Today is the third annual Lost TV Day here at Television Obscurities. First celebrated in 2021, the not-a-real-holiday is a dedicated to commemorating lost and missing television programs. Why July 1st? I chose this date because the first authorized TV commercials in the United States aired July 1st, 1941 on WNBT in New York City. It was a historic moment for the TV industry but is a forgotten milestone today.
As part of this year’s Lost TV Day, I’ve put together a new “Lost” TV Case Study, this one focusing on ABC programming aired on Thursday, January 12th, 1961. Look for it later today. I’ve also written about my experience with television audio and whether any of the audio reels in my collection contain “lost” TV content.
You can celebrate Lost TV Day by exploring the TV’s Lost & Found section of Television Obscurities where you can read about preserving television audio, how a pair of TV stations in New York City covered the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the difference between “lost” and “missing” TV programs, and much more.
Here are some of the more notable things I’ve written about lost TV over the years:
Rod Serling’s 1st Produced TV Script Not Lost
Rod Serling provided the story for a September 1950 episode of NBC’s Stars Over Hollywood anthology series. “Grady Everett for the People” may have been his first produced work for television and it is not lost.
Audio Vault: WISH-TV The Big News Final (9/25/1972)
These 14 minutes of audio may be all that survives of a September 1972 newscast on WISH-TV (Channel 8) in Indianapolis, Indiana.
8mm Home Movies and Lost TV
8mm home movies may contain recordings of otherwise lost TV programs. Watch two brief fragments of footage of TV screen found in my family’s 8mm home movies.
Surviving Kyle MacDonnell Programs
Early TV star Kyle MacDonnell made more than 150 appearances on TV between 1948 and 1953 (plus two more in 1959) but fewer than a dozen survive. See a complete list of her surviving programs.
I’ve compiled more than 30 Status Guides that list which episodes of specific TV shows are missing. Here’s a selection:
- Status of Kraft Television Theatre, All Seasons
- Status of Mr. I. Magination, Season 1
- Status of Vacation Playhouse
- Status of You’re in the Picture/The Jackie Gleason Show
- Status of The Mike Wallace Interview
- Status of Stars Over Hollywood
- Status of Cavalcade of Stars, Season 1
Here’s a selection of my Tales of Lost TV posts about TV shows or programs missing and presumed lost:
- Tales of Lost TV: The Patty Duke Show and the Kennedy Assassination (1963)
- Tales of Lost TV: Opening of the 1939 New York World’s Fair
- Tales of Lost TV: The Girl in the Bathing Suit
- Tales of Lost TV: Star Trek Cast on the Today Show (1966)
- Tales of Lost TV: Folksay (1944)
- Tales of Lost TV: The Las Vegas Show (1967)
- Tales of Lost TV: NBC’s 1968 On-Air Star Trek Announcement
And here are some of my Tales of Recovery posts, which reveal how lost TV programs were found:
- How “The Petrified Forest” (Producers’ Showcase) Was Recovered
- How the Unaired Gilligan’s Island Pilot Episode Was Recovered
- How “Casino Royale” (Climax!) Was Recovered
- How Most of Super Bowl I Was Recovered
Be sure to check back later today for my latest “Lost” TV Case Study and more.