I’m old but not that …old. But I do remember a time when the President addressed the nation that your whole night of TV watching was ruined!
I don’t recall what kind of refrigerator or stove we had as I was growing up. But I do recall the television. I know that both the refrigerator and stove were vital for keeping me alive — with being key to food storage and preparation. That was kind of important. Yet, the television raised me. I’m surprised I didn’t call it Papa Television. It watched over me after school and on Saturdays. It was responsible for teaching me important life lessons — and informing me what cool new toys to want. Oh, and breakfast cereal. So, it was partly responsible for keeping me alive as how would I’ve known about Cookie Crisp and Honey Nut Bunch?
The television was a 1977 19 inch color Zenith with a dual dial. It wasn’t one of those TVs stuck into a furniture cabinet. We had a TV stand. Yet, like most TVs of the time, it was molded in a wood-grain plastic to appear more furniture like. It didn’t even have coaxial connectors. I remember we had to have UHF to VHF (transformer) adapter to use cable. The top dial had 13 VHF cable channels and the bottom dial had the 14 -83 UHF channels using it with an antenna. I find it odd that in the 70s and 80s TVs were referred to in advertisements as “color” (or “B&W”). This sounds absurd today because who’d want a 65 inch LED “Black and White” television? Yet back then, color in your TV was a premium and added a $100. I’m pretty sure my mother bought the TV from SEARS. Yet, I do remember we had the tuner replaced twice (yes kids, spinning the dial was indeed bad for the tuner). And I know we had a tube replaced too. It’s no lie. There were shops and people that actually repaired televisions. I think to fix a TV today is just buy a new one!
Papa Television was a key member of my family. He was responsible for entertaining me with Knight Rider, Dukes of Hazzard and Sunday Night Movies! These were all broadcast on the big THREE networks — ABC, CBS and NBC. Those were the only channels that aired new shows. We had a few other affiliates to enjoy but they only played old movies or reruns of I Love Lucy or F Troop. The worst thing that could happen to a kid — or me — was the night the President decided to address the nation.
Click. Click. Click. All the channels had the President! “Noooo! He’s on all channels!” For a kid, it just sucked. I remember sitting watching him, whispering, “hurry up.” Sitting there, I asked my mother, “is he done yet?” She was very patient and say “not yet.” Tapping fingers. Twitching feet. Hoping any second, he’d say, “Good night and God Bless America!” Wait! Did he just say it! He did. “God Bless America!” Now back to Six Million Dollar Man….