Let’s set the scene: The Brooklyn Dodgers are playing the Philadelphia Phillies at Ebbets Field on July 1, 1941, and the game is being aired on WNBT-TV (later to become WNBC). Before the game begins, TV viewers see this: a 10-second advertisement for Bulova clocks and watches. The ad shows a clock and a map of the United States, with a voice-over that says, “America runs on Bulova time.” This litte spot (which ran at 2:29 pm, if you’re keeping Bulova time) marked the advent of something much bigger — commercialized television. Earlier in 1941, the FCC had approved a plan to turn TV into big business. When Bulova paid $9 dollars to plug its brand, the plan was actualized. Every advertisement seen since (for better or worse) has a common lineage in this moment.
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