An early documentary series is the topic of this month’s spotlight. Eye Witness ran for 13 weeks from 1947 to 1948 on WNBT in New York City. It may also have aired on the stations in the limited NBC Eastern network. Ben Grauer served as host for the series. It examined all aspects of the television industry, from transmitters to receivers, camera techniques to studio operations, mobile units to the manufacture of television tubes.
Remarkably, despite potentially airing on just one station, a kinescope recording of a single episode of Eye Witness exists. The February 26th, 1948 episode featured dramatic reenactments of important milestones in the history of television dating back to 1873. The special guest for the episode was none other than Dr. Vladimir K. Zworykin, inventor of the iconoscope. The entire episode was uploaded to the Internet Archive in September 2013:
The kinescope recorded what appears to be an NBC-WNBT news break about the progress of television networks. It ends with a station identification and a primitive weather forecast. Reportedly, Eye Witness was sponsored by RCA Victor but there are no commercials or sponsor spots.
You can read the entire spotlight here.