Tag Archives: NBC

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: This Article is “Brought to You in Living Color on NBC!”

image00321“Brought to You in Living Color on NBC!”

If you grew up watching shows on NBC Channel 4 in Los Angeles, you most likely are familiar with the phrase above. It preceded each show on the network for many years.

Did you know the NBC studios that were on Alameda Ave were the first television station/studios that were specifically built to produce color TV production?

That was the major reason that NBC came to California and found the home for their new studio in Burbank.

image0049This new studio was very important to General Electric the parent company of NBC so much so that the contractor of the construction was required to send Photo Post cards of the progress to them and other constituents including the City of Burbank who gave up a portion of its city owned land for the construction.

The studio produced some of the most popular shows on TV like the Tonight Show, Dean Martin, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In and all of the Bob Hope Specials. Many of these shows put Burbank on the map by poking fun at the city making the phrase “Beautiful Downtown Burbank” a household saying across the country.

So Burbank became the first home of the color television broadcast we take for granted today.

For More pictures of the studios and their construction click this link


Get your Copy of Lost Burbank Now!
lost-in-burbank-book-coverSlowly fading with the city’s ever-changing landscape, the places and people of Burbank’s past tell a vibrant story. Before the arrival of Warner Bros. and Walt Disney, First National Pictures built  its original studio lot on Olive Ave in 1926. For over sixty years, Lockheed Aircraft Company produced some of the nation’s best airplanes where the massive Empire Shopping Center now stands. Heavyweight champion James Jeffries turned his Burbank ranch home and barn into a beloved landmark and boxing venue. Inventor Joseph Wesley Fawkes’s scheme to build a monorail to Los Angeles became a local laughingstock.  Diehard Burbankers Wes Clark and Michael Mc Daniel collect these and many more forgotten local stories where they can finally be found. 

Click HERE to Order Yours Now!

The authors will be doing a Multi Media presentation and book signing at the Buena Vista Library on November 30th at 7 pm. They will have a signing event at the AUTOBOOKS store on Magnolia Saturday December 3 From 10 am to 2 pm.

“Tonight Show” Employees Remember Good Times Working with the King of Late Night

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The words say it all (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

By Joyce Rudolph

Local folks employed by “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” had several memories to share this week as the epic late night show completed its run on Thursday.

And though they will miss working with the veteran comedian, two employees we spoke to will not be heading for the unemployment line. Their plates are filled with job opportunities right here in the Media City.

Dave Banks

Dave Banks

Burbank resident Dave Banks has worked for two decades as a freelance cameraman on the show, which has given him time to pick up jobs on the side. He is a three-time Emmy award winning writer, documentary filmmaker and photojournalist who has risked danger in hostile countries to tell his stories.

“I’d spend a lot of time in the Middle East and when I’d come back home, I’d pick up work on the ‘Tonight Show’, so it was really weird because I was living in two worlds,” he said. “I was doing news and documentaries in the Middle East and dodging bullets or being chased by an army and then coming to the ‘Tonight Show’ — so it was a bizarre, weird, kind of surreal experience for a number of years.”

Working the camera on the “Tonight Show” gave him a front-row seat to Leno’s monologues. Banks inherited a loud laugh from his mother, he said, so when Banks was off on one of his sojourns, Leno would notice and say, “Where’s the guy with the loud laugh?”

Weeks or months later when Banks returned to the set, he always had a big smile on his face.

“Because I’d have free coffee, could hear all the jokes, worked in an air-conditioned building and wasn’t in any hostile locations,” Banks said. “It was my TV family.”

When Banks told people he worked on “The Jay Leno Show”, he would always get enthusiastic reactions.

“They’d say ‘I love Jay!'” Banks said.

And he agreed with that heart-felt sentiment.

“Jay is absolutely the best boss I have ever worked for.”

Banks met his wife working on the show, and Leno often teases them, asking when are they going to start having offspring.

“My wife’s Italian which is also a strong connection to Jay who is also Italian and Scottish, and he would always tease her about when the little bambino was going to show up,” Banks said.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The city of Burbank thanked Jay Leno for 22 years of service, laughs and wonderful memories (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Although rehearsals are on a tight schedule, there are times Leno will come out and tell the crew jokes.

One of the best guests that Banks has seen come on the show is former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw.

“They would play off each other,” Banks said.

Other celebrities that were a lot of fun on the show were those who enjoyed cars, like Jerry Seinfeld, because cars are Leno’s passion.

As the show came to an end, Banks said a new door has opened to him. His first novel is being released on Thursday, and Leno has written the foreword. “Cue the Camels” is a collection of short stories about Banks’ travels while documenting stories in the Middle East and North Africa.

There is also a chapter called “Beirut L.A.” in which Banks talks about his experience covering the L.A. Riots in 1992. He was also a solo journalist in Afghanistan when the war broke out in 2002.

Solopreneur Publishing has already asked him to write two more books, he said.

“Tonight Show” announcer Wally Wingert started with “The Jay Leno Show” in 2009 and stayed on when Leno returned to “The Tonight Show” in 2010.

Wally Wingert with Jay Leno (Photo Courtesy Wally Wingert)

Wally Wingert with Jay Leno (Photo courtesy of Wally Wingert)

Wingert is a voice actor and spends most of his time in Burbank doing voice-overs for cartoons at Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, as well as commercials, narrations, promos, video games and trailers.

He and Leno share an appreciation for the “Mannix” TV series that ran from the mid-1960s to mid-’70s and starred Mike Connors. Both watch the DVDs of the show, and Wingert has met Connors at many of the autograph conventions.

“I worked it out for Jay’s birthday last April for Mike Connors to come by the studio and surprise Jay and bring him a model kit of Mannix’s original Dodge Dart from eBay still wrapped in the original shrink wrap.”

Off camera, Wingert heard Leno tell film director Quentin Tarantino, a huge TV fan of 1960s and ’70s shows, that Connors had come by to see him and brought him a model car.

“Clearly it had made an impression and Leno used to watch ‘Mannix’ as a kid with his parents so he has a lot of fond memories of it,” Wingert said. “You know Jay has all sorts of ‘A-list’ celebrities on the show all the time so he’s used to that but somebody like Mike Connors can come in and completely melt his heart.”

Burbank Receives a Visit From the President — Again!

The Presidential motorcade is lead by California Highway Patrol with over 50 officers, with the assistance of several other agencies.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The President of The United States of America stopped in Burbank for the 5th time since his Presidency to make an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

The President arrived via Marine One at Bob Hope Airport and was escorted by Presidential Motorcade via Hollywood Way to Alameda, to Catalina Street then to Warner and into studio property.  The escort, led by California Highway Patrol and was assisted by several agencies including Alhambra Police, Pasadena Police, L.A. County Sheriff, and Burbank Police.

After taping the Tonight Show the President departed back to Bob Hope Airport  via the same route, boarded Marine One and was headed to LAX to fly to Las Vegas, for a concert and then off to Florida to continue campaigning.

There were reports of motorists being delayed  while attempting to get across town.  Police blocked access to streets in the area of NBC and the airport for security reasons.  One Burbank resident, who works in Woodland Hills, reported  on Facebook that he had to wait for about an hour after getting off the freeway at Pass Ave. and being blocked from crossing Hollywood Way to get to his home on Ontario St. south of Verdugo Ave.  Others reported similar delays in simply getting across Hollywood Way.

First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to be in Southern California on Thursday, October 25.  She will be attending a fundraiser at the home of actor Will Smith in Calabasas in the morning, and making an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show that tapes in Hollywood in the afternoon.  It is not believed that she will be coming through Burbank.

Obama supporters gather near the entrance to NBC at Parkside Dr.and Catalina awaiting the President’s arrival. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

LA County Sheriff’s along with Police officers from Alhambra, Pasadena, and other agencies assisted Burbank Police with traffic and crowd control. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

President Barack Obama seated in the backseat arrives at NBC Studios via the Warner Blvd. entrance. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)


Two People Seriously Injured By Drunk Driver In Front Of NBC

A suspected drunk driver injured three people when she ran a red light Wednesday evening in front of the NBC Studios at Alameda and Olive Avenues.

Both cars received heavy damage in the Wednesday evening accident (Photo By Craig Sherwood)

Burbank Police and Fire Department personnel responded to the accident at 8:07 p.m.  Initial reports were that someone was trapped in one of the vehicles.  A fire truck company and an additional rescue ambulance were dispatched to assist at the scene.

According to police, the victims were heading westbound on Alameda Ave. in a 2001 green Ford Explorer, when the suspected drunk driver in a blue 1999 Jaguar going eastbound on Olive Ave., ran a red light. The 57 year-old driver of the Explorer saw the other car coming at him, but was unable to avoid the collision.  The Jaguar struck the Explorer nearly head-on.

The driver, from Venice, complained of pain to his left wrist, and would seek his own medical treatment.  One of his passengers, a 79 year-old woman, received lacerations to her mouth, and complained of chest pain.  She was transported to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center. A 66 year-old man riding in the back seat of the Explorer received lacerations to his right eye area and upper lip, and spinal injuries to his neck.  He was transported to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

The driver of the Jaguar, Maritza Luciano, 40, of Burbank, received three broken ribs in the accident.  After being treated at the hospital, she was arrested for felony drunk driving, and is being held on $100,000 bail.


Channel 4 Names Todd Mokhtari as Vice President of News

NBC4 Southern California today announced that Todd Mokhtari has been named vice president of news for the station. Mokhtari, who brings more than 20 years of broadcast television experience to the role, will report directly to Steve Carlston, president and general manager of NBC4 Southern California. Mokhtari begins his new post on June 11, 2012.

Todd Mokhtari

Mokhtari comes to NBC4 Southern California from KIRO-TV in Seattle. Since 2007, he served as news director and web manager, directing all news gathering operations, digital and social media strategies for the station. During his time there, he invigorated the social media team and deployed Facebook and Twitter tactics to increase followers, bringing the station to number one in social media engagement in the market. Under Mokhtari’s leadership, the station has enjoyed an upward trend in its ratings during the evening and mid-day newscasts.

In 2006, Mokhtari served as managing editor at NBC4 Southern California. In this role, he managed the day-to-day coverage and editorial direction of the news department.

“I am thrilled to welcome back Todd to the NBC4 team,” said Carlston. “Todd’s knowledge of the Southern California market, combined with his experience in producing high-quality content for broad audiences, will greatly contribute to our newscasts.”

“Returning to NBC4 Southern California at this time is a tremendous opportunity,” said Mokhtari. “The station is moving aggressively to differentiate itself through high-quality enterprise stories, and I am humbled to join NBC4’s highly respected news team in this role.”

From 2002 to 2006, he served as the assistant news director for the NBC owned and operated station, KNTV-San Jose. From 1997 to 2002, Mokhtari was the news director for the FOX affiliate in Seattle, KCPQ-TV. Known for his ability to navigate and motivate staff during transitions, he successfully led the KCPQ-TV news team to become more competitive in the marketplace.

Mokhtari began his career at NBC’s affiliate, KCRA-TV in Sacramento, CA. Starting as an intern, he quickly moved into a writer and producer position for the station’s morning newscast. Later, he produced the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts, which were consistently top-rated and considered the most respected in the region.

Mokhtari is a graduate of University of California, Davis. He holds degrees in Political Science and Rhetoric and Communications. An avid golfer and local traveler, he is married and has a five-year-old son