John Kennedy vs Richard Nixon Presidential debate

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John F. Kennedy vs Richard M. Nixon Presidential debate

Broadcast on Monday September 26, 1960: Howard K. Smith moderates the first televised U.S. Presidential debate. The debate was broadcast live from Chicago CBS station WBBM, and broadcast on every television network, and most radio networks. This is a kinescope of the broadcast preserved by the Prelinger Archives in San Francisco, California.

The known personalities: John F. Kennedy (candidate for President), Richard M. Nixon (candidate for President), Howard K. Smith (moderator), Sander "Sandy" Vanocur (questioner from NBC News), Charles S. Warren (questioner from Mutual Network), Thomas Fleming (questioner from ABC News), Stuart Novins (questioner from CBS News)


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1960 was a landmark year for television in the U.S. On september 29 the first episode of "My Three Son's" aired, and ran for the next 12 years. The next night, September 30, the first episode of the prime-time cartoon show 'The Flintstones" aired, and a few days later on October 3 the first episode of The Andy Griffigh Show was broadcast. But it is Monday September 26 that saw the broadcast of the first U.S. Presidential television debate.

On that evening Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon were running against each other to become the 34th President of the United States. Their debate was broadcast live from the Chicago CBS television studios, and was picked up by all of the other television networks and most of the radio networks. On that Monday evening, unless you were reading a book, you were watching or listening to this live television debate. It had such a powerful effect on the election that no candidate from any party would consider a televised debate for 26 years until Gerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter agreed to televised debates in 1976, and they have continued ever since. Take a 30 minute break and watch the television show that started it all . . . the famous, or infamous, television debate that brought both of the U.S. Presidential candidates into every American living room for the first time in history.

John F. Kennedy, candidate for PresidentRichard M. Nixon, candidate for President 1960
John F. Kennedy - 1960Richard M. Nixon - 1960
John F. Kennedy, 1960Richard M. Nixon debating in 1960
John F. Kennedy, debating in 1960Richard M. Nixon, debating in 1960
Charles Warren, newsman for Mutual BroadcastingSander Vanocur introducing himself
Charles Warren introducing himselfSander Vanocur introducing himself
Stuart Novins introducing himselfThomas Fleming introducing himself
Stuart Novins introducing himself

Thomas Fleming introducing himself