One of the pioneers of broadcasting was Al Jarvis. He had worked in radio before I met him...
and that was in 1956 when I began my career at ABC television Hollywood. When I wasn't doing network television doing the Lawrence Welk show I would be assigned to work at KABC TV, the local station which was on the same campus as the TV Network. Al Jarvis had a dance show with the same format that we all became familiar with on the American Bandstand. The fact was at that time all stations had dance shows.
In February 1964 ABC brought American Bandstand from Philadelphia to our studios in Hollywood. I was assigned to be Stage Manager. The Associate Director was Hal Galli. As Stage Manager I worked on the floor and Hal worked in the control room assisting The Director. The Director was the Former Producer of the show whom Dick had brought with him from Philadelphia where the show had originated. This would be the Producer's first attempt at directing a show.
As the day unfolded it became apparent that the "Director" whom Dick had brought from Philadelphia was way in over his head. He had no idea what to do and the tension was mounting because we were not making any real progress. It would've been difficult for any director who was not completely familiar with working with a NABET crew in Hollywood.
Everything came to a head as Dick Clark was standing at the podium holding his microphone and talking into it, but there was no sound. The audio man had not turned on the microphone because he had not been cued to do so by the Director. Dick Clark began screaming and pounding the microphone into his desk. He yelled and screamed, "This… fucking… mike… doesn't work!!!" I winced as I watched him using all his power to bang the microphone over and over into the desk. In the next 10 minute break I took Hal Galli aside and I said, "Hal, you have got to take over; the Director from Philadelphia doesn't know what he's doing and we're never going to make air on time."
This was a break in protocol, but an absolute necessity, because we were going to have to go on the air live as all broadcasts did in those days, unless they had been recorded on 35mm, or were to be rebroadcast on kinescope.
There were other obstacles to the broadcast that had to be overcome, many of which were due to the way that things were run at ABC television in those days. Headquarters was in New York and New York made all of the decisions about everything. Equipment in Hollywood was old stuff that thrown away by New York. For example: the tubes in our cameras were ancient, and in order to keep them from burning whatever image they were focused on, the cameraman had to constantly keep moving the camera.
Somehow, our engineering crews managed to overcome these deficiencies. When the tubes and circuit boards in our cameras got hot, the image that the camera was focused got noisy and blurred. To make it worse, our studios were not equipped with air conditioning in those days, no matter how hot it got inside. Thus, maintenance crews would place a small basket of dry ice under the air intake on each camera, to cool the tube and circuit boards. However, these baskets had to be changed frequently and it was quite an adventure for me to do my job with this dance of cables and cameras and maintenance engineers going on while I was trying to put performers in place and cue them making certain no one got killed in the process.
Hal Gall did a masterful job wearing both hats as Associate Director and Director, and we got on the air OK.
After the show I took Dick aside and I said to him, "Dick, your friend from Philadelphia does not know how to direct, and we would never have made air if Hal Galli had not taken charge in the control room. Your Producer from Philadelphia is a real nice guy, and I like him a lot, but he simply doesn’t know how to direct.
Evidently, Dick listened to me.
As a result of this charade Hal Galli was offered a permanent job with Dick Clark Productions as a Director.
This was wonderful for Hal. He had an immediate increase in pay, and had a coveted position with a very important company. After a couple of paychecks, Hal was able to buy a fancy sports car and make everyone jealous.
However, New York had not authorized this change in directors and they liked to be in charge of everything and so they insisted that Hal had to go. I do not understand the exact circumstances of this dilemma, but it exhibits the ugly underside of the entertainment industry.
Hal Galli made a good Director, but he was replaced.