It wasn't so long ago that black-and-white television was the norm. Not until the late 1970s did every American consumer household own a color TV. One reminder of this not-so-ancient history is a now-viral clip of an Iowa station's first-ever color broadcast. It shows the transition from black and white to color as the anchor reads the evening's news.
The broadcast was aired on April 14, 1967, a whole 13 years after the Tournament of Roses parade—the first national color broadcast shown by NBC. Though color televisions became available to American shoppers in 1954, they were incredibly expensive and few households owned one. A decade later, roughly 98% of Americans still did not own a color TV, due to both the cost of the sets and the relatively small amount of color programming. It wasn't until the mid-1960s that a ratings war was the ultimate catalyst for primetime networks' conversion to color.
Since so few viewers owned color televisions at the time of the broadcast, Iowa's Channel 2 took this into account. At the top of the broadcast, anchor Robert “Bob” Bruner asks station manager Doug Grant what the change will mean for those still watching on black and white sets. Grant replies, “Well, we think you'll see a big difference on black and white receivers. The new color cameras will give an improved monochrome picture, and all our new color sets here in the studio were designed with that in mind.”
Bruner then calmly makes his way to the news desk, sits down, and introduces the change by joking, “Well, up first I'd like to say this: that I feel doubly honored to have been chosen to be the first one involved in our big change, because there are so many, much more colorful characters around here than this reporter.”
Then the magic happens; in a second, as Bruner begins announcing the news for the night, the black and white picture flashes to color. Watch the clip below for a nostalgic moment, and to get an idea of how exciting it must've been for viewers watching the news in 1967.
On April 14, 1967, Iowa Channel 2 aired its first-ever color TV broadcast.
Watch as the picture transitions to color while anchor Bob Bruner reads the evening's news.
h/t: [Open Culture]