National Anthem. Indian Head. Ladies and Gentlemen. Did you ever fall asleep to the TV test pattern?

RCA Indian Head Test Card ca. 1940

Do you remember when television programs ended at 10:00 at night and didn’t start up again until 5:00 the next morning?

There wasn’t enough programming to have television on all night.

Early Days of TV

And, we only had three channels.

Click here to watch a YouTube video of a sign-off message, the National Anthem and an Indian-head test pattern.

Look familiar?

The Rapid Proliferation of Television

In 1946, at the end of World War II, 0.5% of housefholds had a television set. By 1954, 55.7% had one and by 1962, 90% had one.

By the 1970s, solid-state electronics displaced vacuum tubes in tvs, making them lighter and more reliable. In 1971, the sale of color tvs exceeded the sale of black and whites in the U.S. for the first time.

Just like quartz watches quickly displaced mechanical, televisions quickly displaced radios.

What do you think is now setting the stage for your grandchildren’s memories of their childhood?
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To you and the world you share with your grandchildren.

Carol Covin, “Granny-Guru”

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers