Chicago Television History Mystery
We received this email from Linda Ellis:
The earliest Chicago television experiments we know of were at W9XAA in mid 1928, and at W9XAO in 1929. The description by Lela Lombard of the event (bright lights, camera on tripod) don't make sense for 1927 technology. The only cameras available at that time were flying spot scanners, with televising done in total darkness. Also, all transmissions at that time were video only, so the orchestra makes no sense.
Another article surfaced recently, which probably explains the mystery:
The memories probably got confused. It sounds like they performed on the radio from the Davis in 1927, and on television around 1940. The description of the camera, lights and orchestra fit a 1939-41 time frame.
Mechanical TV started about 1927 and was dead by 1933 because it wasn't good for entertainment programming. Electronic television started about 1936 and came to Chicago in 1939. There were two stations; W9XZV, which was owned by Zenith, and was primarily to allow Zenith to design TV receivers. It came on the air in 1939.
The second station, W9XBK, came on the air in 1940 and later became WLS. It did television demonstrations (closed circuit) in 1939, and started broadcasting in 1940. It is likely that the Lombards appeared on WLS in around 1940.
If you have any information on this, please email us.