Sunday, March 03, 2013

I don't believe in "Television"

"Television", that's interesting... It's a hybrid you see. You see, "tele" comes from the Greek and "vision" from the Latin. It should have been either "tele-rama" or "procul-vision".
--Graham Chapman Out of the Trees

My mom was out of town last weekend, so I was cat-sitting for her. Besides feeding them and checking the box, I sat with them for a bit and combed them, and told them they were pretty cats, and good cats.

I also spent the time watching some TV at her house. She has cable; I do not. Yet, besides watching "Good Eats", and then "Hoarders" (don't do this, by the way. You don't want the memory of a perfect pot-roast recipe ruined by the image of a bucket of dead kittens), I watched very little cable programming.

And, it was while watching Svengoolie's presentation of "The WereWolf of London", that I caught this ad:

What I found really funny was how it was obvious this was a "cable-only" ad. You've seen it, I'm sure, when you catch a half-second of an ad. That's the cable company (or dish, or whoever) playing the "cable-only" ad over whatever the broadcast ad was. Had I been watching this at home, on my antenna, I never would have seen it.

And this made me think about all the ads I'd seen a few years ago talking about the switch to digital. And it made me think about the short films about how to dial a phone, when that switch came in.


Watching something like this gets me nostalgic for the old "future". This was back when you could open a film with a guy at a desk. You'll see a lot of guys sitting at desks in the next few clips.

Remember, the last big thing that had happened to TV was color broadcasts. This was a big deal, and you can read up on how it works. Wait, I'll let this explain it.

2:30 is when things really get going. We don't use this technology anymore, but a lot of the same principles are at work.

This would have done you no good if you had a black & White TV, of course. I do like the guy on brushes. That still would have come across.

Once you had a color TV, you'd have to adjust it. This beats the hell out of color bars (or, as they would have said, "colour" bars). No promises on the sound, however.

And, of course, you had to test things to make sure they were still working. Those British engineering jokes don't write themselves.

The Brits also gave us this fascinating little film (this is just part one). After nightly bombings, I can understand the need for the entire country to sit back and relax. They did had television before the war, but it wasn't the same.

Once color became the thing, folks were more than happy to show it off. That NBC Peacock was all about the color.

There's a song I don't want stuck in my head. I guess it beats what they were doing beforehand.

If you have about 30 minutes, this will tell you why. If you have another 30 minutes, how we got there.

Throw in another 30 minutes to learn about how light works. I'm pretty sure that's Ken Nordine narrating.

I want to know which remote function controls that big, brass, Turkish coffee-pot.

It's hilarious to me, sitting so comfortably in the 21st century, how such a big deal was made about these things as they came out. Granted, I live in an age when my phone can control my TV (or anyone else's).

Granted, I live in an age where most people don't use a TV to watch TV anymore. I mean, you're not watching any of these videos on a TV, are you?


Christopher Sobieniak said...

Though you didn't bring this up (since it's not really TV related), this tune came to my mind!

Those "Clear TV" ads are trying to persuade you to simply give up on cable or a dish in favor of what your parents were doing 60 years ago, fiddling with the rabbit ears! I see Atlanta, GA has this outfit...

I usually feel like this work far better in larger markets as there tends to be a lot more sub-channels to view terrestrially than out in the sticks.

Incidentally, that show "Svengoolie" is on is actually broadcast for free over the airwaves on local TV. MeTV is offered as a sub-channel on many stations across the country (where I am, it's on 11-2, a CBS affiliate). So your thought that the ad was only available on cable might be false.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

Really, I wish I had this many stations for free.

Dr. Mila said...

I've watched Svengoolie on my local "MeTV" over the air and never seen the ad, so that's why I was so surprised when I saw it. It was also an obvious overlay.

Oooo, you might like this. I found a lot of great stuff there.

Christopher Sobieniak said...