ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Television & TV Shows»
  • TV Shows

Theatre - When Soap Operas Were Live in the 50's

Updated on February 29, 2012

15 Minute Soap Operas

Soap Operas in the Early 1950s -

In the early 1950s Soap Operas had just been invented. The idea? Put out daily serial programs, let advertising for homemakers pay for the programming (read "Soap" a term for products in the home). Bing Crosby, with his investment dollars, and his Research and Development people were aggressively working on the VIDEO, but it had not yet been invented. It wouldn't really be useful and practical until the early 1960s.

In the 50's these daily programs were 15 minutes long and they were LIVE. My father, Burt French was the original "Matt" on "Love of Life". He was a national idol in 1954. Mail was coming in with unprecedented volume. Of course, at the time, they did not know what was unprecedented, since it was all totally new. Put yourself back there. Oh, you can't? Imagine that this was all in its moment of commencement!

Kinescope - A Word You Have Never Heard Of Before -

Go back in your mind, if you can, before the time when EVERYBODY had a recording instrument in their hands. On the set, there were only the LIVE TV Cameras. The live programs were broadcast across the NATION, right then, right now, in that moment. But never again. The only thing that preserved that moment was a guy taking a film of the live broadcast with what they called a KINESCOPE. It was a movie of the live broadcast.

DEEP in the Vaults of Some Manhattan Basement -

Not that anyone, except historians would care, but somewhere these years are stored up and sitting in a gray basement with cooled atmosphere and probably not humidified. Burt Frenches performances and thousands of other actors performances are preserved in Kinescope.

When Burt Went Up -

My father told me that he "went up" (forgot his ines) one time, and because there was not video, which allowed for stopping dialogue and beginning again, he kept on talking. The entire production crew was frozen. They kept shooting and waited for Burt's dialogue to pick up again. THERE WAS NO STOPPING IN LIVE TV. Burt kept on. He "ad libbed" through the entire relationship that he and his lover had. 6 minutes later, he hit on a piece of dialogue 3 pages later. When he hit those lines, all the cameras kicked in again. The crew began clicking through their blocking, and the actors relaxed their anxious shouilders. Burt got on a line that worked. Burt relaxed. Only the Kinescope, which is now locked in a subterranean vault, knew that that particular 15 minute program was "fraught with LIVE NERVES."

"Chris, as a 5 Year Old Staring at the Giant TV Set" -

I had fought with the Italian kids and the Irish kids. It was NOON. We lived under the Triborough Bridge in Astoria, Queens. My Mom would call out with her magnificent alto voice. "Chris, stop playing, its time to come in and see your Father on TV".

I would run in from my Astoria Gang's Hood. My buddies would wonder why my Mother was calling me in to watch TV. How weird! I would stand in front of the TV and touch my father's image. I would "palm" the TV and stare at him. Then, in 15 minutes, it was over. It was actually NOTHING at the time. It's just that NOW. I know it was history. He would come back over the Triborough Bridge and go to our apartment in Astoria, study late into the night, and then do the live performance all over again, jumping on the Triborough again and repeating the LIVE challenge.

Not "go up" Again -

"Soap Operas Smoach Operas" - Now, 50 years later, it all seems "so what". But at the time, as a 5 year old, it seemed so strange to watch my Father on TV, take in his fan mail, and have my Mom read it, and then have him come home that night and begin MEMORIZING his lines for the next day's performance. Every night, he would vow to himself, that he would not "go up again".

Pressure? You bet. Nobody has pressure like that now at all. Because this was before VIDEO, this was the most pressure ever on TV people. Those who, in that moment of history, had to play LIVE, were uniquely pressured in that moment. Still wonderful, though, ain't it? Incredible times.

Check out Christofer's new website at: http://www.astrologygetalong.com.  Get EBOOKS for your friends, or for yourself, matching all 12 matchups for each sun sign.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Christofers Flow profile image
      Author

      Christofer French 8 years ago from Denver

      Yes, they were real "reality" drama because there were NO do overs. No, let's shoot that again. Live Theatre basically, but with the cameras rolling. My Dad and his like were true pioneers.

    • C La profile image

      C La 8 years ago

      Thanks for this! My heart is off again on again with the genre. I think all of the passion and suspense has dissolved over time, more than likely due to reality television. It's pretty sad. I think Soaps are a great reflection of life and people's desire and faults. Whenever they do live shows *thanks OLTL!!* it always makes me remember why I love them.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)