Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Frank StantonFrank Stanton
Photo Gallery

Session:         Page of 755


Was there an understanding of what was happening at NBC with Sarnoff, and his plans to sell television sets all over the country right after the war? His major kind of backing of television?


I don't know what Sarnoff -- the only thing I know of what Sarnoff was up to at that time was what was in the trade press. But he did hire a man by the name of Frank [M.] Folsom -- F.O.L.S.O.M. -- who had been, I believe, with Montgomery Ward. Folsom was a fantastic salesman, a very energetic individual, who had been brought in to Washington, at the time of the War Production Board. He had some role to play in that. And that, I believe, was when he met Sarnoff, and Sarnoff hired him. And he more than any other single person, except for Sarnoff, put RCA into the television business.

He developed their whole marketing structure, their service structure. Folsom was a fantastic man and was president of RCA and, I believe, counted on moving up into Sarnoff's shoes. But that never happened.

Under Folsom's leadership, RCA built factories here in the U.S. And I mean not only facilities for the electronic side, but they built their wooden cabinets, they built their glass tubes. They were a totally integrated operation. That changed later because there were specialists who were building picture tubes and vacuum tubes and so forth. But Folsom just took the whole thing and built, from the ground up. And he was a fantastic operating man who always characterized himself as a pants salesman from Chicago. Very Catholic, very family devoted, a very warm human being. I knew him reasonably well. In fact, I guess I spent most of the day with him when he was told he was going to be set aside at RCA. His wife had died just before this particular meeting. I think it was the day before Christmas, or

© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help