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Harry Marks is considered by many to be the godfather of broadcast design. More than any other individual, he changed television by doing things with graphics that had never been attempted before. Not only did he pioneer the use of emerging imaging technologies, but he did so with style and reason. His pioneering work in the field of CGI brought him into collaboration with many other industry pioneers, including Douglas Trumbull, Robert Abel, Carl Rosendahl (whose company evolved into DreamWorks Animation), and Dale Herigstad. In the early '80s, Harry had the idea of bringing together people who work in the disparate fields of technology, entertainment, and design, so he partnered with Richard Saul Wurman and the TED Conference was born. This installment of Creative Inspirations takes viewers on a historic journey through the extraordinary career of Harry Marks.
Harry Marks: So it had been traditional with networks, because there was a definite season of television. Not a living season where things change 52 weeks a year, but there was a season, and it started in September. We and CBS and NBC each produced a campaign and it had the new song for the campaign, the new look of the logo for the campaign, and it framed the new stars, the new people. ABC in 1976 decided they didn't want to do one.
They didn't have the money to do one. I said I have an idea. I had been in the rehearsal hall and Captain & Tennille, just the two of them were in there. She was singing the song, 'Still the One', which was a country song, but she was doing it totally differently, and I loved what she was doing. I shifted some money to do this idea that we would go and shoot street people all over the country, just doing this. It was really like a whole thing of ones.
We hired the big billboard thing in Times Square and had number one-- I mean, we just did every graphic trick we could to cut in with the people going like this. We had a runner being number one. It was just about number one. It was a great shoot. We shot it in 16. There were no stars in it. No one knew what we were doing. The people that were being shot had no idea what they were doing. Suddenly, two guys like you come up and say, could you do this, and they go, and it's over, thank you. And it cost total $60,000, the whole campaign.
We ran it at the owner's meeting first and they got up on their chairs and applauded; not standing applause, climbing applause. I mean, they actually-- and my boss turned to me and said, "What's happening here? They've gone mad." They just loved it so much. I mean, I just was beside myself, because I liked it.
I mean, I cut it myself and I really liked it, but I didn't think it would be this big a hit, because it was a little iffy. There were no stars, there was nothing about shows. It was just kind of a call to action, That's about all it was. It's like hey, you know, we're still the one. The sad part of all this was that we could have gone on doing that for $70,000, $80,000, $100,000. They came back, they wanted to keep the One theme.
So we had to find another song that had the word one in it, which I think was 'We Are The One'. But they said this time we want you to use all the talent. We had to film these silly things with actors now and all of the trappings that actors bring. Trailers, handlers, makeup, hair, I mean everything. Limos, it was a nightmare, and it cost way over a million dollars.
It was done like a Broadway show, like an Ed Sullivan show. They take a stage and they put up things, risers and columns, and half the stars walk on. I just wanted to -- I just wanted to say something really upbeat about ABC. I wanted to show ABC as a really upbeat network that took chances and we're out there on the street with you. We're having fun. I think it just had an incredible spirit.
I think it really had an incredible spirit and it was good. (Music playing.) (Chorus singing: We've been together since way back when, and this year's going to be a winner again...) (Chorus singing: And we want you to know after all is said, we're still the one you can turn to for a friend...) (Chorus singing: Still the one you can turn to for cheer,) (Chorus singing: Still the one that likes you near,) (Chorus singing: You're still having fun and we're still the one.) (Chorus singing: Came into your home everyday and you made us feel welcome to stay.) (Chorus singing: As the seasons change, we found warmth in your heart.) (Chorus singing: With each special year, and each brand new start,) (Chorus singing: Still the one that takes you away,) (Chorus singing: Still the one that makes your day,) (Chorus singing: You're still having fun and we're still the one.) (Chorus singing: Still the one that sings your song,) (Chorus singing: Still the one you want to take along,) (Chorus singing: You're still having fun and we're still the one.) (Music playing.) (Chorus singing: Turning the worlds within your view. Though other things may change, we stay true.) (Chorus singing: Still the one, With something new,) (Chorus singing: Still the one, that will see you through,) (Chorus singing: You're still having fun and we're still the one.) (Chorus singing: Still the one, who can make you smile,) (Chorus singing: Still the one, that fits your style,) (Chorus singing: You're still having fun and we're still the one.) (Chorus singing: We are...) (Chorus singing: Still the one, and we're glad to be,) (Chorus singing: Still the one, you like to see,) (Chorus singing: You're still having fun and we're still the one.) (Chorus singing: We're still the one.) (Chorus singing: We're still the one!!!)
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