A decade prior, DuMont became one of the first television national networks in regular operation, though its primary revenue stream came from its manufacture of TV sets rather than TV programs. Often forgotten today, DuMont helped innovate much of what would become the network model, and launched one of the 1950s biggest TV stars in Jackie Gleason. Financial difficulties and FCC restrictions made it difficult for DuMont to compete with the other three national networks as the ’50s progressed. The final program it broadcast, on this day, was Boxing from St. Nicholas Arena.
With DuMont gone, the “Big Three” dominated the free-TV landscape for more than three decades, although they did briefly allow DuMont to return in 1978 to referee the Battle of the Network Stars. -A.D.
Today’s Birthdays: Lucille Ball, Vetameatavegamin spokesperson (d. 1989); Peter Bonerz, dentist (74); Romola Garai, lady of The Hour (30); Soleil Moon Frye, Punky Brewster (36); Melissa George, superspy third wheel (36); Catherine Hicks, the preacher’s wife (61).