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The Story of KTLA's "Santa Klaus"...

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This is the incredible story of the man who engineered one of the greatest "first" in television news history.

 

I grew up with KTLA, and as I got older I developed a huge fascination for early live remotes and the art of sending TV pictures thru the air to produce live news reports.

 

The really true pioneer of the TV live shot was a man named Klaus Landsberg who worked at KTLA as a self taught engineer.

 

In 1951 Klaus got a wild bug up his ass and decided that he and Stan Chambers would attempt to do the very first live remote broadcast of an atomic bomb test in the Nevada desert outside of Las Vegas.

 

In 1952 there were NO tv stations in Las Vegas...no satellites...no fiber optics...not even a "coaxial" feed from the east coast to tap into.

 

When asked...AT&T told broadcasters it would take "years" to build the infrastructure to send the microwave signals back to Los Angeles for live broadcasting.

 

For years I had heard parts of this story in bits and pieces. Stan Chambers was the only living (at the time) person I knew of that was there that day. However Stan didn't know or remember all the technical and engineering details of the shot.

 

When Stan and Telecopter pioneer/ engineer Jon Silva passed on a few years ago... I figured I was out of luck...and would never get the answer to a question that hounded me for 20 years.

 

A few months ago I finally came across this document / exhibit from 1985 that was written about Klaus...his contributions to broadcasting...

...and a very detailed breakdown of how Klaus Landsberg, Stan Chambers, and some very creative KTLA engineers, the military and some really good luck pulled off one of the greatest live shots in broadcast history.

 

http://www.earlytelevision.org/pdf/ktla_atomic_test.pdf

 

Thank You to the Museum of Broadcasting.

 

Merry Christmas...Santa Klaus!

Enjoy the read...it's worth it.

http://www.earlytelevision.org/pdf/ktla_atomic_test.pdf

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I will be sure to read it. I was fascinated by an article about the Telecopter.

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Would it sound cheezy if I told you that you@rkolsen were one of the first people I figured would appreciate this?

That's why I waited till Christmas.

 

Haha. Just finished it. What an amazing feat of engineering.

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