Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Day Color Television Came Into My Life

By Pete Frecchio, Groovy Reflections Team Member

September 17, 1973. A very important day in my life. That’s when my family got our first color television set. No more watching favorite shows and cartoons in black and white!

Prior to this historic date, viewing of color TV programs was limited to what I saw at friend’s homes or catching a glimpse of my favorite shows when visiting relatives. And even then, I was never in control of the channel selector.

Most importantly, after years of living in a TV world void of the greenest greens and the goldest golds, I would finally get to watch my beloved Green Bay Packers in COLOR!  That evening, the Packers would be hosting Joe Namath with his kelly green and white clad New York Jets on Monday Night Football. It didn't get any better than this!

And, come Easter time, I would finally get to see CBS’s annual showing of Wizard of Oz in color! Having to watch the Munchkins in black and white had left my heart yearning for a world wrapped in the hues of a rainbow. Saturday mornings would never be the same; all of my favorite super heroes would now save the world in a bold dash of color. On weeknights, the Bunkers, Waltons and the Bradys would all look as groovy as my color filled world!

The school day could not go fast enough for me. I was bored silly listening to my teachers ramble on about history, algebra and science. By 5 o'clock a Zenith 19 inch color TV would find a loving home in my living room!

Sure enough, just after 5 o'clock, my mom pulled into the driveway. There in the back seat of our cherry red 1973 Dodge Charger SE was my new beloved color TV! It was like Santa Claus coming down the chimney and leaving the best present ever at my feet. In a matter of minutes the cable was clipped on to the back of the TV and a rainbow of colors appeared!

Unlike today's high definition flat screen multi-purpose TVs you didn't need to read much of the instruction manual to get the TV working. Of course, I double checked channel 11, where my beloved Packers would soon be playing, to make sure all was well.

Our new Zenith was a very heavy "portable" TV with a metal cabinet painted to look like simulated wood grain. It had a directional antenna mounted on the back, but since we had cable, that didn't matter. Being in a somewhat rural area, the UHF channel selector would not come into play either. Our city owned cable company offered 12 channels for four dollars a month, in today’s dollars that’s just shy of $21. The TV was set on a stand with wheels so the position could be changed to avoid the glare during bright, sunny days.

I was so excited I barely ate any supper. Nervously, I sat through the local newscast and ABC World News, counting down the minutes until I would hear Howard, Dandy Don and Frank talking about my Packers. Finally the moment I had been waiting for was here; the only thing that would make this night any better was a Packer win.

It would be a battle between two quarterbacks who had played for the University of Alabama: Second year signal caller Scott Hunter against the legendary "Broadway Joe" Namath! Scott threw touchdown passes to Carroll Dale and Len Garrett and Chester Marcol booted three field goals as the Green Bay Packers defeated the mighty Joe Namath and his New York Jets 23 -7!

My life was now complete.

The next day at school, it was all I could talk about. My friends got tired of me going on and on about the "newest member" of my family, but I didn't care!
Many color television sets have come and gone from my home since that day, but I will never forget that  day in 1973 when the wonderful world of color TV came into my humble home in the tiny town of Norway, Michigan and changed the life of one young Packers fan forever.


Hillary said...

Enjoyed this, Pete!

Dime Store Novel said...

My first color TV was a Heathkit my Dad built.

John said...

Our old Zenith black and white looked just like this. I probably watched the same game on it.