Sunday, August 24, 2008


With two weeks of coverage coming up of conventions on TV I thought I would show this gem from the YouTube vaults of the TV coverage of the 1956 Democratic convention which nominated Adlai Stevenson.

This was from way back in the days when they used to cover conventions gavel-to-gavel on network TV. Convention coverage was a point of pride for these networks: sort of the news version of the World Series. So they always put a big effort into it and big resources into floor coverage and so on.

This year, these nets plan to devote four freaking hours to each convention, leaving gavel-to-gavel to cable and of course the Internet. Of course, in the old days things actually happened at conventions, too -- they were not the glorified infomercials they are now. If you want real political conventions the way they ought to be done, with all the excitement and so on, you really need to come to Canada and check out the ones up here. But in the States they want to get all the excitement out of the way beforehand so these conventions are as boring to watch as possible.

The 1956 coverage is from CBS with Walter Cronkite anchoring and with Betty Furness doing the ads for Westinghouse. This is from just before the big votes took place. Note also that the main competition came from NBC and their legendary duo of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.

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