The Color TV Thread

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by HGN2001, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member Thread Starter

    Those of us who lived through the era where television converted from black & white to color will never forget it, and though we've had many threads dealing with individual early color broadcasts, along with some discussion about how series seem to go downhill once they switched to color, I thought we should have an all-encompassing thread to post our memories, our first experiences seeing television in color, and anything else that one can think of regarding that moment in time when black & white turned into color.

    When did you or your family get your first color television?

    What brand or type was it?

    What were the first shows you saw in color?

    What shows were you surprised to see in color because you thought they were always black & white?

    What TV stations did you view? When did THEY become color broadcast-capable?

    I'll start with memories of my parents buying a Sears color TV back in the 1965-66 TV season. It was a big, brown (simulated wood-grain!) metal-cabinet cube-shaped thing. Weighed a ton.

    We somehow got it home and hooked it up to our outside antenna. Living in the Philly suburbs, we got pretty decent reception from the antenna farm in Roxborough, and by then all of the network stations had color capabilities, at least in passing through network programs in color.

    In local news, Channel 6 was far and away the leader as they'd teamed up with local color-TV seller Raymond Rosen and Co. and had at least their 6 o'clock weather forecast in color well back into the '50s.

    It was on color sets in the stores that I first glimpsed one of those weathercasts back in the '50s, and I could only dream of my favorite shows and what they'd look like in color.

    We were always a "CBS" household, defaulting to whatever was on that network most of the time. In that 1965-66 season, much of CBS was still in black & white with only some shows in color. Still, we welcomed those instances with shows like THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and GREEN ACRES in color, and we regretted the fact that shows like THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW remained in black & white that year.

    Post your memories.

  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    November 8, 1968. Zenith 25" with "Space Command" remote.

    First prime time show was MANNIX on CBS.

    Of course I had been watching Color TV in the department stores since 1962. My parents would shop and I would watch NBC for what ever color scraps they had.

    Our next door neighbor got a color TV in 1963 and I remember going over there (in my pajamas) to watch BULLWINKLE.

    They had a color TV in the pizza joint my dad liked and I remember watching a LASSIE episode in color (the only episode in color with Timmy). I was astounded when the show started and you saw Lassie in color. This had to be early 1963 because I would stand on the seat to watch instead of sitting. Seems like yesterday. OK, this is freaking me out..
    Duke Fame likes this.
  3. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member Thread Starter

    It's amazing how clear the memories surrounding the explosion of color TV are. Just don't ask where I went for vacation two years ago...

  4. proufo

    proufo Active Member

    In the seventies in Venezuela, all channels (well, the three of them) were setup and ready to go color. But our president at the time banned it. Some psychiatric issues too long to debate.

    Then the broadcasters started transmitting in color (NTSC) without what is called the 'color burst signal'. You would get B&W in B&W sets and also in color sets.

    But a cottage industry grew, as expected, that rigged the sets to 'keep open' the transistor that opens and closes with the color burst signal. Just a constant voltage signal fed to one of the legs of the color burst transistor.

    Presto! you had color TV.

    My first color set was a Canadian Electrohome 25 incher pro monitor. Very expensive. It had an EIAJ connector that allowed me to record TV programs with my Sony AV-3400 portapak (open reel, 30 minutes, B&W).

    The Electrohome PC board was used in the first Videobeams.
    Joel1963 likes this.
  5. Rachael Bee

    Rachael Bee Miembra muy loca

    My dad got us a colour set about '67 or '68. I remember it was RCA. It muust of been 25-27 inches...? It had rounded corners on the tube....which struck me as odd at the time.

    I really have no idea what the first non-monotone TV show that I watched was. I liked Star Trek in Peacock Vision. I wasn't always home to watch it on Friday nights though.
  6. Walt

    Walt Forum Resident

    Takoma Park, MD
    We didn't get a color tv until 1989/90. I grew up in an area that couldn't get cable and one channel (WJAC from Johnstown, PA - an NBC affiliate) came in fuzzy, so tv wasn't a big deal.

    My uncle gave us an RCA color tv. It was old/ vintage then - made in the '70s. It died a few years later and my folks decided to get a new color tv (with a *gasp* remote control!).

    I used to watch "Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends" in the early 80s and thought Firestar was nude (I was six or seven years old - and colorblind).
  7. benjaminhuf

    benjaminhuf Forum Resident

    We had a Sylvania 17" black and white on a rickety metal rolling stand when I was a kid from the late 60s to late 70s. Watched all sorts of things on it, including the nbc peacock "in living color!" in shades of grey, which seemed like a Monkeys song I was listening to at the time.

    When we moved to the city of brotherly love for a year when my dad went on sabbatical, in 1977, we rented a house with a huge RCA color TV. I couldn't believe that the shirts on Star Trek were different colors! My jaw dropped and stayed open for weeks. Finally understood red shirts....
    MikeInFla likes this.
  8. dirwuf

    dirwuf Raccoon of the Year

    Fairfield, CT
    Remember going over to our neighbor's house every Tuesday and Thursday to watch Batman in COLOR!
    Veggie Boy and budwhite like this.
  9. rburly

    rburly Sitting comfortably with Item 9

    We used to occasionally watch color TV in the 60's at a neighbor's house and a family friend of my parents. I also remember watching it in Sears stores.

    We finally got a color TV around 1970, I think. I remember watching "Love, American Style" in color, and "Mary Tyler Moore", "Carol Burnett", "All In The Family" and "Bob Newhart" in color.
  10. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

  11. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member Thread Starter

    Of course, everyone remembers the NBC Peacock, the first "In Color" logo:

    And the other two networks answers to the peacock:


    In the fall of 66, ABC dumped their color logo in favor of having a short "In Color" bumper that would precede each show, produced by their respective program producers.

    Here's a montage of four ABC shows that had the "In Color" bumper:

    Attached Files:

    Joel1963 likes this.
  12. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    1964 IIRC...may have been 1965.
  13. Dennis Metz

    Dennis Metz Born In A Motor City!

    Fonthill, Ontario
    It was sometime it 1968 and was a Zenith.
  14. babyblue

    babyblue Forum Resident

    Pacific NW
    My family didn't get a color TV until the late 1970s, so in the 1960s I went over to my best friend's house to watch Batman, Star Trek and Time Tunnel. I didn't get a color TV until the mid-1980s and that was just my mom's old one. Before then I used a Sears black and white set that I bought for $75 at a garage sale when I was in collage. It finally gave out around 2004.
  15. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Golden Gate
    After really wanting this as a kid (late 50s - early 60s), by the time we got one (68?) it was a little anticlimactic. Less-than-stunning color, but cool anyway.

    Pretty sure it was a Zenith mini-console. No remote.

    Don't remember entirely, but NBC seemed to have the most-watched color shows. Bonanza and Star Trek for sure. CBS (or maybe the local affiliate) was slow to catch on. ABC was relatively new in Omaha, low in content.

    I seem to remember this spot more fondly than actually having the color TV:

  16. Hawkman

    Hawkman Supercar Gort Staff

    New Jersey
    My grandfather did well for himself so he was the first in the family to get a color television. We enjoyed visiting my grandmother and grandfather and watching tv just to see what certain shows looked like in color.

    We finally got a color tv around 1968.

    I remember looking at TV Guide at the time and the listings would have a little rectangular box that said 'color' next to the shows that were in color.
    MikeInFla likes this.
  17. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member Thread Starter

    The "COLOR" box in TV GUIDE:

    Attached Files:

  18. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host


    In our middle class neighborhood, only one family had color TV (as I mentioned above) and I did all of my childhood watching at stores. I remember one Christmas when the stores were open at night, sitting in front of a "For Sale" TV at the Broadway department store and watching the ONLY program that was broadcast in color on ABC, The Jetsons.

    After Disney shamed America in to buying color sets (remember Ludwig Von Drake saying "For those of you with black and white sets, here is what you are seeing at home, black, gray, white, gray, black, gray, white....") a few people junked their TV's and got new ones, but really not as many as you might think.

    That was 1961 but it was many years until we got our set. Stuff just didn't wear out in those days and our monochrome sets were working fine so no way was a working class family going to spend 500 bucks on a color TV no matter how great it looked. I had to be content with watching cartoons in color on TV's for sale at Monty Ward, Sears, Broadway, House Of Sight & Sound, Music City, May Co., etc. At least my parents didn't have to bribe me to go shopping with them. If there was a TV section at a store, I was there, dude.
  19. JohnG

    JohnG Boney Fingers Jones

    Long Island, NY

    Thats how I felt in the early 70's with record and stereo depts in stores when out shopping with the parents. :D

    Can you imagine, a record shop inside a clothing retail store.
  20. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    Thanks to God that in my day, the TV section was combined with the phonograph/stereo section and the record section. All in one lovely place. I was in heaven from the age of three until it all sadly went away..
    MikeInFla and paulewalnutz like this.
  21. JohnG

    JohnG Boney Fingers Jones

    Long Island, NY
    yep, it was a fun section of the store.
  22. Hawkman

    Hawkman Supercar Gort Staff

    New Jersey
    NICE job!!

    I remember you telling us in the Bonanza thread that I started that Bonanza and Disney's Wonderful World Of Color were pretty much responsible for getting more Americans to switch to color tv sets.

    I also remember color television settling more than a discussion or two of what color certain model kits of Superheroes and machines should be painted with trusty Testors model paint.

    Color tv saved more than one model kit of the Seaview from being painted deep blue for all time.
  23. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member Thread Starter

    Thanks. I used something called the "Chanl" font, a specialized True-Type Font for Windows.

    (But I had to make my own [COLOR] box graphic.)

  24. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Lodi, New Jersey
    The stores bribed you, with color TV.
  25. Steve D.

    Steve D. Forum Resident

    I viewed my first color show waaaaaaay back in 1954. It was the first west coast originated live color broadcast by CBS. "Life with Father". I watched it on a small screen color tv, probably a 15" RCA CT-100, in a store window, less than a mile from CBS TV City where the program was produced. Our first famly color set was a 1957 RCA Victor 21" CTC-5. I bought it used for $150.00 in 1962. It worked well for years. Like Steve Hoffman, I camped out in many of the same L.A. store TV Depts. waiting for the color shows. Or just watching the "color snow" on the unused channels.

    -Steve D.

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