Thursday, September 22, 2011
Television then was a whole different animal than it is today. There was no cable for one thing, and out here on the East End we could get two channels on our television sets: channel 3 and channel 8, both out of Connecticut. We weren't able to receive the New York City channels and the only baseball team we could watch was the Red Sox. Later, when I was in junior high school, more channels could be pulled in with roof antennas that we could turn remotely with a dial on the top of the television set. As the antenna turned, the picture on the set would sharpen or deteriorate, depending on where the signal was coming from. If we were lucky and the weather was just right we could see a show we didn't usually get! It was great.
Every night at 11:00 the Star Spangled Banner player, the flag waved, and the picture disappeared to be replaced by a black screen with a small white spot in the middle. There was nothing to watch until 6 the next morning. Who would want to watch television at 3am anyway? Television sets had a place of honor in every living room and they were fancy pieces of furniture, sometimes, if you had plenty fo money, the cabinet even included a stereo.
About the time that color sets became mainstream - when I was in high school - we purchased our first color set. Not long after that we had cable. It was a whole new world! If I want to I can still see and hear those old black & white television shows in my head: Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans, The Mickey Mouse Club, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Twilight Zone, The Jane Wyman Hour, Hoppilong Cassidy, Sky King, and many, many more. We sat cross-legged on the floor in front of them and there was only one in most houses. They are part of my history and my memory.
Some day my oldest child will remember our very first computer - a Vic 20 I believe it was - or the first video game, Pong, and how primitive they were. Her children will never be able to imagine it.