1938 Pennsylvania Quakers football season (lost early televised college football games; 1938)

From The Lost Media Wiki
Revision as of 22:05, 24 January 2023 by SpaceManiac888 (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Franklin Field, where the games and television coverage were situated at.

Status: Lost

From 1st October to 24th November, 1938, the Pennsylvania Quakers football team competed in the 1938 college football season. Coached by George Munger, the season was a relatively average affair for the team, with three wins, two losses and three ties placing it in the mid-table of its conference standings. However, the team were a part of television history, as at least one of its home games at Franklin Field were televised, with some sources claiming they were the first televised football games.


Pennsylvania Quakers' 1938 campaign started strongly, with 34-6 and 21-0 home wins against Lafayette Leopards and Yale Bulldogs respectively. However, the team lost a rivalry match against Princeton Tigers at Palmer Stadium 0-13. The team recovered with a narrow 14-13 home win against Columbia Lions, in front of 60,00 spectators. However, the team would not win again for the season, with a 0-0 home tie against Navy Midshipmen, a 13-19 loss against Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium, and two home ties against Penn State Nittany Lions (7-7), and rivals Cornell Big Red (0-0). The team outscored by 89-58, and were placed firmly within the mid-rankings of the college season, 59th out of 122 teams.[1]

During the season, Philco were looking to broadcast football for its office-laboratories. Because of the limitations surrounding broadcast radius, with only around a 50-mile radius being possible at the time,[2] the geographical proximity of Franklin Field made broadcasting football from there the ideal location. According to the 1981 NCAA Television Briefing Book, the broadcast was viewed by all six television sets existing in Philadelphia at the time.[3] The extent of broadcasting games remains unclear; at least one game was confirmed to have been broadcast, with all sets belonging to the Philco Company laboratory. However, The Philadelphia Inquirer claimed that Philco broadcast several Quakers games.[4]

Additionally, there is some debate over what television history the broadcasts achieved. While some sources claim it was the first televised football game, others note that a football game was broadcast during Philo T. Farnsworth's electronic television demonstrations in 1934.[5] Nevertheless, it was broadcast prior to a 1939 college football game between Fordham Rams and Waynesburg Yellow Jackets, which is also considered by some sources to be the first televised football game.[6] From an NCAA perspective, the Quakers games were the first televised college football games, as stated in the 1981 NCAA Television Briefing Book.


Like all pre-Second World War television, these demonstrations were broadcast live and were not directly recorded as there were no means of achieving this for television prior to the end of the Second World War.[7] Thus, all televised footage of the broadcasts are now permanently missing, and no relevant photographs have resurfaced.

See Also

Early Sports Television Media

Early BBC Sports Television