Considering the wonderful world of color
By Cole Williams
Designer of The Journal
Over the weekend Doris and I watched the first Incredibles movie, mostly because of all the hype about the sequel. Doris remarked about how clear the picture was on our large, flat screen high def TV.
It got me to thinking about the first color TV we got when I was a kid in the 60s. I’ve never been particularly materialistic, but man, I wanted a color TV so bad I could taste it.
One of my school buddy’s dad owned a TV shop so they had the latest, greatest RCA Victor color TV. I don’t ever remember being so jealous. I knew what happened at their house on Sunday nights when Tinkerbell tapped her wand on the image of the Disney Castle: The Wonderful World of Color! At our house it was the depressing world of monochrome. When Dorothy Gale walked out of her house after surviving the tornado, Oz was just as drab as Kansas. I shudder to think of what an annoying little jerk I was, incessantly begging my parents to buy a stupid color TV.
Then one day I walked out the front door and there was a TV delivery truck in our driveway. Could it be? The delivery guy slid the door open and there it was: a large white box with “Color TV” written on its side. I don’t remember what brand it was, but I was so excited I must have come close to passing out. Or maybe something worse.
Between the networks and local affiliates, the technology wasn’t quite “there” yet. That night we were watching the CBS Evening News. After fiddling with the hue and saturation knobs for several minutes I realized that we were going to have to choose between Green Walter Cronkite and Orange Walter Cronkite. In the Barry Levinson film “Diner,” set in the 60s, there’s a scene in which a guy returns a color TV to the shop complaining that the “Ponderosa don’t look real.” True. On color TVs, external shots of the iconic ranch house looked like painted cardboard. It didn’t help matters when Green Little Joe and Green Hoss rode up.
Heck, lots of programming was still in black and white back then. Naturally there was a learning curve. A few years later everything looked pretty good on our old color set. Skin tones on actors’ faces looked very close to humanoid.
Things change so fast. Doris and I bought a 42” flat screen some years back. It was a refurb and still cost a whole lot. Prices have dropped so much on flat screens that now crack heads don’t bother to steal them.
Anyway, I really like Craig. T. Nelson and Holly Hunter and “The Incredibles” was a lot of fun. But you can bet your bippy it wasn’t as much fun as watching that delivery guy unload our brand new color TV set in the mid sixties. And you can look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls.