WTVT management anxiously awaited the delivery of their color camerasdetermined to be first to make the claim of "local live color' in the Tampa Bay area.  RCA was swamped with orders for the TK-42 and it was March of 1966 when the momentous day arrived and several crates containing the new RCA color cameras were delivered to WTVT.  "Everyone said 'We can't believe how big and heavy they are!" chuckles Adrian.  "We tried for about a week to get an acceptable picture.  We found the only way to get any quality was to bypass the automatic settings and manually adjust everything and that was the best it was going to get."

"The registration was a problem, but the color balance was also a challenge.  You had a full size image orthicon tube and 3 little vidicons and to try to get the right amount of light on the orth and save some for the vidicons was very hard.  It took a lot of light, about 300 footcandles, to get a decent picture.  Outside, the TK-42 made a pretty good picture.  RCA had taken the position that no matter how bad the picture was coming out of the 3 vidicons, it was the orthicon that was going to save it.  The picture was bad and you couldn't believe how noisy and how fuzzy the picture was when looking at the individual color channels.  RCA was right on one pointwhen you looked at the final picture coming out you were amazed that the result was as good as it was.  Ironically, the previous RCA camera, the TK-41, would actually produce a better picture if premium orthicon tubes were being used."


The race to premiere local live color revved up when WFLA received their shipment of two TK-42s.  Management at Channel 13 was determined not to be scooped by the competition and pushed engineering into a rush on-air color presentation during the April 30th (Saturday) edition of PULSE news.  "All the maintenance people were there and some people from management," recalls Adrian.  "We had placed a TK-42 head atop a rolling maintenance cart, which allowed us to pan left or right to center up Hugh Smith, who was anchoring that night.  So Pulse news begins and Hugh tells the viewers how WTVT is the first to roll out local live color.  We even had a bouquet of roses to show off the color.  Hugh explains that the engineers are still tweaking the cameras and that they will go away for awhile until they feel the cameras are ready to put on the air."  

Adrian Snow learns to live with the shortcomings
of the RCA TK-42.

New electric Houston Fearless camera pedestals arrived soon after, and the TK-42s were taken off maintenance carts and perched atop the electrically powered mounts.  "A couple of weeks later we were ready and the TK-42 went on line.  We learned how to live with them and how to spend about an hour with each one before a show, adjusting everything and getting it just right.  Even Bill Witt started to have second thoughts but he loved RCAyou just couldn't take that out of him."