1950 Chronokey Cultural highlights of 1950 Predictions made in 1950
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.
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January 4  RCA introduces 33 rpm 12-inch discs, limiting the use of 45rpm seven-inch discs to popular music.  
February 12  European Broadcasting Union is founded by 23 broadcasting organisations meeting at Torquay, England, replacing the International Broadcasting Union.  
February 23  Gebneral election coverage 1950Results of the UK General Election are covered by BBC Television for the first time. The graphics are executed by signwriters.
Picture source: BBC
 
February 28  Sales of Coca-Cola in France are limited by the French Assembly.  
March 10  First filmed recording of RCA colour television is made at the RCA Silver Spring Laboratory. The 'dot sequential' system records at 15 frames per second.  
March 16  A 'line sequential' filmed recording of RCA colour television is made by Colour Television Inc of San Francisco. The system records at 15 frames per second.  
April 9  Bob Hope makes his first appearance on US television.  
April 25  Television transmitter at Lille is the first in France outside the Paris region, where there are now an estimated 3,500 receivers in use. About 10 per cent of the French population is now within reach of television broadcasts.  
April  By now there are 5.34m US television households. cf 1949 and September 1950
spring  In one week, dealing in shares of the seven largest US television set makers accounts for 10 per cent of all trading on Wall Street.  
May 1  South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) launches the country's first commercial radio station, Springbok Radio.  
Whitsuntide week  First episodes of The Archers, 'an everyday story of farming folk', are broadcast by the BBC Midlands region Home Service. At the start of 1951 the daily programme moves to the Light Programme, moving from the morning to evening schedule in the middle of the year.  
June  Studio D (formerly stage 6) at the BBC's new television studios in Lime Grove, Shepherds Bush is brought into use.  
June  Decca Records introduces 33rpm LPs in the UK.  
end June  Television receiver sales in the US in the first half year come to 3m, 60 per cent bought on hire purchase. Suburban and small-town dwellers are the keenest buyers.  
July 19  President Truman makes a live televised address to the US nation (as far west as St Louis) from the White House about the situation in Korea, arguing the necessity of resisting the 'international Communist movement'. [North Korean troops crossed the border into South Korea on 24 June and went on to capture Seoul. By mid July US troops were in position in Korea.]  
August 19  Saturday morning television for children begins in the USA. ABC programming includes Acrobat Ranch and Animal Clinic.  
August 27  Calais Town HallFirst international television link: between Calais in France and Dover and London in England. Click on the picture for more scenes in Calais and on this link for an extract from Richard Dimbleby commentary (in colour!)
[Source: BBC]
cf, 1850
August  Sony develops and markets the first Japanese audio tape and recorder.  
September 1  US Federal Communications Commission finds in favour of the CBS colour television system. October 11
September 9  Dubbed laughter is used in the US sitcom The Hank McCune Show, which does not survive through its first season, despite the favourable reaction of the 'studio audience'. Bing Crosby shows used 'saved' laughter
1948
September 28  BBC screening of Dinner Date with Death, the first UK film drama made for television.  
September  BBC Children's Television Department is established.  
September  By now there are 7.54m US television households. cf April
September  Television service starts in Mexico, the world’s sixth service, marking the start of television development in Latin America. The commercial service is established in a new $3m studio centre as a joint venture between daily newspaper publisher Romulo O’Farrill and Emilio Azcarrago, who has interests in radio stations, cinemas and newspapers. There are 30,000 receivers in the country.  
October 1  First publicly broadcast live television transmissions from an aircraft; a BBC camera on board a Bristol Freighter shows aerial views from 1,250ft of central London and of other aircraft in flight.  
October 2  First regular television transmissions in Netherlands begin from a converted chapel in Amsterdam.  
October 11  CBS colour television system is formally adopted by the FCC. An ad hoc National Television System Committee is formed, the initials of which are applied to the system: NTSC. 1951
November 20  NTSC colour television system comes into effect as US standard.  
December 12  Il MiracoloRoberto Rossellini's film Il Miracolo (The Miracle) opens at the Paris Cinema in Manhattan, New York, in a triple bill with Jean Renoir's Partie de Campagne and Marcel Pagnol's Jofroi. It has a certificate, as required by state law, from the New York Board of Regents. It is immediately condemned by the Catholic church's Legion of Decency as sacrilegious and blasphemous. [0031, 0032] 1951
December  The French government passes the so-called ‘anti-nitrate’ law, setting a timetable to remove all cellulose nitrate-based film from circulation, the only eventual exemption being for the Cin�math�que Fran�aise.  
end  In the US 107 stations earn $105.9m and spend $115.1m.  
l  United Artists is losing $1m a week.  
l  First catalogue of pre-recorded audio tapes is introduced by Recording Associates of New York with eight titles.  
l  First Photokina international photographic fair is held in Cologne.  
l  Kodak introduces Eastman Colour 35mm tri-pack colour film, developed from Agfacolor. Production of movies in colour now increases rapidly. 1945
1955
l  First ‘electronic film’, La Boutique, is made on monochrome 600-lines television by High Definition Films of London.  
l  First Guatemalan feature film is El Sombreron.  
l  Scrambled-signal pay TV experiments begin in US: by Zenith in Hartford, Connecticut and by Skiatron over WOR-TV in New York.  
l  Producer John Houseman estimates that pay TV could yield four times as much revenue for Hollywood studios as theatrical film release.  
l  Estimated 24m feet of film are used in US for kinescoping/telerecording (cf 1949). 1953
l  Zenith Lazy Bones TV remote controlFirst remote control device for television is introduced in the US by Zenith Radio Corporation. Called LazyBones, it is connected to the set by a wire. Pressing buttons allows the set to be turned on and off and drives a motor that rotates the tuning control to move between channels. 1955
l  On the abolition of the Department of Information in Australia, the Film Division is transferred to the Department of the Interior’s News and Information Bureau. 1956
l  Report of the Departmental Committee on Children and the Cinema (the Wheare Committee) does not find much evidence that films are linked to immoral or anti-social behaviour of British youth. It does, however, recommend introduction of an X certificate to replace the H certificate. 1951
l  James Stewart becomes the first Hollywood star to get a share of profits as well as a fee—for Winchester '73, which earns him $600,000. Actors' earnings
1962
This film 1986
l  Red Channels: The report on the communist influence in radio and television, published in New York by Counterattack, The Newsletter of Facts to Combat Communism, lists 151 actors, writers and other television production personnel alleged to have left-wing connections and sympathies. This soon becomes the basis of a blacklist of people who are unable to work openly in US broadcasting.  
l  In the US, Don Lee Broadcasting System and Bamberger Broadcasting Service merge to become General Teleradio. 1952
l  US television networks begin to make deals with independent production companies to make series on film.  
l  US manufacturers turn out 5.2m monochrome television receivers during the year.  
l  In UK, the aspect ratio (width to height) of the television picture is changed from 5:4 to 4:3.  
l  France has 15,000 television sets in use, in the Paris area only.  
l  Milton Jerrold Shapp develops the first coaxial cable television system in the eastern United States. He forms the Jerrold company, later known as General Instrument.  
l  Typical day’s BBC television programming:
    3:00 Cookery Demonstration by Mrs Joan Robins;
    3:20 For Your Wardrobe with Mary Malcolm;
    3:40 Night Mail—interest film [closedown at 4:00];
    8:30 Variety Show;
    9:15 Picture Page;
    10:0 Television Newsreel;
    10:15 Weather Forecast.
Total transmission time is 2 hours 50 minutes.
 
l  Twelve-inch discs revolving at 16 rpm are introduced, primarily for spoken word recordings.  
l  Recording of the Harry Lime Theme, played on the zither by Viennese musician and cafe proprietor Anton Karas for the British film The Third Man, is a number one hit in the US for 11 weeks and sells 4m copies (reportedly 40m by 1963). It features prominently in March 1951 in the radio series, The Lives of Harry Lime, like the film, starring Orson Welles.  
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See also Start dates of US television stations.

Page updated 4 March 2007
� David Fisher