Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Watching TV

I watch a lot of TV--I'm that kinda gal. When I was a kid, the ultimate entertainment was going to a movie. My earliest memories of films were Blondie and Red Skelton in The Fuller Brush Man. I dreamed of living over a movie theater with a little window facing the screen so I could see every single film.

And then came TV!

In 1953, when I was in the 8th grade we got our first TV set. It was a Muntz brand TV. We lived more than 60 miles from the nearest broadcaster, so the picture was snowy and unstable. The set had 13 channel selections but we only got reception on two channels, poorly. We had an electric antenna rotor on top of the TV which turned the antenna up on the roof to pick up the signal whenever we turned the channel. There were buttons on the front of the set for adjusting the vertical hold and horizontal hold; this had to be done frequently.

There was a lot of physical activity involved in watching TV in those days. Every time the picture started to roll, somebody had to jump up and fix it, or, to change the channel, or turn the antenna--especially in windy weather. Rain storms or ice on the antenna or a loose wire could screw it up for days.

My younger brother, Bob, said a kid in his 6th grade class told him that when the picture started to roll, if you extended your arm and vigorously waved your hand from side to side, it would stop rolling. Being new to the television experience, we went along with it. I don't remember how long we kept that nonsense up, but it never worked.

There was a true personal commitment in watching TV in those days. I rushed home from school every day to watch Atom Squad and Topper. No more Nancy Drew books for me!

To this day, I'm devoted to watching the tube. Only now I prefer dramas, documentaries and news programs--and a bunch of other stuff.

When John Lithgow received an Emmy for his show Third Rock from the Sun. He raised it and declared, "God bless television!"
And I say, "Hear, hear!"


Bevie said...

Wow! I had forgotten about the horizontal and vertical hold dials. They were the first things to wear out.

Loved Blondie - and Topper. Lots of Bowery Boys, too. Daddy watched those.

"There was a lot of physical activity involved in watching TV in those days."

That's right. No couch potatoes in the 50s and 60s.

Linda McGeary said...

We didn't have a T.V. until I was a sr. in high school, by that time I was busy with friends. What T.V. I watched was at someone else house. But you really did bring back the memory of those T.V. days.