Friday, June 12, 2009

When the New Television in Ypsilanti was...Analog

As analog TV disappears forever today, some among us can remember when it was the hot new thing. You could get a beautiful 1950 Philco or RCA, with a big 12 and 1/2 inch screen, over at Shaefer's for $240--$2,050 in today's money. Black and white only.

In 1950, just one of every eleven Ypsilanti homes had a TV. Programs were broadcast for only a few evening hours. Prime time was the only time. Here were your choices according to the September 22, 1950 edition of the Ypsilanti Daily Press:

8:00 Quiz Kids
(pictured; originally a radio show)
9:30 The Clock with Raymond Massey (suspense show; also from radio)

9:00 Friday Theater "The Married Look"

10:30 By Popular Demand (Talent)

8:30 Pro Football Program
(I love how they don't bother to name the teams--TV was such a novelty that any old football game was just fine)
10:00 Betty Furness Party (the Westinghouse lady; her show "Adventures in Mystery" was sponsored by the Kaiser Frazer car company based at Willow Run)

Dumont (the "Forgotten Network," a one-time rival to NBC)
8:30 Hold That Camera Quiz (quiz shows were cheap to produce!)
10:00 Cavalcade of Stars with Jackie Gleason (vaudeville-style variety show not unlike an early "Tonight Show").

Farewell, analog.

p.s. Kind reader, does your home have Two Ford Freedom?


jml said...

Discussing this at the A2B3 lunch on Thursday, we concluded that a fitting farewell to analog would be to play the Star Spangled Banner with a video of a flapping flag. Followed by the test pattern you posted, of course.

Dusty D said...

jml: That's perfect. The video should be a little grainy...

(Sigh) I'm already nostalgic and I never even watched much TV.

One interesting difference is that digital is binary--you either get the signal, or you get nothing. Very different from old analog where even if the signal wasn't 100%, you could twiddle the antenna and still get *something*, even if the image was imperfect.