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March 25, 2004

Red Shirt!

March 25, 2004 -- Fifty years ago today, the first color TV sets made for consumers started rolling off the assembly line. Because they were initially too expensive and there was little color programming available, it took more than a decade for color television to become a household fixture.

I remember the first Color TV I saw. It was long after 1954. In the late 60s one of my friends was the local "rich kid", his dad made a lot of money, they lived in a big house, and they had a COLOR TV!

I didn't know this kid too well. I seem to remember that he was kind of a jerk, but I wanted to see COLOR TV!

A few years later, a real friend got a color tv in his home, and I remember that we had two strong impressions from it: (1) Most shows were in Black and White, and (2) the color of the shirts on Star Trek meant something, like science, engineering, and "this guy's gonna die."

Posted by jghiii at March 25, 2004 11:23 AM
Posted by: adamg on March 25, 2004 09:55 PM

Oh, my, I remember our first color TV - my dad lugged it home so we could watch the Jets in the Super Bowl (so, hey, guess which state I lived in then?).

Posted by: sherman on March 25, 2004 11:00 PM


I think you are remembering a little later than it was. I remember us getting a color tv and we were in the Melrose Street house at the time. (It's now the parking lot for the new high school, although I guess no one calls it the "new" high school anymore.) We moved from there in June 1964. And we were not the first to get one. By the late 60s you were in high school -- you would have been a frosh in Fall 1967. I gotta believe you saw one before then.

Or is this just another attempt to be young? You take your elementary school memory, but you put it in the year you were in high school?

Posted by: Jo Ann on March 26, 2004 06:24 AM

I remember getting our first color TV, too! My grandparents already had a color TV, so before we got ours we went to their house to watch The Wizard of Oz. Remember when The Wizard of Oz was an annual event?!

I remember getting our first color TV because it was just a big thing to get a new TV! I remember my dad setting it up and flipping the channels and finding Batman! I was so excited... Batman was my favorite show and much more festive in color! We must have gotten ours around '66 or '67, I would guess.

Good times!

Posted by: Steve Garfield on March 26, 2004 11:59 AM

We went over to my aunt's house to see man take his first steps on the moon because she had a color TV and we didn't.

We turned on the TV broadcast and were dissapointed to see that the transmission was in black and white.

If only they could have broadcast Neil Armstrong's first steps in color.

That would have been exciting.

Posted by: dah on March 26, 2004 12:40 PM

I remember when we got our first......
oh wait no, I am not that old...

oh I know, I remember when we first got Cable!!
a Microwave and a VCR....

Posted by: MGA on March 26, 2004 12:52 PM

And Encino Man, when asked if he dreams in color or black and white answers, "What's Black and White?"

Posted by: beth on March 26, 2004 02:05 PM

You know Dave we started doing that at work yesterday...I remember no made me feel really old. Cause the women I work with have never been w/o any of that. And besides that they don't own audio tapes or record albums and one of them had heard of 8 track, but had no idea what they looked like.

Posted by: sherman on March 26, 2004 02:40 PM

In 1998, when most of the frosh were born in 1980, an email went out to campus advisors trying to put these new kids in perspective. One of the things that was mentioned was that they have no concept of what "You sound like a broken record" means because they've never used vinyl.

I'm now dealing with kids who are 19 -- born in 1983. I understood that they wouldn't have any clue about JFK or where they were when he died, but i figured they would know where they were when they found out Kurt Cobain was dead. Nope. They were 8 or 9 at the time -- have no clue about his death.

They are so young. And for me it's strange because they all stay the same age. I've been working with college kids since 1986 now, and they all the stay the same age so it's easy for me to think that i'm staying the same age as well. I forget that i'm getting old while they stay the same age, and it hurts when the realization comes in.

Posted by: Jo Ann on March 26, 2004 06:52 PM

I know, crazy. Whatever your age, ya can think back to a time when ya didn't know what an older generation was talking about... and now ya know what that look of astonishment on their face was all about!

A college intern at our office picked up a typewriter eraser (the type that looks like a pencil with the brush on the other end) and studied it like an archeological find! He had no idea what it was.

I recently mentioned to a woman I work with that JJ Jackson, one of the first MTV VJ's had passed away and she had no memory of the first VJ's. Didn't know life before MTV.

Someday kids won't know life before TiVo. "What? Ya had to take a tape and stick it into a machine to record a program?"

Remember when everyone joked that someday kids wouldn't be able to name all of The Beatles? Or that they'd be surprised to learn that Julian or Sean's dad was famous? We're there... heck, we've been there for a long time.

Hey Sherm, don't forget that those kids aren't really staying the same age... they're different kids! The ones who were in college in '86, they're in their late 30's now... oh, that might not help. By the way, I'm no math whiz, but the ones who were born in 1983 can't be 19; they'll be turning 21 this year. They would have been 11 when Kurt Cobain died. The kids in flannel and black eyeliner will always remember.

Posted by: sherman on March 26, 2004 07:46 PM

Ow! That hurts!

See. This is just what I mean. I deceive myself into thinking that Sam and Mikey (my current sophomores -- they're soccer teammates and roommates -- it's like a comdey act with the two of them sometimes) were born in 1983, and it's actually 2 years later than that. 1985. Geez, that's bad.

Ow. Ow. Ow.

Posted by: beth on March 26, 2004 08:56 PM

What's a comdey act...oh wait you mean comedy act...I get it now...

Posted by: Jo Ann on March 26, 2004 11:31 PM

Okay, I'm playing detective here... something is weird about Jack's dates. I always know to take Sherm with a grain of salt (and Peeps on the side), but these dates on color TV don't jive.

If you got your first color TV a few years after the late 60's, do you mean that your family got their first color TV in the early 70's or should I not read that so literally? I would assume you got it earlier than that along with most of America.

I'm confused, could Dave (Jack's brother, right?) really be so young that he doesn't remember life before color TV? I guess folks might be responding to this topic differently and everyone's individual experience is different. Remembering the invention of color TV is quite different than remembering getting a color TV or even seeing color TV. And then everyone's individual experience is different depending on when you first experienced color TV or whatever.

I figure Dave is really a lot younger than his brother Jack or he has a really bad memory! I mean, I remember our family buying our first color TV, but I was only 5 or 6, and I have a really good memory. If someone else my age has a bad memory and can't remember getting a color TV, they're gonna appear younger! HA!

I miss Space Sticks! :-)

Posted by: Jo Ann on March 26, 2004 11:42 PM

Oh, Sherm, sorry to give you an "owie" on the dates of those college kids! I know, I deal with young singers and it still amazes me that many of them were born in the 80's! I can really relate to that phrase "I have sweaters older than you". Ow.

I love Beth's spelling comments! "Comdey", ha! Hey, maybe Sherm was a bit congested when he wrote that! :-)

Posted by: Jack Hodgson on March 26, 2004 11:53 PM

Jo Ann asks, "If you got your first color TV a few years after the late 60's, do you mean that your family got their first color TV in the early 70's"

Are you talking to me or Sherm?

I never said anything about when my family got a color TV, only about when two of my childhood friends got them.

Posted by: Jo Ann on March 27, 2004 12:48 AM

Whaaaaaaaat? I'm talkin' to YOU, Jack! And I am agreeing with Sherman's first comment saying that the dates seem off. But I was really just asking you about it. Oh, I can see this getting very convoluted already...

Okay, you were commenting on the article talking about the first time you saw color TV! You proceeded to talk about the local rich family in the big house having a color TV in the late 60's. Then a few years later (btw: later than the late 60's is either the really late 60's or the early 70's!) a real friend's family got a color TV. This implies that you still did not have your own color TV, since you're talking about your experience with seeing these other people's color TVs.

You are correct that you weren't commenting on when YOU first got color TV. But, since you're saying that you hadn't SEEN color TV until the rich family's color TV in the late 60's, and then your real friend who got color TV a few years later, it does imply that you still didn't have your own color TV at that time. (Unless, you had color TV, but could never watch it.)

Oh boy! I knew this would get convoluted. No wonder Dave blocked this all out of his memory. :-)

Posted by: Jo Ann on March 27, 2004 03:50 AM

PS: Okay, yes, I just figured out that Dave is that young! And he wouldn't remember life without color TV! :-)

Rick remembered this and then I remembered that Jack had said he has a younger brother, because I have a much younger brother, too!

Dave: sorry to keep talking about you! :-)

Posted by: Jack Hodgson on March 27, 2004 06:43 AM

Oddly, I have no clear memory of when my family got its first color tv. There are so many of my family members here, I'll leave it to them to fill in this blank.

Posted by: beth on March 27, 2004 01:20 PM

I don't remember when we got our first color tv either...but do remember getting cable and mtv.

Posted by: dah on March 29, 2004 12:38 PM

My clear memories date back to the late 60's
I don't ever remeber not having a color TV in Melrose, but I remember having B+W in the den and at the lakehouse and how watching TV on B+W was not as good.
I remember watching men land on the moon on TV when I was very young, but I dont know if it was Armstrong or another televised landing on the moon.

For your future notes: I am 11 years younger than Jack, which still make me pretty old....

Heads up, Jack has a birthday coming up in a couple of weeks, which should be a fun post....

Posted by: RickF on March 29, 2004 04:12 PM

But I thought Jack was 11 years younger than Jack...

Posted by: Jo Ann on March 30, 2004 06:12 AM

Hey, thanks for responding to my inquiries as to when the Hodgson family first got color TV! Inquiring minds want to know. But since we don't have a definitive answer, I will say "mid-60's". Yes, I'm comfortable with that. :-)

Dave: Thanks for the information on your age! :-) Just for your own personal record, your memories date back to just a few years after your family first got color TV. So, you really didn't miss anything. Just thought you might want to know. Bhahaha!

Rick: That's funny! I wish I thought of that. I guess I'm just not "bitchy" enough. :-)

Jack: My birthday's coming up too!

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