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May 6

Watch the Dramatic Ad That Introduced the First Remote-Control Color TV

It was “the greatest advance in television since color television itself.”

In the early days of color television, if you wanted to change the channel or crank up the volume, you had to get up out of your easy chair like some kind of schmuck, walk a few paces while muttering complaints, and stab your finger in the direction of a button or knob.

Then the RCA Corporation changed everything. In 1961 it introduced the first remotely controlled color TV. The product came with a rectangular remote capable of adjusting seven functions, named one-by-one in the advertisement’s highly energetic voiceover. (“Tint! Color! Brightness! Volume! Fine tuning! Channel selection! On-off!”)

The remote control, or “wireless wizard,” as it was called in the almost-six-minute commercial, was marketed as “the ultimate in performance and convenience.” But all the buttons were replicated on the TV itself just in case it got lost between the couch cushions.

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