Thursday, February 9, 2006


Nam June Paik, the avant-garde artist credited with inventing video art in the 1960s by combining multiple TV screens with sculpture, music and live performers, has died. He was 74.

The Korean-born Paik also coined the term "Electronic Super Highway" years before the information superhighway was invented.

Paik's work gained international praise from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, among others, and much of it is on display at the Nam June Paik Museum in Kyonggi, South Korea.

"He really led the development of a new art form, bringing the moving image into the modern art world," said John Hanhardt, senior curator of film and media arts at the Guggenheim.

"He foresaw that video would be an artist's medium, that it would be in museums," he said. "It's a heroic achievement."
Reuven Frank, a pioneering TV news producer and executive whose decision to pair two anchors on one newscast resulted in the groundbreaking 1950s nightly broadcast, "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" on NBC, died Sunday. He was 85.

Throughout his 40-year broadcast career, Frank stressed the importance of strong visuals and storytelling techniques in reporting news stories.

While such an approach might not seem radical today, in the 1950s television still lingered in the shadow of radio, and Frank sketched out a roadmap to exploit the new medium to the fullest.

As he later wrote: "Pictures are the point of television reporting."

Many of his acclaimed documentaries are still considered TV milestones, especially "The Tunnel," a 1962 report that depicted the escape of 59 Germans through a passage under the Berlin Wall.

The United States government pressured NBC to delay the broadcast citing Cold War sensitivities. When it finally aired, the program won an Emmy Award and inspired at least two subsequent feature films.

Frank served two tenures as president of NBC News, from 1968 to 1972 and from 1982 to 1984, and mentored such journalists as Tom Brokaw, John Chancellor, Linda Ellerbee and Andrea Mitchell.
George Walsh, who became known as the voice of "Gunsmoke" after he introduced the western series on CBS radio for nearly a decade then followed the show to television as its announcer, has died. He was 88.

Walsh, an announcer and a newscaster at KNX-AM (1070) from 1952 to 1986, died of congestive heart failure Dec. 5 at Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park, said his daughter, Fran.

Beginning in 1952, Walsh opened the weekly series that was broadcast live on radio with these words: "Around Dodge City and in the territory out West, there's just one way to handle the killers and the spoilers, and that's with a U.S. marshal and the smell of 'Gunsmoke.' "

The radio version of "Gunsmoke," which starred William Conrad as Marshal Matt Dillon, aired until 1961. When it moved to television in 1955, James Arness took over the starring role but Walsh remained as the show's announcer.

Walsh, who once said the "Gunsmoke" cast thought the radio show would last forever, had only to look at the streets
of Los Angeles in the 1950s to see the future of episodic drama.

"It was unbelievable. People were standing in the rain outside department stores watching television when it was new," Walsh told The Times in 2000.
Alan J. Shalleck, who collaborated with the co-creator of "Curious George" to bring the character to television and a series of book sequels, was found dead Tuesday outside his home here. He was 76.

A police spokeswoman, Sgt. Gladys Cannon, did not disclose details of the death, but said that the police were treating it as a possible homicide.

Mr. Shalleck was the writer and director of more than 100 short episodes of "Curious George," which were seen on the Disney Channel.

The original series of seven books about a mischievous monkey named Curious George began in 1941, shortly after George's creators, H. A. Rey and Margret, his wife, fled the Nazis and settled in the United States. A precursor of the character had appeared in a book they did in France in 1939. Hans Rey did the illustrations and Margret wrote the stories.

Mr. Shalleck had approached Margret Rey about bringing Curious George to television in 1977, the year her husband died. In addition to turning out more than 100 five-minute television shorts, Mr. Shalleck and Margret Rey wrote more than two dozen more books about George.

"Curious George" is making its debut as a full-length feature film on Friday, with the voices of Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore and Dick Van Dyke, among others.

A Syracuse University drama major, Mr. Shalleck got his start in 1950 in the CBS mailroom, working his way up to associate producer for "Winky-Dink and You," a television show in which children drew on a plastic film placed on the television screen. He later produced children's films and formed his own company.


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