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Monday, December 24, 2007

My Favorite Christmas: 1969 or 1970

I'm old enough so that having a color television was once available only to those people of means. Next door to my grandmother, the folks, in 1961 or 1962, bought this huge color TV. This was back in the day when a TV was furniture. Since my sister Leslie was friends with one of the daughters, Christine, occasionally I got to see shows on the set. In those days, most, if not all shows on NBC were "brought to you in living color". Even then, Bonanza, in particular, looked really weird.

But the shows on ABC and CBS were in black and white until approximately 1966. I remember ABC especially made a big deal of the transition: "Next, F Troop. In COLOR." "Bewitched. In COLOR." Well, not for us.

So, whatever Christmas it was, when the presents were fairly scarce under the tree, we were nevertheless all excited when we got a color television. I watched TV a lot, even of shows I had seen before that fall. I'm not sure that certain shows were improved by color. At some point, I saw reruns of the third (color) season of The Fugitive, and it wasn't as good as the other two. And Griffith wasn't improved, but then that could have been the loss of Don Knotts.

On the other hand, I got to watch The Wizard of Oz for the first time the way it was designed. It was WONDERFUL. I had never gotten the "horse of a different color" joke until that year. In retrospect, it was like being in that Tobey Maguire/Reese Witherspoon/Joan Allen/Don Knotts movie Pleasantville. Ironically, seeing things in color gave me a greater appreciation of black and white films that came later on such as Schindler's list and Manhattan.


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