They're common now.  Presidential Debates.  In fact, during the last Presidential election cycle, during the republican primaries, it seemed their was a 'debate' about every week or so for months.  Then, the more debates heading into the general election.

It wasn't always that way.

In 1960 Presidential Debates were something new, something exciting.

The Vice President of the United States, Richard Nixon, was the Republican nominee.

The junior Senator from Massachusetts, John Kennedy, was the Democratic nominee.

They met in Chicago for their first of four debates on September 26, 1960.  Was there any interest in this new thing, a Presidential Debate?

Approximately 70 million Americans tuned in, with millions more listening on radio.