March 27, 1955…NBC Burbank Dedication And Color Kickoff

It was on this day in 1955 NBC Burbank was dedicated…two and a half years after it opened October 4, 1952. Why the long wait? It was all about color.

The new NBC black and white facilities at Burbank were Studios 1 and 3 and were in heavy use from the start, but until the FCC approved RCA’s Dot Sequential, Compatible Color in December of ’53, everything color was on hold. In the east, NBC’s first color facility was The Colonial Theater which came on line as an experimental facility in March 1953. NBC Brooklyn 1 was their second color studio witch debuted September 4, 1954.

Burbank’s color studios were added one by one.  Studio 2 was built first, followed by Studio 4 and were hailed as the only television studios built just for color. I would argue that Studios 1 and 3 were certainly designed for color too, but I guess it made for a better story the other way. Below is the New York Times article on the Burbank dedication and color maiden voyage with a 90 minute special called “Entertainment 1955” marking the opening of Studio 2, while Studio 4’s foundation was being poured.

Above, color chart testing on the new RCA TK41s in Studio 2.  On May 30, 1955 Humphrey Bogart would make his first and last live appearance on television in Studio 2 when he, Lauren Bacall and Henry Fonda starred in “The Petrified Forest”, the first “Producers Showcase” live color drama from NBC Color City West. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee

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