Saturday, January 14, 2012

The "Today" show, January 14, 1952

Sixty years ago, on this date—January 14, 1952—the Today show made its debut, on NBC-TV. The program’s host was the unusually talented and compelling figure Dave Garroway. Mr. Garroway was host of the program from 1952 until 1961.

Here is a brief film, evidently from later in 1952, about the relatively new medium of television; its host is Mr. Garroway.

The You Tube description notes that the film was made “circa 1952”; a posting in the comments section says that it is indeed from 1952, which appears to be accurate. One of the television shows featured in the film (as noted in the Facebook posting) is the drama Dangerous Assignment, which starred Brian Donlevy. According to The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present, by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh (Ballantine Books, several editions), the drama (which was syndicated) made its debut in early 1952, and only 39 episodes were produced.

By the way: near the end of the film (while describing television’s immediacy and reach), Garroway says: “...from a river rampage, to the proud debut of an American superliner.  Television has a new world to bring you. And now, it’s in your town.”

The superliner shown in the film is the legendary S.S. United States; its maiden voyage took place the first week of July, in 1952. The ship, as noted on previous occasions in this space, plays a part in my book about early television. The last episode of Your Hit Parade’s 1951-1952 season, on NBC, originated from the S.S. United States, five days before the ship’s inaugural voyage.