FROM: Miss Claire Brown, 6/25/1951……RE: Color TV

History marked time for one memorable hour today, and within its span, the promise of the greatest of all the miracles of mass communication became a reality.

At 4:30 PM, Eastern Daylight Time, color television’s triumphal entry into the public domain was emblazoned officiallyacross the log of man’s progress. In the 60 minutes that followed, this newest ,miracle among the electronic marvels was born.

Premiere, the Columbia Broadcasting System’s widely heralded full hour of star-studded entertainment, featuring Arthur Godfrey, Ed Sullivan, Faye Emerson, Garry Moore, Sam Levenson, Patty Painter, Robert Alda and Isabel Bigley, the New York City Ballet, the Bil Baird Marionettes, and Archie Bleyer’s Orchestra, took its place in history as the first commercial color television broadcast to the public. Brief addresses by Wayne Coy, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, William S. Paley, Board Chairman of the Columbia Broadcasting System; and CBS President Frank Stanton signalized, in a dedicatory vein, the start of regular color television broadcast service to the public by the CBS-TV Network.

The history-making broadcast was carried in New York by WCBS-TV, as well as by CBS-TV Network stations in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., the color signals going out over the stations’ regular transmitters and on their regular channels.

Originating in CBS-TV’s Studio 57, at 109th Street and Fifth Avenue, New York, the color program was transmitted from Studio 57 by coaxial cable to CBS-TV’s Master Control in the Grand Central Building, New York, and carried from there by telephone cables to the WCBS-TV transmitter and by cable to the network. Thousands of the public, as wellas public and industry leaders and members of the press, saw the color inaugural in the five cities carrying Premiere. Many of the public who had completed home made conversions of their black-and-white sets also wereable to see the historic broadcast in color in their homes. Typical were the two junior high school youngsters in Newark who last week revealed they had been watching CBS color television transmissions for the past 18 months.

In New York, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and Bernard Baruch were among the dignitaries and newspapermen who watched the inaugural on color receivers installed at CBS headquarters. There were also several showings in New York by dealers who are making color television eqUipment which they soon will have ready for the public. Among these were Colortone Inc., which had more than 400 dealers watching the inaugural on sets installed in its downtown headquarters, and Muntz-TV, which showed its new companion-piece in action to the public at its Queens headquarters.

In Boston, the public watched the program on a receiver set up in the Jordan Marsh Department Store, first store in the country to order color television equipment florstore use; Boston public leaders the press viewed the broadcast on CBS-Columbia sets installed in the Hotel Somerset’s Grand Ballroom.

The Philadelphia public saw the color show on a set installed in the lobby of WCAU, CBS affiliate, with clients, public leaders are press watching the program on another color set in the WCAU Auditorium. Baltimoreans viewed the show on sets installed by WMAR-TV in the lobbies of the new Sun Building and the old Sun Building. In Washington, D. C., WTOP-TV had sets in the Warner Building and at its transmitter at 40th and Brandwyne. In addition top government officials viewed the color inaugural on a set in the Hotel Carleton.

The Premiere broadcast was a breathtaking spectacle. His famous red hair and freckles lent an added brilliance to the wit and charm ofArthur Godfrey as he sang and quipped; a  bronzed Ed Sullivan greeted a new audience in a. setting vibrant with full, natural color; Faye Emerson was hostess. On still another stage that brought to viewers all the richness of paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and ·the Museum of Modern Art; and members or the New York City Ballet “were ecstatically colorful in Maurice Ravel’s “La Valse,” staged by Sol Hurok with choreography especially for television by George Balanchine.

“Photo Credit: Ralph Morse / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images”
“Licensed by Getty Images to Ed Reitan” – (photographed off the screen)
George Balanchine Ballet from “Premiere”
The first commercial CBS Color Television System Colorcast
June 25, 1951

Garry Moore and Sam Levenson added a note of comedy mixed with philosophy, against a setting as vivid as their artistry; Robert Alda and Isabel Bigley of the smash Broadway musical Guys and Dolls sang a duet; the Bil Baird Marionettes cavorted in a riot of hues; and “Miss Color Television” herself, Patty Painter, a. veteran of more than 1,000 CBS color demonstrations and transmissions, brought to life the full, rich, rich colors of the commercial products introduced by the new medium’s pioneer advertisers.

Sixteen national advertisers participated in the epoch-making inaugural, constituting what is believed to be the largest such group ever to sponsor collectively a single network broadcast. The pioneering advertisers were General Mills, Lincoln-Mercury Division of the Ford Motor Company, Longines-Wittnauer Watch Company Inc., Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, William Wrigley Jr. Company, Revlon,Thomas J. Lipton Inc” National Biscuit Company, Toni Home Permanent, Monarch Finer Foods, Procter &Gamble Company, Standard Brands Inc., Quaker Oats Company, Best Foods Inc., Pepsi-Cola Company and Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company.

Fred Rickey, executive producer for color at CBS, produced Premiere and shared directorial duties with Frances Buss, under the over-all supervision of Jerry Danzig, CBS color program supervisor. Set designers were Paul Sylbert and Michael Baronoff.

The launching of CBS’ regular color television broadcast service to the public was accomplished merely by the addition of the three color cameras, plus monitors and associated control room equipment, to black-and-white studio facilities already existing before the inaugural program in Studio 57, which was chosen for the color broadcast simply because it had suitable time availabilities.

So effortless was the inauguration or regular color television service that the necessary technical work and installations in the studio were made in a 12hour period, between 10:00 PM last Wednesday, and 10:00 AM, the following morning, when rehearsals for the first commercial color telecast started.

A cue, thrown this afternoon from the control room of CBS·TV’s Studio 57 to technical personnel on the studio flooritself, opened the color Premiere. A still life picture of an orchid and a book was transmitted to waiting thousands, and the curtain was raised on history’s first commercial color television broadcast.

Today’s inaugural broadcast, establishing regular color television service to the public by CBS-TV, will be followed by daily morning and afternoon network-programs, commercial and sustaining, beginning tomorrow. A pattern of gradual expansion will be carried out, with a color schedule of approximately 20 hours a week expected by fall.

First of the regularly scheduled color programs, which will have its premiere tomorrow (Tuesday, June 26), is titled The World Is Yours! and features Ivan T. Sanderson, noted naturalist. The five-times-weekly show (CBS.Color TV, 4:30-5::OO PM, EDT. Mon. thru Fri.), “starring the earth’s natural treasures,” will be sponsored in its initial telecast by General Mills. Frances Buss will direct the CBS production, in cooperation with Ivan Sanderson Productions Inc. The World Is Yours! will present the wonders of the animal, vegetable and mineral worlds as “a sort of intellectual vaudeville show, informal in manner and functioning without benefit of script, featuring Ivan Sanderson and his “friends, II who comprise a bewildering array of nature’s creatures, including distinguished representatives of the human species. A frequent Visitor and featured participant will be Patty Painter, “Miss Color Television.”

Second or the regularly scheduled color programs, Modern Homemakers,” will make its bow before the color television audience, as a five-a-week series, on Wed., June 22 (CBS-Color.TV, 10:30-11 AM, EDT Mon. thru Fri,).

A cookery and homemaking program conducted by culinary expert Edalene Stohr, Modern Homemakers will specialize in menu-planning, food preparation, and demonstrating the eye-appeal of well-prepared foods, with emphasis on other facets of homemaking as well.

Opening of regular color broadcasting acted as an additional spur to the public to order color equipment from television dealers. Manufacturers or color TV adapters and converters reported they are receiving thousands of calls for such equipment. Typical was Arnold H. Klein, Vice President of Colortone Inc., who said his company was turning its full facilities over to the production of adapters, and that he expected to have 3,000 units in the hands of distributors by the weekend. He said he had received calls for more than 5,000 sample units from leading department stores and distributors from all over the country.

More info. A complete rundown on color TV’s early history. And, a review.

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