New Jersey’s TV Trailblazers at Richwood Academy Cultural Center

Long before “The Sopranos”, New Jersey’s contributions to the history of television and film have been both notable and numerous.  The state is considered the birthplace of the motion picture industry, stretching back into the 19th century and DuMont Laboratories in Passaic developed early television sets and made the first broadcast to a private home.  

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The DuMont Television Network and the state’s TV trailblazers will be the topic of the upcoming program on Sunday May 7, 3 p.m., when the Harrison Township Historical Society welcomes Dr. Alan Delozier to Richwood Academy Cultural Center.

Delozier is the Outreach and Research Librarian at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. With a wide variety of academic research interests, he became intrigued with the story of early television pioneer Allan DuMont and the industry and network that he created.

DuMont was an electronics engineer, scientist and inventor who made improvements to the cathode ray tube used in television receivers.  In June 1938 he sold the very first television set to the public, several months ahead of RCA.  His sets were notable for their quality and cabinetry design.  

In 1942 he entered the broadcasting industry rivaling NBC and CBS, and despite its early notoriety, today it is often referred to as the forgotten network, but its programming was innovative and creative. The network’s programs were noteworthy, including the Cavalcade of Stars, Ernie Kovacs Show and the first television programs starring Asian and African Americans.

This year, the Society is focusing on mid-20th century history and the Old Town Hall Museum in Mullica Hill is now featuring a new exhibition on that period entitled “Back to the Fifties.”  Dr. Delozier’s presentation will explore forgotten chapters of that era from the perspective of New Jersey history.

Richwood Academy Cultural Center is located at 836 Lambs Rd., Richwood, NJ.  There is no admission fee; free tickets are available online at the Harrison Township Historical Society’s public Facebook page.  The program will also be livestreamed and archived at Facebook for future viewing.  Facebook membership is not required to access the program.  Information can be found at Facebook and at Old Town Hall Museum (856-478-4949).

The Harrison Township Historical Society’s arts and history programs are made possible in part by funding from the Gloucester County Cultural and Heritage Commission at Rowan College of South Jersey, in partnership with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State and the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey Historical Commission/Department of State. 

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