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The NBC television broadcasts cover a wide range of NBC's activities throughout the 20th century, from news coverage of political and current events to sports, comedy, music, and other forms of entertainment. Read on to learn more about the programs in the collection. The next section of this guide covers manuscript materials available for use in the Moving Image Research Center.
Acquired in July 1986, this is a historic collection of 18,000 television programs broadcast, preserved and mostly produced by NBC. With programs dating from the beginning of network television in the United States (1948) through 1977, the NBC Television Collection includes not only performances by major actors and musical talents, but also numerous events featuring significant individuals in public affairs. It also includes programs from the late 1940s and early 1950s, and genres such as sports, game shows, children's programs and daytime television.
The collection, beginning in the presidency of Harry Truman, covers the eras of Eleanor Roosevelt, the Korean War, Joseph McCarthy, Nikita Krushchev, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Vietnam War, and the first space shots. There is full coverage of the administrations of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy (including all of the Kennedy press conferences), Johnson, and Nixon, as well as the national conventions and elections in that period. The great comedians of the years of "live TV" (1948-1960) are represented, including Jack Benny, Steve Allen, Jimmy Durante, Ed Wynn, Ernie Kovacs, Fred Allen, Bert Lahr, Groucho Marx, Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Milton Berle, Bob Hope, and Eddie Cantor. Among the concert artists are Arturo Toscanini, Jascha Heifetz, Ezio Pinza, Richard Tucker, and Joan Sutherland. Popular music starts include Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Ethel Merman, Gene Kelly, Mary Martin, Dinah Shore, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Julie Andrews, Harry Belafonte, and many more.
The NBC Television Collection covers programs through the late 1970s. More recent NBC programs can be found throughout the Library's moving image holdings, particularly in the Copyright Collection, which consists of film and television deposited at the Library of Congress to fulfill copyright requirements. NBC television material, both inside and outside the bounds of the NBC Television Collection, can be searched in the Library's Online Catalog.
NOTE: Not all of the television and film materials we have (including NBC items) are searchable in the Online Catalog. An onsite database, MAVIS, offers even more access to NBC television broadcasts but can only be searched in the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Research Centers. If you can't find the television program you're looking for in the Online Catalog, get in touch with the Moving Image Research Center. Reference staff are always happy to search onsite databases and help locate materials.
Television programs in the collection include, among many others: