"Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" The NBC late-night show was unusual for the 1970s, but the early days of television were all about live performances. Forget your line? Too bad, because the cameras were rolling, and the audience was watching. Early variety comedy shows, such as "Your Show of Shows" with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, walked the exciting "anything can happen" line during live transmissions. Early dramas were simple but not simplistic, featuring writers like Paddy Chayefsky and Rod Serling and actors such as Paul Newman and Angela Lansbury.
As exciting as live TV could be, by the 1950s, filmed shows were replacing live broadcasts. With pre-recording possible, new types of shows, such as police, courtroom, hospital and mystery dramas, appeared. Directors could easily call for different camera angles, and shows were not limited to the four walls of the studio. It wasn't all about the art, as there was another incentive, too: money. Once a series was captured on film, syndication became possible. Gotta catch up on all those "Petticoat Junction" episodes you missed.