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Oct. 9, 1947: TV arrives in the Twin Cities

Posted by: Ben Welter under Minnesota History Updated: November 27, 2010 - 10:39 AM
RCA Victor's Television Caravan rolled into downtown Minneapolis in October 1947. Several hundred spectators flocked to Donaldson’s department store on Nicollet Avenue to see demonstrations of the new technology. The account below is from the Minneapolis Star, which sent a photographer but apparently didn't have room to run the photo.
 
The next year, KSTP became the first TV station in Minnesota to broadcast regularly, beaming 12 to 14 hours of programming a week to about 2,500 television sets in the metro area.
A fashionably dressed camerawoman shot a commercial for a fashion magazine during the 1947 TV demonstration at Donaldson's. She could be one of the first women to work a TV camera -- or an actress coached in camera basics, hired to grace the set. Does anyone recognize her?
 

VARIED PERFORMANCES

Television Caravan Goes
on Display at Loop Store

 
“Fade music, cue the action!” echoed throughout the third floor of the L.S. Donaldson Company store.
 
The RCA Victor Television Caravan was ready to show before several hundred spectators.
 
The Caravan, which whistled up to the store’s main entrance Wednesday in six jeeps with police escort, had demonstrated television in 21 major cities.
 
Under direction of Louis A. Sposs, a leading television technician, nine members of the caravan, including actresses and engineers, staged animated commercials demonstrating the 11 products and magazines sponsoring the show.
 
In a fashion magazine commercial, two secretaries have a discussion over a typewriter, when the boss is out for lunch.
 
The scene then fades to a magazine cover of which they are talking. Various pages of the issue are shown on the screen, and explained by the secretaries’ conversation.
 
Queries of “how can I get on the air?” from members of the crowd swamped Randy Merriman of KSTP, whose “Fun for Your Money” show opened the Wednesday program, reproduced on television sets throughout the store.
 
Reason for the clamor: Merriman’s show doled out baby orchids and rosebuds for clever answers to his questions.
In addition to Merriman’s show, KSTP’s Rock Ulmer and Jimmy Valentine are included on the program.
 
All day today until the store closing time at 8:45 p.m. and all day Friday, starting at 11 a.m., the Television caravan and KSTP will present varied performances which will be visible to customers  throughout the store on television receivers.

 

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