Today Heather and I went to see a show called, A Taffeta Christmas. It was a musical review of 1950’s music and staged as a 1959 TV show on the DuMont Television Network, of course someone missed on their research as DuMont was dissolved in 1956) – still it was a fun trip down memory lane of all those songs we grew up on.
The show started by showing the Indian head TV test pattern on the screens next to the stage.
If you’re old enough you know the pattern and for me it brought back some strong memories.
In the 70’s I trained to be a TV repair technician. TV’s represented some of the most complex electronics available at the time. Careful adjustment was required to bring a clear, sharp, color correct picture. Adjusting a set took time and a bit of talent – vertical, horizontal, contrast, brightness, focus, alignment, color phase, convergence … The list seemed endless. You could spend hours properly adjusting a set.
The procedure was simple in theory – display the test pattern and twist the potentiometers, lugs, capacitors, and magnets until it looked right. This involved turning on the set, getting behind it so you could reach the adjustments, placing a mirror so you could see the screen and then putting your hand and tools into a maze of wires that carried voltages up to 25,000 volts. Every TV repairman had a story to tell about the time they received a shock or blew up a component because they touched the wrong part.
Today TVs, video screens are LCD and all digital. There are no more adjustments – just settings in a microprocessor’s memory. The voltages are low, the need for screwdrivers and mirrors long gone.
So much has changed.
Some things are simpler while many others are more complex.
The world I grew up in, and the career I trained for are gone. Replaced by realities that I sometimes barely understand. These changes seem to accelerate and it’s easy to fall into fear for the future. Fear is a powerful motivator.
There are days that I wish I could just go back to that old TV shop