1956 was right smack dab in the middle of the “Golden Age of Television” and that’s when WRAL-TV joined the cavalcade of new television stations to serve the public.
On October 17, 1956, the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the television studio on Western Boulevard was a time of glamorous celebration. What better way to celebrate than to bring in a television star like Dorothy Collins of the NBC television show “The Lucky Strike Hit Parade.” For those who are not familiar with the mention of Lucky Strike in the title, it was the brand name of the sponsor Lucky Strike cigarettes. The connection with a tobacco product seems apropos for that time period in North Carolina.
CBC founder and President A.J. Fletcher, and theater and television star Dorothy Collins grabbed a shovel and turned the soil marking the start of construction for the television studios. The ceremony took place two months before the station went on the air December 15, 1956 and 19 months before the station’s staff moved into the new building.
The original building continues to serve WRAL-TV and WRAL.com very well and is a visual cornerstone of the history of Capitol Broadcasting Company.
Thanks to Corp’s Pam Allen for this capcom story & photo. Pam Parris Allen is a former WRAL newscast producer/director who now works as a researcher and producer on the CBC History Project.