Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011

The Harry Truman Show

Calvin Coolidge's 1923 State of the Union address was the first broadcast on the radio, but Harry Truman's 1947 speech was the first broadcast on TV. TIME wasn't particularly impressed with the content, noting Truman's "lack of specifics and the dull roundness of his words." Truman's State of the Union the following year didn't seem to make for scintillating viewing either, as TIME reported, "The camera peered about the House chamber for awhile, finally came to rest on the Truman features and, except for a few blinks from the side, stared at him full-face and close-up throughout the speech." In order to class up the proceedings, perhaps, NBC "imaginatively introduced its program with selections from Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade Suite."