Premiere of Kraft Musical Hall Is Now The Earliest Surviving Entertainment Program on Color Videotape

The October 1958 premiere of Kraft Musical Hall on NBC, hosted by Milton Berle, is now the earliest surviving entertainment program on color videotape. Previously, that honor went to “An Evening with Fred Astaire,” an NBC special broadcast in color on Friday, October 17th, 1958. Kraft Musical Hall debuted nine days earlier on Wednesday, October 8th, 1958. Both programs were recorded on 2-inch quadruplex videotape, developed by Ampex and introduced in April 1956.

The videotape of the Kraft Music Hall premiere was deposited at the UCLA Film & Television Archive last year courtesy of Milton Berle’s widow Lorna Berle. The UCLA Library will screen the episode on Saturday, February 24th, 2024 at 7:30PM PT as part of its Archive Television Treasures series. The screening will feature an introduction by videotape engineer David Crosthwait of DC Video and Professor Shawn VanCour, UCLA School of Education & Information Studies. It will also include the complete December 3rd, 1958 episode of Kraft Music Hall and excerpts from a variety of other episodes from 1958 and 1959.

The earliest surviving color videotape is the dedication of NBC’s new studio in Washington, D.C. that aired on Thursday, May 22nd, 1958. The earliest surviving videotape is “The Edsel Show,” an hour-long CBS special that aired in black-and-white on Sunday, October 13th, 1957.

(via Deadline Hollywood)

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4 Replies to “Premiere of Kraft Musical Hall Is Now The Earliest Surviving Entertainment Program on Color Videotape”

  1. zowwweee!==my own flesh and blood cousin was a unionized dancer starting at this period post // kinescope===*then later revolving around television city studios.//That was CBS
    exclusively…..all through the HOLLYWOOD PALACE even…//I RECALL ATTENDING together at MANHATTAN’S- Paley’s Plaza at the Television museum during its opening week- in 1983 was it???-.Listen the pay was better than broadway….So how long will it take to upload it onto you tube???

  2. This is what makes current copyright laws ridiculous. Stuff that no longer exists is still under copyright and stuff that could get lost can’t be shared.

    There’s a few episodes of the Kraft Music Hall show on the Internet Archive so you can get an idea of what the show was like.

  3. further details worth pointing out in 1958// i.e. earlier than the Berle’s lucky find*– was the live hallmark hall of fame * NBC of FEBRUARY ’58==(which was also featured with a retro at manhattan’s TV MUSEUM way back-)–the musical HANS BRINKER/ silver skates- was first broadcast live in living color// then taped in kinescope and never rebroadcast nor reissued in ANY form…It featured lce skating that was never ever reproduced……..I know my same mentioned cousin was a featured star!!!–as far as musicals were concerned.. is started with PETER PAN as we all remember—it almost came back into vogue/ in the 2020;s– but still choices/ made impulsively were the wrong ones….Decisions stick–real stars of a quality not to be found is the simple answer……….

  4. I have heard from those that attended the screening that the tape also has the last segment and end credits of the Bill Cullen hosted “Price Is Right” prior to this program, which makes that the oldest fragment of a game show that exists in color videotape (there are probably some B/W tape clips of “Pantomime Quiz” from the summer of 1958).

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