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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Monday, January 28 2002

Television

It's been a while since we've had a topic on which everyone has ideas and on which many have formed opinions; sometimes strong opinions. Last week one of our list members sent an essay written by a well-known television critic who cites studies that find the use of television with children of preschool age is detrimental to their mental and intellectual development, and that its use at any age probably has more negative than positive effects. So I'll start this week by throwing out that topic and welcome anything you'd like to say on television. How much do you watch? How much do you allow your children to watch, or do you monitor their viewing at all? What have you noticed about the effects of the medium in your life and others' lives?

I'll start by recounting some recollections about television in its early days. Though the technology was first used in the 1930's, it wasn't until after World War II that network broadcasting began, and by 1948 there were regularly scheduled programs every evening. By 1950 it was becoming very popular. Our next-door neighbors had a set before we did and other kids and I from the neighborhood gathered outside their dining room window to watch their set through the window. It was of course black and white and we were thrilled to watch the picture with no sound.

Even before then, people were flocking to bars to watch TV, especially the Friday night fights and professional wrestling. Those seemed like the most popular shows in the days when people were deciding whether they could afford a set for their own homes. Even afterward, those sports were among the most widely watched programs.

This all came to age even before I did. It seemed like a lifetime between when we owned our first set in 1950 and the introduction of color broadcasts, but I believe it was only 1958 that my girlfriend's family got a console color RCA for their family Christmas present, and many people already owned color sets before that. Most of NBC's programs were already being broadcast in color, if I am remembering correctly (Since RCA owned NBC then and RCA was the pioneer developer of color TV sets, it was natural that that network would want to be first with all-color programming). Of course in those same years I had matured from what was a critical year in childhood, my eighth, and what could in some ways be considered my first adult year, at 16.

Television antennas were sprouting on the roofs of just about every house in those days. Where we lived, the set-top antenna ("rabbit ears") could pull in little more than static, so a roof-top antenna was required. Later, Dad was able to install one in the attic, which was much safer and easier to get to for adjustments. Every home with a new TV had to have someone on the roof and one on the ground yelling the settings that worked best for Channel 6, Channel 10 (Altoona) and, it was hoped, Channel 3 (WDTV, Pittsburgh, which was later bought by KDKA and changed from channel 3 to 2).

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Brotherly love

A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five- and six-year-olds. After explaining the commandment to "honor thy father and thy mother," she asked "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?" Without missing a beat, one little boy answered, "Thou shall not kill."

—Sent by Joe Pelayo

Thought for the day

Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends His Son to die for you.

—Attributed by John Ashcroft, U.S. Attorney General
In an interview with journalist Cal Thomas; sent by Zan

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