Best of "Garroway at Large": Part II
14th, 1951: The "Boom Ballet":
Two days before this broadcast from which these clips are taken, Dave Garroway
was honored in New York at a Look Magazine awards ceremony as television's "most
original" performer. Faye Emerson (often remembered in the early days of
the video medium for her "plunging neckline" attire) was likewise honored
as the performer with the "most appealing personality." Ms. Emerson
returned to Chicago with Garroway for this broadcast---where she appears for roughly
fifteen seconds at the top and bottom of the show (a perfect example of the "Garroway
at Large" and "Chicago School" minimalism).
|The unwanted intrusion
into the picture of the boom microphone was a fairly common event in the days
of live television (since the advent of video tape which can be edited, "retakes"
have eliminated this problem). But on the 1/14/51 broadcast, Garroway turned the
the microphone, the boom and its operator into a production asset.
boom microphone is always visible in the number---but it's not there for
show. It remains functional, picking up the voices of the singers, the tapping
of the dancers---even the clicking of fingers.
the boom operator becomes one of the performers in the process. In this
case it's Walt McKechnie, an NBC-Chicago engineer who remained on the job even
into the 1980's. (The "Chicago fire" reference at the end of the number
refers to a July 12th, 1951 explosion and fire at a warehouse at 320 N. LaSalle.
WNBQ covered it from cameras positioned on the Merchandise Mart roof.)
segment 1 (1:55): Show open (featuring announcer Bill Griskey and the NBC-Chicago
orchestra directed by Joe Gallicchio). Garroway intro and Fay Emerson.
segment 2 (runs 3:59): The boom ballet ("Zing
Zing, Zoom Zoom) with performers Jack Haskell, Connie Russell, Bette Chapel, Cliff
Norton, Russell and Aura (plus Walt McKechnie on the boom).
segment 3 (runs 1:14): The show close. A portion of the closing Congoleum-Nairn
commercial; Dave says good-bye and gives his famous "peace" signoff;
closing credits (read by Bill Griskey); Faye Emmerson returns with a variant on
the "this program has come to you from Chicago" tag; NBC television