[LMB] OT: Fun

lfundis lfundis at weir.net
Sun Apr 5 07:45:55 BST 2009

> On Sat, Apr 4, 2009 at 09:52, Peter Granzeau <pgranzeau at cox.net> wrote:
> > I remember the day my parents got their first TV.  I was 16, and when the installer finally turned it on, the show was "Kukla, Fran and Ollie".  It was a 12" Zenith, and there was a great big double antenna on the roof, one pointed toward Milwaukee (25 miles away) and the other pointed toward Chicago, 75 or so miles away.  There were 5 stations available (only 1 in Milwaukee, the other 4 in Chicago).  No soaps, either.

A month or so ago I was looking up something in a 1949 newspaper at our library and found an advertisement for a new television with a "big 10 inch screen" for "only" about $350.  This was shortly after I bought my Lenovo S10 netbook with a 10-inch screen for about the same price -- but mine is a color screen with a computer attached! (Back in 1949 a computer would have been bigger than my living room and not nearly as powerful as this one.) Things have certainly changed in the last 60 years.

Of course, at that point in 1949 there was only one TV station in the area -- the DuMont network's local station, WDTV channel 3 in Pittsburgh. (And that's now changed too. It's now channel 2, KDKA-TV.)

My family got its first set for Christmas of 1950, probably about that size, when I was a tiny baby. By the time I was about 3 or 4, which is about when my memories kick in, there were about 5 stations we could pull in with a roof antenna, and by the time I was 8 there were a few more  -- especially after we got the rotor that could move the antenna for better reception. But they were all VHF and a few were hard to get a clear picture on.

I remember Kukla, Fran, and Ollie though. And Howdy Doody and the original Mouseketeers. And "The Children's Corner" on WQED, channel 13 in Pittsburgh, with Josie Carey and (behind the scenes) Fred Rogers. 

> I'm not that old, but I remember when "big screen TV" was anything
> over 20"... and nowadays, getting anything smaller than 20" is a
> challenge! I don't even know what a "large screen TV" is these days...
> TVs just getting bigger and bigger and bigger and ever cheaper...

I remember when a 19 inch screen was considered big.

My current living-room TV (on which I'm currently watching "Star Trek" -- plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose) is a 26" LCD which is by far the largest TV screen I've ever owned, but it seems puny compared to some of the ones in stores these days. The one in my bedroom is 13 inches, smaller than the monitor on my desktop computer.

One thing that always struck me odd in reading the old newspaper ads for TVs in the old newspapers at our library is how often the TV prices were about $300. Despite all the changes in TV technology, the larger screens, color, and inflation, the prices seemed to flatten out there. Lately this has not been so with the change to digital and flat-screen, but I expect it to settle back to around $300 soon, except for the very big screens.

Lois Fundis
lfundis at weir.net

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