The TV Guide

April 3rd Celebrates The TV Guide

Today on Day’s to remember, we celebrate how on April 3rd 1953, “TV Guide” was published for the first time.

On April 3, 1953, a chubby-¬cheeked newborn named Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV eventually known as Desi Arnaz Jr. graced the cover of our very first issue with a cover line touting him as “Lucy’s $50,000,000 Baby.” Lucy, of course, was Lucille Ball, the madcap, flame-tressed star of America’s most adored sitcom at the time, I Love Lucy, while Dad was Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz and both of them knew the value of publicity.

“Because that cover was so widely seen, everyone thought I played Little Ricky, and that’s stuck with me throughout my life,” says Arnaz, who now runs the Boulder City Ballet Company in Boulder City, Nevada, with his wife, Amy. “Of course, my parents only added to the mis-understanding by casting a series of ¬infants — there were six in all — who matched the TV Guide photo.”

Who was the founder of the TV Guide?

The prototype of what would become TV Guide magazine was developed by Lee Wagner (1910–1993), TV Guide is a bi-weekly American magazine that provides television program listings information as well as television-related news, celebrity interviews and gossip, film reviews, crossword puzzles and in some issues, horoscopes. The print magazine is owned by NTVB Media, while its digital properties are controlled by the CBS Interactive division of CBS Corporation.

The magazine was published in digest size, which remained its printed format for 52 years. From its first issue until July 16, 1954, listings within each edition of TV Guide began on Friday and ended on Thursday; beginning with the July 17, 1954 issue, the duration of the listings in each week’s issue changed to start on Saturday and end on Friday, which remained the listings format for all local editions until April 2004.

The magazine was first based in a small office in downtown Philadelphia, before moving to more spacious national headquarters in Radnor, Pennsylvania in the late 1950s.

The new facility, complete with a large lighted TV Guide logo at the building’s entrance, based its management, editors, production personnel and subscription processors as well as a vast computer system holding data on every television show and movie available for listing in the popular weekly publication.

What were people watching before the TV guide came out?

The 1940s TVs didn’t look like today’s televisions. Most had picture screens between 10 and 15 inches wide diagonally, inside large, heavy cabinets. And, of course, color broadcasts and sets didn’t arrive until much later, in 1954.

What did families watch on those little picture tubes?

Well, for a time, the most watched thing on TV was the test pattern that was broadcast before and after the station signed on.

TV programming did not run all day and night. Most parts of rural America had to make do with a single television station.

The demand for television sets and programs in the late 1940s set the stage for a revolution that would expand in the 1950s and 60s and change American family life, business, politics, economic, and society.

Today, rural areas still get only two or three local stations broadcasting over the air.

So, satellite dishes have sprouted in farmyards across the country, and folks in rural towns have cable TV boxes, just like their urban counterparts.
The information gap between urban and rural is not as pronounced as it was when the 1940s began.

However when the TV Guide came out, people were able to find out what stations were playing what shows.

As we how on April 3rd 1953, “TV Guide” was published for the first time.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell
jdmitchelldesigns@gmail.com

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