Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Do you remember old-fashioned TV sets?


Dad was an electronic fanatic and so we had all the latest gadgets in our house long before they became commonplace. I can’t remember ever not having a television, although TV viewing in those days was very different to today. In the 1950s:

The BBC was the one and only station. The picture was in black and white and the screen was tiny.

Daily transmissions didn’t start until 5 pm but you had to turn the TV set on a good five minutes beforehand to let it ‘warm up’.

The Epilogue ended the day’s transmissions with a religious talk and then the picture disappeared in on itself leaving just a white dot in the middle of the screen that lasted long after you pulled out the plug.

Dad was always adjusting either the horizontal or the vertical line hold and sometimes both. The picture would scroll up and over the screen or it would skid round sideways.

There were often gaps in-between the programmes. It wasn’t as slick and professional as it is today. Whenever there was a bit of spare time they would have an Intermission. One of these was The Potter’s Wheel.



Our whole family would sit down together to watch programmes like Dixon of Dock Green. I saw an extract from an old episode not so long ago and it was painfully naive. We were so unsophisticated and easily pleased in those days.

How far back does your TV memory go?

   

33 comments:

  1. We never had a TV when I was at home. The first programme I remember see was the Queen's coronation.

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  2. I remember when cable TV became popular. My father swore he would never pay for something he could get for free. LOL Now we all pay. Cheers~

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  3. I remember the white dot too! My earliest memories are the Sunday night Disney movie and the Hockey Night in Canada on Saturdays :)

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  4. My TV memory goes back to 3 channels and I am sure they turned off at midnight. BBC2 seemed to be the hang out of beardy weirdy's. I remember the little white dot when the TV turned off. And we did a lot of aerial adjusting - your memory about the horizontal and vertical line rings a bell too! Fab post. :)

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  5. And the National Anthem was always played after the Epilogue. We always had TV and can remember lots from 1950s on - Watch with Mother, Four Feather Falls, Rin Tin Tin, The Saint, This Week, 6 5 Special and a whole more besides. People didn't swear on TV, only at it and often interference called snow affected the picture. Lovely memories.

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  6. What about when things went wrong and all you saw on the screen was "Normal service will resume as soon as possible. Please do no adjust your sets." Dixon of Dock Green was a favourite of ours, too.

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  7. Our old tv looked like that. It's funny that it took 5 minutes to warm up. I forgot about that. How far we've come. I'm progressed into not having one at all. (American Tv is so awful.)
    xoRobyn

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  8. "EVENING ALL" as he bends his knees and I think tweaks his braces ( men's suspenders to the non Brits )and of course I'm referring to the opening sequence with PC Dixon

    I think we only got our first telly for Princess Margaret's wedding - 1960 according to google but I loved Bill and Ben and Sooty and Sweep best but maybe I'm remembering them from our neighbor's set which we often watched until we got our own.
    Great memories Ros,as usual

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  9. I remember the test pattern of lines and colors with a large circle in the center. If you were waiting for a show and thing went out of focus you got a headache no matter what your age.
    Great to recall a fun fact -- thanks.

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  10. My Grandpa still has a tv like that! It looks like a piece of furniture instead of a tv.

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  11. Hi Ros .. we didn't have a tv for ages .. but when we did I remember watching Dixon of Dock Green .. loved it! and the early cowboy and indian series ... as Giggles and Guns remembers the test pattern .. I did watch the Coronation on a furniture-style-big-tv at a large house on the banks of the River Thames - must have been a rowing friend of my father's .. it wasn't near where we lived .. but it's only a vague small child's memory! It was playing outside the boatyard I remember more!!

    Great thoughts .. and I don't remember all those aspects! Cheers -Hilary

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  12. My great nieces (aged 6 and 9) stare at me as if I've come from outer space when I tell them that we didn't have a television until I was 14 years old. And the elder one doesn't understand why I still shake a bottle of milk when I take it out of the fridge (an inbuilt habit from the days when the cream would separate to the top of the bottle).

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  13. Hi Bob, the coronation was responsible for the sale of lots of TV sets I believe.


    Hi Nancy, I have to say we only pay our BBC licence (UK law says we all have to pay that) but we don't pay for anything more.


    Hi Jemi, different programmes but same white spot!


    Hi Jayne, yes it did all switch off at midnight in those days and I'd forgotten about all that aerial adjusting.


    Hi Kit, oh yes the National Anthem and Watch with Mother. Gosh, those memories deserve a whole separate blog post of their own.


    Hi Miriam, I'd forgotten about the 'Normal Service will be resumed...' sign. It was always popping up, wasn't it.

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  14. Hi Robyn, we haven't gone quite so far as to not have a TV but I don't watch many programmes these days.


    Thanks for that, Ann. I can see him in my mind's eye, pointed policeman's hat and all.


    Hi Giggles and Guns, the first test card was, of course, in black and white and Dad used to spend hours adjusting the lines to try and get a half decent picture.


    Ouch, Duncan! That was unnecessary!


    Hi km, I hope your Grandpa's TV continues to work once the UK undergoes the 'change over'.


    Hi Hilary, that boatyard sounds much more fun than watching the telly!


    Hi Judy, don't you love nostalgia. Once you start remembering, all sorts of things come back. I loved having 'top of the milk' on my cornflakes but that was in the days before we knew about cholesterol!

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  15. My brothers and I loved Robin Hood. We used to stand on the sofa firing pretend arrows as the music came on. It was one of our fave songs to sing on car journeys. I do remember when 625 lines came in. I didn't really understand it all but my Dad went on and on about it. But my most iconic TV moment was sitting watching the countdown to the landing on the moon. My grandma kept making loud comments and my Dad was shushing her rather irritably. Ahhh!

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  16. Mine goes only as back as 1981 (but they tell me I watched lots of Muppets Show before that). Many tv's and programs were still like the one you describe. People were poor there and the tv channels often couldn't afford much more than reruns from the 60s-70s.

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  17. I always thought it was one of the best treats as a child when I was allowed to see the dot on the TV when the programmes had finished for the day, it meanti I'd been allowed to stay up until late. How many children today would find staying up a treat or watching the white dot? Answer: None! xx

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  18. You're asking this question of younger people than my age because you know my answer. I remember when we didn't even have a radio. We didn't have electricity but Grandpa brought home a radio run by a battery. Geez, we were excited to gather around it and listen to Fibber McGee and Molly. Then it put us in a whole different fascinating world when the TV's first came in.
    I've never tried to make a pot but those fingers certainly look deft.
    Manzanita@Wannabuyaduck

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  19. I absolutely loved this, Rosalind. You just posted my childhood! Actually, our kitchen TV is on its way out at the moment and it needs a good five minutes to warm up too!
    I have watched a few things I loved from childhood, but I avoid it now, as we can't see these old programmes through the innocent, unsophisticated eyes of the 50s and 60s. Maybe they are best just watched in memory :-)
    Jane Gray

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  20. I love those old TV's. I've seen so many neat art projects using discarded ones. I will have to keep my eyes open for one!

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  21. I remember jumping around the room and adjusting the antenna lol.

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  22. I definitely remember the old box black and white tv and my awe when we got a colour television. Just look at us now though. Multiple channels and 3D cinema movies!

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  23. We had an old black and white TV with bent antenna and two channels! Gosh, that seems like ages ago.

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  24. Oh, I didn't know that about the intermissions like the Potter's Wheel, how interesting.

    My earliest tv memories are from the 70s, and my parents' black & white tv with rabbit ears. It's funny to me now to think how we had to get up and walk across the room to change the channels! I also remember the stations signing off each night, I think at midnight. For some reason, I thought it was a big deal to watch them sign off LOL.

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  25. Just to let you know Rosalind, I have an award for you over on my blog x

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  26. My memories go back to about the same time as yours. There was always a television in our house as far back as I can remember. They were always very small screened. We didn't get our first color set until about 1968.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  27. That is so cool. You know, I feel the same way about many of the shows I loved as a child -- they're so cheesy when I watch them now, it's unbelievable!

    I loved watching the potter's wheel ... for about 2 minutes. Our attention spans are much shorter these days, aren't they?

    Amy

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  28. I remember Saturday morning cartoons and watching General Hospital with my grandparents when they picked me up from school.

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  29. I remember the cheap b/w TV we had even after color TV's were for sale. It had the big knobs that made the deep click when you turned them, and a knob for UHF/VHF (I think). We watched a lot of Elvis and John Wayne movies on that TV, because my mom was a fan.

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  30. My cat would sleep on top of our TV which was deep enough to eat off - and her tail would drop down in front of the screen. I liked all the action programmes, William Tell, Robin Hood, Wagon Train etc as well as Sunday Night at the London Palladium

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  31. The Potters Wheel was so much better than the interminable advert jingles we have today. There was one interlude of some kittens as well.

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  32. I remember watching daytime shows like Captain Kangaroo and Bozo's Circus in the 60s. As I grew older we set up trays and ate dinner in front of the TV on special nights. My brother and I were able to squeeze into the same chair until we hit double digits! Julie

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