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How A Fisheye Defeated The Bbc's Totp Tape Wipers

Total Blam Blam's picture
on December 06, 2011

Jean Genie let yourself go!

If it wasn't for the chap bottom left in the above picture, we wouldn't have the privilege of seeing these historic images of David Bowie and The Spiders performing The Jean Genie on TOTP in January 1973.

No, I don't mean Woody, look even further bottom left at the chap in the shadows wearing headphones...it's John Henshall, the very man who we should all be grateful to for rescuing this footage from oblivion.

Those of you that caught John's interview on Johnnie Walker's show on Radio 2 on Sunday will already have made sense of the headline to this item. (You can listen again here, the interview starts 43:50 mins in)

As a BBC cameraman, John designed special effects lenses to fit the BBC cameras, such as fisheye and starburst and the like. Every time the lenses were utilised John would take a copy of the recording for his portfolio.

Below is a montage of the fisheye effect used on The Jean Genie which is ultimately why the tape exists today...no thanks to the BBC policy-makers who introduced the practise of tape-wiping.

The advantage of the fisheye was that the whole stage could be filmed from relatively close up and used sparingly it was a great effect.

As you can just about make out from the above grabs, David is wearing a pair of strides I've not seen before. Something that's impossible to see from these pictures is the fact that Mike Garson reckons that this was his TV debut with David Bowie.

Perhaps that will become more apparent on the much larger screen at the NFT on Sunday. (12.02.2011 NEWS: BFI SHOWING FULL JEAN GENIE TOTP PERFORMANCE AT NFT) Anyway, here's some more wonderful stills and we will be posting a couple more before Sunday.

As for the first showing on TV for nearly forty years...there is still some debate. But stay tuned to davidbowie.com for the definite schedule as soon as we have it.

Finally, thanks to John Henshall from Bowie fans around the globe, not only for the obvious reason but also for taking the time to provide us with these exclusive stills and for being an all round jolly good egg!

Total Blam Blam - (BowieNet News Editor)

blog image: 
    6 December 2011
    How A Fisheye Defeated The Bbc's Totp Tape Wipers

    Jean Genie let yourself go!

    If it wasn't for the chap bottom left in the above picture, we wouldn't have the privilege of seeing these historic images of David Bowie and The Spiders performing The Jean Genie on TOTP in January 1973.

    No, I don't mean Woody, look even further bottom left at the chap in the shadows wearing headphones...it's John Henshall, the very man who we should all be grateful to for rescuing this footage from oblivion.

    Those of you that caught John's interview on Johnnie Walker's show on Radio 2 on Sunday will already have made sense of the headline to this item. (You can listen again here, the interview starts 43:50 mins in)

    As a BBC cameraman, John designed special effects lenses to fit the BBC cameras, such as fisheye and starburst and the like. Every time the lenses were utilised John would take a copy of the recording for his portfolio.

    Below is a montage of the fisheye effect used on The Jean Genie which is ultimately why the tape exists today...no thanks to the BBC policy-makers who introduced the practise of tape-wiping.

    The advantage of the fisheye was that the whole stage could be filmed from relatively close up and used sparingly it was a great effect.

    As you can just about make out from the above grabs, David is wearing a pair of strides I've not seen before. Something that's impossible to see from these pictures is the fact that Mike Garson reckons that this was his TV debut with David Bowie.

    Perhaps that will become more apparent on the much larger screen at the NFT on Sunday. (12.02.2011 NEWS: BFI SHOWING FULL JEAN GENIE TOTP PERFORMANCE AT NFT) Anyway, here's some more wonderful stills and we will be posting a couple more before Sunday.

    As for the first showing on TV for nearly forty years...there is still some debate. But stay tuned to davidbowie.com for the definite schedule as soon as we have it.

    Finally, thanks to John Henshall from Bowie fans around the globe, not only for the obvious reason but also for taking the time to provide us with these exclusive stills and for being an all round jolly good egg!

    Total Blam Blam - (BowieNet News Editor)