70th Anniversary of Eye Witness

A long-forgotten television series broadcast in New York City celebrates its 70th anniversary today. Eye Witness ran for 13 episodes between November 6th, 1947 and April 13th, 1948. RCA Victor sponsored the series. Ben Grauer served as host. Eye Witness gave viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the television industry. It aired on WNBT, NBC’s flagship station. At least one episode may also have aired on WPTZ in Philadelphia.

Learn more about Eye Witness by reading my spotlight on the series, published last year.

Eye Witness is notable because a kinescope of the February 26th, 1947 episode (“The Story of Television”) survives. More importantly, you don’t have to visit The Paley Center for Media or The Library of Congress to view this early example of television. It’s available online courtesy of the Internet Archive.

This kinescope recording begins with a short NBC television news announcement. It ends with a brief weather report. The episode itself includes dramatized vignettes exploring the history of television back to 1873. It also features a a special guest: Dr. Vladimir K. Zworykin, inventor of the iconoscope and director of electronic research at RCA.

It’s unlikely but not impossible additional episodes of survive.

Have you watched the sole surviving episode of Eye Witness? If so, hit the comments with your thoughts.

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2 Replies to “70th Anniversary of Eye Witness”

  1. I didn’t understand much of what was explained, but I found the broadcast interesting. And the three note “NBC tone” at the end brought back memories.

    I’m glad all those 19th century scientists worked on ideas that would have no practical purpose in their lifetime.

  2. It’s interesting they talk about links at the beginning of the program. That would mean a show made in the East prior to the links would either have to be filmed to be seen in the West, re-performed for Western audiences or not seen at all.

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