July 12, 2007

20 years ago...

At the end of June through July 8th I was back in the Quad Cities for a visit. It had been a couple of years since I'd been back. Just before the 4th of July, my fiance (Emily) flew out and joined me. I figured a small town 4th would be better than celebrating in LA where it's mostly gunfire instead of fireworks.

The afternoon of the 4th, while waiting for the sun to go down so we could enjoy the fireworks along the Mississippi, I was showing Emily around some of my old stomping grounds. One of the places I took her was out to KLJB-TV in Davenport, IA. KLJB is the station where I had my first job out of college and where I had worked and done Live on Tape.

Emily wanted to get a picture of me standing in front of the station and just as she was taking the picture it dawned on me, that evening would be the 20th Anniversary of Live on Tape. We premiered on July 4th, 1987... and now it was July 4th, 2007. It makes my mind reel to think that THAT much time has passed.

July 4th, 2007 in front of KLJB and wondering...
where oh where has all my hair gone? Stupid genes.

A lot has happened since I lived in Moline and worked in Davenport at KLJB. I'd moved to LA hoping to get a job writing in animation. This was back in '92.

Ready to drive my ol' Volvo out to LA - dig those crazy acid wash jeans!

Well, I made the trek West and I was very fortunate, I was able to find work as a writer in animation. But not until after some struggle and suffering through a few survival jobs. As a writer though, I've worked for most of the big studios: Disney, Warner Bros, Universal, MGM, Nickelodeon and many smaller ones. I even have two feature films to my credit.

Thinking back on the days when I was at KLJB and working on Live on Tape, it still stands out as the best job I've ever had.

My desk at KLJB during production of Live on Tape. What a slop pile!

A closer look: in the center is the Pee Wee Herman doll I redressed to use
as an E.J. Crackerhorn miniature. I still have most of this stuff in
a box somewhere. Man, I gotta learn to let go.

During my trip back I had lunch with John Bain and Don Bargmann Jr. who worked at the station when I was there in the 80's. Don is now the Chief Engineer and John the program director for not only KLJB but all the Grant Group of TV stations.

Don and John today. Lurking about in the storeroom at KLJB.

I was able to look around the studio while I was visiting. Amazingly most of the old Live on Tape sets are STILL there! They've been packed away in KLJB's store room. The station doesn't do local production any longer (they have a news broadcast out of a different location). But the old studio we did our show in is pretty much unused - for production anyway.

The giant TV that we used as a back-drop on the show, resting
in a corner of the studio today.

Here's the TV prop used in the show back in '89... back then I thought that
was a ridiculous size for a TV... but the one I have today in my home is
about the same size. Now who's ridiculous?

Back when I was producing Live on Tape the studio control room was the hub of all production at KLJB. It was used for all the on-line production and live studio work. I spent many many hours in this room editing.

Greg Baldwin (front) directing a Live on Tape studio shoot.
Don Bargmann Jr. next to him running audio.
That was the studio control room back in the day...

The studio control room today.

Today the old studio control room is rarely used. Most of the video equipment has been removed as you can see. It's all been replaced by computers that can do so much more, cost much less, and take up less room.

It was a little sad to see so much change. But 20 years is a long time, so change is inevitable. However, I feel very fortunate for the time I had working at KLJB and especially fortunate for the people I met and worked with, and the friends I made. It was a great time back in the early days at KLJB (they signed on in '85). There was a lot happening and lot to do. I'm just glad I got to be a part of it.


Steaming bowl o' Calderone said...

Vive Le Live On Tape!

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised in Davenport, IA and was fortunate enough to be in the targeted age bracket when this show aired. It really is quite nostalgic to see some of the old clips you have on the Live on Tape! site. My wife and I enjoyed the Iowa Driving Tips the best. Still true to this day lol

Anyway, thanks for the good times and memories! By the way, Cordova is still here too.. they haven't chosen the appropriate Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! to press the self-destruct Button, yet.