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Dan Baker-Professor Emeritus TV, Radio, and Film (1961-1990)

Dan Baker PortraitHow did you end up at LBSC?

In 1961 I was two years into my Ph.D. at Michigan State University and teaching video production. Due to a family crisis, I could no longer continue with the program. It was then that Dr. Hubert Morehead recruited me to LBSC and hired me over the phone. Dr. Morehead's offer was providential. Prior to that, I had been a television producer in Indiana and a video instructor at the University of Georgia and University of Miami in Coral Gables.

What were some of your most memorable experiences while at LBSC?

Dr. Morehead and I developed an Educational TV program out of the Speech & Theater Department. In the 1970's, I submitted a national grant proposal that was successful in developing a mobile TV system we called ON THE GO VIDEO. We ended up leasing this video van to other Cal State video production programs. I got little to no support from the Horn adminsitration to maintain and improve that mobile unit. Hence, even before I retired, the van was remodeled as a mobile zoological musuem for grade schoolers.

During several years of my tenure, I managed a program in which promising students were assigned summer replacement jobs in Hollywood studios. Film had, by this time, become an integral part of the department. I was invited to join the Academy of Televison Arts & Sciences in Hollywood, increasing our ability to place students in rare openings without stiff opposition from unions and guilds. One of those students, Steven Spielberg, placed in a Universal Studios opportunity, took over an empty office, moved some personal stuff in, and was accepted by Universal employees, who were unaware of his student status. Steven eventually dropped out of school two years later, but came back and finished here at CSULB. I attended his graduation in 2002 and sat by his mother during the ceremony.

What were some of your favorite parts of teaching?

Students. Spielberg was not my favorite student of all time. That honor belongs to Ed Arnold, TV Production student who attended 1966-67. Ed went on to become a sportscaster for Channel 5, becoming the voice of L.A.'s first community TV station. He was also the voice of the Hour of Power (Crystal Cathedral) and is now a commentator on Orange County's KOCE. Ed and I continue to stay in touch. He is my reason why teaching is more than money. Another favorite student of mine is Tom Patino who became a Head of Entertainment for NBC on the west coast. He still acts as NBC line producer for the annual Rose Parade.

Are you in contact with any former faculty?

Yes. One of my favorite colleagues is Dr. Robert Finney, who is still teaching courses even while retired.  His wife, Scarlett, was a student of mine, and they became lifelong friends. They’re also jazz musicians and are currently performing in southern California--she singing and he blowing a mean sax.

What are you doing today?

I moved to Sun City West, Arizona in 1990 following retirement and I have been enjoying retirement with my wife Lois ever since.

What would be one word to describe the campus environment during the time you served?

Productive

Dan Baker (1st row, 3 from left) pictured with members from Alpha Epsilon Rho, the Radio-TV fraternity. Dan served as faculty advisor as the fraternity worked towards creating radio station KCLB.

Dan Baker (1st row, 3 from left) pictured with members from Alpha Epsilon Rho, the Radio-TV fraternity. Dan served as faculty advisor as the fraternity worked towards creating radio station KCLB.

Dan Baker in 1966, rewiring a closed circuit TV system. This was just one of many tasks for Dan as part of the Radio-TV program.

Dan Baker in 1966, rewiring a closed circuit TV system. This was just one of many tasks for Dan as part of the Radio-TV program.

Dan Baker's Instructional Television ON THE GO VIDEO mobile TV van then and now.

Dan Baker's Instructional Television ON THE GO VIDEO mobile TV van then and now. The Mobile Science Musuem can still be seen at campus and off-campus events.

Prior to his tenure at LBSC that spanned 29 years, Dan Baker served in the Korean War as well as WWII. Dan served as 1st Lieutenent for the 42nd Infantry Division (Rainbow Division) which was on hand to liberate the Nazi death camps at Dachau Germany.

Prior to his tenure at LBSC that spanned 29 years, Dan Baker served in the Korean War as well as WWII. Dan served as 1st Lieutenent for the 42nd Infantry Division (Rainbow Division) which was on hand to liberate the Nazi death camps at Dachau, Germany.

 

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