Individual media Reference department
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1949 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.

links and notes
  Cultural highlights | Predictions made this year  
January 1  Metro's Los Angeles television station KTTV TV goes on air on channel 11 and NBC's affiliate KPRC TV launches on channel 2 in Houston, Texas.  
January 2  CBS station KDKA TV begins broadcasting on channel 2 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  
January 7  University of Southern California announces that genes have been photographed.  
January 10  International Telecommunications Commission (ITU) is incorporated into the structure of the United Nations.  
January 10  RCA announces the 45rpm seven-inch audio disc. > February 1
January 16  NBC joins the Los Angeles television market with station KNBH TV (later KNBC) on channel 4.  
January 25  The first Emmy Awards ceremony for television programming is held at Hollywood Athletics Club. Six awards, including one to ventriloquist Shirley Dinsdale Layburn (1927-1999) as most outstanding television personality, are presented before an audience of 600 people, with no television coverage.  
February 1  RCA Victor introduces 45 rpm seven-inch discs to the US market and a $12.95 'fat spindle' record changer for the format [right]. The growing range of standards causes a drop in record sales. Capitol and Decca Records adopt the 33rpm LP format during the year. RCA Victor's simple auto-change player for 45rpm seven-inch discs sell for only $12.95 but are not a success. Multi-speed players, also capable of handling 33rpm LPs and the older 78rpm format, become the market standard. But this explains why, for years after, 45rpm discs have either a large hole with a plastic insert or a press-out centre section.
[Photo: Smithsonian Institution.]
February  Sam Goldwyn publicly states that ‘instead of any talk about how to lick television, motion picture people now need to discuss how to fit movies into the new world made possible by television’.  
February  S Seeman, managing director of Scophony-Baird Ltd, publicly states that the cinema industry should develop its own television broadcasting system and a network of large-screen television cinemas.  
early  Use of audio magnetic tape for studio recording begins to replace direct recording on wax or acetate blank discs, which are almost totally replaced within a year. Tape allows a much greater frequency range (20 Hz-20 kHz) to be recorded than ever before and can be edited. It also increases productivity, reduces the stress associated with direct recording reduces the entry level cost for record producers, who start to proliferate in the USA.  
March 2  Station WPTZ TV begins thrice-weekly afternoon broadcasts of educational programmes. The station's owner, Philco Corporation, donates  20 large-screen television receivers to schools in its corporate home town Philadelphia to receive the Operation Blackboard service, administered by the Philadelphia Board of Education.  
March 16  CBS station KFMB TV begins transmission on channel 8 in San Diego, California.  
March 24  Olivier in HamletFirst non-US production to win the Academy Award for Best Picture (of 1948) is Lawrence Oliver's production of Hamlet.  
March  BBC buys a 13½-acre site at White City in West London for a new television centre. The site had been developed originally in 1908 for a Franco-British Exhibition and was used for the Olympic Games that year. The stadium was the largest in the world at the time, accommodating 93,000 spectators. Graham Dawbarn of Norman & Dawbarn is appointed architect, working with the BBC’s consulting civil engineer, M T Tudsbery. The idea is to build a set of studios as segments of a circle. Construction does not commence until 1956 and the building opens in 1960.
> November
March  Canadian parliament authorises a television service, spurred by the developments in the US that could be viewed across the border. The recently appointed Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences (the Massey Commission) is to consider implementation.  
April 3  CBS's radio station KQW-AM in San Francisco changes its call letters to KCBS.  
April 7  South PacificOriginal cast recording is made of the latest Rodgers-Hammerstein stage show, South Pacific. By 1958 it sells a million copies, claimed to be the first LP to achieve such sales [but see below]—and then sales accelerate: 2.25m by 1960 and 3m by 1963. It stays in the US charts for 427 consecutive weeks—over eight years.  
•  The 1943 original stage cast recording of Oklahoma! is issued on LP; it sells 1.75m by 1956 and 2.5m by 1960. > 1955
April 15  KPFA-FM in Berkeley, California begins transmissions as the first listener-supported radio station, using a 550W government surplus transmitter.  
April 26  Look magazine says radio is 'doomed' and that television will overtake it within three years.  
April  RCA-Fox-Warner large-screen television system is demonstrated to the Society of Motion Picture Engineers convention, New York. The projector system uses a 12-inch cathode ray tube with a 21-inch spherical mirror and correcting lens capable of throwing the picture between 45 ft and 80 ft.  
May 5  ABC opens its KGO TV station on channel 7 in San Francisco, California.  
May 11  Polaroid camera goes on sale in New York with a price tag of $89.95.  
June 1  Newsweek magazine offers a version on microfilm to subscribers, the first serial publication to do so.  
June 1  CBS affiliate station KSL-TV goes on air on channel 5 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  
June 13  In the Washington DC Court of Appeals the conviction of the Hollywood Ten is unanimously upheld. Mr Justice Clark's verdict and Dalton Trumbo's comment
> November
June 18  Columbia announces first-year LP sales of 3.5m discs.  
June  Australian prime minister commits his Labour government to establishing a television service as soon as possible. By the year end there is a change of government.  
July 11-14  First UK film drama especially made for television, A Dinner Date with Death (director: Eric Fawcett, producer Roy Plomley), is shot at Marylebone Studios by Vizio Films Ltd. It is shown on BBC Television and is also believed to be first UK television drama shown on US networks.  
July 13  Communist novels are excommunicated by Pope Pius XII.  
July 26  Italy passes the Andreotti Act to tax film imports to support local production. Named after Giulio Andreotti (later an Italian prime minister), the Act requires the distributor of a dubbed imported film to deposit 2.5m Lire (around $4,000) in the state banking agency Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, the funds thus created being made available as loans for Italian film production at low interest rates. After 10 years the distributor could redeem the 'dubbing certificate' issued in return for the deposit. The Italian government trades dubbing licences with other countries where similar restrictions apply. Quota December 29
Imports 1951
July 27  RCA signs a contract with Fabian Theatres for the installation of television projection equipment capable of showing live transmissions. RCA projection television in 1949
July 29  BBC Television includes its first weather forecast.  
August 18  First filmed recording of CBS colour television is made in Washington DC using US Navy-designed Berndt-Maurer camera.  
August  By now there are an estimated 2m television households in the USA, of which 720,000 are in the New York area. < 1948
August  So far only 11 companies are issuing 33rpm LPs in the US. > 1954 August
September 1  CBS affiliate KMTV TV goes on air on channel 3 in Omaha, Nebraska.  
September 9  BBC forecasts expected television uptake for the next six years. It proves to under-estimate acquisition by 125 per cent over the period.
September 25  President of the Board of Trade, Harold Wilson, writes a memorandum about UK film policy. Read the document
September  Cheap battery-operated radio receiver is introduced by UK company Ever Ready in response to a 1948 request from broadcasters in Rhodesia and Nyasaland for a model, selling at under £5, suitable for use in developing territories. Called the Saucepan Special because the casing is adapted from saucepans bought from British Aluminium, the four-valve receiver uses a layer-type battery. Nearly 250,000 sets sell around the world.  
October 3  WERD, the first black radio station in the USA, begins transmissions in Atlanta, Georgia.  
October 12  Government of the newly created German Democratic Republic (East Germany) takes over control of broadcasting from the Soviet military authorities.  
October 30  BBC Overseas Service begins transmissions in Hebrew and Indonesian.  
November 15  NBC enters the San Francisco television market with KRON TV on channel 4.  
November 25  In Denmark, a decree allocates 25 per cent of entertainments tax revenue from the exhibition of Danish films shall be paid to the producers of those films. The tax rate os 60 per cent of gross box office receipts.  
November 30  CBS affiliate station KOTV TV goes on air on channel 6 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  
November  US Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal in the case of the Hollywood Ten.  
•  Rank Organisation is forced to sell off its Islington and Shepherds Bush studios to stave off financial crisis (a £16m overdraft). About now the head of the company, J Arthur Rank, commissions a firm in Chicago to make large-screen television systems for use in cinemas. Questions Which firm was it and did it have a track record in this area?
November  Shepherd’s Bush film studios in Lime Grove, West London are sold by Rank to the BBC for conversion into television studios, intended to replace Alexandra Palace, on which the BBC’s lease will expire in 1956, and prior to the construction of the Television Centre in nearby White City. > 1950
November  Television service on the 819-line standard starts in France.  
December 17  BBC Television’s Sutton Coldfield transmitter in the English Midlands brings the service outside London for the first time.  
December 29  First US television station operating in the UHF spectrum begins regular services in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  
December 29  Screen quota is introduced in Italy, requiring cinemas to screen Italian films for at least 80 days a year (20 days per quarter). To avoid a flood of 'quota quickies', films must be quality-approved by a quota council. Producers of qualifying films receive a subsidy equal to 10 per cent of the film's gross revenue for a period of five years. Films of particular artistic value also receive a further eight per cent from the new fund created to receive fees for dubbing of imported films. > 1956
Quotas and levies
•  United Paramount Theatres is split from the rest of Paramount.  
•  Cinematograph Film Production (Special Loans) Act is passed in UK to ‘make temporary provision for lending of money to be employed in financing the production or distribution’ of films—loans at commercial rates from the Board of Trade; it creates the National Film Finance Corporation for the purpose. Lord Reith is its first chairman.  
•  With the British screen quota reduced from 45 per cent to 40 per cent in September, exemptions bring the average quota down to 33.6 per cent. The actual achievement is 30.4 per cent of average screen time.  
•  UK parliament passes the British Film Institute Act.  
•  The Society of Film Teachers (later called the Society for Education in Film and Television, SEFT) is founded in the UK.  
•  British Society of Cinematographers is formed by leading film lighting cameramen.  
•  Federal Communications Commission (FCC) replaces the requirement to give election candidates equal air time in broadcasts with the 'fairness doctrine'; broadcasters must make a balanced presentation of political and controversial issues. > 1987
•  First network television broadcast of a religious service from a church (Trinity Church New York) on NBC.  
•  Howdy DoodyValue of product merchandising associated with the US children's television series Howdy Doody during its second year on air is estimated at $11m.  
>•  BBC Research Department moves to Kingswood Warren at Tadworth, Surrey.  
•  Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI) starts an experimental television service in Italy.  
•  As the US television market booms (60,000 sets a week are being sold), RCA’s stock market price rises 134 per cent during the year.  
•  MagnecordMagnecord ofessional stereophonic ('binaural') tape recorder is demonstrated at the US Audio Fair by Magnecord Co of Chicago. It is available in several specifications, costing $650 and upwards.  
•  Audio tape splicing device for editing is introduced to the broadcast industry.  
•  First US cable television system goes into operation at Astoria, Oregon, set up by local radio operator Ed Parsons. CATV (Community Antenna Television) is introduced to improve the service in areas of poor reception, using an antenna on the roof of the Astor Hotel and a transceiver to convert the signal from one frequency to another. [Another early system is at Paducah, Texas.]  
•  Palais des Festivals is constructed at Cannes.  
•  Image Orthicon television camera is introduced.  
•  Price of DuMont's top-of-the-range 20-inch television receiver is reduced from $2,495 to $999.  
•  US has 98 television stations, of which 14 belong to the networks; revenues have increased four-fold in the past year to $34.3m, while expenditures have risen to 2½ times to $59.6m.  
•  During the year, an estimated 13m feet of film are used in US for kinescoping/telerecording. > 1950
•  Construction begins on a new television centre on Khreshchatyk, the main street in Kiev, Ukraine.  
•  BBC Home Service is on the air from 07:30 to midnight every day and is listened to for an average of seven hours a week; the Light Programme broadcasts from 09:00 to midnight with average listening time of 9½ hours a week.  
•  BBC's revenue from publications this year: £1,039,464. BBC publications circulation
•  Emerson College opens the first educational FM radio station, WERS-FM, in New England.  
•  First US television 'telethon', a 14-hour show hosted by Milton Berle, raises $1.1m for cancer research.  
•  Crusader Rabbit, drawn by Jay Ward, is the first cartoon made for US television.  
•  Hopalong CasssidyWilliam Boyd stars on NBC radio as Hopalong Cassidy, the character created by Clarence E Mulford that Boyd had played on screen in 66 cinema B features. Boyd bought the rights to the films from Paramount and United Artists, re-edited them for television and made a further 52 episodes specially for television.  
•  NBC appoints Thomas Coffin (1916-1999) as its first television market researcher. His early research proved a positive correlation between television advertising and consumption.  
•  Rapid growth in the number of small record companies begins in the US.  
•  First animated cartoon appearance of Roadrunner and Wile E Coyote, produced by Chuck Jones for Warner Bros.  
•  Bray Studios at Down PlaceBray Film Studios is created at the recently vacated country house, Down Place, where the notorious Kit-Kat Club had been formed in the eighteenth century. Hammer Film Productions becomes the studios’ principal user. [0019]
Image source:
•  Romulus Films formed in UK by James and John Woolf, sons of C M Woolf, the late distributor and producer.  
•  First feature film produced in Ecuador is Se Conocieron en Guayaquil, directed by Alberto Sanatana for Ecuador Sono Films.  
•  First colour feature film made in Hungary: Ludas Matyi, directed by K Nádasdy.  
•  Indian film Anyaya (Injustice?) is made by actor/director J S Casshyap (who plays Gandhi in Mark Robson’s 1962 British film Nine Hours to Rama) by editing together clips from various Bombay Talkies productions to create a new storyline.  
•  Warner Bros’ Colorado Territory is the first film premiered at a US drive-in cinema.  
•  Mobile radio communications pioneer Al Gross devises the pager and cordless telephone.  
•  With overall sales rising, Daily Mirror (4,390,213 copies) becomes UK’s best-selling daily newspaper, overtaking Daily Express (4,044,111).  
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Page updated 6 December 2008
© David Fisher