KENNETH JOHANNESSEN
--------------------------------------the rca bk-5a


Introduced in 1955, this microphone was designed to take the place of the famous 44s and 77s used since the 40s.

The BK-5A was seen on the original "Price is Right," "Twenty-One," "Who Do You Trust," "G.E. College Bowl," "Masquerade Party," "Seven Keys," "Number Please," the original "Camouflage" and "Supermarket Sweep," and "It's Your Bet," among many others.

I bought this beauty on ebay from someone who worked at NBC on Jay Leno's "Tonight Show." He said it (and many others like it) was used for many years on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" by Doc Severinsen and the NBC orchestra. When NBC moved the Leno show to Studio 3 at NBC in Burbank, he was helping to clean out Studio 1 (Carson's old studio) when he found a box of old microphones under the bleachers. When he asked what he should do with them, he was told, "toss 'em if you don't want 'em." Thankfully, he didn't toss 'em, he took them. And now one of them is my pride and joy.

HOW IT LOOKED THEN . . .

 

 

 This is how it looked when I got it.
Apparently an NBC set designer thought it would be a great idea
to paint the microphones the same color as the "Tonight Show" set.

 

 

 

 

Above are the results after spending the better part of a weekend using a damp cloth and a lot of elbow grease.
There was a bit left to go, but I left the rest to Clarence Kane of ENAK Microphone Repair,
who has worked on RCA microphones for more than 65 years. You can see the results of his work below.

 

 

Here's a better look at that plate at the end; this is the proof that it was once the property of NBC. (You can also make out a "3" stamped into it; I don't know what that means.)

 

 

 

. . . and HOW IT LOOKS NOW:

 

 

 

 

 Looks pretty sweet, doesn't it? Amazingly, when I talked with Mr. Kane afterwards, he told me that the inner workings of the microphone were in pretty good shape, and needed nothing more than some cleaning and minor adjustments. Not bad for an item that's had so much use, huh?

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, and if you think it looks good, you should hear the sounds that come from it!!

This microphone serviced by . . .

(unsolicited testimonial)


Text and pictures copyright © 2017 by Kenneth I. Johannessen.

This webpage was created and produced in the United States of America.

06/25/17