Captain Video…and his Video Rangers!

Captain VideoThe first-ever American-made science fiction television series, Captain Video And His Video Rangers, debuts on the DuMont Television Network. Originated live from a studio in New York City, the series is aimed squarely at younger viewers, but in years to come the show will enjoy scripts written by such science fiction luminaries as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Jack Vance, Robert Sheckley, and James Blish. The series runs five nights a week for six years.

First US television ratings

TVThe A.C. Nielsen Company publishes its first-ever television ratings in the United States, compiling data collected over a “sweep month” running from early April through early May of 1950. The top TV program at the time, according to Nielsen’s data gathering, is Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theater. The Nielsen ratings and data collection methodology will attract controversy for decades to come, and will spell doom for many shows with small but loyal followings.

The Quatermass Experiment: Contact Has Been Established

The Quatermass ExperimentThe BBC airs the first episode of Nigel Kneale’s trend-setting science fiction series The Quatermass Experiment, starring Reginald Tate as Prof. Bernard Quatermass. Broadcast as a live play with minimal footage from other sources played back during air, this is also one of the earliest BBC drama productions archived on film, and one of the final drama productions to use the BBC’s vintage 1930s Alexandra Palace facilities.

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The Quatermess Experiment: Persons Reported Missing

The Quatermass ExperimentThe BBC airs the second episode of Nigel Kneale’s trend-setting science fiction series The Quatermass Experiment, starring Reginald Tate as Prof. Bernard Quatermass. Broadcast as a live play with minimal footage from other sources played back during air, this is one of the earliest BBC drama productions archived on film, though BBC technicians opt not to preserve any further episodes of this series.

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Stage 7: The Secret Weapon Of 117

Gene RoddenberryThe TV anthology series Stage 7 presents the first television script written by future Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, The Secret Weapon Of 117. Ricardo Montalban stars as one of a pair of aliens trying to assess whether or not Earth has the technology to retaliate against infiltration and invasion by their species.

Twilight Zone: Time Enough At Last

Twilight ZoneCBS airs the eighth episode of Rod Serling’s anthology series The Twilight Zone. Burgess Meredith (Batman, Rocky) stars in a script written by Serling, adapted from a short story by Lynn Venable. This episode will later be considered, by both fans of the show and critics of television and drama in general, to be one of The Twilight Zone’s all-time classic episodes.

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Armchair Theatre: Dumb Martian

Out Of This WorldBritish broadcaster ABC airs an episode of the play anthology series Armchair Theatre, Dumb Martian, adapted by Clive Exton from a story by John Wyndham. Originally intended to be the pilot of an all-science-fiction anthology called Out Of This World, this episode is aired as an episode of Armchair Theatre by a decision from producer (and future Doctor Who creator) Sydney Newman, whose protege, Irene Shubik, will be the new anthology’s story editor. Out Of The World begins its short run on ABC a week later. This episode no longer exists in the archives.

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