|The First Thirty Years of Television (Coronet Magazine, 1954)|
2013, being the 89th anniversary since the promise of television was first made to the world, is a fine time to post this article that celebrated the first thirty years of its existence. Illustrated with 27 pictures, this article names some of the inventors and the events that TV has made glorious.
• In 1927 Herbert Hoover was the first U.S. President to appear on T.V.
• The first dramatic production appeared on T.V. screens in 1928
• In 1931 George VI became the first British King to be broadcast
• Early television cameras captured Prime Minister Chamberlain upon his return from Munich in 1939 - the same year that the first major-league baseball game was broadcast
• President Truman's 1949 inaugural was the first inauguration to be televised - and that was the year that audiences really began to grow, and advertising fees right along with them.
Television Comes to Hollywood (Rob Wagner's Script, 1938)
"I believe the time will come when the live moving picture machine will be a part and parcel of every up-to-date home. I believe that the day is not far distant when moving picture film will be delivered at the home... and that the written description of the events of the day before will be augmented by the realistic portrayal of the happening..."
- so saith Siegmund Lubin (1851 – 1923), whose prediction was recorded in the July 28, 1906 issue of VIEWS and FILMS INDEX. Lubin is remembered in our age as one of the inventors who improved upon the existing movie camera and projector; his talents as a soothsayer have been largely ignored. We don't know what else he may have "soothed", but he sure was right about television!
- Which brings us to the matter of the attached article, that went to press some fifteen years after ol' Lubin assumed room temperature, but I'm sure that the writer (Tom Moriarty) would have been doubly surprised if Lubin had figured out that TV would evolve into the sordid affair that it is today. However, this column served as an announcement that television was coming and its home deserves to be in Hollywood, USA:
"Hollywood is the particular Creative Front in the world which has completely mastered the technique of volume-self-projection in all the arts."
Anticipating the Television Juggernaut (Stage Magazine, 1939)
This 1939 article was written by a wise old sage who probably hadn't spent much time with a "television set" but recognized fully the tremor that it was likely to cause in the world of pop-culture:
"Of all the brats, legitimate and otherwise, sired of the entertainment business, the youngest, television, looks as if it would be the hardest to raise and to housebreak..."
Click here to read about the early Christian broadcasts of televangelist Oral Roberts...
Seeing the 'Wonder Machine' for the First Time... (Delineator Magazine, 1937)
This is one of the most enjoyable early television articles: an eye-witness account of one the first T.V. broadcasts from the R.C.A. Building in New York City during the November of 1936. The viewing was set up strictly for members of the American press corps and the excitement of this one journalist clearly could not be contained:
"In the semi-darkness we sat in tense silence waiting to see the premiere demonstration of television...Television! What would it be like? I remembered how miraculous the first radios seemed...Suddenly, there in the lid of the wonder machine appeared the small but clear image of Betty Goodwin, television announcer, sent out on the air from the Empire State Building dome. Over intervening skyscrapers it had found its way, penetrating the thick walls of the RCA Building...Miss Goodwin introduced David Sarnoff, president of RCA and from the 7.5 by 10 inch screen he bowed and smiled..."
Television with All It's Possibilities (Stage Magazine, 1939)
There wasn't a single soul in 1939 would have imagined that television would be the sort of venue that would allow millions of strangers to see Tyra Banks get a breast exam, but that is the kind of institution it has become.
STAGE MAGAZINE correspondent Alan Rinehart was astonished that so much dough was being invested in such a young industry, yet he recognized that T.V. was capable of much good, but was also capable of generating the kind of banality that we're used to.
"What then, will be the entertainment value of television?...What's to be the entertainment? Why should we tune in? Will we get more than we will on the radio?...The revolutionary idea about television is that the medium has been developed before the art. It's as if the piano had been invented before music, or paint and canvas before drawing."
Color Television: Hand Maiden to Art... (Art Digest, 1945)
Attached you will read a 1945 editorial written by the art critic Clayton Boswell, who articulately expressed the great hope that the art world had emotionally invested in color television:
"This is what the art world has been waiting for - in the meantime struggling with the futility of attempting to describe verbally visual objects over the air. Now art on the television will be on par footing with music. And what radio has done in spreading the appreciation of good music will be duplicated with fine art...Then indeed will Andrew Carnegie's dream of progress through education come true."