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TV Audio: Why So Rare & Valued?

     After almost 6 decades of archiving historic and significant television programming, during a time in the 1950's, and 1960's when even the Library of Congress failed to realize the significance of saving original television programming, Archival Television Audio, Inc. has accounted for over 15,000 broadcasts /20,000 hours of peerless soundtracks representing thousands of non-retrievable lost original television broadcasts from a bygone era.

Audio Sampler of the 1960s
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     These tracks are significant because they not only represent a one-of-a-kind broadcast record, but they provide significant audible data for researchers, biographers, and historians when they have no other resource in the entire country to access. These tracks allow all those who are inquisitive to obtain TV broadcast feedback, from a specific lost telecast originally broadcast during the 1950's, 60's and 70's.

     Value is in the eye of those who desire something which cannot be obtained anywhere else. In 2001, ARCHIVAL TELEVISION AUDIO, Inc. was admitted into the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS. We now hold the distinction of obtaining the most money ever transacted for a television soundtrack.

     The AMERICAN THEATRE WING (TONY AWARDS) purchased from us, for the sum of $1,324.00, the TV audio aircheck of the complete 78 minute TONY AWARDS Telecast, June 13th 1965, originally televised on WOR-TV channel 9, in New York. No visual record of that program exists. The WING has been searching unsuccessfully for decades to find this program.

     The MUSEUM OF TELEVISION & RADIO knew of our soundtrack and contacted the AMERICAN THEATRE WING who negotiated with us for the purchase of this historic broadcast. Today, many people question why only the soundtrack survives of a prestigious TONY AWARDS TELEVISION BROADCAST, viewed in 1965 by millions of viewers. The answer pertains to the economics of the time when a one hour reel of 2" quad videotape cost $600, and the archiving of most television was not routinely done (standard procedure in those days).

     Original videotapes were used again and again to record other broadcasts and kept for perhaps one, maybe two repeat airings before being erased and recorded upon again. Therefore, it has been our fortuitous good fortune that a handful of people with the interest and capability to record direct line television sound off the air, on a 1/4" reel to reel audiotape recorder, did so, and it is the reason why classic programming such as the TONY AWARDS telecast, broadcast live from 11:00 PM to 12:18 AM on

     Today, fees demanded by local stations and the networks for archival footage run into the thousands of dollars, in some cases $1,500.00 a second for rebroadcasting rights, and often accessed by television production companies. On a more consumer level, VANDERBILT LIBRARY charges $7.00 per minute for non-broadcast rights for Network News Programs which they have video and audio recorded, in their own studios at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, since August 5, 1968. A 30 minute VHS copy of THE CBS EVENING NEWS WITH WALTER CRONKITE costs hundreds of dollars to "rent" and you the client are responsible to return the tape after usage.

     It is interesting to note that the THREE MAJOR NETWORK NEWS DEPARTMENTS, CBS, NBC & ABC RETAIN FEW OF THEIR PRE 1970's NEWSCASTS. ATA has many hundreds dating back to 1956. Not until April 9th, 1973 did CBS copyright and store copies of their TV news programs at the Library of Congress.

     In an age when almost anything and everything can be found on the internet, not one voluminous TELEVISION AUDIO AIRCHECK ARCHIVE exists with the exception of ARCHIVAL TELEVISION AUDIO, Inc. We have invested, to date, over $100,000 developing this company's inventory and equipment, not to mention the thousands of man hours not calculated into this equation. Thus we are peerless as a company, and get solicitations from many authors, biography production companies, archival museums, private collectors, and from celebrities (Woody Allen, Mike Wallace, Milton Berle, Joey Bishop, etc.), who search for their own performances on television, via soundtracks, the video of which has been lost to the ages. Over the years we have donated many TV audio airchecks to the Library of Congress, the Museum of Television & Radio, UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Museum of Broadcasting, the John F. Kennedy Library, and many others.

     Today, a collector can purchase radio shows for $2.50 each, common in the open marketplace, and has hundreds of vendors to choose from. For a minimal investment one can purchase thousands of old time radio shows, instantly. Perhaps one year the tens of thousands of our TV audio airchecks will be replicated, dispersed, and enjoyed by the whole country as well. Once an audiotape copy is released and sold it is never the same one-of-a-kind artifact again! It is a phenomenon we accept. However, at present, most of our 15,000 different TV audio aircheck tracks remain inimitable, one of a kind, and therefore we charge a premium price for purchase.

     We at COLLECTOR'S CHOICE ARCHIVAL TELEVISION AUDIO, Inc. have worked diligently, and have invested decades of time researching, investigating, searching, purchasing, collating, cataloging, assorting, and monitoring thousands of individual TV audio airchecks, providing broadcasters and collectors soundtracks representing the golden and silver age of lost television. In the past, we have located and paid over $10,000 for private collections which are almost non-existent today. It can take 6 hours to equalize and remaster one 60 minute program. It can take 24 hours to remaster one 60 minute program which is showing signs of tape degeneration, sticky shed syndrome, mold and other maladies. We have a lifelong passion for what we do, and take pride in our unique contribution for the "gems" we unearth, polish and distribute around the world.

     Our TELEVISION AUDIO AIRCHECK ARCHIVE is comprised of TV SOUNDTRACKS of shows which originally aired live or on videotape (1946-1979). They represent today's LOST & INACCESSIBLE early television programming which no longer exists as video. We possess a truly unique product which appeals to a limited but valued clientele. Our fees reflects such value. However, the hundreds of thousands of baby boomers attracted to this material portend the restructuring of our prices & costs when ATA will be heard on radio stations, country wide. Formats for such programming have already been designed. Today, no other nostalgia remains so unknown by the American public at a time when resources for nostalgia is so much in demand.

     Today, the whole world videotapes & audiotapes everything. Not so long ago (1975), before VCR's, CD's, DVD's, HI 8, CONSUMER DIGITAL AUDIO AND VIDEO EQUIPMENT, only a scant few people, with a passion for preserving television's heritage, at a time when television archiving was an arcane pursuit, qualitatively recorded their television sets with an open reel to reel 1/4" tape recorder.

     Without those few score of dedicated individuals in the world, including yours truly, Phil Gries, tens of thousands of broadcast artifacts from television's golden and silver age would be lost forever. And only a few qualitative TV audio aircheck collections themselves have known to survive after the death of the taper. Because of these dedicated individual tapers & their collections which have been rescued, saved and remastered by ARCHIVAL TELEVISION AUDIO, Inc., we have the opportunity to listen to pristine TV soundtracks from the 1950's, 60's & early 70's.

     They afford us the opportunity to retain and to at least listen to the original essence of lost television... to remind us, to inform us, to educate us, to amuse us, of that which was great, nostalgic & so very special and to listen to those long forgotten television shows which were not so very special, but remain anchored in our hearts and minds when television was very young.


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(1946 - 1982)


"Preserving & disseminating important TV Audio
Air Checks, the video considered otherwise lost."
-Library of Congress

Vintage Television Audio Broadcasts
22,000 Titles - 20,000 Hours
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Archival Television Audio, Inc.

209 Sea Cliff Avenue
Sea Cliff, New York 11579
Attention: Phil Gries

Founder & Owner Phil Gries
Director of Photography

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© 2002-2024 Collector's Choice Archival Television Audio, Inc.
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UNIQUE in the WORLD audio air check recordings by 20-year-old Phil Gries, archiving the first, second bulletins & initial NBC TV broadcast coverage of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. Not recorded by NBC or any other resource in the country.

  1. A&E TV SPECIAL - host Edwin Newman (11-22-1988) introduction - 25th Anniversary of JFK Assassination.
  2. NBC TV "Lost Don Pardo Bulletins" & Lost first 3:53 TV coverage (Phil Gries unique broadcast audio recording) unable to be video tape recorded or audio tape recorded by NBC.
  3. Phil Gries telephone interview with Don Pardo (5-14-1998).
  4. 10 minutes.

Each Friday Evening from 7:30 - 8:30PM EST.

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Vintage Television Audio Broadcasts
22,000 Titles
20,000 Hours


The Senior Moments Radio Broadcast show interviews Phil Gries about his Archival Television Audio archive and his restored documentary film, "Harlem School 1970"

Hosts of the Senior Moments Radio Broadcast show

Glen Cove Senior Center
January 23, 2018

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of vintage sounds
never grow old.

Newsday feature
June 22, 2016

Hear Phil Gries on

Hear Phil Gries
and Joe Franklin
on Bloomberg Radio
(April 28, 2012)


Contact Us


Hear Phil Gries on
National Public Radio
Archive Profile

"Raising Ali"
(May 22, 2015)

Hear Phil Gries
on Sports Talk:
August 25, 2019
June 26, 2016
August 9, 2015

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Vin Scully

"Vin Scully on Jackie Robinson" In Conversation with Phil Gries (Oct. 19, 2021) - 7 minutes
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Jonathan Winters

53 minute Phone Conversation with Jonathan Winters, September 4, 2008
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ARSC Journal Article Publication: Lost TV Programs (1946-1972)

Hear Phil Gries presentations at ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collections) 2001, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014.

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1960's TV
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NPR Walter Cronkite Essays

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[854 Entries]

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