This week in history: First televised State of the Union address debuts at prime-time hour

Before President Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 address, the State of the Union address was given at noon.

SHARE This week in history: First televised State of the Union address debuts at prime-time hour
US President Lyndon B. Johnson delivers a speech 2

US President Lyndon B. Johnson delivers a speech 28 July 1965 in the White House in Washington, D.C., about US policy in the Vietnam war, ordering more US troops to Vietnam. Johnson’s delivered the first State of the Union address during a prime-time hour earlier that year.

AFP/AFP via Getty Images

As reported by the Chicago Daily News, sister paper of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Chicagoans watching President Trump’s prime-time State of the Union address Tuesday might take such a time slot for granted.

To those in 1965, a televised prime-time State of the Union address was unprecedented, according to a Jan. 4, 1965 report in the Chicago Daily News.

“In a departure from the usual noon hour spectacle,” Washington Bureau Chief Peter Lisagor wrote, “[President Lyndon B. Johnson] will deliver his State of the Union message to a joint session of the 89th Congress at prime television viewing time (8 p.m. Chicago time).”

This Week in History sign-up

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Want more “This Week In History” content delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our Afternoon Edition newsletter for a rundown of the day’s biggest stories every weekday and a deep-dive into Chicago history every Saturday.

Lisagor said viewers could expect a peek at Johnson’s “Great Society” plan, which he cheekily described as an attempt at “making the fewest possible people unhappy and the most as reasonably satisfied as majorities can be.”

Americans today might recognize contemporary issues that were addressed in Johnson’s plan, such as “federal aid to schools that will not run afoul the old public v. parochial issue” and “programs to clean up the countryside and attack air and water pollution,” according toLisagor.

Front page of the Chicago Daily News, Jan. 4, 1965

The front page of the Chicago Daily News, Jan. 4, 1965.

The Latest
Illinois and the U.S. should remove barriers that make it hard for foreign-trained doctors to practice medicine here.
The Eastern Conference-leading Union won 4-1, snapping the Fire’s unbeaten streak at five and dropping them three points out of the final playoff spot.
X-rays taken Friday were negative, and Robert’s status remains day-to-day.
Sore legs don’t keep veteran from having impact on basepaths.