American University Park in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
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Top of the Town
— Tenleytown Heritage Trail —
When NBC radio and television and its local affiliate, WRC, moved to these new headquarters in 1958, the average TV screen measured 12 inches. The facility opened with six studios—three TV and three radio. Soon history happened here.
On October 7, 1960, some 70 million viewers watched as NBC broadcast the second televised presidential debate, with candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy facing four reporters. It was widely reported that Nixon used makeup to cover his 5 o’clock shadow, better to compete with the tanned and telegenic young Senator Kennedy.
Also in these TV studios, former University of Maryland student Jim Henson introduced a green puppet named Kermit to the world, leading to a regular show on WRC called Sam and Friends. Over the years, high school whiz kids have competed to answer Mac McGarry’s questions on WRC’s It’s Academic. Here the much-imitated Meet the Press got its start. The radio studios launched “the Joy Boys,” former American University students Ed Walker and Willard Scott, whose antics were beamed regionally and to armed forces stationed
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 18.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Communications • Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #35 John F. Kennedy, the Former U.S. Presidents: #37 Richard M. Nixon, and the Tenleytown Heritage Trail series lists.
Location. 38° 56.473′ N, 77° 4.979′ W. Marker is in American University Park in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is on Nebraska Avenue Northwest south of Van Ness Street Northwest, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4001 Nebraska Ave Northwest, Washington DC 20016, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Winning the War (within shouting distance of this marker); The National Presbyterian Church (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); World War I Memorial (about 600 feet away); a different marker also named World War I Memorial (about 600 feet away); World War II Memorial (about 700 feet away); For the Children (about 800 feet away); American University (approx. ¼ mile away); General Artemas Ward Monument (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in American University Park.
More about this marker. There are a number of photographs on the marker. Clockwise starting top left, captions read:
♦ The second Kennedy-Nixon debate, left, moderated by Frank McGee, ad the NBC studio here October 7, 1960. ♦ Above, NBC anchors Chet Huntley and David Brinkley prepare to cover President Nixon’s first inauguration, 1969.
♦ “ ‘The Joy Boys,’ Ed Walker and Willard Scott, on air at WRC-radio, 1972. ‘We are the Joy boys of radio, we chase electrons to and fro . . .’ ”
♦ “WRC-TV anchor Jim Vance interviews Rosa Parks, late 1980s.”
♦ “Tim Russert moderates Meet the Press here, 2007.”
♦ “The 1970 Wilson High School It’s Academic team with host Mac McGarry. The how has been produced at WRC in Tenleytown since 1961.” ♦ Alongside is a photograph of Mac McGarry.
♦ “New WRC-NBC studios under construction, ca. 1958”.
♦ The caption on the large photograph on the reverse (common) face of the marker reads, “Jim and Jane Henson with Muppets Sam, Yorick, Kermit and Harry the Hipster, late 1950s.”
Credits. This page was last revised on July 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 4, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 921 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 4, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. submitted on May 6, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.