My family got our first television set in 1955. It looked similar to the model above. My daughter once asked me about “back when you were a child before there was color.” She had seen early television programs in black and white and assumed that there had been no color in the world then. I thought that was a reasonable conclusion for a four year old! Of course our TV was in black and white. In fact, my family didn’t own a color television until 1962 and that was a major extravagance purchased as the family Christmas present.
Portland had only one station, and it went off the air at 11 pm, displaying a symbol on the screen until the morning. Television was generally frowned upon and considered a waste of time. It was also presumed to dumb down viewers, hence the name “idiot box.” While the content of shows was pretty limited, it was actually trying to tune the picture that turned people into idiots.
The picture continually rolled, either horizontally or vertically. Accordingly, dials adjusted both the horizontal and vertical picture. The signal was weak and needed the addition of “rabbit ears,” a set top antenna. Supposedly one could turn the “ears” different directions to improve the signal. Great disagreements broke out over who had “moved the rabbit ears from their perfect position.” As if there were such a position.
The one advantage to the old set was the absence of a remote control. No one could surf the channels. But of course, there were no channels to surf!