By Terrie Todd
At my age, it feels bizarrely insulting to put “history” and “television” in the same sentence.
|Our first TV was similar to this one.
These wonders were brought to us over the airwaves, captured by the big antenna on our roof. Every time the picture went wonky—usually in the middle of The Ed Sullivan show—we chalked it up to our neighbor shaving with his electric shaver, a theory still unproven. To this day, however, if your TV isn’t cooperating, “Eddie must be shaving” is the standard line in my family. CBC was our main channel. The other was the French version of the same. Our family did not speak French. Once in a while, if the weather graced us, we could get a third channel. All were snowy. All were, of course, in black and white.
|Blame Eddie! (Photo from Canva)
|The cast of Bonanza!
|The Indian Head test pattern created by RCA
By the time the radio became a household item (I wrote about
radio’s history last month, HERE), it wasn’t too difficult for people to imagine
being able to see what they were listening to. Though a long list of names and
dates appear in any worthwhile history of television, the TV as we know it is
mostly credited to Philo Taylor Farnsworth, a 21-year-old
American inventor who successfully demonstrated the first electronic television
in San Francisco on September 7, 1927. Farnsworth must have been quite the
crackerjack since he did not have electricity in his own home until he was 14
years old. I love the story about how his first transmitted image was a simple
straight line. When an investor asked, “When are we going to see some
dollars in this thing, Farnsworth?” he pointed his primitive camera at a dollar
|Philo Taylor Farnsworth
When the first dramas began to appear on television, actors
were forced to work under impossibly hot lights, wearing black lipstick and
green makeup to accommodate the limitations of early cameras.
World War II disrupted the development of television. By this time, however, people were used to seeing “talkies” (movies with sound) and newsreels at the theater. Bringing moving pictures into homes began to seem more feasible using all-electronic methods of scanning and displaying images. After the war ended, TV broadcasting expanded swiftly and became the important medium for mass advertising, news, and entertainment that we know today.
If I had to explain to my teenage self what television would
look like in 2022, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Flat screens. Big screens. Internet subscriptions.
A thousand channels. Live streaming. Watching an uninterrupted show any time you want, 24
hours a day. Pausing it when you want. Binge-watching an entire series. Watching it
on my phone. Say, what?
|Today's options are endless.
Terrie Todd is the award-winning author of The Silver Suitcase, Maggie’s War, Bleak Landing Rose Among Thornes, and The Last Piece. Her next novel, From the Ashes, will release later in 2022. Terrie is represented by Mary DeMuth of Books & Such Literary Agency. She lives with her husband, Jon, in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada where they raised their three children. They are grandparents to five boys.
From soup explosions to fearsome medical procedures, from the stories behindour favorite Christmas carols to meeting a first grandchild, Terrie Todd’s popular “Faith and Humor” column has been encouraging and amusing readers of The Graphic Leader for ten years. This book celebrates a decade of wit and wisdom found in Terrie’s hand-picked favorites. Arranged by category, Out of My Mind could be called a weirdly out-of-order memoir of a life in which faith and humor dwell hand in hand. Categories include: Faith, Marriage & Family, The Writing Life, Health & Fitness, Easter, Mother’s & Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, Christmas. Out of My Mind makes a great gift for any occasion.