The History Of Television: 8 Quick Facts

The debate on the good and bad effects of watching television is still on. But, let's take a break and look at these eight interesting facts about the history of television.

By Leena Ghosh

The History Of Television: 8 Quick Facts

Television is a medium because anything well done is rare - Fred Allen

Love it or hate it, the television (TV) is here to stay, as it is no longer 'just a gadget' but much more than that — it's a part of our life and a window to various experiences. Today, we use the TV to both entertain and inform ourselves.

Although more fun and interesting gadgets hit the market long ago, they haven't been able to push the TV out of our homes or unseat it from its throne.

In fact, our fascination with the TV ensured that it kept getting upgrades and our TV-watching experience became livelier and more entertaining.

To recognise the valuable contribution TV has made to our lives, the United Nations commemorates 21 November as the World Television Day. According to the UN, "World Television Day is not so much a celebration of the tool, but rather the philosophy which it represents. Television represents a symbol for communication and globalization in the contemporary world."

With the modest TV occupying such an important place and being one of the most popular man-made inventions, here are some facts you should know about it:

  1. John Logie Baird was the first person to transmit the image of a ventriloquist’s dummy on TV. He performed this feat on 2 October 1925. The relay also included transmitting images of blue and red scarves, a UK policeman’s hat, some flowers and a guy poking his tongue out.
  2. The first TV commercial aired lasted only 20 seconds and it was that of a clock. The advertisement was aired in July 1941 during a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies. The manufacturers named Bulova also sent the first timepiece to space.
  3. During World War II, the BBC went off air for seven years. The last programme to be aired on the channel was the Mickey Mouse cartoon show. When the channel resumed transmission again in 1946, they aired a repeat of the same show.
  4. The Japanese can be credited with many inventions and one of them is the world’s largest TV set. This was unveiled in a Japanese International Exposition in 1985 and measured 80 by 150 feet.
  5. TV advertisements can be expensive, but the highest fee ever paid for a TV commercial was $2,000,000 per 30 seconds. The advertisers paid to run the commercial during the final episode of the popular TV show Friends.
  6. Talking about popular TV shows, The Simpsons takes credit for being the longest running TV show of all time. It has been on air for 30 seasons now and the Simpson Family also has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
  7. The fact that watching too much TV can be bad for one’s health was known to the inventor of the all-electronic television system himself. That’s the reason why Philo T Farnsworth never allowed his children to watch TV at home. He was famously quoted as saying to his son, “There’s nothing on it worthwhile, and we’re not going to watch it in this household, and I don’t want it in your intellectual diet.”
  8. A person who spends a lot of time sitting on the couch watching TV programmes is often referred to as a ‘couch potato’. In fact, the inventors of the first TV remote, Zenith TV, called it the ‘Lazy Bones’. This remote was connected to the TV set by a wire.

Chances are your child loves watching TV shows as much as you do. So, on World Television Day, share these interesting facts with him and turn TV time into learning time as well.

Looking for expert tips and interesting articles on parenting? Subscribe now to our magazine. Connect with us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube