting” was one of KQED’s first successful series. The program achieved national distribution.

KQED Archive photos used with one time limited permission granted by Jay Yamada (unofficial KQED historian).

To see more archive photos go to:

You never knew what was going to happen when you went on the air live. The station had egg cartons affixed on all the walls for sound baffles. There were signs in the bathrooms which said “Do Not Flush During Broadcast.”

The station tried out for a Ford Foundation grant that summer. The local program “Dramatic Reading” directed by Robert Hagopian was kinescoped so a copy could be sent to the foundation. I tried out and was chosen.

The readings were from Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. Despite the fact that I was very young, I was given the part of Elsa Wertman, an older woman. I did not photograph well on TV so I determined right then that I could not be a TV actress.

Me in 1957.

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Blogger Vicky aka stichr said...

I love your flashbacks Christine!

Did you yawn while reading? I always start yawning when I am reading out loud, it's rather funny!

11:01 AM  
Blogger Tanya said...

What an interesting life you've had! How the world has changed but how modern and amazing the technology must have seemed back then even with the huge cameras and cables running all over the studios! Lovely picture of you!

9:01 PM  
Blogger meggie said...

I think you look lovely in the photo- much prettier than some other actresses who made it in that era!
Yes, you have had a very interesting life.

1:12 AM  
Blogger Tanya Brown said...

These are some great yarns. More, please.

12:38 AM  
Blogger Jeanne Turner McBrayer said...

You are an excellent story-teller! You looked just fine in your photo! Thanks for sharing some of your experiences.

6:28 PM  
Blogger jpsam said...

Another fascinating Friday Flashback! Looking forward to the next...

9:16 AM  
Blogger blackbearcabin said...

what a fun flashback...i loved the part about you getting stuck behind the painter during a live shoot, hehehehe! The photos are great too!
thanks for sharing!

6:08 AM  
Blogger Dave Ames said...

Enjoyed this. I was a volunteer at KQED as a high school, college student from 1957 - 1960. The first job Bob Hagopian assigned me to was glueing cardboard egg crate seperators to the walls after dunking them in fire retardant. Japanese Brush Painting with T. Mikami was one of the first shows I worked on.

8:40 PM  

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