Russian Orthodox Liturgy Telecast

This is a photo of the Russian Orthodox liturgy telecast from the old WTIC studio in the Travelers office building (6th floor I think). It was about 1959, still B&W TV for most local stations in the U.S.

The only give-away is the lighting on the priest and two acolytes. Definitely studio, not church which would have on the dim side. Also there is a flair from a lighting instrument over the rear projection screen. Orthodox viewers would have wondered why the priest did not go through the swinging doors in the center of the iconostasis (icon screen). Kind of hard to walk through a sort of translucent plastic shower curtain. Another thing would have been the kid's candle flames flickered, the candles on the stands would have been motionless.

The studio crew enjoyed the challenges of our religion television. It sure beat the news, interview and kitchen set for variety.

We once did a telecast on hospital chaplains at Hartford Hospital. I photographed an empty corridor to use on the rear screen. Our Doctor, nurse and chaplain could have a conversation in front of it; then walk to the left as though heading for the door of a room. The next camera would pick them up entering the room set adjacent to the rear projection set. The hospital had sent over a full compliment of room furnishing and equipment. It fooled a lot of people who thought it was a remote from the hospital.

I was glad to be in TV production in those days. When I moved to San Francisco there were unions at the stations, particularly the ABC owned KGO-TV, Channel 7. Properties had to be dropped at reception, carried in by studio crew who arranged on set per our instructions. One Christmas I had a big Bible. When the stage hand put it on the stand he asked, "What page?" I told him, "The beginning of the second chapter of Luke." He looked at me, grinned, and said, "We'll split jurisdiction, you open it to the page and I'll arrange the ribbon on the page."


George Conklin