Tag Archives: the crew

Bob Carroll Jr.- Man, I Love This Guy’s Look

10 Aug

He was born Robert Gordon Carroll on August 12, 1918 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. During his childhood, his family moved to Florida, California and then back to Florida, where Carroll went to Petersburg Junior College. 1940, while recovering from a hip injury, Carroll heard about a radio sponsored script writing contest, and with nothing else to go, he gave it a shot and won!

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He moved to California and his brother-in-law helped him get a job at the front desk of CBS Radio where he worked his way up the ladder to the publicity department, and from there to writer. There he met and partnered with Madelyn Pugh. The team was writing on the Steve Allen radio show when they set their sights on the opportunity to write for the new Lucille Ball program. They paid Allen to write his own show that week and submitted a script for My Favorite Husband. They got hired on under Jess Oppenheimer and wrote there for 2 ½ years. When Ball took her show on the road to convince CBS to hire Desi, Carroll and Pugh helped develop that vaudeville act, and the duo would stay on with them when it came time to produce ILL.

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Carroll, along with his partner, wrote for many other Ball shows as well as other series such as The Paul Lynde Show, Alice and The Mothers-in-Law. Not much is documented about his private life. He was married and divorced twice and had 1 daughter, Christina.

Carroll died on January 27, 2007.

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Miss Madelyn Pugh

8 Jun

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Madelyn Pugh was born on March 15, 1921 in Indianapolis, Indiana. She started writing for her high school’s newspaper with classmate Kurt Vonnegut. She later graduated from Indiana University with a major in journalism.

She moved to California and started writing for NBC and then CBS where she met Bob Carroll Jr. where they began the start of their 50-year partnership. Pugh was often the only female writer on staff and credited the war effort for a lot of her opportunities as there were less male writers available. Pugh and Carroll submitted a spec script for My Favorite Husband and soon started writing it under Jess Oppenheimer. When MFH turned into I Love Lucy, Ball and Oppenheimer brought Pugh and Carroll on staff. The team continued their loyal friendship with Ball, going on to write The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here’s Lucy, and Life with Lucy.

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Pugh married Quinn Martin on December 24, 1955 and had 1 son, Michael. Martin and Pugh divorced on November 21, 1960. She later met Dr. Richard Davis and married on May 30th, 1964 until his death. Pugh would then be credited as Madelyn Davis.

Pugh died at the age of 90, on April 20, 2011.

 

Interview with the ILL Director of Photography

30 Mar

Cinematographer Karl Freund did an interview with Art Photography Magazine in 1953 (Vol. 4 No. 6-54) talking about working on ILL. I don’t think my paraphrasing would do him any justice so I thought I’d just post the whole thing for some fun behind the scenes info. You can read it below: 

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Today, many of the initial difficulties we’ve experienced have, to some extent, been solved, but we still remain in the infancy of a fascinating new entertainment medium. There are formidable problems ahead, all of which will be conquered in due time. As for myself, I have enormously enjoyed being a part of the team which has already overcome some of the preliminary hurdles.

The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz show was a challenge from the start. It was decided that, for the first time, TV cameras would be replaced with three motion picture cameras to allow more flexibility in editing and to improve the photographic quality over kinescope recording.

This, I felt, was a legitimate approach to the situation. I expected very little variation from the ritual of photographing regular motion pictures — but I had not taken into consideration the unique problems involved. I was soon to be faced with them.

First of all, a live show requires an audience. This necessitated a regular studio sound stage equipped with bleachers to hold some 300 people. Above the stage a series of directional microphones and loud speakers had to be installed.

To give the audience a clear view of the program, and to allow the cameras total mobility without interference from floor cables, the lights for the sets had to be placed above the stage.

It became obvious almost at once that the overhead light placement was hardly flattering to the photographing of the performers. While the print value seemed up to par when projected in a studio projection room, they showed too much contrast when viewed over a closed TV circuit. Thus, we were faced with the fact that the greatest difference between standard motion pictures technique and TV films is the subject lighting contrast, which is required.

The immediate question was what method we should use to obtain the desired compression in the positive print. The solution was fairly simple.

After careful survey, we selected a method that would involve no departure from standard practice in processing laboratory operations. That is, in exposing the original negative, use a subject lighting contrast considerable lower than that normally used for conventional black and white motion picture photography and process both the negative and print in the normal way.

It requires four days to line up each weekly show of “I Love Lucy” and “Our Miss Brooks.” Two of these days are for rehearsals. At the end of the second day the cameraman sees a run-through during which he can make notes and sketches of positions to be covered by the cameras and instructs the electrical crew as to where lights are to be placed. The last two days are occupied by rehearsals with cameras.

Since a show with audience participation must go on at a specified time, this schedule must be religiously adhered to by everyone concerned, including the cast. An hour and a half is the actual shooting time.

To film each show we use three BNC Mitchell cameras with T-stop calibrated lenses on dollies. The middle camera usually covers the long shot using 28mm. to 50mm. lenses. The two close-up cameras, 75 to 90 degrees apart from the center camera, are equipped with 3″ to 4″ lenses, depending on the requirements for coverage.

The only floor lights used are mounted on the bottom of each camera dolly and above each lens. They are controlled by dimmers.

There is a crew of four men to each camera: the cameraman, his assistant, a “grip” and a “cable man.” Unlike TV, where one man generally handles the camera movements and views the results immediately, this technique requires absolute coordination between members of the crew.

Every movement of each dolly is marked on the floor for every scene. And since all the movements of the camera are cued from the monitor box, the entire crew works from an intercom system.

As for myself, I utilize a two-circuit intercom. This allows me to talk separately to the monitor booth and the camera crew on one; the electricians handling the dimmers and the switchboard on the other.

Retakes, a standard procedure on the Hollywood scene, are not desirable in making TV films with audience participation. Dubbed-in laughs are artificial and, consequently, used only in emergencies. Close-ups, another routine step in standard film-making, were discarded since such glamour treatment stood out like a sore thumb.

The public acceptance of “I Love Lucy” and “Our Miss Brooks” has been a source of great inspiration for me. The challenge has been a real one — one I have found both stimulating and exciting.

We still have some way to go before TV viewers will have the opportunity of seeing films with the quality which can be favorably compared with those to which we have been accustomed in our theatres.

As I watch television films on my own set I am continually aware that I do not have a complete control of the end results. For there is an engineer in every television station control booth who can change the screen image according to his instructions and depending upon the condition of his equipment. And there are the TV viewers who are their own “engineers.”

I believe that the time is not too distant when the only engineers will be the technicians who actually create the film that is transmitted. Only when that day arrives will we really have film quality comparable to motion picture standards as we know them today.