TTT Crew George Tang on camera with R.Knowles and M. Clarke at Queenâ€™s Park Oval
On August 31, 1962 â€“ Independence Day was a milestone in the history
of Trinidad & Tobago with the first live broadcast of the opening of
Parliament by our own television station. They were offering programmes
from 6.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m., and that was all that I thought of television
at the time.
In September, 1962 a visit was paid by Messrs. Barry Gordon, Louis
Sorzano, and Bob Archibald to my workplace Perriera & Company
Limited, where I was the Manager of the Photographic Department.
I was acquainted with Louis who approached me and introduced the
two (2) strangers with him. Barry Gordon when introduced to me
inquired if I would not be interested in working in the Television
Industry, as I was highly recommended to him. I had not given it a
thought as I was happy in what I was doing, so I could not give him
an answer as I needed to think about it.
The next day he telephoned me and invited me to visit them at
Television House.Â On my arrival I was handed a Bell & Howell
Camera, and was taken with the team to the passing out parade of the
Police Recruits. Having experience doing cinematography as I
worked with Wilfred Lee Company Limited doing commercials and
documentaries – news. I felt comfortable with this test assignment,
and apparently they were satisfied, as it was shown on Panaroma that
night. Later that night I received a telephone call from Barry at home
and a job offer was made.
Beside my experience at Wilfred Lee & Company Limited, I also
already had twenty (20) years of still photography under the well
known Mr. Isaac Chan, and the artist Mr. Carlyle Chan who was the
foremost portrait and wedding photographers at that time.
I was required to give a monthâ€™s notice to my employers, and while
working out my notice, I went after work to Television House to
learn the production system of processing and editing. I was
officially placed on staff at Television House on October 1, 1962, as
one of their two cinematographers – the other person being Louis
Sorzano. We were known as the eyes and ears of the nation.
Our job entailed covering all news assignments with journalists like
â€“ Lloyd Rohlehr, who was the News Director at the time. Messrs.
Clyde Alleyne, and Mervin Telfer, and later joined by Messrs.
Bobby Thomas and John Barsotti.
Also we covered sports assignments like horse racing, cricket, and
football with the well known Sports Caster, Mr. Raffie Knowles.
We also featured shows with Ms. Melina Scott, and Ms. Hazel Ward.
It was always great to work with these two distinguish ladies,
and up to today when we meet I am warmly greeted with hugs. At that we
were kept very busy.
The year 1963 was another first â€“ carnival was covered on the
television in black and white. I was at the Red Cross Children
Show, Dimanche Gras, Jâ€™ouvert, and Monday and Tuesday Parade
of the Bands. I worked from Carnival Friday to Carnival Tuesday
without a break, taking my meals on the move. We shot the pictures
and had to hustle back to the television station to process, edit, and
air on Panorama News that same night.
One of my outstanding memories was the September 1963 coverage
of Hurricane Flora. I was put on a two seater plane and sent over
to cover the hurricane damage in Tobago. On this occasion as on
several others, I was both journalist taking notes, and the
cinematographer. This coverage was subsequently used by CBS
My enjoyable assignment was the preliminary casting of the
scouting for talent show with the well known talent host – Mr. Holly
Bataudier.Â These auditions were conducted nationwide, and it was
one of the most popular shows at that time.
These were very momentous, and exciting times, a young nation, and
a growing industry â€“ television.Â We worked seven days a week,
and we were a very happy, dedicated group of people, doing all that
was required and asked of us. There was a high standard of
professionalism. Among us we also developed a feeling of great
comradeship, and several lifetime friendships were made. I learned a
lot from the professionals like Mr. Barry Gordon, who up to today I
can hear him saying, “you are not Cecil B. Mille making a movie,
this is a news cast” which I often repeat.
Disaster struck in the year 1965, as I was hospitalized with a
bleeding ulcer. The doctors could not pin point the cause of this, and
it was suggested that the breathing of the chemicals techno chloride
used in cleaning films could have been responsible for this ailment.
I remained at Television House until the year 1965, when I left to
open my own studio, but continued to be associated with Television
House as a freelance cinematographer, covering special assignments,
like the visits by The Duke of Edinburgh, Haile Salasie, and Indira
Ghandi of India. The arrival of the Queen of England for TTT, and
also for CBS Television Station who was so impressed with this
coverage they sent me a bonus cheque.
I continued to keep in touch with other TTT Pioneers, like Ms.
Doreen Gilbert until her recent demise, Ethel Bethelmy, and Ann
Winston, who I still continue to meet with frequently, as we all live in
the same area. It is always a joy hearing from any TTT Pioneer, and
I wish they will all continue to enjoy their memories.