Friday, June 27, 2008

Vision On Sound On

This weeks Sunday Scribblings prompt - Vision

In 1934, following the first public demonstration of television, Isaac Shoenberg turned to his team of engineers and said “Well gentlemen, you have now invented the biggest timewaster of all time. Use it well”

The editor of the Manchester Guardian newspaper said a year later –“Television. The word is half Greek and half Latin. No good will come of it”

And so public service broadcasting was born. In the UK the British Broadcasting Corporation was set up and in March 1936 the first television programme went to air.

It was a live broadcast from the Radio Olympia exhibition called Here’s Looking at You and stared Miss Lutie and her Wonder Horse Pogo, a vocal trio called The Three Admirals and a couple of tap dancers. The whole thing was kicked off by singer Helen McKay who warbled the theme song. This short clip shows those first moments.

By November of that year the Beeb (sorry –The BBC!) had really got into its stride and was transmitting a news programme and a documentary and a ventriloquist as well as other fascinating programmes.

The link man, or the continuity announcer as he was know, was Leslie Mitchell. He was a dapper man with piercing eyes and a pencil line moustache. After seeing a film of the first day he was heard to say “There was a little man with bow legs and a bowler hat – who the hell was that?” “It was you Leslie!” came back the reply!

Television in Britain continued as something of a Cinderella service for the next few years, but its defining moment came on June 2 1953 with the live broadcast of the coronation of our present monarch – Queen Elizabeth 2nd. That was when a television set first took up its position in our front room, as well as many others country wide.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Despite the onset of commercial TV in 1954 and the onslaught of hundreds of new pretenders in recent years, the Beeb remains the most respected and revered broadcaster in the world. And it’s still to this day free of adverts!

But let me take you back to those early days with a short promotional film called ' Vision on Sound on' which shows some behind the scenes footage whilst the BBC Song is sung for your delectation and entertainment.

‘Conjured up in sound and sight
By these magic rays of light
That bring television to you’



  1. Clap.clap.clap. Informative as it was, also liked the measured narration which carried the info.. nice!

  2. Delightful! I enjoyed the videos, but my favorite thing in this post was that first comment about the greatest time waster of all time.

  3. A unique interpretation of the I'm sure it seemed like "magic rays of light" that brought television. Personally, I'm not fond of it, because of the time-waster element, but then again, what am I doing on the computer?
    Great job and I loved the clips too.

  4. Really enjoyed how you presented a legendary vision and gave it a fresh perspective!

  5. i for one L_O_V_E television.. it is on all day every day,, i never sit in front of it and watch it,, and i only ever play one channel turner classic movies,, all the old classics no commercials EVER!!! but i would be lost and ever so unhappy had they never invented the evil boob tube.....

  6. thats was really interesting. thank you. :) and i loved the second quote. haha.

  7. A marvellously informative piece there. Auntie is still doing well, but I wish she would moderate her PC a bit.
    Still, a passing phase that she will survive.

  8. This is so cool and full of info. Good job Keith

  9. my tv is one of my best and most constant friends these days, and i appreciate its distraction as much as i do its information and entertainment - thanks for some background on the bbc, made for a very interesting post!!!

  10. Bravo Keith another wonderful post.

  11. Always a pleasure to come visit....

  12. Wonderful Kieth! "Time waster" indeed but I love the escape. ;)

  13. Made me smile. I think television has its place, but should be used with moderation. :)

  14. I never would have thought about writing about television. But now I need to go; my favorite show is about to start.

  15. Your piece is brilliant, informative and entertaining Keith, same as my television which is on while I'm vertical ... love your writing as always!



Dear WORDPRESS friends. If you are having difficulty posting please 'Comment as' either:-

a) Name/URL
b) Anonymous with your name included in your comment.

Thank you!