Missing Pieces of Media History
Whether it is Neil Armstrong's voice crackling, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," or Ralph Kramden bellowing, "Bang, zoom, to the moon, Alice!," television has filled our collective memories with unforgettable worlds both real and imagined. Unfortunately, a great many other television moments—particularly those that were transmitted live—are now thought to be lost forever.
Even an occasion as monumental as the first televised address from the White House, delivered by President Harry S. Truman in 1947, is not known to survive.
Since its founding in 1975, the Paley Center, which holds over 160,000 television and radio programs and advertisements in its collection, has been dedicated to preserving the rich legacy of broadcasting history. However, despite the best efforts of the Center, as well as such institutions as the Library of Congress, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Museum of Broadcast Communications, and others, there are still a great many significant broadcasts for which no copies are known to exist.