Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Wonders of Kinescope

In the early days of television, the available technology did not permit the recording of live broadcasts. Most television productions were lost to the ages because nobody believed that anyone would ever want to see them again. One of the first persons to see that television productions could live on was Desi Arnaz, who recorded I Love Lucy on film, preserving it for future generations.

For live productions, however, the only way to preserve the broadcast was with a kinescope. A kinescope was basically a film camera trained on a television that was showing the broadcast.

While the broadcast did get recorded, the footage was often poor or jittery. Many "lost" productions that were eventually found often were recorded in this manner. One such recording was the live broadcast of the opening of DISNEYLAND. Long thought to be lost, the footage was found in the 1990's and restored to as good as possible from the kinescope film.