Television!!

I was working after school at Alford Brothers and my father came into the store very excited and said, “As soon as you get off, come up to McElroy’s. They have a television and you can see people in Atlanta plain as day.”

I’d read about television at school in the Weekly Reader, but never thought about being able to actually see one. It was almost quitting time and I could hardly wait. As soon as we closed, I hopped on my bicycle and rode up to McElroy’s Service Station located across from the northwest corner of the courthouse square. The McElroys had a small room on the side of the station where they sold mostly home appliances and that was where they had the television. A crowd had gathered and it was difficult to get into the room; but I wiggled my way through . There it was big as life, the television set that is, not the screen. The screen was tiny, not much bigger than the cover of Grier’s Almanac. But just like Daddy said, I could see people moving around, talking and doing all kinds of stuff. The news came on, followed by a Brock candy bar commercial. I’d heard the “B..R..O..C..K... buy a Brock today” jingle on the radio, but now I could see it. The sun was going down, so Daddy suggested that we go home, eat supper, and then come back.

We got back around 8 o’clock. The parking space around the station was taken and cars were parked all up and down the streets. A huge crowd filled the room where the television was and spilled out to the parking lot. The room had a large display window and those on the outside were struggling to get a glimpse through the window. We stood around and talked with a few friends. Finally we gave up on seeing any more television that night and went home.

Some weeks later my Daddy came home with that same television set! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Daddy had caught the television fever and we became instant celebrities in the community. At first programming was mostly in the late afternoon and at night. As soon as we could get home and have supper, we would turn out the lights and turn on the television set. We thought the lights should be out, like at the movies. The neighbors would drop in and our living room would fill up. I think they were neighbors. It’s hard to see in the dark.

Most of the programs were live. There were a lot of sports programs and we never missed an Atlanta Cracker baseball game. One of our visitors, after watching the Crackers, complained about the screen being small and said he was not going to buy a television until you could see the whole baseball field.