The Top US Rated TV Shows 1950 to 1960


       TV Trivia Note: 

Who Invented Television?

The issue of 'who invented television?' will probably never be answered to everyone's satisfaction. Each country believed they have their own television pioneer(s). People in the US believe it was Jenkins or Farnsworth. The Japanese believe it was Takayanagi. In Russia it was Boris Rosing. In France it was Belin and Barthelemy. Eastern Europe, von Mihaly. Germany, Karolus. In the UK we have the choice of Campbell-Swinton for concept and Baird for practical demonstration.

A few current authors (Burns and Abramson) have taken a less provincial and more global view and correctly cited almost parallel developments in thinking and experiment around the world. Television had been thought out on paper for some time and had been waiting for developments in electronics to catch up. It did catch up part-way in the early 1920's with the availability of fast, sensitive photo-cells and valve amplifiers. At that time, scanning the picture could not yet be done electronically.

Paul Nipkow had invented a method of mechanical scanning for television back in 1884. This was basically a disc with a single spiral of lenses or apertures on it. Each lens corresponded to a line of the television picture. One rotation would give one television frame. Not only was it simple to build (for a small number of lines), it could be used for both camera-scanning and display scanning. The Nipkow disc was used by several of these TV pioneers as the basis for their Television system.

A A Campbell Swinton

The concept of television scanned, synchronized and displayed by electronic means belongs back in 1908 to Campbell Swinton. His was the "Distant Electric Vision" as his letter to Nature (18th June 1908) and subsequent lecture (1911) illustrated with circuit diagrams. This was to be the closest match to the eventual electronic systems in development in the 1920's and a practical reality in the 1930's. However, his concept of television (and it was no more than that) did not apply to today's television system - merely to the valve-analogue implementation.


John Logie Baird    
J L Baird By the mid 1920's there were several experimenters around the world all busy experimenting with their own flavour of mechanically-scanned television. First with a demonstration of 'true' television (by reflected light rather than back-lit silhouettes) was a Scotsman, John Logie Baird. Like his contemporaries, his equipment contained no new major developments that could be attributed to him directly. Baird took Nipkow's scanning disc idea and the latest in electronics and developed this into the first demonstration of 'true' television in London, January 1926.


1928 Oct TELEVISION-8.JPG (261465 bytes) Click Newspaper for Enlargement 

October 1928 - London, England - Editorial  Talks about  the fact that "Radio Olympia will be in full swing by the time this appears in print...."


1928 Nov TELEVISION-9.JPG (267478 bytes) Click Newspaper for Enlargement

November 1928 - "Television at Olympia"  Full report on the event.  Mentions specifically about the three models of Televisors placed on public display.  The Model "A", is a portable instrument which contains a televisor only.  The Model "B", a somewhat more elaborate instrument, which in addition to the televisor contains a loudspeaker, and finally, the Model "C", the most elaborate piece of furniture, where the lower part contains two super radio receivers, one for speech & music, the other for television! 


Then came the 50's in the United States !

The Top Rated TV Shows 1950 to 1960


Oct. 1950 to April 1951

  1. Texaco Star Theater NBC
  2. Fireside Theater NBC
  3. Philco TV Playhouse NBC
  4. Your Show of Shows NBC
  5. The Colgate Comedy Hour NBC
  6. Gillette Cavalcade of Sports NBC
  7. The Lone Ranger ABC
  8. Arthur Godfreys Talent Scouts CBS
  9. Hopalong Cassidy NBC
10. Mama CBS

A Demonstration



What Things Cost in 1950:

Car: $1,750
Gasoline: 27 cents/gal
House: $14,500
Bread: 14 cents/loaf
Milk: 82 cents/gal
Postage Stamp: 3 cents
Stock Market: 235
Average Annual Salary: $3,800
Minimum Wage: 75 cents per hour

1950 Ford.JPG (63482 bytes)

1950 Ford


Oct. 1951 to April 1952

  1. Arthur Godfreys Talent Scouts CBS
  2. Texaco Star Theater NBC
  3. I Love Lucy CBS
  4. The Red Skelton Show NBC
  5. The Colgate Comedy Hour NBC
  6. Arthur Godfrey and His Friends CBS
  7. Fireside Theater NBC
  8. Your Shows of Shows NBC
  9. The Jack Benny Show CBS

10. You Bet Your Life NBC


Oct. 1952 to April 1953

  1. I Love Lucy CBS
  2. Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts CBS
  3. Arthur Godfrey and His Friends CBS
  4. Dragnet NBC
  5. Texaco Star Theater NBC
  6. The Buic Circus Hour NBC
  7. The Colgate Comedy Hour NBC
  8. Gangbusters NBC
  9. You Bet Your Life NBC
10. Fireside Theater NBC




1950 Motorola 12K2  (12K bytes) 

1950 Motorola 12" B&W Television - Model 12K2

Beginning of a Ritual


Oct. 1953 to April 1954

  1. I Love Lucy CBS
  2. Dragnet NBC
  3. Arthur Godfreys Talent Scouts CBS
      You Bet your Life (tied for 3rd) NBC
  5. The Milton Berle Show NBC
  6. Arthur Godfrey and His Friends CBS
  7. Ford Theater NBC
  8. The Jackie Gleason Show CBS
  9. Fireside Theater NBC
10. The Colgate Comedy Hour NBC
      This Is Your Life (tied for 10th) NBC



Oct. 1954 to April 1955

  1. I Love Lucy CBS
  2. The Jackie Gleason Show CBS
  3. Dragnet NBC
  4. You Bet Your Life NBC
  5. The Toast of the Town CBS
  6. Disneyland ABC
  7. The Jack Benny Show CBS
  8. The George Gobel Show NBC
  9. Ford Theater NBC
10. December Bride CBS


1950 Crosley Model 10-401 TV  (20K bytes) 

1950 Crosley Model 10-401 - 10 inch Bakelite




Side Note - 1950


    5,343,000 TV sets are in American Homes


    103 TV Stations in 60 cities

    7,535,000 TV sets in USA
    8,000,000 TV sets -- 107 stations



Oct. 1955 to April 1956

  1. The $64,000.00 Question CBS
  2. I Love Lucy CBS
  3. The Ed Sullivan Show CBS
  4. Disneyland ABC
  5. The Jack Benny Show CBS
  6. December Bride CBS
  7. You Bet Your Life NBC
  8. Dragnet NBC
  9. The Millionare CBS
10. I've Got A Secret CBS



Oct. 1956 to April 1957

  1. I Love Lucy CBS
  2. The Ed Sullivan Show CBS
  3. General Electric Theater CBS
  4. The $64,000.00 Question CBS
  5. December Bride CBS
  6. Alfred Hitchcock Presents CBS
  7. I've Got A Secret CBS
  8. Gunsmoke (tied for 8th) CBS
  9. The Perry Como Show NBC
10. The Jack Benny Show CBS


1950 PHILCO T1403 12inch TV.JPG (37489 bytes) 

1950 American Philco -- Model  T1403 -- 12 inch screen


1950 Zenith Round Screen - H2438  (20K bytes) 

1950 Zenith (USA) - Model H2438R


Oct. 1957 to April 1958

  1. Gunsmoke CBS
  2. The Danny Thomas Show CBS
  3. Tales of Wells Fargo NBC
  4. Have Gun Will Travel CBS
  5. I've Got A Secret CBS
  6. The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp ABC
  7. General Electric Theater CBS
  8. The Restless Gun NBC
  9. December Bride CBS
10. You Bet Your Life



Oct. 1958 to April 1959

  1. Gunsmoke CBS
  2. Wagon Train NBC
  3. Have Gun Will Travel CBS
  4. The Rifleman ABC
  5. The Danny Thomas Show CBS
  6. Maverick ABC
  7. Tales of Wells Fargo NBC
  8. The Real McCoys ABC
  9. I've Got A Secret CBS
10. The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp ABC


1950 ZENITH Porthole TV  (22K bytes) 

1950 Zenith (USA) - Model G2355


1960 Philco "Continental"
(Copyright MZTV Museum)

Model 4370 - Danish style mahogany wood cabinet.  This 21" television was the last model offered in the innovative "Predicta" series.  Released to the marketplace with little advertising (due to budget constraints), consequently, few were sold.  The overall series of sets had reliability problems, foremost being the specially designed 'short-neck' picture tube.  Philco went bankrupt in 1962, and was eventually purchased by Ford Motor Company.


Oct. 1959 to April 1960

  1. Gunsmoke CBS
  2. Wagon Train NBC
  3. Have Gun Will Travel CBS
  4. The Danny Thomas Show CBS
  5. The Red Skelton Show CBS
  6. Father Knows Best CBS
      77 Sunset Strip (tied for 6th) ABC
  8. The Price is Right NBC
  9. Wanted Dead or Alive CBS
10. Perry Mason CBS



Fabulous '50's TV sets get new life 6A\

TIMES/NEWS Serving the Blue Ridge Since 1881* Henderson
Hendersonville, NC

Man revives fifties TV design

Technician imitates Philco Predicta style

By Jim Woolridge
Times News Staff Writer

It's hard to let go of 1950's legends, like Marilyn and Elvis.

Now a Hendersonville electronics technician is keeping alive a television set that was introduced in 1958.

Carl Bocchino produces the Philco Predicta, with state-of-the-arts components, for TV buffs and collectors. He makes them to order at CB Electronics located on Spartanburg Hwy.

Bocchino was driving near Edneyville in 1976 when he stopped at John's Young's TV shop and saw one of the unique Predictas gathering dust in a corner.

The older set with a swivel picture tube on top was one he had heard about but given up on ever seeing first hand. Made by Philco, its circuits were in a base cabinet, allowing the top mounted tube to be rotated.

The black-and-white model was first manufactured in 1958, just before color sets began to appear. The design was shelved after two years, shortly before Philco was sold to the Ford Motor Co.

The set quickly acquired nicknames, like "the gas pump" and "Cyclops." It was created by Severin Johassen and Catherine Winkler, one of the few women working in Philco's design department during the 1950's. She's also credited with designing the sailing-ship logo for Old Spice shaving lotion.

In spite of the popular swivel tubes, the last Predictas were liquidated by Philco in block sales to motel chains.

Bocchino found one in 1995 and restored it in his Hendersonville shop. People liked it and asked him to build new ones. In continuing updates of the components, he now uses RCA's ColorTrak chassis and picture tube.

He also offers remote control, on-screen displays of time and channel, closed captions, and more. The mahogany cabinets are hand crafted by Ken Johnson at the Woodshop.

When digital broadcasting becomes widespread in the next few years, the components will be updated again, he said.

The sets sell at $1,699 for a 25-inch tube and $1,445 for a 20-inch model.

Bocchino, 37 is a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. His family came to the Lake Lure area for long summer vacations each year. He bought 20 acres in 1988 and started building a log cabin.

He moved from Florida in 1995 and opened his Hendersonville shop the same year.


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