The Oldest Known Colour Videotaping

This is a clip from the earliest surviving color videotape recording of Dwight Eisenhower’s inaugural address to WRC-TV on May 22, 1958. The first 15 minutes of this event were shot in black and white, with the president arriving at the building and the news reporter providing details about the event. About 15 minutes later, Robert Sarnoff flips the switch to color, and the event begins.

For the remaining 15 minutes, Robert Sarnoff, Dwight Eisenhower, and David Sarnoff discuss the station and color television technology while being filmed in living color.

The United States began broadcasting in color in late 1953, and color television sets became available to the general public in 1954 at a high cost.Color videotaping first appeared in the United States in 1958, and this film is the earliest known to survive, having been successfully converted to digital for preservation. It’s incredible to think that some color programs from the late 1950s have survived on color videotape.