Electronic TV Broadcasts
Began in 1928 with Felix!

First Felix Show During the early days of television development it was necessary to monitor and adjust the quality of the transmitted picture in order to get the best definition. To do this, engineers required an 'actor' to constantly be under the burning studio lights as they tweaked and sharpened the image, and Felix fit the bill perfectly. He was the right colour (black and white), impervious to the heat from the lights and worked cheaply (in fact a one-off payment was all that was required). RCA's first experimental television transmissions began in 1928 by station W2XBS (New York-Channel #1) in Van Cortlandt Park and then moved to the New Amsterdam Theater Building, transmitting 60 line pictures. The 13" Felix the Cat figure made of paper mache was placed on a record player turntable and was broadcast using a mechanical scanning disk to an electronic kinescope receiver. The image received was only 2 inches tall, and the broadcasts lasted about 2 hours per day. By 1931 the station became part of NBC and began to transmit from 42nd St. These early broadcasts consisted of objects like Felix the Cat or early test patterns and photographs. Felix remained on his turntable for almost a decade as the early experimenters strove towards the goal of a high definition picture.
A television broadcast timeline featuring Felix in 1928, 1936 and 1937. From a 1944 Life magazine article.
Show Clips
Picture 1
The studio set
where Felix
would make his
world wide
debut.
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Picture 2
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A 1944 Life
magazine
article
chronicling the
history of
television.
>