...THAT THE FIRST LONG DISTANCE TELEVISION BROADCAST IN AMERICAN HISTORY STARRED A SOON-TO-BE-PRESIDENT (It’s not who you think).
At 3.25pm on April 7th, 1927, a group of journalists, Bell Laboratory executives, and AT&T President, Walter S. Gifford, listened to a voice transmitting from 200 miles away in Washington D.C.. Gathered in an auditorium in Manhattan, the attention of the audience was rapt, not by the voice - which was falling out of the loudspeaker - but to the grainy image that was moving in time with the voice.
Walter S. Gifford, the President of AT&T, sitting in a leather-studded wooden chair that was raised about two feet from the ground, crouched over a standup rotary telephone that was itself perched on a shelf attached to a wardrobe-sized wooden box, and squinted into a small rectangle projecting at 45° from the same ‘wardrobe’. On the small rectangle, a picture of the man whose voice was spreading out from the loudspeaker, appeared. It also moved. At 18 frames a second, the monochrome picture, synchronised with the voice, created a staccato but recogniseable and moving form - that of Secretary of Commerce and future President of the United States - Herbert Hoover.
Herbert Hoover appearing on America's first long distance television broadcast
Referring to the demonstration, Hoover claimed, “Human genius has now destroyed the impediment of distance in a new respect, and in a manner hitherto unknown.” Despite Hoover’s enthusiasm, the front page of the New York Times proclaimed, the day after the display, that television’s “Commercial Use in Doubt”.
If you are interested in watching a short video of the actual demonstration, follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=116047015077905
Dr. Elliott L. Watson
News from Patrick (@historychappy), Elliott (@thelibrarian6) & Conal (@prohistoricman)