Television History - The First 75 Years
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1950-1959 Timeline

This page is a timeline of important dates and events that occurred in the 1950-1959 time period.


  •  CBS presents color television system using a spinning mechanical color wheel. In October, the FCC approves CBS color for commercial broadcasting.  Sarnoff orders his "holy crusade" at RCA to perfect electronic color television.  Click here for the company booklet issued in December 1950, telling about the success of their intense efforts.


  •  June 25th: CBS broadcasts a one-hour Ed Sullivan show, but only two dozen CBS sets can receive the color broadcast.  By the end of June, RCA demonstrates its electronic color system, and the industry takes notice.
  •  October: All color TV production is suspended for the duration of the Korean conflict.
  •  December 6th:  Code of Practices for Television Broadcasters is adopted for USA.  Also known as the "Seal of Good Practice".


  •  March 25th:  CBS gives victory to RCA in color war.
  •  December 17th: FCC approves electronic RCA color system, reversing its prior decision to accept CBS mechanical system.  It calls this new RCA color system "NTSC" color.


  •  RCA places its first all-electronic color set on the market, early in the year, the CTC-100, with a 12-1/2" screen, for $1,000.  Sales were predicted to be 75,000 units -- however, only a reported 5,000 were sold.  Current belief is that the real number is closer to 1,000 sets sold to the public.  Many sets were donated to schools and also sold at a discount to employees.


  •  Time magazine calls color TV "the most resounding industrial flop of 1956"