Jim Babb (the Gray Fox) went up through the sales ranks. He became manager of every department (or subsidiary) he worked in including Jefferson Productions. Eventually he was head of the entire broadcasting company.

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Making Commercials

For over two decades JP's primary focus was producing TV spots. Many in our own company were unaware of what we did or how we did it. We've come across a reel of old commercials we did in the early '80's, from which we've randomly edited out a double handful for your viewing pleasure.

Roll 'em »

If it was Thursday, it usually meant taping the weekly syndicated Arthur Smith Shows in the Jefferson Productions studio. Once a show was taped, duplicates ("dubs") were made in JP's tape room and shipped to the stations who aired the show.

The Producer Remembers

This from Don McDaniel, who produced and directed the show for a number of years:

Usually we only did one show per session. If Arthur was going to be unavailable we would jam two in one day. In fact, Arthur would be very happy if we could get a show done in one half day, which never happened. I still remember when Arthur would come to me and say "Now, Don, we need to get this done. I've got a bus to catch at three o'clock."

It's unbelievable, but we never had preproduction meetings about the upcoming shows. As I recall he would give me a format of songs probably three days ahead of time. From there it was up to me, or whoever would be directing, to come up with the sets. Most of the time the sets were just whatever we had in the prop room. It was quiet challenging to keep it different.

Jim Scancarelli was a breath of fresh air to the effort. He and Mark Hamilton used to help me with ideas for set pieces. With the studio ceiling as low as it was, when we had to do a cover shot of the full cast, they were in the top two thirds of the frame (back then we didn't show lights...hard on the camera picture tubes) and we had a lot of floor. Jim would build and paint set pieces to fill this area of the frame. It gave it a little more interest.

If there was a budget, I never knew about it. In fact, I can't recall ever being told of a budget on anything we ever did at WBTV either. We just went out and did it. All the special shows we did...just do it. No questions. Can't remember money being discussed.