WTVT's projection room

Ken Smith started Joe out as a projectionist, and it wasn't long before young Larry would come in to visit on Saturdays.  "I remember spending tons of hours at WTVT, when just about everything was on film.  When the commercial breaks came up, Dad had to start this projector at a certain time and then that one later.  Sometimes the film loop would get out of adjustment, causing the picture to ride up in the frame.  Dad would stick a finger into the guide and get the loop back in place.  One of the 'perks' of having a father who worked in TV was that we saw the cartoons like 'Huckleberry Hound' and 'Quick Draw McGraw' before they were shown on the air. "  

Joe prepares to take historic video

 of Col. John Glenn's arrival on ship

Although his Dad had no previous camera experience and hardly ever shot family photos, Larry recalls that Joe was trained to be a camera operator.  His proudest moment came in 1962 during the recovery of John Glenn's space capsule, Freedom 7.  Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth, and the recovery was to be videotaped by the WTVT remote unit aboard the Navy's aircraft carrier Randolph.  Joe was running a tripod-mounted RCA-TK-30 when astronaut Glenn stepped out of the recovery helicopter.  As the CBS director shouted 'Have him wave at you Joe, that'a boy!!" Joe dollied into a gorgeous closeup of the astronaut, who waved directly into his camera. 

President Kennedy's motorcade as seen through Joe Wiezycki's camera

The next year, Joe was a remote cameraman the day President John F. Kennedy visited Tampa (Nov. 18, 1963).  Joe captured the President's motorcade en route to Ft. Homer Hesterly Armorya historic picture that became a moment in time when Kennedy was assassinated four days later in Dallas, Texas.