THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF CANADIAN TELEVISION REALLY WAS WONDERFUL IN THE 1950’S

Anyone who was watching television in the 1950’s would be familiar with the Indian Head Test Pattern. A service to technicians and tv repairmen, the pattern was visible with music until sign-on time around 4:00 pm. That’s when programming began, with sign off at midnight.In the 1950’s television was taking over.  The only Canadian networks were the CBC and French-language Radio-Canada. A few local stations had connections to the national nets, but many did not. These small-market stations with many hours to fill, built their own star systems, and waited patiently for a microwave hookup. ABOVE – 1) Marconi television sets, 1950’s, made in Montreal; 2) CHEK-tv, Victoria, British Columbia – an advanced control room for 1957; 3) A Dumont studio camera, 1950’s; 4) The Dipsy Doodlers, CJON-tv, St. John’s, Newfoundland, 1957; 5) The Bunkhouse Boys, CKCW-tv, Moncton, New Brunswick, 1950’s. CBC’s nationally televised ‘Front Page Challenge’, on air from 1957-1995 ran long enough to set a North American record. <ABOVE – Pierre Berton, Fred Davis, Betty Kennedy & Gordon Sinclair on the ‘Front Page’ set.>Watching televsion soon replaced movie nights out, and in a few households TV Dinners were replacing home-cooked meals. Small market stations developed their own ‘star’ system. Familiar faces appeared in person at local food markets and at church on Sundays. <ABOVE – Nople Bircumshaw and the lion cub, CHCT-tv, Calgary, Alberta, 1957>ABOVE – 6)“At Home with Mary Ashwell”, CFPL-tv, London, Ontario, 1955; 7)Swimwear fashion show on CKCW-tv, Moncton, New Brunswick, 1957; 8) Channel ID’s featured station mascots.And then Videotape was born – a revolutionary new process for recording and reproducing the sound and picture of television programs on magnetic tape. Stations began buying the costly machines, and some programming was pre-recorded. – Ampex Corporation, 1957.

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