RCA, TRK-12 Phantom Teleceiver

1939, USA

This TV set, the rarest on the planet, inspired a great deal of awe in its millions of viewers. Built with one of the Fair’s theme materials, Lucite, the inner workings of the receiver were thus exposed to remove any doubts that “magic” or trickery was involved. To demonstrate that the pictures on the screens were live images, volunteer family members were escorted outside to the NBC television cameras, and encouraged to wave back to the folks viewing them inside. Participants received a souvenir card with their name on it, stating, “This is to certify that you have been Televised at the RCA Exhibit Building at the 1939 New York World’s Fair”.

RCA, TRK-12 Phantom Teleceiver

1939, USA

This TV set, the rarest on the planet, inspired a great deal of awe in its millions of viewers. Built with one of the Fair’s theme materials, Lucite, the inner workings of the receiver were thus exposed to remove any doubts that “magic” or trickery was involved. To demonstrate that the pictures on the screens were live images, volunteer family members were escorted outside to the NBC television cameras, and encouraged to wave back to the folks viewing them inside. Participants received a souvenir card with their name on it, stating, “This is to certify that you have been Televised at the RCA Exhibit Building at the 1939 New York World’s Fair”.

THE FIRST STAR OF TELEVISION

VISITING_FelixWho was Television’s First Star?

Felix The Cat – This Very Figure of Him

Felix rose to TV stardom in the late 1920s, when the American communications giant, RCA, chose him as a test subject for its television research. The lighting required to reflect images into the primitive television camera of the day proved far too hot for humans to stand, so using an inanimate object was the only option.

The engineers purchased this papier maché figurine of FELIX from the famed toy store, F.A.O. Shwartz in New York City, just up 5th Avenue at 57th Street from their own offices at Rockefeller Centre. Felix fell off his turntable often, which explains his “imperfect” condition. First his tail fell off, then his head, which was reattached with a drumstick.

It was in 1928 that RCA first broadcast Felix from the Empire State Building. Later, Felix was honoured when RCA transmitted his image on the first commercial television broadcast in 1939, as a lead up to the formal unveiling of television at the New York World’s Fair. Thus, Felix the Cat became Television’s First Star!

Before his television debut, this cat enjoyed many lives in animated film. Created by Otto Messmer, the initial series played from 1920 to 1928. The fun-loving cat made a comeback in 1936, starring in three short films. Then, in 1960, a new series was produced for television that featured the debut of Felix’s magic bag of tricks.

Felix’s most recent performance occurred in 1991, at the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York City, as part of the first demonstration of High Definition Television in the USA.

 

LOCATION

MZTV Museum of Television (at The ZoomerPlex) 64 Jefferson Avenue Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6K 1Y4

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