The World of Tomorrow
On Thursday, April 20, 1939, Radio Corporation of America President David Sarnoff announced the dawn of commercial television in the United States. Sarnoff’s remarks described the medium as “a new art, so important in its implications, that it is bound to affect all society.”1
His address strategically took place 10 days before the opening ceremony of the New York World’s Fair. Themed as “The World of Tomorrow,” the RCA-owned National Broadcasting Company fittingly transmitted US President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s keynote address over the airwaves, marking the official birth of regularly scheduled television broadcasts in the United States.2
With much public allure surrounding this new medium, Popular Mechanics featured an article by Mr. Sarnoff in its September 1939 issue, simply titled, “The Future of Television.” Underscoring the importance of content in the pioneering world of TV, Sarnoff wrote, “Let us consider next what sort of programming material television may present to its audience.”3 Throughout the many decades to come, writers and producers rose to the challenge to create programming that entertained and touched television audiences by providing them with a temporary escape from the often stark realities of the world outside of their living rooms.
Many remember watching Lucy and Ethel try to wrap chocolate candies off of a speedy conveyor belt on September 15, 1952 in what is today a classic I Love Lucy moment.4 Forty-four percent ...