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1958 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.


links and notes
  Cultural highlights | Predictions made this year  
January 1  Start of the European Economic Community (EEC), the Common Market.  
January 4  Sputnik 1 burns up on re-entering Earth atmosphere.  
January 7  Gibson Guitar Company patents the Flying V guitar design.  
January 13-14  Stereophonic radio test transmissions are conducted by the BBC in the UK.  
January 14  Television Wales and the West (TWW) begins transmissions as ITV programme company for the South Wales and West of England area.  
January 31 22:48 EST  Explorer-1 satelliteFirst US satellite, Explorer I (officially designated Satellite 1958 Alpha), is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on board a Jupiter C rocket.
[Picture source: National Air and Space Museum]
 
January  Television service starts in Perú.  
February 12  Granada Television produces first UK television coverage of a parliamentary by-election, at Rochdale in Lancashire, using its Travelling Eye unit. Television current affairs presenter Ludovic Kennedy comes second as a Liberal candidate, ahead of the Conservative.  
February  NBC network announces that all recordings for US time-zone delay will be done with videotape.  
February  Paramount sells its pre-1948 film library of 750 titles to MCA for television distribution for $500m.  
February  BBC Television starts arts programme Monitor, introduced by Huw Wheldon and later to commission influential productions by Ken Russell and others. It achieves audiences of 2m.  
March 12  Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) is established and certifies its first gold record for Catch a Falling Star by Perry Como.  
March 20  Burasi Bizim Radyo (Our Radio) begins clandestine transmissions in Turkish and Kurdish from bases in Magdeburg, East Germany and Bucharest, Romania. It shares a transmitter with the GReek-language station Voice of Truth. The stations are run respectively by the Turkish and Greek Communist parties. > 1989 July
March 25  Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) approves Westrex proposal for stereophonic disc recordings consisting of two channels cut at 45 degrees to the surface of the disc.  
March  Russian Kinopanorama film shown at Mir Theatre, Moscow.  
March  Television service starts in China.  
March  Motion Picture Export Association of America (MPEA) ends its boycott of the Spanish market and agrees to handle one Spanish film for every four US imports—more stringent terms than those that led to the boycott, although Spanish demands for reciprocal distribution of Spanish films in North America are dropped. The quota system is known as the baremo and involves a points system for import and dubbing licences. > 1967
April 1  BBC establishes the Radiophonic Workshop to experiment with ways of using electronics to create new forms of music and audio material.  
April 6  Rediffusion (Hong Kong) starts transmitting television by cable in Hong Kong on a 15-year licence.  
April 14  BBC demonstrates publicly and then for a limited period uses its own VERA (Vision Electronic Recording Apparatus), using three-track heads and tape at 200 ips. • Click on picture for more
April 14  Sputnik 2, carrying the dog Laika, burns up on re-entering Earth atmosphere.  
April  Film musical South Pacific opens at the Dominion Theatre, London for what will become a record run (see also 1962 September).  
June  CBC opens the Calgary Delay Centre to record network programmes on videotape to delay transmissions for western time zones.  
July 1  Completion of coast-to-coast microwave links across Canada is marked with a special programme. Stretching 4,000 miles from Sydney on Cape Breton Island to Victoria on Vancouver Island, it is the longest television network in the world. The 70 miles across the Cabot Strait to Newfoundland is completed within the next year.  
July 2  First 'radio ballad', blending actuality recordings with folk music to form a narrative, is The Ballad of John Axon, produced for the BBC by Charles Parker and Ewan MacColl.  
July  Matsushita, working with Japanese broadcasting organisation NHK, develops a prototype broadcast videotape recorder with eight rotating heads and two-inch tape.  
August Revelations begin to emerge that contestants in US television quiz shows with high-value prizes are given answers to questions in advance, most notably Charles Van Doren [right], who had become a celebrity through his winning streak on Twenty-One in 1957, which ended on 11 March 1958. > 1959

• The story is later filmed in the Oscar-nominated Quiz Show (1994).
August 15  Dotto, airing on CBS in a daytime version and NBC in the evenings, is the first quiz show cancelled amid the scandal about corrupt practices in game shows.  
August  First US communications satellite, Echo I, is launched.  
August 30  Southern Television begins transmissions to South of England area as ITV programme contractor. > 1980 December 28
August 31  Film Industry Defence Organisation (FIDO) begins operations to keep UK cinema films off television screens by buying up the television rights with funds collected from a farthing (Ľd = 0.1p) levy on cinema admissions.  
September 12  Cliff Richard enters the UK record charts for the first time with Move It, which gets to number two.  
October 1  National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is formed in the US to manage the space exploration programme.  
October 10  First Danish feature film shown on Danish television is Mania.  
October 17  Ivan the Terrible part II, completed by Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein in 1945, received its first public screening at the Brussels World Fair.  
October 18  BBC starts fortnightly stereophonic radio test transmissions using two synchronised stations.  
October 23  Centre International du Cinéma et de la Télévision created.  
October 28  State opening of UK parliament and the Queen’s Speech are televised and filmed for the first time. The Pathé newsreel film of the event can be seen on the UK Parliament website [opens in new window].  
October  Television service starts in Chile.  
November 10  First day of shooting of Francois Truffaut's first feature film, Les Quatre Cents Coups (400 Blows).  
December 5  Subscriber trunk dialling (STD) of long-distance telephone calls with operator intervention begins in the UK. The Queen makes the first call, to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, from Bristol. [The service is not available at Buckingham Palace and elsewhere in London until 1960.]  
December 15  European Agreement Concerning Programme Exchanges by Means of Television Films agreed in Paris.  
December 19  Trials of Score (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) earth satellite, launched from Cape Canaveral the previous day, begin. Score carries transceiving equipment plus a remotely controlled audio tape recorder for delayed replay. President Eisenhower’s Christmas message to the world is transmitted via the new satellite.  
December  Television service starts in El Salvador.  
December  Sony develops the first Japanese transistorised videotape recorder.  
•  Ampex develops a videotape splicing block and each network works out its own systems for mechanical splicing and editing of video recordings.  
•  Fernseh develops its own version of quadruplex videotape recorder.  
•  JVC initiates VTR development programme.  
•  Philips displays a rotating magnetic wheel storage device for still television pictures. The wheel turns at 3,000 rpm and the picture is recorded and played back from a single video head.  
•  Ardmore Studios open at Bray, near Dublin, Ireland.  
•  Radio Mercur pirate radio stations goes on the air from international waters off the Danish coast, reaching Zealand and eastern Sweden. It survives until the mid 1960s.  
•  US Federal Communications Commissions allocates part of the 11-metre (27MHz) radio band for use as a Citizens Radio Service (Citizen’s Band).  
•  Paper on ‘Infra-red and Optical Masers’ by Charles H Townes (1915- ) and Arthur L Schawlow (1921- ) proposes raising atoms of metallic vapour—sodium or potassium—to excited state and stimulated to emit coherent light and includes design for a laser. Similar independent research by A M Prokorov and N Basov in USSR leads to both teams being jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1964.  
•  Research conducted by Professor Hilde Himmelweit of the London School of Economics and funded by the Nuffield Foundation leads to publication of a report, Television and the Child. This concludes that before 9pm parents should not have sole responsibility for their children's television viewing. > 1959
•  US television revenues exceed $1,000m for the first time in a year. Film series Lassie has earned $4m in foreign sales. The Lone Ranger has been sold to 24 countries. Total US television programme sales outside North America for the year amount to $20m.  
•  Radio service starts in Nigeria.  
•  Partnership to establish cable television systems in Montana is formed by Bob Magness, Jack Gallivan, George Hatch, and Blaine Glasmann. The Magnesses relocate to Bozeman, Montana, where two companies are operated, Community Television and Western Microwave.  
•  US now has 525 local cable networks with around 450,000 subscribers.  
•  Over 60 television stations reaching 91 per cent of the population are now operational in Canada. The cost to date has been around C$170m and consumers have spent around C$1,200m on television receivers. CBC claims to produce more live television programming in its English and French services than any other television broadcaster in the world.  
•  Broadcasting Act in Canada establishes a Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG) to oversee all broadcasting, including franchising of commercial television stations.  
•  United Artists acquires indepednent art-house distributor Lopert Films, which retains its separate identity.  
•  Carry on Sergeant, produced by Peter Rogers and directed by Gerald Thomas initiates the long-running British series of Carry On comedy feature films.  
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Page updated 15 June 2009
© David Fisher