Another View of the Beverly Hills Fire
My blog two weeks ago about the Beverly Hills fire coverage 30 years ago prompted the below recollection from John Getter, former Ch. 5 reporter/anchor now living in Las Vegas with his wife, Pat Weinstein, also a former Ch. 5 reporter/anchor.
I had asked him if it was true that Ch. 5 fed the NBC network live Beverly Hills fire video -- which was shot from a great distance, perhaps at the station's tower in University Heights (Chickasaw Street), or station roof at 9th & Elm -- in contrast to the close-up video aired by Chs. 12 & 9 with new portable cameras from the scene.
Anyway, I thought you'd like to read this... and I hope follow-up comments don't dwell on Ch 5's limitations or low ratings today. But I'm interested in those who watched Ch 5 that night, or worked there, or other memories of the fire coverage.
Here's the email:
"It was a Saturday night, if I recall correctly, and I was co-anchoring the news with Ken McDowell. (Pre-Clyde days) The fire started late in the evening and we had no reporter working. The photographer was at the station having edited the newscast.
When we began to grasp that this was a big story, I called Pat (Weinstein) at home in
She had no photographer, so she gathered up some information... talked to the fire chief, walked up the hill and got a feel for things and I believe she made one report by phone. But, this was before cell phones, and there was no 2-way radio in her personal car, so she drove back to the station.
For a couple hours we continued to do live interrupts with new information and, of course, Pat played a major role since she was, at that point the only reporter on the air who had been to the scene.
I don’t recall if the "live" pictures we used were shot from the station roof or from the transmitter site up on the hill. Anyway, our lead didn't last.
We had made the switch from film to videotape, but not to live remotes.
And now you know...