9/10/2008

Evidence of Early iTV surfaces from 1953 !!!

I hope you take this posting with a grain of salt and a healthy portion of good humor... Back in the 1950's there was a TV show that appears to be the first instance of interactive TV, "Winky Dink and You," hosted by Jack Barry (who later hosted the infamous quiz show, "21," that was ultimately revealed to be rigged).

Barry asked kids to affix a specially purchased transparent film to the TV screen and then follow along as he drew images on the screen. Kids could color and trace his images with specially purchased crayons that were the only ones "approved for use with Winky Dink."

Here is an excerpt from the show:





Hey, this might be the first example of interactive TV (except for the fact that the TV signal didn't carry the doodles back to the studio). On a commercial note, the "vendor lock-in" that required the purchase of "specially designed" crayons makes for a great example of early product marketing.

The idea for this post was derived from a talk by Peter Hirshberg at TED entitled "The Web and TV: a sibling rivalry."

10 comments:

Jonathan said...

I love this bit of nostalgia! My father always talks about that TV show.

Anonymous said...

It's Jack Barry, with an 'a'. I was just telling my daughter about this show last night. Is there more video that you're holding back? I'd love to save Winky again by drawing one of those bridges!

Tiran said...

Thank you Anonymous! I corrected the name in the posting.

Bruce D said...

I have wondered if anyone remembered this show. I actually had the winky dink set and really looked forward to slapping it on the t.v. and connecting the dots. Would be great to see a whole episode!

ladycat said...

There's a full episode here:

http://www.archive.org/details/WinkyDinkAndYou1

I'd like to play along but I don't have a magic screen, and I don't want to write on my monitor.... lol

Sue said...

I had one of the Winky Dink sets, the crayons were "special" in that they were very waxy and easy to rub off the "special screen" ( plastic) that came with the set. You have to realize that plastic was just emerging as something people had in their homes. It was revolutionary to use it to draw on your tv set. Each week winky would have an adventure in which we were needed to get him out of trouble by drawing a ladder, or steps or a rope to climb out of a ravine.
I loved that show.

Go Share Your Faith said...

Sue,
Yes...I remember that!!

shelleyflannery49@gmail.com said...

I had the kit and loved the show back in the day. I just got a new kit from a catalog, which includes a DVD with lots of episodes. Now I can save Winky any time I like! I'm crazy about Jack Barry! Thanks for posting...

Anonymous said...

I remember drawing on dads tv without a "magic" screen so did my friends not cool but funny now remembering dads reaction. What were they thinking

Spoons said...

I remember using the screen and also remember how many adults flipped out when they saw kids coloring the tv with the crayons.