The following article first appeared inÂ The New York Times on April 3, 1949.
A Television Hero: The Property Man
by Arthur Altschul
The property department, always an essential element of the theatre, is becoming equally important in television production. During the years of radio, the responsibility for creating an illusion of reality rested with the sound effects department. Now the principal headaches of manufacturing veracity for video belong to the property man.
An indication of the expanding importance of the property department is seen in a few statistics. Last week, for example, NBC had to produce more than 3,000 props for forty-eight television shows. A year ago the same network found its demand for props approximately 5 per cent of what it is today.
Variety shows, dramatic shows, and children’s programs-in that order- take up most of the time of the station’s property man, who every day is in touch with an assortment of museums, antique stores, prop shops, furniture and department stores, factories and zoos, tracking down the more elusive objects required for a show.
Hours of exhausting search culminate in the effect which an audience takes as a matter of course. The type of work and problems that beset a station’s property department are evidenced in the following excerpts from the property sheet for one of Milton Berle’s recent “Texaco Star Theatre” shows: Continue reading A Television Hero: The Property Man, 1949