Cahn’s father, Philip, was a film editor (and co-founder of the Motion Picture Editors Guild), and Dann followed him into the business. But because of the time, he concentrated more on television. Early in his career, he heard about a new editing machine being developed for the game show Truth or Consequences. He was hired himself for a new show, a comedy, that wanted to completely change the way comedies were shot: with three cameras, and the new editing machine would make it possible. “It was a Moviola with four heads,” Cahn remembered. “Three for picture and one for sound. When they wheeled it in, I said, ’Boy, that’s some monster!’” And his name for the device — the Three-Headed Monster — stuck. As three cameras produced film, the Monster allowed the editor to choose which angle to use; such a task was a nightmare on a single-headed Moviola. Oh, and the new comedy he was hired for? I Love Lucy, and Cahn — and the Monster — made it possible for it to be shot with three cameras in front of a live audience, rather than the old method of shooting one angle at a time, which interrupted the flow. He stayed with the show until it went off the air in 1957, and also worked on Our Miss Brooks, The Untouchables, The Loretta Young Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, Police Woman, and many more. His son Daniel followed him into the business too (he’s the current President of the Motion Picture Editors Guild). Cahn senior was the last living member of the “Lucy” creative team: he died November 21 at his home in West Los Angeles. He was 89.
From This is True for 25 November 2012