The World’s Largest TV Studio (1972) was TVTV’s first expedition into the trenches of guerrilla television. With funding to document the 1972 Democratic and Republican National Conventions from new cable-TV stations, major public broadcasters like WNET-NY, and personal investments, TVTV members drove from San Francisco to Miami with portable video gear piled into a “Media Van” they had borrowed from Ant Farm (a conceptual art group that shared several agents provocateurs with TVTV). Setting out to turn the theory of Michael Shamberg’s 1971 Guerrilla Television into real-world praxis, TVTV quelled the internal tensions between their own far-out radical tendencies and the demands of producing two one-hour programs for national television within a six-week period. The results were The World’s Largest TV Studio, on the Democratic convention and Four More Years, on the Republican convention—two landmark documentaries from a singularly turbulent period of American politics and culture.
Their portable video cameras (still a brand-new concept in 1972) allowed them to dance circles around mainstream broadcasters with million-dollar cameras and two-inch “Quad” tape (for comparison, VHS, like TVTV’s medium, measures just half an inch). With such small equipment that most people had never seen and basically limitless tape, they could get out to the streets to interview protestors, get in the faces of politicians like Ronald Reagan, and get extremely “meta” taping themselves talk about their own processes and reflections on media theory.
These one hundred five tapes were transferred from camera original half-inch open reel videotape in 2019 through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. A small handful of tapes have been excluded from display due to privacy and other concerns. We have included some descriptions of tape contents written at the time of shooting along with notes compiled by BAMPFA’s Project Assistants during our digitization project.
Michael Shamberg, Megan Williams, and Tom Weinberg discuss strategy and plan logistics over a meal. Process tape.
Michael Shamberg, Megan Williams, and Tom Weinberg discuss strategy and plan logistics on a porch. Process tape.
Michael Shamberg, Allen Rucker, and Tom Weinberg discuss strategy (process tape). Tour of Miami by boat, with narration. Eden Roc [Hotel] -- Feinnerman's boat ride / Miami panorama with Scoop Feinnerman's rap on local sites, customs (morning ride). See also 16220.Camera: Michael ShambergTVTV Archive Date: 7/6/1972
7/6/1972. DNC meeting with instructions about press credentials, transportation, and other logistics, at the Fontainebleau hotel. Hudson Marquez and other TVTV members discuss their experience in Miami.
[Contents:] Hudson [Marquez] himself -- Receiving press credentials -- OceanCamera: Michael [Shamberg], Skip [Blumberg], Tom [Weinberg]TVTV Archive Date: 7/7/1972TVTV waits for and receives media passes. Discussion of equipment and style while waiting. In spite of compromised image quality, this is good tape -- negotiating and receiving media passes. Meta-discussion of TVTV's equipment and style starts around 00:15:00 and continues off and on for several minutes, including a brief discussion of the Videofreex.Meta-discussion of TVTV's equipment and style starts around 00:15:00 and continues off and on for several minutes, including a brief discussion of the Videofreex.
[Contents:] Boat ride / Burt's tour -- Convention center set-up -- Network booths -- Talking with workersCamera: Skip [Blumberg], Nancy [Cain]TVTV Archive Date: 7/6/19727/6/1972. Empty convention hall, pre-convention; includes footage of network television equipment/hardware.
[Contents:] Arriving at home after picking up passes -- [George] WallaceCamera: Skip [Blumberg]TVTV Archive Date: 7/7/19727/7/1972. George Wallace arrives at airport. Interviews with people waiting; footage of other media coverage and newsmen going on the air. Norman Mailer appears at 00:15:20. Wallace speech at approximately 00:27:00. See also 16225.
[Contents:] [George] Wallace arrival at airport -- [Ed] Muskie at airportCamera: Stanton [Kaye], Skip [Blumberg]TVTV Archive Date: 7/7/1972Another angle on George Wallace arriving at airport and giving speech. See also 16226. Edmund Muskie arrives and answers questions at 00:21:10.
[Contents:] Skip [Blumberg] and Nancy at airportCamera: Stanton [Kaye]TVTV Archive Date: 7/7/1972Tape opens with Hudson Marquez visiting print shop for lamination. Driving to airport and trying to find where George Wallace will be arriving.
7/9-7/10/1972. Discussion of process in TVTV house; Allen Rucker, Hudson Marquez, Michael Shamberg, and others.
7/7/1972. Eating at Wolfie's, a Jewish deli. Stanton raps about TVTV covering conventions. Interesting interactions at Wolfie's; "I can't get over the picture in there" -woman on video at 00:02:14. Ant Farm members arrive at the house with video equipment.
[Contents:] 2 ABC crews, funny lines between them, checking out their equipment / we shoot each other -- NBC equipment trouble -- Testing sound on podium -- Michael [Shamberg] and Alan [Rucker] on the floor / TV talks of CIA, etc.Camera: Antioch CrewTVTV Archive Date: 7/7/1972Empty convention hall, pre-convention. Discussion with ABC television crew; cost of equipment, checking hardware, interference. Footage from anchor booth. Waiting for McGovern at airport. David Schumacher (CBS) doing fill-in commentary while waiting. Interesting interactions with network television crews.
[Contents:] [George] McGovern and Dave Schumaker (good stuff) -- Delegates off plan [?] -- Wait on [?] for luggage -- Diplomat [hotel] lobby7/9/1972. Waiting at airport. Delegates on bus to Diplomat Hotel. McGovern arrival at airport.
[Contents:] Gloria SteinemCamera: Jody, Joan [Logre]TVTV Archive Date: 7/9/1972National Women's Political Caucus meeting at the Deauville Beach Resort. At head table: Sissy Farenthold, Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, among others. Farenthold speaks at 00:00:49; Friedan at 00:03:27; Steinem at 00:08:30; Abzug at 00:09:05. Interviews with black women at the same women's caucus beginning at 00:10:00; the first woman to speak was a member of the National Council of Negro Women.
[Contents:] Diplomat Hotel Illinois room / Singer in lobby with pressCamera: Steve [Christiansen], Anda [Korsts]TVTV Archive Date: 7/9/19727/9/1972. At William Singer's headquarters at the Diplomat; riding in car with Singer from 00:17:00.
[Contents:] [George] McGovern press conferenceTVTV Archive Date: 7/8/19727/8/1972. 00:02:05: Nancy Cain and John Hart (CBS) hold a meta-discussion of TVTV and its capabilities compared to newsmedia. Waiting for McGovern press conference outside Doral; McGovern remarks begin around 00:21:00.
[Contents:] Saturday evening at [George] Wallace reception -- [interview with] Norman Jones, head of national Black Citizens for WallaceCamera: Chip [Lord]TVTV Archive Date: 7/8/1972
[Contents:] Rocky Neuman, etc. -- Nebraska delegation caucus at Allison HotelCamera: Frank [Cavestani]TVTV Archive Date: 7/9/1972
[Contents:] Dave Dellinger -- Michael Steven Levenson at Flamingo ParkCamera: Frank [Cavestani], Skip [Blumberg]TVTV Archive Date: 7/8/1972Demonstrations at Flamingo Park. David Dellinger interview from 00:06:10-00:15:20.
[Contents:] McGovern sign -- Pans -- Raps: ambulance man, Ruban, Merk, Allen GinsbergCamera: Skip [Blumberg], Andy [Mann]TVTV Archive Date: 7/8/1972Flamingo Park and Resurrection City. Jerry Rubin appears from 00:05:51 - 00:07:30. Allen Ginsberg appears at end of tape. --mg, 4/22/2019
[Contents:] [At Flamingo Park:] Socialist Worker [newspaper?] -- VVAW [Vietnam Veterans Against the [War] -- Miami resident -- Plane -- Sign -- Yippie -- Krishna devoteeCamera: Skip [Blumberg], Andy [Mann]TVTV Archive Date: 7/8/1972Demonstrators at Flamingo Park, including Andy Mann's lengthy interview with Hare Krishna.
[Contents:] Talking to media people about TVTV -- About [George] McGovern -- Shots of [Ron] Dellums -- Talks with McGovern workers -- Florida women lovin' the DemocratsTVTV Archive Date: 7/8/1972Interview with only black woman working for McGovern. Pierre Salinger at 00:02:15. Brief interaction with Ron Dellums at 00:05:05. Other interviews with producers for the Doral discussing 1/2" video.
[Contents:] Ant Farm dug -- [George] Wallace delegates partyCamera: Doug [Michels]TVTV Archive Date: 7/8/1972George Wallace delegates party. Interview with black woman candidate for VP [not Shirley Chisholm, but an unidentified woman who claims to be a VP candidate in the Republican Party]. Marty Robbins singing.
[Contents:] [William] Singer crew -- FeedbackCamera: Michael ShambergTVTV Archive Date: 7/8/1972TVTV discusses first day topics. Process tape.
[Contents:] Michigan delegation caucus -- [Richard J.] Daley forces speak -- [George] McGovern, King speeches -- Press conference -- [William S.] Singer on the run -- [George] Wallace protest -- Singer speech -- Pat Harris and Singer -- Singer and staffCamera: Anda [Korsts], Steve [Christiansen]7/9/1972. Michigan caucuses. Illinois delegates argue that they should be seated. Coretta Scott King gives speech for McGovern from 00:13:00-00:15:27, at which point McGovern gives a speech. William Singer speaks at 00:21:46 about the credentials committee.
[Contents:] [William] Singer with delegates -- [illegible] -- [Jesse] Jackson / Singer w/ Chicago caucus -- [George] McGovern support questionCamera: Steve [Christiansen], Anda [Korsts]TVTV Archive Date: 7/9/19727/9-7/10/1972. Illinois delegates; lobby of the Doral; conversation about whether candidates should release their delegates. "Midnight caucus"; Jesse Jackson speech at 00:23:48 is cut off, William Singer speaks at 0:24:05.
[Contents:] Illinois caucus -- Unity pitch by [Richard] Daley regulars / Howlett / PucinskiCamera: Steve [Christiansen], Anda [Korsts]TVTV Archive Date: 7/9/1972 - 7/10/19727/10/1972. Continuation of William Singer's spech and midnight caucuses from 16251. Eleanor McGovern signs autographs in Doral lobby. Full Illinois caucus starts.
[Contents:] Ethnic (fair?) -- Yippie lemarijuanaCamera: Andy [Mann], [Stanton Kaye]TVTV Archive Date: 7/9/1972
[Contents:] New York State caucus (part two; part one is on tape 32)Camera: Skip [Blumberg], Ira [Schneider]TVTV Archive Date: 7/9/1972
[Contents:] Rocky Neuman and other Nebraska delegatesCamera: Frank [Cavestani]TVTV Archive Date: 7/9/1972
[Contents:] Delegate from Texas -- [Guerrilla?] theater at Flamingo Park -- More Texas -- Old people on polit. rapTVTV Archive Date: 7/9/1972
[Contents:] [Label largely illegible] -- Colonel Sanders [...] -- Rap w/ ABCCamera: [Michael Shamberg], Chuck [Kennedy]TVTV Archive Date: 7/9/1972Conversation with ABC camera crew from 00:11:45 through end of tape. --mg, 4/23/2019
Judy and Megan Williams speaking with mother from beginning of tape to 00:11:00, followed by location shooting. --mg, 4/23/2019
[Contents:] Willie Brown, others at airport -- Wall Street Journal [...] -- Trolling for news with zippie [?] dredges at Flamingo Park -- A. Z. Weberman badmouthing Abbie and Jerry
[Contents:] Continuation of 64ABrief Willie Brown interview at 00:00:40. --mg, 4/24/2019
[Contents:] Andy / meta-video bits -- weird fish-eye of TVTV with no audio
[Contents:] "This tape is for Megan [Williams] and Michael [Shamberg] and they document it. Skip [?] video [...] Fred is in it. He would like to watch it with you."TVTV at home, relaxing and chatting. Some discussion of orocess tape, though not focused. Camera: Judy Williams.
[Contents:] Demo / Ill. caucus at Diplomat [Hotel] -- Pucinski, Arvey, Hartigan, Singer, [...], Singer, delegates, press credentials deliveredCamera: Steve [Christiansen], Anda [Korsts]TVTV archive date: 7/10/1972Illinois caucus at Diplomat Hotel. William Singer gives speech (00:06:00), interview, gets press credentials.
[Contents:] [William] Singer -- Chicago regular delegation cocktail party at Diplomat [Hotel]: Colonel Riley, piano player, Hartigan, Mike Howlett, etc. Bus to Hall -- Misc.Camera: Steve [Christiansen], Anda [Korsts]TVTV archive date: 7/10/1972New York caucus, after full Illinois delegation meeting. William Singer speaks. at start of tape. Illinois delegation cocktail party. Interviews with Neil Haritgan at 00:09:48, Mike Howlett at 00:14:40.
7/10/1972. Edmund Muskie press conference. California caucus at the Doral Country Club. Ron Dellums speech and interview from 00:22:30 through end of tape.
7/10/1972. NO AUDIO (tape problem, not digitization problem). Shot log notes: Willie Brown briefing on California strategy in Hyde Park suite; Warren Wildner, Alan Cranston, Shirley MacClaine, Bob Crown, Chuck Manatt. Discussion of credentials.
7/10/1972. New York caucus, Diplomat Hotel, 11 am. Roll call, nominations for delegation chairperson. John Lindsay at 00:13:53 with Jerome Kretchmer; Lindsay speech at 00:21:40. Others on tape or discussed in shot logs include Jan Yalom, Bernard Fleishman, Alvin Schlesinger, Mary Anne Krupsak, Robert Abrams, Mike Wallace and Jimmy Breslin, Joseph Crangle, Victor Gotbaum. TIV #1.
7/10/1972. New York delegation district 28 talking strategy; inside baseball over lunch. Bernard Fleishman talks about what to expect on the floor during the first night of the convention. TIV #3. Inside-baseball discussion.
7/10/1972. New York caucus elects chairpeople, noon to 4 pm. On tape or discussed in shot logs: John Lindsay, Joseph Crangle, Victor Gotbaum, others. TVTV archive date is 7/9/1972 but should be 7/10/1972 (shot logs say "Monday" - 7/9/1972 was a Sunday - and rest of NY caucus happened on 7/10).
7/10/1972. New York caucus elects chairpeople, noon to 4 pm. On tape or discussed in shot logs: Bernard Fleishman, Jan Yalom, Robert Abrams, Mary Anne Krupsak, Joseph Crangle, others.
7/9/1972. Willie Brown discussing McGovern strategy for California. Interview with Shirley MacLaine at 00:08:20.
7/14/1972. Convention hall, post-convention aftermath; locals scavenging the remains. Interviews with Walter Cronkite at 00:13:40, Dan Rather at 00:22:20.
7/10/1972. Doctor leaves the TVTV house. Material recorded from local news broadcast from 00:03:06 through end of tape.
N.d. Convention hall, Virginia caucus. 00:09:30 notable advertisement for the Wallace campaign: large "ME TOO" sign on a donkey. Diplomat Hotel after Illinois victory; delegates discussing victory and the Daley machine.
2 am-3:30 am. Fish-eye lens tour of convention hall (from beginning of tape to 00:12:30) during the California vote. Discussion of Chicano Californian rights; Rocky Newman of the Nebraska caucus; South Carolina delegation; Doug Kiker (NBC) interviewing Ohio delegate; Illinois delegation; minority report; Roman Pucinski.
John Lindsay briefly at beginning of tape; William Singer making rounds on the floor; vote to give McGovern advantage over Daley (incorporated into final tape); interviews with Jesse Jackson and WIlliam Singer at 00:21:30.
7/12/1972. Footage from within NBC network broadcast control room as votes are tallied for George McGovern. Interview off monitor with Eleanor McGovern after victory.
7/10/1972. Convention floor. Willie Brown interview from 00:02:00 - 00:15:15, commenting on deal-making, convention politicking.
7/10/1972. Convention floor. Footage of Illinois delegation during and after a speech by Jesse Jackson. Focus on William Singer in the audience, later with Jackson. Interview with Sam Ackerman at 00:22:50.
7/11/1972. New York caucus at Diplomat Hotel. Voting on amendment. Welfare rights discussion. Joseph Crangle interview. Interview by pool with Daley delegates from Illinois.
7/11/1972. Footage of TVTV booth beginning around 00:08:19,. Interviews and fly-on-the-wall footage with the Texas delegation on the convention floor awaiting Wallace's arrival.
7/11/1972. Convention hall. Willie Brown and Shirley Maclaine appear from 00:02:15 - 00:04:30. Jerry Rubin encounter on convention floor at 00:05:00.
7/11/1972. Convention floor. Nebraska delegation, Rocky Newman; discussions of Rules Committee, platform, minority planks, and other convention issues. TVTV booth. Julian Bond on tape at 00:10:40.
7/11/1972. Convention hall gallery; National Welfare Rights Organization demonstrating. TVTV leaves by dolly. Discussion in TVTV van. Shots of the TVTV house (e.g. signage, equipment checkout) from approximately 00:26:00 - 00:29:15. Nixon mask in the pool.
7/12/1972. Convention floor walk. Brief shot of Willie Brown with ABC at 00:07:15. Press booths. Interview with woman from Florida State University discussing 1/2" video and radio at 00:21:45.
Convention hall, including footage of Hubert Humphrey and William Singer. Anna Langford interview from beginning of tape through 00:09:30. Footage of floor during and after Abraham Ribicoff's speech nominating McGovern. Beginning of speech by Manhattan Borough president Percy Sutton nominating Shirley Chisholm for the presidency at 00:27:30.
7/13/1972. Interviews at convention hall, e.g. interview with Delaware delegate frustrated that McGovern isn't speaking during prime time hours (00:25:40). Pierre Salinger interview at 00:29:00. Also mentioned in shot logs: Bella Abzug, George Stevens Jr., George Sterns.
7/12/1972. Sit-down interview with Max Lerner (begins at 00:07:30).
7/12/1972. Outside the convention hall with Bernard Fleishman; New York caucus.
7/12/1972. Jesse Jackson (taped off television). Loading up the TVTV van. Local news and NBC Nightly News (also taped off television).
7/12/1972. Michael Shamberg on convention floor; interviews with delegates. Floor shots of California delegation during George McGovern nomination speech. Doral(?) Hotel; rock band concert celebrating McGovern. "ME TOO" Wallace donkey at 00:03:40.
7/12/1972. Interview with Alberta Johnston (entire tape).
7/12/1972. Convention hall. Interview with Wallace supporter; Jesus rally; Endicott Peabody campaigning outside hall; interview with "drag queen" [according to shot logs] about gay liberation platform; Wallace donkeys. TVTV watches this tape in the house in 16317.
7/12/1972. Interviews on the convention floor and in the lobby. Brief Hubert Humphrey interview at 00:10:20. New York delegation announces delegate votes for McGovern.
7/12/1972. Max Lerner watching his own interview at TVTV house. Carl Albert party; drunk Wallace delegates.
7/12/1972. Presidential roll call 11:45 pm; George McGovern nominated 11:59 pm; Shirley Chisholm speaks; Ralph Albernathy interview. All content taped off television.
7/13/1972. TVTV returning from convention hall after George McGovern's nomination. Watching tape; analyzing; at play. Material from 00:15:30 on is taped off television.
7/13/1972. McGovern headquarters party at the Doral; interviews with partygoers.
7/13/1972. First 20 minutes are TVTV experimenting with nitrous oxide; interview with Newsweek journalist begins at 00:20:10. This does seem like a significant process/context tape, after a fashion. Twenty minutes of goofing with N20 followed by earnest, poolside interview with Newsweek journalist that figures into the completed tape.
7/13/1972. Convention footage taped off television (vice presidential nomination, draft resister turning himself in, Barbara Ann Smith Eagleton). Short TVTV house footage at end of tape, taking nitrous oxide.
7/13/1972. 00:15:50: Jerry Rubin getting a nomination vote for VP from New York delegation). Germaine Greer at 00:15:19; Greer with Jack Nicholson at 00:23:55. Footage of Jerry Rubin on his bid for the vice presidency is high interest, some of incorporated into the final tape.
7/13/1972. Interesting interviews with network correspondents (Reid Collins, Cassie Mackin, Dan Rather, Douglas Kiker, Chas Guggenheim, others) in convention hall from 00:12:30 - 00:29:35. Footage of TVTV media van at beginning of tape.
7/13/1972. Convention floor. Interviews with Wallace delegates; discussion of Eagleton.
n.d. Miami Beach after convention; interviews with senior citizens about convention.
n.d. Post-convention interviews at Fountainebleu and on the street.