1872 - 1877 - A series of photographs can be viewed by stroboscopic disc.
1884 - George Eastman invents flexible photographic film.
1887 - Thomas Edison patents motion picture camera.
1888 - Edison attempts to record picture photos onto a wax cylinder.
1891 – 1895 - Dickson shoots numerous 15 second motion pictures using
Edison's mimeograph, his motion picture camera.
1895 - First public demonstration of motion pictures displayed in France.
1897 -Development of the Cathode Ray Tube by Ferdinand Braun.
1907 -Use of cathode ray tube to produce television images.
1923 -Patent for the iconoscope, the forerunner of the picture tube.
1927 -Talking films begin with Al Jolson in "The Jazz Singer".
1929 Western Television
Television - The Magic Box
Early 1930s - RCA conducts black and white broadcasting experiments.
1936 - First television broadcast made available in London.
1938 -Initial proposal for color TV broadcast made by George Valensi.
1939 Andrea 8-F-12
1945 - There were fewer than 7,000 working TV sets in the country and only
nine stations on the air; three in New York, two each in Chicago and Los
Angeles, and one each in Philadelphia and Schenectady, N.Y.
RCA that same month holds its first public demonstration of a
new TV camera
offering a sharper image than those then in use.
Near the end of October, Gimbel's Department Store in Philadelphia
holds the first large-scale TV demonstration. More than 25,000
people come over three weeks for a chance to watch NBC programs
from New York and local shows sent out by Philco's Philadelphia
The Blue Network, part of NBC, officially becomes the ABC network. A
1941 FCC ruling required RCA to divest itself of one of its two networks;
NBC Blue was sold in 1943 to Edward Noble for $8 million, and becomes
ABC in 1945.
NBC and Gillette stage what's billed as the first "television sports
extravaganza" -- the Joe Louis-Billy Conn heavyweight fight at Yankee
Stadium -- in June. The fight is a viewing success with an estimated
audience of 150,000 watching 5,000 sets. For every TV set tuned into the
fight, there are, on average, 30 people watching, many seeing an event on
TV for the first time.
In October, the Television Broadcasters Association declares "television
is ready to proceed on an expanded basis," and that the new industry is
"well on the way to becoming one of the most important in the nation."
In May, live theater equivalent to the Broadway stage comes to TV on a
regular, commercially sponsored basis with the premiere of "Kraft
In March, FCC postpones final decisions on Color TV but reaffirms a goahead on existing standards.
NBC debuts "Meet the Press," a kind of made-for-TV news conference. It
goes on to become the oldest series on network TV.
1948 Admiral 19A111
"The Ed Sullivan Show" (originally "Toast of the Town") makes its
debut in June. Sponsored by Lincoln-Mercury, the show becomes
one of TV's longest-running and most successful variety series.
The show airs on CBS into 1971, spurring the advancement of
scores of show business careers.
Advertisers accept the medium: Throughout the year, 933 sponsors buy TV
time, a rise of 515% over 1947.
By the fall, FCC has issued 108 licenses for new stations, with hundreds
more applications pending across the nation.
The earliest cable systems are born in remote areas of Pennsylvania and
Oregon. Known then as Community Antenna Television, its function was
simply to bring TV signals into communities where off-air reception was
either non-existent or poor because of interfering mountains or distance.
B.F. Goodrich sponsors the new TV series
of radio comedy team George Burns and
Milton Berle makes his TV debut in September
as the master of ceremonies on "The Texaco
Star Theater," which runs until 1956. By
November, Mr. Berle is so popular the show
earns the highest rating yet -- 86.7% of all TV
1949 - By January, number of TV stations grows to 98 in 58 market areas.
A special broadcast in January inaugurates East-Midwest TV linkage. Included in
the broadcast is a one-hour sampler with the networks displaying their best: Arthur
Godfrey for CBS, Ted Steele for DuPont, Milton Berle and Harry Richman for
NBC, and for ABC a mystery show called "Stand By for Crime." The event moves
Chicago Tribune to report: "The end of dull sustaining filler on television screens
appears to be in sight."
FCC adopts the Fairness Doctrine, making broadcasters responsible for seeking out
and presenting all sides of an issue when covering controversy. (Earlier in the
Communications Act of 1934 broadcasters were required to give "equal air time" to
candidates running in elections.)
U.S. Dept. of Commerce confirms TV's selling power when it reports in May:
"Television's combination of moving pictures, sound and immediacy produces an
impact that extends television as an advertising medium into the realm of personal
Betty Furness starts pitching refrigerators and appliances in TV spots for
Westinghouse, launching a relationship that lasts more than 11 years and makes her
one of the first stars created for commercial TV.
In January, Arthur Godfrey and Faye Emerson are named most pleasing
personalities in Look's TV awards show on CBS.
National sponsors exit radio for TV at record rates, moving Variety to
describe the exodus as "the greatest exhibition of mass hysteria in biz
"Omnibus," one of commercial TV's most honored cultural series,
debuts. Hosted by Alistair Cooke, the program takes in $5.5 million
in advertising revenues during five years on the air, against $8.5
million in costs.
I Love Lucy
"I Love Lucy," a half-hour filmed TV sitcom, is born. The show, unlike the
live TV productions typical of the time, ranks No. 1 in the nation for four of
its first six full seasons. It is sponsored by Philip Morris.
CBS broadcasts the first color program on June 21, but only 25 receivers
can accommodate mechanical color. Viewers of 12 million existing sets see
only a blank screen. "Hallmark Hall of Fame" series launches in December
with "Amahl and the Night Visitors."
1952 - National Association of Radio & Television Broadcasters ratifies
a new Television Code establishing guidelines for content and addressing
the concerns of social critics. Nearly half the code is devoted to
In response to protests about program content, a House subcommittee
investigates "offensive" and "immoral" TV programs and touches on
wide range of topics -- from beer spots to dramas depicting suicide. Bob
Hope takes his comedy from radio to TV when "The Bob Hope Show"
debuts in October.
Borden's Elsie the Cow beats out actor Van
Johnson and U.S. Sen. Robert Taft in recognition
polls as one of America's most familiar faces.
NBC's "Today" show, first and longest-running early-morning network
show, bows with host Dave Garroway and chimpanzee sidekick J. Fred
By year's end, the number of TV households grows to 20 million, up 33%
from previous year. U.S. advertisers spend a record $288 million on TV
time, an increase of 38.8% from 1951.
1953 - Color broadcasting officially arrives in the U.S. on Dec. 17, when
FCC approves modified version of an RCA system.
the first network kids show, begins on CBS.
The Hamm's bear is introduced in a TV spot that initially runs
as a sequel to a 1953 Hamm's commercial that featured
beavers beating on tom-toms.
The first color commercial televised in a local show was
commissioned in March by Castro Decorators, New York, in a
contract with WNBT. It was first telecast on Aug. 6.
NBC launches "The Tonight Show,"
featuring comedian Steve Allen, on
Sept. 27. For nearly four decades -until CBS' "Late Show With David
Letterman" enters the scene in 1993 -the show dominates late night.
In April, groundwork is laid for the Television Advertising Bureau. For
the first time, television is the leading medium for national advertising.
1955 - Immensely popular daytime radio show "Queen For A Day" shifts
to TV in January. Between radio and TV, the show had a run of nearly 20
years, although widely criticized as an exploitation of human misery,
wrapped in commercial plugs. At the peak of popularity, NBC increased
the show's length from 30 to 45 minutes to gain time to sell at the
premium ad rate of $4,000 per minute.
Future U.S. President Ronald Reagan becomes host of "General Electric
Theater," long-running anthology series on CBS (1953-61) in which
many top Hollywood film stars appeared.
One of NBC's perennial specials -- "Peter Pan" with Mary Martin and
Cyril Richard -- first telecast in March as a live production. It's billed as
the first network presentation of a full Broadway production. Videotape
later makes it possible to present the show annually for several years.
The classic Western series "Gunsmoke" begins its 20-year run on CBS.
"The $64,000 Question," sponsored by Revlon, premieres in June on
CBS, igniting a U.S. game show craze.
1956 - Videotape is introduced by Ampex Corp. at a CBS-TV affiliates'
session. Most TV shows at the time are produced by the kinescope
The 1939 movie "Wizard of Oz" debuts in November on CBS's "Ford
Star Jubilee." After more than three decades of exposure, the feature is
considered one of the most successful single programs in TV history and
the longest continually sponsored theatrical movie on TV.
Variety reports in May that during a typical week, viewers
encounter 420 commercials totaling 5 hours, 8 minutes.
By August, for the first time, more countries worldwide
allow TV advertising than forbid it.
< Host Jack Paar revives NBC-TV's "Tonight" show
beginning on July 29.
1957 RCA 21CD7916