The Birth of America's Favorite Media Technology

More

The Story of Television, a 1956 documentary from RCA, traces the evolution of the medium from its inception to the development of color television. The film features David Sarnoff, RCA's Chairman, and Vladimir Zworykin, an inventor and pioneer of early television technology, delivering a few awkward lines about their research and development, interspersed with some fascinating archival footage of early NBC studios and equipment. 

Courtesy of the Prelinger Archive, the full 26-minute film is a little slow but the excerpt below includes an interesting explanation of how black and white television works and a look at television's growing role in American society in the late 1930s and 1940s. The narrator gushes at every groundbreaking development: 

In 1937, television strode out of the studio with mobile vans developed by RCA and NBC -- versatile, self-sustaining. New eyes, new vision for the world! A man could sit at home, yet his eyes could scan the countryside. A bright new era dawning! A new dimension in communications! Distance reduced to microwaves! Walls, barriers, mountains earased! Television: the ultimate triumph in man's search for sight beyond the range of the human eye!

For more from the Prelinger Archive, visit http://archive.org/details/prelinger.

Jump to comments

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Video

Just In