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Remembering TV of the 1950s

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Remembering TV of the 1950s

Remembering TV of the 1950s

By Elton Camp

About TV, this little account is told
From when I was twelve years old
Because it was along about then
When TV fascination did begin

The programming choices were few
The channels we received were two
A massive antenna was the only way
There existed no cable system to pay

A flat lead-in thru the window threaded
The possibility of lightning was dreaded
My father looked at the sky with a frown
“Disconnect it and throw on the ground!”

All programs were black and white
Which we watched by a TV light
Brighter lights were then taboo
Only a darkened room would do

If the other channel we’d get 
Get up and walk to the TV set
Commercials at beginning, middle, end
Just those three so unlikely to offend

At midnight, stations signed off the air
At six the next morning, they’d be there
It was only a test pattern for a while
Daily adjusting our set was a trial

Controls on the back so we couldn’t see
Whatever the results were going to be 
Horizontal & vertical hold to reset
So that a viewable picture we’d get

“WBRC now begins its broadcast day”
Some disembodied voice would say
The national anthem was played
Sometimes a preacher then prayed

Whatever vile programs, we didn’t care
Rather, we’d sit and mindlessly stare
Technical interruptions we might get
With, “Please do not adjust your set.”

The set was costly & likely to break down
To houses, the repairman came around
Daily life would almost come to a stop
If he had to take it away to his shop

This situation was inevitable because
One TV set per family’s all there was
Multiple receivers was then far away
We didn’t foresee the present day

Flat screens, color or streaming video 
About such things we didn’t know
We never heard of high definition
To avoid “snow” was our ambition

But any sense of depravation we didn’t feel
With Gleason, Berle & Norman Vincent Peale
“What’s My Line” was everyone’s delight
“I Love Lucy” dominated Monday night

By writing this poem, my age I betray
“Can this be true?” young folks say
Yes, this is the situation we did see
Without Netflix, ESPN, or even MTV

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