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Series Fun Facts
- During the 1966-1967 season, Nick Vanoff asked Jim Trittipo and Hub Braden, (his art department staff)), to put together an estimate and proposal to expand the stage facilities of the "Palace…
[show]During the 1966-1967 season, Nick Vanoff asked Jim Trittipo and Hub Braden, (his art department staff)), to put together an estimate and proposal to expand the stage facilities of the "Palace Stage"; which would create a swimming pool beneath the existing stage, two sliding floors on tracks which would be a hardwood stage to cover the pool, and a second tracking ice rink floor which would slide on top of the stage floor. The basement of the stage was an orchestra personnel dressing room, actors dressing rooms, and storage rooms. The original theater's orchestra pit had been filled with concrete for "The Jerry Lewis Show" extending the original stage foot light and proscenium edge forward for a camera and sound area, as a production area in front of the original house curtain line. The proposal included removing this front stage area for the swimming pool feature. A water proof video camera port at the front of the pool, underneath the fore-stage's camera area. Storage of the two tracking stage and ice floors, to video the swimming pool, required rebuilding the stage rear wall; acquiring the real estate behind the actual stage-theater property. The adjacent property behind the theater was owned by the Methodist Church, which had converted the former Knickerbocker Hotel into a Methodist retirement senior citizen care facility. ABC would not negotiate a purchase of the The Knickerbocker-Methodist Church property. Vanoff proposed, then, to move the "Hollywood Palace" to the "Culver City Studios" film sound stage. ABC axed Vanoff's proposal maintaining the "Palace" had to remain in Hollywood at their renovated TV stage. After the series was canceled in January, 1970, ten years later, Nick pitched the idea of a very "big variety show" to NBC Television in 1979-1980. "The Big Show" became a two hour special premiere, followed weekly with a one and a half hour program format with two celebrity hosts, for each weekly event. Ed Sullivan's original variety show introduction of a "really big show" was Vanoff's dream realized. Vanoff, during the ten years, had partnered and purchased the abandoned Columbia Studio lot at Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street in Hollywood, which was where the "Big Show" television program originated.
- A parking lot adjacent to the Hollywood Palace Studio/Theater became a production area for circus trapeze and animal acts, which required a greater footprint for staging. CBS' The Ed Sullivan…
[show]A parking lot adjacent to the Hollywood Palace Studio/Theater became a production area for circus trapeze and animal acts, which required a greater footprint for staging. CBS' The Ed Sullivan Show in New York could not accommodate these performers. The unique staging area became a major asset for the performers appearing on this show. All of these acts were performed at night, with an audience sitting in bleachers. Engineering required extra facilities requirements, which included cameras, sound, lighting, costumes, scenery and technical staffs. These acts and performances were "banked" on tape (held in the tape vault) and slotted into the series show schedule. These acts and performances required considerable financial outlay for travel expenses, set-ups, residential accommodations and contract agreements. Producers Nick Vanoff and William O. Harbach spared no expense to showcase novel world-renowned performers. On a side note, the Knickerbocker Hotel was located directly behind the Hollywood Palace Theater and the hotel's rooftop sign could be seen in the show's opening credits, leading many viewers who were planning a vacation in Hollywood to attempt to book reservations at the hotel. However, the Knickerbocker had been purchased by the Methodist Church for a retirement home; the Methodists were not running a hotel and were constantly turning away telephone reservation requests.
- During rehearsals the guest host usually stood on the left camera side of the proscenium, with a high stool for the host to be seated. The prop master provided water or a soda pop beverage.…
[show]During rehearsals the guest host usually stood on the left camera side of the proscenium, with a high stool for the host to be seated. The prop master provided water or a soda pop beverage. When Joan Crawford hosted, she would carry her own "Pepsi Cola" which was already open--and spiked with vodka--onto the stage. The beverage relaxed Joan without any problems (during the taping the prop master provided the "spiked soda"). Crawford was a very gracious lady. After each of her appearances on the show, every member of the crew and staff received a hand-written "thank you" note, sent from her New York address. Kate Smith, on the other hand, insisted that her "cola" be carried out by the prop master, unopened (she did not want any rumors that her can of soda was spiked). She also carried a Kodak brownie camera during her show engagement, snapping pictures throughout her rehearsal and the taping of the show. Upon completion of her host assignment, each crew and staff member received a "Kodak moment" with their picture as they were performing their show assignment; included with the small photograph was Kate's personally signed thank-you note. These two personalities were the only hosts during the six seasons to send a personal "thank you" to each member of the crew and staff.