It’s become a standard joke, but I have to admit that I – like most men – enjoy playing with the TV remote control, and I was doing just that today when I got to thinking about something that I hadn’t really considered before. Modern remote controls do just about everything, but their core function – changing channels – is something that we wouldn’t have had much use for in the early days of TV viewing at our house, because we only had one channel to watch.
My memory of those days is a little fuzzy, but it’s a fact that TV stations began doing business in larger cities first, and our small burg didn’t join the parade with its first station until the early 1950s. However, folks in our city could put up tall antennas and pull in distant stations if conditions were right. If you were really determined (and wealthy), you could even install an antenna mast with an electric rotor so that you could tune in the signal even better.
I’m not sure but I think our first TV came along before our local station began broadcasting, because I seem to remember my Dad cussing and trying to get a watchable picture from the distant ones. And never mind HD — some nights we were lucky to get anything even recognizable. And remember the ‘fine tuning’ knob? He’d turn it to get better sound and the picture would go to static, so he’d spin it back the other way and get a sharp picture but with buzzing sound. And we couldn’t have that, not with one of Mom’s favorites soon to appear. (See video below.)
George Jones – “Out Of Control”