Began in 1928 with Felix!
|| 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.
would make his
A 1944 Life