Dumont

Dumont

Cool beans boi
Cool beans boi

October 5th, 2007, 2:02 am #1

My grandad was recently talking about the first TV he bought back in 1948. He said that The Dumont Network was pretty big until it went bust in 1956.
I did a bit of research and sure enough, there was an old forgotten fourth network named Dumont. I wonder if anyone here remembers it. My grandfather said Jackie Gleason started there, Morey Amsterdam and of course Bishop Sheen had a big show on.
I am wondering why it is so forgotten today. Ironically, the anchor station was channel 5 right here in NYC. Today that station serves as Fox's flagship station. A fourth network made it now, but I guess 4 were too many back then..not enough VHF stations in most cities.
Being a child of the 80's I cannot even imagine only having 3 TV channels in most cities.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

October 5th, 2007, 3:37 am #2

Allen DuMont was a early pioneer in TV broadcasting. He had one of the first TV stations and manufactured TV sets and also equipment for TV stations. In fact, he was probably second only to RCA in suppling TV stations with cameras and video equipment. The first TV station I worked for in 1964 still had some old Dumont monitors in the back room.

His problem with the network was that unlike NBC, CBS and ABC it was not associated with a established radio network- this gave the those networks a big advantage in signing up affiliates because most early TV stations were built by established radio stations. The associated radio networks also gave them a large talent pool and the resources for programs- since most early TV programs were adapted from existing radio programs.

The DuMont network had none of this and most of what they showed was sports- especially boxing, but there just wasn't enough affiliates to make the network profitable.

By the way there was another fourth network briefly in 1970- UBC- the United Broadcasting Co. It picked up a few UHF stations and lasted about six months.
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Brandon
Brandon

October 5th, 2007, 3:57 am #3

There was simply not enough room for a 4th network back then. There was barely room for three, even ABC didn't really achieve parity with the other two until the 1970s.
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Cool beans interesting
Cool beans interesting

October 5th, 2007, 12:45 pm #4

Allen DuMont was a early pioneer in TV broadcasting. He had one of the first TV stations and manufactured TV sets and also equipment for TV stations. In fact, he was probably second only to RCA in suppling TV stations with cameras and video equipment. The first TV station I worked for in 1964 still had some old Dumont monitors in the back room.

His problem with the network was that unlike NBC, CBS and ABC it was not associated with a established radio network- this gave the those networks a big advantage in signing up affiliates because most early TV stations were built by established radio stations. The associated radio networks also gave them a large talent pool and the resources for programs- since most early TV programs were adapted from existing radio programs.

The DuMont network had none of this and most of what they showed was sports- especially boxing, but there just wasn't enough affiliates to make the network profitable.

By the way there was another fourth network briefly in 1970- UBC- the United Broadcasting Co. It picked up a few UHF stations and lasted about six months.
I never heard of UBS.
I wonder if every major city had four VHF's back in 1955 if Dumont would had survived. 1964 TV stations must have been a lot different than today. Color was in it's infancy at that time.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

October 5th, 2007, 2:01 pm #5

Well few outside the industry did hear of UBS- even in 1970s there wasn't enough stations to support 4 networks. Except for the biggest cities- NY, LA, Chicago- it was rare for a city to have more than two VHF stations- so if you wanted to see other networks you had a antenna on your roof to pick them up from neighboring towns. There were a few UHF stations around- but none did well- UHF equipment didn't work very well back then and most TVs couldn't receive UHF at all.

NBC- which was owned by RCA- the inventor of NTSC color system- and a major manufacture of both sets and broadcast equipment- had a obvious profit motive for promoting the sale of color TVs and was the only network showing much color. ABC had a few shows- mostly Saturday morning cartoons- and CBS had none at all in 1964. CBS was still miffed that their color system was not chosen- but that's another story. Almost no stations did their local programs in color.

Color sets were still quite expensive in 1964- costing about twice what a comparable B&W TV would- but color was starting to catch on- and in 1965 CBS finally began showing some night-time programs in color- and ABC expanded their color too. By 1966 most night-time programs on all three networks were color but it was several years before daytime programs were- and reruns of older shows were in B&W for many years even after that.

As a side note- RCA went out of business in 1986. A Japanese company brought the RCA brandname and continues to make "RCA" TVs but it not the original RCA company.


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Bob
Bob

October 5th, 2007, 4:52 pm #6

My family did not own a color TV until the mid-1970's. In addition to the cost, the color of those early television sets was not very good. As I recall, people really had to fiddle with the color adjustment knobs, and you basically had to decide if you wanted the flesh tones to look more red or more green. My parents concluded that it was more trouble than it was worth to own a color set, but they got one later as the technology improved and prices started to come down.

When I moved into my own apt. in the late 70's (batching it), I bought a new small B & W TV, as money was tight for me. Remember back then there was minimal cable service and no VCR's yet (at least where I lived), so TV watching was limited to a few VHF channels and a couple UHF channels. Still, I miss those days, as it was fun to go either to theatres or to go to a drive-in movie, with family, friends or a date. Today, drive-ins are almost gone (just two left in my locale), and the one or two screen theatres of old have been replaced by multi-screen metroplexs (and, while the variety sounds good, it was actually more fun to watch a blockbuster movies (e.g., James Bond, Airport, The Exorcist) on the huge screens we had back then). Not to mention (OK, I will) that the movies back then were simply better than most movies today.
Ahh, nostalgia!! Not such a bad thing to visit your childhood now and again, eh?

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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

October 5th, 2007, 5:20 pm #7

We got our first color set in 1964 which was the first in our neighborhood. Our house became quite popular on Sunday nights when "Bonanza" was on! These early sets were a bit tricky to adjust but when adjusted right they produced excellent color. In fact, better color than later sets because later-on manufactures began modifying the color demodulation circuitry to make them less sensitive to variations in fresh-tone colors- but in doing so they actually reduced the accuracy of the color. I thought it was funny they called such modifications names like "Accu-color" when they actually did just the opposite. You could really see this when you had a "home TV" siting next to a studio monitor. We used a few home TVs at the studio because they were so (relatively) cheap but never for critical applications.
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Brandon
Brandon

October 6th, 2007, 1:25 am #8

We got our first color set in 1966, the year after I was born so I don't remember when there was no color tv although the other sets in the house were black and white so I certainly grew up watching tv in black and white.

We didn't get cable until the early 1980s so we only got 4 channels in Nashville until 1976 when we got channel 17, a UHF independent. But there was probably more on the 5 channels we got in 1976 that I wanted to see than on the 99 channels I get today.

1972 was the first year that color tv set penetration was over 50%. So it took a long time for everyone to get a color set.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

October 6th, 2007, 6:21 am #9

When I was a kid we could only get one station really clear- and two kind of snowy. Dad was so proud of me when at 13 I installed a antenna on the roof and we were finally able to get NBC out of Winston-Salem. Now between cable and satellite I can get something like 200 channels and hardly watch any of them.

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cool beans boi
cool beans boi

October 7th, 2007, 3:52 am #10

In NYC we have 7 VHF's so I guess TV took off faster there than most cities.
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