Allen B. DuMont founded The DuMont Television Network in 1946. It was one of the first television networks in the history of the United States. However, it only grew to 20 stations and lasted less than 10 years.
These were the days when neighbors bragged to each other about the quality of their television picture, based on the type of antenna set-up. The actual picture flickered and was elliptical or even round. The opening on the front of your TV console for the actual picture tube might take up less than a quarter of its surface. Families hovered around the set to get a good view.
The DuMont Network seemed to struggle the whole time of its existence. In this writer’s hometown of Dallas, DuMont jumped around, sharing different stations. It never had its own dedicated channel. There were precious few at the time.
Some Good Shows
DuMont did, however, produce some decent programming. Jackie Gleason briefly started his TV career at DuMont. Here are five of the network’s top shows:
The Ted Mack Amateur Hour – This weekly talent show, hosted by Ted Mack, featured amateur performers from across the country. It was one of the most popular shows on the DuMont network.
Captain Video and His Video Rangers – This science fiction series, which aired from 1949 to 1955, was one of the first shows of its kind on television. It followed the adventures of Captain Video and his team of “Video Rangers” as they battled evil forces in the far reaches of space. (I watched this as a 6-year old and never forgot it.)
Life is Worth Living – This religious program, hosted by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, aired from 1952 to 1957. It featured Sheen delivering thought-provoking sermons on a wide range of topics.
Cavalcade of Stars – This variety show, hosted by Jackie Gleason, aired from 1949 to 1952. It featured a mix of comedy, music, and dance, and it helped to launch Gleason’s career as a major television star.
Down You Go – This quiz show, hosted by Dr. Bergen Evans, aired from 1951 to 1956. It featured contestants answering questions about a wide range of topics. It was one of the most popular game shows on the DuMont network.
Early Life of Allen DuMont
Allen DuMont was an American inventor, engineer, and entrepreneur. He played a key role in the development of television broadcasting. DuMont was born on January 29, 1901, in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Passaic, New Jersey.
Allen showed an early interest in electronics and radio communication. He went on to study electrical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his degree, DuMont worked for a number of companies in the electronics industry, including RCA and Westinghouse.
In the early 1930s, DuMont became interested in television, which was then still in its infancy. He began experimenting with cathode ray tubes, which are the key components of television sets, and he soon became one of the leading experts in the field.
In 1931, DuMont founded his own company, DuMont Laboratories, which specialized in the development of cathode ray tubes and other electronic components. The company quickly became a major player in the electronics industry, and DuMont was widely regarded as one of the leading figures in the field of television.
In 1946, DuMont founded the DuMont Television Network, which was one of the first television networks in the United States. The network was known for its innovative programming and its commitment to live television, which was still a relatively new and untested medium at the time.
Despite its early success, the DuMont Television Network faced a number of challenges in the 1950s, and it was eventually forced to shut down in 1956. However, DuMont continued to be involved in the electronics industry, and he founded a number of other companies over the course of his career.
DuMont was also a prolific inventor, and he held more than 100 patents over the course of his career. In addition to his work in television, he also made important contributions to the development of radar technology and the early computer industry.
Allen B. DuMont died on November 15, 1965, at the age of 64.
Short Passage into History
Here is a brief history of the ownership of the network from beginning to end:
1946 to 1955: Allen B. DuMont owned the network and served as its chairman and president.
1955 to 1956: In an effort to raise additional capital for the network, DuMont sold a controlling interest in the company to Paramount Pictures. However, this move was not enough to save the struggling network, and it continued to face financial difficulties.
1956: DuMont sold the remaining assets of the network to John Kluge, a businessman and investor who was interested in the potential of the UHF (Ultra High Frequency) band, which was not yet widely used for television broadcasting.
- Year Started: 1946
- Year Ended: 1956
- Origin Of Name: Name of Founder / Descriptive
- Location Sales: USA
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Allen B. DuMont
- Owner While In Use: Paramount
- Owner Successor: John Kluge
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Netflix
- Naics Code: 516120
- Location Headquarters: New York, New York USA