We have here a small collection of outtakes of some spots produced and/or edited at FBN, a couple of program openings plus a couple of short and funny video clips. When the production studio opened FBN produced not only Christian television programs but also took on a limited amount of selected commercial production to help supplement income. Click on the film frames below to view the clips. These clips are provided in a Windows WMV Media file format.
We hope you enjoyed seeing these rare outtake clips of FBN productions. A very special appreciation is extended to Joe Shackleford and Jon Palmer for compiling this collection of clips many years ago.
© 2013 Joe Snelson
Cal Worthington is a well known car dealer in southern California who has been around for a long time. Cal is known for doing rather colorful commercials to get people to buy a car from him. Some of his spots include him saying, “I’ll stand on my head to beat all deals.” or “I’ll eat a bug.” He would often appear with animals that he would refer to as “My dog Spot.” Of course, they were anything but a dog. In this clip Cal gets rather surprised by the actions from “his dog Spot.” Actually, the voices on this commercial is not that of Cal but believed to be Bill Botts, doing the introduction, and Phil Bonk imitating the voice of Cal, with a pitch change, when Spot gets a hold of him. Bill and Phil were very talented and capable videotape editors and edited many FBN programs. They also edited a batch of Cal Worthington commercials and grabbed this clip from the raw unedited footage that the producer provided.
FBN did not have facilities to do remote location shoots like in Cal’s car lot, but this clip was produced in the FBN studios against a curtain. The production was down for a moment and it’s unknown what Cal was actually saying to those nearby in the studio. Bill and Phil, however, seized the moment in post production and using the microphone mounted on the videotape recorder did this funny over dub of audio. The voice on the clip is believed to be that of Phil Bonk.
You just never know what an animal will do on the set. In this clip the on camera guest gives Cal a little surprise. The sound effect was added courtesy of Bill and Phil. What we don’t know is if this clip was ever used in a commercial with or without the sound effect.
Anything can happen during a production session. The good thing about a taped production is the bad scenes can get cut out. Of course, the clips that end up “on the cutting room floor” many times end up being shown at holiday parties or viewed on some social networking media site. In this very short clip the talent gets interrupted when he begins to speak. We don’t know what this particular production was but it was most likely recorded at the FBN studio.
This is a public service announcement regarding military retirement benefits that was taped at the FBN studios. The person on the left is unknown but the person on the right is Ronnie Schell. Ronnie is probably best known for his role on Gomer Pyle: USMC. Off camera to the right is Phil Silvers who Ronnie is talking to. Phil was a well known comedian in the 50’s and 60’s. He had his own TV show in the 50’s where he played the role of Sergeant Bilko. As you watch this clip pay close attention to the actor on the left playing, Jacques “Cou-stow-away .” He does something that we assume Ronnie was not expecting. It took Ronnie a few moments to realize what happened. For the make-up artist it meant a “take two.”
This is a commercial for a Tummy Trainer. This is a device that is worn around the waist and alerts the person wearing it that they are slouching by emitting an annoying buzz. It seems even the best devices don’t always work when they are supposed to, and especially when you are demonstrating them. As you will see in this clip the talent wearing the device gets annoyed.
Back in the 70’s there were a couple of training schools available that people could attend to prepare themselves for a career in broadcasting. Here is a take-off of a commercial that some of the FBN staff slapped together in a moment of down time. The person behind the audio console is Jon Palmer, former FBN audio engineer. The person playing the announcer and spinning the turntable with his finger is Paul Diederich, FBN Graphic Artist. More will be said about the turntable in another clip below.
Sammy Lee was a talented musician and singer on staff at FBN towards the later 70’s. In this clip Sammy begins to sing a song when suddenly a technical mishap occurs. There’s one thing talent learns to expect in the broadcasting business when a mistake is made, especially if it’s a funny one. Expect a director, editor or engineer to make a copy to preserve it for posterity. In Sammy’s case Joe Snelson did a little exaggeration of the event and created this clip.
This is an opening for an FBN program titled The Voice of Faith. No, the idea was not taken from the opening of a late 60’s sitcom show titled Family Affair, though there is some resemblance. Here is the background story. The crew was at the studio one evening when the charge came down from on high that they were to create an opening for a program and they had about three hours to put it together. Paul Calentine, Production Director, and Joe Snelson, Assistant Chief Engineer, were the recipients of this message. Looking at each other they began discussing what could be done. Paul had a “brainstorm” to take a piece of aluminum foil and crumple it up and place it on an old record turntable (this may have been the turntable used in the Bob Boing spot mentioned earlier). They started the turntable, turned on some colored lights and aimed an out of focus camera at it. Joe thought about taking an art card with the show title and with another camera make four passes on videotape of the camera zooming in on the letters. The final result of combining the rotating foil and zoomed in title plus adding some music that sounds similar to the Tijuana Brass is what you will see here. Of particular note is most all this can nowadays be created with rather inexpensive, and sometimes free, digital video editing systems. There was none of that luxury available back when this was created.
Here’s another opening for a program titled Domata, which is a Greek word for gifts, and also created at the last minute similar to The Voice of Faith. Joe Shackleford, former FBN staff member, tells the following story.
Well, it started on a cloudy rainy Monday night at the studio. After the nightly production concluded the boss called his trusty interns into Studio "A" along with the inner circle including some of the top staff members and a few others along with very last minute invitees Jon Palmer and me. He laid down the philosophy of the program for 30 minutes, then reminded everyone that all we needed is one light, one camera and one microphone. Two of the top staff members were given the job of riding heard on the staff and to “shoot the engineers” [figuratively speaking, of course] at the studio to get this done including a creative opening and unique set…different from anything seen on other stations. And, we were given seven days to make it happen. Then the inner circle left to go have dinner with the boss and the interns left 1 minute later to finish their work at Faith Center.
Palmer and I were left with the job of the opening and the set and with no direction. Between us two “geniuses” and a GVG downstream keyer [a device used to electronically place colored graphics and lettering over a TV picture] we started to play. We wanted to manipulate the graphic title like the newly invented Vital Squeeze Zoom [a new and expensive digital video effects device for the time] but with no money or resources. During the week, my Mom created us a 9" by 12" art card title from something the boss gave a staff member to use. She did it as a favor for me.
The following Friday Palmer worked with Burt Lehman [a former FBN engineer] going through an alignment on the Norelco cameras [these cameras used electron tubes for imaging and required extensive setup]. This was the last time Burt or anyone was going to align the cameras for quite a while so they took their time. After this point Bernie Marston [FBN Director of Engineering], Jon Palmer and I were on our own. Burt was headed back to ABC after his 30 day trial period with PTL. Burt showed Palmer what happens to the picture when your un-grounded tweaker [a name given to a small screwdriver for making adjustments] is inserted into a Norleco Type 3 focus module test point.
Burt, knowing we were trying to do something with the show graphic, got the idea of an audio sweep generator while they were playing around. He drove to Faith Center, got the FM radio station HP audio generator from the maintenance area, came back to the studio and messed with the cameras electronic focus. His fear was that he may damage the cameras focus amplifier if he over drove it or pushed the drive amplifiers on the yokes out of range. We shot the graphic, laid it off to tape, and nothing blew up. The following Monday night the opening was approved after Palmer and I spent the weekend creating background plates [the colored backgrounds seen in the opening].
[Editor’s comment: Similar to the other FBN opening mentioned earlier, this opening which is only on screen for 30 seconds or less took many hours to create. It was also created long before the high-tech digital equipment we have today was available. It is not unusual to spend hours or even weeks creating an opening. In most cases the bosses and viewers rarely realize the work that goes into creating it.]