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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.
- Specialty tiger, lion and panther acts were performed on the show's stage, videotaped and "banked" in the library of acts/performances for insertion into the show at particular dates. These…
[show]Specialty tiger, lion and panther acts were performed on the show's stage, videotaped and "banked" in the library of acts/performances for insertion into the show at particular dates. These live animal acts required a major stage setup because of the iron bar performance ring provided by the trainer's (circus performance presentation) act. The animals were released from their traveling cages at the exterior stage elephant door-ramp alley. They were directed through an iron bar tunnel leading to the stage performance ring. Usually their performance was without an audience present, but occasionally a small audience was allowed to watch the taping. Striking and removing the stage performance jail-bar cage, tunnel and equipment required additional man-hour labor. Special window (plastic) jail sections (built by ABC Special Effects) were inserted between the jail-bar ring for camera portholes. Only once was a lion, tiger and black panther act performed without this circus jail ring setup on stage. Four iron bar jail bar units were built to surround the video camera and the camera operators. The "audience" was composed of dummies, dressed by the costumer and placed in the seats. The stage crew and participating show personnel were in the theater's balcony to observe the performance. One time while one of the animal acts, consisting of lions, was being led through the iron bar tunnel, Ed Holland (II), the head stage carpenter, was squeezing by the tunnel next to the stage proscenium bulkhead frame while the lions were being ushered into the stage ring. An old lion being pushed through the tunnel took advantage of the situation by peeing on Ed from head to toe. Ed's wife complained that the lion's "perfume" remained on him for weeks thereafter.
- All the "acts" performing on the Hollywood Palace television show were video-recorded and performed on the HP stage, or in the adjacent parking lot, with only one exception. Converting the…
[show]All the "acts" performing on the Hollywood Palace television show were video-recorded and performed on the HP stage, or in the adjacent parking lot, with only one exception. Converting the ABC TV stage-studio into a color facility during the summer of 1966 shut the stage down. Vanoff booked Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev for the third season, third show hosted by Fred Astaire. Only available during the month of June, 1966, the Proscenium was duplicated by ABC Scenic Services, and sets built for their performance of the Black Swan pas de deux, from the Swan Lake ballet. These scenic elements, including the stage's apron brass footlights, were shipped and set up at the CBS Television City Studios, Beverly Blvd at Fairfax in Hollywood. Rehearsing the dance on the CBS stage, Nureyev and Fonteyn found the standard shiny gray vinyl floor "impossible to perform upon". Hub Braden covering the taping, had the CBS construction/scenic shop replace the vinyl with a 4'x8' Masonite sheets, which were turned over, reversing the shiny finish to the material's backside pebble texture. Accepting this substituted dance floor, Fonteyn and Nureyev performed their segment with Astaire introducing them from his Hollywood Palace proscenium host area. The segment was placed in ABC's Bank Vault until the show was taped and edited, airing October 2, 1966.