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)