Tag Archives: colour tv

Life Before the Remote……Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Life Before the Remote……Linda Knight Seccaspina

Life Before the Remote……Linda Knight Seccaspina

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 some American television, and not just the staple Canadian three.

Cartoon Corner and Howdy Doody were favourites of mine back in the day 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”. Of course, I still think of that when it’s storming outside sitting in my lazy boy chair that’s pointed at the television along with every other piece in the room, and still with decorative venetian blinds.

Every night at 5 in 1961 I would watch the CBC TV show Razzle Dazzle hosted by Suzanne Somer’s husband, Alan Hamel. I had entered a writing contest and was eagerly waiting to hear if I won a pen with my “meatless meat pie” essay. A few weeks later I found out that I had indeed won a Razzle Dazzle pen for my story along with a photo of Howard the Turtle.

One day in the 60’s my father went to Keith Lachasseur’s Appliance store on the Main Street in Cowansville 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. It ‘simulated’ full colour along with rabbit ears covered in tinfoil to stimulate even better viewing. Of course it was sold as a cheap alternative to buying an expensive colour 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.

In our family he 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 while we simultaneously hunted dinosaurs in those days 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 burning map on the TV show Bonanza was priceless.

One night my father went out to a Lodge meeting 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?.

Was my father really not at  the Lodge meeting and 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. I think all of you remember that particular button with joy and happiness.

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 black and white to colour.

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. My family just continued to ‘upgrade’ and in lieu of Don Messer’s Jubilee we watched Tommy Hunter on Friday nights. Who knew a

Hoedown, Tommy Hunter and Brenda Lee could all exist in colour together?

McLuhan once said,“The medium is in the message”– or was that ‘the massage’.   But now we are confronted with all sorts of media so pardon me while I check my Facebook Twitter and Instagram and watch a season of something on Netflix real quick. Just remember if someone had not invented the TV we’d still be eating frozen radio dinners.

Sock it to me!

And That’s the Way it Was….

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And That’s the Way it Was….

Classic-TV.jpg

And That’s the Way it Was…. Linda Knight Seccaspina as read in the Sherbrooke Record

The first TV program I remember watching as a child was the Mantovani Show, and not only was it boring, but it was in glorious black and white. Because we lived 14 miles from the Frelighsburg–Vermont border we were lucky to be able to receive American television channels, but my family insisted on progressing musically from Mantovani to Don Messer’s Jubilee. My father always hated radio and I think he couldn’t wait for television to be invented so he could hate that too.

For a few years my father had a special plastic sheet stuck to the front of the black and white TV that ‘simulated’ full colour. It was sold as a cheap alternative to buying an expensive color TV set and its promise had sucked my father in. Finally he gave in and bought one of the first colour televisions on Albert Street in Cowansville and our home instantly became the local tourist attraction. 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 watch my father play around with the “horizontal hold” button.

Of course he was the only person allowed to touch it and he spent a great deal of time on the roof adjusting the antenna to get the best picture. After constant calls to Lechausseur’s TV on the Main Street he became obsessed with something called tubes.  Picture tubes were expensive, and it was a sad day if the repairman told you that you needed a new one.

This TV was considered state of the art in those days and was not like the old black and white where he used to take all the tubes out “to test them”. Tube testing was usually a Saturday morning project, and sometimes I went with him. Back in the 50s they used to have a display setup in the local drugstores and I used to watch him put the tubes into a display socket and a meter would tell you if it was good or ‘fried from overuse’.


Once you had colour TV you never went back to black and white- you just went to what was called an “upgrade”.  In the late 60’s some of my friends 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 Jubilee we inherited 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.  Canadian professor, philosopher, and public intellectual Marshall McLuhan once said,”The medium is in the message”. I shook my head after 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.”


You bet your sweet bippy Brenda! Don’t you wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence sometimes? There’s one marked ‘Brightness,’ but it has never seemed to work. For me anyways.


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As read in the Sherbrooke Record Quebec

 

  1. Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte

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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.

tv

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