President Truman Speaks on the First Live Transcontinental Telecast — Today in 1951
President Truman addressing the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in San Francisco, California. 9/4/51.
From left to right: Dr. Warren Kelchner, Temporary Chairperson of the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference, Governor Earl Warren of California, President Harry S. Truman, and Secretary of State Dean Acheson standing on stage.
-from the Truman Library
Told in Talking Motion Pictures
A campaign truck for Herbert Hoover advertises the new medium of “talking pictures,” 1928.
President Calvin Coolidge did not choose to run for a second term in 1928, and Old Guard Republicans, suspicious of Hoover’s activist approach to government, had little choice but to accept the popular Commerce Secretary. GOP rivals complained in the weeks leading up to the party’s nominating convention in Kansas City that the nation’s small town press contained nothing but publicity for Hoover and Fletcher’s Castoria ads.
More seriously, the man who had fed Belgium, ran the U.S. Food Administration, revolutionized the Department of Commerce and ministered to victims of the Mississippi flood appeared an ideal candidate: more realistic than Wilson, more respectable than Harding, more imaginative than Coolidge and more purely American than his Democratic opponent, New York Governor Alfred E. Smith. Dazzled by his past achievements, few of Hoover’s countrymen stopped to ask whether the Great Engineer had a political temperament. Read More
"Each viewer will see the General just as if he were talking to him."
For the first time in 1952, television became an important part of campaign strategy for the Presidential election. These notes describe the direction and goals for an upcoming TV appearance in Kansas City by Dwight D. Eisenhower. 9/19/52.
September 26, 1960 — Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon stand before an audience of 70 million Americans—two-thirds of the nation’s adult population—in the first nationally televised Presidential debate. This first of four debates held before the end of October gave a vast national audience the opportunity to see and compare the two candidates, and ushered in a new age of Presidential politics.
How will you tune in to the debate tonight?
PFC Gladys Bellon, Basile, Louisiana, one of the 27 WAC switchboard operators flown from Paris for the Potsdam Conference and Sgt. Robert Scott of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, test lines in the frame room of the Victory switchboard at U. S. headquarters at Babelsburg, Germany., 07/15/1945
FDR Opens the World Fair on Long Island, New York
On April 30, 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first president to appear on television by addressing the opening ceremonies of New York World’s Fair.
Listen to his remarks - from The Presidential Timeline
In having a telephone placed conveniently on his desk Mr. Hoover has shattered a White House precedent. Other Presidents have preferred not to be accessible by telephone during office hours, and if they wished to do any telephoning on their own account it was necessary for them to go to another room, where a private booth was at their disposal. Mr. Hoover found this arrangement inconvenient, and proceeded forthwith to correct it.
First telephone installed in the Oval Office
Some White House history for your day:
- President Herbert Hoover had the first telephone installed in the Oval Office on March 29, 1929.
- The Oval Office used by President Hoover is not the current Oval Office.
- FDR moved the President’s official office to its current location to make it wheelchair accessible.
- Rutherford B. Hayes had the first telephone installed in the White House in 1879.
Shown here, the original Oval Office telephone. It now resides in West Branch, Iowa at the Hoover Library.
The White House to Kremlin “Hotline”
On August 30, 1963, The Kennedy White House announced the creation of a teletype “Hotline” between the Kremlin and the White House. The Hotline was established in the aftermath to the Cuban Missile Crisis - to be used only in an emergency to ensure clear communication between the President and the Soviet Premier.
The White House Hotline teletype machine was used for the first time for communication between President Lyndon Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexsei Kosygin during the Six Day War in the Middle East.
These days, the Hotline machine is on exhibit at the LBJ Library & Museum.
Eighty-one years ago this week, Woodrow Wilson became the very first President to communicate by radio. On his way home from Europe, President Wilson used the radio, after several unsuccessful efforts, to call the then-young Franklin Roosevelt, who was his Assistant Secretary of the Navy back in Washington. It wasn’t immediately clear how this new technology would be used, or that in just 15 years Roosevelt, as President, would be making radio broadcasts that 80 percent of our nation would hear. But it was clear that a new door to the future had opened.
During this speech, President Clinton also remarked:
“When I became President, there were just 50 websites on the Worldwide Web. Now, there are 17 million, and almost 50 million households on-line in the United States alone.”
Interested in reading the full remarks? You can find them at the Clinton Library.