The Exhibits in the RCA Pavilion

Exhibits within the RCA Pavilion dramatized the use of television in the home, and documented RCA’s experimental breakthroughs. The ‘Radio Living Room of Tomorrow” was created by Turkish-American industrial designer John Vassos. It was outfitted with contemporary built-ins such as a combination radio/television/record player/record recording set, a facsimile receiver and a sound motion picture projector. To illustrate how television could be integrated into existing décor, Vassos designed a “Radio Living Room of Today”.

This display featured period furniture complemented by separate cabinets that contained the same electronic components as the futuristic exhibit. The RCA “Television Laboratory” exhibit featured a display of Vladimir Zworykin’s experimental television camera tubes (Iconoscopes) and picture tubes (Kinescopes).

The Phantom Teleceiver

Upon entering the RCA Pavilion, the first thing visitors saw was the Phantom Teleceiver, now a prized piece in the MZTV Museum Collection. Not only was this television set accented by an extraordinary futuristic mural that communicated a fascinated excitement about new technologies, it was also bathed in sunlight from a spectacular glass curtain wall. As for the capabilities of the set itself, people were amazed by the quality of the television pictures on this extraordinary unit. The great majority of visitors had never seen television before, and the set’s transparent Lucite cabinet removed any doubts that magic or trickery was involved in achieving the pictures.

And Now We Add Sight to Sound

Ten days prior to the Fair’s opening, David Sarnoff, the President of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), made the dedication speech to open the RCA Pavilion. Staging this event prior to the World’s Fair opening ceremonies ensured that RCA would capture its share of much desired newspaper headlines and publicity.

In addition to the audience members who were located at the front of the RCA pavilion, only a few hundred people would have been able to watch the ceremony on television.

Although the figure is debatable, there were roughly several hundred sets in the New York area. While some viewers would have watched the ceremony on their won television sets, most of these viewers congregated inside the RCA Pavilion at the fairgrounds, and some watched the receivers on the 62nd floor of Radio City in Manhattan.

Introducing Television

Many historians argue that the “introduction” of television took place as a series of anticlimaxes, or slow moving stages. However, the 1939 New York World’s Fair marked the commencement of regular television broadcasts in North America and was the first opportunity for a large public to see a television in operation. At exhibits by General Electric, Westinghosue Electric, the Crosley Radio Corporation and, most notably, the Radio Corporation of America, the television industry presented the exciting new medium as something that would revolutionize public communication and private life.

Since the mid-1920s, the public had been aware of an invention called “television”, so it might seem strange that inventors and manufacturers were racing to formally “introduce” television in 1939. However, throughout this developmental phase, television had been primarily an inventors’ medium. In general, the only people who had any real contact with the technology besides the inventors were the investors, the technicians and the recreational ham radio operators. Television needed national and international publicity in order to become a full-fledged industry.

Introducing Television

Many historians argue that the “introduction” of television took place as a series of anticlimaxes, or slow moving stages. However, the 1939 New York World’s Fair marked the commencement of regular television broadcasts in North America and was the first opportunity for a large public to see a television in operation. At exhibits by General Electric, Westinghosue Electric, the Crosley Radio Corporation and, most notably, the Radio Corporation of America, the television industry presented the exciting new medium as something that would revolutionize public communication and private life.

Since the mid-1920s, the public had been aware of an invention called “television”, so it might seem strange that inventors and manufacturers were racing to formally “introduce” television in 1939. However, throughout this developmental phase, television had been primarily an inventors’ medium. In general, the only people who had any real contact with the technology besides the inventors were the investors, the technicians and the recreational ham radio operators. Television needed national and international publicity in order to become a full-fledged industry.

Marilyn on the Jack Benny Show (1953)

Marilyn Monroe’s Second Television Appearance 

After the film “All About Eve” brought her fame, Marilyn appeared on the highly rated “The Jack Benny Show” on CBS. This would mark her only real acting appearance on TV. Marilyn turned what could have been a pale parody into a deft comic invention by playing the stereotypical “dumb blonde”.

 

Marilyn on the Jack Benny Show (1953)

Marilyn Monroe’s Second Television Appearance 

After the film “All About Eve” brought her fame, Marilyn appeared on the highly rated “The Jack Benny Show” on CBS. This would mark her only real acting appearance on TV. Marilyn turned what could have been a pale parody into a deft comic invention by playing the stereotypical “dumb blonde”.

 

LOCATION

MZTV Museum of Television (at The ZoomerPlex) 64 Jefferson Avenue Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6K 1Y4

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