Thursday, January 22, 2009

Research, and ebay

I originally wrote my book between 1977 and 1984 (while living in Providence, Rhode Island), but that version of the book did not reach publication. When I rewrote the book, between 2005 and 2007, the Internet age had obviously emerged, and this proved extremely useful regarding additional research.

While rewriting the book (and for a number of years prior), I bought various pictures, videos, magazines, and other artifacts from the era of early TV, via the Internet—primarily through the auction site ebay.

A few years before I began rewriting the book, I purchased, on ebay, a segment of a kinescope: it was a five-minute excerpt of a telecast of Kay Kyser’s 1949-1950 NBC show. I have no idea why only that brief kinescope segment had survived, out of an hour-long program—but I was very happy to come upon it. It was the first time I had ever seen kinescope footage from Kay Kyser's program.

I continue to occasionally buy items, on ebay. This past November I bought a kinescope of one of the programs written about in my book: John Conte’s Little Show, a twice-weekly musical program starring singer and actor Conte, which aired on NBC in 1950 and 1951. My mother was a regular guest on the show in 1951; the kinescope I bought featured one of the appearances she made on the program.

(Above right: a listing from a Midwest television magazine, 1951, for John Conte’s NBC show.)