A Blast From The Past

Gather around kids and old Reggie will tell you a story from long, long ago.

All televisions everywhere used to be black and white. Every family had just one TV in the family room.

The TV was in a handsome wooden cabinet. The old ones had a round picture tube.

Rich people had a record player in the TV cabinet.

To change a channel on the TV you had to walk up to the TV and turn the big channel changer knob to the other channel.

My dad made sure that my job as a son was the turn the knob for him.

You had to do the same thing with volume. You simply twisted a knob to the right to make it louder or twisted the knob to the left to silence the TV. One you turned the knob all the way to the left you would hear a click and that turned the TV off.

Yes you only had maybe two channels, three if the stars were just right. There was not cable, just over the air TV.

Everyone watched the same program and it was the only time you could see the program. There was no Tivo, VCR, etc.

Television only broadcasted from 6:00 AM until 11:00 PM. They would play the National Anthem at the end of the broadcast day.

Here in the South they played Dixie on WRAL TV in Raleigh at 6:00AM. How politically incorrect by today’s standards.

When you turned on a TV it took a minute for the tubes to warm up and a picture to actually appear.

When you turned off the TV the picture shrank to a white dot and this dot would stay there for a few minutes. I used to stare at this dot.

During the night a test pattern would be broadcast so you could fine tune your signal. You could control the contrast, brightness, horizontal and vertical roll. Often you made these adjustments with a slotted screwdriver.

As a kid I would sit in front of the TV and watch the test pattern waiting for Sunrise Theatre to come on at 6 AM Saturday. Sunrise Theatre was usually a very cheesy science fiction movie from the 40s.

Sometimes the TV wouldn’t work and you pulled tubes from the back of the TV. You tossed the tubes in a brown paper bag and took them to the drugstore to test them. Once a bad tube was detected you replaced it from a drawer under the tester and reinstalled all of the tubes.

In 1969 we got a color TV. It was terrible. The colors were muddy and we missed the clarity of B&W.


Peach Pod said...

Great memory. I had forgotten that they played the National anthem at the end of the day. Do you remember the first time you got to stay up and watch Johnny Carson?

Ali said...

I vaguely remember being little and having to turn the tv on by hand, but that's about it - sorry.
I emailed you the muffin recipe again, hope it works this time!