Prehistoric LA TV

Wow!  Where did this come from?

It was an average fall day in 1952.  My 12-year old older brother was up on the roof of our East L A house waiting for our dad to give the command.  “Start turning” dad shouted from the living room and hopefully heard through the bathroom window. Guessing my brother would hear the command to start turning the mast which could rotate the antenna head connected to our new TV.  “Wait.  Twist it back a bit,” my dad shouted.  “Okay stop,” he yelled through the roof.  “Leave it right there.”  The light weight aluminum cat-whisker antenna on the roof was connected to the TV by a flat black two lead wire which entered the living room window near our brand new Sears Silvertone 12-inch round screen television.  .  Just a marvel of 1950s technology. 

None the less, down in the living room my dad was monitoring the black and white screen.  If the antenna was a bit off rotation a double image would appear on the TV’s tiny screen.  So the fine tuning was up on the roof.  Fine tuning the TVs picture by how you turn the antenna mast.  So, too much this way or that way would result in a blurry double image.  Certainly a two-man skilled operation.  None the less, at the very best, I vividly recall watching TV back then in the early fifties was like looking at an old black and white Kodak photo through a sheet of wax paper.  Smoky at best.  All this because we seldom went to the local movie theater with its very wide cinemascope screen and often shown in Technicolor.  No sir.  Not for us.  We got black and white fuzzy TV right here.  It worked just fine until the picture would lean to the right or left.  Showing diagonal lines or rolling with a flip flopping picture.  Pulling out the crystalline vacuum tubes and taking to the drug store for testing was yet another story.  All this bother just to watch I Love Lucy and The Lone Ranger in fuzzy shades of gray.

Published by Chuck Oldenfatt the Curmudgeon

If I told you the truth about myself you would think what a wad of chewed gum stuck under a church pew I am. Dull. Ordinary.

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