A trip down memory lane: Estonian Television celebrates 60 years

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    Children's show "Hunt Kriimsilm" about a friendly wolf and his seven jobs (Vassili Samussenko)

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    A scene from still-popular comedy film "Siin Me Oleme" (Here We Are), starring Lia Laats, 1978 (Enn Putnik)

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    Construction of Tallinn TV Tower, 1976 (Vassili Samussenko)

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    A scene from a children's program "Kõige Suurem Sõber" (The Best Friend) (Heidi Maasikmets)

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    A TV transmission bus next to Estonia opera and concert house (Valdur Vahi)

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    TV building, Lomonossovi street 27 [Gonsiori 27] (Heino Vilms)

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    Russian popstar Valery Leontiev being interviewed for ETV's music program (Heidi Maasikmets)

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    Estonian team in the Estonian-Finnish co-production "Naapurvisa," a topical quiz show (Anton Mutt)

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    Director and operator Mark Soosaar, 1970 (Kersti Palgi)

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    Actress and singer Helgi Sallo, 1983 (Heidi Maasikmets)

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    Children singing competition, hosted by renowned opera singer Geord Ots, 1968 (Rein Erich)

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    Chess championships with chess players Viktor Korchnoi and Paul Keres

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    Singer Jaak Joala in 1967 (Jaan Rõõmus)

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    Telepoiss (TV-boy) - a mascot (Arnold Moskalik)

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    A children's program about elves (Katrin Kallaste)

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    Scene from a popular history program "Today, 35 years ago" that ran from 1966 -1970. It was hosted by Valdo Pant and had 313 episodes (Valdur Vahi)

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    A scene from a children's play (Rein Lillmaa)

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    Anchor Ruth Püss, 1977 (Vassili Samussenko)

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    A scene from "The Little Witch", a 1975 play based on the book of Otfried Preussler

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    Actress Ada Lundver

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    Shooting of "Colorful Dreams", 1974 (Enn Säde)

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    "Rahvakunstnikud" (National Artists) - host Enn Eesmaa and conductor Eri Klas (Heidi Maasikmets)

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    A scene from children's play "Lõrr the Lion and Jass the Rabbit" (Rein Lillmaa)

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    Recording a show in an ETV studio in the 1960s (Heino Vilms)

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    Musical ensemble Laine (Rein Lillmaa)

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    A scene from "Uncle Tick-Tock's Adventures", 1980 (Heidi Maasikmets)

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    Legendary talk-show host Urmas Ott in 1982 (Jaan Rõõmus)

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    Wooden doll Buratino and Buratino's "Papa" Ferdinand Veike in 1965

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    A scene from "Four blonds and four brunettes," featuring musical ensemble Laine (Anton Mutt)

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    (Anton Mutt)

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    Teletüdruk (TV girl), mascot of ETV's children's program

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    Children's program about Kessu and her doll Tripp (Jaak Maisma)

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    A 16-mm camera with batteries, 1975 (Arnold Moskalik)

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    A scene from "The Little Witch", a 1975 play based on the book of Otfried Preussler (Arnold Moskalik)

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    Singer Tarmo Pihlap (Anton Mutt)

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    ETV's Russian correspondent Heimar Lenk, now an MP, in Moscow, 1983 (Vladimir Bogatkin)

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    Singers Ivo and Reet Linna in the 1976 New Year's Eve program (Heidi Maasikmets)

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    TV-presenter Alice Talvik

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    Actor Alfred Mering in a New Year's Eve program (Valdur Vahi)

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    Children's education program "Mõmmi & Aabits" (Teddy and the ABC), 1977 (Vassili Samussenko)

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    Writer and future president of the republic, Lennar Meri (Heidi Maasikmets)

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    Mati Talvik covering the construction of Lasnamägi, a Soviet-era district of Tallinn (Heidi Maasikmets)

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    Children's play "Vembu and Tembu" about two cheeky monkeys, 1983 (Ülo Josing)

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    Broadcasting of Estonian national dance festival, 1970 (Arnold Moskalik)

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    A scene from TV-play "The Grandma in the Apple Tree," based on Mira Lobe's book by the same name (Heidi Maasikmets)

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    A scene from the music show "Fairytales in Music", with Peeter Volkonski (Peeter Pikkur)

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    Panel show "Forum" (Heidi Maasikmets)

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    Filming of "Channel 13" show, 1969 (Arnold Moskalik)

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    Legendary TV anchor and talkshow host Urmas Ott interviewing Jüri Pihl and Heiki Arike (Toomas Tuul)

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    Celebrating ETV's 20th birthday and the 35th birthday of the Soviet Republic of Estonia (Heidi Maasikmets)

7/16/2015 3:55 PM
Category: Entertainment

Estonian Television (ETV), the crown jewel of Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR), is celebrating 60 years of national broadcasting. Over the next two days, ERR News will publish bits of the station's vast photo archive.

ETV was launched on July 19, 1955, following the Soviet government's decision to establish a television station in 1953. 

Regardless of whether the Soviets had more sinister aims than providing a hotbed for Estonian language and culture on the TV-screens, the national TV channel has maintained a unique archive which is part of a rich Estonian cultural heritage.

True, some Russian-language programs and films were also forced upon on the ETV's program during the occupation, but nevertheless the original material that was produced – from talk-shows to documentaries and TV-plays to children's programs – is impressive.

The important value of national television was especially significant following the Soviet perestroika and during the Singing Revolution, when ETV was giving more and more airtime to various Estonian intellectuals and thinkers who were openly critizising the Soviet regime and later called for Estonian independence. For example, it was live on air on the ETV-show “Mõtleme Veel” (let's think again) on April 13, 1988, when Edgar Savisaar introduced an idea to establish the Popular Front of Estonia, which later called for self-governing Estonia and organized series of much-crowded events and actions which increased national pride.

With independence restored and capitalism ushered in, ETV went through slightly turbulent period in the 1990s. Competing private TV-channels TV3 and Kanal 2 were founded and due to unstable state-funding, ETV allowed TV-advertizing for the first time (it stopped showing commercials in 2002, after a deal in which private broadcasters pay around 15 percent of the ETV's funding for their exclusive right to screen TV-advertizing).

The decade also saw many stalwart TV anchors and personalities, such as Urmas Ott, leave ETV – either to private channels or more lucrative jobs elsewhere.

In a more positive news, ETV became an active member of the European Broadcasting Union and hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2002, after previous year win by Estonia.

ETV was merged with Estonian Radio Service in 2007, despite some opposition, to form what is now known as Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR).

Today, ETV is again cherished as the most competent TV-channel in Estonia, which produces more original programs than any private channel. The ETV2 was introduced in 2008, focusing mainly on educational programs and documentaries. ETV+, a Russian-language channel, will start broadcasting this autumn.

M. Oll, S. Tambur

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