NBC'S FIRST LIVE BULLETINS AND LIVE COVERAGE OF THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY
David Brinkley, Chet Huntley, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Frank McGee, John F. Kennedy, Irving R. Levine, Charles Murphy, Don Pardo, Barry Goldwater, Richard Valeriani, Charles Brehm, Bill Ryan, Robert MacNeil, Jeff Pond, Tom Whalen
These first live NBC News Bulletins by Don Pardo would precede regular program cancellations and continuous NBC live coverage of this 20th century tragedy (the assassination of President John F. Kennedy) for the next three and a half days. The first two bulletins are heard. Bulletin number one (Local in NYC) is broadcast at 1:45:03 PM EST and airs for 27 seconds. Bulletin number two (National) is broadcast at 1:46:42 and airs for 68 seconds, followed by the first two hours of uninterrupted News coverage with NBC anchors Bill Ryan, Chet Huntley and Frank McGee. Seventy-one hours and twenty-seven minutes of continuous coverage begins on NBC at 1:53 PM with CBS and ABC both starting their live continuous coverage at 2 PM. There are live telephone reports from correspondent Robert MacNeil in Dallas, Texas. There are additional reports from Charles Murphy, David Brinkley and Marvin Agronsky. There is live coverage from the United Nations where the Secretary General expresses sorrow to all members of the Kennedy Family and to all the people in the United States. One minute of silence is observed by all delegates from the 111 member nations. There is continuing NBC coverage from station WBAP, the affiliate in Fort Worth, Texas with Newsman Tom Whalen. Eyewitness Charles Brehm recounts what he saw. There is the first live overseas report from Irving R. Levine from Rome and live coverage from outside the NBC building at Rockefeller Center, with its Mobile Unit searching out reactions from New Yorkers with reporter Jeff Pond. Correspondent Richard Valeriani reports live from the White House. There are statements from Senator Barry Goldwater and from former President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. It took an incident of this proportion to catapult television into the forefront as the world's number one communicator of news and special events. Television had come of age.
Because in 1963 it took an NBC camera 11 minutes to become "active," transmitting a visual signal, an NBC Bulletin Card was viewed at first by those tuning in to this station. It was chaotic on NBC where staff announcer Don Pardo made the first mention of the shooting. News reporter Frank McGee was pressed into service and was receiving his information over the phone from correspondent Robert McNeil in Dallas.
TRIVIA NOTE: NBC's staff announcer Don Pardo's first local WNBC-TV bulletin interrupted the telecast of a Bachelor Father re-run which originally aired on May 26, 1960) Season 3, Episode 35 titled 'Bentley and the Beach Bum.'
NBC's television coverage, although informative, did not match the gravitas of Walter Cronkite at his desk at CBS Television, who would be visually seen on the air beginning at 2:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, informing the country of the death of the president as he removed his glasses and struggled with his emotions.
Surprisingly, in the end, more people tuned into NBC’s coverage, anchored by Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, than Walter Cronkite and the CBS crew. It would be several years before Cronkite was able to overtake NBC’s popular anchor duo in the ratings.
The first two NBC Television Bulletins (the first local WNBC, and the second National NBC) and the initial 3:53 seconds of continuous NATIONAL coverage commencing at 1:53:05 PM EST was never recorded by NBC or by any other known broadcasting station or broadcasting archive. Amazingly, the only existing broadcast recording in the world of NBC'S TV historic television transmission was audio recorded off the air by Phil Gries, founder of Archival Television Audio, Inc., viewing his 1949 Andrea television at that moment, and fortuitously pushing the record button on his Webcor Stereophonic 1/4" reel to reel audio tape recorder during the actual live Television Broadcast.
To date, no other audio or video has ever surfaced documenting these moments, an incredible fact since 50 million American homes approximating 200 million viewers were tuned in to their television set comprehending that the President of the United States was shot in Dallas. In today's digital world where every minutia event is recorded and preserved, it is mind boggling to this archivist that I uniquely recorded a television broadcast related to an assassination of an American President, uniquely.
These historic sound tracks have been donated to the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, MA, The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and The Paley Center for Media in NY and LA. The November 22, 1963 John F. Kennedy NBC-TV assassination bulletins and the initial lost 3:53 seconds of NBC live coverage are the most significant treasure in our archive. They personify just a part of the many thousands of other Archival Television Audio original, off the air, television soundtracks which represent the only record of a specific TV broadcast known to exist. Archival Television Audio, Inc. is the largest repository in the world collecting, preserving and archiving "lost" vintage TELEVISION BROADCASTS surviving as AUDIO ONLY, focusing and representing the years 1946 thru 1982. The ATA website (www.atvaudio.com) initiated in 2002 offers the public access to searching for tens of thousands of programs by title, performer, and date.
To search for a broadcast, please enter a
Show Title, Personality, Airdate, Archive ID, Keyword or Phrase
into the Search textboxes at the top of the page:
PRESERVING & ARCHIVING THE SOUND OF
ACCREDITED BY GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS
LOST & UNOBTAINABLE ORIGINAL TV
(1946 - 1982)
Vintage Television Audio Broadcasts
15,000 Titles - 20,000 Hours
About us |
Order Inquiry |
TV Categories |
Personality Index |
Archival Television Audio, Inc.
209 Sea Cliff Avenue
Sea Cliff, New York 11579
Attention: Phil Gries
Phone/Fax: (516) 656-5677
Email Us: email@example.com
© 2002-2020 Collector's Choice Archival Television Audio, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Vintage Television Audio Broadcasts
Phil Gries' recordings
of vintage sounds
never grow old.
June 22, 2016
Hear Phil Gries on
Hear Phil Gries
and Joe Franklin
on Bloomberg Radio
(April 28, 2012)
Hear Phil Gries on
National Public Radio
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED
(May 22, 2015)
Hear Phil Gries
on Sports Talk:
August 25, 2019
June 26, 2016
August 9, 2015
ARSC Journal Article Publication: Lost TV Programs (1946-1972)
Hear Phil Gries presentations at ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collections) 2001, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014.
(Audio files may take 20 seconds or more to load)
103 Broadcast Samplers
(Browser needs to
allow Flash content)
NPR Walter Cronkite Essays
Civil Rights Movement (1956-1968)
Space Exploration (1956-1972)
Restricted Archive Titles
Jose Feliciano, at 70, listening to his FIRST TV variety show appearance (Al Hirt: FANFARE), telecast on July 17, 1965, when he was 19 years old.
Rare & Valued
When TV Variety
This Anniversary Day
In Television History
ARSC/IASA London Conference: Why Collect?
News 12 Long Island
Live Television Profile:
Archival Television Audio, Inc
CAPTURED LIVE: CULTURES OF TELEVISION RECORDING AND STORAGE, 1945-1975
NBC MATINEE THEATER
NBC TV - Feb. 5, 1957
8:23 min. excerpt