No question about it: 1964 was the true start of the color TV revolution. To be sure, NBC’s “compatible color” had been around since 1953, but most of us had just paid off our black & white sets and were in no hurry to replace them for the sake of three or four color programs per week. By ’64, it was a different story. Color movies were airing several nights weekly on nearly all the networks, and color programming was finally on the rise. Later that year, Bonanza – a show specifically designed to sell color sets – reached the top of the Nielsen chart.
This free TV Guide supplement from September 1963, which consisted of half advertising, displays the models that were enticing buyers to finally consign that old 12-inch B&W set to the junk heap (or perhaps the bedroom). Make sure you read carefully before you buy.
RCA, claiming to have “perfected” color TV, tells us that “improved modern circuitry eliminates more than 200 of the hand-soldered, hand-wired connections that can come loose or cause trouble.” On the other hand, Zenith assures us “There are no printed circuits, no production shortcuts. Zenith’s specially designed color circuitry is hand wired with the same extra care that makes Zenith America’s largest selling black and white TV.”
Hmmm. This could be difficult. Maybe our best bet is to go with the Silvertone, so we can rely on that 90-days of free Sears service and one year of free parts. Then again, General Electric says their circuit boards are guaranteed for life.
Oh, well, big decisions like color television aren’t supposed to be easy. My family finally settled on a Zenith – five years later. When and what was your first color TV?