TV commercials are so common in our life that it’s hard to imagine life without them, but a long, long time ago, it was different. In Italy, the spread of televisions began in the 50s. The first programs (basically news) were on air starting on January 3,1954 and everything was managed by the Italian Communications Department. It was in 1957, however, when the first commercials appeared on Italian TV.
The idea of advertising a product on TV was so new to Italy that advertisements were extremely innovative, even compared to other Countries. In those days, telecommunication managers believed that commercials had to be clearly identified by the audience and should be no longer than 30 seconds.
Since advertising was a radical innovation a new TV show was developed to integrate ads. There would be 1 minute and 45 seconds to tell a story, plus 30 seconds of commercial for each of a maximum of 4 products.
It may seem odd (now), but this show was the most successful on Italian TV for 20 years. Furthermore, the title of the TV program has become part of Italian culture. The show starred a lot of Italian TV Icons and international ones as well (just to mention: Jerry Lewis, Orson Welles, Jayne Mansfield). It also allowed for the development of Italian animation as it gave space to different types of animation (such as the currently fashionable so fashionable stop motion). Finally, it gave the birth to a lot of icon characters: Calimero, the Mustache Man, Topo Gigio, Caballero and Carmencita, just to mention a few. Each character has become a legend.
I almost forgot: the program was Carosello!
Here’s the first opening theme: