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1959: 'My dad videoed Nixon-Khrushchev debate'
Phillip Gundy was the man who turned the cameras on Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon to film their historic exchange on 24 July 1959.

His son, Mark, told On This Day how his father captured the "Kitchen Debate" on one of the first video recorders.

My father was in charge of the Ampex Pavilion when Nixon and Khrushchev ran into each other by accident and began an informal exchange debating the relative merits of capitalism versus a state-controlled economy.

Recognising the opportunity, he quickly had his guys turn the makeshift cameras onto the pair and recorded the first historic international event on video tape.

My father smuggled the 'Kitchen' tape out of Russia by hiding it under his dirty underwear within his suitcase

Afterwards, my father played the tape back while both watched. Khrushchev had never seen a colour display before and was very excited about the new technology. Through an interpreter, he told my father what a great technical achievement this was, while furiously shaking his hand.

He had the impression from his meeting that Khrushchev was a sincere leader excited about the prospects of bettering Russia through technology - quite different from the war mongering evil tyrant the press of the day had portrayed him as.

Shortly after this meeting my father smuggled the "Kitchen" tape out of Russia by hiding it under his dirty underwear within his suitcase.

As a historical footnote, my father was the lead engineer on the team at Ampex that developed video tape. Ray Dolby - then a young 20-year-old engineer - was also on the team.

The five engineers laboured in secret at Ampex after management refused their request to proceed with development based on some initial theories written down on a napkin during a lunch meeting... The rest is of course, history.

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Phillip Gundy, Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon
Phillip Gundy (left) plays the Kitchen Debate back to Khrushchev and Nixon


An Ampex VR1000 - picture courtesy of the Museum of Early Video Editing Equipment
The VR 1000: Early video recorders were a little larger than today's models
Mark Gundy
Mark Gundy's father helped build the world's first video recorder
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