David Wolper was interested in producing television documentaries, in 1958 he established Wolper Productions. Working with exclusive Russian space program footage and NASA cinematography of American missile launches, within two years, his first film, The Race for Space, was completed and had attracted a sponsor. Wolper offered the film to all three networks but an unofficial rule of the time dictated that only news programs and documentaries produced by network personnel were allowed on the air. Not to be discouraged, the young producer fell back on his sales experience and syndicated the film to 104 local stations across the United States--the overwhelming majority of these stations network affiliates willing to preempt other programming for the Wolper show. For the first time in television history a non-network documentary special achieved near-national audience coverage. Having been released to theaters prior to television, The Race for Space also received an Academy Award nomination in the best documentary category--another first for a television film.