October 18, 2020

Tudor City and the TV Transmitter

Photo of the day is this striking rendition of the Daily News Building, bathed in klieg lights, topped by a 307-foot-tall transmitter and all the more thrilling given the cameo appearance of the Tudor City Sign, center left.

The date was June 15, 1948; the occasion, a party for the debut of WPIX, the new television station owned by the Daily News, whose call letters were derived from the paper's slogan, "New York's Picture Newspaper."  

There were four hours of programming that first night, including Inquiring Fotographer Jimmy Jemail interviewing VIPs at the door, columnist Ed Sullivan in a remote hookup from the Latin Quarter nightclub, and the first episode of "The Gloria Swanson Hour," a talk show.

The new station was relentlessly promoted in the News, in particular a never-ending slogan contest (at left). For the record, the winning entry was "THE FIRST WORD IN NEWS, THE LAST IN ENTERTAINMENT."

The antenna proved to be a short-lived structure, moved in 1951 to the Empire State Building because it was, well, higher. WPIX still broadcasts from the News Building, now as the East Coast flagship of the CW network.

    No. 45, The Woodstock, the Empire State Building, and the News Building and its antenna, as seen from the East River, circa 1950.

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