Browse 865 Television Advertisements (1939-1957)

One of the digital collections at the Duke University Libraries is called Ad*Access and consists of some 7,000 print advertisements from the United States and Canada. They were published roughly between 1911 and 1955 and fall into five categories: Beauty and Hygiene, Radio, Transportation, World War II Propaganda and Television. You can browse through the Television advertisements here. The earliest is from 1939 and the latest from 1957.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Each advertisement is available in thumbnail, medium and large versions, so you can see plenty of detail.


1 Comment

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Two of the most famous “QUIZ KIDS” (which, at that time, was heard every Sunday afternoon on NBC Radio for Miles Laboratories [Alka-Seltzer, One-A-Day]) in that 1945 ad were Harvey Bennett (later known as “Harve”, who became a successful TV producer in the ’70s, i.e. “THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN”) and Joel Kupperman.

    Faye Emerson was known for her weekly 15 minute filmed interview show for Pepsi-Cola, as well as occasional acting assignments, and later became a panelist on “I’VE GOT A SECRET”…she was more notorious for wearing low-cut gowns on camera, which raised some eyebrows at that time.

    ABC promoted the hell out of its radio and TV schedules in 1950 magazines, in an effort to convince listeners that it was SO a major network (on radio, it was third or fourth, after CBS, NBC, and Mutual; on TV, it was NBC, CBS- and fighting it out, neck and neck, were ABC and DuMont, who were the weakest of the “Big Four”). However, ABC DID lose money on television by the fall of 1950, and they temporarily “went dark” on Monday and Tuesday nights. About the only popular programs they had in prime-time back then were “THE LONE RANGER”, “STOP THE MUSIC”, and “PAUL WHITEMAN’S GOODYEAR REVUE” {and “PAUL WHITEMAN’S TV TEEN CLUB”}.

    Westinghouse not only sponsored the ’52 Republican and Democratic presidential conventions on CBS TV and radio {Betty Furness, their spokeswoman on “STUDIO ONE”, often appeared as their “anchor”, alongside Walter Cronkite, and delivered live demonstrations of their appliances during commercial intermissions}, they also sustained “PICK THE WINNER” on Thursday nights (the candidates’ “forum”, with endorsements and speeches from both sides), on CBS AND DuMont [there was that little matter of WDTV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania- at that time, the ONLY TV station in the area, AND owned by DuMont…if a national sponsor wanted his program to be seen in Pittsburgh, he HAD to deal with DuMont].

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