Monday, May 01, 2006

Color TV: When and What was Yours?

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?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was lucky; my dad owned an appliance store, so we got our RCA color TV circa 1962, maybe earlier. "Bonanza," "The Wizard of Oz," "The Wonderful World of Color" and Red Skelton's Christmas episode were pretty much the only things I remember being in color for the longest time.

John McElwee said...

We got our first color set for Christmas in 1966. Until then, I had to go to my cousin's house to see color, generally on Sunday nights for the Disney show. First program I watched on our color set was a "Voyage To The The Bottom Of The Sea" that played on the (Christmas) Sunday afternoon we got our set. Color TV has never looked better since.

Anonymous said...

1971- a GE, I believe. A bit later than most other people, but the old B&W set was doing just fine. And my parents had no burning desire to see their favorite shows in color. I do remember the ooh and aah over the Rose Parade the first time we got to see it in color.
Of course the main criteria in buying a TV back then was "Will it look good in the living room?" It wasn't just a TV Set, put a fine piece of furniture you were buying.
Getting an HDTV set reminded me of the same thrill I got when we first go the color set.

ClericalGal said...

We got our first color TV in 1964, when I was six. I remember my dad said that he wanted to wait "until all the bugs were out" before we splurged on a color set. The shows I remember seeing in color was "Disney's Wonderful World of Color", and yearly repeats of "Peter Pan", and "The Wizard of Oz." The set lasted until 1973.

Anonymous said...

My dad was a radio man in the Navy and eventually got into tv repair as a hobby. We went to the local tv showroom the night Wonderful World of Disney and Bullwinkle premiered. The next week, we had an RCA 21" color tv. Many of the local Los Angeles stations were already airing color shows. In particular, KTLA would show Bugs Bunny cartoons in color on Sunday afternoons.

Badger said...

On our first-ever colour TV set, back in early December 1964 Pompton Plains, New Jersey, the first show we watched was the premier airing of the annual animated Rankin-Bass holiday special Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer...

Anonymous said...

FWIW, the buyers who picked Zenith made the right choice. The heat created from vacuum tubes turns printed circuit boards into brittle junk.

Sandy G. said...

I wanna go back to '64 & get one of each...LOVE those old "Roundies"...Somebody who's never seen a properly set up round-screen color set doesn't know what they're missing...

1948BuickABC said...

I remember going to downtown Albany NY to watch Peri Como show in COLOR at at TV appliance store, with other familes sitting on metal chairs, rows of us ! The pink dyed poodles on TV ! Wow

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cunt said...

First color rca set in 1959,there wasn't much shown in colour then

tbonemankini said...

Pretty sure it was 69 or 70....and think it was a Magnavox. Pretty much all the regular shows were colour by then so I don't recall what was our first viewing....

tbonemankini said...

Pretty sure it was 69 or 70....and think it was a Magnavox. Pretty much all the regular shows were colour by then so I don't recall what was our first viewing....