Sobel Wiki
Early 1950s Television Set Eugene Oregon

A Manitoban youth with a vitavision receiver, 1953 (John Atherton photo).

Vitavision is a technology for transmitting moving images across a distance, invented in the Confederation of North America by Thomas Edison and first publicly demonstrated by him in 1900. Although Edison established the first vitavision transmitting unit in Toms River, New Jersey, N.C. in 1902, the medium initially did not achieve the commercial success of either radio or motion pictures, since receivers cost N.A. £2,000 and only one program was broadcast per day.

In 1922, however, locomobile magnate Owen Galloway began vitavision broadcast of the Galloway Playhouse, then the most popular program on C.N.A. radio, and sales of receivers skyrocketed. On 25 December of that year, the dramatic production was followed by an address by Galloway, introducing what came to be known as the Galloway Plan, that was seen or heard by an estimated 60 million North Americans. Soon after, the general public were able to see the candidates for Governor-General as they competed in the 1923 election.

Vitavision was a key to Galloway's vast national influence during the 1920's and 1930's, and became the stage for major national events such as Douglas Watson's report to the Grand Council on his world tour in 1933, Richard Mason's New Day speech of 1953, and Perry Jay's announcement in 1966 of the success of the North American atomic bomb project and his own retirement.

Vitavision was established in the United States of Mexico by 1920, when President Victoriano Consalus and his Liberty Party opponent Emiliano Calles held a vitavised public debate. In 1929, former Secretary of State Albert Ullman was interviewed by Miguel Callendra on the vitavision program I Remember.

Sobel's sources for the invention and impact of vitavision include Franklin Drew's The Guard Changeth: The Elections of 1923 (New York, 1931); and John Flaherty's The Little Black Box: Vitavision's Early History (London, 1969).