The Television: an unrecognised luxury

Remembering televisions

And there they stood and stared with their mouths wide open, speechless, the brand new colour television had just been cracked by a toy marble. Laura Taylor had just witnessed her little brother destroy their family’s most valued possession.

It was the late 60’s and more working class families were able to watch broadcast stations and networks in colour. Laura laughs as she tells me her first thought after the marble accident, ‘I thought he was going to be dead’. She explains how it was such an exciting time finally being able to see life on TV in colour after so many years growing up watching only black and white. So there’s no surprise after the marble hit the screen that there was an uproar in the family when her dad came home from work that night.

Click here to see a 2011 thread with people discussing the era where television converted from colour to black and white.

As I wanted to understand the family’s relationship with television at the time I asked her to set the scene. She asked me ‘what scene is there to set? the TV sat smack bang in the middle of the lounge room and it was our greatest luxury’. We started to compare contemporary society with that of her era. Noting most prominently the concept of the TV being solely in the loungeroom. Laura specifically stated that there was NEVER a TV in the bedroom. She laughed as she said this as she came to the realisation that thinking and talking about this topic had never occurred to her. Her thoughts on the TV in her era when compared to today were that having TV’s everywhere was a newly introduced concept. (We then realised we have five TV’s in our home including them in every bedroom and cringed at our greediness). In all seriousness, despite the flood of news articles that tell us not to have TV’s in our bedrooms this is evidence of the way TV’s have been redefined in this era. They have been redefined from that of a pure luxury to now an unrecognised tool in our homes amongst the laptops, computers, ipads, ipods, phones and the list goes on.

Image from: http://www.oldtechnology.net/colour.html
Image from: http://www.oldtechnology.net/colour.html

The overall theme that reflected through this conversation was the comparison between my mum’s idea of luxury with her brand new colour TV and with contemporary society, the digital era and how infatuated we are with technological advancement. There is one idea to note here, despite being born in an era with lack of technology my mum has always been invested in new technologies. She has never turned away, rather embraced the concept technological advancement. So this leads me to think perhaps technology is reflecting a similar status to that of humanity where we as humans now co-exist along side technology as one unit. (Deep).

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3 thoughts on “The Television: an unrecognised luxury

  1. This is a great story, my goodness. I want to know what happened next! What happened to the cracked television? Did the family go on watching it? Could it be repaired? Did it have to be replaced?

    This is the first story I’ve ever heard of a television being accidentally damaged. Now I’m really keen to know where other stories of broken televisions might be.

    Have a think about what information you could find and link to in a post like this to make your point about working class families in the 1960s.

    Oh, this is just great. Thank you!

    Like

    • Thanks for being so interested in this post Kate !
      To answer your questions the crack on the screen didn’t affect the way the TV functioned, so the family went on watching. Despite the clear crack being an unmistakable reminder to that one day.
      In light of your suggestion about further research on working class families in the 1960s I went searching and regardless of the lack of information I did happen to find an interesting forum with people talking about the era where television converted from colour to black and white. I’ve included it in my blog now but for your own interest here it is http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/the-color-tv-thread.268240/.

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  2. Yes I agree Kate, a well written and reflective post. It took a while for colour to turn up. As for black and white, there was the snow: I remember the snowy images due to poor signal on the black and white screen as we squinted to see the Beatles, the Stones or Neil Armstrong on the moon.

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