Randy McDaniel’s ‘Growing Up Leota': When TV’s Were Furniture
The farmhouse I grew up in was small and old. It's gone now, gone for about 40 years I guess. They tore it down pretty much as soon as Mom and Dad moved out and "moved into town" (a town called Leota, about 300 people or so I think).
But the living room had a lot of things in it. There was, of course, the couch and what passed for an easy chair. No carpet, but a doggone nice piece of linoleum on the floor! And there was an oil burner, the kind where you could open the doors on the front and watch the flame do it's burning dance behind the glass. I'm not sure it kept the place real warm in those cold Minnesota winter's but it sure looked like it did.
There was an end table, a rug or two...and of course the television.
Do you remember when the TV was a piece of furniture? I mean, I understand how it works these days. You get the thinnest, most light weight TV you can, LCD, HD and a bunch of other letters attached to it (seems like maybe the price goes up with each letter!). Heck you can hang them on the wall and the color just jumps right out at you! Every blade of grass looks like it's growing right there in your living room...or bedroom...or kitchen...or bathroom.
Yeah, well, it wasn't quite like that in the "old days".
The TV we had was called a console (a pretty fancy word for a little farm family). I'm not sure what it weighed, but I think it took about 3 grown men to lift it whenever it needed to be lifted. Microchips and technology? Well, no. You could take the back off and see some tubes the size of salami's and the picture tube, just about the size of a tuba.
I do recall my Dad saying don't ever mess with those tubes when it's plugged in or it might blow you half way to Luverne.
Color? Well, the cabinet was brown with a nice lamp and doily on top. The picture? Oh, they called it black and white, but truth be known it was pretty much shades of gray. I can remember watching shows on NBC and they said they were in 'Living Color'. Then this peacock would spread it's tail feathers, but nah...it was still shades of gray in our house.
A remote? Oh yes, we had a remote. It was my dad saying, 'Randy, get up and see what's on the other channel'. That was our remote.
2 channel's, that's what we had. KELO was channel 11 and KSOO was channel 3 as I recall, NBC and CBS. ABC? Well, if the weather was just right...and I mean just right...we could get a snowy ABC out of Sioux City or Mitchell.
But truly, here's the biggest difference of all, between that TV back then and these fancy TV's now.
Back then we had 2 channel's and there was always something on. Now, we have a hundred or two hundred or a thousand channel's I guess. And gee, it seems like there's never much anything on.
I wish the Captain's were back. Kangaroo and Eleven.