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For more on the passing of Gary Papa;
WPVI-TV in Philadelphia
Sitting in the newsroom here at Newschannel 5 the other day the topic of internships came up. Talking about those experiences prompted me to head up to the attic to see if I could find the photos I collected when I interned at WPVI the ABC in Philadelphia where I grew up.
With apologies to Temple University, most of what I learned about what I’d face in the world of television I learned on the corner of City Line & Monument during that internship.
Scott Palmer & Rob Jennings on set
I started there in January of 1987 after then Sports Director Don Tollefson, who was a teacher of mine at Temple, called to offer me an internship in the sports department. This was the station I grew up watching so I jumped at the opportunity.
TV internships are long hours for no money, the one thing you normally get is college credit. At the time though I was at the limit of credits I could take in my major so I essentially was an intern for the experience only and what an experience it was.
The WPVI Sports Dept. (seriously)
I was a junior in college when I started, I didn’t have a car and was already working 2-3-or-4 jobs (depending on the time of year) to pay for school but I was determined to make it work. To get to the station I had to take two buses and the El from Northeast Philly, it was an hour and 45 minutes one way. I not only made it work, I stayed beyond my semester for more than a year until I graduated.
Dave Roberts & Me on City ‘Line’ Avenue Winter 1987
What I got out of it was not just an education but the chance to be a fly on the wall, watch, listen and learn from the best. Although I was a sports intern (and the guys Tolly, Gary Papa, Scott Palmer, Jack Brayboy) were phenomenal teachers, I have to say the man who took me under his wing and helped me the most over the years was longtime weatherman Dave Roberts.
Dave Roberts fixing the 5-Day board
Dave not only took the time to work with me as an intern but throughout my career we stayed in touch and he provided me with invaluable advice when it came to everything from critiquing my tapes to making career choices. Including going to work at Dave’s old stomping grounds WKBW in Buffalo New York.
Dave & Me Summer 1987
I remember calling Dave for advice in early 1996 when I was working in Scranton and facing a tough decision. I remember him telling me his son was facing a similar dilemma having just moved to L.A. to try his hand at acting. His advice to me proved very helpful. It was probably helpful to his son as well. For those of you who don’t know his son is actor David Boreanaz who stars in the Fox show “Bones” and previously on “Angel” the Buffy the Vampire spin-off.
WPVI Newsroom 1987, no computers yet – still typewriters.
Another newsroom shot
Don Tollefson & Jim Gardner
The above shot is of the old regional temperature board. Prior to computer graphics they used magnets on the board and took a live tight shot of it during the newscast with the studio camera.
The old paper teleprompter
Today’s teleprompters are all computer screens but back in the late 80’s they were still using the hand fed paper prompters. The pages were fed onto the conveyor belt, shot with a tiny camera and then appeared on the screen for the anchor to read (the shot below reading “hello I’m jim garner for action news.”)
Me, Gary Papa & Don Tollefson at Dr. J Parade 1987
As a sports intern I spent alot of time logging games of every type but I also got to go out from time to time to get post game sound or on other shoots. The most fun came when the city had a retirement parade for “Dr. J” Julius Erving. Because Ch. 6 was televising it live I had a great chance to take the following pics.
Dr. J and his wife arriving
Gary Papa reporting live
A young (and smiling) Charles Barkley
The late Phillies Pitcher Tug McGraw (who also worked in the WPVI sports dept.) doing an interview
Police motorcycle that “overheated” after the parade.
Here are more pics, if you’re from Philadelphia you’ll appreciate them, if you’re from Cleveland it’s just a neat look behind the curtain…
Jim Gardner on set
This was a sign over the assignment desk reflecting the fact that WCAU’s newscast came in behind a Laverne & Shirley rerun in the ratings.
Jack Brayboy, John Kosich, Scott Palmer. Check out the old assignment board behind us.