Posts Tagged ‘Nixon-Kennedy Debates’

Lessons in Lighting Design from Imero Fiorentino

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Even if you haven’t heard of Imero Fiorentino, chances are you’re familiar with his work. He was the lighting designer on may of ABC’s earliest programs, including U.S. Steel Hour, Omnibus, Paul Whiteman’s Goodyear Revue, and Tales of Tomorrow. He lit the scene for Telstar I’s first live transatlantic transmission on July 10, 1962, and he designed the lighting for the World Showcase Pavilions at Disney’s Epcot Center.

Perhaps the most famous broadcasts with which Fiorentino was involved: he lit the second, third and fourth Kennedy-Nixon debates after Nixon looked so undesirable in the first debate:

Learn more about the craft of lighting design by watching Imero Fiorentino’s full interview.

50 Years Ago America Watched “The Great Debates” with candidates Kennedy and Nixon

Friday, September 24th, 2010

“The Great Debates”— a series of discussions with then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy— aired network-wide on September 26, October 7, October 13, and October 21, 1960.  Variety called the first debate a “dud,” but history has said otherwise, labeling it landmark in Kennedy’s eventual Presidential victory.  According to Presidential Debates: Forty Years of High-Risk TV by Alan Schroeder, the first debate “attract[ed] the largest audience that had ever assembled for a political event.  An estimated seventy million Americans watched on TV, while several million more listened on radio.”  The debates have become notable for the reaction of the TV versus radio audience.  As stated in David Bianculli’s Dictionary of Teleliteracy: “Nixon’s gaunt, stubbly, and sweaty appearance, especially the first night, is generally said to have cost him the debate and perhaps the election: radio listeners ranked Nixon ahead of Kennedy, but Kennedy’s ease in front of the cameras reflected a more comforting and commanding image, and TV viewers declared him the winner instead.”

“When that [first] debate was over, I realized that we didn’t have to wait for an election day. We just elected a president. It all happened on television.” — Don Hewitt (Producer/Director)

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the “Great Debates,” the Archive of American Television offers a special curated collection of Archive interviewees at Emmytvlegends’ Kennedy-Nixon Debates— watch an excerpt from the first debate and Archive interview excerpts from debates’ producer-director Don Hewitt, first debate moderator Howard K. Smith, CBS News President Sig Mickelson, and others.