March 1949: “Today at Caliente” television program debuts on KTTV in Los Angeles

Caliente entries (LAT 1949.03.13)

Entries for the first “Today at Caliente” television program (Los Angeles Times, 03/13/1949)

“AGUA CALIENTE, Mex., March 11 – A deal has been closed with the Los Angeles Times – Columbia Broadcasting television station KTTV whereby the most extensive telecast of horse racing ever beamed over an American station will be aired Sunday from 10 to 10:30 pm.

A broadcast setup was arranged by Joe Hernandez through the courtesy of Walter C. Marty, general manager of the local course. Hernandez will call the races.

A television crew will be flown to Caliente in a special chartered Paul Mantz plane. Eight races beginning with the second event will be filmed. The film will be flown back to Los Angeles, processed there and made ready for airing at 10 o’clock.

Other tracks have had one or two races beamed over television. This is the first time such an extensive airing as eight races has been tried. The deal between Hernandez and KTTV is for four weeks with, it is understood, an option for a renewal for a year.” (Los Angeles Times, 03/12/1949)


PHOTO - Today at Caliente (LAT 1949.10.30)

Los Angeles Times, 10/30/1949

“New records in speedy film production are being set weekly at KTTV, Channel 11, in presentation of the Agua Caliente races.

Less than four hours after the races are run Sunday, viewers here see them on the Los Angeles Times-CBS television station.

In actual production time the film, more than 1600 feet of it, is processed, edited and cut into a half-hour show in about three hours. Compare this to the three months needed by most motion picture studies to produce films that run 70 to 90 minutes.

The men responsible for these speedy production records are Harry Lehman, film producer; Joe Hernandez, announcer, and Danny Rouzer, cameraman. Lehman and Hernandez produced their first “Today at Caliente” program last March 13, marking the first program produced in Mexico for telecasting here.

Getting their film back in time from Caliente track was their biggest problem. They solved this by chartering a plane through Paul Mantz. Next they arranged through Wilson Leahy of Acme Film Laboratories to have a special crew standing by to do the processing.

Processing time on the 1600 feet of film has been cut now to one hour and 20 minutes. Arranging the show’s sequence and cutting film take two hours. By 9:30 p.m. Lehman has the show in shape for delivery to The Times station, where it is telecast at 10 p.m.

“Today at Caliente” is a television version of a 14-year-old radio program produced by Hernandez, called “Today at the Races.”

Part of the credit for its production today goes to Walter Marty, general manager for the Baja California race track. He contacted Lehman and Hernandez after some unsuccessful experiments had been made in 1948 at Santa Anita and Del Mar.

The result was the first program ever to bring Southern California viewers the races on the day they are run.” (Los Angeles Times, 10/30/1949)


“It’s hoss time again and KTTV (11) is playing early Santa Claus to those who won’t be able to attend Hollywood Park to personally improve the breed with their donations.

Starting tomorrow night at 10:30 and each Tuesday through Saturday during the current racing season, the station will show the afternoon races on a half-hour show.

This gives KTTV a six-day program of races with Joe Hernandez calling the Caliente races every Sunday night at 10 p.m.

My good friend Braven Dyer inaugurates the series tonight with his “Turf Topics” show at 10:45. He has the 1950 Goose Girl, Derline Smith, George Smith, one of Australia’s leading jockeys who is riding at Hollywood Park, and Al Wesson, director of publicity, as guests.” (Walter Ames  / Los Angeles Times, 06/26/1950)

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