More Than Half a Century Ago, TV Networks Finally Went Full Color

In the summer of 1928, John Logie Baird made history when he demonstrated the first color television transmission. Of course, it would take decades for the advancement to reach the masses. The 1966-67 television season would be the first in which the three major networks broadcast their primetime lineups in full color. However, not all networks were equal in their march to the full color spectrum. NBC was continually ahead in the game, thanks to the fact that it was owned by RCA, which manufactured the color cameras for studios and color sets for homes. Meanwhile, CBS held out while the company tried to push its own system of broadcasting color. The slow transition from black and white to color is evident in many shows on networks like MeTV. The Adventures of Superman switched to color in 1955, while it was 1965 before Gilligan’s Island switched. Even The Andy Griffith Show’s Aunt Bee was in color. An Evening With Fred Astaire was the first program kept on color tape, while Perry Mason experimented with one episode in color. Daytime soap operas like The Secret Storm were the last programs to go to color, and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was officially the last black and white show on network television. Pittsburgh station WQEX-TV didn’t convert to color until 1986, and Sears sold its last black and white sets in 1990.