Milton Berle (top) with the Will Mastin trio

Gather round, fans of rare, early, one-of-a-kind TV gems, You won’t want to miss this:

Labour Day weekend marks the return of another LA-based Cinecon movie festival. For the second September in a row, the coronavirus has moved the festival on-line only. That’s good news to many of us who live far from LA as Cineconline 2 offers another deep dive into the kinescope collection of Stan Taffel and Stu Shostak.

Stan, president of Cinecon, and Stu, who welcomes special guests and shares his wealth of insider-y TV lore at, dub their Saturday afternoon collection of rare TV gems “Kinecon at Cinecon.” Kinescopes are basically a film recording of a television broadcast. Seventy years ago in the early days of television, kinescopes were made of live TV programs before videotape recordings became the norm. Many of the ‘kinnies” being shown Saturday are the last remaining copies of programs that otherwise would be lost and forgotten.

This year’s Kinecon at Cinecon starts at 1:42 pm PT/ 4:32 pm ET. Follow the link to it here. The program is themed around early shows produced out of CBS’s Television City studios in Los Angeles, sacred ground to TV fans but valuable real estate to CBSViacom, which sold the property a few years ago for $750 million. It’s still leased as the production home of some long-running CBS daytime favourites such as The Price is Right and The Young and the Restless.

Stan and Stu

Among the stars who worked this ‘50s fun factory in the early days were Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, Amos and Andy, Art Linkletter, Gale Gordon, Edward R. Murrow and Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson. Red Skelton also shot many episodes of his variety show there, and even had special permission to drive his car right into the building.

On Saturday’s Cineconline 2 program:


  • THE MARTHA RAYE SHOW (1954) with Edward G Robinson, Caesar Romero
  • THE BUSTER KEATON SHOW Live local TV show on KTTV channel 11 in Los Angeles
  • THE ALAN YOUNG SHOW (1951) with Franklin Pangborn and Peter Leeds
  • FRANK SINATRA TIMEX SHOW with Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Mitzi Gaynor
  • TO HAVE AND TO HAVE NOT (1957) with Edmund O’Brien, Beverly Garland (aired the night before Bogart’s funeral)
  • THE GINGER ROGERS SHOW (1958) with The Ritz Brothers, Ray Bolger
  • THE JACK BENNY SHOW (1958) with Gisele Mackenzie, Mel Blanc
  • THE MILTON BERLE SHOW (1955) with Sammy Davis Jr.

I’ve seen a clip from Saturday’s Milton Berle Show showcase. Sammy Davis Jr. is in full song and dance mode as part of the Will Mastin Trio, formed by Will Mastin (Sammy’s “uncle”), Sammy Davis Sr., and the Candy Man himself. It’s a sensational burst of showmanship, with versatile Davis also doing a few spot-on impersonations. All preserved in a crisp, clean, black & white print. Not to be missed.

Did I mention it was free? While that’s true, you’ll find a yellow “donate” button at the bottom of the viewing page. Think about throwing a few bucks their way in hopes they can mount another in-person festival, complete with live, orchestral accomplishment for silent movies, in 2022.

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