Saturday, July 25, 2015

Television (What Else?) #socs


Time once again for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, brought to you by Linda Hill (who has all the rules and the list of contributors at her blog) and by the letters VIS.

As in teleVISion. One of my favorite categories to write about. I’ve written about it plenty on this blog, but it’s a subject that I just love. I love TV. My brothers and I watched lots of TV growing up. From the time we got home from school until Mom went to bed, the TV was on. For that matter, most mornings we’d put the TV on when we got up. Saturday and Sunday for the cartoons, of course, but during the week there was a morning show run by Ray Rayner on WGN that we’d watch until we had to leave for school. And even then…

Ray would leave the air at 8:15. He was followed by a 15-minute cartoon show called “King Leonardo and his Short Subjects.” I used to sit and watch it, then take off and run like hell to school. We only lived two blocks away, one and a half if you cut through alleys. Which I did on occasion, when I’d end up watching the first few minutes of “Romper Room.” Why? Because it was on. No other reason.

I mentioned during the A to Z Challenge a couple of years ago that I thought TV was magic. Really. Some guy sits downtown and reads the news, his voice AND his picture show up on the screen ten miles away. With radio, you only got the voice. Sound AND picture. That was really something. How did they make it happen? No one I knew could tell me.

Then, one day, Mom brought a bunch of books home from school. They had gone through her school library and taken out all the books that either hadn’t been taken out in a while, or were damaged and not worth repairing, and were going to throw them away. She grabbed a bunch of them for us. This was one of them:

There's Adventure in Electronics

Of course, I grabbed it right away. See, when I say I was interested in TV, I wasn’t just interested in the shows, I wanted to know everything there was about it. Station breaks. Commercials. Sign-ons and sign-offs. Emergency Broadcast System tests. Technical difficulties. Film and videotape. Audio and video. Carrier waves. Test patterns (what did they test?). All that stuff. And this book told me a lot about the technical side of things. All I really wanted to know, really.

It’s all changed now. Now everything is digital, there are hundreds of channels, some you can receive with rabbit ears, some you need cable or satellite to see. The technology that made this show up in your browser on your monitor is far more sophisticated than anything we could have imagined back then. You can produce your own video and make it available for the whole world to see on your desktop. It’s easy. All you need is a computer, a video camera, and a microphone. Even I can do it, with one good hand. Think of that. Amazing.

By the way, the picture I have above of the book was made with a scanner. That’s my copy of the book. My original has been thrown out, but I was able to find one on Amazon and bought it. It was discarded by another library. I just had to have it again.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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