Television in the United States made its formal debut at the World's Fair in New York City on Sunday April 30, 1939 with the first Presidential address on Television by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The signal was sent by the Telemobile (RCA's mobile Television van) to the Empire State transmitter and rebroadcast. The New York Times reported the broadcast was received in strategic locations and the pictures were clear and steady.Ten days prior to Roosevelt's speech, David Sarnoff, President of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), made the dedication speech for the opening of the RCA Pavilion at the New York World's Fair. Staging this event prior to the World's Fair opening ceremonies ensured that RCA would capture its share of the newspaper headlines.
The ceremony was televised, and watched by several hundred viewers on TV receivers inside the RCA Pavilion at the fairgrounds, as well as on receivers installed on the 62nd floor of Radio City in Manhattan.
The RCA Pavilion was designed by the renowned U.S. Modernist architectural firm of Skidmore & Owings. When viewed from the air,It was shaped like a radio tube, attracting much attention since aerial views and models of the fair were immensely popular as they showed visitors the scope of the exhibition. The first sight to be seen inside the entrance of the building (see photo above) was the Phantom Teleceiver, now a prized piece of the MZTV Museum Collection. People were amazed by the quality of the television pictures on this unit. The great majority of visitors had never seen television before, and the set's transparent cabinet removed any doubts in viewer's minds that magic or trickery was involved in obtaining the pictures.