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Early Electronic Television

Hollywood Radio and Television Institute

The Hollywood Radio and Television Institute was a correspondence training school.  If you have any information,  please contact us.

Popular Mechanics, September 1949

Courtesy of Doug Price

Anselmo Roccaforte wrote to us from Argentina to say that the Hollywood Radio and Television Institute was a correspondence school started before World War Two. They published a bulletin in English, and also in Spanish. Notice that the above postcard came from South America. Anselmo sent us this 1942 bulletin from HRTI:

Manuel Tomassini wrote:

I studied the Hollywood Radio & Television institute course by correspondence in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I begin in 1955 when I was 14 years old and finish in 1958. I have my diploma and the complete course including experimental lessons, practice lessons and the HRTI Radio and Television news from august 1957 to the last I receive: Vol. 31, No. 1. I am an electrical engineer, graduated from the engineer college in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico in 1971. The electronics is my first hobby.

Bagh Ali from Canada wrote:

I took their excellent correspondence Course (English version) in the mid fifties, and was in touch with the Institute until about 1959. After a very long interval, in the late eighties, I tried to find out the status of HRTI for sentimental reasons and to enquire about some publications; by advertising in Radio club magazines in U.S.A. To all this I got one response from U.S.A and one from South Africa.

HRTI was better known outside the U.S.A, in countries of Southern Europe, South America, South Africa and South Asia. They advertised mainly in Popular Mechanics of the time. I have some photo copies of the pages. I think the Institute was particularly popular in Mexico and Cuba; may be that is the reason for its sudden demise after the events in 1961.

The course was directed mainly towards training students for Radio/TV repairing, although theoretical aspects were discussed also. The lessons consisted of a series of about 90 Radio booklets and about 15 on Television. A simple set of Practicals was also included. HRTI News bulletins were topical and eagerly awaited. I attach a 1948 and one from 1950. Unfortunately I lost the ones I received during 1955/57.

In spite of the time passed I would very much like to know the circumstances of HRTIs closure. And indeed I would like to contact any students or anyone who knew any of the staff, or indeed any relations who might be able to shed some light on the past events.

He also supplied these scans:

 Efren Roman wrote:

Recently, I found three very old pamphlets of the Hollywood Radio and Television Institute correspondence training school that my late father, Antonio Roman, studied in 1939. He emigrated to New York city from Puerto Rico in the year 1930, seeking a better life than that he had in poverty ridden Puerto Rico. He worked anywhere he could, starting as a dishwasher in cheap restaurants, but eventually became a restaurant administrator in the last years of the 1930-40 decade.

During 1938-39, he took radio lessons by correspondence from the H.R.T.I.  Just as the war was raging in Europe, he returned to Puerto Rico in 1940, unable to serve in the Army because of heart and reumathoid conditions, with a short life expectancy. After some years, he started a small radio repair shop, part-time. As the economy grew and people bought more and more radios and TVs (TV began on Puerto Rico in March 1954), so also grew my father's work, and income, but he never got rich - he was just a decent, honest, hard working guy, and a very good neighbor in our little town.

Against all odds, he lived a long, good life. For many, many years, he worked full time as the only radio and TV technician in Aguada, PR, until he retired, at the age of 65. He died at an old age of 93, in 2004.

My father, after he came back to Puerto Rico.

Dr. Sann Sann Hta wrote:

My father's name was Ko Kyun Teik. He passed the HRTVI exam on Nov .8,1937 and got certificate, credit card and member card. I m his 5th daughter. I m now in Los Angeles visiting a friend. Here is his credit card and member card.


HRTI also had many students from India. Here are a few postcards from the early 50s from Indian students, Courtesy of Courtesy of Nancy Ellyson

Fernando Ifran from Argentina sent us two letters from HRTI to his grandfather in 1938.

Neil Bousfield from South Africa sent us a 1939 HRTI booklet with data on British valves.