We cannot imagine the world without television nowadays. Despite the internet slowly taking over, television is the still the leading media. The word television first entered the English language in 1907. Russian scientist Constantin Perskyi was the first one to use it. The abbreviation “TV” was first introduced in 1948. In the 1960s and 70s, thanks to appearance of color television, television ratings surged. The first American television station started working in 1928, while BBC began transmission in 1930. With that in mind, here are some fun television history facts you should know.
- John Bogie Baird is widely regarded as the brain behind the television. He is credited as the inventor of television. There were other pioneers in the field, like Paul Nipkow, Boris Rosing, Philio Farnsworth, Vladimir Zworkin, Charles Francis Jenkins, and William Bell. However, Braid was the first one to create live pictures. He was also the first one to show faces and real people on TV. Before he started using a real person, Baird experimented with a ventriloquist’s dummy, who sat in front of the transmitter. He called the dummy Stooky Bill
- The first commercial on television was broadcasted on July 1, 1941 in New York. The commercial for Bulova watches aired before as baseball game and the company paid just $9 for the ad. The first car commercial was for Chevrolet, and it aired on June 9, 1946
- The first VCR was marketed in 1963 in the UK. The VCR could record a maximum of 20 minutes of television
- MTV, one of the most famous channels went on air on August 1, 1981. The channel went on air with the words “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll”. Fittingly, the first video broadcast by the music network was “Video Killed the Radio Star”
- Zenith produced the first TV remote control in 1950. Back then, the remote was connected to the TV set by a wire. The first wireless remote came in 1955. The commercial for the first remote by Zenith claimed “consumers can change TV programs form your easy chair with the amazing Zenith Lazy Bones remote control”
- America aired the first TV broadcast in color in 1954. The broadcast was the 1954 Tournament of Roses Parade. However, most programing was black and white until 1965. The UK aired the first color pictures on BBC2 during Wimbledon in 1967. Sales of color surpassed black and white sets for the first in 1972. By 1969, both BBC and ITV were broadcasting in color
- Cable TV was first introduced in Canada in 1952. The technology offered 12 stations from the US and Canada. It took two years for cable TV to spread across the country
- Betty White is the longest tenured star on television. She has been on television since 1949. Her first TV series was “Life with Elizabeth” in 1953. He last signature TV series was “Hot in Cleveland”. She appeared in Young and Hungry in 2017, but only as a small cameo
- The first scripted inter-racial kiss on US television happened during one of the most iconic TV shows, Star Trek. The episode was meant to be filmed with and without the kiss. William Shatner (Captain Kirk) and Nichelle Nichols (Lieutenant Uhura) shared the first kiss. They deliberately flubbed every take of the shot without the kiss so that they could not be used. The episode aired on November 22, 1968
- World War II is vastly important for popularization of television. After the end of WWI, more than 1 million homes in America had television
- HD television standards first started in 1996, but Japan used HD sets from 1981
- After president Kennedy’s death in 1963, networks aired four days of commercial-free coverage of the funeral, burial, and everything else Kennedy-related. They lost more than $100 million in advertising revenue. It is still one of the most watched broadcasts of television, with 93% of American homes catching some part of the coverage
- The Simpsons is the longest tenured animated television series. The Simpsons first started airing in 1989, and in 2018 the show will air its 30th season. Dan Castellaneta is the voice of Homer Simpson since the first episode, and Julie Kavner is Marge Simpson since episode one as well.
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