On this day in 1951, CBS made the first colour televisions available to the public. Unfortunately, it materialised that the viewers weren’t that impressed with the product so it was soon discontinued.
To the surprise of the CBS marketing team, the cardboard box, with a square cut out of one side, to fit over a family member’s head did not catch on with the discerning American public.
Early colour TV
On the discontinuation of the product, a CBS spokesman branded the first colour TV users as “Hard to please!”, “Clueless!” and “They won’t be making the same noises when we develop a box big enough to fit two people’s heads in!”
However, viewers were undeterred claiming the programs were rubbish. One of its more outspoken critics, Margaret Trillo from Hoboken in New York, claimed it wasn’t a colour TV but a cardboard box with a square cut out of the side!
“Why would I want my husband Norman reading me the news?!” she questioned angrily. Before adding “I like my news anchors to be articulate, smart and easy on the eye. Not to have a face like a slapped ass!”
A New Jersey woman who didn’t want to be named, called Martha O’Hara, agreed that purchasing the colour TV was a mistake. She went on to say the programs weren’t that interesting, with the exception of the one where her husband showed off the colours of his kaleidoscope!
“My husband seemed a bit of a natural in front of the camera. Although, we later found out he hadn’t realised he had the box over his head, when he was messing with the kaleidoscope!”
John Logie Baird was given the accolade of the inventor of the mechanical television and the first publicly demonstrated colour television system.
As a young child learning about this prominent inventor, I thought my teacher said he was named John Yogi Bear! As a small boy I was really impressed that the TV had been invented by a picnic snatching bear. He certainly was ‘Smarter than the average bear’
At the time I pondered what part, if any, Boo Boo had in the development of this magical box in the corner of our living room. However, I wasn’t inquisitive enough to ask the teacher. Anyway, I was too busy watching a plump lad in our class picking his nose and eating it!
At school break time with the involvement of Boo Boo forgotten, we swapped football stickers. Although, I wouldn’t swap with the nose picker until he’d washed his hands!
As a football mad kid I loved collecting these stickers, which we would place in our albums with a view of securing all of the pictures to make ‘the set’. When I was younger they weren’t self adhesive and our stickers had to be secured by paper glue……. Apart from the nose picker who had an altogether different way of sticking his pictures.
It wasn’t a cheap hobby either. My brother and I spent so much on them my mum had to take a second job. Although in retrospect, I’m not sure if stealing football stickers can be classed as a second job!
We didn’t get ‘the set’ often as it was difficult to do in those days even with swapping with mates. One year I can recall Ian and I only needed a QPR player called Stan Bowles to complete our collection.
We were having no luck at all achieving this so I came up with the idea of doctoring one of the QPR players I had twice to pretend it was Stan Bowles. The sticker I adapted was of his colleague Terry Mancini.
Bowles had a mop of fair hair and Mancini was bald, so I coloured his hair in to give him a style similar to Bowles. I then tippexed out Mancini’s name and wrote Stan Bowles in biro.
The real Stan Bowles sticker. You can tell its not the doctored one as he hasn’t got blue biro hair on it!
As I proudly showed off Ian and my ‘completed’ album I quickly skipped on the page of the Queens Park Rangers team. I was happy with my plan to doctor the sticker of Terry Mancini, however, I was not convinced the Stan Bowles with hair of blue biro would have fooled my peers!
Ian and I were chuffed to bits with filling the sticker album and Stan Bowles went on to play for England. Not as our result of me colouring in his hair, it has to be said! ….. Or was it?!