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Happy Halloween: 1958

Happy Halloween: 1958

October 1958, somewhere in Pennsylvania. Big brother is ready for a night of trick-or-treating. Rob from the rich, and share with your understudy! Our fourth selection from a batch of Kodachrome slides found on eBay. View full size.

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Those hidden control knobs

If I'm not mistaken, that center panel below the screen opened (downward, I believe) to reveal all those little knobs we kids were not supposed to touch like the vertical, horizontal, contrast,and brightness. Without rabbit ears they probably had a 75 ohm lead up to the roof antenna. Eventually Dad would get real sophisticated and install a "tenna rotor" device that would rotate the roof antenna with just a twist of the dial that sat on top of the TV!


Nixibunny. My very first thought was the smell that the television would emit. Your description is perfect. I might also add the sounds it would make as it warmed up as well.

1950's TV Memories

First we were told we had to sit at least five feet away from the screen or we would contract radiation sickness. There were pieces of filmy plastic one could purchase in transparent colors like green and yellow to instantly turn a black and white into a color TV (whatever color the plastic was). There was often nothing on in small towns in the hills that could receive only one or two channels, except a test pattern, but we would watch it anyway. At some time during the life of everyone's TV, there would be a failure of the "vertical/horizontal" knob which would cause the picture to continuously flip and STILL we would watch it. I remember my amazement of seeing the coronation of Queen Elizabeth taking place in Great Britain, in my own home in a small town in Ct. That was truly a miracle to me. Needless to say, I now find Skype absolute magic. We can only speculate at what is coming next.

I can smell that TV from here

There were nearly 20 tubes in that thing, warming up the room and lending a faint smell of roasting dust and melting wax capacitors.

Our kids will never know the joy of watching the picture dwindle to a shrinking white rectangle, then a little bright white spot in the middle of the screen when the set was turned off.

Winky Dink

The comments about the safety cover remind me of the vinyl screen you got so you could draw on the screen while watching Winky Dink. I think it was so you could draw paths to help him escape from some plot or another.

The TV

Forget the creepy John Wayne Gacy meets Wonderbread and store bought Robin Hood costumes. Yuck. That TV is the star of this scene. I can see it is RCA Victor at the top. I think it is black and white because the color sets of that era had a round sided picture tube. Only the b&w sets had a more squared green shape. I can see somebody has been going overboard on the Lemon Pledge. This family loved that set.

I also can't read the script strip at the bottom of the speaker. It might be a remote control or other advertising slogan, not the model name.

[It's the "eluxe" part of "Deluxe," the "D" having broken off. - tterrace]

Technical Aspects Aside

That RCA simply cries out for a pair of rabbit ears.

The family's pride and joy on display

The family is obviously proud of their kids, but they are also showing off their new 21" color TV. In 1958, color TV was still quite a rarity in the home, since RCA introduced their first color set, the 15" CT100, in 1954.

[That's not a color TV. - Dave]

[RCA used a similar cabinet for black-and-white sets and the one in our photo most closely resembles the 1956 Glenwood 21 Deluxe in several details. Also, the screen mask isn't quite the same shape as those used for the round color tubes. - tterrace]

Safety glass

The glass screen cover wasn't an option or a glare shield, though many of them were tinted to increase the contrast.

It was there to protect the unbonded picture tube from being hit and imploding, thereby causing serious injury.

It's Its other function was to contain the flying glass should the tube implode for some other reason.

Pretty much every set from 1946 till 1960 or so had a safety glass.

Sets starting in the early 60's either had the safety glass bonded directly to the face of the CRT or they were banded to contain the glass in the event of implosion, after that the extra glass in front of the screen was not needed.

My User Name will explain why I know this stuff.

[The outer flat panel, made of safety glass, was designed to reduce glare and ambient reflections. Hence names like "Glare-Guard." - Dave]

Safety panel on TV

I notice that the parents of Robin Hood and Wonder Bread opted for the transparent safety panel in front of the picture tube of the TV. When my older brother and I, as young adults, removed the defunct TV component from our parents’ massive wooden hi-fi cabinetry (to create extra storage space), we took the TV - with safety screen attached – to a local dumpster so we could toss it from a high place and watch it explode. Far from breaking, the TV hit the bottom of the dumpster and bounced back up about five feet. Like much else back then, those things were tough.

[That "safety panel" is a glare shield. - Dave]

Place Your Bets

Guess how long after exiting the house before Mom or Dad was carrying Robin's: bow, treat bag, younger brother.


When those kind of legs started showing up I thought they made otherwise nice furniture look chintzy.

Costumes by Irwin Mainway no doubt.

We all wore them back then, and most of us survived.

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