EARLY ESPN

September 25, 2017

I started shooting multi camera sports for ESPN in 1980 or 81. They were a new cable sports network based in Bristol, Connecticut that nobody thought would last very long. I only worked three or four years with them because the money working as a single camera DP was much better.

 

One time we were doing a live football game from the Yale Bowl in New Haven.

Right before air, (in fact during the commercial break just before Bristol went to us), all the cameras just died. There was not a lot you could do way up in the stands but wait. As the commercial break was ending, the power suddenly jerked back on and we were immediately on the air. 

 

After the game, as we were wrapping cables, we heard the story. Some kid had pulled the master power plug from the truck. The Chief Engineer jumped down out of the truck and found the cable just lying on the ground. With no time to spare, he

executed a “Hot Stab” by jamming the plug {pulling about 80 amps} back into the truck. Miraculously everything came right back up {except some of the graphics} and three seconds later we were on the air. 

 

One other thing about that day. The truck had a brand new $100,000 dollar Grass Valley switcher just installed and we were warned “no coffee in the truck”.  After the game, the Chief Engineer’s son threw up on the new switcher.

 

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