April of 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first president of
the United States to appear on television. The setting was the 1939
World's Fair in New York. The appearance was broadcast to a handful
of TV sets in the New York area.
had already mastered the medium of his time--radio. His "fireside
chats" broadcast across the nation soothed Americans troubled
by the hard times of the Great Depression. Radio was a perfect fit
for the eloquent Roosevelt, who would have had a much more difficult
time hiding the fact that he was confined to a wheelchair in the television
outbreak of World War II temporarily halted the development of television,
and it would be more than a decade before the new medium became popular.