Produced, Written, and Directed by Mike Adams
This is the script of the PBS program put together by Mike Adams to investigate and illuminate the life and achievements of Charles "Doc" Herrold. An hour program, it can be ordered by phone from the Perham Foundation at 408-734-4453, or go to http://www.charlesherrold.org.
FINAL SCRIPT - 4/94
TITLES: 3 PAGES OVER BLACK
"The Perham Foundation Electronics Museum"
"The San Jose State University Foundation," "Institute for Arts and Letters," and "Theatre Arts"
"In Association with KTEH, San Jose"
ANNCR: Funding for the following program has been provided by the Perham Foundation Electronics Museum; and The San Jose State University Foundation, the Institute for Arts and Letters, and Theatre Arts.
MUSIC UP: ("DREAMER" INSTRUMENTAL)
(FILM; DOWNTOWN CARS, HOMES, MERRY-GO- ROUND, BOATS, GOLF)
ADAMS: V/O America in the 1920's. The World War is over and we are eager to get on with our lives. Prosperity is returning, and we are ready for fun. We want to be entertained.
(FILM; KDKA, JENSEN, KDKA, JENSEN)
ADAMS: V/O And it's in the year 1920 when a handful of pioneers rush to get the official government permission to entertain the public with the new device they are calling radio. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's KDKA will be the first licensed radio station and the 1920's will become radio's most important decade.
MUSIC ENDS - SLOW DISSOLVE TO SFX, WIND & FARM
(FILM; FIELDS, HORSES, DOWNTOWN, SYBIL)
ADAMS: V/O But in the quiet, simple past of ten years earlier, radio broadcasting had already come and gone in the small farm town of San Jose, California. There, every week between 1912 and 1917, inventor Charles Herrold and his wife Sybil use this crude transmitting device to broadcast programs of music and news to an audience of hundreds.
(MODERN RADIO CONTROL ROOM, WS)
ADAMS: (TO CAMERA) But before 1920, even the word broadcast was only used by farmers, it meant to scatter seeds
out in all directions from a single source, to broadcast them. (DEMONSTRATES
SLOW DISSOLVE TO
MUSIC UP: (PIANO)
(PHOTO OF CDH, SLOW ZOOM IN)
3 TITLES KEYED OVER CDH PHOTO:
"Mike Adams presents"
"Broadcasting's Forgotten Father"
"The Charles Herrold Story"
GREB: (KEY "Gordon Greb, discovered Herrold in 1958") Herrold said why don't we broadcast to the community, to San Jose and the Bay Area of California, entertain them with music and give them news and all kinds of things and make it a public entertainment and public information source.
LEE: (KEY, "Bart Lee, Wireless Historian") Herrold's intent was to broadcast on a regular basis to a known audience and that--in that he was first. There's no question about that. He was first.
STERLING: (KEY, "Chris Sterling, Broadcast Historian") What I find particularly interesting about Herrold and why he stands out in my mind is that he starts early, prior to 1910, and that he continues all the way up to World War One when, for reasons beyond his control, he and others are taken off the air. The reason we know less about him today is he doesn't continue into the 1920's and the 1930's, again for reasons which aren't important today.
TITLE KEY: "The Early Years"
(PHOTOS DISSOLVED; 1875 BIRTH HOME, FATHER, MOTHER, ROY AND CHARLES)
ADAMS: V/O Charles Herrold is born in 1875 in this house in Northern Illinois. His father, Civil War Captain William Morris Herrold operates the town flour mill and grain elevator. His mother Mary Elizabeth is a school teacher and bible lecturer. Soon Charles will have a younger brother.
SFX: FARM SOUNDS
(FILM; HORSES, ORCHARDS, PRUNE PROCESSING, PRUNE DEVICES, PHOTO; CDH AS TEEN)
ADAMS: V/O Ten years later, the Herrold family decides to go West. They end up in the agricultural town of San Jose, California. William Herrold buys land and becomes a successful prune farmer. He also invents and receives patents for several mechanical farming implements. Perhaps it is his influence that will inspire young Charles to show an early interest in science and mechanics.
(PHOTO OF SJ HIGH, PAN OF CLASSROOM, HERROLD AT HOUSE)
ADAMS: V/O Herrold attends this high school between 1891 and 1894 and he impresses his teachers with a knowledge of many subjects. He writes music and plays the piano. He teaches chemistry to fellow high school students, he builds microscopes, and masters photography. He learns about electricity and studies the early work of the great inventors.
MUSIC END - SLOW DISSOLVE TO:
(PHOTO; HOUSE IN 1880's - DISSOLVE TO)
(VIDEO HOUSE TODAY, ADAMS ON CAMERA)
ADAMS: (V/O SOT) Charles Herrold grew up in this house, (ADAMS AT HOUSE ON CAMERA), built in 1888 by his father (a beat)
(ADAMS WALKING, CAMERA FOLLOWS DOWN DRIVEWAY TOWARD REAR OF HOUSE) It looks about the same today as it did a hundred years ago. Imagine him as a boy, working on an experiment down in the basement, or up in the attic.
(PHOTOS; HOUSE, W/BARN, MS, CU, CDH ON BARN)
ADAMS V/O Behind the house there is a barn, and up on its roof Herrold and his father construct an observatory. It's here on long summer nights that fifteen year old Charles develops his passion for astronomy.
MUSIC UP & UNDER: (PIANO)
(PHOTOS; LICK, HIS TELESCOPE, CDH W/TELESCOPE)
ADAMS V/O A couple of times each week, he visits nearby Lick Observatory and pesters the staff until they teach him the position of many of the visible stars and planets. He invents this clock-driven telescope which uses grains of sand to change weights and balances, so that the telescope could follow objects across the sky.
(PHOTOS; STANFORD, CDH AT STANFORD)
ADAMS: V/O Next, twenty-year old Charles enters nearby Stanford University, intending to make astronomy his lifelong career. But when the only professor in the astronomy department leaves unexpectedly, Charles has to declare a new major.
EDISON MUSIC UNDER:
He switches to physics, and turns in a new direction - electricity and wireless. It will be his future.
(VIDEO, EDISON PHONOGRAPH, PHOTOS, EDISON, DE FOREST)
ADAMS: V/O Herrold is a college student at a unique time in the history of science and technology. The start of a new century with new inventions almost daily, and the coming revolution in communications.
(VIDEO, TELEGRAPH KEY)
LEE: (VO/SOT) A hundred and fifty years ago we started with communication by electricity with the telegraph, writing at a distance;
LEE: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "BART LEE, WIRELESS HISTORIAN") the telephone, which was sound at a distance and with the spread of communications by electrical means and the research work that has been done by people like James Clark Maxwell and Faraday and others, the idea began to percolate that perhaps it would be possible to communicate at a distance electrically but without wires. (FILM, MARCONI, SEVERAL SHIPS)
LEE: (V/O SOT) Marconi, in particular, saw enormous commercial applicability for that. Particularly for ships at sea where you could not string wires.
LEE: (on camera) It became very, very significant in 1901 when Marconi succeeded in signalling across the Atlantic with the famous "S", which was dit, dit, dit.
MUSIC UP: (PIANO)
(PHOTOS; CDH AT DESK WS, MCU, CDH DEVICE, DIVING HELMET, ELECTRICAL DEVICE)
ADAMS: V/O With all the publicity surrounding Marconi's wireless Charles Herrold can't wait to be an inventor himself. He drops out of Stanford and moves north to San Francisco where he starts a company and begins to invent and manufacture mechanical and electrical devices for dentistry and surgery, even deep sea diving. He (add?- receives over forty patents and) eventually becomes chief engineer for a San Francisco wireless company, a position he holds until the Great Earthquake of 1906.
ADAMS: V/O He loses everything - his personal possessions, his grand piano, his inventions. He flees San Francisco, taking these photos of the ruined city.
(DISSOLVE TO PHOTOS, CDH W/ STUDENTS, ANOTHER W/STUDENTS, CDH W/HAT)
ADAMS: V/O Settling temporarily in Stockton, California, he secures a teaching position at the local college of mining and engineering. He discovers he likes students and they like him. As a young man of thirty, Charles Herrold finds a vocation he will pursue for the next quarter century.
(FIND MIKE ON BOARD A 1907-ERA BOAT ON THE DELTA NEAR STOCKTON WITH A FIRST EDITION OF THE EDWARD BELLAMY BOOK, "LOOKING BACKWARDS")
ADAMS: (on camera) Charles Herrold loved the water. . . he used to relax aboard his boat in this California Delta and read. He was fascinated by this book, Edward Bellamy's popular novel, "Looking Backward," published in 1897. Looking Backward told of a utopian society in the year 2000. Chapter eleven describes how every home will be equipped to receive programs of music using the wires of the newly invented telephone. Herrold began to get an idea about how he too could deliver music and other entertainment into homes but using the wireless, a new invention that some believed could even be made to talk. This was 1907! Herrold's revolutionary idea came more than ten years before RCA Chairman David Sarnoff got his idea for a "radio music box" in every home.
(PHOTO; SARNOFF, KEY "DAVID SARNOFF, 1891-1971")
STERLING: (SOT) Sarnoff worked for RCA and RCA had a wonderful public relations operation.
STERLING: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "CHRIS STERLING, BROADCAST HISTORIAN") and they started the library which is there in Princeton. And that library saved every piece of paper David Sarnoff ever breathed upon and among other things was this so called--and I say so called--memo of 1916, the famous radio music box memo. So called because some recent researchers have argued that, in fact, it was probably written, but probably, in fact, written several years later and only later on into the 20's and 30's perhaps pre-dated back to make it look like Sarnoff was unusually prescient.
(VIDEO; CU SPARK, CU METERS, WS OPERATOR, CU KEY)
ADAMS V/O Will there someday be a wireless that speaks words instead of dots and dashes? At first, most inventors agree with Marconi who believes that the wireless should be used for two-way business communication. Morse code was an advantage - most people couldn't understand it, therefore it was private.
(PHOTOS; SEVERAL OF FESSENDEN, KEY, "REGINALD FESSENDEN, 1866-1932")
ADAMS V/O There are a persistent few who refuse to see wireless remain in its telegraph form. One of the first and most important is Canadian inventor Reginald Fessenden who in 1900 transmits voice using a spark. A Fessenden researcher has recreated that very first voice transmission; this is what it probably sounded like.
ORGAN MUSIC UNDER: HANDEL "LARGO"
ADAMS V/O Several years later on Christmas Eve 1906, Fessenden uses this alternator to send a program of music and voice to nearby ships.
(FILM; FESSENDEN RADIO ROOM, TOWER)
ADAMS V/O His historic transmission comes from this station. Many believe it was the first radio broadcast.
(PHOTO; LEE DE FOREST, "Key: Lee de Forest, 1873-1961")
ADAMS V/O Then there is Lee de Forest. Like Fessenden and Herrold de Forest also believes that the wireless will someday talk.
LEE: De Forest was very interested in sending music and sending - He started with opera as early as 1908, sending things that could be appreciated from a cultural standpoint. I think he did foresee broadcasting in a way that many people attributed to David Sarnoff 8-10 years later.
(PHOTO; CDH GIVING PUBLIC DEMONSTRATION OF WIRELESS)
ADAMS V/O By 1908, Herrold wants to return to his family. He has plans to start his own school, and to experiment with the transmission of voice and music using the wireless.
MUSIC UP: (PIANO)
(PHOTOS; GC BANK, TITLE KEY: "The Herrold College of Wireless and Engineering" DISS TO CDH W/STUDENT)
ADAMS V/O In January, 1909, Charles Herrold returns to San Jose and opens a wireless college. Known to his students as "Doc" or "Prof" Herrold, he will be a major influence on several generations of young radio enthusiasts.
EXT. LAKE - EARLY SPRING - DAY
(VIDEO, BEGINS IN BLACK AND WHITE, DISSOLVE INTO COLOR)
ADAMS V/O Boys start out by hearing and reading about the exciting tales of young wireless operators and they end up at the Herrold College as students.
High school buddies FRANK and TERRY, late teens, bob on the water, fishing.
TITLE KEY: "The Wireless Boys, Frank & Terry"
How about you?
Terry picks up a pebble.
He tosses the pebble into the water to demonstrate.
(WS, TOSSES IN POND)
(VIDEO, WIRELESS BOOKS FOR BOYS)
LEE: (V/O SOT) It was something that caught the imagination of young boys. By 1911, after there was some publicity about the interception of some wireless messages, there was a club in Los Angeles with 200 high school boys in it.
LEE: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "Bart Lee, Wireless Historian") And so, in this period, it became in many ways what computers have been for kids in the last 10-15 years.
GREB: Herrold was an excellent teacher. (KEY, "GORDON GREB, HERROLD BIOGRAPHER") And he wouldn't have attracted all those young men to take an interest in this thing called radio if he hadn't had a
(PHOTOS, CDH & KIDS EXPERIMENTING, ON BOATS, IN MTS.)
GREB: VO SOT special kind of curiosity and a way of demonstrating to these young people that it is an exciting thing to find out what's on the new frontier of knowledge
ADAMS V/O The College of Wireless and Engineering is a major success. And so between 1909 and 1917, Charles Herrold spends most of his time training young people to send and receive Morse code so they can get jobs as wireless operators.
MUSIC UP: (ORGAN W/GRIEG WEDDING MUSIC)
(PHOTOS; BLACKBOARD WS ONLY, TITLE KEY: "Family Life" NEW PHOTO OF WEDDING ANNOUNCEMENT, CDH & SYBIL)
ADAMS V/O In 1913, Herrold's students draw this "wedding announcement" on a classroom blackboard. As their professor nears 40, he marries 18-year old Sybil Paull. He brings her into the college as an instructor.
(PHOTO; BABY ROBERT)
ADAMS V/O Their son Robert is born in 1915.
ROBERT TRUE: (KEY: Robert True, Charles Herrold's Son") Well, my first memories are of when my mother was teaching the code to students.
(PHOTO, AN OLDER ROBERT)
ROBERT TRUE: I had a very normal growing up. My mother saw to that.
ROBERT TRUE: (ON CAMERA) She was a good cook, good mother.
(PHOTO, ROBERT, TILT UP TO SYBIL)
ROBERT TRUE: (AUDIO) She was a strict mother but she was very good.
STEPHEN TRUE: I did spend a lot of time talking to my grandmother about Charles Herrold.
STEPHEN TRUE: (ON CAMERA) She always referred to him as Charley. (Title Key: "Stephen True, Charles Herrold's Grandson") Most everybody else referred to him as Doc. She was quite fascinated with her early life with him in that she had a lot of contact with the radio station.
MUSIC UP: (PIANO)
(PHOTOS; BOB W/CDH, CDH IN WOODS)
ADAMS V/O Although Charles is now a family man, he continues to spend most of his time during the week at the school teaching, or at his lab inventing.
ROBERT TRUE: (ON CAMERA) On the weekend he loved to be outdoors. But you see all week he was usually indoors doing his radio business.
(PHOTOS; CDH W/KIDS IN WOODS)
ROBERT TRUE: (SOT AUDIO only continues from above) Then on the weekend we would go up there and have a kind of outing and I would hike around and investigate things. And he had some of the students,
ROBERT TRUE: (ON CAMERA) and he would give them an outing that way and a rest. They had quite a rigorous routine during the week studying and what ever they were doing.
(DISSOLVE TO BOYS WALKING PAST HOTEL)
ADAMS V/O Herrold's boys were living the dream of a future in wireless
EXT. KELLEY PARK, PACIFIC HOTEL & TOWER - DAY
Terry and Frank walk on the wooden sidewalk past the old hotel.
(DISSOLVE TO TOWER)
(ES, TROLLEY EXT)
INT. KELLEY PARK TROLLEY - DAY
(WS, DISSOLVE TO CU, FRANK,)
Frank and Terry ride the trolley to the party.
Terry just grins at him.
SLOW DISSOLVE TO
ADAMS V/O Early Monday morning, it's back to school. But while his students prepare for their careers in wireless telegraphy, Charles Herrold now spends most of his time inventing ways to make his wireless talk.
LEE: (V/O) Well, we already had the model of the telephone after the telegraph. People had become used to using voice communication.
LEE: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "BART LEE, WIRELESS HISTORIAN") Voice communication was capable of personal nuance in point to point circuits, It was very important, you knew what somebody was thinking when you were talking to them in a way that simply was not true with respect to a telegraph message. You had the words but you didn't have the tone, the tenor and even the context. So it was natural to seek to add to the power of electrical communication at a distance, the power of the human voice.
SFX: SPARK TRANSMITTERS
(PHOTO, CDH AT WIRELESS STATIONS, SPARK GAP XMTTR, DEMO OF SPARK, CU)
ADAMS V/O Herrold begins his voice and music transmission experiments in 1908 using the spark gap found in most wireless stations. He soon realizes that a spark will never be good enough to carry voice and music and if his dream of sending entertainment into homes is to be realized, he will have to invent something better.
(VIDEO; ARC DEMO W/AUDIO, TITLE KEY: "The Arc Fone" PHOTO, NEWBY WITH CAMERA)
ADAMS V/O Some experimenters believe that a direct current, high frequency arc is a better way to transmit voice and music. Herrold begins to develop his own unique system which he calls the "arc fone." He is assisted by a young wireless enthusiast named Ray Newby.
NEWBY: (ON CAMERA) Doc Herrold? One of the finest gentlemen I ever met.
(PHOTOS; NEWBY AT SPARK)
ADAMS V/O Newby will work with Herrold between 1908 and 1923. In a 1979 interview, Newby explains how Herrold discovered the arc.
NEWBY: (ON CAMERA) (KEY:"Ray Newby, Herrold's Assistant 1908-1923" and in upper left of frame, "taped in 1979") If you want to know how it started, it all started from the old street lamp. I think most everybody has heard of the rattle of the old (AUDIO SOT CONTINUES)
(PHOTO; SJ DOWNTOWN TOWER)
NEWBY: (SOT) arc lights starting, there was millions of 'em in San Jose at that time. They had 'em up on that tower
NEWBY: (ON CAMERA) Herrold took that arc and he said, "If I can increase the frequency of that singing tone that's in this arc light, the street arc lamp, I have a chance of having a carrier wave that will support voice or music maybe. And that's exactly what he did.
(PHOTOS; SEVERAL OF ARCS)
NEWBY: (SOT) He said, "To handle more power, we'll put the arcs in series," and he took six arc lights and put them in series, one after the another like you hook up dry batteries. That same principle of the street arc light was used in here but instead of having only one, he used six and they were burning under distilled water.
NEWBY: (ON CAMERA) He even used alcohol in there. I was afraid he'd blow the roof-- Burning' arc lights underneath alcohol! He says, "It's safe as long as the alcohol doesn't evaporate."
(PHOTO; SJ STREET CAR)
NEWBY: (SOT) The power was taken from the street car line, 500 volts D.C.
NEWBY: (ON CAMERA) by tapping' the line. He stole the juice there for a while (laughs).
MUSIC UP: ("WIRELESS TO HEAVEN)
(PHOTOS; NEWSPAPER HEADLINE, CU MIC, PATENTS DISSOLVED, SCHMIDT W/ARC FONE)
ADAMS V/O By 1912, Herrold has invented and received a number of patents for the pieces that will form the basis of his radio telephone system. The arc fone is a simple mechanical radio transmitter; it features a magnetic lifting system for the multiple arcs which are burning under liquid; the arcs are in series with a water-cooled telephone-like carbon microphone which is connected between the arcs and the ground. Large antenna coils couple the arc fone to an outside aerial.
MUSIC UP TO END OF VOCAL AND UNDER FOR. . .
(PHOTOS; PORTAL W/ARC FONE, GC BANK, SF FAIRMONT, TELEGRAMS, WS, PORTAL & ARC)
ADAMS V/O Using the call letters, "FN" and "SJN," Herrold put the arc fone on the air several hours every day, transmitting phonograph records and conversation from the Herrold college to a receiving station at a San Francisco hotel, a distance of fifty miles. While these are intended as two-way radio-telephone communication experiments, they are heard by hundreds of operators on the West Coast. (MUSIC OUT) Another station is set up at a local Naval base to demonstrate the Herrold voice transmission system for the Government. Both of these early efforts break distance records for voice transmission.
NEWBY: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "RAY NEWBY, HERROLD'S ASSISTANT, 1908-1922" AND IN UPPER LEFT OF FRAME, "TAPED IN 1979") We had no call letters at first. We just had to say "this is the Herrold station." We used to pick our call letters out of the sky but then the government came in and had everyone listed and you had to have a certain frequency. And stay there.
(FILM; "CQD," TITANIC, CARPATHIA)
ADAMS V/O A major disaster gets the Government involved in the regulation of wireless. When the Titanic sinks and 1500 lives are lost, the Radio Act of 1912 is passed. It requires radio operators on most large ships to monitor the airwaves 24 hours a day while at sea.
(PHOTOS; EXPERIMENTAL LICENSE)
ADAMS V/O Herrold will hold several licenses. This experimental radio-telephone license was issued to Herrold prior to 1916.
MUSIC UP: (PIANO)
(PHOTOS; FAMOUS PHOTO, SLOW DOWN A FEW FRAMES EACH VARIOUS, TITLE KEY: "Broadcasting For an Audience")
ADAMS V/O By 1912, Herrold believes that his arc fone is good enough for broadcasting to an audience. The arc fone activity that Herrold says proves his claim to being the "Father of Radio Broadcasting" is the Wednesday night "Little Hams program." Herrold tells his students that the Wednesday night programs are "broadcasting for the people of San Jose." He also tells them that everyone else transmitting voice at the time is only "Narrowcasting." He is on every week at the same time, and he knows that he is entertaining a public audience. And, as an early form of advertising, the broadcasts help attract students to his college.
(MIKE ON CAMERA, WITH PERHAM EXHIBIT)
ADAMS: (ON CAMERA) This is the improved arc fone that Herrold used for his Wednesday night broadcasts. (POINTS) It survives because Herrold gave it to museum operator Doug Perham. (DEMONSTRATES) Imagine being a disc jockey in 1912 - this was both your studio and your transmitter. You spoke into this microphone, but you couldn't get too close because it was in series with the high voltage used to generate the arc. And since the high voltage heated up the microphone, (POINTS) it was water-cooled (SOT AUDIO CONTINUES)
(VIDEO: CU REAR OF MIC)
ADAMS: (SOT AUDIO) circulating water ran through it at all times. ADAMS: (ON CAMERA) Now, when you wanted to play a record, you cranked up the phonograph and aimed this modified horn into the microphone. (PLAYS SOUSA MARCH) The major audience for these broadcasts were the young kids who built their own wireless sets. (SOT AUDIO CONTINUES)
ADAMS: (SOT AUDIO) the young experimenters, they had to make their own radios, they loved it
EXT. SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS - CABIN - DAY
Terry is outside the cabin, working over a rustic table filled with wires and other wireless stuff. Frank enters frame carrying his fishing tackle.
(MUSIC, SOUSA ENDS)
We've been up here three days and you haven't even been out on the lake yet.
He hands Frank a set of headphones, and starts to climb up the ladder toward the roof.
Exasperated, Frank puts them on, and begins untangling his fishing line. As terry continues to work with concentration up on the ladder --
(INSERT CU TERRY OVER FRANK'S LINE)
I told them about you...
well, not everything about you. I didn't tell them you were crazy. But I did tell them -- (jumps) Yaah!
He drops his pole, yanks the headphones off.
He scrambles down off the roof.
(SOUSA MARCH BG)
Frank cautiously leans in close to Terry, puts his ear to one of the earphones. His face registers awe. Now we can hear tinny music too.
Terry reacts. Off Frank, a convert --
MIKE ON CAMERA, SOUSA MARCH CONCLUDES OVER)
ADAMS: (SOUSA MARCH CONCLUDES) Plans were made ahead of time for each show. Phonograph records (PICKS UP) were picked out, newspaper stories to read were decided on, contests were even planned with the winners getting a piece of radio equipment as a prize, like this little piece of Galena used to make crystal receiver sets. It was called the "Little Hams" program because most of the listeners were young experimenters. But Herrold also set up listening posts in public places, and he and his students built wireless receivers for friends and family. The Wednesday night programs took place every week between 1912 and 1917. (AUDIO SOT CONTINUES)
(PHOTO, WIRELESS CONCERT)
ADAMS: (SOT AUDIO) News of the broadcasts began to spread, the audience grew larger.
(PHOTO: NEWSPAPER TEXT CU, EDITORIAL ZOOM IN)
ADAMS: (SOT CONTINUES) We can get some idea what his audience thought about "broadcasting for the public" from a 1915 editorial in the San Jose paper:
GREB: (SOT) Instead of recognizing
GREB: (ON CAMERA) this as a momentous achievement, as a revolution in communication, (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "GORDON GREB, HERROLD BIOGRAPHER") the San Jose newspaper editor deplored the fact that this could threaten lifelike entertainment that it was sort of a ersatz substitute for the real orchestra.
NEWBY: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "RAY NEWBY, HERROLD'S ASSISTANT, 1908-1922" AND IN UPPER LEFT OF FRAME, "TAPED IN 1979") every Wednesday night at nine o'clock he would be on because he knew he had fifty or more listeners with crystal detectors to report to him. They'd call up on the phone and ask for records, and what have you.
(PHOTOS; KIDS IN WOODS WITH HEADSETS)
NEWBY: (SOT) The listeners were all amateurs who had crystal detectors listening to ships or codes or whatever they could learn and read and find and they were startled to find music coming' in on their ears. (chuckle) from this Herrold station. Oh they'd call us
NEWBY: (ON CAMERA) right up and say play such and such a record, play it over and over. (AUDIO CONTINUES)
(PHOTOS, BOYS W/HEADSETS)
NEWBY: (SOT AUDIO) certain ones they like better. We had listeners within, I'd say, at that time, even in the earliest arc days,
NEWBY: (ON CAMERA) it was heard as far away as 900 miles but under very favorable conditions. (end at 1:53:10)
MUSIC UP: (PIANO)
(FILM; SYBIL, TITLE KEY "SYBIL AND SON ROBERT ON THE AIR IN 1913)
ADAMS V/O One reason that the Wednesday night broadcasts attract so much attention is because of Herrold's young wife Sybil.
GREB: (SOT) She became a disc jockey if you may. They didn't use that term in those days.
GREB: (ON CAMERA) And I guess she liked it because I remember I interviewed her years later, and she was very very pleased because she got a lot of responses in the community. People called her up, she got a lot of fan letters, people talked to her on the street that they heard the programs.
(MUSIC UP, PIANO)
(PHOTOS; SYBIL CU, SEVERAL), TITLE KEY, "VOICE OF SYBIL HERROLD")
SYBIL AUDIO: And I really believe that I was the first woman to ever broadcast a program. We used to get cards from the little hams asking us to play after we started playing the records for their little programs on Wednesday nights.
STEVEN TRUE: my grandmother always told me that she was the first
STEPHEN TRUE: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "STEPHEN TRUE, CHARLES HERROLD'S GRANDSON") female disc jockey, she thought, in the world at least.
ROBERT TRUE: (KEY, "ROBERT TRUE, CHARLES HERROLD'S SON") She used to tell us how she would borrow records from the local store and play "em on the air.
(PHOTOS: SHERMAN CLAY, SEVERAL)
SYBIL AUDIO: And I went to Sherman Clay and arranged to borrow records..
STEPHEN TRUE: (SOT AUDIO) and she would play them over the radio
STEVEN TRUE: (ON CAMERA) Sherman Clay loved it because the next day they would sell out of what ever she would play over the radio.
(PHOTO, SYBIL IN CAR)
SYBIL AUDIO: After they got the voice and that perfected, and the music broadcast perfected then he was anxious to get it in the homes so that everyone could enjoy it, radio into homes,
(PHOTO, CDH AND SYBIL)
ADAMS V/O Whether they realize it or not, by presenting programming on a regular basis, Charles and Sybil are developing the first radio audience.
STERLING: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "CHRIS STERLING, BROADCAST HISTORIAN") He was purposely trying to do what the popular press of the day was doing in a smaller sense. He was trying to appeal to a broad scale audience, cutting across the board in an entertainment fashion. Very few people had tried to do that that early. And, again, very few people had tried to do it on a continuous scheduled, pre-announced basis.
(PHOTOS; OLD MERCURY BUILDING, DISSOLVE TO ACTUAL ARTICLES)
GREB: (SOT) He did get notice in the local paper from time to time. (SOT CONTINUES)
GREB: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "GORDON GREB, HERROLD RESEARCHER") I think it was back in 1912 or 13, I found articles where Herrold was inviting people to not only tune it in and hear his programs of music (SOT CONTINUES)
GREB: (SOT AUDIO) but he actually invited him to stop off in one of the record stores in town where he had installed little listening devices, little receivers where he was endeavoring in any way possible to call attention to what he was doing.
LEE: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "BART LEE, WIRELESS HISTORIAN") so it makes enormous sense for someone who's interested in sending voice over the air, send a little music, to have something that people can tune in to on a regular basis if you want them to know that you are gonna be there, say on Wednesday night at eight P.M. You don't want to do it when everybody's at work, you don't want to do it when the boys are at school. (SOT AUDIO CONTINUES)
(PHOTOS; KIDS, WITH WIRELESS)
LEE: (SOT AUDIO CONTINUED FROM ABOVE) And so it begins to make a lot of sense to schedule what we now call a broadcast. That's what Herrold did.
LEE: (ON CAMERA) He was the first that I know of to actually schedule a broadcast.
MUSIC UP: (PIANO)
(FILM; PALACE OF FINE ARTS AT PPIE, TITLE KEY, "THE 1915 WORLD'S FAIR", PHOTOS; YOUNG DE FOREST, DE FOREST WITH AUDION, MAN LISTENING, FILM; PPIE)
ADAMS V/O The other event that Herrold believes establishes his claim as the first broadcaster takes place in San Francisco at the Panama Pacific International Exhibition of 1915. Here at this major event, with the whole world watching, inventor Lee de Forest is just about to reveal a radical new technology for transmitting voice and music, one based on his invention of the three-element vacuum tube known as the audion. But de Forest cannot get his transmitter to work and so at the last minute Herrold is asked to step in and take over, to broadcast daily entertainment from his San Jose station to fairgoers visiting the receiving stations at the Palace of Fine Arts. Herrold puts his arcfone on every day for eight hours and thousands of fairgoers are able to experience broadcasting for the first time.
STEPHEN TRUE: (SOT) my grandmother did tell me about that. What I remember her saying was that people wouldn't believe it,
STEPHEN TRUE: (ON CAMERA) it was so early. (KEY, "STEPHEN TRUE, CHARLES HERROLD'S GRANDSON") People wouldn't believe that it was wireless because they'd never heard voice coming over the air before. Not that they hadn't heard phonograph records, but that was a different story, that was right here on the table. And she said people would look in the back of the booth and look under the table because they thought sure that sure it was coming from there--somewhere. Or that there were wires coming that they just couldn't see and they had to convince 'em that it was coming from fifty miles away in San Jose. (end at 11:08:17)
GREB: (ON CAMERA) In 1959 when I had the privilege to interview de Forest himself when he was in his eighties and I asked him point blank (AUDIO SOT CONTINUES)
(FILM, DE FOREST)
GREB: (SOT AUDIO) did he believe that
GREB: (ON CAMERA) Herrold's station deserves credit to be the world first broadcasting station? He said I sure do.
(VIDEO; WS BOYS ON PORCH)
ADAMS V/O The Herrold broadcasts continue until 1917. Between broadcasts, Herrold's audience built wireless receivers.
EXT. KELLEY PARK HOUSE - PORCH - DAY
Terry is surrounded by a different pile of wireless and electrical stuff. Frank runs up with an armload of additional wires, batteries, books, etc.
Terry just looks at him, bemused.
He puts the stuff down, points at Terry's project.
As Terry and Frank put their heads together, we
SLOW DISSOLVE TO
(PHOTO; HERROLD BROADCAST, SLOW ZOOM OUT)
ADAMS V/O 38 (time :16 In April, 1917 the Herrold broadcasts, along with all other amateur radio activity, come to an abrupt end. By government order most radio will be silent until April 12, 1919.
MUSIC UP: ("OVER THERE")
(FILM; WW1 VARIOUS, TITLE KEY: "THE GREAT WAR", PHOTOS; WIRELESS STATIONS, SPARK EQUIPMENT, CDH STUDENTS IN UNIFORM))
ADAMS V/O The World War, and the new draft lottery is going to turn these young boys into men overnight. This first war to end all wars is also going to have a major impact on wireless and radio. In the name of national security the Federal Government makes all inventors work together and pool their patents so that better equipment can be built for defense communications. Many of Herrold's students go to war. And while too old for the draft himself, Herrold serves the war effort, working night and day, training hundreds of radio operators.
MUSIC ENDS - SLOW DISSOLVE TO:
MUSIC BG: SOUSA MARCH
(FILM; ARMISTICE CELEBRATION IN NYC)
ADAMS V/O By 1918 the fighting ends, and the diplomacy begins. Our soldiers return home to a heroes welcome. Europe is stable again, and America is forever a permanent player in the international community.
MUSIC UP: ("DREAMER" INSTRUMENTAL)
(FILM; GORDON, TITLE: "1920," FILM, TROLLEY, TRAINS, WILSON, HARDING, SHOPPING)
ADAMS V/O Peace and prosperity. The decade of the 1920's begins. President Woodrow Wilson is in failing health and will barely finish his term as president, to be replaced by the lightweight Warren Harding. People continue to leave their farms for the big cities. Normal life is returning to Main Street and the future looks good. The 1920's bring at least the promise of unlimited riches.
(VIDEO; MAGAZINES, DISSOLVED)
ADAMS V/O The decade of the 1920's will also turn out to be broadcasting's most important. No longer called the wireless telephone, it's now radio. And everything that radio would become will be in place by 1930; licensed broadcasting, advertiser support of programming, radio personalities, networks, everything. The 1920's will be radio broadcasting's defining decade.
(KDKA FILM AUDIO, ANNOUNCES HARDING-COX RETURNS) (KEY, "WESTINGHOUSE RE-CREATION FROM THE 1940'S")
KDKA: (W/SOT) Early returns give a subtantial lead to Warren Harding over James Cox...
ADAMS V/O It's 1920 and the Commerce Department begins licensing "broadcast stations." The first to get the official permission is Frank Conrad's KDKA in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The date is October 27, 1920. And just like Charles Herrold's small audience had discovered ten years earlier, there is something new on the wireless.
(FILM; BOY AND DAD DISCOVER KDKA W/AUDIO) (KEY, "WESTINGHOUSE RE-CREATION FROM THE 1940'S")
KDKA: (SOT W/PIX) Dad, come here quick, there's music on the wireless. Know what it is son?....ETC. ETC.
STERLING: (V/O, ABOVE KDKA) When KDKA went on the air with those famous election returns in November of 1920, November second, if memory serves,
STERLING: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "CHRIS STERLING, BROADCAST HISTORIAN") it was an era that when a station went on the air it went on the air for perhaps an hour or so a day
STERLING: (SOT CONTINUED) when there was a program-a particular program of something to cover, a baseball game or a church service.
STERLING: (ON CAMERA) And then the station goes off the air. And perhaps it comes back on the air later on that same day.
MUSIC UP: (PIANO)
(VIDEO; CRYSTAL SET, TUBE SET, OATMEAL BOX, WESTINGHOUSE RADIO SEVERAL VIEWS)
ADAMS V/O The 1920's also marks the beginning of the organized manufacture of radio receiving sets for the home consumer. The demands of the World War had forced inventors and patent holders to come together and quality radios are now available. No longer is it necessary for a boy to eat great quantities of oatmeal just to get the box for a home made crystal set. After all, KDKA's major purpose for broadcasting is to get people to buy radios built by its owner, Westinghouse. The humble crystal receiving set is slowly being replaced with better and more powerful radios using vacuum tubes.
(PHOTOS; DE FOREST, WITH HIS TUBE XMTTR, CONRAD W/TUBE, VIDEO; ARC EXHIBIT SEVERAL)
ADAMS V/O But the biggest change after the war is the technology of the transmitting device. While Charles Herrold had finally perfected his arc fone, essentially "mechanical" radio, de Forest, KDKA's Conrad and others are now successfully using the vacuum tube as an electronic means of transmitting radio waves. And with the government licensing of broadcasting, the frequencies assigned to it are not compatible with the now obsolete arc system perfected by Herrold.
SLOW DISSOLVE TO:
MUSIC UP: (PIANO)
(PHOTOS; CDH AT KQW, CDH AT MIC, SEVERAL OF EACH)
ADAMS V/O So as broadcast radio sweeps the nation, Herrold has to throw away his lifes work and build a vacuum tube transmitter before he can obtain his broadcasting license. He finally goes on the air in 1921 as KQW. But now, instead of being the only broadcaster, he is one of hundreds, trying to keep his station on the air, trying to find programming. Radio broadcasting is in its first year, and as Herrold nears 50, it looks like a young person's business to this aging "Father of Radio Broadcasting."
MUSIC UP: (PIANO)
(PHOTOS; HERROLD AT STORE, ELECTRIC BATTERY STATION, BOY AT TRUCK)
ADAMS V/O Herrold refuses to give up. In addition to KQW, he continues to train students and sell radio equipment. He begins to do innovative things to demonstrate the use of radio and broadcasting, including a number of public exhibitions. Also in the early 1920's, Herrold meets a whole new generation of young radio enthusiasts.
(PHOTO OF ALTENBACH AS YOUNG BOY)
ALTENBACH: (SOT) I first met Prof Herrold in 1922 when I was in the eighth grade.
ALTENBACH: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "ED ALTENBACH, HERROLD STUDENT IN 1920'S") Doc was very encouraging to young people and he didn't talk down to kids at all. He encouraged 'em to go ahead and any way he could help them out, he did. He was a very warm person.
ARBUCKLE: I met Doc Herrold When I was delivering express mail. (KEY, "CLYDE ARBUCKLE, KNEW HERROLD IN 1920'S") I recognized him as a very courteous man. He addressed me as a human being.
GORDON: (KEY, "RON GORDON, KNEW HERROLD IN THE 1920'S") He was a personable person. And he would go out and visit people in their homes and barns and places where they had their crystal sets and help 'em hook their crystal sets up properly with the antenna and the ground and the whole bit.
GREB: (ON CAMERA) I don't think I have met anybody, and I interviewed everybody who new Herrold when I first started my research in 1959. And I talked to a lot of old men who highly respected Herrold, I didn't met anybody who didn't like the man.
(PHOTOS; KQW PROGRAM GUIDE)
ADAMS V/O But being well-liked is not enough. Charles Herrold has no corporate backing and therefore little promise of making money from broadcasting. He stays with it because entertaining an audience excites him. GORDON: (KEY, "RON GORDON, KNEW HERROLD IN THE 1920'S") when I was a kid and I would wake up in the morning and see my crystal set up there, you know, looking at it from my bed it just looked beautiful to me and I'm sure that Herrold was as eager to get up every morning and work on his ideas for transmitting out to the public.
(PHOTOS; INDUCTANCE DEVICE, STREETCAR DEVICE SEVERAL)
ADAMS V/O As an inventor, Herrold slows down; one of his final inventions is this "involute inductance device," apparently a tuning coil to improve radio reception. He even invents a moveable sign for the city streetcars. This complicated device is designed to be connected to the trolley wheels to mechanically change advertising messages as the car rolls down the tracks. It is never used.
MUSIC UP: ("DREAMER VOCAL")
(VIDEO; 1925 AK RADIO, TITLE KEY: "1925" TILT TO SPEAKER; FILM, FAMILY W/SPEAKER, GRINBERG WSB EQUIP AND TALENT IN STUDIO VARIOUS)
ADAMS V/O Broadcasting continues to grow up. It is now 1925 and radio has not only learned to talk, it's speaking loudly. No longer content to listening with earphones, now everybody wants a radio with a loud speaker. By 1925, there are almost 600 licensed radio stations entertaining audiences with music and talk, and the advertising of products is providing the economic support for radio broadcasting. At the halfway point in broadcasting's decade, radio is maturing quickly.
(PHOTO; CDH LISTENING TO RADIO, SLOW ZOOM OUT)
ADAMS V/O But while these are the boom years for broadcasting, Charles Herrold's fortunes are in decline. His twin obsessions of broadcasting and inventing will cost him everything: First he loses his wife.
GREB: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "GORDON GREB, HERROLD RESEARCHER") She wanted more than just going up to the laboratories and conducting these experiments or even being on the radio. (CONTINUE SOT)
(PHOTO, SYBIL IN 1920's)
GREB: (SOT) She wanted to go dancing to go to the movies, silent theater, stage show, vaudeville.
ROBERT TRUE: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "ROBERT TRUE, CHARLES HERROLD'S SON") It was the tremendous stress of his business that kept him away a lot of the time. He had to be away doing things at night too because of his many students.
(PHOTOS; SYBIL, WEDDING, HENRY TRUE)
ADAMS V/O Sybil divorced Charles Herrold in 1924, and re-married less than one year later. New husband Henry True adopted young Robert and changed his name. Charles Herrold loses his son.
ROBERT TRUE: (ON CAMERA) Anybody is affected by that in fact you go to school one day with Herrold and you come back in the afternoon and your name is True. I can remember I was twelve years old I had just gone into junior high school, it was Roseville J.H. And we went down and had it done (I'm a little emotional about this) and when you come back in the afternoon your name was True. That is just all there was to it, you know.
SLOW DISSOLVE TO:
(PHOTO; BAPTIST/KQW LOGO)
ADAMS V/O By 1925 Herrold is also broke. He can no longer afford to operate KQW. He turns to a local church for help.
GREB: (ON CAMERA) So the deal that Herrold had worked out with First Baptist Church is that he would turn over the license to them if in turn they would hire him, employ him as chief engineer. (cut to
(PHOTO; KQW BUILDING/ANT)
GREB: (SOT AUDIO) Well shortly after, I don't know how long the arrangement lasted, some kind of misunderstanding occurred, and because
GREB: (ON CAMERA) Herrold wasn't a business man or a lawyer, he didn't have an air tight contract so they fired him.
(PHOTO; MN HEADLINES)
GREB: (SOT) And the newspaper had a headline,
GREB: (ON CAMERA) that day that said "father of broadcasting fired."
MUSIC UP: (DREAMER INSTRUMENTAL)
(FILM; EXPERIMENTS, TITLE: "1930" 01:22:38, LINDBERG, BOOZE, STOCK MARKET)
ADAMS V/O The 1920's end with a promise and a crash. Charles Lindberg gives us hope by flying nonstop from New York to Paris. The experiment called prohibition is clearly failing. So is the economy.
(FILM; GRINBERG, FAMILIES LISTENING TO RADIOS, JENSEN FILM, KDKA FILM)
ADAMS V/O But by 1930 broadcasting is a big business. Radio stars are established, listening habits are formed. The Radio Act of 1927 assigns new and clearer channels to broadcasters and requires stations to operate in the public interest. NBC and CBS are the first radio networks. By 1930, radio is a major source of entertainment for all Americans. The 1920's have been radio broadcasting's big decade.
MUSIC FADE OUT:
(PHOTOS; CDH AT KTAB MIC, CDH ADVERTISING BOOK, CDH AT MIC)
ADAMS V/O But for Charles Herrold it's a different picture. He'll spend his final years in radio in sales. He writes and lectures about advertising. He buys blocks of time on local stations, finds the programming, and then sells the entire package to advertisers.
MUSIC UP: GRIEG ORGAN
(PHOTOS; WEDDING ANNOUNCEMENT, SCRIPT)
ADAMS V/O Herrold also tries one more attempt at marriage. This time he marries a woman named Belle, and it's broadcast live, on the air. He writes their wedding ceremony as a radio script. After this highly publicized "radio marriage" we never hear about Belle again.
MUSIC ENDS - SLOW DISSOLVE TO:
MUSIC UP: (PIANO)
(PHOTOS: CDH TWO DISSOLVED, FILM; GRINBERG MARCONI AND SARNOFF IN 1930)
ADAMS V/O Mostly in the early 1930's, Herrold begins devoting his energy to proving to the world that he is the "Father of Radio Broadcasting." He writes letters to newspapers and he tells his story on local radio. No one pays attention. In 1930 a grateful world remembers Marconi and Sarnoff for their contributions to the science and business of radio and broadcasting. Charles Herrold is about to dissapear from history.
GREB: (SOT) I would say Herrold in his old age was sort of an
GREB: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "GORDON GREB, HERROLD RESEARCHER") unhappy man because everything he had done apparently had not been recognized outside of Northern California.
STEVEN TRUE: (ON CAMERA) (KEY, "STEPHEN TRUE, CHARLES HERROLD'S GRANDSON") when Charles Herrold was doing his inventing and doing his initial broadcasting, nobody had the faintest idea that it was gonna go where it went. It's like the talkies when they hit motion pictures, everybody said, this'll never last."
LEE: (KEY, "BART LEE, WIRELESS HISTORIAN") So Herrold was the first and, in a sense, he is less well known today than he deserves because he was too soon.
(SLOW DISSOLVE TO MIKE WALKING, ON CAMERA AT GRAVE SITE)
ADAMS: (ON CAMERA) (walking) This is Oak Hill Memorial Park in San Jose . . . it's the final resting place for Charles David Herrold. (stops) The "Father of Radio Broadcasting" spend his final 12 years in a secession of menial jobs. He never invented again, never worked in radio. He lived in Oakland. . . alone. In 1936 when he was 61 years old, (SOT AUDIO CONTINUES)
ADAMS: (SOT AUDIO CONTINUES) he received a letter from the Oakland City Schools thanking him for working as an audiovisual assistant. (CONTINUES)
ADAMS: (ON CAMERA) During World War Two, he worked as a security guard in the Oakland Shipyards. In 1945, there was another unsuccessful attempt to recognize Herrold as the Father of Radio Broadcasting. In a one-hour dramatization on radio station KQW, actor Jack Webb portrayed the life of Herrold and for this program an engineer went to Herrold's home to preserve on acetate disc the only known recording of Herrold's voice:
(PHOTO; CDH, CDH HOUSE)
ADAMS V/O Just three weeks after leaving this Oakland house for a nearby rest home, he dies at the age of 73 of heart failure on July 1, 1948.
(PHOTOS; GREB W/MIC, GREB INTERVIEWING, PLAQUES)
ADAMS V/O The Charles Herrold story might have ended here forever had it not been for Professor Greb. After extensive research in the late 1950's he organized a celebration to honor Herrold and arranged to have placed historic markers at the site of the original broadcasts.
GREB: (ON CAMERA) what I learned from personally talking to radio pioneers and looking at the printed evidence that was available to me; newspapers and other documents, including testimonial letters, I'm convinced that Charles David Herrold was the father of broadcasting.
STERLING: (ON CAMERA) I would argue that he certainly is a father of broadcasting. He's not the father of broadcasting any more than several other people who used the same title but he certainly is a father. This is an offspring that had lots of parents.
LEE: (ON CAMERA) When we look at Charles Herrold's place in history, I do believe that Charles Herrold was the first broadcaster and if he wanted to be known as the father of broadcasting I think that we should let him be known as the father of broadcasting.
ADAMS: (AT KSJS, MCU) It's exciting when you realize that we can trace this modern radio station with (EJECTS CD FROM MACHINE) its compact discs and these little digital tapes (TAKES DAT FROM HOLDER) all the way back to Charles Herrold's broadcasts in 1912. (TO CAMERA) But history has ignored Herrold. Maybe he would have been better known if he had lived and invented in one of the great population centers on the east coast or (START ZOOM OUT TO REVEAL MICROPHONE IN HAND) worked for a big company like an RCA or a General Electric. And he spent too much time working on (HANDLES AND TURNS, SHOWS MICROPHONE) the wrong technology. Still - we know he was the first to broadcast entertainment programming on a regular schedule to an audience. Don't you think that Charles Herrold deserves a better place in the history of radio broadcasting.
PIANO MUSIC UP FOR CREDITS OVER BLACK
This is the script of the PBS program put together by Mike Adams to investigate and illuminate the life and achievements of Charles "Doc" Herrold. An hour program, it can be ordered by phone from the Perham Foundation at 408-734-4453, or at http://www.charlesherrold.org.