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Browse the history of Television through vintage photographs.

A photo of Alston Decost
People in this photo:
Alston Decost
Sep 15, 1902 - November 1968
Cleveland, Ohio
This is Walter Ransom Gail Baker, Watching television in 1938, as vice-president of General Electric. He is watching one of the first televisions. The cathode ray tube was so long that it was mounted vertically, and the image was viewed in a mirror reflection.
People in this photo:
A photo of reatives of Carl S Barbettini
People in this photo:
Carl S Barbettini
Jul 12, 1912 - May 14, 1992
Santa Maria, CA
A photo of some of the cast of the Rowan and Martin Show during their first season in 1968: Alan Sues, Jo Anne Worley, Lily Tomlin, Ruth Buzzi, and Gary Owens.
People in this photo:
Alan Grigsby Sues
1926 - 2011
A photo of the first season of "60 minutes".
A photo of Herbert Akerberg
People in this photo:
Herbert Akerberg
Jun 25, 1897 - Nov 6, 1964
Scottsdale, AZ
A photo of Norma C Dodd, "Hog Buyer" on 4/24/1955 episode of What's My Line? (With host John Daly)
People in this photo:
Norma C Dodd
Oct 19, 1902 - Nov 21, 1997
Washington Court House, OH
My uncle Don (Donald Mecray Williams. born 1924) worked for RCA for a while.
People in this photo:
Joan Rivers (Joan Alexandra (Molinsky) Rosenberg) was born June 8, 1933 In Brooklyn New York, the daughter or immigrant Russian Jews. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College and after trying a few other jobs began a career as a stand up comedian at a time when women weren't accepted as stand up comedians. She was always one gutsy lady - breaking into a career that wasn't easy for a woman, recovering and thriving after the suicide of her husband (which left her bankrupt), changing her image and material to reflect current standards, and working until she died. (Not to much all of the plastic surgery!) Joan died on September 4 2014 in Manhattan, New York - not far from where she was born. This is a picture of her with Johnny Carson on the tonight show, early in her career.
People in this photo:
A photo of James Scott Bumgarner (James Garner) born April 7, 1928, taken in the 1950's. He was born in Norman, Oklahoma, the youngest of 3 boys. His mother died when he was 5 and he and his brothers went to live with relatives until his father remarried. His relationship with his step-mother was rocky at best, and her actions led to a divorce by his father. He joined the Army during the Korean War and won a Purple Heart during that conflict. After the war, he turned to acting, legally changing his name to "Garner". He is probably best known to Baby Boomers as Bret Maverick on "Maverick" and Jim Rockford in "The Rockford Files". My favorite movie role of his was in "Support Your Local Gunfighter" - he was good looking and funny! James Garner died on July 19, 2014 in Brentwood Hollywood of natural causes. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
People in this photo:
James Scott Garner
Apr 7, 1928 - Jul 19, 2014
RIP Alice. A picture of Ann B Davis and Allan Melvin - Alice and Sam the butcher on "The Brady Bunch." Ann Bradford Davis was born Schenectady, New York on May 5, 1926. She first became well-known as the character "Schultzy" on the Bob Cummings show. Remember that? But her most well-known character was Alice the housekeeper on the Brady Bunch. . Ann died June 1, 2014 after complications from a fall at her home in San Antonio Texas. She never married and had no children.
People in this photo:
Ann Bradford Davis
May 5, 1926 - Jun 1, 2014
Russell David Johnson (shown here in a promotional shot for the television show Black Saddle) is an American actor best known for his role as "The Professor" on the sitcom Gilligan's Island. Russell Johnson also had roles in the Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, The Invaders, Lassie and many other movies and television shows.
People in this photo:
Russell David Johnson
Nov 10, 1924 - Jan 16, 2014
Bainbridge Island, WA, United States
A photo of Earl E Hicks with wife Clara
People in this photo:
Earl E Hicks
Nov 4, 1900 - Jan 15, 1996
Taylorville, IL
A yearbook photo of James Gandolfini. James is best remembered as playing Tony Soprano in the HBO series "The Sopranos". James was born in Westwood, New Jersey in 1961. Both of his parents were Italian. So perhaps playing a Mafia boss from New Jersey wasn't much of a stretch? He acted in many films, on television, and even on Broadway. He died of natural causes in Rome, Italy, on June 19, 2013. He leaves behind a wife and a son and a daughter.
People in this photo:
James Joseph Gandolfini, Jr.
Sep 18, 1961 - Jun 19, 2013
A photo of Peter Ellstrom Deuel
People in this photo:
Peter Ellstrom Deuel
Feb 24, 1940 - Dec 31, 1971
Hollywood, CA, Los Angeles
Jonathan Winters as "Maude Frickert" one of his many hilarious characters. Jonathan Harshman Winters III was born November 11, 1925 in Dayton Ohio. While his grandfather had owned a bank and his father was an investment banker, like many families of the era the Great Depression of the 1930's decimated the family's fortunes. His parents separated and he and his mother moved to Springfield Ohio to live with his grandmother. After serving in the Marines in World War 2, he went on to study cartooning and met his wife (married until her death in 2009), Eileen Schauder. They had two children. After leaving the art career he was pursuing and entering radio, Jonathan broke into television and movies, becoming one of the most famous comedians of his day. His comedic characters ranged from Maude Frickert (shown) to impersonating the voice of President John Kennedy on the Jack Paar show. Another generation of television watchers knew him as "Mearth" the son of the title characters on "Mork and Mindy." He was a comedic hero of Robin Williams. Jonathan died on April 11, 2013 at the age of 87 in Montecito, California. He brought a lot of laughter and joy to generations of Americans and will be sorely missed.
People in this photo:
Jonathan Harshman Winters, Iii
Nov 11, 1925 - Apr 11, 2013
A photo of Brian Birge, 1924 - 1979.
People in this photo:
Brian Birge
Jan 28, 1924 - November 1979
Annette Joanne Funicello, born October 22nd, 1942 in New York, made famous initially for her role in Disney's Mickey Mouse Club died today April 8th, 2013 in Bakersfield California after battling Multiple Sclerosis for 25 years. Annette Funicello was the last original Mouseketeer (selected by Walt Disney himself!) during the 1950's, was the star of multiple teen Beach Party movies during the 1960's with co-star Frankie Avalon, the singer of pop songs Tall Paul and Pineapple Princess, and of course played Mary Contrary in the 1961 film Babes in Toyland.
People in this photo:
Annette Joanne Funicello
Oct 22, 1942 - Apr 8, 2013
John Emmering relaxing after work in his living room - Living Room in Lombard, 1950
People in this photo:
Grandpa Sterling Wing Lockwoood with Grandma Theresa Dorothy Kapudjija Lockwood
Publicity portrait photo of the famous Groucho Marx.
People in this photo:
Julius Henry Marx
Oct 2, 1890 - Aug 17, 1977
Larry Martin Hagman was born to actress and singer Mary Martin and lawyer Benjamin Jackson "Jack" Hagman on September 21, 1931 in Weatherford Texas. This is a picture of him in his role of Captain (later Major) Anthony Nelson (an astronaut) in the tv show "I Dream of Jeannie", which ran from 1965 to 1970. He was also J.R. Ewing on the tv show "Dallas" (remember the "who shot JR?" season?) from 1978 - 1991. Larry Hagman died in Dallas Texas on November 23, 2012.
People in this photo:
Larry Martin Hagman
Sep 21, 1931 - Nov 23, 2012
Larry King, the famous television host, earlier in his career. Larry King was born Lawrence Leibel Harvey Zeiger on November 19th, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York City. Larry began his media career as an entry level support staff of a small station in Miami Beach, and got his first broadcast opportunity on May 1st, 1957. A little known fact is that Larry King credits Jackie Gleason for much of his career. Jackie, who at that time was filming his television show in Miami Beach, took a liking to Larry and honed Larry's media skills. Larry King went to national radio in 1978, and began hosting the famous CNN show "Larry King Live" in June 1985 which lasted until his retirement on December 16th, 2010.
People in this photo:
Lawrence Leibel Harvey Zeiger
Born: Nov 19, 1933
The first televised United States presidential debate was held in Chicago on September 26th, 1960 between Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon. There were a total of four televised debates between these two candidates however the first debate gathered the most attention with upwards of 70 million viewers. Most Americans believed that Kennedy had won the first presidential debate. Nixon did not prepare well for the televised event. He had campaigned until a few hours before the debate, refused makeup, and was still recovering from a hospital stay, resulting in his appearing ill. In contrast, Kennedy was well rested, prepared and appeared confident and healthy. While the Kennedy / Nixon presidential debate was the first televised debate, there were previous political debates, most notably the 1858 Senate debates between Abraham Lincoln and Senator Stephen A. Douglas.
People in this photo:
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy
May 29, 1917 - Nov 22, 1963
Richard Dawson is best remembered as the original host of the television game show "Family Feud" from 1976 - 1985 (and again from 1994 - 1995) and for his famous start playing Corporal Peter Newkirk on "Hogan's Heroes". A little known fact about Richard is that he joined the Merchant Marines at the age of 14 where he tried being a boxer before he began his comedy career known as "Dickie Dawson" which he eventually revised to "Richard Dawson". Richard Dawson is also well remembered for being one of the viewer's favorite regular panelists on the 1970's tv show "Match Game". Richard Dawson was born as Colin Lionel Emm on November 20th, 1932 in Gosport, Hampshire, England, and died of esophageal cancer on June 2nd, 2012.
People in this photo:
Colin Lionel Emm
Nov 20, 1932 - Jun 2, 2012
Andy Williams, who recorded a total of 18 gold albums, 3 platinum albums, and hosted The Andy Williams Show from 1962 through 1971, died yesterday September 25th 2012. Andy Williams successful career includes decades of performances in Las Vegas, owner of the Moon River Theatre, and numerous top hit songs. Williams is perhaps best remembered for his song "Moon River" made famous by the film Breakfast at Tiffany's. This photo of Andy Williams was taken in 1969 while performing on a television show. Howard Andrew Williams was born on December 3rd 1927 in Wall Lake Iowa, and died September 25th 2012
People in this photo:
Andy Williams
Dec 3, 1927 - Sep 25, 2012
Jonathan Southworth Ritter, better known simply as John Ritter, might best be remembered for playing Jack Tripper on Three's Company and Paul Hennessy on 8 Simple Rules, even though he appeared in scores of television series and movies. This particular photo is from his 1986 film Unnatural Causes. John Ritter was born in Burbank California on September 17th, 1948 to Dorothy Fay and Tex Ritter, and died in Burbank California on September 11th, 2003 while rehearsing for the second season of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.
People in this photo:
Jonathan Southworth Ritter
Sep 17, 1948 - Sep 11, 2003
Photo of me, Cecily G. Roszell in Idaho, at my Grandma Mifflin's (Mary K. Peckham Roszell Mifflin) house in the Summer of 1969.
People in this photo:
Cecily G. Roszell
Born: Oct 1,948, 02
The first episode of Bonanza premiered on September 12th, 1959. Bonanza was the first regularly scheduled television program shown in color and ran for 14 seasons generating a total of 430 episodes. Characters include Dan Blocker as 'Hoss' Cartwright, Michael Landon as 'Little Joe', Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright, and Pemell Roberts as Adam Cartwright. The last episode was aired on January 16th, 1973.
People in this photo:
Pernell Roberts Jr
Born: Dec 10, 1928
Jerry Nelson was the puppeteer behind many of the famous puppets from the 1980's. Nelson played 'Count von Count' (aka the 'Count' seen here) on Sesame Street from the 1970's through his retirement in 2004, but also was the first to perform Mr. Snuffleupagus. Other roles include Gobo Fraggle (my personal favorite) and Marjory the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock, and multiple characters from the Muppets including Sgt. Floyd Pepper of the Electric Mayhem band, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Kermit's nephew Robin, and Gonzo's girlfriend Camilla the Chicken. Mr. Nelson had a gift with puppets that helped shape generations of viewers. He learned to puppeteer under Bill Baird, the creator of the "Lonely Goatherd" marionette scene in The Sound of Music. Jerry was born on July 10th 1934 in Tulsa Oklahoma and died August 23rd, 2012.
People in this photo:
Jerry Nelson
Jul 10, 1934 - Aug 23, 2012
A photo of Phyllis Diller (born Phyllis Ada Driver) in 1955 as a contestant on the Groucho Marx show, "You Bet Your Life". Phyllis was born July 17, 1917 in Lima Ohio. Although she trained as a musician, she began her show business career in Oakland, California in 1952 on a 15 minute television show called "Phyllis Dillis, the Homely Friendmaker". (Sounds like she was already perfecting her homemaker comedy act!) Her first stand-up act was at the famous Purple Onion in San Francisco, California in 1955. She was famous for making jokes about herself and her husband, "Fang." And for her laugh of course. She pursued a long career as a stand-up comic and in both movies and television, as well as on stage. Her trademark cigarette in a long holder was a prop - she never smoked! Her first husband was Sherwood Anderson Diller, with whom she had 6 children. She was briefly married actor Warde Donovan. Phyllis Ada (Driver) Diller died on August 20, 2012 at home, at age 95,
People in this photo:
Phyllis Ada (Driver) Diller
Jul 17, 1917 - Aug 20, 2012
The famous Julia Child holding a chicken in a kitchen during her television series 'The French Chef'. Prior to becoming a celebrity cooking instructor, Julia was a member of the Office of Strategic Services (since she was too tall to join the Women's Army Corps) during World War II where she met her husband Paul Cushing Child. Paul's transfer would eventually lead the two of them to Paris where Julia's inspiration for a culinary career began. She would soon connect with other French food lovers and they collaborated together for years to eventually produce the 734 page 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' cookbook. The book's popularity skyrocketed, in large part due to Julia's translation of French recipes into English and her detailed and practical descriptions and images. Her fame spread and Julia Child was picked up by the National Educational Television station in Boston to star in 'The French Chef' which debuted on February 11th, 1963 and lasted for ten years. Julia's career blossomed more as she authored multiple cookbooks and was featured in various television series including 'Cooking with Master Chefs', 'In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs', 'Baking With Julia', and 'Julia Child & Jacques Pépin Cooking at Home'. Of course, Julie Child hit a new celebrity status (outside foodies and stay at home cooks) when Saturday Night Live decided to mimic her cooking show, and thanks to the very well received Julie & Julia 2009 film. Julia Child, born Julia Carolyn McWilliams in Pasadena California August 15th 1912, and died August 13th, 2004 of kidney failure in Casa Dorinda, Montecito.
People in this photo:
Julia Child
Aug 15, 1912 - Aug 13, 2004
Boston, MA
Ronald Gabriel Palillo, or "Ron" Palillo, was a tv and movie actor who was born in Cheshire Connecticut April 2nd 1949, and died in Palm Beach County Florida of a heart attack on August 14th, 2012. Ron Palillo is probably best remembered for his role in the 1970s sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter", where he played Arnold Horshack, the class clown of the Sweathogs. In addition to "Welcome Back, Kotter", Ron Palillo had appearances in such popular tv series as "Darkwing Duck", "Rubik, the Amazing Cube", "Laverne & Shirley in the Army" and others. This particular photo is a publicity photo from the popular tv series "Welcome Back, Kotter". Left to right: Gabe Kaplan, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Wendy Rastatter, Robert Hegyes, and Ron Palillo.
People in this photo:
Gabe Kaplan
Born: Mar 31, 1935
A photo of Sherman Hemsley (George Jefferson) and Carrol O' Connor (Archie Bunker) on the set of "All in the Family" in the early 1970's. George could hold his own against Archie, which was no mean feat! Sherman Hemsley was born Sherman Alexander Hemsley on February 1, 1938 in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After dropping out of high school in the 10th grade, he joined the Air Force and served for four years. When he left the Air Force, he went to work for the U.S. Post Office, transferring from Philadelphia to New York where he could pursue acting. While acting in the play "Purlie" on Broadway, Norman Lear (the creator of "All in the Family") saw him and asked him to play George Jefferson on the show. Eventually, his role (and family) was spun off to the highly successful Norman Lear show "The Jeffersons." After a long run on "The Jeffersons," Sherman returned to Broadway and acting in a variety of venues as well as performing as a musician, once on "Soul Train." He never married and had no children. Sherman Hemsley died in El Paso, Texas on July 24, 2012, apparently of natural causes, at the age of 74.
People in this photo:
Sherman Alexander Hemsley
Feb 1, 1938 - Jul 24, 2012
Collage of Diane and Walter Michurski, Alina, Joseph and Richard Michurski in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
People in this photo:
Ernest Borgnine, born Ermes Effron Borgnino, on January 24, 1917 was of Italian heritage. (His parents,Anna (Bosell) Borgnino and Camillo Borgnino were both born in Italy.) He is best known to baby boomers as Lieutenant Commander Quinton McHale or perhaps as "Marty" but he had a lot of roles in his 95 years of life, including a character voice in The Simpsons. He actually joined the U.S. Navy in 1935 and was discharged in 1941, but rejoined when the United States entered World War Two. He achieved the rank of Gunner's Mate 1st Class and was finally discharged in 1945. This experience probably led to his authenticity in his role as McHale! He was married five times (once, to Ethel Merman - for 30 days - a short time in those days!) but his last marriage in 1973 was his longest. He was still married to Tova Traesnaes when he died in July of 2012. He died on July 8, 2012 in Los Angeles, California but left us all a wealth of laughs and entertainment.
People in this photo:
Andy Griffith and Ron Howard - Andy and son Opie - from the Andy Griffith Show in the 1960's. Andrew Samuel "Andy" Griffith was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina in 1926 and died on Roanoke Island, North Carolina on July 3, 2012, but he was known the world over for his acting and singing. Most beloved for the Andy Griffith Show (1960 to 1968), he also starred in Matlock (1986 - 1995) and many, many other television shows as well as movie. He was also a musician and singer, often performing on his own television shows. In this picture from the Andy Griffith Show (produced by Sheldon Leonard), Sheriff Andy is with his onscreen son, Opie - a very young Ron Howard who grew up to become an actor, producer, and director - just like Andy. The show was filmed in California but was set in Mayberry (a fictional town), North Carolina - an homage to Andy's home state.
People in this photo:
Grandma Jenny Pazamickas in Niagra Falls, New York. Date not offered by submitter.
People in this photo:
Melvin Jerome Blank, son of Frederick and Eva Blank, was born in San Francisco, California but later moved to Portland, Oregon during high school. When he was 16 he changed the spelling of his surname to Blanc to overcome harsh words of a teacher. The teacher told him that he would amount to nothing, ultimately living up to be a blank. Soon thereafter, he dropped out of high school and split time between leading an orchestra and performing shtick in Vaudeville shows around Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. Blanc began his career on the radio at age 19 in 1927. He moved to Los Angeles in 1932 and met his wife Estelle Rosenbaum. With her encouragement, the two moved back to LA where he continued in radio. In 1937, Mel joined Leon Schlesinger Productions who created cartoons for Warner Bros. He replaced Joe Dougherty, as the voice of Porky Pig due to production cost. Blanc was able to harness the stutter whereas Dougherty's real stutter made for long studio hours. Blanc went on to be the permanent voice of Porky Pig until his death in 1989. Some of the characters he voiced Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, the Tasmanian Devil, Barney Ruble, Mr. Spacely and Papa Smurf. Mel Blanc has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard.
People in this photo:
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