How Television has changed over the years, from tiny screens in black and white to today's huge
ultra slim wall mounted televisions, can you remember the very first program you watched? for me and others of my generation
it was perhaps the westerns, first in black and white then the invention of colour/color, they made some great tv in those
days, rather tame by today's standards but never the less fondly remembered For those of us old enough to remember the
assignation of John F. Kennedy, will also remember his lying in state and his funeral and burial all shown on major world
broadcast stations. This was the first major event in world history that could be viewed by people all across the western
world on a television, from the early days of the BBC in black and white, to the event of colour transmissions, and the screening
of world events as they happen, television changed the world for the better in so many ways, despite the banal advertising
we have grown used to!
Television advertising in Britain began on 22 September
1955. “Coincidentally”, the BBC chose the same evening to kill off Grace Archer in its long-running radio soap,
The Archers, thus stealing the next day's newspaper headlines. It was extraordinary that the BBC felt the need to go to
such lengths when most commentary had given the new ITV station little chance of success. ITV's detractors claimed commercial
television would be too American, the British public would not want their programmes interrupted byadverts, and it would never
be as good as the BBC. Early commercials were rather different from those we are familiar with today. Most noticeable of course
is that they are in black-and-white, but they are also much longer than today's adverts, the lighting is harsh and the
pace stilted. They had white middle-class actors, values and accents and their message was spelt out with agonising slowness.
In effect, they were moving newspaper adverts. In part, this was a result of the lack of experience in television advertising
in Britain. The new TV medium initially borrowed the familiar forms and techniques of print ads. Stylistically, this was desirable
because the television industry wanted to distinguish itself from American-style commercialism. The first commercial was for
Gibbs SR toothpaste. It featured a tube of toothpaste, a block of ice and a commentary about its "tingling fresh"
qualities. Its style is jerky and uncertain. Typical of the early adverts, any single frame could have been used with a written
caption as a newspaper advert. The first Persil adverts were actually adapted from their familiar posters, with dancers and
sailors in different shades of white and the announcer reassuring us that "Persil washes whiter. That means cleaner".
The morning after the first commercials appeared, journalist Bernard Levin wrote in the Manchester Guardian: "I feel
neither depraved nor uplifted by what I have seen... certainly the advertising has been entirely innocuous. I have already
forgotten the name of the toothpaste".
By the 1930`s, televisions (televisores) had evolved
to all electrical components. The typical screen was about 6X8 inches and generally was mounted in a much larger cabinet.
By the late 1930`s televisions were made by several manufacturers in the United States and throughout Europe and the Soviet
World War II slowed recreational television progress while turning that technology to the necessary military
communications. Many communication devices were made accessible using television cable. Unlike the Viet Nam War, civilians
were not able to watch the battles that had been fought and radio was still highly sought for news and entertainment.
By 1945, many American families believed they had suffered enough hardship from the war and rewarded themselves with televisions
(televisores). The pictures were of a better quality than in earlier televisions and only in black and white. Programming
other than news had caught on and gradually, game shows, sports and other programs of interest were available.
the ability to produce programs in color occurred in the late 1940`s, however it was in the mid 1960`s that major broadcasters
began to produce their programming in color. Early colored televisions did not provide exact color replication. One often
noticed unnatural tint which was correctable by manipulating the `tint` dial on the television.
For those of us
old enough to remember the assignation of John F. Kennedy, we will also remember his lying in state and his funeral and burial
all shown on major broadcast stations. This was the first major event in American history that could be viewed by people all
across the United States on television (televisores). Despite miles of separation, people in the USA felt more connected to
one another because of this new technology.
The 1970`s brought about the greatest surge of television purchases.
Major appliance stores (Sears and others) had banks of televisions on display. Daytime television and `Soap Operas` became
favorites of many stay at home mothers. Game shows became more plentiful as did movies which introduced us to favorites such
as John Waynne, Robert Young, `Beaver Cleaver` and many, many more. These were idyllic families, devoid of abuse, less than
charitable language, arguments, and other behaviors evidenced in today`s homes and societies. Television commercials changed
the `tools` of childhood which previously had been invented and make believe to Barbie and Ken dolls, talking bears, more
sophisticated bicycles and wagons and the like.
Satellites influenced further changes in television (televisores)
in the mid 1980`s. Pay for view programming became possible through the encryption of programming and transmitting via cable
and only to viewers who had the additional equipment to view such programs.
Today, digital and satellite television
(televisores) deliver the clearest images to the viewer and provide several hundred channels from which to choose. Televisions
have grown from 6x8 picture tubes in huge cabinets to slim instruments sitting atop pedestals. Large screen television gives
the appearance of football players kicking off in one`s living room and monster trucks driving directly at the viewer. Television
today may be accessed from one`s computer as well as by cell phone. I can`t imagine what I would see in a crystal ball if
I were to search for changes in television technology, but I know that improvements and innovative concepts are explored daily.
television Jasmine Bligh, one of the original announcers, made the first announcement, saying, 'Good afternoon everybody.
How are you? Do you remember me, Jasmine Bligh?'. The Mickey Mouse cartoon of 1939 was repeated 20 minutes later. Postwar
broadcast coverage extended to Birmingham in 1949 with the opening of the Sutton Coldfield transmitting station, and by the
mid 1950s most of the country was covered. Alexandra Palace was the home base of the channel until the early 1950s when the
majority of production moved into Lime Grove Studios (closed 1991), then in 1960 to the porpose-built BBC Television Centre
at White City, also in London, where the channel is still based. Television News continued to use Alexandra Palace as its
base — by early 1968 it had even converted one of its studios to colour before moving to purpose-built colour
faciliaaties at TV Centre on 20 September 1969. The BBC held a monopoly on television broadcasting in the United Kingdom until
the first ITV station was launched in 1955. The competition quickly forced the channel to change its identity and priorities
following a large drop in audience figures. By the 1980s, the channel had launched the first breakfast television programmes
and returned to its previous form under the controller of the channel at the time, Michael Grade.
1933 and the opening of the BBC’s Alexandra Palace facility in 1936, the largest TV studios
in Europe and the most powerful television transmitters in the world were
not owned and operated by the BBC. They were situated in a complex of buildings around the south
end of the Crystal Palace in Sydenham, South London the home of
Baird Television Limited.
In contrast to EMI, who developed their
system with a fair degree of secrecy, the Baird company was very public about its developments and missed no opportunity to
invite Reith to demonstrations, which he invariably failed to attend, ostensibly to avoid being seen to favour one particular
manufacturer. He thus missed a presentation at Gaumont-British offices in Film House, Wardour Street, at noon on March 12,
1934, where 180-line transmissions using both film (telecine) and studio (Intermediate Film) sources were shown on a receiver
with no moving parts, employing a cathode ray tube made under contract by GEC and showing a picture (enlarged via a lens)
of effectively about 12 x 18 inches. The vision signals originated from the 500-watt transmitter at the Crystal Palace, with
audio plus sync sent by landline. BBC staff who attended noted that while the picture quality was not outstanding, EMI at
the time was only offering telecine (with mechanical scanning), and not "direct" (live) television.
A further demonstration of the transmissions took place at Wardour
Street at the company AGM on March 20, where Greer appeared on a large-screen TV live from Crystal Palace. While Greer took
a taxi back to central London, the attendees watched a variety show.
In 1965, an early evening "popular
science" format was commissioned by Aubrey Singer, who would later become controller of BBC2 and deputy director general,
and devised and initially produced by Glyn Jones. The show had a rather inauspicious start - it was originally conceived as
a temporary filler for an early evening gap in the BBC1 schedules, and there was little preparation - The show's title
was only though up by Jones and his wife at home the night before the Radio Times wanted information for the show's billing.
Slotting in between the early evening news and Top of the Pops, the idea was to present a broad selection of new inventions
and developing technologies, from the important to the most trivial, via studio demonstrations and films. Putting the emphasis
firmly on what Singer called the "gee whiz factor" of science and technology, the programme's style was positive
and optimistic about technology, in tune with the prevailing mood of the times.
For the first twelve years of its life, the 'World was the domain of BBC commentator
and ex-Spitfire pilot Raymond Baxter, who had worked with Singer and Jones on a number of previous science-based programmes
such as Eye on Research. Baxter was old school BBC, plummy of voice and stiff of lip, but could lend himself to a spot of
light-hearted quizzicality when introducing some of the less serious items. Also narrating was Derek Cooper, the similarly
authoritative voice of Michael Apted's 7 Up documentaries among other things. The "wild card" in the pack was
James Burke. Coming from an academic, as opposed to Baxter's patrician, background, Burke, a former English teacher and
interpreter at the Vatican, came to the BBC from Granada TV, and quickly made a name for himself anchoring the Beeb's
coverage of major US and Soviet space launches. As far as the 'World was concerned, he cut a slightly eccentric, mad-haired
figure next to his more restrained co-hosts, staring intensely through his specs at the camera as his head filled the screen
in the extreme close-up shots utilised in sixties television. Although Baxter is remembered nowadays with great fondness,
Burke stopped the early days of the 'World from being too staid and straight. He left the programme in the mid-'70s
to concentrate on his quixotic - and highly successful - science documentaries, beginning with the famed Connections.
1932 to 1939
Mechanically scanned, 30-line television broadcasts
by John Logie Baird began in 1929, using the BBC transmitter in London, and by 1930 a regular schedule of programmes was transmitted
from the BBC antenna in Brookmans Park. Television production was switched from Baird's company to what is now known as
BBC One on August 2, 1932, and continued until September 1935. Regularly scheduled electronically scanned television began
from Alexandra Palace in London on 2 November 1936, to just a few hundred viewers in the immediate area. It was reaching an
estimated 25,000-40,000 homes before the outbreak of World War II caused the service to be suspended in September 1939. The
VHF broadcasts would have provided an ideal radio beacon for German bombers homing in on London, and the engineers and technicians
of the service would be needed for the war effort, in particular the RADAR programme.
1946 to 1964
In 1946, TV transmissions
resumed from Alexandra Palace. The BBC Television Service (renamed BBC tv in 1960) showed popular programming, including drama,
comedies, documentaries, game shows and soap operas, covering a wide range of genres and regularly competed with ITV to become
the channel with the highest ratings for that week.
1964 to 1967
BBC tv was renamed BBC1 in 1964, after the
launch of BBC2 (now BBC Two), the third television station (ITV was the second) for the UK; its remit, to provide more niche
programming. The channel was due to launch on 20 April 1964, but was put off the air by a massive power failure that affected
much of London, caused by a fire at Battersea Power Station. A videotape made on the opening night was rediscovered in 2003
by a BBC technician. In the end the launch went ahead the following night, hosted by Denis Tuohy holding a candle. BBC2 was
the first British channel to use UHF and 625-line pictures, giving higher definition than the existing VHF 405-line system.
1967 to 2003 A special ident was created in 1982 to celebrate 60 years
of the BBC.
In December 1967, BBC Two became
the first television channel in Europe to broadcast regularly in colour, using the German PAL system that is still in use
today although being gradually superseded by digital systems. (BBC One and ITV began 625-line colour broadcasts simultaneously
on 15 November 1969). Unlike other terrestrial channels, BBC Two does not have soap opera or standard news programming, but
a range of programmes intended to be eclectic and diverse (although if a programme has high audience ratings it is often eventually
repositioned to BBC One). The different remit of BBC2 allowed its first controller, Sir David Attenborough to commission the
first heavyweight documentaries and documentary series such as Civilisation, The Ascent of Man and Horizon.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
The BBC is the world's
oldest and biggest broadcaster, and is the country's first and largest public service broadcaster. The BBC is funded
by a television licence fee that all households with a television must pay. Its analogue channels are BBC One and BBC Two.
The BBC first began a television service, initially serving London only, in 1936. BBC Television was closed during World
War II but reopened in 1946. The second station, BBC Two, was launched in 1964. As well as these two analogue services,
the British Broadcasting Corporation now also offers digital services BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, BBC Parliament, CBBC
Channel, CBeebies, BBC Red Button and BBC HD.
Independent Television (ITV)
ITV (Independent Television) is the network of fifteen regional and three national commercial television
franchises, originally founded in 1955 to provide competition to the BBC. ITV was the country's first commercial television
provider funded by advertisements, and has been the most popular commercial channel through most of its existence. Through
a series of mergers, takeovers and relaxation of regulation, eleven of these companies are now owned by ITV plc, two by
SMG plc while UTV and Channel Television remain independent. ITV plc, the operator of all English, Welsh and Southern Scotland
franchises, has branded the channel as ITV1 since 2001, with regional names being used prior to regional programmes only.
SMG plc, which operates the two other Scottish franchises, has now unified the regions under the single name of STV. UTV,
the Northern Ireland franchisee operated by UTV plc, uses its own name on air at all times, while the independent Channel
Television uses the generic ITV1 stream and its own name prior to regional programmes. ITV has been officially known as
Channel 3 since 1990. ITV plc also operates digital channels ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, Men & Motors and the CITV Channel. ITN
currently holds the national news franchise, GMTV operates the breakfast franchise and Teletext Ltd operates the national
Launched in 1982, Channel 4 is a state-owned national broadcaster which is funded by its commercial
activities (including advertising). Channel 4 has expanded greatly after gaining greater independence from the IBA, especially
in the multi-channel digital world launching E4, Film4, More4 and various timeshift services. Since 2005, it has been a member
of the Freeview consortium, and operates one of the six digital terrestrial multiplexes with ITV as Digital 3&4. Since
the advent of digital television, Channel 4 is now also broadcast in Wales across all digital platforms. Channel 4 was the
first British channel not to carry regional variations for programming, however it does have set advertising regions.
known as Channel 5) was the final analogue broadcaster to be launched, in March 1997. Its analogue terrestrial coverage is
less than that of the other analogue broadcasters, and broadcast in re-assigned frequencies, often at a lower power from
major transmitters only. Many ex-VHF transmitters which were used for black and white transmissions prior to the switchover
to UHF transmissions in the 1970s–80s are now used to broadcast Five, mainly due to capacity restraints on the masts.
It was also the first terrestrial broadcaster to broadcast on satellite and carry a permanent digital on-screen graphic
(DOG). The channel was re-named "Five" in 2002, which saw an overhaul of the channel's identity and removal
of the infamous DOG. RTL Group, Europe's largest television broadcaster, took full control of the channel in August 2005.
Five launched two new channels, Five US and Five Life (now known as Fiver) in October 2006. All of these channels are also
carried on satellite television, cable television and digital terrestrial television services. Five also owns 20% of the
digital terrestrial pay-TV provider, Top Up TV. Like Channel 4, Five does not have programming regional variations, however
it does so for advertising.
British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB)
British Sky Broadcasting operates a satellite television service and numerous television channels
including Sky1, Sky2, Sky3, Sky Movies and Sky Sports.
UKTV is a joint venture between the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and Virgin Media Television.
Both companies additionally wholly-own a number of other channels, broadcast domestically or internationally. Channels under the joint
venture are Alibi, Dave, G.O.L.D., UKTV Documentary, UKTV Food, UKTV Gardens, UKTV History, UKTV People, UKTV Style, Watch
plus a number of timeshift services.
Other channel owners The most watched digital channels are owned by the six broadcasters above. Other broadcasters who
have secured a notable place on British television include Virgin Media, Viacom, Discovery Networks and Disney.
The television has become such an integral part of homes
in the modern world that it is hard to imagine life without television. The boob tube, as television is also referred to,
provides entertainment to people of all ages. Not just for entertainment value, but TV is also a valuable resource for advertising
and different kinds of programming. The television
as we see it and know it today was not always this way. Let’s take a brief look at the history of television and how
it came into being. Timeline of TV History Different experiments by various people, in the field of
electricity and radio, led to the development of basic technologies and ideas that laid the foundation for the invention of
In the late 1800s, Paul
Gottlieb Nipkow, a student in Germany, developed the first ever mechanical module of television. He succeeded in sending images
through wires with the help of a rotating metal disk. This technology was called the ‘electric telescope’ that
had 18 lines of resolution.
1907, two separate inventors, A.A. Campbell-Swinton from England and Russian scientist Boris Rosing, used the cathode ray
tube in addition to the mechanical scanner system, to create a new television system. From the experiments of Nipkow and Rosing, two types of television systems came into existence: mechanical television
and electronic television. Mechanical Television
History In 1923, an American inventor called
Charles Jenkins used the disk idea of Nipkow to invent the first ever practical mechanical television system. By 1931, his
Radiovisor Model 100 was being sold in a complete kit as a mechanical television.
In 1926, just a little after Jenkins, a British inventor known as John Logie Baird,
was the first person to have succeeded in transmitting moving pictures through the mechanical disk system started by Nipkow.
He also started the first ever TV studio.
From 1926 till 1931, the mechanical television system saw many innovations. Although the discoveries of these men
in the department of mechanical television were very innovative, by 1934, all television systems had converted into the electronic
system, which is what is being used even today. Electronic Television History The experiments
of Swinton in 1907, with the cathode ray tube for electronic television held great potential but were not converted into reality.
Finally, in 1927, Philo Taylor Farnsworth was able to invent a working model of electronic television that was based on Swinton’s
ideas. His experiments had started when he was
just a little boy of 14 years. By the time he became 21, Philo had created the first electronic television system, which did
away with the rotating disks and other mechanical aspects of mechanical television. Thus was born the television system which
is the basis of all modern TVs.
The products advertised on television have changed over
the years. In the 1950s advertising was dominated by the soap powder manufacturers and food advertising. Into the 1960s there
was little car advertising (due to a secret cartel agreement between the manufacturers) and virtually no spirits advertising,
for the same reason. The car manufacturer Datsun arrived from Japan in the 1970s and broke the cosy agreement between Ford,
Vauxhall, Chrysler and British Leyland not to advertise. The 1970s brought us the Smash Martians, the Heineken lager campaign
and the Hamlet cigar adverts. Old favourites remained on the screen often with a new twist to liven up a familiar product:
thus Katie was sent to America with her family, letting her explain all about Oxo to her new American friends while giving
an added gloss to a familiar product. Newspapers started to use television. Prompted by the successful re-launch of The Sun
with its enormous expenditure on live commercials The Mirror followed suit. Towards the end of the 1970s, corporate advertising
began to appear. ICI were the first with "The Pathfinders" and "Ideas in Action" campaigns, adverts which
used potent symbols of progress like Concorde to enhance their image. In the 1980s advertising changed again. New outlets
for the message arrived in the form of Channel 4 and Breakfast television. But there were also cultural changes brought about
by Thatcherism. The possibility of advertising on the BBC replacing the licence fee was strongly recommended by the Adam Smith
Institute, a UK-based organisation dedicated to free-market policies.
In 1939, at the New York World's
Fair, there was a special exhibit: RCA set up a bulky box looking much like the radios of the day. However there was one significant
difference: there was a window set in the box showing pictures that went along with the sound. This was the first real television.
The credit (or blame, depending on how you look at it) for the invention of television could go to a dozen or more
inventors going back to 1897 and Sir J.J. Thomson's work on the nature of the electron. Nonetheless, credit is given to
the two men who hold the basic patents: Vladimir Zworykin and Philo Farnsworth. Both were working independently in the 1930s
and between them they invented the two most important parts for television broadcasting: the orthicon tube (Farnsworth) for
picking up the scene to be transmitted, and the Kinescope (Zworykin) for the receiver.
Now in 1939 the two inventions
had been put together and television was a reality. The problem now became what to do with it. Consumers knew: they wanted
to buy it. Manufacturers knew: they wanted to sell it. And broadcasters knew: they wanted to exploit it. All got their wish.
And the FCC stepped in.
The United States government created the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in 1934
to meet the problems of controlling radio broadcasting in the United States. As soon as speculators realized that radio had
commercial possibilities they began operating stations, sending out signals on any frequency they desired. This, naturally
enough, led to conflicts when two or more stations wished to use the same frequency. Then it became a battle of power. Stations
with the highest wattage output could drown out other stations. The amount of radio noise such a situation created was, of
course, disturbing to the listening audience and they wanted something done about it. The government determined that the airwaves
through which broadcasting signals had to pass were public property and could not be owned by an individual. The FCC was therefore
formed to control broadcasting in the public interest, licensing stations to broadcast on a certain frequency at a certain
power, licenses issued based on a prospectus written up by the one desiring a license. The FCC would also punish those who
abused their broadcasting privileges, revoking or suspending the license or censuring the offender.
The FCC worked fairly well with
radio, and when television arrived the government included it in the FCC's sphere of authority. It was
therefore authorized on July 1, 1945. Television broadcasting began in 1939 and lasted for five months. Then there
was an interruption: World War II. In 1945 production of sets began again. One hundred sets were manufactured
in that year and they were snapped up by those on the top of a pre-war waiting list. But the demand
for sets was great. No one wanted to be the last one on the block to have their own personal window
on the world.
Television has a long and
interesting history. In addition, it has undergone a great number of changes in order to become the type of entertainment
we know it to be today. As such, there is no one inventor that can be credited for the development of modern day television.
Rather, it is the result of new inventors continually improving on old ideas.
beginning roots of television can be traced back to 1862, which is when the first still images were transmitted over wires.
This early invention, which was developed by Abbe Giovanna Caselli, was called the Pantelegraph. It wasn't until 14 years
later, however, that George Carey began to experiment with the idea of television. His invention was called a selenium camera
and it made it possible for people to see with electricity. It was during this same timeframe that Eugen Goldstein came up
with the term cathode rays, which described the process of light being emitted as the result of an electric current being
forced through a vacuum tube.
Inventors Find Success
In 1884, the first real successful transmission of images
took place. At this time, Paul Nipkow was able to successfully send 18 lines of resolution with the help of his electric telescope
. In 1900, the word "television" was used for the first time to describe this special new invention when it was
demonstrated at the World's Fair in Paris. Afterward, the concept of television really took off as inventors explored
different ways to develop the system. By 1906, the first mechanical television system was invented by Boris Rosing.
A year later, Rosing and another inventor by the name of Campbell Swinton each developed their own method of electronic scanning
in order to reproduce images. In 1923, Vladamir Zworkin patented Swinton's invention, which was called the iconscope or
an electric eye. This later became the basis of the future of television. Television Finds its Way Into Households
In 1928, the first long distance usage of television took place when Bell Telephone and the U.S. Department of Commerce successfully
transmitted from Washington D.C. to New York City. That same year, the Federal Radio Commission issued its first license for
a television station to Charles Jenkins. The following year, the first television studio was opened by John Baird and Jenkins
broadcast his first television commercial in 1930. Television got a slow start at first, finding its way into just 200 homes
throughout the world in 1936. By 1948, however, this number jumped to one million in the United States alone. Today, one would
be hard pressed to find a home without a television - the invention has certainly come a long way in a short period of time.
On September 7, 1927, Philo Farnsworth's Image Dissector camera tube transmitted its first image,
a simple straight line, at his laboratory at 202 Green Street in San Francisco. By 1928, Farnsworth had developed the system
sufficiently to hold a demonstration for the press, televising a motion picture film. In 1929, the system was further improved
by elimination of a motor generator, so that his television system now had no mechanical parts. That year, Farnsworth transmitted
the first live human images with his system, including a three and a half-inch image of his wife Elma ("Pem") with
her eyes closed (possibly due to the bright lighting required). Farnsworth gave the world's first public demonstration of a complete all-electronic television
system on August 25, 1934 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Other inventors had previously demonstrated components
of such a system, or had shown an electronic system using still images or motion picture film. Manfred von Ardenne demonstrated
an all-electronic television system using cathode ray tubes at the Berlin Radio Show in August 1931, but as he never built
a camera tube, his system was limited to using the CRT as a flying spot scanner to transmit motion picture films and slides.
Farnsworth became the first to use all-electronic cameras and receivers to transmit and receive live, moving images. Unfortunately,
his cameras needed too much light, so his work came to a stop.
American Bandstand provided the first
national exposure of Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, and Chubby Checker among others. The success of the show
also encouraged the proliferation of local labels such as Cameo-Parkway, Swan, Jamie, and Chancellor. Clark was financially
involved in Swan and Jamie, and acts for these labels, and acts for these labels seemed to prosper more than most as a result
of exposure on American Bandstand. On Feb 15, 1958 The Dick Clark Show received a spot in ABC-TV's Saturday night line
up.. It featured established as well as new acts and was broadcast live from New York. Twenty million fans were watching
American Bandstand and by the end of the year was being carried on sixty-four stations.
On April 7, 1927, a group of newspaper
reporters and dignitaries gathered at the AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories auditorium in New York City to see the first
American demonstration of something new: television. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover provided the “entertainment,”
as his live picture and voice were transmitted over telephone lines from Washington, D.C., to New York.“Today we have,
in a sense, the transmission of sight for the first time in the world’s history,” Hoover said. “Human
genius has now destroyed the impediment of distance in a new respect, and in a manner hitherto unknown.”A second telecast
followed that day, via radio transmission from Whippany, N.J. The telecasts demonstrated television’s potential as
an adjunct to telephone service and as a medium for entertainment.
Candid Camera was a television
series created and produced by Allen Funt, which initially began on radio as Candid Microphone June 28, 1947. After a series
of theatrical film shorts, also titled Candid Microphone, Funt's concept came to television on August 10, 1948.
The format has appeared
on network, syndicated or cable television in each succeeding decade, as either a regular show or a series of specials. Funt
himself hosted or co-hosted almost all of the TV versions until a 1993 stroke from which he never recovered. Funt's son
Peter Funt, who had co-hosted the specials with his father since 1987, is now the producer/host of the format.
of the show involved concealed cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with unusual situations, sometimes involving
trick props, such as a desk with drawers that pop open when one is closed or a car with a hidden extra gas tank. When the
joke was revealed, victims would be told the show's catch phrase, "Smile, you're on Candid Camera."
Working with scripts from Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, Hancock's Half Hour lasted for five years
and over a hundred episodes in its radio form. The show starred Hancock as Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock, a more expansive
version of Hancock himself, and usually portrayed as an out-of-work comedian living in the shabby "Railway Cuttings"
in East Cheam. His homburg hat became a well-known visual trademark. The show featured Sid James, Bill Kerr, Kenneth Williams
and over the years Moira Lister, Andrée Melly and Hattie Jacques. The series rejected the variety format then dominant
in British radio comedy and instead pioneered a style drawn more from everyday life; the situation comedy, with the humour
coming from the characters and the situations they found themselves in. The show transferred to television in 1956. The television
and radio versions then ran alternately until 1959. Hancock also made an ITV series The Tony Hancock Show during this period,
which ran for two series in 1956–57. During the run of his BBC radio and television series, Hancock became an enormous
star in Britain. Like few others, he was able to clear the streets while families gathered together to listen to the eagerly
awaited episodes. His character changed slightly over the series but even in the earliest episodes the key facets of 'the
lad himself' were evident. Later episodes were regarded as classics, even in their time. "A Sunday Afternoon At Home"
and "Wild Man Of The Woods" were top rating shows and were later released as an LP.
Gleason's first variety series was aired on the DuMont Network under the title Cavalcade of Stars.
After previous host Jerry Lester quit the show in 1950, Gleason — who had made his mark on the first television incarnation
of The Life of Riley sitcom — stepped into Cavalcade and became an immediate sensation. The show was broadcast live,
in front of a theater audience, and offered the same kind of vaudevillian entertainment common to early-TV revues. Jackie's
guests included New York-based performers of stage and screen, including Bert Wheeler, Smith and Dale, and Vivian Blaine.
Production values were decent but not spectacular, owing to DuMont's humble facilities and a thrifty sponsor (the nation's
neighborhood drug stores). In 1952, CBS president William S. Paley offered Gleason a much higher salary, with which DuMont
could not compete. Gleason moved to CBS, and the series was retitled The Jackie Gleason Show.
In 1962, Gleason returned to the tried-and-true variety format with his American Scene Magazine.
(The official title of the show was, again, The Jackie Gleason Show.) In its first year, Gleason's ratings killed the
competition: a revived comedy-western-variety program, The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show, on ABC and the legal drama Sam
Benedict with Edmond O'Brien on NBC.
American Scene was initially taped in New York City; after two seasons, production moved to Miami
Beach (1964). Each week Gleason would begin his monologue and be surprised by the flamboyant jackets worn by bandleader Sammy
Spear. (Beholding Spear's animal-print blazer, Gleason quipped, "I've heard of Tiger Rag, but this is ridiculous!")
Reggie, the Poor Soul, and the rest of Gleason's comic characters were regular attractions. Frank Fontaine, as bug-eyed,
grinning "Crazy" Guggenheim, starred in the Joe the Bartender skits, delighting fans with his nutty speaking voice
and goofy laugh, and charmed by his surprisingly mellow singing voice.
In 1966 the title once again became simply The Jackie Gleason Show
and would remain so until its cancellation in 1970. By this point the episodes included well-known guest stars and skits.
A component during this period was the musical Honeymooners episodes, which had first been tried during the 1955-56 season.
These were later collected as The Color Honeymooners, with Sheila MacRae and Jane Kean as Alice and Trixie. The regular cast
included old sidekick Art Carney; Milton Berle was a frequent guest star. The show was taped at the Miami Beach Auditorium
(now called the Jackie Gleason Theatre of the Performing Arts), and Gleason (along with the show's announcer, Johnny Olson)
never tired of promoting the "sun and fun capital of the world" on camera. Hordes of vacationers took Gleason's
advice, boosting Florida's economy. Later specials were taped at the Olympia Theatre's Gusman Center across Biscayne
Bay, in downtown Miami).
The first live transcontinental
television broadcast took place in San Francisco, California with U.S. President Harry Truman's speech at the Japanese
Peace Treaty Conference on September 4, 1951, using AT&T's transcontinental cable and microwave radio relay
system. The first live coast-to-coast commercial television broadcast in the U.S. took place on November 18, 1951 on
the premiere of See It Now, which showed a split screen view of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City and the Golden Gate
Bridge in San Francisco. In 1958, the CBC completed the longest television network in the world, from Sydney, Nova Scotia
to Victoria, British Columbia. Reportedly, the first continuous live broadcast of a breaking news story in the world
was conducted by the CBC during the Springhill Mining Disaster which began on October 23 of that year. programming
is broadcast on television stations (sometimes called channels). At first, terrestrial broadcasting was the only way
television could be distributed. Because bandwidth was limited, government regulation was normal. In the U.S., the Federal
Communications Commission in 1941 allowed stations to broadcast advertisements, but insisted on public service programming
commitments as a requirement for a license. By contrast, the United Kingdom chose a different route, imposing a television
licence fee on owners of television reception equipment, to fund the BBC, which had public service as part of its Royal
There have been very few inventions that have made the
same effect on modern American culture as television. Before 1947 the number of U.S. homes in the United States with television
sets could be calculated in the thousands. Yet, by the late 1990s, 98 percent of U.S. homes had a television set, and those
sets were watched an average of about seven hours per day.
The electronic television was first effectively demonstrated
in San Francisco on Sept. 7, 1927. The system was designed by a 21 year old inventor by the name of Philo Taylor Farnsworth,
who had lived in a house without electricity until he was 14.
Farnsworth first conceived of a method that could
capture moving images in a form that could be coded onto radio waves and then transformed back into a picture on a screen
all the way back when he was still in high school.
Boris Rosing in Russia had conducted some basic experiments
in transmitting images 16 years before Farnsworth's first success. Also, a motorized television system, which scanned
images using a revolving disk with holes arranged in a spiral pattern, had been demonstrated by John Logie Baird in England
and Charles Francis Jenkins in the United States prior in the 1920s. Nonetheless, Farnsworth's innovation scanned images
with a beam of electrons which makes it the direct ancestor of modern television.
It wasn't until 1941 the
Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), which rivaled RCA's in the dominate radio market at the time, started broadcasting
two 15-minute newscasts a day to a tiny audience on its first New York television station.
However, about 20 years
earlier, the very first image he transmitted on this new invention was a simple line. Soon Farnsworth aimed his prehistoric
camera at a dollar sign because a financial backer had asked, "When are we going to see some dollars in this thing, Farnsworth?"
Depending on the time of year, the typical American spends from two-and-a-half to almost five hours a day watching
television. It is noteworthy not only that this time is being spent watching television but that it is not being spent engaging
in other activities, such as reading or going out to socialize.
RCA was the company that dominated the radio business
in the United States with its two NBC networks RCA invested some $50 million toward the development of the electronic television.
It was in 1939 that RCA televised the opening of the New York World's Fair, including a speech by President Franklin Delano
Roosevelt, who, by the way, was the first president to appear on television.
Later that same year RCA paid for
a license to use Farnsworth's television patents. RCA began selling television sets with 5 by 12 in picture tubes soon
after. RCA was also the first company to start broadcasting regular television programs, including scenes captured by a mobile
unit and, on May 17, 1939, the first televised baseball game that was between Princeton and Columbia universities. Thus began
the history of television.
By the time television became a household appliance,
the name of its inventor was sufficiently lost to the public that he could appear on a TeeVee game show in 1957 and not a
soul would recognize him.
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