History of Shows and Major Events in Television in the 1940s Part 2

About the history of television in the 1940s, some programs from the time including shows of Milton Berle, Jackie Gleaon, and the Kukle, Fran, and Ollie show.

Tuning in on Television: From 1925 to 1975


--The durable news interview show "Meet the Press" moved from radio to TV, with Martha Roundtree as its moderator and Lawrence E. Spivak as its producer.

1948--Bill Boyd, whose motion picture career was floundering, jumped aboard a white horse and galloped into TV popularity on NBC's "Hopalong Cassidy." When Boyd sold the rights to the show several years later, he reportedly received $70 million.

--Newspaper columnist Ed Sullivan hosted one of TV's earliest variety shows, "Toast of the Town." The debut program had a budget of only $500, and guests on that 1st "really big shew" included Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, composers Rodgers and Hammerstein, and a singing fireman named Fred Kohoman.

--Milton Berle debuted on NBC-TV, 1st emceeing 3 variety shows and then starring in his own series, "The Texaco Star Theatre." All across the nation, Tuesday night became "Milton Berle Night," and Berle eventually appeared in a record 400 shows, attired in everything from women's clothes to a Howdy Doody outfit. He earned $6,500 a week.

1949--Jackie Gleason starred as the original Chester Riley in "The Life of Riley." The series flopped and left the air, to be revived 4 years later in a popular version starring William Bendix.

--Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, spoofing everything from operas like Rigoletto to films like From Here to Eternity, starred in NBC's "Your Show of Shows."

--"Captain Video," a low-budget show with cardboard props and scenery, was TV's 1st science-fiction program. Although it was shoddily produced, the show gained an enormous following, with former radio actor Al Hodge as its star.

--"Kukla, Fran and Ollie" had as many adult viewers as children, all attracted by the high-voiced and big-nosed Kukla, Ollie the good-natured dragon, and Fran Allison.

--Gertrude Berg, who created and starred in the radio serial "The Goldbergs," brought the show to TV, where it was an instant hit. Cast as the lovable Jewish mother Molly Goldberg, Gertrude Berg invented Goldbergisms like "Enter, whoever," "So who's to know?" and "If it's nobody, I'll call back."

--The Hollywood Athletic Club was the site of the 1st Annual Emmy Awards, which went practically ignored by the media. The winner of the "Outstanding Personality" award was Shirley Dinsdale and her puppet Judy Splinters.

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