TV Guide Ad: 1964 Summer Olympics Live on NBC

Here’s a TV Guide ad from October 1964 promoting live coverage of the 1964 Summer Olympics on NBC:

Scanned black and white TV Guide ad for the 1964 Summer Olympics Live on NBC
TV Guide Ad for the 1964 Summer Olympics Live on NBC – Copyright 1964 Triangle Publications, Inc.

If you were willing to stay up until 1AM Eastern on Friday, October 9th (technically by then it was Saturday, October 10th) you could watch the opening ceremonies of the 1964 Summer Olympics live from Tokyo on NBC, courtesy of the Syncom III satellite. The live coverage was scheduled to last two hours. NBC decided to delay the ceremony for the West Coast rather than interrupt its regular prime time and late night programming, a decision that upset the Japanese.

The opening ceremonies were the only portion of the 1964 Summer Olympics that NBC carried live. The rest of the its coverage consisted of film or videotape shipped from Japan to the United States.

This particular ad is from the Western New England Edition of TV Guide. Channel 4 was WBZ-TV in Boston, MA; Channel 10 was WJAR-TV in Providence, RI; Channel 22 was WWLP in Springfield, MA; Channel 30 was WHNB-TV in West Hartford, CT; Channel 32 was WRLP in Northfield, MA; and Channel 79 was WHNB-TV in Waterbury, CT.

Image Credit:
TV Guide, October 3rd, 1964 (Vol. 12, No. 40) Western New England Edition, A-66


4 Comments

  • Mike Smith says:

    Thanks goodness when NBC aired the 2020 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies there, it’ll be tape-delayed and aired it Prime Time on a Friday Night!!! And, there will be dozens of NBC-owned cable networks carried it live for the most part!!!

  • Joseph says:

    I’m also certain that the Opening Ceremonies of the 1964 Summer Olympics were seen in color, but it and the Closing Ceremonies were the only parts of 1964 Olympic coverage that were colorcast.

    The rest of the broadcasts were in Living Black And White.

    I also thought that Syncom III was used to relay all of NBC’s 1964 Summer Olympic coverage, but again, nothing apart from the Opening Ceremonies were live.

    By the way, don’t be surprised if NBC pressures the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee to schedule the Opening Ceremonies for 10 A.M. local time on a Friday morning so it gets seen live at 8 P.M. Eastern time on a Thursday night (in modern TV broadcasting, Thursday is the most important night of the prime-time week, given all the money that movie studios spend on Thursday-night TV spots to promote films opening the next day.

    • Mike Smith says:

      Yes, Syncom III was used for the telecast. (i Europe, they use the Relay 1. And such events that was popular in Japan, like judo and sumo wrestling (A demo sport) were colorcasted, only in Japan using the Toshiba’s color system. You can read all of that on Wikipedia.

    • oldiesfan6479 says:

      “…don’t be surprised if NBC pressures the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee to schedule the Opening Ceremonies for 10 A.M. local time on a Friday morning so it gets seen live at 8 P.M. Eastern time on a Thursday night…”

      If you’re referring to the 2020 Summer Olympics, you’d be an hour off in Japan. They’d have to do the open at 9:00 AM (GMT+09) in Japan to hit the US east coast at 8:00 PM EDT (GMT-04).

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