I'm honestly flabberghasted if that's accurate - can I ask the source of your info, not because I disbelieve you, but because I just can't believe it took us 40 years to catch up with the US, who showed their first feature film on Tv in 1933!
I would have thought that we were showing films in the fifties and sixties on TV at least?
It's not getting knocked down that makes you a failure, it's when you stop getting up
I tried researching this last night through a number of reference books I have including a Guinness book on TV firsts - but it doesn't appear to be listed. However, I am undeterred at this stage and will try and find the answer. It just might take me a little longer. I do have most of the TV Times magazines from the 1960s and feature films figure quite a lot. When I get home later I'll send you the first one I can find, although I'm certain the first feature film would have been shown in the 1950s.
Still searching - I doubt if the first feature film appeared in the UK as early as the USA and, of course, British TV did close down in September 1939 for the duration of the War. I wouldn't be surprised if the first feature film was shown just after - and may even have been a 'feel good' factor movie telling some heroic war story. A bit of a romantic notion perhaps :-)
US, who showed their first feature film on Tv in 1933!
Sorry Ebbsy - missed that bit the first time.
It is very unlikely, in fact almost impossible for US television to have transmitted a full-length feature film on TV in 1933 unless it was done for purely experimental purposes.
The world's first regular television service was started by the BBC at 3pm on November 2nd 1936 (although they had been experimenting since 1929 with a low-definition service). It wasn't until 1935 in the USA that RCA were ready to unveil a workable television system and 1935 before they patented the Iconoscope and that same year RCA also announced its intension to spend $1 million on television demonstrations. These took place in a studio at Radio City in New York; the studio was connected by cable to a transmitter atop the Empire State Building.
The technology to transmit a full length feature film in 1933 simply wouldn't have existed and there would hardly be any television sets (other than experimentals) to transmit to. By 1937 RCA's subsidiary, NBC were still making 'experimental' programmes.
In 1936 the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences empowered a Research Council Scientific Commitee to investigate television to ascertain the threat to the movie industry - they concluded "its scope is limited to home entertainment purposes in urban areas."
In 1938 the experimental station W2XBS got into trouble for broadcasting The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), upsetting the studio even more by showing the last reel out of order!
There does not appear to be an official answer to when US television showed its first official cinema release on TV - however the first US commercial TV station (WNBT in New York City), which was licensed on July 1, 1941, is remembered for having interrupted its broadcast of the movie Millionaire Playboy to tell its small audience of the invasion of Pearl Harbor. But it wasn't until the 1950s in the USA that the Hollywood studios signed an agreement with the Screen Actors Guild concerning TV residuals and on March 5, 1956, the 1933 film King Kong premiered on network television.
Sorry for the long-winded answer - I hope you didn't fall asleep half way through ;D
Last Edit: Sept 11, 2010 8:58:51 GMT 1 by Laurence
Finally - perhaps - I have tracked down an answer in a reference book I have:
"In the early post-War era, the BBC managed to secure a stock of movies for occasional use but they were aging - pre-war Hopalong Cassidy productions, and comedies like the Topper series. Attempts to reconcile the movie and television interests were generally unsuccessful, but in the late 1940s discussions were held which proposed some kind of mutual benefit - that is, with television providing some input into cinemas and film distributors taking a less stringent line in the use of films on (British) television."
It seems that with the history of television no research can ever be complete or guaranteed as 100% accurate - since writing the above (last night) I have discovered that on Sunday 4 August 1938 the BBC transmitted a movie called The Student of Prague. A quick bit of searching reveals this to be a silent film made in 1926 in Germany by Czech actor and filmmaker Henrik Galeen. The source of my info is an original Radio Times magazine. There may still some some further info to follow...
Okay - positively the last word on this from me (I think) - this site is a great help: www.radiotimesarchive.co.uk/television.html It would appear that Student of Prague is the earliest film that is listed in the Radio Times. Whether you consider this silent film to be the first 'movie' to be shown on television in the UK is probably down to your own interpretation. The BBC at this time would barely have reached around 100 people and only in the London area. I can find no evidence of anything shown earlier so I guess the truth falls somewhere between the latest evidence and the quote from the reference book.
Last Edit: Sept 11, 2010 11:19:38 GMT 1 by Laurence
Incidentally, as a footnote - the BBC did show US made cartoon 'shorts' on TV before the war. Most famously, the last programme shown before the 1939 shutdown was a Mickey Mouse cartoon 'Mickey’s Gala Premiere'. There is a lot of myth and misinformation regarding this broadcast - to the extent that on a recent tour of the BBC studios our guide even quoted the 'misinformation' as fact.