03 February 2019

Radio Ga-Ga

I come from the age of vacuum operated windshield wipers, balloon-tire bicycles, and TV Repairmen.
Our family had one TV. I'm afraid my memory is faulty, but I remember the set was so small it had a handle on top so it could be carried from one room to another... (12-inch?).
It had vacuum tubes. 

You'd turn the thing on and initially there'd be a tiny dot appear on the center of the screen. Then when the tubes warmed up, which took about 30 seconds, the black and white(!) picture would appear.
The integral speaker was probably five inches or so in diameter.
We knew nothing different. We thought it was great.
I LOVED "The Steve Allen Show"!

Vacuum tubes wore out.
Local hardware and drug stores had machines that could test 'em, and had replacement tubes for sale.
When the set failed you'd remove all the tubes and carry them in a brown paper sack for testing.
If the tubes all tested "normal" your heart sank 'cause there was one recourse-
You called the TV Repairman.

This guy was always covered up with work. It would inevitably take him DAYS to work on your set.
We knew nothing different...
Grit your teeth and tolerate the denial of stimulation.
And resort to the next-best-thing-
The radio.
AM radio.

In my adolescence, Soap Operas were still being played during mid-day.
I can remember my babysitter listening to "Guiding Light" at Noon.
Mornings were devoted to Ruth Lyon's breakfast show broadcast out of Cincinnati.
Evenings, DJ's would spin records.
During summertime we listened to the broadcast of White Sox games out of Chicago.
With no TV, we accepted what was broadcast and were glad to have it.

It's very odd now how the memories of those "No TV" periods are some of my fondest.

I think of 'em every time I hear-
"G'night John-Boy.
G'night Grandpa!"


Ed Bonderenka said...

And yet, those were probably better days.

Old NFO said...

Yep, I don't remember even having a TV until I was nine or ten. And really didn't spend much time watching it, other than Saturday morning cartoons! :-)