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What was the first color tv program?

On my Daily Doodle about the zip tie, I asked if there was something you took for granted in everyday life... Did you think about color tv!? It's only been a around a few generations, but a colored screen is something most of us se daily!


Although experiments with color television started with the development of commercial black and white television, it was not until the 1950s that attempts were made to successfully launch color television. On January 12th, 1950, the general public was introduced to color television for the very first time when CBS demonstrated its “field sequential” color system on eight television sets in the Walker Building, in Washington. Faye Emerson was the main attraction in the demonstration, which had been ordered by the F.C.C.


The first commercial color broadcast took place at 4:35PM on Monday, June 25th, 1951, when CBS offered an hour-long program entitled “Premiere” to an ad-hoc network of five stations in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington. Among those participating in the program were Arthur Godfrey, Ed Sullivan, Robert Alda, Faye Emerson, William S. Paley and Frank Stanton (the latter two board chairman and president of CBS, respectively).


Thousands were able to watch the first color broadcast in auditoriums, department stores and hotels in the five cities, but the general public was left in the dark — literally. Because the CBS color system was incompatible with existing black and white television sets, for the hour the color special was on the air, viewers tuned to CBS in any of the five cities saw only a blank screen.


Two days later, on June 27, 1951, CBS began airing the first regularly scheduled color television series, "The World Is Yours!" with Ivan T. Sanderson. Sanderson was a Scottish naturalist who had spent most of his life traveling the world and collecting animals; thus, the program featured Sanderson discussing artifacts and animals from his travels. "The World Is Yours!" aired on weeknights from 4:30 to 5 p.m.


RCA demonstrated its “all-electronic” color system for the first time on October 9th, 1951. The test was also broadcast on WNBT, and because RCA’s system was compatible with existing black and white television sets, viewers were able to watch the demonstration (in black and white, of course). On October 16th, RCA sent a fifteen-minute color variety show to San Francisco and Los Angeles, the first transcontinental color transmission.


On October 25th, manufacturing of color television was put on hold at the request of Defense Mobilizer Charles E. Wilson and the National Production Authority due to scarcity of metals and the conflict in Korea. The ban was lifted on March 27th, 1953. And on December 17th, the FCC approved color specifications from the National Television System Committee (NTSC) for a color system compatible with existing black and white sets. Color television was officially here to stay. Though not the first to broadcast in color, RCA would ultimately win the color TV battle with CBS.






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