Dumont Television Network

The pictures below are from the Grace Church archives, they’re undated shots of a televised holiday service. I zoomed in on the cameras, which say Dumont, as does the label on the cameraman’s jacket in the first shot. I googled the name briefly and learned that Dumont was a television network which ran from 1946 – 1956. In New York they aired on channel 5, which I will always think of as WNEW. Why would they change that?? WNEW was perfect.

That reminds me, my friend Brett Leveridge has started a New York City tour company, Avenues and Alleys. He knows so much about New York that he didn’t even study for the test the city gives to license tour guides and he passed. That is unfathomable to me. Knowing his love of NYC, and his friendly easy-going nature, I’m sure his tours are fabulous.

I am feeling so nostalgic these days. Yesterday I watched The Student Prince and it made me kinda sad. It used to air regularly on channel 13 (PBS) but they never put it on anymore. Posting this picture, researching Dumont, it’s all about wallowing in that feeling.

Dumont Network filming Grace Church Holiday Service

I think this guy might have been standing on an organ.

Dumont Network filming Grace Church Holiday Service

This is the entire shot. They’re shooting in front of the altar, looking right. That is where we stand to sing and where the orchestra plays. The choir furniture is moved away and we take over.

I spent some time researching the people named in all the plaques on all the chairs and lecterns and various objects around the church. Like “In memoriam Cornelius R. Disosway and Eliza his wife, 1801-1889, 1814-1897.” (More wallowing.) But I didn’t finish. (Disosway was a prominent NYC lawyer.) Actually, I don’t think any of that research made it into the book so I should post about it some day. I uncovered some decent stories, they just didn’t really fit with the story of singing.

Dumont Network filming Grace Church Holiday Service

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

7 thoughts on “Dumont Television Network

  1. Dumont created their network in order to sell the TVs they produced. They were always a threadbare operation, but they produced the first season of Sid Caesar, and they also originated a kids show called Captain Video. I was a total Captain Video fanatic (plus Howdy Doody, Hopalong Cassidy, etc., etc.) The production values were so cheap, and of course it was all live TV. One time there was a fight scene on another planet on Captain Video, and they knocked over a piece of the set, revealing the wall of the studio. They just finished the scene as if nothing happened. The eight year olds watching didn’t seem to mind.

  2. Well, maybe it did in some contexts. In any case, I should have known you’d be familiar with Dumont!

  3. Paolo: Don’t feel bad. I have been so spectacularly wrong, and so CONVINCINGLY wrong about so many things. It’s sort of a specialty of mine. 🙂

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