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RCA TK47

1980s Set Designers/Fabricators?

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Of course the gray/tan set with wood and blue accents was the "in thing" in the 1980s. (WJW and KOVR nearly identical sets above, obviously done by the same firm). I'm just curious if anybody knows what companies did designs/fabrication in that era and if they're still around?

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I've noticed that sets used by WOR/WWOR, WTVJ and WTSP all kinda looked similar, so add those to the list. All these sets had to have come from somewhere.....

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I've noticed that sets used by WOR/WWOR, WTVJ and WTSP all kinda looked similar, so add those to the list. All these sets had to have come from somewhere.....

 

Graphics Express group of San Diego......

 

Tho sometimes the set designs were done in house by corporate, ie Group W's godawful set that WBZ and WJZ had in the late 70's, or Post Newsweek's simple set with a window (WTOP/WDVM, WFSB, and the first PNS designed set for WDIV).

 

Then there was the "set in the round" which included either one or two TriVision weatherboard/chromakey units.

The single Tri's included WXYZ, WKYC, and KPIX, and the dual Tri's included WLS, KTVI, and KOB-TV.

And in fact, the Broadcast Design Association published a book with the schematics and blueprints so a local station could build their very own "set in the round".

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The top 2 sets (WJW and KOVR) were designed by Gil Jimenez. G&G Designs was a former business name. Gil is still working and now his business is Gil Jimenez Broadcast Design. I've worked with Gil in the past on a few projects.

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Thanks for the reply Metrodonmartin! I remember seeing KOVR debut the set above in April of '87 (or '86.. my old timer memory escapes me at the moment) and thought it was a huge step up for them at the time. But the desk was a leftover from their prior chromakey set; they must've been too cheap to get a new one fabricated to match the new set. Lol

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[ATTACH=full]4370[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=full]4369[/ATTACH]

Just a couple of more for the heck of it... WCTV top and KTXL below.

 

Pretty sure WCTV had that (with a few changes) for a couple of decades lol.

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IMG_1711.thumb.PNG.91389f88e881503dbfeb519c08608bbe.PNG All the PNS stations except WPLG used the same set during the mid 1980s. The same set design was used by WSB and WVEC around the same time, plus WTVF circa early 1990s.
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[ATTACH=full]4371[/ATTACH] All the PNS stations except WPLG used the same set during the mid 1980s. The same set design was used by WSB and WVEC around the same time, plus WTVF circa early 1990s.

Add WGHP to that tally. And WTVQ. Also, why didn't WPLG use that set? Limited space?

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The top 2 sets (WJW and KOVR) were designed by Gil Jimenez. G&G Designs was a former business name. Gil is still working and now his business is Gil Jimenez Broadcast Design. I've worked with Gil in the past on a few projects.

 

Factoid: Gil was a (the) graphic artist at KGTV in the late 1970's. The first KGTV "The News" set had a false ceiling that was actually a facade ceiling attached to a wooden frame...that the camera shot thru during the show close. The "ceiling" or fake facade covered the studio lights.

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NewsCenter10.jpg.b2ba1cb845fa456521deeca064f38a3d.jpg

This was a fairly popular design. WAGA, WPBF, WAFB and WTSP had the same newsdesk.

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IMG_3279.JPG.fbe2c1efa2f03a3eaff5bf5a68f94717.JPG

 

KCRA's knockoff (not sure who designed/fabricated it) of the NBC Nightly News set back in the mid to late 80s. They also used brownish light gels instead of the blue on only the 6:30pm show to turn the set to a tan color to match NBC Nightly that ran at 6pm.

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[ATTACH=full]4377[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=full]4376[/ATTACH]

 

KCRA's knockoff (not sure who designed/fabricated it) of the NBC Nightly News set back in the mid to late 80s. They also used brownish light gels instead of the blue on only the 6:30pm show to turn the set to a tan color to match NBC Nightly that ran at 6pm.

 

Never put that relationship together, but yeah it's a dead ringer.

 

As for Gil Jimenez, G&G, Graphic Express...they did the KNBC 1985 set that was the basis of so many other sets. There's a clip floating around somewhere of the debut of that set with him explaning the choices.

 

Also apparently the only company really dedicated to set making for most of the 80s. Good article here on the history:

 

http://articles.latimes.com/1998/nov/04/business/fi-39104

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Thanks for the reply Metrodonmartin! I remember seeing KOVR debut the set above in April of '87 (or '86.. my old timer memory escapes me at the moment) and thought it was a huge step up for them at the time. But the desk was a leftover from their prior chromakey set; they must've been too cheap to get a new one fabricated to match the new set. Lol

 

It was definitely '87, that's when they did the rebrand, ditched the logo we both use for our avatars, and brought in Dan Gray (who is clearly amused by Santa up there). Cheap is right- that KCOP knock-off logo wasn't introduced until later, initially it was just "KOVR 13 NEWS" in a bold, italicized version of the font CBS News used for lower thirds, odd for an ABC affiliate but perhaps foreshadowing its future as a CBS O&O?

And speaking of lower thirds, during the initial period of that set, while using the CBS-style font, the lower thirds were ginormous- almost like lower halves!

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It was definitely '87, that's when they did the rebrand, ditched the logo we both use for our avatars, and brought in Dan Gray (who is clearly amused by Santa up there). Cheap is right- that KCOP knock-off logo wasn't introduced until later, initially it was just "KOVR 13 NEWS" in a bold, italicized version of the font CBS News used for lower thirds, odd for an ABC affiliate but perhaps foreshadowing its future as a CBS O&O?

And speaking of lower thirds, during the initial period of that set, while using the CBS-style font, the lower thirds were ginormous- almost like lower halves!

 

Those were huge lower thirds, especially with the large pink background behind the KOVR 13 NEWS text. I've tried looking for clips on YouTube with that branding, but have had no success. It was super short lived.

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This topic reminds me of a great book I found in my office when I took over as Art Director at a station on the West Coast -- it was from the Broadcast Design Association, dated June 1980. It listed photos and construction information on some local news sets built around that time. I've been meaning to scan this book in to share it with you guys, I know you'd find it interesting. A lot of sets back then were actually designed and fabricated in-house.

 

Forgive the quality of these photos I snapped with my phone from the book - need to go scrounge up a scanner:

 

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uh5HPur.jpg

 

Here's a list of all the sets included in the book:

 

p9QOxN3.jpg

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Thank you. Unrelated to this topic, but I have another book from BDA from the same time which features numerous news graphics, who designed them, and how long it took and what materials were used:

 

E77EfhQ.jpg

 

Another thing I need to digitize if I ever get the time...

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Those were huge lower thirds, especially with the large pink background behind the KOVR 13 NEWS text. I've tried looking for clips on YouTube with that branding, but have had no success. It was super short lived.

 

I don't have a lower third example, but I do have a promo tease with Don Strickland that has that text on the top, which is the same size as the lower thirds. This is from family VHS tapes, it's not on YouTube anywhere.20170831_162704.png.e5e14974da1b587309bf44b899c8a5e3.png

 

I do have a recording of Good Morning America that includes news cut-ins that show both the huge lower thirds and the set with the same text branding. I need to digitize them; these tapes are all at my parents' house in Pahrump.

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It was definitely '87, that's when they did the rebrand, ditched the logo we both use for our avatars, and brought in Dan Gray (who is clearly amused by Santa up there). Cheap is right- that KCOP knock-off logo wasn't introduced until later, initially it was just "KOVR 13 NEWS" in a bold, italicized version of the font CBS News used for lower thirds, odd for an ABC affiliate but perhaps foreshadowing its future as a CBS O&O?

And speaking of lower thirds, during the initial period of that set, while using the CBS-style font, the lower thirds were ginormous- almost like lower halves!

 

the logo in your avatar got ditched in 87 for the kcop one when they moved to west sac... then they realized the new one sucked and debut a refined version of the previous logo around 1990... that logo is still painted on their helipad...

 

KOVR has a unique history... and the internet hasn't documented it well...

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the logo in your avatar got ditched in 87 for the kcop one when they moved to west sac... then they realized the new one sucked and debut a refined version of the previous logo around 1990... that logo is still painted on their helipad...

 

KOVR has a unique history... and the internet hasn't documented it well...

The logo in my avatar was ditched in 87 for the logo you see in the screenshot I posted- white with the pink background. That logo was then ditched in early to mid 88 for the KCOP knockoff, which was then ditched in the fall of 89 for the logo that is still on the helipad. Wikipedia is wrong, KOVR didn't move to West Sac until 1989 or 90. They were still on Arden in 87 and 88.

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WABC had a bunch of sets in the late 70s/early 80s that were designed in house by Gene Fabricatore... I especially liked the one used from 1982 to 1985 - very curvy and stylish for that era. Unfortunately it lost a LOT when it was painted blue in early 1985. They replaced that set with the one used on KABC since the late 70s (also used on WLS)...

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They replaced that set with the one used on KABC since the late 70s (also used on WLS)...

Speaking of that design, I didn't realize how many tweaks that KABC set got over time (the second picture best representing what spread to WABC and WLS), and that it lasted for about a dozen years.

 

1549671690_bandicam2017-09-0300-55-06-473.thumb.png.6e92bf0114a1f5df3b7e6d0b675f8ad0.png

238272218_bandicam2017-09-0300-56-32-573.thumb.png.f73ef22929eefac8fe7f929e73413ec7.png

744961750_bandicam2017-09-0300-56-12-075.thumb.png.6b50e96177a6d66c3ad89c2ed9760aa5.png

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I don't have a lower third example, but I do have a promo tease with Don Strickland that has that text on the top, which is the same size as the lower thirds. This is from family VHS tapes, it's not on YouTube anywhere.[ATTACH=full]4420[/ATTACH]

 

I do have a recording of Good Morning America that includes news cut-ins that show both the huge lower thirds and the set with the same text branding. I need to digitize them; these tapes are all at my parents' house in Pahrump.

 

There's a missing KOVR era here, and it's missing because it did not last long at all...

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Speaking of that design, I didn't realize how many tweaks that KABC set got over time (the second picture best representing what spread to WABC and WLS), and that it lasted for about a dozen years.

 

[ATTACH=full]4427[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=full]4428[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=full]4429[/ATTACH]

WLS and WXYZ actually used the same sets pre-1983 (though the latter had this gone by '84):

IMG_2434.thumb.PNG.f1446842d857e1c8bfbc9103de999366.PNG

IMG_2435.thumb.PNG.6bda26fa8ccf788d32941fb3fbde4915.PNG

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