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First Television, Part 2


On this date in 1953, the state’s first commercial TV station, KCJB in Minot, began broadcasting. A Minneapolis Tribune reporter covered the story.

During a live production of “Arv’s Kitchen,” Arv Johnson and Harry Burris demonstrated how to drill holes in potatoes with an apple corer, stuff the cavities with cheese and bake. Soon, viewers began to call, asking why their picture was suddenly foggy. It turns out the cheese had melted, run out of the potatoes and started to burn.

As smoke overtook the tiny studio, sports announcer Jim Adelson threw a pair of leather gloves across the room to Arv, who was trying to yank potatoes out of the oven.

Moments later, a man from Westhope called to say, “Tell Arv that he put six potatoes in there, but he only took out five. There’s still one in there burning!”

Choking from smoke and laughter, the Tribune reporter said he had to leave the room.

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm