Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
General Electric Theater
General Electric Theater was a half-hour CBS television anthology broadcast every Sunday evening beginning February 1, 1953 and ending May 27, 1962. Each of its 200 episodes was an adaptation of a short story, novel, play, film, or other work of fiction. The program was sponsored by General Electric's Department of Public Relations Services.
Ronald Reagan became the show's first and only host on September 26, 1954; GE introduced a host to provide continuity which was absent due to its anthology format. After four months, the show reached the top ten in the Nielsen Ratings; it also regularly outrated I Love Lucy in the 9-9:30pm time slot.
The show made Reagan wealthy and famous: wealthy, due to his part ownership of the show, and famous, due not only to its ratings, but to his constant touring to promote the show. After eight years as host, Reagan estimated he had visited 135 GE research and manufacturing facilities, and met over a quarter-million people. During that time he would also speak at other fora such as Rotary International clubs and Royal Order of Moose lodges, presenting views on economic progress that in form and content were often similar to what he said in introductions, segues and closing comments on the show as a spokesman for GE.
- Article on GE Theater from the Museum of Broadcast Communications
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