Remembering TV of the 1950s


Television in the 1950s


By Elton Camp


About TV, this little account is told

From when I was twelve years old

Because it was along about then

When TV fascination did begin


The programming choices were few

The channels we received were two

A massive antenna was the only way

There existed no cable system to pay


A flat lead-in thru the window threaded

The possibility of lightning was dreaded

My father looked at the sky with a frown

“Disconnect it and throw on the ground!”


All programs were black and white

Which we watched by a TV light

Brighter lights were then taboo

Only a darkened room would do


If the other channel we’d get

Get up and walk to the TV set

Commercials at beginning, middle, end

Just those three so unlikely to offend


At midnight, stations signed off the air

At six the next morning, they’d be there

It was only a test pattern for a while

Daily adjusting our set was a trial


Controls on the back so we couldn’t see

Whatever the results were going to be

Horizontal & vertical hold to reset

So that a viewable picture we’d get


“WBRC now begins its broadcast day”

Some disembodied voice would say

The national anthem was played

Sometimes a preacher then prayed


Whatever vile programs, we didn’t care

Rather, we’d sit and mindlessly stare

Technical interruptions we might get

With, “Please do not adjust your set.”


The set was costly & likely to break down

To houses, the repairman came around

Daily life would almost come to a stop

If he had to take it away to his shop


This situation was inevitable because

One TV set per family’s all there was

Multiple receivers was then far away

We didn’t foresee the present day


Flat screens, color or streaming video

About such things we didn’t know

We never heard of high definition

To avoid “snow” was our ambition


But any sense of depravation we didn’t feel

With Gleason, Berle & Norman Vincent Peale

“What’s My Line” was everyone’s delight

“I Love Lucy” dominated Monday night


By writing this poem, my age I betray

“Can this be true?” young folks say

Yes, this is the situation we did see

Without Netflix, ESPN, or even MTV


There are no messages yet
writing Elton4562
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