The NBC television network had pioneered color broadcasting starting in 1954. For Adrian, it was love at first sight. "I first saw color television on an RCA CT-100, the first generation color receiver that was in Channel 8's master control," he recalls. "It was a big console with a little tiny picture tube. Even with a small picture, it was awesome with great color. To see color on a television set was like seeing HDTV for the first time. You couldn't believe what you were seeing. I picked up a 21" round-tube Admiral color set from a local electronics supplier, and my family became the only one in the neighborhood with a color TV. At the time, NBC was only doing an hour or two of color in prime time, like The Kraft Theater or 'Spectaculars' like "Peter Pan." But no matter what it wasif it was in color, we watched it."

WFLA not only carried the NBC color programs of the era, but provided local viewers with film programs and slides in color. RCA's 3-Vidicon color film chain (TK-26) was in use from day one at WFLA. "We had a color fishing program shot on 16mm in the Bahamas," explains Adrian. "It was a half hour show once a week. In the morning, we'd work on the film chain tweaking it up, getting it in focus, registration, and color balance. During the program, an engineer was dedicated to the chain to ride levelsthis was a big deal."


Adrian remembers how the WFLA production and engineering departments were thrilled when NBC brought a color mobile unit to Tampa in January of 1963. "It was the first time I saw a color television camera, the RCA TK-41. Using our crew as camera operators, audio board ops, and assistants in master control, we colorcast the Gasparilla invasion by putting one TK-41 camera on top of the old Thomas Jefferson Hotel.

RCA's TK-41 color camera was used for
almost 20 years.

Then we brought the camera down to the street for the parade. To help us reposition those giant cameras, we used a moving company to get all the gear from location to location. Immediately afterward the parade, we took the unit over to Plant Field and covered the automobile races at the old fairground. A small crane would lift the heavy TK-41s up onto platforms above the racetrack. The next day we brought the unit back to WFLA's studio and colorcast our local shows like "Uncle Bruce." It was a real adventure to do all that with color cameras."

An NBC color mobile unit.

Adrian recalls that color cameras required a lot of tender, loving care. "The NBC engineers explained things to ushow all 3 color orthicons needed neutral density filters to balance the light between them. You had to 'pad down' the green tube because less light was getting to the blue and red. When the light temperature would change as the day wore on, the whole color balancing act with the ND filters had to be repeated again." Little did Adrian know that two years later, he would help lead Channel 13 into the color era.