History of Closed Captioning - The first use of closed captioning on American television according its Wikipedia entry was on March 16, 1980. Sears had developed and sold the Telecaption Adapter, a decoding unit that could be connected to a standard television set. According to the National Captioning Institute, the first programs seen with captioning that Sunday evening were the ABC Sunday Night Movie, Disney's Wonderful World on NBC, and Masterpiece Theatre on PBS. The captioned Disney feature, showing at 7:00 pm EST, was the film Son of Flubber, while the ABC movie at 9:00 EST was Semi-Tough.