A Little Trip Down Memory Lane

old televisionYesterday evening as I was setting up Amazon Fire TV, it caused me to take a stroll down memory lane.  I recall very well when cable TV did not exist.

Yes, I may be dating myself here, but I really do not care.  I am very happy that I came into this world when I did, and I would not trade it for anything.  I am very thankful to have memories of a time when life seemed so mush less complicated.  We also seemed to be a lot less preoccupied with superficial things.  I am not claiming that the world was perfect in the 1960’s and 70’s when I was growing up.  We had our fair share of turbulent times.  There was the horror of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.  Martin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy were assassinated.  Never the less there remains an innocence about those days that we seemed to have lost so long ago.  No matter what was happening around us, people still sang beautifully about love.  Families ate dinner together around the table every day.  There was the excitement of space travel and the Black Power Movement helped to bring about a lot of self-confidence and pride among African-Americans.  In other words, there was a lot of sweet mixed in with the bitter.

philips_20inch_b&W_television_ian_edgar I remember very well my family having a television that looked a lot like this one above.  All you had to do was plug it into the wall and you had television.  There was no calling the cable company to install anything so that you could watch a program.  The dial on the TV only had 13 channels, but not all of them were working TV stations.  There was ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, WNYC, and PBS.  That makes a total of only 6 channels, and we felt that there was plenty to watch.  Sundays was a little boring for TV watching if you were a child because it was taken up with news programs such as Meet the Press.  Therefore, on Sundays I often either read books or played with my siblings.  However, on Sunday evenings there was comedy and variety shows that were entertaining for the entire family.  I loved watching the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday nights at 8pm.  It was the only night I was allowed to stay up after 8:30pm on a night before school.

CBS test patternTV channels also signed off at night, and when that happened all you would see is either a static test pattern on the TV screen like the image above, or a static block of colors like in the image below.


zenithfA good antenna was all you needed to get a clear picture, but sometimes it could be a challenge.  It all depended on where in the room your TV was situated.  Often one corner was better than the other for good reception.      Some popular name brand televisions were Zenith, Panasonic, Admiral, Emerson, Sylvania, and Magnavox when I was growing up.

Sylvania televisionThese types of console televisions became very popular in the late 1960’s to 1970’s.  Some of them came equipped with a record player and radio too.

A 1960s Combined Record Player And Television SetMany of the console sets were really nice pieces of furniture, but I have to admit that I much prefer the slim downed, light weight and flat screen TV’s of today.  Televisions back in the day were heavy and bulky.

color Tv consoleTelevisions from my growing up years also broke down quite a bit and cost a lot to repair.  You were really better off just getting a new TV.


NBC PeacockI remember well the NBC Peacock logo.

I remember when remote control came out.  This video is too cute as it introduces remote control to the masses.  When color TV first came out I could not understand what was the point of being able to manipulate the colors.

Well, there you have it, television in the 1960’s and 70’s.  I am sure that those who experienced it in the 1940’s and 50’s has their own fund memories of when TV first came on the scene in the first place.


  1. Trudy says:

    I remember waiting for Sunday nights to watch The Wonderful World of Walt Disney!
    And I recall that at midnight or whenever, the programming stopped and it went to those thick stripes.
    Now there’s no respite from constant broadcasts and advertising. There’s something sublime and healthful about silence. Too many of us don’t get enough of it.

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