1950-1959 "TV Guide"
Looking for a specific TV-Guide Cover Photo? Here is a
Link to 2,500 covers - 50 Years!
1953 Pre-National New York TV Guide - Marilyn Monroe Issue
National TV Guide - The First Years
The first issue of the "national" version of TV Guide was released April 3, 1953, with a photo of Lucy's baby (Desi Arnez IV) on the cover. This issue had editions in 10 USA cities with a total circulation of 1,560,000. Every week the circulation dropped, even though five additional cities (Rochester, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland and San Francisco) had been added to the market through the long hot summer of 1953. By mid-August, the total circulation had dropped 200,000 below the first issue. Triangle Publications (Walter Annenberg, president) was losing a lot of money on the project.
Finally, things began to improve. The 1953-54 Fall Preview issue (September 4th) circulation hit 1,746,327 copies. After that slow start, the circulation began increasing at a steady rate, and never looked back. TV Guide became 'the bible' for millions of Americans. Here are scans of some of the covers of the first few years, and New York city program schedules: