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Kennedy v. Nixon First Televised Presidential Debate Poster
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This poster uses the 1960 presidential campaign between Democrat nominee John F. Kennedy and Republican nominee Richard M. Nixon to sell Sylvania television picture tubes. It features the faces of Kennedy and Nixon on a picture tube with a hand pointed to the bottom of the poster. It encouraged customers to “Enjoy the Presidential Campaigns More on a Silver Screen 85 Picture Tube” and to “Vote Here for Expert Radio-TV Service with Sylvania Tubes, Free Tube Testing Inside, Prompt ‘At-Home’ Service & Be Sure to Vote in November.” Local television dealers could add their business information beneath this poster.

[JOHN F. KENNEDY]. Printed Broadside, Advertising Television Picture Tube to Enjoy Kennedy-Nixon Campaign. 1 p., 22½ x 39 in.

Inventory #26689       Price: $2,000

Historical Background
The 1960 presidential campaign featured four one-hour debates between Kennedy and Nixon, the first presidential debates ever and also the first to be televised. They were also broadcast on radio. The first two were held in Chicago (September 26) and Washington, D.C. (October 7). In the third, held October 13, Nixon was in Los Angeles and Kennedy was in New York City. The fourth was held on October 21 in New York City. he debates each drew a viewership of more than 60 million. By 1960, 87 percent of American households had a television. More than half of all voters reported that they were influenced by the debate, and 6 percent claimed that the debates alone determined their choice of candidate.

Introduced in 1954, the Sylvania Silver Screen 85 boasted a “precision-focus electron gun” for clear pictures over the entire tube face, added silver-activiated atoms for a “far sharper picture,” and aluminum coating on the back and sides of the tube to hold and reflect the light to give “seven times more picture contrast.”

Condition: affixed with adhesives to a rust-colored mat overlaid with a cream-colored border mat, measuring 31½ x 48 in.; several tears are present along edges, the largest at the top center measuring 3⅞ in.; minor loss visible at the edges, with two pinholes at the top two corners; some toning.

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