Integrative Arts 110

A Timeline of Television History

1900: The word television is coined in France.
1919: RCA is founded
1923: Vladimir Zworkin patents the Inconoscope television tube.
1925: The first moving pictures are transmitted, Washington, D.C.
1926: The Federal Radio Commission (later the FCC) is established.
1926: NBC is created.
1927: The first intercity television broadcast takes place.
1928: The first television image is sent from the United States to Europe.
1928: The first television image of a remote event is broadcast.
1928: The first scheduled television broadcasts are launched, station
WRNY, New Jersey.
1928: The Queen's Messenger is the first play to be televised, station
WGY, New York.
1929: The first color television images are demonstrated to the public,
New York.
1930: The first closed circuit television image is shown on a movie screen.
1930: NBC's first television station, WZXBS, goes on the air.
1931: CBS's first television station, WZXAB, begins broadcasting seven
days a week.
1938: NBC operates a mobile television van, New York.
1939: RCA provides television coverage of the opening of the New York
World's Fair.
1939: The Nova-Baer prizefight is televised, Yankee Stadium, New York.
1939: Pirates of Penzance is the firsts musical production to be
broadcast on network television.
1939: The Brooklyn Dodgers are the first major league baseball team to be
1940. The first basketball game is televised, Madison Square Garden, New
1940: The Republican National Convention is broadcast for the first time,
Philadelphia, PA
1941: The first television commercial, a ten-second advertisement for
Boluva watches, is aired.
1941: Howdy Doody is born in Doodyville, TX
1945: Nine commercial TV stations operate in the United States.
1945: TV experiments with "smellovision."
1945: TV sets appear in a department store.
1946: Premiere of Faraway Hills, the first network soap opera.
1947: "Kinescopes" are used to film TV broadcasts for later use.
1947: Gene Autry produces his own show.
1947: Harry S. Truman is the first U.S. President to address the public
on TV.
1947: Kraft Television Theater presents the first commercial TV dramas.
1947: NBC airs Meet the Press from Washington, D.C.
1947: The first World Series is televised.
1948: 36 TV stations are broadcasting in 19 American cities.
1948: Allen Funt introduces Candid Camera.
1948: Break the Bank, a radio game show, comes to TV.
1948: Douglas Edwards anchors CBS-TV News, with first nightly news show.
1948: Milton Berle stars in Texaco Star Theater.
1948: On Meet the Press, Whitaker Chambers calls Alger Hiss a communist.
1949: Bob Hope makes his television debut.
1949: Captain Video premieres.
1949: Jackie Gleason makes his television debut in The Life of Riley.
1949: Kukla, Fran, and Ollie is the first regular network show in color.
1949: Leave it to the Girls is TV's first women's advocacy show.
1949: Lucille Ball makes her television debut.
1950: Broadway Open House, the first late night variety talk show, premiers.
1950: The Adventures of Superman premieres.
1950: The Arthur Murray Dance party debuts on the DuMont Network.
1950: There are 8 million televisions sets in the U.S.
1950: What's My Line? premieres.
1951: Amahl and the Night Visitors is the first opera written for television.
1951: Coast-To-coast live television becomes possible.
1951: Milton Berle signs a 30-year contract with NBC.
1951: Television covers the U.S. Senate hearings on crime.
1951: The NAACP condemns Amos 'n' Andy as racism on TV.
1952: I've Got a Secret premieres.
1952: Jerry Lewis survives his first telethon.
1952: Premiere of The Chevy Show with Dina Shore.
1952: Premieres of Our Miss Brooks and The adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
1952: television airs Nixon's "Checkers" speech.
1952: The presidential convention draws 70 million viewers.
1952: The Today Show premieres with host Dave Garroway.
1952: The UHF channels, 14 through 83, are set up by the FCC.
1952: This Is Your Life premieres.
1953: Dragnet replaces I Love Lucy as the top-rated show of the season.
1953: Goodyear Playhouse features "Marty."
1953: Houston's KUHT-TV is the first educational television state in America.
1953: The Red Skelton Show premieres.
1953: The first issue of TV Guide appears.
1953: Walt Disney makes his TV debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.
1954: Television airs the McCarthy hearings.
1954: Edward R. Murrow discredits Sen. McCarthy on See It Now.
1954: The Academy Awards appear on television for the first time.
1954: The TV drama "Twelve Angry Men" wins critical acclaim.
1955: Henry Fonda plays Emmett Kelly on General Electric Theater.
1955: Judy Garland debuts on television.
1955: Premiere of Mike Wallace Interviews.
1955: Premiere of The Honeymooners.
1955: The $64,000 Question premieres.
1955: The Lawrence Welk Show premieres.
1955: The Lennon Sisters make their television debut.
1956: Elvis appears on The Ed Sullivan Show and is censored below the waist.
1956: Playhouse 90 presents "Requiem for a Heavyweight."
1956: Twenty One premieres.
1956: Videotaping is first used in a broadcast.
1957: American Bandstand premieres.
1957: Bachelor Father premiers.
1957: Maverick premiers.
1957: TV covers the Senate Rackets Committee hearings.
1958: 77 Sunset Strip debuts.
1958: Fred Astaire's first TV special wins nine Emmys.
1958: Peter Gunn premieres with an award-winning soundtrack.
1958: The game show Twenty One is taken off the air after a scandal.
1959: A TV clip highlights the Nixon and Kruschev "kitchen debate."
1959: Bill Golden, CBS ad exec and designer of the "CBS Eye," dies.
1959: Bonanza is television's first western in color.
1959: Men Into Space premieres.
1959: Premiere of The Untouchables.
1959: The Twilight Zone premieres.
1959: There are 50 million TV sets in the United States.
1960: David Susskind interviews Kruschev.
1960: Jack Paar walks off The Tonight Show.
1960: Television carries the Kennedy-Nixon debates.
1961: ABC's Wide World of Sports debuts.
1961: Newton Minnow calls television "a vast wasteland."
1961: The Dick Van Dyke Show premieres.
1961: TV broadcasts its first live presidential press conference.
1961: TV covers Alan Shepard's ride into space.
1962: 80 million Americans tour the White House with Jackie Kennedy.
1962: Johnny Carson becomes host of The Tonight Show.
1962: The Virginian becomes the first regular 90-minute series.
1963: Critics assail The Beverly Hillbillies.
1963: Networks cancel all programming to cover the Kennedy assassination.
1963: TV offers the first videotaped Broadway premiere.
1964: Gilligan and the Skipper are shipwrecked.
1964: TV airs the anti-Goldwater "Atomic Bomb Commercial."
1964: TV commercials are in their Golden Age.
1965: Early Bird satellite transmissions begin.
1965: In a role played by Bill Cosby, I Spy features the first black hero
on television.
1966: All of NBC's newscasts are broadcast in color.
1966: TV covers the "royal" wedding of Lyndon B. Johnson's daughter Luci.
1966: Walt Disney dies.
1967: Batman reaches the peak of its ratings.
1967: Dr. George Gerbner issues his first study on television violence.
1967: Hal Holbrook stars in Mark Twain Tonight.
1967: The childrens' show Gentle Ben premieres.
1967: The fugitive runs its final episode.
1968: 60 Minutes premieres.
1968: Laugh-In debuts.
1968: The Virginian is the first TV show to use Native American characters.
1968: TV covers the unruly Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
1969: Network censors cancel The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
1969: Tiny Tim marries Miss Vicki on The Tonight Show.
1969: Spiro Agnew denounces TV network news.
1970: In Julia, Diahann Carroll is the first black in the title role of a
1971: All in the Family premieres.
1971: America sees Nixon in China.
1971: Mary Ann Mobley hosts the Miss America pageant.
1971: The ban on television cigarette ads begins.
1972: Captain Kangaroo airs its 5,000th show.
1972: HBO joins the airwaves.
1972: Premiere of The Waltons.
1973: America watches the Watergate hearings.
1973: Barnaby Jones begins an eight-year run on CBS.
1973: In the PBS documentary An American Family, the Loud family falls apart.
1973: Katherine Hepburn appears in her first TV role.
1973: Maude's abortion outrages the Catholic church.
1974: Richard Nixon resigns live on television.
1975: Baretta debuts as a revival of the 1973 cop show Toma.
1975: Howard Cosell hosts Saturday Night Live.
1975: Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man is broadcast in 13 parts.
1975: NBC phases out its famed peacock symbol.
1975: The cable television boom begins.
1976: Atlanta's WTCG (later WTBS) begins satellite transmission.
1977: Fish, a sitcom spin-off of Barney Miller, fails on ABC.
1977: La Boheme is featured in the first live simulcast from the Met.
1977: Rev. Wildmon's "Turn the TV Off Week" flops.
1977: Roots appears for 12 hours over eight nights.
1977: Soap debuts amid tremendous protest over its content.
1977: TV exists in 71 million (97 percent) American homes.
1977: TV offers The Godfather saga in nine hours over fours nights.
1978: 20/20 fires its hosts after the first show.
1978: A nighttime Superbowl is telecast for the first time.
1978: Archie Bunker's chair is donated to the Smithsonian Institution.
1978: Battlestar Galactica is launched.
1978: James Michener's Centennial is broadcast over 25 hours.
1979: A very unusual sitcom, The Baxters, is syndicated.
1980: CNN begins the first 24-hour TV news service on June 1.
1980: Dallas viewers ask "Who shot J.R.?"
1980: Mystery! premieres on PBS.
1980: NBC loses millions when the U.S. boycotts the Moscow Olympics.
1980: Shogun lasts 12 hours over five nights.
1980: The cable network BET (Black Entertainment Television) begins.
1980: The U.S. hockey team makes TV sports history by defeating Russia 4-3.
1981: Don Johnson plays "The King" in "Elvis and the Beauty Queen."
1981: Premiere of Hill Street Blues.
1981: TV captures the assassination attempt on President Reagan.
1981: TV covers the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
1982: Brideshead Revisited begins on PBS.
1982: Gen. Westmoreland sues CBS for libel.
1982: Late Night with David Letterman premieres.
1983: 107 million viewers say good-bye to M*A*S*H*.
1984: Miami Vice premieres.
1984: Murder She Wrote premieres on CBS.
1984: The A&E Cable Network begins operation.
1984: The Edge of Night goes off the air.
1985: Live Aid is telecast around the world.
1985: Rupert Murdoch begins the Fox Television Network.
1985: VH-1 Music Channel debuts.
1986: Geraldo Rivera finds Al Capone's vault empty.
1986: L.A. Law premieres.
1986: The Challenger space shuttle explodes on live TV.
1986: The Oprah Winfrey Show is syndicated nationally.
1986: TV cameras cover U.S. Senate proceedings for the first time.
1987: Dan Rather walks off the CBS Evening News.
1987: The Iran-Contra hearings are televised.
1988: A strike by the Writers Guild delays many TV productions.
1988: America's Most Wanted premieres on Fox.
1988: TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggart confesses to his audience.
1989: The Berlin Wall opens on television sets worldwide.
1989: Television carries live coverage of the San Francisco earthquake.
1989: This Old House gets a new carpenter -- Steve Thomas.
1990: Jim Henson, father of the Muppets, dies.
1990: The 11-hour documentary The Civil War is shown on PBS.
1990: The Simpsons premieres.
1991: 93 million homes in America have television sets.
1991: The Courtroom TV Network begins broadcasting.
1991: The networks suspend regular programming to cover the Gulf War.
1992: Johnny Carson Leaves The Tonight Show on May 22.