Television History - The First 75 Years
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Pure TV Trivia

(Although the site is more hardware than program related, people have requested these answers!) 


  • The first use of "canned laughter" or the Laugh Track was in 1950 on NBC's 'The Hank McCune Show'. 
    Visit this website to learn the history of the laughtrack. 

  • The first female guest host of "Saturday Night Live" was Candace Bergen.

  • The first TV couple to share a bed was not on "The Brady Bunch" or "The Munsters," but was on "The Mary Kay and Johnny" show in 1947. It was the first situation comedy ever.

  • In 1933, Mickey Mouse, an animated cartoon character, received 800,000 fan letters.

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to be televised, in ceremonies opening the New York World's Fair in April 1939.

  • The first television shows to have the characters take bathroom breaks were "All in the Family" and "Married with Children."
  • The Simpsons is the longest running animated series on TV.

  • MTV first aired at 12:01 AM on August 1, 1981. The first video was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles.

  • The first toilet ever seen on television was on "Leave It to Beaver."

  • In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere.

  • In the 1950s, the US National Association of Broadcasters introduced the Television Code, which awards TV shows and stations a Seal Of Good Practice if they follow certain guidelines. The Television Code disbanded in the 1980s, but still lives on at the end of most TV reruns produced up to that time. 

    Refer to FCC website for today's standards of conduct, rules, regulations and codes. 

  • On 3 April 1962, the U.S. Air Force announced it had successfully completed the first satellite TV broadcast.
    On 10 July 1962, the first commercial satellite (Telstar-I) was launched with one TV channel and 600 voice channels.

  • 9 June 1946 -- Chevrolet is the first automaker to advertise on network television

  • 20 March 1948 -- First simulcast over television, AM and FM.  LP records debut about one year later.

  • First successful American TV Soap Opera -- Search for Tomorrow -- debuts in 1951

  • 26 September 1960 -- First Televised US Presidential Debate (John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon)

  • September 1962:  ABC begins color broadcasting -- NBC at 68% -- CBS in Black and White until 3 Dec 1967.

  • 1971 -- Cigarette advertising is banned from television

  • 20 January 1993 -- FOX becomes the first new American national TV network since the 1950s


Some Info on "Soaps" (Courtesy of "Big Dave")

  •  "THE EDGE OF NIGHT" also premiered on the same day as "AS THE WORLD TURNS".
  •   13 FEB 1967  "AS THE WORLD TURNS" is the first CBS soap to go to COLOR.  ("EDGE" was last).
  •   1 DEC 1975  CBS expands "AS THE WORLD TURNS" to 60 minutes. CBS didn't have airtime for EDGE. This made EDGE the first TV soap to change networks during its run.
  •   "AS THE WORLD TURNS" was the only network program on at the time news of JFK's assassination broke.  NBC and ABC apparently were on their local slot.  The NBC affiliate  in Dallas was sending feeds in color to New York for the first few hours of coverage.
  •   1981 (or 1982?)  "SEARCH FOR TOMORROW" is the second and last soap opera to switch networks.  Both soaps to change networks began on CBS.  SEARCH went to NBC.
  •   1975:  ANOTHER WORLD is the first soap to expand to 60 minutes and only soap to go to 90 minutes.
  •   1973:  Organ music is retired on Proctor and Gamble soaps.
  •   "DAYS OF OUR LIVES" is the first of the long running soaps to be in color for its entire run.  (Can someone confirm this?)

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