My grandfather had a peculiar kind of business ethics while he worked as top foreman at the Hoboken Ship Yard in the 1940's. He believed, "if you accept gifts from both sides of a labor negotiation you are now free to decide for yourself." I guess this is why we got a new Dumont TV set in 1949, the same year he got another TV. My parents were too poor to afford a TV any other way, including building one from a kit.
The Dumont had a coarse and fine focus knob which I quickly became "expert" at using. It is interesting to me that my skill at focusing the TV came in handy when I took up Electron Microscopy while doing Medical Research. I guess kids today will expect everything to focus itself.
At first, the only thing you could see was the "test pattern." Then, I got to see Howdy Doody, Milton Berle, Tom Mix and all the early Westerns, Buck Rogers and Captain Video (with Tobor the Robot). Mr. Wizard and Sea Hunt were also big interests for me as well.
Do you remember the early "Mickey Mouse" cartoons that would draw themselves out of an ink bottle. TV was wonderful and innocent in those days.
It is a amazing how many scientists were influenced by Mr. Wizard and how many professional SCUBA divers looked back to Sea Hunt as their motivation.
Today TV has sold out to advertising. There are few shows that are fountains of creativity. Everything that you see has been carefully calculated to appeal to the "target" audience (for the sponsors).
I believe the Web has become the place for creativity, inspiration and reflection. This StatNislander's forum could also become a major source of inspiration for writers, as the Hoftopia Chronicles illustrate. I hope we can keep it free of "commercials" as long as we can.
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