Early Television
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Early Television

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The Set: Pete Deksnis's Site about the CT-100

Restoring a Vintage Color Television Set


Growing Pains


Ed Sullivan… Polly Bergen… Gene Autry… More…

It’s a gala CBS afternoon Variety program in NTSC color

broadcast Live from New York

on October 8, 1953


To generate the live color video, CBS used three of its modified black-and-white IO cameras fitted with spinning color-filter wheels in the optical path. A reverse Darryl Hock transcoder (a 1953 Peter Goldmark converter) changed CBS field-sequential color video from the cameras to 1953-NTSC color for broadcast over CBS flagship station WCBS channel 2.


To display the color broadcast, CBS supplied three of its most advanced color sets with its substantially superior 15-in. tricolor picture tube, the 15HP22, which became the forerunner of every modern color picture tube. A simplified 15GP22, the CBS-Hytron CRT offered substantial economies of manufacture over the RCA 15GP22 because it did not use a phosphor dot plate inside the CRT; it deposited the phosphor dots right on the faceplate.


Everything is right. The Talent. The Technology. The brilliant Tricolor CRT. Unfortunately, not everything went well:  a reviewer for the New York Times, the estimable Jack Gould, said the next day in his review of the CBS color extravaganza:


“…yesterday’s pictures in different hues were substantially below the quality of the tinted images transmitted by the Radio Corporation of America in several tests.”


“There was nothing like the same richness of color, texture, delicate shadings and definition.”


“The registration and stability of the C.B.S. color images were particularly disappointing. On one color set a pink or salmon-colored hue was dominant. On another there was too much green. On the third there was a yellow overcast.”


“Sometimes the stage curtain appeared both blue and green on the same set.”


“The flesh tones were particularly erratic.”


“The outdoor pickup with Mr. Autry [live from Central Park] was lacking in color naturalness.”


Early Television


This publicity shot may be from that broadcast.


Gene Autry was in New York City for a September 20, 1953 appearance on

Toast of the Town, the Ed Sullivan Show, and the considerable lead time

for a magazine still gave ample opportunity for a 10/53 publicity shot

to appear in the July 1954 issue of Popular Science magazine,

 from which this outdoor CBS photograph was reproduced.