Art Sesnovich | May 30, 2024

Who's on First - Besides MantelMount?

As a society, we’re obsessed with firsts.  Anything that can be legitimately be branded as the first of its kind holds a certain fascination for us.  Certainly, it’s exciting to behold something that has never been seen before.  There’s a sense that history is being made – that we’ve just witnessed an event or an item that has broken a previously unbreakable barrier. 

MantelMount falls into that category.  As one of the few Pull Down TV Mounts capable of moving vertically – to ensure that the TV can be moved to eye level, the optimal viewing position - it has introduced a number of features that no other mount has been able to duplicate, such as Auto-Straightening, Auto Stabilization, Adjustable Stops, and a patented Heat-Sensing handle.  These industry firsts have helped make MantelMount the best flat screen TV mount available. 

But that got us to thinking about other “firsts” in the television industry.  Today, we can look back on these envelope-pushing occurrences with some degree of amusement, given that we have been exposed to televised situations and plotlines that make these previous groundbreakers seem quaint by comparison.  Still, these events, viewed in the context of the time and place in which they occurred, can be considered as nothing less than extraordinary. 

Complements of a great website called Mental Floss, here are seven televisions “firsts” that we found particularly noteworthy.  (Why seven instead of 10 or five?  Because it’s our blog and we can do what we want.)

First Birth: I Love Lucy was a national phenomenon, so when Lucille Ball became pregnant in real life, it was immediately written into the storyline and achieved the series’ highest ratings ever. On January 19, 1953, when she had her son, Desi Arnaz, Jr., the real baby doubled in the show as Lucy and Ricky's new on-screen son - just 12 hours after the baby’s birth.  The episode received higher ratings than Eisenhower's inauguration the next day.  Almost 72% of homes with television sets tuned in to watch, which was substantially more than President Dwight D. Eisenhower's inauguration the next day.

First Interracial Kiss: On November 22, 1968, William Shatner (as Captain Kirk), and Nichelle Nichols (as Lieutenant Uhura) locked lips on the iconic series Star Trek.  Interestingly, Nichelle Nichols says that executives of NBC, the network that broadcast the show, originally wanted to shoot two different versions of the scene between her and William Shatner to avoid outrage among Southern affiliates.  But Shatner was having none of it, as he was “deliberately trying to flub it up.”  Now that’s boldly going where no man has gone before. 

First Commercial: Commercials have been around since nearly the beginning of television (although it seems more like the beginning of time).  But the very first televised commercial appeared during a Dodgers and Phillies game on July 1, 1941: a 10-second ad for Bulova watches.  (NOTE: While the first commercial was pretty exciting, we’re even more excited about the last.)

First Religious Service: Religion on television is hardly a new invention.  The first-ever televised service took place on March 24, 1940, and showed the Protestant Easter Services on NBC in New York.  An hour later, in a classic example of pure copycat-ism, the Roman Catholic Easter Services aired on the same network. 

First Married Couple to Share a Bed: This would raise no eyebrows today, but at the time it happened, it was truly an unusual event.  The first couple to share a bed happened way back in 1947 on the sitcom Mary Kay and Johnny.  In that year, the married title couple hopped into the same bed in their New York apartment.  Why the networks shied away from such normal married behavior for so long certainly seems like a mystery - especially since Mary Kay and Johnny were married in real-life.

First Major Death: When Make Room for Daddy rebranded itself after the third season to The Danny Thomas Show, Jean Hagen left the show due to dissatisfaction with her character.  Suddenly, the producers had a dilemma with what to do with Hagen's character. Because it was the 1950s, having her get a divorce would was pretty much off limits.  Naturally, the producers decided the safest route was to kill off the character.

First Prime-Time Animated Series: The Flintstones, which premiered in 1960, holds the distinction of being the first animated series produced for and broadcast during prime-time television hours.  This certainly set the stage for future animated, prime-time staples such as The Simpsons and Family Guy

When you’re the “first” at something – anything – people sit up and take notice.  They’re doing that with MantelMount.  And they did it with these TV industry milestones. 

What’s the next “first” up on the list?