July 1, 1941
NBC broadcasts the first TV commercial to be sanctioned by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC began licensing commercial television stations in May 1941, granting the first license to NBC. During a Dodgers-Phillies game that was broadcast July 1, NBC ran its first commercial. The advertiser was Bulova and they paid $9.00 to advertise their watches on the air.
Daniel Edward "Dan" Aykroyd, (born July 1, 1952) is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning Canadian-American comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, winemaker and ufologist. He was an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, an originator of The Blues Brothers (with John Belushi) and Ghostbusters and has had a long career as a film actor and screenwriter.
July 2, 1955
The long-running musical-variety program The Lawrence Welk Show debuts on ABC. Welk, a bandleader from North Dakota known for light dance music, had launched his own show in 1951 on KTLA in Los Angeles. The show remained a network hit for some 16 years, then became a syndicated series. Welk retired in 1982 and died in 1992.
Lawrence "Larry" Gene David (born July 2, 1947) is an American actor, writer, comedian, producer, and film director. David is the co-creator and producer of two successful television comedies, Seinfeld (1989-1998) and Curb Your Enthusiasm (1999-present).
In 1989, he teamed up with Jerry Seinfeld to co-create the television series Seinfeld, where he also acted as head writer and executive producer. David's work won him a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1993. In 1999, he created the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm, a mostly improvised sitcom in which he stars as a fictionalized version of himself.
Formerly a standup comedian, David went into television comedy, writing and starring in ABC's Fridays, as well as writing briefly for Saturday Night Live.
July 3, 1950
TV game show Pantomime Quiz Show debuts as a network series on CBS. The program, a variation of charades, ran for 13 years, although it changed networks several times. The show began as a local program in Los Angeles in 1947. In 1949, the show was one of TV's first programs to win an Emmy, first awarded by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences that year.
TV series Northern Exposure airs its first episode. The offbeat show, about a Manhattan doctor contractually forced to work in the fictional of town Cicely, Alaska for four years to repay a student loan from the state. Rob Morrow stared as Dr. Joel Fleischman. Most of Northern Exposure's story arcs are character-driven, with the plots revolving around the eccentricities of the Cicely citizens. The show consistently ranked in the Top 20 most-watched TV shows until it was canceled in 1995.
Massachusetts Television Institute opens a "television theater" in Boston on this day in 1938, the first theater of its kind. The Institute charged 25 cents for admission. Some 200 people attended the first show, which broadcast singers, musicians, and dancers who were performing in a studio above the auditorium.
In the theater below, the audience viewed a black-and-white image on a 9-by-12-inch screen. Such experimental uses of television persisted throughout the 1930s, and televisions did not become common household appliances until after World War II.
July 13, 1985
Live Aid, a massive concert for African famine relief, takes place simultaneously in Philadelphia and London. In addition to 162,000 fans that attended the all-day event were 1.5 billion viewers worldwide who watched the show on MTV or other television stations. An estimated 75 percent of all radio stations around the world broadcast at least part of the concert.
Irish musician Bob Geldof, of the Boomtown Rats, organized the event. Among the participants were Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, the Beach Boys, Carlos Santana, Madonna, Sting, and Tina Turner. Several disbanded groups came together again for the day, including Crosby, Stills and Nash; The Who; and surviving members of Led Zeppelin, including Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones. All performers worked for free, as did many other concert workers. The production, which ordinarily would have cost $20 million to stage, cost only $4 million and raised more than $70 million for famine relief.
Despite the number of acts, the show ran surprisingly smoothly. Rotating stages allowed bands to set up and dismantle their equipment while other bands were onstage. Acts from one stadium were telecast across the Atlantic to the other. Such organization, however, did not characterize the group's later charitable efforts: Live Aid was later criticized for its disorganized and slow efforts to channel aid to Africa.
To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".