View Full Version : "Seeing Color TV for the First Time"

07-05-2015, 03:04 PM

"I'm not quite old enough to clearly remember the point at which my family got a color TV, and suddenly not everything was in black-and-white. But my guess is that anyone a couple of years older than me or more (I'm about to turn 55) has a clear memory of that moment.

Here, then, is a tape from my own family's home-recorded collection (a large set of tapes by the way, one which no doubt set me on the road to collection those made by other families).

The tape dates from the first week of August, 1966 (the ability to date it so closely will be mentioned below), and features me older brother recording with a friend of his. This was his common practice, and became mine, with my friends, as I grew a little older. My brother (Bill) is heard here at 12 years old, his friend about the same. We'd had a color TV for some time, but the friend (Steve) had apparently yet to see TV in color.

Essentially, this tape captures segments of about six minutes of broadcasting (with much cut due to the recorder being turned off and on), including bits of a game show, a newscast and commercials, as well as what anyone seeing TV in color for the first time in 1966 would want to see most, the NBC Peacock.

If you can get past the constant noise from handling of the microphone, and the various inanities and noises made by 12 year old boys, this is a neat little time capsule in just under four minutes. "

Jeff Martin
Chicago, IL

07-05-2015, 04:19 PM
I don't remember the very first time I saw a color TV set, but I do remember seeing one at the Two Guys store in Hackensack NJ on a Saturday morning, mid 60's. Cartoons like the Flintstones, Jetsons, Top Cat and such were on, but I though that the color was too garish. Maybe they had the chroma up too high. I thought these cartoons looked better on B&W...

07-05-2015, 04:44 PM
I recall vividly the first time I saw color TV. It was on Halloween night. I was about 8, the year was about 1956 and I was trick-or-treating in the neighborhood when one woman opened her door and in her living room was a glowing color TV, probably a CT-100. I was amazed by it. The woman even invited me in to look at it closer. We did not have a color set at home until 1965 when the 1953 Admiral got too dim to watch.

07-05-2015, 06:31 PM
First, very interesting site.

This is ironic, because I took delivery of my very first color TV in August, 1966. I had been working in my new job, fresh out of high school for 19 months. Managed to save a few dollars. Bought a new 19'inch RCA. I lived near Mitchell Field in Milwaukee. It was higher ground, so installed a tripod and the most powerful antenna available with rotor on my parents roof. I could receive all the Chicago stations including channel 5, WMAQ. I remember channels 2, 5, 7, 9, 13 and 32 in those days. Reception was always best at night. That was our first color set. My parents had a black and white.

The first time I saw color TV was in 1956. Saw it after school at a family members home. Can't remember the brand.

I was not able to see your video,,only the audio on my iPad.

07-06-2015, 08:16 AM
The first time I saw over-the-air color TV was at my uncle's house in late fall 1954.

But the first time I saw color TV was not over the air ... it was on
a monitor at the TV station. I was on-camera in the studio audience
when WBAP made a big deal of switching from B&W to color for
their afternoon kiddie's shows. There was a big cheer when the picture
of us turned from B&W to color. One friend of mine has already seen color
TV at the station because he was the weatherman's son.

As I have said before, this caused me to ask Santa for a CT-100 for Christmas,
which I finally got last summer.

07-06-2015, 01:06 PM
The first color set I saw was at my Uncle's home in 1957. On Sunday nights we'd all gather in the upstairs den to watch Disney... it was the marvel of or entire family. No one else had color till after 1966. My Uncle never could get the color right, but my Aunt was an absolute wiz!!! We were only allowed to watch color on the color set. It was the RCA Deluxe model with the doors that perfectly matched the wood walls in the den... it almost disappeared when the doors were closed. I kept that set going for years till I moved from the area... sure wish I would have grabbed it when I had the chance. The CRT in that thing seemed to be indestructible as it always tested great and made a great picture especially with that great demodulator section the Deluxes were gifted with.

07-06-2015, 01:12 PM
We got our first color set in '65. It was a late 50's Admiral in a butt-ugly black metal box...but had amazing reception and picture.
Most shows were still black and white at that point, so when a color show came on, it gained notice.

07-06-2015, 08:17 PM
1955 at hoermles appliances on parsons ave in columbus was amazing.they had 2 on display.i couldnt believe what i was seeing.i was about 7.a few years later we went downtown and i saw a large display of color sets at lazarus.unfortunately,no color programming on at the time.the set at hoermles was a motorola.they also had rca model.the moto was beautiful.deep reds,etc.later,a trip in late 1962 back downtown revealed the coming of the zenith color sets.this was the pinnacle of color sets in my opinion.they also carried magnavox.they were also very sharp.sun tv had lower level sets such as admiral,ge,sylvania,etc.mid level rca s and an occasional zenith.

07-06-2015, 11:23 PM
My dad worked for Sears and brought home a returned set in 1967. We enjoyed watching it over the weekend. Two months later I loaned him the money to put a down payment on a 1968 RCA. Three months later the picture tube blew a red gun and needed a new tube. That set lasted 15 years!

Tom S
07-06-2015, 11:49 PM
First time I seen color Tv was 1963. I was 5 and in Kindergarten. My parents tried 2 sets. One was an RCA. Big boxy thing from a local dealer that let us try it for a day. First show was Flipper on NBC. That set went back cause the dealer was a jerk. Then we Tried a Curtis Mathis over a weekend. On Monday I went to school and was told we're not getting a color set. School was only half days. I expected it gone when I got home. But when I got there the Curtis Mathis was there and our old Emerson B&W was gone.

07-07-2015, 01:57 AM
My early color-TV memories, other than seeing them at stores (which I do not remember one way or the other):
1968-69 maybe: I was at a friend's house, and saw The Flintstones in color on their TV set.
1974: My grandmother got a 19-inch Hitachi color TV set for Christmas from my mother and aunt/uncle. That was the first one that I could adjust, and I found out you could get real-looking color, not just overdone "color-TV color" as most people had.
1975: On a vacation to San Francisco, our hotel room had a color set. Its yoke was tilted a bit, and the color-killer did not work (I learned later), so it had color snow on blank channels-very cool!
1975 also: My aunt and uncle had just upgraded to their second color TV set, and the old one was in the family room; they let me fiddle with the old one. That one was a roundie RCA, and ITS yoke was tilted a bit, too!
1977: My brother bought a 19-inch Sony KV-1920D, the first color set in my direct family; I was 16 then. I remember, Family Feud was the first show he (and I) watched on it.

07-07-2015, 08:27 AM
This is easy.

First color show I saw was "Batman" at one of my parents friends home... 1966. It was a shot of the bat-cave. I know the set was an RCA CTC-4, because several years later, it was given to me. The CRT was moved to another set, because I had no room for a large cabinet in my bedroom.

The first show I saw on our own color set was "Spiderman" in 1968. Also an RCA. I don't remember the chassis, as less than 2 weeks later, this set burned and set the wall behind the set on fire. I'm glad we were there. The TV dealer came and took the set to the shop. A few days later, they called to return it, and my mom said something like "Over My Dead Body." Then, we got a 23" Motorola, and had all the problems with bad CRT's that these sets were famous for. We replaced 2 CRT's under warranty, and then after #3, Dad said he 'had enough of this' and they gave the set to me. It limped along for a year or so before the image was too dark to watch.

While the Motorola was out of service, I'd haul one of my console B/W sets into the house so we could watch something. I had several working sets in my workshop by then, given to me by friends that bought color sets.

07-07-2015, 08:57 AM
First color I saw was abt 1960. A friend had a birthday party
& we had to wait all day to see a color show. It was a regular
Sat afternoon show about parachuting. Anyone remember
the name of it ?? Lots of oohs & aahs.
Shortly after my neighbors who didnt have a pot to piss in
got a big RCA. The RCA truck was there once a month I think
probable changing 6GH8's. I used to pop in to the Zenith dealer
down the street. No Zenith colors but he had Admirals. Little
did we know in 10 yrs I would be at his bench for almost 40 yrs !
Finally for the 1967 Red Sox we got one, a '68 one knob
Zenith. Still ran fine when we got the first EFL Zenith 19" an
H line set.

73 Zeno:smoke:

07-07-2015, 09:27 AM
...It was a regular
Sat afternoon show about parachuting. Anyone remember
the name of it ?? ...

Was it Ripcord?

07-07-2015, 03:49 PM
The first color I remember seeing was about 1966 or 67 at my great aunt and uncle's house. A 19" RCA Victor table model. The show was about tropical fish underwater, so the color was outstanding and memorable. Later I got to work on that set. I remember seeing ones like it in motel rooms too. It had the two open holes midway down the front panel and behind that were colorful thumbwheels for tint and color.

Our first color TV was bought in 1969, a 21" GE, and I remember the novelty of UHF and the Tenna-Rotor, being able to see Dark Shadows for the first time and in color. Our local ABC affiliate didn't carry it, and we could finally pick up Channel 18 in Charlotte. I still have that TV in my living room.

On familly vacations I remember watching the 17" color Zenith in my dad's boss' oceanfront beach house about 1970. It was always fun adjusting that set and I managed to get it when they tore down the house in the 1980s. It suffered from being in the salt air and the HV cage was rusty and arcing a little. Otherwise it still worked fine.

Steve McVoy
07-07-2015, 05:43 PM
I recall seeing color in the early 50s. My recollection is that the set looked like the Zenith field sequential set, but since I was born in 1943 and I would have been only 7 at the time of field sequential I think it is unlikely that my memory is correct. It is more likely that it was one of the 15 inch NTSC sets in 1954.

Eric H
07-07-2015, 05:59 PM
The first color TV I can remember is watching The Brady Bunch at my Sisters house around 1969 or 70, the first movie I saw on TV in color would be The Poseidon Adventure (in it's TV Debut) at a friends house.

07-07-2015, 06:09 PM
My parents friends had a 1965/66 Magnavox roundie color tv/stereo combo, in a laquered black Oriental style cabinet. I remember watching "Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve" on that set from 1971/72 until 1982. We didn't get our own color tv until 1974. It was a 19" Magnavox table model.

07-08-2015, 11:45 AM
I was 3 and visiting my Grandparents in Ft Lauderdale in 1966, they had a new Zenith with a rectangular CRT. when you turned it off, it looked like a kaleidoscope :) I couldn't wait for my cartoons the next morning on WTVJ-4. That Zenith made it to 1974 when my Grandpa gutted the Italian Provincial cabinet to make a bookcase.
It was replaced with one of the last Hybrids Zenith made before the CCII came out. I suspect the humidity got the best of it in the end as the failure was described as "snap-crackle-pop"

Meanwhile, up in Delray Beach, my Aunt had just gotten the big glorious Magnavox with the grand Tambour doors and excellent sound.
I liked my Gp's Zenith picture better as years went by. That Mag made the move to a farmhouse in Pa in 1969, still sounding great it lasted until a CCII replaced it in 1976. Unfortunately, I was tasked with gutting that Mag for another bookcase:sigh:

Then it was back home up north and watch the NBC peacock mockingly strut on the BW Motorola:sigh: (which I still have BTW:D) until the 1971 23V Zenith arrived one day..and I still have that too!

07-15-2015, 09:29 PM
My parents bought their first color set in the mid-sixties, and I remember they bought it because Lawrence Welk was going to do a color broadcast from Hawaii, and mom wanted to see Hawaii in color.. The neatest thing was watching the peacock on NBC, they would broadcast in black and white and then it would magically turn into color simply magical watching that when you are like 5 or 6. They had that set clear up until the eighties when it finally gave up the ghost it was a zenith.

07-15-2015, 11:47 PM
My first Color I watched was in 1965, one year old toddler with an infected hip socket and bursa. 1963 Zenith Roundie leftover. Bonanza on WATE 6. Then followed WBIR-TV 10 (CBS) and WTVK 26 (ABC) from Knoxville, TN. By 1968, I had my own Magnavox roundie color combo (also had external 8 track) and a 1965 leftover. Same bum hip, Magnavox dealer owner wondering where Kent was, mom and grandmother explained. Could not bear weight. Mrs. Hitch came and visited. Next day TOTL Magnavox Stereo Theater was delivered, installed in my bedroom with better antenna. had over 100 new LP discs, 200 45 singles, and 50 new Stereo 8 tracks to keep me from going bonkers. And I got more each week delivered to me. Had FM and TV, was entertained and grinned. The Hitch family and i were friends. They kept me focused on walking, on being my best, and keeping motivated. We stayed close. And me being 4 years old and a gimpy music and life loving preemie kiddo. They, my mother and grandmother, and their fiercelessness belief in me, made me who I am today. I never forget those who helped me along.

07-16-2015, 05:33 PM
For you young guys, back in the day there were no other distractions, no computers, no video games, no cell phones, but we did have tv. And for most of us who were kids we really didn't pay any attention to technology. But if per chance you were lucky enough to be somewhere that had a color tv and a color show on, your world suddenly changed. From that time in the late 50's I was hell bent to get one of my own and in 1962 I did.

NowhereMan 1966
07-20-2015, 12:59 PM
The first color set I remember was my aunt's RCA Vista Color roundie. I was born in 1966 so I probably saw it from the time I was 1 on up. We did not get our first color set until 1971, a Zenith Chromacolor. BTW, I was talking to a fellow co-worker about the days gone by we remember and back then, he said, "TV was the internet of the day."