Scouts Locations At Squaw Valley
After getting the green light from his bosses at CBS, Schramm scouted locations at Squaw Valley during the summer of 1959, several months before the scheduled games. Logistics for the operation were far more difficult in those days when every piece of camera equipment had to be attached by cable. For Schramm, the first order of business was the burial of miles of cable leading from the network's on-site headquarters to each of the Olympic venues. And the headquarters for CBS was hardly the plush affair to which we've become accustomed in recent years. Instead, the network's delegation was housed in the basement of a building erected for IBM, which would keep track of statistics for the competition.
Although this first coverage of the Winter Olympics was primitive by today's standards, Schramm ensured a touch of class by insisting that the format for coverage feature a central anchor desk moderating coverage from reporters at the various venues. No less a personage than Walter Cronkite occupied the anchor's chair, with such distinguished reporters as Jim McKay, Dick Button, Chris Schenkel, Bob Beattie, and Bud Palmer.
The Squaw Valley experience also produced a dividend that would resurface some years later and become transformed into a football tradition. At one point during the games, Olympics officials appealed to CBS for a replay of some of its tape to help verify the outcome of a contested event. Schramm filed away the idea, which returned to him years later in the form of instant replay.