I remember the first time I saw a television in the window of a local furniture store. It was in the fall of 1949; our family had newly arrived in the little town of Payson, Utah, We’d moved from Alaska; a TV free zone, and were settling in. Ours was a home of limited entertainment opportunity, and it too, was TV free.
So, I spent my few video viewing hours in front of a friends TV, watching whatever they chose; it really didn’t matter to me, it was all a marvel. I remember a series called “Don Winslow of the Navy”. I was quite taken with the program; I was amazed to see him parade around in his dress whites, never so much as getting a cuff dirty, and almost having pseudo love affairs with beautiful women. I suppose Don would be to blame as far as my first choice of enlistment options. I liked the idea of beautiful women in my wake.
The acquisition of our first TV, was a result of my largesse….I had an after school job, and made sporadic payments on it—until the finance company felt payments made only once in a while was not good enough, and took it home with them. As I recall, they did leave the antenna—still perched precariously on our roof; which to an untrained eye would make it seem we were still of the video blessed. However, if one looked a little closer, they would find a total lack of the mesmerizing images in our living room.
Yes, I was once again doomed to video hand-outs, gleaning scraps of TV leftovers from my friends. This went on for another year or so, until my step dad was able to affect a swap: sign work for a Zenith television.
By the time I was a junior in High School, I was more interested in the opposite sex, than Don Winslow’s proclivities. But, there it was, in the combination living room/kitchen/family room/mudroom, in it’s place of honor, not too far away from the icebox…yes, I said icebox. Not only were we in a TV free zone, but an electronically enhanced refrigeration free zone as well.
The old Zenith served my parents well, until long after I had moved out, and was of an age to take my financial responsibilities more seriously. Next was a Crosley “table model”, selected by my roommate and I for our bachelor pad. It was a rather clumsy device that weighed more than I did, and featured the amazing “Zoom-a-tenna”, a built in set of rabbit ears, that collapsed into the back of the set when not in use.
I married, and it claimed front row center attention for quite a few Andy Griffith shows, and many a Leave It To Beaver episodes. Over the next twenty years or so, we changed our televisions, until we landed our first color set, almost as primitive as that first black and white set of years before.
Today, it’s a flat panel, with an amazing picture that could only have been seen in one’s imagination in 1949. Yet, to me as a 12 year old, what I saw through that furniture store window, impressed me more.
I’m curious though, do you think Don Winslow will ever make a comeback? And in today’s enlightened age, would he at last, get his uniform dirty, and would he finally find true love? I’ll be waiting for your answer.
A new gadget for you to mull over.