photos and story by George Mock
unusual photographic hobby started by “accident”
Images George photographed in 1951 from his
17” Coronet tv. l-r: Jack Benny & Bob Crosby; Jerry Lewis
and Dean Martin; Jerry Lester; Jerry Lester with his sidekick Dagmarr
Winter, 1950: my wife Isabel slips on ice and breaks her ankle in
three places. That fall was to doom her to over six months of immobility.
required an operation involving a 3” pin to keep everything
together. Every two weeks her cast was changed with huge cutters.
Isabel still smiling after breaking
her ankle in three places.
to the severity of the break, Isabel could not have a walking cast.
To keep her from going bonkers we decided to buy our first TV –
a 17” Coronet built on Walker Road in Windsor. It was black
and white, of course. This huge, heavy, ugly box took up the best
part of the only table we had, but it did break up the monotony
1951 I joined the Photographic Guild of Detroit. A couple of my
friends and I would make the monthly trip on the tunnel bus to Detroit
city hall, then walk across downtown to the hotel where the meetings
were held. (Can’t imagine doing that now.) I submitted black
and white photos, enlarged to 16” x 20”, to the three-judge
panel of the beginner’s group. If my photo received enough
votes it was awarded one point. I had ten photos accepted which
earned me the B pin, and I then moved on to the advanced (A) group.
was always looking for the “right picture.” Since the
overcast skies of winter do not provide incentive to get out there
in the cold. I needed an exercise to stay inside. Why not take pictures
off the TV?
first good camera I owned was a Rollei twin lens reflex, which took
2” x 2” negatives and was mounted on a tripod. It was
the best for all around photography. Isabel’s only complaint
was that the camera, tripod and me were always blocking her view
of the television!
of my fellow photographers had attempted this before. (The fact
that not everyone had a television back then might have had something
to do with that.) I learned by trial and error that the shutter
speed had to be 1/30th of a second due to the lines that make up
the picture on the screen. I tried to get a reasonable F-stop to
keep the depth of field in lines. Focusing was done manually.
Lester (one of the first stars with a variety program) and his buxom
blonde sidekick, Dagmarr, were a weekly favourite. Of course, Dean
Martin and Jerry Lewis kept us all laughing for many years. Another
very popular show was “What’s My Line” with Dorothy
Kilgaleen, Bennet Surf, Arlene Francis, Hal Bloc and – everybody’s
favourites – Jack Benny and Bob Crosby.
“Hockey Night in Canada” we were able to get Detroit
Red Wing hockey games, I believe through WWJ-TV, Channel 4, with
the venerable Bud Lynch doing the announcing.
George’s picture of a game
between Detroit and Montreal with Terry Sawchuck in goal and big
#9 Gordie Howe. Face off probably Syd Abel for Detroit, Gerry McNeil
in goal. Notice no face masks.
who could forget “Friday Night Fights”? I think our
wives went bananas over this weekly ritual and the “man thing”
that come hell or high water, we had to watch them. Today I can’t
stand watching fights.
icing on the cake for my efforts was being able to get a close up
of Princess Elizabeth on her October 1951 visit to Windsor.
I still take a picture off the tube, but it is in colour and taken
with a digital camera. In the old days I would go to the basement
with a finished roll of film and spend an hour setting up before
I could develop the pictures. Now, thanks to the wonder of computers,
I scan most of my pictures right away and burn them on CD’s
for our children as keepsakes. This is a great means of protection
if anything happens to the original albums, too.
George Mock is the webmaster
for both the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 185
and the Sun Parlor Radio Control Flyers. Both are non profit organizations
that deal with airplanes and photography for full size and models.
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