Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Early Days Of Television

It was “Six-Gun Playhouse,” on New York City’s WPIX-TV, channel 11. The first television program I ever saw and, probably on the only tv set on the street. Paul Swanson invited me over, around 1948 or early 1949, to view this marvel. I think maybe his father was a doctor, so they could afford one.

The next program I saw was on our own tv, maybe on October 13, 1949, when we moved into our own, new, house. It was on a giant 19” RCA floor model tv. You have to remember that 19” was pretty good for the day; one of my friends on the next street had a magnifier over a much smaller screen and, of course, the father sat right in front.

My first show was “Howdy Doody,” or some such program. Maybe it was Gabby Hayes hosting some cowboy movie right before Howdy came on.

Not much later, I took my first of what I think were two NBC tours. It’s not like today, when you get a quick walk-through of a vacant studio or two. We saw actual working studios where evening dramatic shows were in various stages of rehearsal. From an upper booth, we looked down on the heroes of live black & white tv.

Those programs showed up during the week. One was the same night, the others followed. They were real, they were live and we could see the action of an actual rehearsal in progress. There was no videotape in those days; what happened in these studios during the week was what you saw at the same moment at home.


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