Thomas W. Lamb
Thomas White Lamb was an American architect, born in Scotland. He is noted as one of the foremost designers of cinemas in the 20th century. Born in Dundee, United Kingdom, Thomas W. Lamb came to the United States at the age of 12, he studied architecture at Cooper Union in New York and worked for the City of New York as an inspector. His architecture firm, Thomas W. Lamb, Inc. was located at 36 West 40th Street in Manhattan, New York. Lamb achieved recognition as one of the leading architects of the boom in movie theater construction of the 1910s and 1920s. Associated with the Fox Theatres, Loew's Theatres and Keith-Albee chains of vaudeville and film theaters, Lamb was instrumental in establishing and developing the design and construction of the large, lavishly decorated theaters, known as "movie palaces", as showcases for the films of the emerging Hollywood studios, his first theater design was the City Theatre, built in New York in 1909 for film mogul William Fox. His designs for the 1914 Mark Strand Theatre, the 1916 Rialto Theatre and the 1917 Rivoli Theatre, all in New York's Times Square, set the template for what would become the American movie palace.
Among his most notable theaters are the 1929 Fox Theatre in San Francisco and the 1919 Capitol Theatre in New York, both now demolished. Among his most noted designs that have been preserved and restored are the B. F. Keith Memorial Theatre in Boston, Warner's Hollywood Theatre in New York, the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, the Loew's Ohio Theatre in Columbus, Ohio. Among Lamb's Canadian theaters that have been preserved are the Pantages Theatre in Toronto, and Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres. The Cinema Treasures website, which documents the history of film theaters, lists 174 theaters designed by Lamb's company. Aside from movie theaters, Lamb is noted for designing New York's Ziegfeld Theatre, a legitimate theater, as well as the third Madison Square Garden and the Paramount Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Lamb died in 1942 in New York City at the age of 71, his architectural archive is held by the Drawings and Archives Department of Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University.
During the last ten years of his practice, Lamb's associate was the architect John J. McNamara. After Lamb's death, McNamara continued as an architect of theaters under his own name. McNamara was responsible for renovating some of Lamb's older New York theaters, among his original designs was one for the 1969 Ziegfeld Theatre in Manhattan, which replaced Lamb's original building. Academy of Music, New York City, 1927 B. F. Keith Memorial Theatre, Massachusetts, 1928 Capitol Theatre, New York City, 1919 Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, New York, 1926 Cort Theatre, New York City, 1912 Eltinge 42nd Street Theatre, New York City, 1912 Fenway Theatre, Boston, 1915 Fox Theatre, San Francisco, California, 1929 Franklin Square Theatre, Massachusetts, 1927 Hippodrome Theatre, Maryland, 1914 Hippodrome, New York City, 1923 redesign Keith-Albee Theatre, Queens, New York, 1928 Keith-Albee Theatre, West Virginia, 1928 Keith-Albee Palace Theatre, Ohio, 1926 Keith-Albee Palace Theatre, Connecticut, 1927 Lincoln Theatre, Miami Beach, Florida, 1936 Loew's 72nd Street Theatre, New York City, 1930 Loew's 175th Street Theater, New York City, 1930 Loew's and United Artists' Ohio Theatre, Ohio, 1928 Loew's Grand Theatre, Georgia, 1932 redesign Loew's Midland Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri, 1927 Loew's Pitkin Theatre, New York, 1928 Loew's State Theatre, Playhouse Square, Ohio, 1920 Loew's State Theatre, Virginia, 1926 Loew's State Theatre, Times Square, New York City, 1924 Loew's State Theatre, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1926 Loew's Theatre, New Rochelle, New York,1925 Loew's State Theatre, New York, 1928 Madison Square Garden, New York City, 1925 Madison Theater, New York, 1929 Mark Strand Theater, New York City, 1914 Maryland Theatre, Maryland, 1915 Municipal Auditorium, Alabama, 1924 Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square, Ohio, 1921 Orpheum Theatre, Massachusetts, 1915 redesign Palace Theater, Connecticut, 1922 Poli's Majestic Theatre, Connecticut, 1922 Poli's Palace Theatre, Connecticut, 1922 Pythian Temple, Manhattan, 1927, the spacious theater the building once housed is gone.
Proctor's 58th Street Theatre, New York City, 1928 Proctor's 86th Street Theatre, New York City, 1927 Proctor's Theatre, New York, 1926 Reade’s State Theatre, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1921 Regent Theatre, New York City, 1913 Ridgewood Theatre, New York, 1916 Rivoli Theatre, New York City, 1917 Stanley Theatre, New York, 1928 State Theatre, Pennsylvania, 1922 Strand Theatre, New Jersey, 1922 Tivoli Theatre, Washington, DC, 1924 Victoria Theater, New York City, 1917 Warner Theatre, Connecticut, 1931 Warner's Hollywood Theatre, New York City, 1930 Ziegfeld Theatre, New York City, 1927 Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres, Toronto, 1913 The Sanderson Centre, Ontario, 1919. Pantages Theatre, Ontario, 1920 Uptown Theatre, Ontario, 1920.
Lexington Avenue colloquially abbreviated as "Lex", is an avenue on the East Side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City that carries southbound one-way traffic from East 131st Street to Gramercy Park at East 21st Street. Along its 5.5-mile, 110-block route, Lexington Avenue runs through Harlem, Carnegie Hill, the Upper East Side and Murray Hill to a point of origin, centered on Gramercy Park. South of Gramercy Park, the axis continues as Irving Place from 20th Street to East 14th Street. Lexington Avenue was not one of the streets included in the Commissioners' Plan of 1811 street grid, so the addresses for cross streets do not start at an hundred number, as they do with avenues that were part of the plan. Both Lexington Avenue and Irving Place began in 1832 when Samuel Ruggles, a lawyer and real-estate developer, petitioned the New York State Legislature to approve the creation of a new north/south avenue between the existing Third and Fourth Avenues, between 14th and 30th Streets.
Ruggles had purchased land in the area, was developing it as a planned community of townhouses around a private park, which he called Gramercy Park. He was developing property around the planned Union Square, wanted the new road to improve the value of these tracts; the legislation approved, and, as the owner of most of the land along the route of the new street, Ruggles was assessed for the majority of its cost. Ruggles named the southern section, below 20th Street, which opened in 1833, after his friend Washington Irving; the northern section, which opened three years in 1836, was named after the Battle of Lexington in the Revolutionary War. Lexington saw the first arrest in New York for speeding, in 1899, when a bicycle patrolman overtook cabdriver Jacob German, racing down the avenue at the "reckless" speed of 12 mph; the portion of Lexington Avenue above East 42nd Street was reconstructed at the same time as the IRT Lexington Avenue Line of the New York City Subway. The widened street and the subway line both opened on July 17, 1918.
Parallel to Lexington Avenue lies Third Avenue to its east. The avenue is commercial at ground level, with offices above. There are clusters of hotels in the 30s and 40s from the avenue's intersection with 30th Street through to its intersection with 49th Street, apartment buildings farther north. Portions of the avenue were widened in 1955, which required eminent domain takings of the facades of some structures along Lexington. Lexington Avenue has carried one-way traffic since July 17, 1960; the July 18, 2007 New York City steam explosion sent a geyser of hot steam up from beneath the avenue at 41st Street resulting in one death and more than 40 injuries. In contrast to Lexington Avenue, the five-block stretch of Irving Place, from 14th to 20th Street at Gramercy Park carries two-way traffic and is decidedly local in nature. After the opening of Union Square in 1839, the Irving Place area became one of the most sought-after residential neighborhoods in the city, a situation, only enhanced by the development of Gramercy Park to the north and Stuyvesant Square to the east.
An assortment of restaurants and bars line Irving Place, including Pete's Tavern, New York's oldest surviving saloon, where O. Henry conceived of his short story "The Gift of the Magi", which survived Prohibition disguised as a flower shop. Irving Plaza, on East 15th Street and Irving, hosts numerous concerts for both well-known and indie bands and draws a crowd every night. Another component of the avenue are the large apartment buildings which line the street from Gramercy Park to 17th Street. At 17th, a small bed-and-breakfast, the Inn at Irving Place, occupies two Greek Revival architecture townhouses built in 1840–1841 and renovated between 1991 and 1995, and architecturally significant are 47 and 49 Irving Place—the latter where Washington Irving is said to have lived, but did not—which are part of the East 17th Street/Irving Place Historic District, 19 Gramercy Park on the corner of 20th Street, part of the Gramercy Park Historic District. Offices located on Irving Place include those of The Nation magazine, the New York branch of the Rosicrucian Order and the Seafarers and International House mission.
There are a number of clinics and official city buildings along the street, including Washington Irving High School and the headquarters of the New York City Human Resources Administration. The bottom of the street is anchored by the rear of the Zeckendorf Towers condominium apartment complex on the west side, the Consolidated Edison Building on the east. Surface: The following buses use Lexington Avenue between the following streets: M98: Between East 120th and East 67th Streets M101, M102, M103: Between Harlem and East 24th Streets. M101 and M103 run to 125th Street. BxM1: Between East 106th and East 34th Streets SIM6: Between East 57th and East 23rd Streets SIM22: Between East 57th and East 42nd Streets SIM26: Between East 57th and East 42nd StreetsSubway: The IRT Lexington Avenue Line of the New York City Subway runs under Lexington Avenue north of 42nd Street to 125th Street. Lexington Avenue became part of a classic American cinematic moment, in the 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch, the scene in which Marilyn Monroe shot what would become her most famous scene.
Whilst she stands on a subway grating outside the Loew's Lexington theatre, her skirt billows up fr
A rock concert is a musical performance in the style of any one of many genres inspired by "rock and roll" music. While a variety of vocal and instrumental styles can constitute a rock concert, this phenomenon is characterized by bands playing at least one electric guitar, an electric bass guitar, drums. Two guitar players share the tasks of rhythm and lead guitar playing. Rock concerts have a social history which shapes the perception of the linguistic term and the activity itself. During the 1950s, several American musical groups experimented with new musical forms that fused country music and swing genre to produce the earliest examples of "rock and roll." The coining of the phrase, "rock and roll," is attributed to American, Alan Freed, a disk jockey and concert promoter who organized many of the first major rock concerts. Since the rock concert has become a staple of entertainment not only in the United States, but around the world; the term'rock concert' is occasionally used to refer to live performances by distinctly non-rock acts.
Live performances by pop, hip-hop, R&B bands may not be rock concerts in the strictest sense, but they are referred to as rock concerts regardless. These performances share many characteristics with rock concerts, such as an overall party atmosphere. Bill Graham is credited with setting the format and standards for modern rock concerts, he introduced advance ticketing, introduced modern security measures and had clean toilets and safe conditions in large venues. Rock concerts are associated with certain kinds of behavior. Dancing, singing along with the band, ostentatious displays by the musicians are common, though some successful rock bands have avoided gratuitous flash in favor of understated performances focusing on the music itself. So, rock concerts have a playful atmosphere both for the band and the audience. Like rock music in general, rock concerts are emblematic of American culture's waning formality; such concerts were crucial to the formation of youth identity in the U. S. during a time of social revolution, have continued to represent elements of society seen as "rebellious," against the strictures of mid-twentieth-century social normativities.
One of the most well-known rock concerts was undoubtedly Woodstock, millions of much smaller rock concerts go on every year. Rock concerts are performed at high decibel levels. Prolonged exposure to noise at these levels can permanently damage the bones of the middle ear and the nerves of the inner ear, thus health officials recommend. Since the 1960s, many musicians have worn earplugs at concerts, some concert promoters give out free earplugs. Rock festival 80's Rock Concerts
Halloween or Hallowe'en known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration observed in several countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints and all the faithful departed, it is believed that many Halloween traditions originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals the Gaelic festival Samhain. Some believe, that Halloween began as a Christian holiday, separate from ancient festivals like Samhain. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, attending Halloween costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, as well as watching horror films. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows' Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration.
Some Christians abstained from meat on All Hallows' Eve, a tradition reflected in the eating of certain vegetarian foods on this vigil day, including apples, potato pancakes, soul cakes. The word is of Christian origin; the word "Hallowe'en" means "Saints' evening". It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows' Eve. In Scots, the word "eve" is and this is contracted to e'en or een. Over time, Hallow Een evolved into Hallowe'en. Although the phrase "All Hallows'" is found in Old English "All Hallows' Eve" is itself not seen until 1556. Today's Halloween customs are thought to have been influenced by folk customs and beliefs from the Celtic-speaking countries, some of which are believed to have pagan roots. Jack Santino, a folklorist, writes that "there was throughout Ireland an uneasy truce existing between customs and beliefs associated with Christianity and those associated with religions that were Irish before Christianity arrived". Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while "some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, which comes from the Old Irish for'summer's end'."Samhain was the first and most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Gaelic calendar and was celebrated on 31 October – 1 November in Ireland and the Isle of Man.
A kindred festival was held at the same time of year by the Brittonic Celts, called Calan Gaeaf in Wales, Kalan Gwav in Cornwall and Kalan Goañv in Brittany. For the Celts, the day began at sunset. Samhain and Calan Gaeaf are mentioned in some of Welsh literature; the names have been used by historians to refer to Celtic Halloween customs up until the 19th century, are still the Gaelic and Welsh names for Halloween. Samhain/Calan Gaeaf marked the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or the'darker half' of the year. Like Beltane/Calan Mai, it was seen as a liminal time, when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld thinned; this meant the Aos Sí, the'spirits' or'fairies', could more come into this world and were active. Most scholars see the Aos Sí as "degraded versions of ancient gods whose power remained active in the people's minds after they had been replaced by religious beliefs"; the Aos Sí were both respected and feared, with individuals invoking the protection of God when approaching their dwellings.
At Samhain, it was believed that the Aos Sí needed to be propitiated to ensure that the people and their livestock survived the winter. Offerings of food and drink, or portions of the crops, were left outside for the Aos Sí; the souls of the dead were said to revisit their homes seeking hospitality. Places were set by the fire to welcome them; the belief that the souls of the dead return home on one night of the year and must be appeased seems to have ancient origins and is found in many cultures throughout the world. In 19th century Ireland, "candles would be lit and prayers formally offered for the souls of the dead. After this the eating and games would begin". Throughout Ireland and Britain, the household festivities included rituals and games intended to foretell one's future regarding death and marriage. Apples and nuts were used in these divination rituals, they included apple bobbing, nut roasting, scrying or mirror-gazing, pouring molten lead or egg whites into water, dream interpretation, others.
Special bonfires were lit and there were rituals involving them. Their flames and ashes were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers, were used for divination. In some places, torches lit from the bonfire were carried sunwise around homes and fields to protect them, it is suggested that the fires were a kind of imitative or sympathetic magic – they mimicked the Sun, helping the "powers of growth" and holding back the decay and darkness of winter. In Scotland, these bonfires and divination games were banned by
The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. Ranging from quintet to septet, the band is known for its eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, country, blues, modal jazz, experimental music and space rock, for live performances of lengthy instrumental jams, for their devoted fan base, known as "Deadheads". "Their music", writes Lenny Kaye, "touches on ground that most other groups don't know exists". These various influences were distilled into a diverse and psychedelic whole that made the Grateful Dead "the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world"; the band was ranked 57th by Rolling Stone magazine in its The Greatest Artists of All Time issue. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and a recording of their May 8, 1977, performance at Cornell University's Barton Hall was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2012; the Grateful Dead have sold more than 35 million albums worldwide. The Grateful Dead was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area amid the rise of the counterculture of the 1960s.
The founding members were Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann. Members of the Grateful Dead had played together in various San Francisco bands, including Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions and the Warlocks. Lesh was the last member to join the Warlocks. Drummer Mickey Hart and non-performing lyricist Robert Hunter joined in 1967. With the exception of McKernan, who died in 1973, Hart, who took time off from 1971 to 1974, the core of the band stayed together for its entire 30-year history; the other official members of the band are Tom Constanten, John Perry Barlow, Keith Godchaux, Donna Godchaux, Brent Mydland, Vince Welnick. Bruce Hornsby was a touring member from 1990 to 1992, as well as a guest with the band on occasion before and after the tours. After the death of Garcia in 1995, former members of the band, along with other musicians, toured as the Other Ones in 1998, 2000, 2002, the Dead in 2003, 2004, 2009. In 2015, the four surviving core members marked the band's 50th anniversary in a series of concerts that were billed as their last performances together.
There have been several spin-offs featuring one or more core members, such as Dead & Company, the Rhythm Devils, Phil Lesh and Friends, RatDog, Billy & the Kids. The Grateful Dead began their career as the Warlocks, a group formed in early 1965 from the remnants of a Palo Alto, California jug band called Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions; the band's first show was at Magoo's Pizza located at 639 Santa Cruz Avenue in suburban Menlo Park, on May 5, 1965. They continued playing bar shows as the Warlocks, but changed its name after finding out that the Velvet Underground had put out a record under the same name; the first show under the name Grateful Dead was in San Jose on December 4, 1965, at one of Ken Kesey's Acid Tests. Earlier demo tapes have survived, but the first of over 2,000 concerts known to have been recorded by the band's fans was a show at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco on January 8, 1966; that month, the Grateful Dead played at the Trips Festival, an early psychedelic rock concert.
The name "Grateful Dead" was chosen from a dictionary. According to Phil Lesh, in his autobiography, "... picked up an old Britannica World Language Dictionary...... In that silvery elf-voice he said to me,'Hey, how about the Grateful Dead?'" The definition there was "the soul of a dead person, or his angel, showing gratitude to someone who, as an act of charity, arranged their burial". According to Alan Trist, director of the Grateful Dead's music publisher company Ice Nine, Garcia found the name in the Funk & Wagnalls Folklore Dictionary, when his finger landed on that phrase while playing a game of Fictionary. In the Garcia biography, Captain Trips, author Sandy Troy states that the band was smoking the psychedelic DMT at the time; the term "grateful dead" appears in folktales of a variety of cultures. Other supporting personnel who signed on early included Rock Scully, who heard of the band from Kesey and signed on as manager after meeting them at the Big Beat Acid Test. "We were living off of Owsley's good graces at that time....
Trip was he wanted to design equipment for us, we were going to have to be in sort of a lab situation for him to do it", said Garcia. One of the group's earliest major performances in 1967 was the Mantra-Rock Dance—a musical event held on January 29, 1967, at the Avalon Ballroom by the San Francisco Hare Krishna temple; the Grateful Dead performed at the event along with the Hare Krishna founder Bhaktivedanta Swami, poet Allen Ginsberg, bands Moby Grape and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, donating proceeds to the Krishna temple. The band's first LP, The Grateful Dead, was released on Warner Brothers in 1967. Classically trained trumpeter Phil Lesh performed on bass guitar. Bob Weir, the youngest original member of the group, played r
A movie palace is any of the large, elaborately decorated movie theaters built between the 1910s and the 1940s. The late 1920s saw the peak of the movie palace, with hundreds opened every year between 1925 and 1930. With the advent of television, movie attendance dropped and many movie palaces were razed or converted into multiple screen venues or performing arts centers. There are three architectural design types of movie palaces. First, the classical style movie palace, with its opulent, luxurious architecture. Paid exhibition of motion pictures began on April 14, 1894, at Andrew M. Holland's phonograph store, located at 1155 Broadway in New York City, with the Kinetoscope. Dropping a nickel in a machine allowed a viewer to see a short motion picture, devoid of plot; the machines were installed in Kinetoscope parlors, department stores and drugstores in large American cities. The machines were popular from 1894 to 1896, but by the turn of the century had disappeared as Americans rejected the solitary viewing experience and boring entertainment.
Around 1900, motion pictures became a small part of vaudeville theatres. The competitive vaudeville theatre market caused owners to look for new entertainment, the motion picture helped create demand, although the new form of entertainment was not the main draw for patrons, it was used as a "chaser"—shown as the end of the performance to chase the audience from the theatre. These theatres were designed much like legitimate theatres; the Beaux-Arts architecture of these theatres was ornate. They were not designed for motion pictures, but rather live stage performances. In 1902, the storefront theatre was born at Thomas Lincoln Tally's Electric Theatre in Los Angeles; these soon spread throughout the country as empty storefronts were equipped with chairs, a Vitascope projector, a muslin sheet on which the motion picture was exhibited, darkened windows, a box by the door to service as a ticket office Storefront theatres, supplied with motion pictures made in Chicago and New York, spread throughout America.
These theatres exhibited a motion picture at a specific time during the day. Air domes became popular in warm climates and in the summertime in northern climates. With no roof and only side walls or fences, the air domes allowed patrons to view motion pictures in a venue, cooler than the stifling atmosphere of the storefront theatre. In 1905, the Nickelodeon was born. Rather than exhibiting one program a night, the Nickelodeon offered continuous motion picture entertainment for five cents, they were popular. By 1910, Nickelodeons grossed $91 million in the United States; the Nickelodeons were like simple storefront theatres, but differed in the continuous showings and the marketing to women and families. The movie house, in a building designed for motion picture exhibition, was the last step before the movie palace. Comfort was paramount, with upholstered climate controls. One of the first movie houses was Tally's Broadway Theater in Los Angeles; the movie palace was developed as the step beyond the small theaters of the 1910s.
As motion pictures developed as an art form, theatre infrastructure needed to change. Storefront theatres and Nickelodeons catered to the busy work lives and limited budgets of the lower and middle classes. Motion pictures were only thought to be for the lower classes at that time as they were simple and cost only five cents to attend. While the middle class began to attend the Nickelodeons by the early 1910s the upperclass continued to attend stage theater performances such as the opera and big-time vaudeville. However, as more sophisticated and longer films featuring prominent stage actors were developed, the upperclass desires to attend the movies began to increase and a demand for higher class theaters began to develop. Nickelodeons could not meet this demand as the upperclass feared the moral repercussions of intermingling between women and children with immigrants. There were real concerns over the physical safety of the Nickelodeon theaters themselves as they were cramped with little ventilation and the nitrate film stock used at the time was flammable.
The demand for an upscale film theater, suitable to exhibit films to the upperclass, was first met when the Regent Theater, designed by Thomas Lamb, was opened in February 1913, becoming the first movie palace. However the theater's location in Harlem prompted many to suggest that the theater be moved to Broadway alongside the stage theaters; these desires were satisfied when Lamb built the Strand Theatre on Broadway, opened in 1914 by Mitchel H. Mark at the cost of one-million dollars; this opening was the first example of a success in drawing the upper middle class to the movies and it spurred others to follow suit. As their name implies movie palaces were advertised to, "make the average citizen feel like royalty." To accomplish this these theaters were outfitted with a plethora amenities such as larger sitting areas, air conditioning, childcare services. Between 1914 and 1922 over 4,000 movie palaces were opened. Notable pioneers of movies palaces include the Chicago firm of Rapp and Rapp, which designed the Chicago, the Uptown, the Oriental Theatres.
S. L. "Roxy" Rothafel, originated the deluxe presentation of films with themed stage shows. Sid Grauman, built the first movie palace on the West Coast, Los Angeles' Million Dollar Theater, in 1918. Following World War II movie ticket sales began to decline due to the w
MTV is an American pay television channel owned by Viacom Media Networks and headquartered in New York City. The channel was launched on August 1, 1981, aired music videos as guided by television personalities known as "video jockeys". At first, MTV's main target demographic was young adults, but today it is teenagers high school and college students. Since its inception, MTV has toned down its music video programming and its programming now consists of original reality and drama programming and some off-network syndicated programs and films, with limited music video programming in off-peak time periods. MTV had struggled with the secular decline of music-related subscription-based media, its ratings had been said to be failing systematically, as younger viewers shift towards other media platforms, with yearly ratings drops as high as 29%. In April 2016, then-appointed MTV president Sean Atkins announced plans to restore music programming to the channel. Under current MTV president Chris McCarthy, reality programming has once again become prominent.
MTV has spawned numerous sister channels in the U. S. and affiliated channels internationally, some of which have gone independent, with 90.6 million American households in the United States receiving the channel as of January 2016. Several earlier concepts for music video-based television programming had been around since the early 1960s; the Beatles had used music videos to promote their records starting in the mid-1960s. The creative use of music videos within their 1964 film A Hard Day's Night the performance of the song "Can't Buy Me Love", led MTV on June 26, 1999, to honor the film's director Richard Lester with an award for "basically inventing the music video". In his book The Mason Williams FCC Rapport, author Mason Williams states that he pitched an idea to CBS for a television program that featured "video-radio", where disc jockeys would play avant-garde art pieces set to music. CBS rejected the idea, but Williams premiered his own musical composition "Classical Gas" on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, where he was head writer.
In 1970, Philadelphia-based disc jockey Bob Whitney created The Now Explosion, a television series filmed in Atlanta and broadcast in syndication to other local television stations throughout the United States. The series featured promotional clips from various popular artists, but was canceled by its distributor in 1971. Several music programs originating outside of the US, including Australia's Countdown and the United Kingdom's Top of the Pops, which had aired music videos in lieu of performances from artists who were not available to perform live, began to feature them by the mid-1970s. In 1974, Gary Van Haas, vice president of Televak Corporation, introduced a concept to distribute a music video channel to record stores across the United States, promoted the channel, named Music Video TV, to distributors and retailers in a May 1974 issue of Billboard; the channel, which featured video disc jockeys, signed a deal with US Cable in 1978 to expand its audience from retail to cable television.
The service was no longer active by the time MTV launched in 1981. In 1977, Warner Cable a division of Warner Communications and the precursor of Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment launched the first two-way interactive cable television system named QUBE in Columbus, Ohio; the QUBE system offered many specialized channels. One of these specialized channels was Sight on Sound, a music channel that featured concert footage and music-oriented television programs. With the interactive QUBE service, viewers could vote for their favorite artists; the original programming format of MTV was created by media executive Robert W. Pittman, who became president and chief executive officer of MTV Networks. Pittman had test-driven the music format by producing and hosting a 15-minute show, Album Tracks, on New York City television station WNBC-TV in the late 1970s. Pittman's boss Warner-Amex executive vice president John Lack had shepherded PopClips, a television series created by former Monkee-turned solo artist Michael Nesmith, whose attention had turned to the music video format in the late 1970s.
The inspiration for PopClips came from a similar program on New Zealand's TVNZ network named Radio with Pictures, which premiered in 1976. The concept itself had been in the works since 1966, when major record companies began supplying the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation with promotional music clips to play on the air at no charge. Few artists made the long trip to New Zealand to appear live. On Saturday, August 1, 1981, at 12:01 AM Eastern Time, MTV was launched with the words "Ladies and gentlemen and roll," spoken by John Lack and played over footage of the first Space Shuttle launch countdown of Columbia and of the launch of Apollo 11; those words were followed by the original MTV theme song, a crunching rock tune composed by Jonathan Elias and John Petersen, playing over the American flag changed to show MTV's logo changing into various textures and designs. MTV producers Alan Goodman and Fred Seibert used this public domain footage as a concept. A shortened version of the shuttle launch ID ran at the top of every hour in various forms, from MTV's first day until it was pulled in early 1986 in the wake of the Challenger disaster.