Thursday, March 13, 2008

A letter about "Your Hit Parade"

I recently received a wonderful letter from a gentleman in New York who read “The Lucky Strike Papers,” and was a fan of the TV show “Your Hit Parade.” He worked for years at one of New York’s TV stations, in a behind-the-scenes technical capacity. The book, he said, “brought back many fond memories of my favorite TV show. I was a fan of both the show itself and Dorothy Collins." He wrote:

“The show was telecast originally from the International Theatre at Columbus Circle during the summer of 1950. It then moved to the Center Theatre (a mini Radio City Music Hall) at Rockefeller Center in October 1950. The Center Theatre was the ideal place for this show. It utilized the vast stage itself to showcase the various songs. There were also several aprons along the front of the stage upon which the cameras were installed. Several stage areas were reused as the show progressed. A huge overhead black and white screen displayed all the action that appeared on stage. Tickets to the show were free, but had to be ordered from the Guest Relations Dept. at NBC. Everyone entering the theatre received a small packet of Lucky Strike cigarettes (four cigarettes). It was extremely colorful and reminiscent of watching an MGM musical in person…

“Technically it was the best show on TV and each show looked like a small spectacular. It was the only show that had 2 day camera rehearsals. All camera movement was done manually (no zoom lenses back then)…like watching the old Hollywood master craftsman at work, except being live, there were no retakes….”