A Brief History of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree


Television Debut
In 1951, NBC televised its first tree lighting on The Kate Smith Show, hosted by the "first lady of radio" herself, above. From 1953 to 1955, children across America watched the ceremony on Howdy Doody. Since then, the tree lighting has featured a number of famous personalities — Barbara Walters in 1972, Bob Hope in 1982, Lily Tomlin in 1985 and Liza Minnelli in 1990. This year Jane Krakowski and Zachary Levi, stars of the NBC shows 30 Rock and Chuck, respectively, will co-host.

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