When The Friendly Giant was King on Televison

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I wrote a story about writing letters as a child to the media on Sunday, and it got me thinking.The first TV program I remember watching as a child was the Mantovani Show and not only was it boring, but it was in black and white. Because we lived 14 miles from the Vermont border in Quebec we were lucky to be able to receive American television but my family insisted on progressing from Mantovani to Don Messer’s Jubilee.

 

Cartoon Corner and Howdy Doody were favourites of mine in black and white on CBC. I also remembered having to unplug the TV when a thunderstorm occurred as my Mother said it was “going to blow the house up if one of those bolts wrapped around the venetian blinds”.

tv1

One day in the 60’s my father went to Keith Lachasseur’s Appliance store (just found out last week he is friends with Mac Knowles from Carleton Place-small world) and came home with a colour TV. I didn’t really care one way or the other as I was actually used to the rainbow hues of “the plastic sheet” on the front of the television.

 - There. win be several new live children's...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 02 Aug 1958, Sat,
  3. Page 62

 

For a few years my father had a special plastic sheet stuck to the front of the black and white that ‘simulated’ full colour. It was sold as a cheap alternative to buying an expensive color TV and its promise had sucked my father in. I think he immediately knew he had the wool pulled over his eyes, but, never knowingly admitting a mistake, he insisted that it was ‘just as good’ as the real thing.

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tv2

My father was the only person allowed to touch the new TV and he was always up on the roof adjusting the antenna to get the best picture. After seeing everything in black and white for years my world had now progressed  to technicolor with a new neighbour coming in every night to see ‘the TV.’ Some of the highlights were: ‘Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Colour’ when Tinkerbell would splash colour on the screen and of course the map burning on the TV show Bonanza was priceless.

The Friendly Giant went from this:

To this:

 
flintOriginal televison brought from Art Flint’s store in Carleton Place-Thanks to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

I will always remember that day because my father was afraid I was watching TV way too much and he took all the tubes out after “to test them”. Tube testing was usually a Saturday morning project, but he was always worried they were going to fry from overuse.

tv3

tv4

One night my father went out and my friend Sheila came over to watch The Man from U.N.C.L.E. David McCallum, who played  “Ilelya Kuryakin” on the show, had been dubbed the “British James Dean” and was the only reason I watched that show. The fact that I had always seen him cast as a delinquent was a bonus for me since there is nothing like a bad boy. Sheila and I sat down and got ready to watch. The NBC Peacock came on and it remained in black and white. Where was the colour?

 - Homme, TVs Friendly Giant, dies of cancer...

Had my father taken out the tubes for more testing? Was he last seen adjusting the roof antenna so I could not enjoy the show? The Man from U.N.C.L.E began and I started fidgeting around with the buttons. Instead of black and white the show suddenly turned red and then blue and I wondered if the rainbow plastic sheet had found its way inside the TV. Was I doomed?  After fidgeting some more the picture started skipping and I had to play around with the “horizontal hold” button.

Illya still stared at me in glorious black and white, and I stopped playing with the buttons. Fifteen minutes before the show ended my father came in and tweaked his magic and it turned from back and white to colour.

1986

barn

Clipped from

  1. The Gazette,
  2. 03 May 2000, Wed,
  3. Other Editions,
  4. Page 10

 

Once you had colour TV you never went back to black and white- you just went to “upgrade”. Some of my friends in the late 60’s used LSD instead, and their whole lives became Technicolor without television. Instead of drugs my family just continued to ‘upgrade’ and in lieu of Don Messers Jubileee we inherited the television show below. Yes, it was just The Tommy Hunter Show on Friday nights. Who knew a Hoedown, Tommy Hunter and Brenda Lee could all exist in colour together? That is the exact moment I seriously thought drugs might be the answer.  McLuhan said,“The medium is in the message.  I shook my head as I heard Brenda Lee’s message full of Technicolor words,

“Brother, if you want to get the lowdown, come along and let’s all have a hoedown.”

More on “High Diddle Day” this week

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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