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Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a rural sort of place that did not particularly appreciate education, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

C. W., Mr. Clark to me, was a very nice man.  He worked at a TeeVee repair shop in Fort Smith (yes, people actually had TeeVees fixed back then when they broke) and moonlighted some as well.  At the time, a TeeVee was relatively much more expensive that they are now, so repairing them was the norm.

We had the same TeeVee from since I could remember until my father finally upgraded to a color unit around 1968 or so.  Actually, that is not quite true.  I remember a very old console unit with a round picture tube and watching it, but that must have been before I was three.

The one that remember best was a black and white console with a 4:3 aspect ratio rectangular screen.  I seem to remember that it was a Magnavox, but I could be wrong.  I do remember that it had a remote control.  My best guess was the we got it around 1961.  The remote control actually activated servo motors that physically turned the channel selector, and the volume, the contrast, and the brightness potentiometers.  It was 100% analogue and physical.

Those of you who grew up during the digital age have no idea how crude electronics were back in 1961.  I am amazed that they worked at all in retrospect.  Without going into gory electronics details, let me compare a modern TeeVee with a 1961 model.  This will also illustrate why TeeVees were so expensive at the time.

In a 1961 TeeVee, everything was analogue, and now everything is digital.  The single advantage that analogue had over digital was that weak signals could be received IF you could tolerate the "snow" and crackling sound.  With digital, it is "all or nothing" in that if the signal falls below a specific sampling rate, the picture just goes dark and there is NO sound.  The transistor had just been discovered, and was not used much in TeeVee then, whilst now integrated circuits, mostly a whole bunch of transistors on a chip rule.  The function of the chips are to control all functions of reception through reproduction, but with no transistors what was used?

Vacuum tubes were the workhorse devices before transistor technology became dominant.  Tubes were just that, evacuated small or large pieces of glass and metal that controlled electronic flow, often used as amplifiers.  Remember, the signal both then and now are relatively tiny, so something has to be used to boost them using power from the mains.

The only vacuum tubes that most digital age puppies have ever seen are the almost obsolete CRT picture tubes on computer displays and older TeeVees.  Yes, that big and heavy picture tube is a vacuum tube.  But in 1961 vacuum tubes provided almost all of the control functions for TeeVees as well as displaying the picture.

Vacuum tubes do have some advantages, and are still used for many applications.  If you have a microwave oven, then there is a vacuum tube called a magnetron in it that coverts electricity to microwaves.  High power applications, such as broadcast transmitter power outputs that operate at many thousands of watts are also still best handled by tubes.  However, they have several serious downsides.

First, the are power hungry beasties.  This is similar to the difference betwixt an incandescent light bulb and an LED source.  The incandescent one degrades most of the energy supplied to it as heat, whilst in an LED a much higher fraction or the energy goes to light.

Second, although the technology to manufacture tubes was quite advanced for the time, it was not amenable to making them that cheaply, because they were complex mechanically, with lots of small parts that had to be assembled quite precisely.  In contrast, chips can be made using modern X-ray lithographic methods by the thousands.

One of the biggest drawbacks with vacuum tubes is their relatively short life.  Unlike transistors, the mere act of powering up a tube hammers it with thermal stress, shortening its life.  Many tubes also have an emissive coating that is degraded over time as electrons are "boilt" off from the hot cathode.  Although most tubes did not have moving parts (the magnetron is a notable exception), the hot/cold cycling and other mechanical wear gets to them after a while.

So, how does this relate to C. W.?  AT that time, TeeVee repairmen made house calls!  Yes, they would come right into your living room and fix your TeeVee!  Back in those days the two most common failure modes for viewing TeeVee were vertical roll followed (at least in my experience) horizontal roll.  For those of you who have forgotten or never knew, there were two other controls on the panel.

One was called "vertical hold", and if the picture started scrolling up or down, just to be replaced with the next frame, or several frames later, you could twist the potentiometer and stabilize the picture so that you could watch it without motion sickness.  The "horizontal hold" did the same thing if it tried to scroll left or right, but as I remember if the horizontal went out, the picture was horribly distorted, now really scrolling.

Enter C. W..  He would look at the picture, make adjustments, and then diagnose the problem.  In only a few minutes he would have the back off of the TeeVee (they were easy to remove at the time because tubes had to be replaced all the time) and pull the suspect tube.  Then he would plug it into his tube tester, and if it were bad, replace it.  That almost always did the trick, and when he set the hold pots back to nominal, almost like magick the picture was stable!

As a little kid completely addicted to TeeVee, I considered him to be godlike!  He was also nice to me, and kidded me a lot, in a good natured way.  I remember once when he came to repair the TeeVee I was drinking a Nesbitt's Root Beer and he teased me about me drinking beer.  I was about seven.

As I told you earlier, he worked at a TeeVee repair shop in Fort Smith.  When I started going to Saint Anne's High School and rode there with my mum, sometimes we would be right behind him.  He drove a little, brown station wagon that was easy to spot.  She observed one day that his ears looked just like the ears on a fox squirrel.  

I do not know what finally happened to C. W..  I am sure that he is no longer with us, or he would be on the list for the oldest 10 men in the US.  He was always nice to me, and thanks to him I could watch Captain Kangaroo without the image rolling.  I remember him very fondly.

For those of you that keep up with my medical condition, there is really good news.  I am about 50% functional insofar as my right wrist goes now, and am actually typing without my splint!  It is is the washing machine for a well deserved cleaning.  I have worn it almost 24 hours a day since I damaged my radial nerve, and it helped at LOT!  The rinse cycle is just about done, and I shall dry it and put it back on my forearm before I retire.  My recovery is accelerating.

Please add any recollections that you have about growing up, either in a small town or elsewhere.  I know that I love reading them, and from the feedback that I get, so does everyone else.

Crossposted at

The Stars Hollow Gazette,

Docudharma, and

firefly-dreaming

Originally posted to Translator on Wed May 09, 2012 at 06:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips and recs for (38+ / 0-)

    remembering distant memories?

    Warmest regards,

    Doc

    I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

    by Translator on Wed May 09, 2012 at 05:05:30 PM PDT

  •  I remember (11+ / 0-)

    We only had 4 channels: ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS. We had to change the channel by hand. I remember watching the moon landing, and Mr. Rogers, and Gilligan's Island, Leave it to Beaver, and Lost in Space.

  •  LOL, I think we must have (10+ / 0-)

    all been about the same age, watching about the same shows.

    Lost In Space was a personal favorite when I was a rugrat.

    To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

    by Youffraita on Wed May 09, 2012 at 06:37:21 PM PDT

  •  We got our first TV in the early 50's (11+ / 0-)

    I was five years old.  It was a great big wooden cabinet with a tiny screen - I think it was octagon shaped, had kind of a greenish tint.  It was a very big deal - for the first few months we had visitors every night.  We were the first of our friends and neighbors to have one of these magic machines.

    The first thing I saw on TV was some kind of cooking show and I thought that was all there was on the TV - some lady that looked like my grandmother talking and cooking.  I was not terribly impressed except for the fact that I could not figure out how those people got so little to fit in that box, and where did they go when it went dark?

    Then I discovered Howdy Doody and I was hooked. So many shows - Sky King with Penny, Roy & Dale Rogers, Your Hit Parade with dancing cigarettes and Snooky Lansen, Lucy and on and on.  I watched the Santa shows, scared that Santa would say my name and tell all the bad things I had done.

    This was in central California and on Saturdays there were local shows with country music featuring, fairly often, the Decker Sisters - my cousins Carolyn & Betty Decker who were about 3 & 5 years older than me.  When they were on the show my parents would take my brother and me to be part of the live audience.  This was in various cities - Stockton, Fresno and sometimes Sacramento.  After the girls performed we would play backstage and get in all kinds of trouble.  I envied those girls.  I wanted to sing but couldn't carry a tune in a paper bag.  I have always enjoyed music of most kinds (even country), my parents both sang and my father played several instruments, even my little brother could sing, it just did not seem fair!  I eventually learned to play the violin but always wanted to sing.  Now I have a son who makes his living writing music, singing (he has four octaves) and producing so I finally got to live out my singing fantasies through him.

    My father was quite a tinkerer and he usually fixed our TV when it broke.  I well remember those little vertical and horizontal buttons and turning the antenna to get one of our three stations in a little clearer.

    Once again, dear friend, you have caused my mind to go on a wonderful trip down memory lane.   Thank you and please keep it up.  So glad to hear that you are making progress with your wrist.  

    I love this series - reading your stories almost always elevates my mood.

    "It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong" Molly Ivins

    by Lefty Ladig on Wed May 09, 2012 at 09:50:18 PM PDT

    •  Thank you for the very kind words! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lefty Ladig, Aunt Pat

      I have lots of things in my mind these days, and one is thinking about kind friends like you who keep me healthy.

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Wed May 09, 2012 at 10:08:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sky King, wow, that takes me way back. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Translator, Dave925

      As a kid, I dreamed of having a ranch out west somewhere , and managing it by flying around like they did on the show. And what was that police show before Dragnet with Broderick Crawford, Hwy patrol?

      And what about that show about helicopter pilots? What was that called? It was an old Bell helicopter if my memory is correct.

      And the boxes those old teevees came in, they were designed as fine furniture for the ages, to compliment your other fine furniture and taste in accouterments. Blonde oak, Polished Walnut, etc.

  •  I must have been in one of the last high-school (9+ / 0-)

    electronics courses that was primarily concerned with vacuum tubes. We covered the wonders of the The Transistor, but in a very perfunctory fashion. This despite the fact that the famous Japanese "6 Transistor Radio" had been around for nearly a decade, at that point. (early '70's)

    Of course, we also worked out our class problems with slide rules!

    I used to could name all five tubes of the standardized superhet radio receiver of the day - I remember that the voltage drop of all five tubes together added up to 110V - household current -- so that they heaters could just be linked in series.

    There were "tube testers" at most drug stores, with a small assortment of replacement tubes kept in the base of the machine.

    •  I really like vacuum tubes, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BusyinCA

      or as the Brits call them, "valves".  They are wonderfully unreliable, but very effective when they are cooperative.

      I still have a few of my old slide rules, but be the time I got to high school calculators were becoming the rule.  That is mostly thanks to the space program.

      I well remember tube testers, something have not seen in years.  Oh, the time passes way too fast!

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:59:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm still looking for an industrial quality slide (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Translator

      rule. I bought a cheepo at a resale shop, but just to show the youngsters at work how we used to crunch numbers.

      The good ones cost an awefull lot of $ and aren't much better than the ones I used in high school chem.

      •  One of my most (0+ / 0-)

        cherished possessions is my circular one.  I want The Girl to get it when I no longer breathe.

        Warmest regards,

        Doc

        I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

        by Translator on Fri May 11, 2012 at 12:59:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Back in the day. (10+ / 0-)

    My mom was born in Alix, not to far from you. She didn't stay long. My grandfather was a coal miner in the area and decided to move on to greener pastures. The family ended up in Connecticut, where I was born in 46. The first time watching TV I can remember is going to a neighbors house( Charlie Pocadlo) and looking at I think about a 7" screen with a giant curved magnifying glass in front of it. Everything was kinda green. There were only two channels. CBS on one and ABC and NBC on the other. I also remember going to New York City to watch a game show called 'Feather your nest'.
     We got our very own television when I was 10. I was happy that I could watch the Mickey Mouse Club without going to a neighbors house.  All I remember was that it was a console. Maybe a Magnavox. My dad was(and is) pretty handy, so he would take the tubes to the local drug store where they had a tube tester and fix it himself. He used to let me test the tubes. My dad also had one of the very first remotes. It was called "get up and change the channel son".
    Thanks for the memories. As I fellow being with a screwed up body, let me quote one of your fellow Arkansans. "I feel your pain". Hang in there.

    Growing old isn't an option. Growing up is.  

    •  Nice memories! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BusyinCA

      I appreciate you taking the time to write them for us to enjoy.  I am trying to remember the first TeeVee show that I ever saw, but can not sort it out right now.

      I appreciate the Clinton reference.  My wrist is so much better that, at the current accelerating rate of improvement, the splint will probably come of by next Friday.  Thank you for the kind words!  I hope that your condition improve quickly.

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:07:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You were some of the first to get tv (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Translator

      IIRC, the east coast saw the rollout of the first broadcast stations.

      I have somewhere, a Kodak moment of my parents first tv, around the year I was born, and it had a round screen truncated by its bezel.

  •  I love these stories. Thank you! \eom (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, Translator, BusyinCA
    •  Thank you for the very (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BusyinCA

      kind words!  Things like encourage me to continue to write.

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:08:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Back in my day (6+ / 0-)

    we walked uphill through the snow across the living room to change the channel.

    What changed it all? "Space Command."

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Thu May 10, 2012 at 04:04:56 AM PDT

  •  Awakened memories (6+ / 0-)

    I had forgotten about vacuum tubes until I read your diary.

    In the 1940s and early 50s, my father worked at GE in Bridgeport CT, and apparently bought and brought home one of the first televisions.  When my family moved to Tampa in the early 1950s (before I was born), apparently even Tampa had no television stations yet broadcasting!  So that TV remained idle for awhile.  

    My father used to replace vacuum tubes himself.  He'd take out various vacuum tubes from our TV and we'd go down to the TV parts store which had a device that would test the bulbs.  The device had different types of slots for different types of tubes. Plug in a tube and it would indicate if it was good or not.   As a little kid, I looked forward to the day when I would be doing that!  LOL, vacuum tubes were mostly gone before I was 10.

    Remember, too, how long it took for a TV to turn on? the vacuum tubes had to power up and, I guess, sometimes warm up.  Was it like 30 or 40 seconds?  There was no concept of "flipping on the TV" to check what's on.

    Nice diary.  Thanks for sharing your stories.

    •  I'm old enough to think it HIGHLY ironic (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, WI Deadhead, Translator

      that my sparky-new Sony Bravia TV now has so much computerized what-not inside it that it has a lengthy boot-up procedure it goes through every time we turn it on -- during which it will not respond to command input.

      This delay is about as long as it used to take vacuum tubes to warm up.

      •  I noticed that when I got (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BusyinCA

        a new LED TeeVee to replace a CRT one that was too far gone to repair.  There is at least a three or four second delay betwixt the time that I press the "ON" button to when it is fully booted and ready to receive signals.

        Sometimes the future carries remnants of the past.

        Warmest regards,

        Doc

        I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

        by Translator on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:18:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  First, thank you for the kind words! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BusyinCA

      You make an interesting point about "instant on" for mostly transistorized TeeVees in the recent past.  Most tubes require a finite amount of time for the heater to make the emissive cathode hot enough to emit electrons.  The workaround for what until just a couple of years ago was to keep the cathode heater "on" for the picture tube.  In that way the cathode was ready to emit electrons as soon as the other electronics were ready, just a couple of seconds.

      Actually, the cycling of tubes from cold to hot and back is damaging to them.  My Uncle David (still with us) had an old tube radio in his shop and he never turned it off, just turned down the volume.  It went years betwixt tube replacement.

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:16:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My grandmother had a deluxe radio that took (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Translator

      longer than that to 'warm up'. As a child, I was fascinated by the orange glowing bits inside. That was perhaps, my first introduction to the awe and mystery of 'technology'. A fascination that has never diminished.

  •  Whats with all these codgers? 'Shakes fist' (5+ / 0-)

    How are all us old folks on a 'Progressive' site? I thought it would be nothing but danged young college-indoctrinated hippies!

    Yeah I remember our tube TVs and radio, I actually loved the glow from the tubes - putting out enough power probably to run a modern house these days! And the 'tube tester' down at the store, which I thought was really cool!

    Tubes are still in demand, especially in music - everyone knows the best sound comes out of tube amps, my Pignose runs off them. And some high end receivers are so expensive because they're tube powered!

    Romney 2012 - My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball. But tonight I say; We must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

    by Fordmandalay on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:28:51 AM PDT

    •  Hey, I may be old (61) but I'm (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, jabney, blueoasis, Translator
      How are all us old folks on a 'Progressive' site? I thought it would be nothing but danged young college-indoctrinated hippies!
      Progressive!  

      I remember tube testers also!  Way cool.  

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Thu May 10, 2012 at 08:33:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  LOL! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BusyinCA

      Many of us progressives are children of the 1960s and 1970s.  Besides, being of a certain age in my opinion is not what makes a codger, but a mindset.

      Professor Samuel Siegel from my alma mater was way up in his 70s and was quite computer literate in the 1980s.  He was no codger!

      Indeed, tubes are having a renaissance, and I believe that I wrote a piece about them sometime back on my science series here, Pique the Geek.  I shall look for a link later.

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:22:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  tube amps are the best (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Translator, Dave925

      besides, if you overdrive a new digital amp you will fry it. Ha. And even if you can, it doesn't have that deep wall of sound. The 'tubes' analog mechanism produced something that has a rich organic sound that is seldom duplicated.

  •  I remember (5+ / 0-)

    I was a hacker even back then. (I'm 55). I used to love recording the audio from  TV shows on my Sony open reel mono tape recorder. I had a special cable from Radio Shack - a quarter inch plug on one end and alligator clips on the other. I'd snake the alligator clips under our huge black and white console TV and attach them to the terminals of the speaker, getting audio directly from the TV into my tape recorder.

    Later I recorded over 20 hours of Apollo 11 coverage on CBS onto a cassette recorder using that rig. That, plus the Andy Williams show. Yes, I was an anachronism/anomaly -- a 14-year old in 1970 listening to Andy Williams. What the heck, I liked it - especially the old standard he'd sing at the close of each show. I had to keep this dark, dirty secret from my friends back then, but now I'm OK with it. I've come to terms with who I am. [g]

    Thanks for the great memories of TV repairmen!

    •  Thank you for the kind words! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925

      Actually, The Andy Williams Show was not bad.  I remember it fondly.  Too bad he has become a caricature of himself at Branson.

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:25:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  OMG. I hacked a feed to my reel to reel (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Translator

      using parts from the then mail order radio shack parts supplier to do the same thing. i used to record these awesome deep tracks from our local FM station. Jimi Hendrix, The Who, you name it, they played it. But that was before the invention of the cassette, so there was no danger of  sharing my downloads.

      I'm 56 btw. So we went to different high schools together. :)

  •  Is Hackett far from Kaw City, OK? My grandfather (5+ / 0-)

    was born there, on the west bank of the river, just upstream from what is now a dam (which inundated the old Kaw City site). I visited there once, in 1972, as the dam was going up and the town about to be flooded.

    I remember tube testers, radios having to warm up, radios and TV misbehaving if it got TOO warm (which it does in the Sacramento Valley in the summertime!). I also remember taking a class in tubes and circuits when I was in elementary school; it must have been summer school ("get that kid out of the house for at LEAST a couple of hours!"). I still remember how your basic tube worked and a vague understanding of an amplifier circuit. Nowdays my kids take all kinds of very sophisticated electronics for granted and haven't the foggiest how they work!

    •  I would need a bit more (0+ / 0-)

      information about the precise location of Kaw City to comment on that.  If you can find the lock and dam number, I could probably tell you.

      The Girl's daughter, The Little Girl, seems to know how to operate our wireless telephones better than The Girl and I do, put together.  Things change so quickly!

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:28:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, they're far apart- Google Maps says 227 mi (0+ / 0-)

        and I could have looked that up earlier! I'm embarrassed to say that Kaw City is far away from where I thought it was, near the Kansas border about due NW of Hackett. I guess when you're on a 6,000 mi road trip a mere 200 miles or so can seem like a drop in the bucket!

        -Nils

  •  sound with a buzz (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator, BusyinCA, Dave925

    we had a small B&W that was not in very good shape. Towards the end of its life it developed a very loud buzz that made it impossible to hear the sound. If the TV was allowed to warm up for about 10 minutes the buzz would gradually fade away.

    One day as a teenager I found out that Omega Man was going to be in TV while we were at church. (Side note for the youngsters - in the olden days we didn't have videotape machines at home or even videotape rental stores. If you wanted to watch a movie you waited until it was on TV. Things like the Wizard of Oz would be on once a year like clockwork, anything else was catch as catch can.)

    I think that was the only time I ever missed church, I was a pretty hale fellow, and I had to do some hard sell coughing for a few hours to pull it off.

    Of course my older brother raced into the house as fast as possible and turned on the TV - NO BUZZING! he therefore gleefully pounced and pointed out that I MUST have been watching TV instead of laying in pain in my bed. I had tried to keep it cool by turning off during commercials and not watching to the end so it could cool down before they got home. To no avail.

    I protested feebly that I had no idea how come it wasn't buzzing. I didn't even fool myself I am sure.

    I had the last laugh. Once I went off to college I missed lots of church. And now I am an atheist.

    www.dailykos.com is America's Blog of Record

    by WI Deadhead on Thu May 10, 2012 at 04:37:51 PM PDT

    •  Great story! (0+ / 0-)

      I remember The Omega Man, with Charlton Heston.  There was a Will Smith remake of it a couple of years ago, but I do not recall the title off the top of my head.

      You had a tube that was beginning to fail in the audio amplifier circuit, and it had to get really warm to emit enough electrons for them to penetrate the control grids.  What you were hearing as the buzz was likely harmonics (120 and 240 Hz, respectively) of the 60 Hz line frequency.

      I, too, am not a person of great faith.  However, my science has no way to address those matters, so I never evangelize about it.  To each everyone's own, as long as we do not get in each others' space.

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:37:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We bought a Stromberg-Carlson set (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Translator

    that had no cabinet b/c my Dad wanted to make one himself, to match the other furniture he was making. That must have been about 1956 to '58 or so.

    "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

    by pixxer on Fri May 11, 2012 at 07:17:53 AM PDT

  •  Don't know when we got it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator

    it was always there when I was a little kid.  An Admiral B&W, nearly square screen, 4:3?  It had a blond wood cabinet.  It also had a radio receiver, I think it was just AM, could have had FM since TV and FM are nearly the same frequencies.  It didn't get UHF, channels above 13, we had to have an adapter and 2 sets of rabbit ears.

    As a kit in Westfield, MA we only got 4 channels.  ABC, NBC, CBS and NET (pre PBS).  IIRC NET was channel 22 and you had to use the UHF to watch Romper Room.

    Spent a lot of mornings watching Captain Kangaroo, and some Saturdays, I was up before the stations came on air.  You'd get the test pattern as they warmed up the equipment, followed by a 'video' of the Star Spangled Banner before they started the broadcast day.

    There was a local convenience store or maybe it was a drug store that had a tube tester.  Dad would pull the suspect tubes and trot them down to the store and test them and buy replacements.  There were all sorts of different pin configurations, so you had to match the tube to the connector before you could test them.

    Back then prime time started around 7:30 Eastern time.  But I couldn't get to watch the good stuff like McHale's Navy because it came on after my bed time....

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Fri May 11, 2012 at 10:30:50 AM PDT

    •  Here is a technical point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      markdd

      The old analogue TeeVee used AM to carry the picture and FM for the sound, and the centers of each bandwidth were offset around 5 Mhz.  The offset and different modulation techniques were to assure that the video and audio portions of the signal would not interfere with each other, but I remember that my cousin's parents had a set where the signals DID interact, probably because of poorly designed amplifiers.

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Fri May 11, 2012 at 05:42:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did not know that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Translator

        Spent most of my time working with NTSC (Never Twice the Same Color).  That has Color, Video, and Audio in the same waveform.

        “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

        by markdd on Fri May 11, 2012 at 06:25:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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